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Tag Archives: 18th century

Outlander Dinner Party

Last night I went to a lovely Outlander-themed dinner party at the Sequoia Lodge in Oakland. The wooden building surrounded by trees definitely contributed to the mood!  We were greeted by a bagpiper as we entered. Later, as part of the dinner entertainment there were also musicians signing and playing instruments, and some dance demonstrations.

I wore a gown I made for the occasion out of cotton plaid. I am also wearing a wool petticoat, 2 under petticoats, a double-bum pad, a pair of stays, a chemise, a fichu, and a pair of beautiful black 18th century Dunmore shoes from American Duchess.IMG_2029

It was my first time using pins to close an outfit instead of hooks and eyes. I bought some reproduction 18th century gown pins from Larkin and Smith. (I am using a combination of the medium and fine pins). I am still figuring out how to do it without stabbing myself or putting weird wrinkles into my dress, but I am getting better! (Hint: the stays are for safety as much as they are for support). You can read about construction details in my previous post.IMG_2037

My hair is rather short at the moment (even too short to braid properly) so I put it into a tiny bun on the back of my head and covered it with a large fake braided bun.IMG_2034

My fichu is actually a small vintage cotton organza tablecloth. It has lovely floral whitework, scalloped edges, and best of all, zero effort on my part! (For those that are curious, it is about 35×35 inches wide. If you are tall or broad-shouldered I’d recommend a larger square).IMG_2006

As usual, I was too busy chatting and stuffing my face with the delicious meal (puff pastry wrapped asparagus with prosciutto, roasted fowl with buttered leeks, roasted blue and gold potatoes, haggis, and sweetmeat cake with marzipan) to take as many pictures as I should have, but here are a few more!

You’d never realize that Christina of The Laced Angel and Natalie both finished their jackets that afternoon. Christina started the same day! IMG_2024

The tables were set up in  large U in the lodge. This was the side I was sitting on.IMG_2050

There was a range of social classes and decades at the dinner.IMG_2060IMG_2064

I especially loved the variety in jackets! (You can catch a glimpse of the bagpiper to the right of the photo).IMG_2015

I had a delightful time, and I think everyone else did too. (There was even a couple celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, and they were married 25 years ago in the same location!)IMG_2032.JPG

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Outlander 18th Century Plaid Dress

In a few weeks I am going to an Outlander-themed dinner party hosted by my local costuming guild. I don’t subscribe to premium cable so I have never actually seen the show, just lots of pictures, but I am always a fan of dressing up and eating!

I’m aware that there are some fabulous silk dresses in the second season of the show, but I wanted something relatively quick and inexpensive, so I decided to go with a plaid 18th century dress using a pattern I’ve worked with before. (I used the Period Impressions 1770 Polonaise Pattern when I made my Ljusoga dress).

I found a decent plaid cotton from the “Wales plaid” Fabric.com collection. (I ended up purchasing it through Amazon due to a 20% off promotion and free shipping!) It was cheap enough I used the same fabric for lining the bodice and skirt. I dithered for a long time as to whether I should make the fabric out of the same fabric or make a fancy quilted one. In the end I could not find a suitable pre-quilted fabric or bedspread to repurpose, and some well-priced wool appeared on a destash group I am part of, so my decision was made.IMG_1861

In real life the bodice fit is rather different (and much better!) because I would be wearing stays to provide a smooth front. My mannequin is not wearing stays because it does not have a compressible torso and the boobs would be in the wrong place. Right now the front is pinned with regular straight pins while I await some proper 18th century reproduction pins in the mail. IMG_1866

See how the middle point of the back of the bodice rides up a little? I’ve got to adjust my underpinnings a bit to fix that, but what prevents it from flipping up all the way is a split bum pad.IMG_1864

My old half-moon bum pad was too small and not up to the task of the much larger faux butt I wanted for this outfit, so I made a new double bum pad. The split down the back  is what gives it this particular shape. I should have curved the top edges but this was a rather quick project. It is just twin trapezoid pillows bound with a single twill tape at the top.IMG_1740

The front comes forward enough to increase my hips too. The way I constructed these bum pads is not period correct, but works for my particular body shape.IMG_1739

See how gloriously wide it makes the petticoat compared to my real figure?IMG_1859

Final project costs:

  • 8 yards (45 inch wide) cotton plaid fabric: $45.31 from Amazon (affiliate link) including tax and discounts; I still have leftover fabric.
  • 2.5 yards (60 inch wide) brown wool fabric: $20 plus $6.50 shipping from Facebook; Normally I use 3 yards for a petticoat but this was wide enough to do piecing in the back.
  • Pattern: $0 (already used for another project)
  • Bum pad fabric, stuffing, and twill tape: $0 (left overs from other projects)

Total (without notions): $71.81 (Not bad! I was originally planning $50 just for the main dress and I can reuse the petticoat for other outfits).

1770s Robe à l’Anglaise Retroussée Using Ikea’s Ljusöga Fabric

At Costume College I wore my finished robe à l’Anglaise retroussée, previously debuted in an unfinished form at the Pirate Festival.  I don’t have all my formal portraits yet, but Andrew Schmidt, the official CoCo photographer, put up this picture as one of the preview shots.

18th century elegance by Andy Schmidt

Photo by Andrew Schmidt

The dress is made from one king-sized Ikea duvet cover! And I still have plenty of fabric left over for another project, such as a jacket. The bodice is lined with linen and I used the Period Impressions 1770 Polonaise and Petticoat pattern. (I highly recommend this pattern. It was simple to follow, relatively quick to put together, and I had to make very little adjustment to the fit).IMG_8771

(I am wearing red Kensingtons with paste buckles and clocked silk stockings, all from American Duchess). The back of the dress can be worn down as a regular Anglaise, or retroussée by looping the two twisted rayon cords around the fabric-covered buttons.IMG_8772

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I would like to get a bigger hat (this one goes with a different outfit) but ran out of time. I also attempted hair buckles, but that was a disaster, so I  just put my hair up in a high bump over a rat, then put flowers in the back.IMG_8774IMG_8776

 

The sleeves also have a little loop of rayon cord and a slightly smaller fabric-covered button.IMG_8982

Unlike the previous time I wore this dress, this time I am wearing the correct stays. Here’s a silly selfie in the hotel bathroom while still in PJs and messy hair. Now you know what I look like in the mornings! (Well, except for the stays).IMG_8731

Project costs:

  • Ikea king-sized duvet cover: ~$30
  • Linen lining: $0, leftover from another project
  • Period Impressions pattern: $13.95 + $4.85 shipping from Etsy
  • Buttons: from stash
  • Rayon cord: ~$5 from Britex

Total: ~$53.80

Way under budget! I got to splurge a little on the accessories. 😉 Onsite I happened to hear about Dames a la Mode’s trunk sale, and bought this lovely set that I wore with my dress.IMG_8973

Matching “LJUSÖGA” 18th Century Dresses at the NorCal Pirate Festival

Recently a group of us noticed that Ikea has some “LJUSÖGA” duvet covers in an pretty floral print with a pattern, scale, and colors appropriate for 18th century cotton dresses.

We each bought a king size set, which included a duvet cover and 2 pillow cases, to make matching dresses with. We estimate there’s about 11 yards of 40 inch fabric, which is an incredible bargain for $30! (The price has now gone up to $40 on the website).

I decided to make an anglaise, and originally planned to start on it after Costume College, but just a few weeks ago we decided to go to the Pirate Festival together, and having nice cotton dresses would be perfect for the weather. (There will be more of us at the next event; some ladies are still working on their dresses).

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Due to the short time frame my dress is not quite finished, but was wearable, with some things I’d like to improve for next time:

  • I did not have time to put a flounce on my petticoat; it’s a bit shorter than I intended (although it shows off my American Duchess stockings and shoes!)
  • The neckline and front of the bodice has ruffled trim instead of box pleats to save time. Now that it’s on I might be too lazy to replace it, but it was originally meant to be temporary.
  • My sleeves are untrimmed. I would like to add some ruffling or pleating and some button detail.
  • My fichu should be pinned down. I just tied it with a ribbon and it kept riding up until it looked more like a bandana than a fichu.
  • I didn’t have time to get a new plain bergere hat to trim, so I reused the small one I wore with my silk francaise.
  • My hair is not done in a historically accurate style; I just curled it, made a bun, and then hid the mess with flowers.
  • And scandalously, I am not wearing stays(!), so there is a little wrinkling in the bodice. I do own stays, but the festival was outdoors in 90 degree heat, so I decided one less layer was preferable.

Since this is still a work in progress I will do a full post with detail photos, construction notes, and cost breakdown another time, but meanwhile here are a few pictures. The dress consists of a bodice with a front closure, trimmed with ruffles, attached to a pleated overskirt. The petticoat is made of matching fabric. I am wearing those over a bum pad and another petticoat, along with two pockets.

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The back of the skirt can be lifted with cords and looped around covered buttons to be worn as a robe à l’Anglaise retroussée. I’m still thinking about adjusting the length of the cords or the distribution of the fabric because this wasn’t quite the look I was aiming for.

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I did have a mishap with the buttons. I couldn’t locate my button-covering kit so the night before the festival I just wrapped some fabric around some domed plastic buttons until I could buy more of the right buttons. After I laundered the skirt the dye from the black plastic buttons actually bled through two layers of fabric and onto other parts of my skirt!IMG_8262

After several rounds of OxiClean, and a final careful swabbing of diluted bleach, I have the stains out and I’ve learned my lesson about mystery buttons from the stash. I will stick to my usual metal buttons, like this redcoat who was wearing lots of shiny buttons.

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18th Century at the OT-Tea Party

Back in September I attended a fancy tea event called the OT-Tea Party. (It is a reference to OTT, meaning “over the top”). It was held in the gorgeous French Parlour at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Recently I received the official photographs from the event. (Pictures below are by KV Photography, with editing by Nicole Keane).

I wore a silk dress inspired by both 18th century gowns and Japanese lolita fashion. The dress is one of my favorite things I’ve ever made, and I’ve worn it to Costume College, Gaskells and PEERS balls, each time with a little change in the trimming or accessories.

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I am wearing a pearl necklace and earrings, and a straw bergere I trimmed. My shoes are by American Duchess (the very first run of Georgianas!)23748249499_6142597493_o

I wish my hair had behaved a little better that day, but I had a wonderful time, and ate lots of delightful sandwiches and desserts.24089779936_50bef4e720_o

Here is the whole group together. There were so many amazing outfits and I hope the tea becomes an annual tradition!23488213444_df2dc8fd16_o

 

2015 Year in Review

I don’t usually do an end-of-year review, but I finished more than I thought this year, so here we go! (My plans for 2016 are at the end of this post).

I made a Game of Thrones Kings Landing gown for myself, and an Oberyn
Martell-inspired costume for my husband.

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I made two chemise a la reines (one cotton and one made of sheer
striped silk) and wore them together to a few events.DSCN1814

I had fun frolicking in a tulle fairy tale skirt.IMG_4895

I made a wool-blend Victorian bathing suit.
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I was a maid from Downton Abbey.
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I retrimmed a bergere hat.
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I attached appliques to a dress to make my Circulatory System outfit
for the Vampire Ball.
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I finished the underskirt and overskirt for my Lady Tremaine costume.
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I made new undersleeves for my 1850s silk plaid Victorian day dress.
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My final project of the year was my 1840s fan-front Victorian day dress.
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Goals for 2016:

  • Finally complete my 18th century stays! I actually “finished” them months ago except for the binding on the eyelets, but took a break from most hand-sewing because of a wrist injury.
  • Make the bodice for my Lady Tremaine costume.
  • Trim a hat for Lady Tremaine.
  • Sew a 1920s Egyptian Revival dress for a GBACG event.
  • New regency gown – not sure day or evening yet.
  • Make more PJs.

Wish list with time frame unknown:

  • Black silk 18th century market hat
  • Black chemise a la reine
  • 1940s cocktail dress
  • Fur muff
  • Velvet cloak

Retrimming an 18th Century Bergere Hat

This weekend I am going to a fancy tea party, so I decided to retrim a small straw bergere hat I have. I was originally going to use silk ribbon and make little puffs, but realized I didn’t have enough to trim the hat and also have matching ribbon ties. Instead I used the leftover ribbons and ribbon roses from a dress I made. My other idea was the cover the hat completely in silk, but I decided to skip that for now.

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Previously, the hat was trimmed to match another outfit that consisted of a navy blue skirt and red and blue jacket. This is what the hat looked like before:

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I am considering trimming a pair of gloves to match, but that may be a little too over the top. =)