Sunday, December 23, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I got an early Christmas present form Natalie over at Frolic Through Time She tagged me in the Liebster Blog Award.
Thank you Natalie you made my week!


 Here are the award rules:

 1. You must post eleven random facts about yourself.
2. You must also answer the eleven questions the awarder has given you and make up eleven questions for your awardees to answer in turn.
3. Tag eleven fellow bloggers.
4. Notify them that you've awarded them.
5. No tagging back.
6. The eleven blogs you tag must have less than 200 followers.

11 Random Things About Me

1. I really like suassge! I suppose this comes with being German. The only sausages don't like are hot dogs.

2. I have six siblings 5 brothers and one sister. I'm the youngest. They are all my half siblimgs however as I'm the product of a second marriage for both my parents.

3.  I love Italy, I want to be Italian, I think I was Italian in a past life.

4. I'm very unathletic, my 9th grade gym teacher actually accused me of pretending to be extremely bad at sports for the entertainment of my friends, but the sad truth is that I'm really just that bad at sports!

5. I love  Garnets.

6. I have a dust allergy, it sucks!

7. I still sometimes fantasize about being a princess!

8. the first costume I made was a "renaissance" dress made from a horrible 80's mauve pink velvet curtain. I was dressing up as Juliet, but I had told my Romeo to shove it like 3 days before the halloween party i wore it to, so it was just me and my curtain dress!

9. I have 2 cats Amadeus and Seraphina. But I call them Pookie and Fina. Pookie is evil and Fina is me in cat form. She's fat, uncoordinated and all she does is eat and sleep.

10. I love champagne with gummy bears in it! It's awesome you should try it!

11. I want to move back to Europe one day I miss it so much!

Questions from Natalie:

    1. How did you become involved in costuming, which as people may have said to you, is a rather unusual hobby?
    The Town I was born in had big Mardi Gras celebrations and I always wanted a new costume every year. As long as I can remember I have always loved to dress up. So when one year my mother told me she was done making my costmes and if I wanted a new one I better learn how to make my own, I did and I have been addicted to making costumes ever since!

    2. What is the oddest thing anyone has every said to you when they found out that you like to sew costumes?
    Hmm not sure. I don't thinlk I have ever gotten a really weird reaction, confused yes, impressed sometimes, finding it strange and changing the subject more often than not. But nothing truely wird that I can think of really.

    3. Are you by nature one who crosses all "t"s and dots all "i"s, or one who prefers to wing it, or      somewhere in between?
    Oh I totally wing it. Being really organized and structured about things just kills the joy in life for me. Not that I don't take things every seriously  but, well I guess I'm lazy, hence my blog subtitle....

    4. In your dream home, what would hang at the windows, or would anything hang there at all in the way of coverings, I mean?
    That's something I have never really thought about, I guess I don't just have one dream home, I have several and it depenmds on the mood I'm in. One day it is a grand medieval castle in which case I guess it would be heavy embroidered curtains to keep out the draft. Another day it may be a a large Tuscan villa with large sunny windows, which would be bare to let in all the light, and on another day I fancy myself in a rococo palace with heavy brocade drapes in soft pastel colors. So really this answer entirely depends on the day you ask me. All I do know for sure is that I hate my current living room curtains, they are dark and ugly and suck the life out of me, and must go! Come spring I plan to get some nice new curtains!

    5. If you celebrate Christmas and put up a tree, what type of tree do you like and how do you decorate it?
    A large, real tree since I love the smell. Decked out all victorian with delicate and whimsical ornaments and velvet bows.With clear lights, since i can't stand colored lights.

    6. If you could travel anywhere in the world for two weeks, where might you go, and what would draw you there?
    Italy! I've been to Italy several times, but there's someting about the light and the countryside and the wonderful people that just becons me to this beautiful country!

    7. Do you think you'll costume so long as you breathe, or do you think you might tire of it at some point?
    This is a lifelong habit I think. I'll create costumes till the day I die

    8. Do you like like meals that come from a single pot? In German that sort of dish is called an Eintopf, and my dad always called his creations "one-pots", a direct translation, with no gussying up.
    I love Eintopf!!!! It's a very common way of cooking in Germany and lot's of the food I grew up with was that sort of all in one pot meal. I cook Eintopf style disehs most of the time myself. The other day when I made pork chops and mashed potatoes my husband actually asked me if it was special occasion, because I was feeding him something that had not been cooked in the same pot!

    9. Caffeine or no caffeine in your cup or glass of a morning?
    Caffeine all the way for me. I'm not a morning person. I'm not even much of  an afternoon person, so anytime before 4 pm I need caffeine to function.

    10. Do do you enjoy tying bows on things?
    Sure bows are great I put them on everything hats, shoes, dresses, Charlotte's hair, the chritsmas tree, presents. Bows make everything prettier!

    11. If you could present your best-loved one or ones with any gift in creation, what might it be?
    Happiness If I could give happiness I would. I would gladly take all their cares and sorrow so they can be happy.

    Tagged Blogs

    Finding 11 blogs that I love and that haven't gotten the Liebster Blog award is a tall order. So please excuse my rather small selection

    Jenny La fleur.
     I love her creations and reading her website got me out of a major costuming slump after the birth of my daughter. So thank you Jenny for inspiring me!

    Eva's Kleidertruhe
     I love reading blogs from my homeland. It's nice to read about my hobby in my native language and see they are up to costume shananigans as well!

    Regency Tea Party
    Cause who doesn't love regency tea parties!

    The Amateur Seamstress
    My friend Melissa writes this delightful blog

    Adventures of a Costumer.
     This blog has more than 200 followers But I gotta give a shout out to a fellow Pittsburgh girl.

    Serendipitous Stitchery
     My fellow regency addict Maggie writes this neat blog

    11 Questions for my tagged friends

    1. It being the day after Christmas today. What was your favorite gift this year?

    2.  Do you prefer modern or traditional Christmas music?

    3. Who is your favorite historical person?

    4. What is your favorite historical period?

    5. What is your favorite ethnic food?

    6. Do you have a favorite fabric source?

    7. Are you a ballgown or a work gown kind of girl?

    8. If a fairy granted you 3 wishes what would you wish for?

    9. What's your guilty pleasure?

    10. Your favorite season?

    11. And last but not least what was your favorite toy as a child?

    Monday, December 10, 2012

    Holidays at the House and a Festive New Gown

    With the holiday season in full swing now I think it's time I finally wrote a post about my favorite event of the year at Woodville Plantation . It's called Holidays at the House and is held every year in late November.
     Special candlelight tours are given by costumed guides and it's all about how Christmas was celebrated at Woodville in the late 18th and early 19th century. This year I was asked for the first time to give tours myself. so of course I needed a new gown! I had been hoarding the perfect fabric for the past year. it's actually a Christmas print by Moda called fa la la la la la. But it looks almost exactly like extant late 18th century cotton print.

    My very festive fabric.

      I knew I wanted a 1790's open robe but wasn't quite sure what style at first i was considering a crossover bodice style.

    Originally I had something like this in mind for my gown.

    But after looking at many images of extant garments I decided to go with an earlier transitional style, with a lower waist and tight bodice and long sleeves.

    Pink silk dress, American, 1790's.
    The original open robe and petticoat I based the look of my new gown on.

     This was my first foray into the actual 18th century. I've done late 1790's styles before that are very much like the later regency styles in construction, but I had never done any early to mid 1790's. So I needed to draft a patten. I had this extant open robe in mind but of course there was no picture of the back or anything, so I needed to figure something out. First I started out with my late 1790's open robe pattern thinking I could just elongate the lines to make the bodice longer.

    My late 1790's open robe

    But that did not work out so well, as early 1790's bodices are cut with straighter lines than the later more curved lines that I am so familiar with.

    the first of many pattern I drafted for the robe bodice.

     So I poured over my costume books looking at patterns and line drawings of late 18th century gowns in Patterns of Fashion and Costume in Detail. I decided on a combination of several styles from Costume in Detail and set to draping a new bodice pattern.

    The drawing from Costume in detail I based the back of my gown off.

    I I haven't fully draped a pattern in a long while and it was kind of fun. I have always preferred draping to drafting but since all I usually do is make small alterations to already existing patterns I rarely drape anything new.

    The first draped toile.

     For the sleeve I figured I could just use the sleeve pattern I had just drafted for Erin's new 1790's round gown. But they turned out to look too baggy with the style I had in mind . So i did some serious pattern re drafting for the sleeve to make it more narrow and make the sleeve head more shallow.

    The re drafted sleeve toile

    It was a long process of draping, drafting, toile making and adjustments, I lost count after 4 bodice toiles. But after several days of  fiddling I had a spiffy new pattern.

    One of the earlier toiles that didn't quite fit

    The final paper pattern, ready to cut out the lining.

    the final toile with one sleeve

    Rather crooked back view

    Cutting into the very busy patterned fashion fabric was a bit taunting. I wanted to match up the pattern as best I could at the center back and center front so that when worn the pattern would match up perfectly.

    The final pieces all cut out

    Bodice front

    Bodice back, there's actually a seam at the center back can you tell?
      After the bodice was put together to my satisfaction I set in the sleeves. I usually gather the sleeve head but this time i decided to pleat it like the extant gown I was basing the pattern on. I like the less puffy look of the pleated sleeves and it fits really well.

    Bodice with sleeves set in.

    I managed to match the pattern quite nicely.

     I only had just enough fabric left over to make the open skirt with the tiniest of trains. The skirt is box pleated to the bodice matching up the pleats to the seamlines of the bodice giving the illusion of en en foreau back.

    Showing off the pleating in the skirt back.

    The bodice is closed with pins and one hook and eye at the bottom to hold the overlapping ends together more securely. I finished the open robe the day before the event and now had to make a mathcing petticoat in a day, I had ordered 6 yards of high quality red glazed cotton, which was very popular in the last years of the 18th cnetury.

    Robe (England) ca. 1795 - 1800 Block-printed glazed cotton, lined with linen
    Original printed cotton robe and glazed cotton petticoat ca. 1795 from the V&A

    It turned out to be just a bit too shiny for my taste it was so shiny it looked like pleather! So I gave it a gentle was in cold water which reduced the shine a bit, I'm still not sure if it it's not a bit to shiny but oh well.
    The petticoat is a simple skirt gathered to a waist band which  that has grosgrain ribbon as suspenders as was common in the period. When the waistline started creeping up the petticoat which usually would sit right at the waist needed to be held up, this was achieved by either adding a small sleeveless bodice or like my petticoat with simple straps that went over the shoulders.

    The petticoat with the shoulder straps showing.

    To give the skirt some more visual interest and volume I added a scalloped ruffle at the hem that I cut with my fantastic new scalloped pinking shears and and gathered with my pleating foot. Because time was running out  the petticoat is all machine sewn instead of my usual practice of hand sewing all visible seams. I simply was not willing to hand sew that super long ruffle to the hem by hand at midnight the night before the event. Perhaps i will take the ruffle off one day and re attach it by hand, but probably not....

    Finally done late at night!

    The next morning I got up extra early to get all dressed up. I paired the new robe with my new big ass sheer cap and net fichu. My lovely Kensington shoes and American Duchess clocked stockings.

    My puuuurrrrty shoes and stockings

    And as a extra touch of luxury I wore my new Georgian reproduction garnet earrings!

    Beautiful Georgian reproduction earrings

     Oh and let's not forget my curly wig!

    Erin and I in out new finery

    Honestly I thought I looked like a younger version of Mrs. Claus, or a very festive French Revolutionist. I think it's the cap next time I'll wear a turban with the outfit so I feel less frilly. But overall I was quite happy with my new get up and I got tons of compliments.

    Lottie and I, she loves dressing up.

    I took Charlotte along this time and she got to wear her red cloak . To make her regency gown look more 18th century I used a cotton neckcloth crossed over her chest and knotted in the back and but my small cotton cap on her head. I had to sew a wig clip on the inside of the cap so it would stay on her head! She also wore her new linen pantaloons and really sweet brown leather ankle boots I scored at Target on clearnce last wineter! She loved dressing up and everyone was charmed by her.
    Erin got to wear her new dress and rocked a turban with huge ostrich plume. I think we all looked every dashing, and had  a great time at the event.
    I gave my first tour together with Erin and I think we did quite well as tour guides. In between tours we took the opportunity to take some pictures in the cande lit house. Susan a fellow volunteer had her fancy camera along and took some really lovely pictures.


    Being contemplative

    Erin and her husband Mike

    Isn't that a fantastic banyan?

    18th century cool

    Toasting the holiday season.

    The Athey's

    Shadow and light.

    There's just something magical about being in this old house by candlelight while wearing period clothes, it's the closest we can get to having a time machine. What a marvelous way to start off the holiday season!