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Wedgewood Blue Gibson Girl Gown and Undergarments

I attended a dinner party on the Delta King River Boat in Sacramento. The event was hosted by the GBACG and people were encouraged to wear clothing from 1870-1900. I decided to make a Gibson Girl dress out of a Wedgwood blue silk taffeta, trimmed with white lace.IMG_2870IMG_2856

My inspiration was the famous Wedgewood pottery. IMG_1670.JPG

I have some additional appliqués I purchased that I didn’t have time to add for this event, but will for the next wearing to make it even more like pottery. IMG_2096.JPG

The bodice is made with Truly Victorian’s 1892 ball gown bodice and 1893 bell skirt patterns. I found the fit of both to be good, but the bodice is very long and I had to cut a bit from the bottom, even though I am long-waisted.IMG_2796

Some bodice in-progress photos that show the amount that needed to be trimmed:

My jewelry is by In the Long Run. My gloves are vintage and the purse is from a bridal shop. I am wearing Tissots from American Duchess.IMG_2742

I did not use the sleeve pattern that came with the bodice pattern. Instead I gathered up a rectangle of silk chiffon to make flowing sleeves.IMG_2727

The top was gathered and serged.IMG_2673

The back closes with hooks and eyes.IMG_2729.JPG

I decorated the front with a silk chiffon sash and little flowers that I put faux pearl centers in. IMG_2725

I would have liked to hem the end of the sash and add little pearls to the edge, but I was recovering from a hand injury and couldn’t do any hand-sewing, so it’s just a pouf for now. Thus I had to get creative with ways to avoid it!

Ways to save on hand-sewing:

  • I used a white silk chiffon scarf to trim the bodice, so the edges were already hemmed!
  • I serged or machine-sewed any seam I could.
  • I hemmed the skirt by machine, and then covered the machine stitches by sewing lace over it.
  • Instead of cutting a facing, I used a wide vintage rayon ribbon as a hem facing.
  • I used boning that already came with a casing, so I didn’t have to make the casing. I also had casing that had little “fins” on it so that I could machine-sew the boning onto the seam allowance of the bodice.
  • I used hook and eye tape instead of individually sewing on hooks and eyes.
  • Oh horror: I serged the bottom of the bodice, then flipped it up and held the hem in place by ironing on Stitch Witchery!

Because I flat-lined the fashion fabric to a cotton base, and I couldn’t hand-baste the pieces together there is some puckering. Although it’s not up to my “usual standards” I am still quite proud of what I was able to do with what I could, and I had fun with my friends!IMG_2848

Underneath the skirt I wore a long petticoat based on the Truly Victorian bell skirt pattern, with a big ruffle and trim attached.IMG_2162.JPG

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I wore a custom S-bend corset from Redthreaded, with hip pads, and a bust pad. The padding is necessary to achieve the exaggerated Gibson silhouette. I went from an 8 inch differential in my waist and hips to 13 inches, with only a 1 inch waist reduction!

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I used the “bust improver” pattern from Wearing History, which comes in 2 sizes. I recommend it to give your girls a little extra something!Screen Shot 2018-11-04 at 8.11.32 PM.png

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Project costs:

  • 8 yards silk taffeta: $113.44 including tax from the LA Fabric District (I still have 3 yards left!)
  • 10 yards white veins lace: $34.01 including shipping from Aliexpress
  • 15 pairs grape leaf appliques: $36 including shipping from Aliexpress
  • bodice pattern: $10.75 from Truly Victorian (digital file)
  • skirt pattern: $0 (already used previously)
  • vintage rayon ribbon spool: $3
  • silk chiffon: $0 (gift from friend)
  • 3 yards white cotton for petticoat: $12 from eBay
  • pink trim for petticoat: $3 from garage sale
  • boning, thread, hook and eye tape, flowers, etc. from stash: ~$10

Total cost: $222.20 (plus I have a lot of silk and lace leftover I’ll probably sell to recoup some costs). Normally I don’t tally the costs until the dress is finished, and I still have to add the grape appliqués, but at this point it’s additional labor and not additional materials, so I added everything up. (When I started this blog my goal was to make things for $100 or less, and I’m seeing costs creep up because of nice materials. Hopefully my next project is a lot cheaper!)

All the hair you can see in the picture below is my own, which is currently shoulder-length. I pinned a big hair rat to the top of my head and two smaller ones on the sides, and then all the hair was pulled over the rats and pinned into place. The messy center was hidden by a faux hair bun pinned on top.IMG_2856

I’m not sure yet, but this might be a nice gala gown for Costume College 2019, when it’s all done!

 

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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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18th Century Costumes at the Legion of Honor

Yesterday I saw the “Casanova, The Seduction of Europe” exhibit with the Greater Bay Area Costumer’s Guild at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco. It was full of incredible artwork, and even antique garments on display. I highly recommend it! I spent the last few weeks working on a new outfit to attend the exhibit instead of blogging about it, but it I will post more about the construction details once I get the last bit of trim on (which did not arrive in time). I wore my new mauve silk Italian gown pinned shut, as is historically correct, but will be changing it to a hook-eye-and opening. (I was paranoid about marking up the silk so I wore it a bit loose).

Many of the photos in this post are used courtesy of John Carey Photographic Imagery. Thanks John!

I love how this photo reminds me of candlelight!

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Photo by John Carey

This one is outside the museum.

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Photo by John Carey

Here’s a few full-body shots from my phone:IMG_6848IMG_6850

My shoes are 18th century black wool Dunmores from American Duchess (affiliate link) and the earrings and necklace are from In the Long Run Designs. My fan is an antique. IMG_6852

There was much gossip and court intrigue with my fellow Taffeta Sisters, Kelsey and Natalie.IMG_6955

Some of it was of a highly shocking nature!IMG_6868

There were many gorgeous costumes in attendance.

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Photo by John Carey

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Photo by John Carey

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Photo by John Carey

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Photo by John Carey

 

There was unavoidable 18th century rump shaking.

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Plus other silly shenanigans.

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We enjoyed the stunning artwork, costumes, and artifacts on display.IMG_6814.JPGIMG_6829IMG_6805

I felt quite at home with the paintings. =) Many more photos have been uploaded to my Flickr account so please take a look!

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Photo by John Carey

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

GBACG Tissot Bustle Picnic

Yesterday I had a very lovely time at the Greater Bay Area Costumer’s Guild Tissot Bustle Picnic, held at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, CA.

I wore my dress with a pouch made from matching fabric, a parasol from Angelic Pretty, and a top hat made by Triple Fortune. I ran out of time to make a matching bonnet, but I have the black straw base started at least!

ImageFrom the front you can start to see a bit of my baby bump. =)

ImageThere were many beautiful outfits at the picnic. (Click on the link to view lots of ruffles and colors!)

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Recycling a Polonaise into a Bustle Dress

In June I am going to the GBACG Tissot Bustle Picnic, but I do not have time to make a new bustle dress from scratch.

I am going to recycle an old dress into a newer one, which will hopefully leave me time to make accessories like a matching hat and reticule.

A few years ago I made a simple polonaise-inspired dress. It was a little sad and limp. I think I may have only wore it once because I am having trouble finding decent pictures of it. Here is one my friend Kim took:

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I recently realized it might have a fresh new life as a bustle dress. I experimented with 3 different sizes of bustle pads and decided on a medium one:

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I tucked it up on each side, added a petticoat and it’s already looking more bustle-y!

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I did not have enough of the linen toile fabric when I made it to do pattern-matching, but I still have a few scraps left. (I had about 2.5 yards of 45″ fabric). I am going to do some fiddling around with the leftover pieces of fabric to add some more frill to the back, and also experiment some more with tucking and pinning.

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