Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Costuming Plans for 2012

So for my first post EVER....

Since it's the beginning of the year I figured I would start with my costuming plans for 2012,
So here is what I plan to make and wear and where I will be wearing it!

First off I have a commission, cause one should always do paid work before doing stuff for ones self I will start of my sewing year with this.

A 1930's tea dress based of this rocking horse farm pattern. 
Done in a lovely asian inspired rayon fabric, from Fabric.com

Now I have to admit I'm a bit intimidated by this, see in my costuming I rarely venture into more modern times, and by modern i mean anything past 1820. I have done some 1920's stuff but that's about it, and 1930's with it's figure hugging hugging bias cut dresses is pretty scary. But this will be a learning experince and will hopefully help me grow as a a costumer, also doesn't hurt that I'm being paid for this!.

After I'm done with my commission I will have time to do some work on my own ever expanding costume wardrobe.
 Petty Petty clothes for Dress U!
This June I will be a vendor at the first east coast costumers conference, in Philadelphia.
And  as I always think one is one's best advertisement I must look stunning! Well or at least try to look stunning.
It's always good to start with foundation garments, while i have a perfectly nice pair of short stays I do need a pair of long stays like these:

They smooth out all those bumps and lumps under the more figure hugging dresses of the later regency.
I will probably use the pattern for long stays in  Jean Hunnisett's  book Period Costume for Stage and Screen.

 Now for the day time when I just sit at my table and hawk my wares, I'll just stick with the regency stuff I already have. My shop is geared towards regency items  so it makes sense to dress to match.

I will probably wear my little white regency dress,

as well as my pink striped crossover one

maybe my green floral stripe drop front gown as well..,

but really I'm not a huge fan of that one as i find the color makes me look washed out.
Which means I will probably make another regency dress....  I have some fabric in my stash that would be appropriate. Like this nice 1802 reproduction print in blues and gray with red flowers.

OR... I could make something 18th century..., since Dress U is not focused on just one era of costume I could theoretically wear whatever I want as long as it's pre 1980's. I do have a lovely red 18th century reprodcution chinz in my stash...

. And a nice dark blue linen. I could make a pretty 1790's Casaquin jacket and contasting petticoat. like this lovely example from the Met:

Hmmmmm such a hard decision....

I do know That I will be making a 1912 evening gown, for the Titanic dinner. Now I'm both excited and terrified of this foray into the Edwardian era, as mentioned earlier I rarely venture beyond 1820, but I simply must have a stunning Edwardian gown for this party. I have to confess that I have been wanting an Edwardian evening gown since my Titanic obsessed teenage days, but never really had a reason to make one. So here's my opportunity! But those meticulously draped and tailored early 20th century gowns are not a walk in the park to make, I am however determined to conquer the required masses of silk lace and sequins required to make the Titanic dress of my dreams, or at least the dress I  have  time to make and can afford but still like...
My stash holds a beautiful hand embroidered vintage silk sari, in the most mazing shade of green that has a light pinkish shimmer to it.
the picture does not do it justice..

I plan to use this sari as the top layer of my dress over an under dress made of magenta colored silk  charmeuse.
Thinking of creating something along the lines of this lovely original from antiquedress.com:

To add some more glitz I plan to apply magenta colored glass beads to accent the embroidery on the sari and perhaps use some nice antique tamboured net  from the stash for a finishing touch. Cause it seems no Edwardian evening ensemble is complete without lace and beading!

For other events I plan to attend at Dress U  I will just wear dresses I already have.
Most likely my 1790's chemise a la reine to Georgiana's Welcome Picnic, makes sense since Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire was the one to popularize this garment in Britain...

And for the Tiaras and Jampagne Party... The Miss Piggy Dress will have to come out one last time. This is what I call my current regency evening gown which looks lovely in person( or so I am told) but photographs horrible due to it's dusty pink color that  makes me look like a piggy.... and well this is the best picture i have of it... but the tiara rocks!

Having done with Dress U the next month brings The 5th annual Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, Kentucky.
Or Jane Fest as I call it!
Jane Fest is pretty much the highlight of the Regency Reenactors year. A two day Festival held at beautiful Locust Grove Plantation. And as if that couldn't get any better there is a regency ball on Saturday evening! . 
I plan to be vending at this event as well so I must dress to impress. Not an easy task without getting a heat stroke, July in Kentucky is brutal with high humidity and temperatures in the upper 90's.
This means thin natural fabrics are a must. Last month  I picked up a very light semi sheer Indian block printed cotton. It has a repeated floral print in maize and brown with a decorative border. I plan to pair this with  a butter yellow cotton lawn  from the stash.

It will make a lovely 1790's open robe, like this one from The Los Angeles County Museum of Art:


I haven't quite made up my mind if I will be making another regency day gown or be wearing one from my collection. I can always accessorize the little white dress in a different way for a whole new look...
But a new Ballgown is a must, I'm sick of the Miss Piggy!

There is more than  one vintage sari in my endless stash and this one lends itself perfectly to an empire ballgown..
It's silk in some sort of a seafoam gray, with a purple paisley border woven with metallic threads. It shimmers in the light most alluringly.

I would like to use the wonderful border to it's full advantage so in addition to using it on the hem i plan to make a crossover top and  having the border along the neckline as well.
Something like this...
But with short sleeves, probably the the tied up sort that was en vouge in the early regency when clothes where still classically inspired.

Next up event wise would be The Fair at New Boston in September.
This is a Market fair that depicts a time frame from about 1795 to 1820 so again regency or rather federal period. Since it's a rather rustic outside event, fancy clothes aren't really the thing here. I will most likely wear some of my cotton day gowns and perhaps my newly made open robe in the evening for the after hour festivities. I do  however plan to make one new garment for this. With Autumn close,  September night's and sometimes days  can be chilly. Which calls for a new spencer of course! I have just the cloth for it too! 2 yards of absolutely fabulous cashmere wool, that i picked up for a song last fall. Only problem is the color... it's vomit colored...

The obvious solution would be to dye it but I'm scared to.. this is such high grade wool I don't want to ruin it... but I also don't want to wear a vomit colored spencer.
In any case I purchased a  pattern from Sense and Sensibility, it's basic it's been done a lot, I'm not sure if it's 100% historically accurate. But alas tailoring is not my strong suit so i'll use this one.

Probably will do the one with the notched collar....

Which brings us into Winter.
I haven't mentioned yet that I volunteer at a historic house called Woodville Plantantion, c. 1775.
It's the former home of  Revolutionary War general John Neville.
I can't express how awesome this place is! You can't get closer to history than this, the place is run very open and hands on not like most house museums where they will kick you out if you breathe on the wallpaper wrong.
There's a small group of dedicated Reenactors who give tours and presentations about life at the plantation in the late 18th and early 19th century.  They have several big events throughout the year but my favorite by far is holidays at the house in late November. This event aims to recreate colonial and federal period Christmas time. The house is lit only with candles and lanterns, and the Reenactors don their best apparel. Last year I wore my little white dress and a brown velvet spencer. But this year I have grand plans for my yultide garb.
My mother gifted me this fantastic yummy yummy quilting quality cotton with a 18th century style print in a festive red and green.

Doesn't it just scream 1790's? It wants to be a long sleeved crossover front open robe I think!

Like this beauty, but with fitted long sleeves.

Well That's it for my grand 2012 plans. Of course they are bound to change, as these things tend to do. And there may be more events, probably plenty of new commissions and of naturally lot's and lot's of sewing and crafting for store stock. Looks like 2012 will be a busy busy year. But at least I will look spiffy!


  1. Dear Julia,
    Looks like you were at the Jane Austen Festival last summer? So was I along with a number of friends! It's a pity we did not meet. Will be looking forward to seeing you there this year. As a vendor, what will you be, well, vending?

    Very best,

  2. Hello. I"m not sure if you still maintain this blog. But I'm about to start the Rocking Horse Farms 1930s dress you posted at the top. How did it go for you? how did it turn out? what advice would you give me?