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MIA no more...

It occurred to me that I have not updated this blog in forever.  Seriously forever, it still had my maiden name for contact info as well as the facebook link.  So what all has happened...I got married, I'm restoring a charming midcentury modest home, and I swaped jobs back to the theatre.  So to demonstrate, I'll post a few quick things after the big announcement.

Kendra at Demode posted this challenge for the world: To make an 18th century court ensemble for the Gala at Costume College next year.  While I will not be attending due to my theatrical schedule and lack of funds (we're saving for another outing out of the country), I am compelled to make a huge dress.  More information about the project can be found at Kendra's site on this page. This has links to the other costumers participating as well as her progress.

The 18th century is relatively new to me, I've made stays and a striped francaise (that I cannibalized to try to make clothes for my old job in Columbia--stupid decision).  This will be something epically big, like my wedding dress.  Plus, I'm trying to consolidate boxes of fabric in the garage to make them fit neatly into the laundry room.  I am currently in possession of a large quantity of peacock blue silk thanks to my original maid of honor, Dena.  I think this will be the focus of the dress.  I also have a ton of mirror organza left over from my wedding dress, and I believe a good quantity of white slipper satin as well.  If those don't work with the blue, I have some gold brocades left over from various projects or some copper/bronze jacquard as well.

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Update on the impending wedding

I just had to share this here, there, and everywhere.  I'm getting married quite soon and have been hard at work on my dress.  I'm basing the design off of Princess Margaret's 1960 wedding dress.  Below is a photo of my skirt as well as a photo of the dress P.M. wore (taken from google image search, sorry no exact link at the moment).

2011 Wrap Up post

Well the year is done and overall I'd say it was a success.   Here are the majority of things I finished this year, minus the outfits  I made for other people and don't have pictures of yet.

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Happy New Year's!  I'm a little drunky right now on Moet et Chandon so appologies for any spelling errors that might have insued.  Cheers

Nothing but a list...and maybe a photo

Been a busy past few months for me.  I've got a ton of work done on other people's clothes, but not my own.  I got inspired tonight though and have a game plan for my projects for the last part of 2011.

1. Brenda's corset: finish alterations, rebind, lacing holes
2. Hoopskirt: try a smaller circumference than I have now.  96" is too big for the store
3. White shirt: make a new one since my store bought one is ruined.
4. Petticoat: make a pretty new one
5. Maroon wool jacket: finish with front trim, buttons, attach skirting
6. Striped outfit
7. Blue wool jacket with red felt lining
8. Socks: Mark's mom, Mark, Holly, and me
9. Dog sweaters: one for Dena's dog Freddi, two for Lee

A Sneak Peek!

I've got some early shots of my new work ensemble.  It's based on a pattern from The World of Fashion in winter of 1852 that I found in Patterns of Fashion.  I added the skirting myself and left it much more open than the norm to give it some personal choices.  I had it finished enough to wear today for a test drive and it went great!  Everyone really loved my new outfit and I'm super pleased with the fit and general look of it compared to the standard around town.  You can also see the beginnings of the living room remodel in these shots too. More to come later.

A funny from work

It was too good not to share...

Yesterday at work I was wearing my 1852 white/pink day dress (that still needs trim). A woman who also works in the park came in and asked me "where did you find a dress like that?" She then asked if Pam made it. I replied that no, I had made it myself starting with the pattern and doing the whole thing.

She then asked me "what do you call dress like that. I mean what's it called?"

I stated that it was an 1852 day dress based on an example in the Victoria and Albert Museum. She stared blankly at me for a moment.

She simply said "oh so you're like into the history and stuff." That pretty much ended our conversation.

Makes me glad that I am not part of the group that knows nothing about Columbia or the general history of the period.
... that's what I think I will call it for now.  I figured I should first give everyone an update (for those of you that are following or care). As you might have read previously, a packet of information was distributed to each concessionaire in Columbia State Park. There were several glaring errors in the documentation of dates.  Now that I've had time to simmer down and think more clearly on the situation, I have some observations. 

1. It's a step in the right direction for the war I've started waging rather slowly, even if the information is currently being distributed with incorrect dates and geographical preferences.  At least the issue is being noted: the clothing is not only boring and unflattering, but also wrong by and large.  Women did not all wear the same dress.  The did not wear jeans or other pants under their dresses and they did
not wear modern shoes.  This needs to be noted, changed, and enforced.
2. Hair is troublesome.  The packet largely focused on hair styles and bonnets, this is something that is lacking in the park.  I'm guilty of it as well.  Obviously there needs to be a reasonable attempt at both historical accuracy and functionality.  Modern hairstyles (most notably the short styles worn by a large percentage of women over the age of about 45 are not conducive to the styles of the mid-19th century).  I'm going to personally make a serious attempt to improve what I do with my hair.
3. Feet are ugly.  I tried to wear a pair of slip on ballet flats with a slight heel/wedge as a replacement for my other pair of flats that died and my tennis shoes.  The bottoms of my feet were so bruised mid way through the week that I went back to tennis shoes just to be able to get through an 8 hour shift.  Shoes need to be addressed or hemlines lowered significantly to try to disguise modern footwear if it is absolutely necessary for functionality, safety, or heath reasons that it be worn.

My own clothing business appears to be booming!  My boss has employed me to not only make her and her partner new outfits, but a dress for a coworker and a dress for our new employee  Plus today some customers came in and wanted to hire me to make costumes for them also.  This is fantastic news for me and word is spreading through town.  Not to mention, when I went to purchase fabric for the new employee's dress, a former concessionaire had already observed via her husband what I was doing and supported it.  I've stopped my personal war again the mumus that Pam makes and have refocused my attack on ill fitting clothing worn by the workers in Columbia.  Mumus are not period, but the dress they are based on is (even if I don't agree with the interpretation of the period).

My co-worker's new outfit is coming along very nicely.  It's a lovely blue print purchased from Timeless Calico in Sonora and based on the dress below.  Since it's for a more voluptuous woman, I'm making some slight changes to enhance the seam lines and create the image of a more slender and longer profile.  She had another fitting this morning and loved it (as did all the other people in the store that were watching).  We decided this morning to opt for elbow length sleeves with either a shirt underneath or false white sleeves for the lower arm..  I'm just so glad to see that she's happy and that she looks really good in it.  Not to mention that she loved the details I've added like pintucks at the hem of the skirt and eventually a ruffle or two.  Oh and the best part, she wanted more petticoats and a fuller skirt!

1850 Dress from a google search
that lead me to Defunct

My new outfit is coming along nicely.  I've been trimming the jacket and hope to finish that tomorrow.  After that's done, I just have to hem the skirt and make a nice little shirt to wear with it and I'm set.
I work in Columbia State Park in California at the Mercantile (all visitors are welcome to stop by and say hi if you're in the area).  I've been on a crusade to change the bad history that is worn by the women of that town.  The state has now decided to step in and "educate" us all about what is appropriate attire for a woman living and working in a GOLD RUSH town in California circa 1852 or so.  They printed a lovely helpful little packet of information including this cover page scanned from an unknown source with incorrect and incomplete dates.

Please note the obviously incorrect dates for the dresses.
Moving L to R stating with Row 1 at the top: 1799, 18--, 1840, 18--
Row 2: --, --, --, 1840
Row 3: 1850, 1858, 1864, 1868
Row 4: 1892, 1897, 1881, 1882

  What the hell!?!  When did the Regency period become 1840?  Glad to see that the liaison for the state park has picked up a history book once in a while or ever bothered to look at paintings/photographs/fashion plates from the period before they distribute this crap.  The packet's main source of information comes from the book "English Women's Clothing in the Nineteenth Century" by C. Willett Cunnington and another book called "Everyday Dress 1650-1900" by Elizabeth Ewing.  There are no citations for any of the info and none of the images are primary sources at all, but rather sketches of originals.  Apparently this is what the state of California calls history.

Needless to say on my day off I will be scanning correct images and printing my own packet to redistribute at work by request of my boss.  She decided to go by my authority on the subject rather than the state.  Just comical if you ask me.

In other news, my 1850s basque jacket is coming along nicely.  It's a purple striped cotton with satin ribbon trim.  The skirt is a chocolate brown corduroy.

already planning and scheming

Here I haven't even technically finished the 1852 summer day dress and I'm off to the races planning more outfits. I had a rude awakening at work when I discovered I would have to wear at least one of those icky work dresses a couple of a days a week still. Mostly this was out of the need to not be so poofy on delivery day and restock day. I did it last week, and with the hem about an inch longer than I needed, and survived fine, but I fear for my dress. Plus, I do not want to wear either of the two work dresses I claimed.

So to avoid further discomfort, I have decided to make another more "practicle" outfit. Naturally this can't be something frumpy since I have set a new standard. Even before I started the day dress I thought it would be nice to do a two pieced outfit. I've found two different bodices that I quite like and will eventually be recreating both of them, but in more simplified manner. I'll be making a skirt to go with the bodice, but during winter I might take the route of a quilted petticoat in stead to mix it up. I'm not sure that quilted petties were worn out and about for public display, but I can't see why a woman would go to such lengths to make a beautiful garmet like that and not show it off. More research perhaps.

But yes, the jacket...I like both of these a great deal:
1853-55 fringed bodice from corsetsandcrinolines.com
c.1850 blue taffeta bodice from rwolivers.com
Sadly because of the nature of my job, I will not be able to do the wider sleeves. However, since the jacket I'm making first will be for summer wear, I can make it short sleeved with sheer or muslin undersleeves to go with the chemisette that will be required. Tit for tat I suppose. This will also give me a chance to make a nice apron.

almost there

I'm almost done!  Just need to do some trimming and it'll be complete.  I did wear it to work on Wednesday and caused quite a commotion.  See more pictures and my future plans here at my other blog