editrix de mode

Regency Bonnet Hack

I’ve taken a couple of Regency dance classes this summer. My dancing group had a picnic over the weekend. I had some ambition to make a new dress for the occasion but being a week past Dragoncon the motivation just wasn’t really there. Being a picnic it did seem like I should have a straw bonnet though. I poked around online and found a great bonnet hack. It promised to be fast and cheap, two concepts I can get behind!

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Behold! A very easy and quick Regency bonnet or hat from The Cheats Costume Guide by Hathaways of Hawthorn. The cheat is using a faux straw sun visor as your base. In essence you:  1) sew a fabric crown to the base 2) add ribbon, ties and feathers 3) wear to your event and look fabulous. The hat you make can look very similar to this one in Sense & Sensibility. 

I ordered these to use as frames, mostly because they were on Amazon Prime so I could get them fast. They arrived on Friday and the picnic was Sunday. Since this was a first time experiment all other supplies were from my stash. I ended up going a little avant-garde with all silver, grey and black. I did check around to see if a black straw hat was even a thing in the Regency. The only ones I could find were specifically referenced as being for mourning. Not really what I was going for but historical enough on short notice.

While the cheat doesn’t tell you to do this, I opted to sew self fabric bias around the edge of my brim. The visor is already bound so I just covered over it. I thought it might lighten the look of the bonnet and also make it fancier. Despite my not that great hand sewing, I did achieve that.

From there I sewed on the silk crown. The cheat tells you to cut “a piece fabric around the size you would use for a cushion cover” which really isn’t terribly specific. I measured my couch throw pillows and then went a little bigger. I cut a 22 inch square into a circle. It seemed to work but maybe was a little too big.

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Apparently oddly riveted to something beyond the frame. Also, not totally loving the side profile of my bonnet.

For whatever reason, the straw part of the crown seemed kind of tall in my version. I don’t know if that’s because the head band on my visors actually was taller than the ones in the cheat. I made the size of the head opening a little bit too small. That might have forced the brim to want to naturally curve lower down. Because of that I ended up using a quite wide piece of silk leftover from my Edwardian Chinoiserie gown to make a hatband. One width of ribbon just would not have sufficed! I think it looks fine from the front and back but a little weird at the sides. I will definitely address this when I make up the other visor I got. I may also add some other ribbon or decoration to that expanse of crown.

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Looks pretty OK from the back.

I started the hat Friday night while watching The Harvey Girls and finished it Saturday night after a round of day drinking. It was 85% hand sewn. I did the fabric ties on the the machine and bits here and there.

We had great weather for the picnic and the heat wasn’t too brutal for early September in Atlanta. Here’s a couple photos of some of the compliment.

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A Starter Regency Wardrobe

I previously posted about my test dress from Laughing Moon #126. I’ve now finished that dress, a ballgown with the same pattern and a bodiced petticoat from Laughing Moon #132. I pretty much have a starter Regency wardrobe. Regency is really fun to wear. It’s so easy and comfy in relation to Victorian. I don’t think it suits me as well but it’s a lot more flattering than I thought it might be. It really is like wearing a couple of nightgowns.

IMG_0486My 1st Regency outing was to Dress Like a Georgian Day! a picnic at Fenton House in London. It was pretty exciting to actually wear Regency clothes to a house that had its last major renovations during the Regency.

IMG_0503I felt right on target even thought most of the other people who attended were wearing clothes from earlier in the Georgian period.

IMG_0502.jpgThe London weather that day turned out to be glorious. It was a bit warm but breezy and sunny. Really a perfect day for a picnic in a lovely manicured garden.

IMG_0494I did not have my bodiced petticoat done before my trip to London. I bought a white cotton nightgown to wear as a sort of shift / some sort of undergarment. I made a capote (tutorial info here) by hand during an impromptu craft night with my London friends. I made the chemisette in a class at last year’s Costume College.

For my Regency ballgown I planned to use a vintage sari as my main fabric. It is purple and lavender with black embroidery that looks like wheat. It just seemed so perfect and it was $20 from this eBay seller. Being vintage, it did have a couple of flaws but they were easily worked around. I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to do for the gown though so while in London I went to Goldhawk Road to look for some companion fabric. I found some lavender silk that was both the perfect color and the perfect level of sheen to match my sari. While the price was not bad I certainly blew out the economy of the sari with that purchase. I didn’t end up using anywhere near the yardage I bought so I have more than enough to make a Victorian bodice or something with the rest.

When I got home, I first finished my bodiced petticoat. This turned out really long. I ended up cutting seven inches off the hem which obliterated 3 of my five tucks.

IMG_0619The ballgown went together quickly. I meant to make puffy ballgown sleeves but I ended up cutting the wrong view. Since I used the pallu end of the sari there wasn’t enough additional fabric to recut the sleeves. Not really what I was going for but it looked fine enough.

IMG_0672I used what was left of the pallu to fashion some sort of turbanish headdress. I decorated it with gold trim and gold feathers from my stash. The silver bodice trim is also stash and was purchased from Barnett Lawson on a previous London visit. I bought olive colored jewelry from Dames a la Mode trunk sale to complete my ensemble. I wore black Ghillies from Payless (they are on sale right now).

IMG_0704I’m pretty pleased with this dress. I think the apron front needs a little tweaking and the neckline of my bodiced petticoat is still too high. I think I may just make another pettiocoat rather than re-engineer the one I have. It seems less frustrating and I can fix a couple other small annoyances.

IMG_0700I wore both dresses at Costume College. For my blue day dress look I added a wide ribbon with a greek style motif to my capote. I also wore my blue Manchester boots from American Duchess. My roommate Stephanie wore Regency the same days I did so we made a nice pair. We even played German Whist in the lobby in our Regency gear. Sadly I don’t have a photo of that but it was super fun!

 

 

New Wave Sewing – a maxi dress pattern from 1981

Continuing on through my vintage pledge goals I have finally reached a favorite time period for music and fashion, the early 80s. Bowie was still going strong, Duran Duran was just beginning and I was just barely starting to become aware of the radio. It doesn’t seem like 1981 would be vintage but that was 35 years ago. Yikes.

IMG_0229I love maxi dresses. Being short, I can rarely find them off the rack. Simplicity 9562 has a short view and a maxi view. It can look totally 80s or timeless depending on fabric and accessorizing. It also has nice big patch pockets. I was pretty stoked to make this one!

Since I was attending an “undead” luau I thought that some sugar skull fabric from my stash would be perfect to use. I again used pretty much all of the fabric and only had scraps left. I kind of love when that happens as I really have no idea what to do with fat quarters and such. I’ve been saving my decent sized scraps to give to a friend’s daughter. I’m glad they have a good home that isn’t mine.

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My mock up was pretty spot on. I thought it was just a touch tight though so I just cut more generously. As it turns out, I maybe didn’t need to do that. The cotton I used for the mockup was left over from my uncle’s tiki shirt. It doesn’t have much give or softness which may have made the mockup seem somewhat tight. It’s not like adding a little extra “hurt” anything though.

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I decided to use actual topstitching thread to do the topstitching details. With the large and busy motifs, I didn’t think anything else would really show up. Some of the top stitching turned out really great but some was a bit sloppy for my taste. I used a new topstitching needle so the only thing I can figure is that my machine handled the layers of fabric differently. There was some variation — some topstitching was just two layers of cotton. Some was fabric and bias tape. The machine just may not have liked the situations equally. It’s something that bugs me more than I think anyone else will notice. When one part turns out so perfect it’s annoying when the next part doesn’t.

 

IMG_0390This dress is super comfy to wear, especially when it’s humid and hot. I also wore it flying home from my recent trip to the UK. Beside being sweaty and ill, I still managed to look halfway decent in this dress. I’m already itching to sew another. It went over well at the luau too!

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With this make I’ve done four of my five pattern pledges. I still need to make a piece with vintage fabric and I also have more UFOs that need some love. Not bad for halfway through the year!

As much as I want to make another dress from 9562, I need to switch gears back to Regency to get ready for Costume College. I also need to chill out on my new Pokemon Go obsession and stay inside at the sewing machine. Gotta catch and sew them all!

 

Recent Costume Goings On: Anachrocon and Cirque de Soleil

While my costume sewing has slowed down a bit, my costume wearing has been quite steady the past couple of weeks!

Last weekend was Anachrocon, Atlanta’s Alternative History / Steampunk convention. I was on hand to officiate the Tea Duelling Tournament as I am the founder of the American Tea Duelling Society. Anachrocon is the longest running tournament for the society and it was a great one. Everything went super smooth and the tourney, duellists and spectators were all on point!

bloomerallsI commissioned a pair of bloomeralls from Megan Maude. Megan has worn hers to several cons we’ve both attended and I finally just had to have my own pair. Megan is probably one of the only people who could make a pair of overalls that would actually fit me. They are super comfy. I foresee wearing them far more than just for casual con wear.

To accessorize I finally had a reason to trot out my new biscuit beret and purse from Taobao. IMG_9732.JPG

Megan often serves as my Pot Mistress at Tea Duels. This means she makes all the tea and keeps the tournament running while I make funny (?) quips and force the competitors to shake hands multiple times for my amusement. She, like all Pot Mistresses, does the hard, hot work and a tourney really can’t run without a good one! Since we both have bloomeralls now, it seems that she and I have created a new tea duelling uniform.

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another great image from David Leo of Leo Photography

Generally, the prize for winning a tea duel is a fez emblazoned with the official Tea Duelling patch, which was designed by the one and only Doctor Geof (who also is one of the inventors of tea duelling). This year I decided to make a cockade instead. I referenced the tutorial from American Duchess but mostly winged it.

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While I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, it’s also a pretty huge cockade, as you can see with it being proudly worn by our tourney winner.

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Our winner in another of David Leo’s images.

Another Anachrocon attendee wore a couple of my creations. She was attending the event for the first time and needed some wardrobe. I sold her a red and black houndstooth corset I had made a while ago and a ribbon and D-ring embellished skirt & capelette set that had been lingering in my UFO pile. Her crafty husband made her belt and the cameo badges on the skirt. His finishing touches really pulled everything together. I thought she looked adorable and she seemed to be enjoying her first visit to Anachrocon.

victoria in my gear

Cirque de Soleil’s touring show Kurios: Cabinet of Curiousities just opened here in Atlanta. Members of The Artifice Club were invited to work the Kurios premiere as costumed background flavor. Kurios is steampunk themed so the brief was “as steampunk as possible”. I went in my orange and brown leopard print natural form gown. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain that night. Good thing my umbrella featuring the grand drape of Lyric Opera of Chicago was a perfect match and grand coverage from the curses of the elements. Kurios also sells pretty groovy umbrellas too. They could have made a killing if they had a stand outside before the doors opened!

Since I took a photo just in my undergarments, I’m posting it. I should have ironed my petticoat!

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Corset made by House of Canney, everything else made of fabric sewn by me.

My gown used these Truly Victorian patterns: 1879 Cuirass Bodice, 1878 Long Draped Overskirt and 1878 Tie-Back Underskirt. I made the belt and embellished the vintage straw hat. The fur is vintage and has four heads, four tails and eight feet. I’m quite fond of this dress. Natural form is easy to wear, especially while sitting in stadium style seating while watching a circus. I’ve meant to go to a Cirque de Soleil show for a long time but never actually managed it. Considering my interests, this show was the obvious one to fix that. I really enjoyed it! I was very glad that it had a low factor of creepy art clown. While the acts and visuals were all excellent, the thing that surprised me the most was the music. I always hear about how great the Cirque music is and this show’s ragtime / electroswing style got my feet tapping. I might even get the soundtrack. I’m hoping to see the show again, this time without a corset!

You can catch a fast shot of me in this promo video. I’m posing with some patrons at 1:23.

Steampunk’d – My recaps for Steampunk Chronicle

In my capacity as Editrix de Mode for Steampunk Chronicle, I’ve started a weekly recap of the new reality competition series Steampunk’d which airs Wednesdays at 8pm C/9pm E on Game Show Network. You can read my Episode One recap HERE.

There are SPOILERS!

My all time favorite television commentators are Tom and Lorenzo, formerly Project Rungay. They are pretty much what I think recappers should be: concise, entertaining, insightful and not completely rehashing the show like you didn’t actually watch it while telling you enough so you could skip it if you wanted to. I don’t think I’m in their league, but that’s what I’m going for. I’ll post the links as the episodes run.

Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award!

Color me shocked and delighted to be nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award by Jeanette of The Perfect Touch. I don’t have a ton of blog followers, although I think I get a few more readers via my reposts to Facebook. It means a lot to me that Jeanette tapped me for this honor. I am not the most prolific blogger but I try really hard to make well written, interesting and entertaining posts. It seems that I’ve succeeded! Thank you Jeanette!

And now, the fine print!

The Official Award Rules are:
1.  Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
2.  Put the Award logo on your blog.
3.  Answer the ten questions sent to you.
4.  Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
5.  Nominate ten blogs.

Numbers 1 & 2, CHECK!

On to Number 3, Jeanette’s Questions:
1.  What is your favorite fabric?
For sewing, probably broadcloth cotton. For wearing, anything soft.

2.  What era would you most like to visit?
The Victorian era around the turn of the century, when everything was happening with technology and the world started to change at a high rate of speed. Or maybe the late 1960s into the 70s. It seemed to be a completely insane time to party and the music would be fab.

3.  Does anyone else in your family share your hobby/hobbies?
My mom and grandma were sewers, knitters and crocheters. My nana was crafty too. Between all of them I got a firm start in sewing and crafting. They gave me my start and eventually, I ran with it.

4.  What part of the world have you not seen and would love to visit?
I’ve always been interested in travel and I have been extremely lucky to have already visited many of my “dream” destinations. There’s still lots of places I haven’t been though. Prague, Moscow, Budapest, Iceland, Hawaii, Seattle and Egypt are some places I haven’t gotten to yet.

5.  Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
Milk

6.  Have you ever ridden a horse?
Yes, but honestly, they scare me.

7.  Do you have your blog printed?
No.

8.  Are you a morning person?
Absolutely not.

9.  Have you invented something?
No. Well maybe some embarrassing dance…

10.  Do you use Pinterest?  If so, how many pins do you have?
Yes. 7k is what it’s telling me.

My nominees are both established and newer bloggers. Time to give them all the love! And Make them answer all the questions!

My Bloggesses:

1.  Gina @ Beauty From Ashes
2.  Fanny @ Temps d’elegance
3.  Anne @ Dogwood Girl
4.  Breanna @ The Lady Nerd
5.  Cat @ The Gluttonous Geek
6.  Diana @ Beyond Victoriana
7.  Megan @ Shoes Before Stitches
8.  Lauren @ American Duchess
9.  Lara @ To Dream Out Loud
10.  Kat @ Madame Modiste

My Questions:

  1. What is your favorite part about blogging?
  2. What is least favorite part about blogging?
  3. Why do you blog?
  4. What was the last project (sewing, craft or otherwise) you completed?
  5. Cats or Dogs?
  6. Do you have a blogging soundtrack?
  7. Do you have a blogging “hero”?
  8. Who is your favorite writer?
  9. Who is your favorite artist?
  10. Who would you push off a cliff?

Thanks again for the nomination, Jeanette!!!

Bum Rush to Dragon Con

I’m deep in the sewing bum rush to Dragon Con. I have a little over a week to get my new cosplays complete. While I am feeling optimistic, I still have a lot of work to do. Baring a complete meltdown of my sewing machine, fingers or brain here is a teaser of what you should see from me:

My planned nighttime cosplays for Dragon Con 2014.

None of these cosplays are literal — especially the wizard for Saturday night. And none of them are done either! Although one is pretty close. My daytime outfits will be my Lion Tamer on Saturday and something TBD for Tea Duelling on Sunday. I’ll be taming lions (and con goers) at The Clockwork Carnival (Alt. History Track) at 2pm on Saturday. I step into my role as Tiffin Master of The American Tea Duelling Society at the Dragon Con Tea Duelling Tournament (Alt. History Track) at 1pm on Sunday. I will also be on the Costuming Track panel Plus Sized Cosplay on Monday at 11:30am. Other than that I’ll be running about, causing havoc and breaking hearts. Or something like that. 

Back to the sewhole!

Maker Faire Bay Area Coming Up!

Today I got an e-mail inviting me to the media registration for this year’s Maker Faire (May 17 & 18, San Mateo, CA). I’ve gone for the past two years, covering the event for Steampunk Chronicle. It’s such an awesome event and I highly recommend it to adults, kids and anyone who likes robots, science, silliness and fun. It is worth doing a little research and prep if you’re thinking of attending. Traffic can be insane and the event can be really crowded. The hordes really thin out in the later afternoon when kids and their parents get cranky, so if you don’t have to go early in the day, you might consider going on the later side. Also, just park in the Oracle lots and take the shuttle. It takes a bit of time but is so much less hassle over all. Sadly, I won’t be able to attend this year but I hope some of you do!

Here’s a link to my article about last year’s event and below is a slideshow of images from the 2013 Faire by my compadre RBC Image.

 

Travelogue de Mode: Bath Fashion Museum

About this time last year, I visited the Bath Fashion Museum in Bath, England. It’s a great small museum with a rotating collection. The big draw when I was there was 50 Fabulous Frocks, a showcase of fifty dress to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the museum.

I wrote a little piece about it for Steampunk Chronicle.

I also made a little video of my photos.

By the way, Steampunk Chronicle is now in the voting stage for the 2014 Reader’s Choice Awards. If you are interested take a look and vote. You will need to register with the site to do so! I was nominated as Best Dressed Female in 2012 and 2013.

“Anatomy of Steampunk” Book Review and Decimononic Interview

My latest article as Editrix de Mode for Steampunk Chronicle breaks today. It’s a mostly positive review of Anatomy of Steampunk: The Fashion of Victorian Futurism by Katherine Gleason.

Read “Dissecting Anatomy of Steampunk” here!

Late last year I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the Spanish jewelry collective Decimononic for the last installment of their Steampunk Jewelry Tonight…series. I think it’s a pretty good piece — I worked real hard on my answers! I’m not sure how many people saw it due to the holidays, general disinterest or whatever so if you want to read it now….!

Steampunk Jewelry Tonight…with Gretchen Jacobsen (aka Wilhelmina Frame)