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Category Archives: Victorian

Crimson Peak Picnic Outfit Costume

Last year I made a Crimson-Peak inspired costume to wear to a spooky tea party.  I skipped a cost tally at the time because there were some fixes and upgrades I wanted to make so the outfit wasn’t done. You can see this older post to view the original version and inspiration images from the Guillermo del Toro movie. I wore it again at Costume College this year in its final form.

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Photo by Gloria of In the Long Run

My Crimson Peak group was rounded out by Adrienne as evil sister-in-law Lucille and Elizabeth as another Edith. (After CoCo Adrienne added more details to her costume to make it more screen accurate, and Elizabeth has some really gorgeous textures in her flowers, so be sure to see their IG accounts for more photos).IMG_0732IMG_0735

My blouse is made of a finely-pleated silk chiffon, with a cotton gauze base. I put crinkled silk in hot tea then cold vinegar, which caused everything to shrivel up into tiny little pleats. The silk, cotton, and lace was all dyed with black tea. The collar is interfaced with cotton organdy.IMG_0258

The back closed with silk-covered buttons and loops.IMG_0253

The skirt was made with a bronze silk and I swapped out the heavier glass buttons I had before to these faux tortoise shell ones. Underneath I wore this lace petticoat and bum pad.JMQB6829

The belt was made by pleating silk scraps and sewing down box braids to the top. IMG_0289IMG_0287.JPG

I bought the buckle on Etsy, but I’m afraid the shop appears to be closed now.

You can see how I made my hat (by cutting down a taller straw hat) and why I chose this particular design in my previous post about this costume.IMG_0760.JPG

I am proud to say that our group was Kate Hawley approved! The costume designer for Crimson Peak left us a comment on Instagram!IMG_E1265 copy.JPG

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Photo by Gloria of In the Long Run

Project materials:

Skirt:

  • 5 yards bronze silk taffeta from friend’s garage sale: $43.50
  • Fan tail skirt e-pattern from Black Snail Patterns on Etsy: $6.19
  • 10 faux tortoise-shell buttons from eBay: $5.98 including shipping

Belt:

  • Hand clasp belt buckle by Anneliese van Overbeek (Etsy): $66.48 including shipping
  • 24 pack of box braids from Aliexpress: $5.90 including shipping
  • Black silk taffeta (scraps left over from other project): $0

Blouse:

  • 2 meters crinkled silk chiffon from Halo Silk Shop (Aliexpress): $22
  • 4 yards cotton gauze from Amazon (affiliate link): $17 (I have plenty left over)
  • 1 yard beige lace from Britex Fabrics in SF: $17.55
  • 2 meters black floral lace from Aliexpress: $4.22
  • More miscellaneous beige lace, thread, tea, organdy, buttons, etc. from stash or leftovers from other projects: ~$5

Hat:

  • Straw boater hat from Amazon (affiliate link): $13.98 (You can find cheaper boaters on eBay but I was in a hurry so Prime to the rescue!)
  • Painted feather butterflies from Amazon (affiliate link): $10.99
  • “Ribbon” was scrap of silk from my skirt fabric
  • Hot glue

Miscellaneous costs from stash (thread, hooks and eyes, hot glue, etc.): $5

TOTAL COST: $223.79

For footwear I wore Tavistock boots and silk stockings from American Duchess.

I enjoyed wearing this costume and I’d like to make a dark version! I have the hand belt in black, so Goth Edith is on my to-do list!

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Costume College 2018 Outfit Recap

I went a little overboard at Costume College this year and brought 8 costumes. Originally I thought I’d just dress up for the evening events and then bring some vintage dresses for casual daywear. Then I got recruited into various group costumes and things snowballed from there . . . I’ll be following up this post with more featuring the costumes worn by the other talented individuals at Costume College, but for now, here is my parade!

At the Thursday Night Pool Party the theme was “In the Realm of the Goblin King,” so of course I had to dress as Jareth! Elizabeth was my baby Toby.IMG_0366

The boots are American Duchess Tavistocks and the blouse is a vintage Gunne Sax. Everything else was cobbled together from modern clothes.IMG_0476

On Friday I  wore my Victorian bicycling outfit with the “Adventurer’s” group of sporting ladies.IMG_0639IMG_0643IMG_0613

Friday night I wore my Crimson Peak Edith picnic outfit, along with my Elizabeth as another version of Edith, and Adrienne as our “sister-in-law” Lucille. I’ve worn this outfit before but it wasn’t fully finished then. I’ve made a number of upgrades and will be making a more detailed construction post on the blog.IMG_0674IMG_0737IMG_0735

It was a delightful surprise to even get some kudos on Instagram from Kate Hawley, costume designer for Crimson Peak!IMG_E1265

On Saturday I was a member of a surprise group of Downton Abbey maids. It was decided I was the “head maid” since I had the most lace, and our pregnant friend Christine played the part of “the fallen maid” that got a little too friendly with the young master of the house.IMG_0790IMG_0797

We passed out buttons as prizes to people who could identify us correctly. (As Asian costumers we’ve experienced people calling us by each others names at conventions for years, so we thought it’d be fun to dress alike this year). Christine also made embroidered patches for us to wear with this same design.IMG_0823

Saturday night was the grand gala! I have so many wonderful pictures for a future post, but here I am in my Vice Admiral Holdo, along with my brilliant friend Kelsey in her Queen Amidala.IMG_1017IMG_1022

On Sunday I wore a vintage peignoir with feather trim over a black nightgown, and joined other ladies wearing their glamorous “Sunday undies.” IMG_1136IMG_1139IMG_1169

For the rest of the day on Sunday I rewore my vintage-style Star Wars First Order uniform, with a new purse and re-tailored collar. I had the privilege of a photoshoot with Gloria of In the Long Run, and here is a preview image I received. I can’t wait to see the final photos!38122893_551589561924580_164237582304018432_o.jpg

Adrienne also took this slow-motion villain cape action video. (Click on the link, not the photo). https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl2G7-vDvse/?taken-by=freshfripperyScreen Shot 2018-08-10 at 10.17.34 AM.png

For those of you keeping track, outfit #8 was a fuzzy Totoro kigurumi (which I forgot to photograph).  It was very useful during the evenings when I wanted to feel cozy. (FYI, for anyone feeling a little unease, I am an outlier that brings more costumes than average. You are absolutely not required to dress all day, every day for CoCo. Many people attend classes in jeans, and not every attends the evening social events).

I had an incredible time at Costume College! Stay tuned for more posts featuring other costumers.

The Lilac Petticoat (Upcyling an Old Bridesmaid’s Dress)

My last project was all about taking a 70s bridesmaid’s dress and giving it new life as a petticoat and bum pad for a late Victorian or Edwardian costume.C18CCFD1-8D0C-4032-9873-C16C3C447BA4

There was so much lace, taffeta, and chiffon that I couldn’t resist. (The striped fabric is a scrap from another project).IMG_0155

I love upcycling and repurposing, but it has to be from something that is modern and mass-produced, really damaged vintage, or ugly and unwearable as-is. I was on the fence about this dress because it’s not entirely bad looking, and there might be someone out there who likes to wear 70s bridesmaid’s dresses. Might be. This is what the dress looked like before. 91758DB7-052D-4B41-8F10-616F530AD3AB

In the end I decided there were enough issues with it that it would be better to repurpose it. The dress had some stains and tears, it was meant for an unusual figure (slim and super tall), and the lace was scratchy. I figured super models who like itchy clothing are hard to come by, so out came the seam ripper. (Can you guess what movie I was watching?)IMG_0130

A list of my modifications:

  • I separated the bodice and skirt and removed the back zipper.
  • I put a new waistband at the top of the skirt and added a hook/eye closure.
  • I hemmed up the bottom of the skirt lining and enclosed a strip of horsehair braid for structure.
  • I removed the bottom flounce of lace because it was too long.
  • To make a bum pad out of the bodice I sewed up the openings, stuffed it using parts of a lumpy pillow I was about to throw out, and added some ribbon ties.

 

There was nearly no cutting, so aside from the loss of a zipper, some lace, and some hooks and eyes, some intrepid fashion archaeologist could conceivably remake this dress in the future.

Note: I don’t condone cutting up nice vintage! Please don’t cut up nice old wedding dresses unless they are really trashed. There are plenty of neglected polyester prom dresses that you can use for your own petticoat project.

This dress was thrifted, and most everything else was leftover from another project, so this cost me about $20-25 total! I don’t think I could have bought all that lace new for that price.

Victorian Bicycling Outfit at Roaring Camp Railroads

Last month I went to a wonderful steam train ride and BBQ, hosted by the Greater Bay Area Costumer’s Guild at Roaring Camp Railroads in Felton, California. I wore a Victorian/Edwardian-inspired bicycling outfit with a boater hat.

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Photo by Chris Wiener

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Photo by Chris Wiener

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Photo by Chris Wiener

The blouse, skirt, and hat were made by me (with construction details at the end of this post), and the boots are Tavistocks from American Duchess.

Roaring Camp Railroads was very picturesque, with a charming little Western “town,” and a beautiful ride through the redwood forest on a real steam train. I highly recommend taking your family!

There were plenty of places to lounge around, like our cowgirl Elizabeth did.IMG_8232

Natalie had fun balancing on the tracks.IMG_8414.JPG

There were also couples, like Kim and David, enjoying the day out.IMG_8245.JPG

It was my first time on a steam train, so it was quite the adventure!IMG_8372

A covered wagon was available for photos.IMG_8369

We went deep into the woods . . .IMG_8309

. . . to commune with nature . . .IMG_8350

. . . and to have Elizabeth eaten by a tree.IMG_8326

After the filling BBQ I relaxed by doing some fence-sitting.IMG_8396 copy.JPG

There was quite the turn out of Victorians, steampunks, and cowboys!

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Photo by GBACG

In a previous post I described how I made my blouse, but upcycling an ugly 1990s dress to take it back 100 years! Before and after:

For my skirt, I used the Edwardian Bicycle Skirt pattern from Black Snail Patterns on Etsy. The skirt was made out of a navy wool-blend fabric. (I started with almost 4 yards of 60″ fabric, and had about 1.5 yards left over that I turned into a cape that was too warm to wear at Roaring Camp that day).  The front and back of the skirt was accented with decorative panels made from the same fabric of my blouse, as well as matching fabric-covered buttons.IMG_6299IMG_6296

The hem was stiffened a little by a self-facing that was top-stitched in place.IMG_6313

I made my boater hat by my usual refashion of removing extra layers of braid in a cheap hat, hot-gluing the brim back to the crown, hiding the joins with ribbon and lace, and then adding trimmings. FFGJ0368.JPG

Project costs:

  • 4 yards wool blend fabric: $45 including shipping from Facebook destash group
  • Skirt pattern PDF: $6.16 from Etsy (bought during a sale)
  • 1990s dress: $12 + $5 shipping from Facebook
  • Boater hat: $2.80 from eBay (with coupon)
  • Gimp braid, butterflies, ribbon, small & big covered button kits: $0 (leftovers from previous projects: Regency coat, Crimson Peak hat, a 20s dress, a Downton Abbey maid outfit, and a floral vest!)
  • Thread, glue, misc. from stash: ~$3

Total cost: $73.96

This was a comfortable outfit for a day of traveling; I didn’t even wear a corset. 😉

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Upcycling a 1990s Dress into an 1890s Blouse

I recently completed a steampunk-flavored, not quite historically accurate, but oh my I love stripes 1890s/1900s-inspired blouse by upcycling an unflattering 1990s dress into a wearable blouse. (It time-traveled 100 years back!)IMG_5696

The original dress had an elastic waist, zipper back, pencil skirt, and puffy three-quarter sleeves. I cut off the skirt and used the sleeves to make new sleeves.IMG_5699

I made a waistband and buttoned back using scraps from the dress. I made button loops instead of button holes because I couldn’t overlap the back panels because of the pre-existing sailor collar.IMG_5708

Here’s a look at the original dress:

The original was so frumpy!IMG_E5469

I have some navy blue wool that I plan to use with the Black Snail Edwardian Bicycle Skirt pattern.il_570xN.1057503348_1n8f

I’ve used some scraps from the dress to make covered buttons for the skirt.IMG_5691

With different accessories I plan to use this with a Victorian bicycling outfit and a Wild West event for next year. I hope this will be a versatile blouse!IMG_5712.JPG

Crimson Peak-Inspired Costume at Spooky Victorian Tea Party

I recently attended a “Spooky Victorian Tea Party” hosted by the GBACG, and wore an outfit inspired by Edith Cushing’s picnic outfit in the Crimson Peak movie. When I saw the movie in theaters I immediately fell in love with that creepy hand belt!06a80c2771674a757c37cc5248095268

The belt buckle is meant to mimic carved ivory and the belt is meant to be hair, inspired by mourning jewelry.IMG_8541

I didn’t have time to blog the research and progress, so this post is going to do double-duty. Here is Edith with a beautiful pleated blouse, silk taffeta skirt, a fancy belt, a fugly hat, and a handsome man (Sir Thomas Sharpe).picnic-dress1

My outfit was inspired by, but not a cosplay, for a few reasons. First, I’m using my own hair instead of a blond wig. For reasons of time and cost, I wanted to be able to reuse my ensemble with different accessories for a historical costume like a suffragette outfit. For practical reasons, I could not get the exact same kind of lace on the blouse, and didn’t plan to drive myself crazy looking for it. Finally, I hate the taco hat.

Seriously, it looks like the tostada they give you at Chevy’s on your birthday. Edith even looks embarrassed to be wearing it in this photo.uvkYG7X

In another part of the movie, Edith wears the same skirt with a jacket and a boater. Isn’t that hat so much cuter?IMG_4591

I made my own with a bit of hat surgery, and decorated it with butterflies since those are a theme in the movie.IMG_4627

The costume was on display at FIDM, and a friend went to take photos and report back to me whether the silk taffeta in the skirt was bronze, copper, or pink because the promo photos were inconsistent.

By the way, if you have eagle eyes, or you’re just obsessive like me, you’ll notice a flaw or heavy crease in the silk running between the second-to-last two buttons. This did not happen during transport to the museum. Look again at the pictures I posted above; they are in the movie!IMG_9064

The verdict was bronze. Luckily, another friend was having a garage sale and I got the perfect shade! (In progress photo below).IMG_4495.JPG

I apologize for the poor quality of my photos from the day of the party. The lighting in the tea venue was not the best, and I had just my phone to take pictures, so the colors are darker than they are in real life.IMG_4696

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Both my patterns for the skirt (“Fan-Skirt about 1890”) and blouse (“Edwardian blouse”) came from Black Snail Patterns on Etsy. It was my first time using them and I recommend this company highly!  I made some small modifications, but not many. I love how the back of the skirt falls.IMG_4714

I did not have time to make a new organdy petticoat and had to make do with some petticoats suitable for other silhouettes, so next time the skirt should be fuller.IMG_4715

I used a pleated silk chiffon over a base of cotton gauze for the blouse. I overlaid this with lace, and dyed all three materials with tea.IMG_E4682.JPG

And surprise, my creepy sister-in-law Lucille was at the party! I do hope she was not the one who prepared the tea.IMG_0026

The food (at Tyme for Tea in Niles, CA) was delicious, and the champagne generous!IMG_4742

This costume is still a work in progress. I have the following things planned:

  1. Make the belt. The belt in the movie is made of braided hair. I tried to make my own with a big French braid but it came out very lumpy and thick. It was so unflattering that the morning of the party I decided to just use a plain black belt instead. I will try again with tiny braids sewn to a backing.
  2. Replace the skirt buttons. I used some very thick molded vintage Czech glass buttons. They were lovely, but very heavy and pulled on the front of the skirt and made it collapse. I will have to find some lighter buttons.
  3. Fix the blouse back. Because I have narrow shoulders and a small bust I took in the shoulder seams. I accidentally took too much without accounting for what it would do to the upper closures, so I have a little pulling and gapping between the upper buttons. I’m not sure yet whether to fix this with a modesty panel, more buttons, a little boning along the closures, or a few hooks and eyes.
  4. Replace the lace on the cuffs. I used some black lace appliqués, but I think they are too heavy-looking, and would like to find some delicate black flowers similar to what I have at the collar.

Normally I would do a tally of the costs, but since this outfit is not really done, I will save that for when I truly finish! For now, here is a resource list.

I’m looking forward to wearing this at Costume College with the fixes!

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UPDATE: You can see the improved version here!

1840s Fan Front Dresses at the Dickens Fair – and Twins!

Last weekend I went to the Dickens Christmas Fair and wore my 1840s fan-front dress, along with a few other friends wearing the same style. One of my friends had the same orange and navy fabric that we purchased independently by coincidence, so we had a good time being twins!img_0498

I made this dress last year so you can read about my construction details on a previous post. I am wearing a bonnet by Lynne Taylor, a shawl from eBay, and ivory silk stockings and Tavistock button boots from American Duchess.img_0538img_0535

Our “backstory” for that day at fair was that Elizabeth had consumption (hence the dark eye make up). As her dear devoted sister I made her many nutritious broths and teas, which tasted like almonds.img_0509

She spent a lot of time coughing while the rest of us enjoyed ourselves!img_0502

I love this cotton print very much, and I think the orange bows that Elizabeth surprised me with were a nice touch this time.img_0507