Monday, 31 December 2018

2018 Costume review

Sorry for neglecting you all once again and if you are still here thank you for your patience!

Inspired by several things mostly the #2018bestnine and several reviews of 2018 by other historical costumers. Somehow I really had the feeling I hadn't accomplished that much this year but looking back that is probably because I didn't get round to the things I planned!

It started of as the year of the 1890's green velvet Belle Epoque gown on which I started working on at the start of the year. I took a, planned detour, to make an early medieval gown from 1018. And then 2018 became the year of the 1920's! Not only did I make my own 1920's tea dress but also the three piece suit for my husband. In which I think he looked very smart, even if I say so myself. After that I returned to work on my green velvet Belle Epoque Evening gown and after the soirée in October I made a underbodice to make it suitable for daywear. On top of that I was able to help my son his best friend make a Doctor Strange costume for Comic Con. All in all not bad for a years work, so I end 2018 with a content feeling and way too much ideas for 2019!

I wish you all a very happy, healthy and creative 2019!

Monday, 17 December 2018

Mid Victorian lace day cap & Dickensfestijn Deventer 2018

I started working on my mid victorian lace day cap during our last event. I had some preparations the  day before but started  the actual sewing during the event. Judging by the amount of attention it did seem to spark the interest of a lot of the public.

My midvictorian lace daycap is made with a silk base, swiss dot netting,  vintage and antique lace and the tiny red ribbon is real silk. It looks sweet, dainty and demure which is the perfect look for the period. There is only one problem with this daycap. Sweet, dainty and demure doesn’t seem to suit me. My husband and son almost choked laughing and one of my friends said I looked like an easter egg. Which is an accurate description of how I feel when I wear it.

Here I am trying it on before going to Dickensfestijn in Deventer.

I am sorry about the poor quality of the photo's. They were made early in the morning in a hurry to get going. It's also the reason why I decided to get "creative" with the last one. Although it might not be that bad, then again it might be that bad I'll leave it up to you to decide. I didn't wear it on the day itself as my bonnet wouldn't stay on when I had it on. That was a good enough reason to leave it at home.

We had planned to go to a Dickens fair somewhere else first but after waiting for the shuttle bus for 30 minutes. We decided to skip the other fair and go to Dickensfestijn Deventer directly while the day was still young. Not a bad decision considering how busy Deventer was! There were 60.000 visitors on this day. Needless to say a lot of photographs where made of us but as we never get to see any of them we decided to buy ourselves a little memento.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

The Street of Emma/'t Straatje van Emma, Haarlem 2018

Here an impression of our annual 19th century/ early 20th century event in Haarlem.

Photo by Paul Veldhuis

Photo by Paul Veldhuis

Photo by Jolan Lelieveld

Photo by Jolan Lelieveld

Friday, 23 November 2018

From Night to Day

With the wonderful soirée over and done. It became time to direct my attention to turning my Belle Epoque evening outfit into suitable daywear for the next event.

I started of by making the top of Angela Clayton's McCalls #7732 pattern.

I would have like to make the jacket as well. As I am not really happy with the fit and look of my green velvet bodice. For now I'll try some quick (and modern) fixes and hope that it will these will do the trick.

The top; the base or lining fabric is cotton organdy, the top fabric swiss dot netting and the waistband silk.

As this was not dressed it enough, I added sleeves turning the top into an underbodice or underblouse. I cut of the ties at the bottom and added an extra set of hooks and eyes.

Then I turned my attention to my headwear, however lovely my tiara might be. It doesn't seem to be regarded a proper headwear for daytime. I think that should be because I think their absolutely fabulous! With no time to make a completly new hat I decided to redecorate on of my old hats. Which is coincidentally also a very "period" solution. I am quite pleased with the result.

With the deadline in only two weeks I've decided to also wear one of my old coats and start working on the jacket next January. This in an effort to keep my stress levels beareble not only for myself but also for those around me! 

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Gibson Girl hair and make-up

Here are two better vieuws of my attempt at a Gibson Girl hairdo. It took some practise and a whole lot of hair helpers but I was quite pleased with the end result! Although it does look wierd with everyday clothing. 

As a proper Victorian Lady I didn't use any make-up just some products to enhance my natural beauty. 

These are the things a Victorian lady might have used:
(left to right) ?, burned cloves for my brows, pearl powder as foundation and kajal.

Ofcourse I am way to vain to go to a posh party without any make-up, 
so I did use these. I just tried to keep it light and natural looking.
Face powder, concealer and mascara.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Salon de la Societe Raffinee at Castle Oud-Poelgeest

I had been looking forward to this Soiree since January this year and it did not dissapoint. The Castle was beautiful, the atmosphere was magical and the other guest inspiring! Due to privacy laws I do not want to share the photographs with others in them but check out these photo album on Facebook if you want to get a good idea of the evening :

Salon de la Societe raffinee second edition, photographs by Martijn van Huffelen

Salon de la Societe raffinee second edition Fred lo Cascio

ILike some of you might know I had been not only looking forward to this event since January but also preparing for it since January. So I am extremely happy to finally show you the end result!

Overall I am really happy with the end result although there is a fitting issue with the bodice I would like to correct.

All my inspiration gowns where off-shoulder evening gowns and I made mine so that it would lay on my shoulder. I really hate off-shoulder dresses and I need the bodice to work for a day time event coming up soon. I guess I didn't alter the pattern pieces enough to really make it work. 

I don't have enough time until the next event to take the bodice apart and make the changes. So for I will focus on making a chemisette to fill in the neckline and a pair of sleeves appropriate for daytime. Maybe after I finish that and there is enough time left  I'll make a red velvet bolero jacket and wear the skirt with a white lace blouse and jacket instead.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Summer madness; A Belle Epoque gents summer suit.

This French fashion plate from May 1899 is basically the look I was going for with my husbands suit. When I thought of Belle Epoque/Great Gatsby linen summer suits the color that came to mind was white, creme or beige. 

Like this lovely original 1918 creme linen mohair blend suit, that is for sale on Etsy, that popped up on my timeline  on Facebook when I was working on mine. Serendipity much? 

But my husband isn't someone who like the wear light colors neither am I as a matter of fact. So when I found the blue and gray suits in the French 1899 fashion plate we decided to go for a blue suit and fearing a solid blue suit would be to dull for his liking we decided to try and find a striped blue linen fabric and to avoid the association with pajamas we didn't want the blue to be too light either. While looking we found out that we were also particular about the amount and width of the stripes.

So finding THE right fabric was easier said than done, especially when you don't have an enormous budget. So we where over the moon when we found this half linnen at a local fabric market and being so happy we finally found something I didnt bother to check what the other fiber was. A decision I came to regret later! When we bought the fabric it felt like the right weight and stiffness for a suit but after washing it. It became soft, stretchy and flowy perfectly right for a lot of things but a suit. Thinking I could always use a fabric stiffner later I decided to start on the trousers.

Putting together the trousers went pretty smoothly. I had made the same pattern, Laughing Moon #106, California Pants, several times before so no surprises there. The big surprise came when I tried to stiffen the fabric with fabric stiffner spray. It didn't do anything than I tried the stiffner for the washing machine. It did something, but very little and in patches. Only than I tried to find out what the actual fibre content was... it was half linen alright but not a linen cotton blend but a linen viscose blend.


So I ended up using soft or medium fusible interfacing on all pattern pieces for the vest and the coat and on some of the hottest summer days of this summer. Great, really really great....

The pattern I used for the coat is Butterick b6503 Men's Single-Breasted lined coat with back vents aka the Fantastic beasts suit pattern or the Peaky Blinders suit pattern, depending on which fandom you are from., team Fantastic Beasts here!

I will kid you not, making the coat was really tough. Especially putting in the lining was really difficult and in doing so I have made some mistakes that will need correcting later. I was way out of my comfort zone with lots of sewing techniques I had never done before. Fortunately my mother-in-law could explain some for me!

Before you sew in a lining at the hem it is wise to let the garment hang for at least a week. While the coat was hanging I started on the vest. 

Folkwear #222, Vintage vests version A, was the pattern I used. To save time I skipped making a mock-up version and omitted the two top pockets. I went by measurements on the envelop alone and ended up taking in the whole vest a size or two. Feeling the stress of a rapidly approaching deadline I made some rookie mistakes. Which, as long as I don't point them out to you, won't be visible but as I can't unsee them I will probably end up making a new vest eventually.

After a long last struggle with the lining of the coat the costume was finished the day before the wedding of our friends around 17.00 pm. Or at least we thought so...

And then this happend...

The hand stitched welts of the vest pockets came undone after putting in the pocket watch and watch chain. So my husband did some emergency repairs on the morning of the wedding but the end result was worth it!

Eventhough every piece of this costume has to be redone. The trousers have to be (flat)lined to give the fabric more body and stiffness and they have to be taken in as my husband recently lost some weight. I have to make a whole new vest as I switched the front left and right pieces. The lining has to be taken out of the coat and partially replaced and sewn in again I will also add one button. 

For now I am taking a week, maybe two of sewing before I start working on my outfit for our Late Victorian event in December. The outfit still needs a chemisette and sleeves and a winter coat!

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

1920's Downton Abbey Garden Party style outfits

Some months ago we were invited to a wedding of friends with a 1920's Downton Abbey Garden party theme. On one hand I was thrilled I love any occasions to dress up especially in a historical outfit. On the other hand I was a little bit scared I wasn't going to make the deadline. It was an era we didn't have in our costume closet and I didn't want to cut corners by buying or renting costumes. The couple getting married are two of the people who inspire me to set the bar high on authenticity and quality. So I wanted us to look really good to honour this fact.

Last Sunday they got married and my husbands 3 piece suit was finished the day before around 17.00 pm. It was a nerve recking experience but this was the end result.

I could bore you to death with a the things I think that a wrong with my husband his suit. The whole thing was a challenge and a learning experience, and boy did I learn a lot! 

As I am not particularly fond of this square lowered waistline style dress chances are I won't be wearing my dress again any time soon and I took that fact in account when I made it. My husbands suit however is a whole different story. It cannot only be worn as a 1920's suit but could also work as a 1890's summer suit. This is the other reason I put so much time, energy, money and affort in it and I think he looks really smart in it!

I would like to make some changes to the costume before he wears it again. The trousers have to be taken in and (flat)lined to stiffen the horrible stretchy and saggy fabric. The linen/viscose mixture was a true nightmare to work with. I only found out it had viscose in it when I had washed the fabric but if we had know on forehand. We would still have bought it, it had the exact look my husband was looking for. Also I would like to make some changes to the vest and the lining of the coat. Eventhough it still needs work we both we really happy with the overall look.

I had purchased a roaring twenties dress pattern (butterick B6399) but found it needlessly complicated and time consuming. So I used a version of the 1920's one hour dress pattern on-line. I took more than one hour to make the dress but that was due to the lace inserts. The top dress is blue batist cotton with a separate blue silk sash and a (unfortunaly) synthetic lace overlay. Which had been part my stash doing nothing and looked really amazing with this costume so how could I resist.  Underneath I am wearing an off-white silk slip dress, which I also made with fabric from my stash. 

More information on my costume can be found here in a previous blog.

My husband his three pieces suit was put together with three separate patterns. The coat has been made with Butterick B6503 (aka Fantastic beast or Peaky Blinders suit). The vest was made with Folkwear #2222, Vintage vests and the trousers were made with Laughing Moon Mercantile #106, Late 19th century California pants.