Friday, December 29, 2017

Year in Review: Costuming in 2017

Well another year has flown by so quickly.  I look back on 2017 and I can see that costumes I choose, make divisions in the year, like chapters in a book.

So how did 2017 pan out, compared to 2016?

The Edwardian Bathing Suit

This outfit was for a Victorian / Edwardian Beach day.  I loved these Edwardian bathers from the Gemeentemuseum The Haag.

I didn't have a pattern, check out here how I made them.

To be honest I wasn't very happy with this costume. My mistake was, I didn't do a fitting. The idea was there, but I didn't execute it to it's full potential.

 The Edwardian Suit

The Edwardian suit was originally constructed for a punting day at Royal Botanical Gardens here in Melbourne. 

Check here, how I made it. 

I was extremely happy with this costume. Comfortable to wear, the fabric was a delight to sew with and I felt this costume suited me well, (excuse the pun).

I think by this stage of the year, it finally clicked with me, to search for good quality fabric. Also do a fitting!!!!

I wore the suit again, when we visited the Dame Nellie Melba Estate in Coldstream, Victoria.  It was a real thrill when I saw someone in an old photo at the museum wearing a similar suit to what I was wearing. 

Photo Credit: Coombe Yarra Valley 

A Robe and a Stole

This costume was a commission.

My mother who is a funeral celebrant was conducting a funeral for a woman who follows the Wiccan faith.  The woman requested that my mother wear a purple robe and red stole at her funeral.

It meant a lot to me, that this would be suitable for funeral service. Even though it was a simple garment to make, I still felt a bit of pressure making it, due to thinking, would it be ok.

Overall happy with it.

The Georgian Ensemble

I made the Georgian ensemble of items for a Georgian / Regency High Tea, to be held at The Gables.

I was extremely happy with this outfit.  I was amazed with myself that I completed all the components on time.

Thankfully this costume was very comfortable to wear and easy to drive in!

To see how I made each component check out my posts here:-

Georgian Costume - Part 1

Georgian Costume - Part 2

Georgian Costume - Part 3

So 2018, so what will you bring me now?

Half way through a late Victorian Bustle outfit
Edwardian Dress for a Picnic at Hanging Rock event
Maybe start on my 2017 outfits off the list I made back in 2016 LOL
1920's Costume
1932 Costume
Regency Custom Order

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Making a Georgian Costume - Part 3 The Accessories

"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen".
      John Wooden

Continuing from Part's 1 and Part 2, we have the accessories.

Lover's Eye - The Jewellery

Lover's Eye also known as eye miniatures were all the rage in Georgian time. The jewellery was thought to be started by Prince of Wales later to be George IV.  He sent a token of his love to Maria Fitzherbert. This act was frowned upon by the court, so he hired a painter only to paint the eye, so there was anonymity and decorum.  

I really find Lover's Eye fascinating and creepy at the same time, chuckle. So of course I had to have my very own Lover's Eye for my Georgian outfit.

My first step was to find a frame, this was a harder task than I thought it would be. Luckily I was able to find a suitable piece at my local Op Shop. So next step, to make the jewellery look more Georgian was to glue some fake purls around the frame.  Lastly an 'eye'. I couldn't find a small enough image of my husband's eye, and he wears glasses. So I went the quick way about it, and just printed off an eye off the net.

Thus end result, my own version of a 'Lover's Eye'.

The Spectacles

I wear glasses, and I was tired of wearing modern day glasses with my costumes. So when I discovered one could purchase reproduction Georgian glasses, I had to do this.  

I found some spectacles which I liked the look of, I purchased them from an American company called Townsends .  So I decided to buy the 18th Century Reproduction glasses. 

I was VERY happy with these glasses,they are sturdy and fit to my head really well.  Now the lenses, this was the expensive part.  Lucky, my local optometrist could change the lenses to my prescription lenses. The optometrists loved the glasses and of course asked where I got them. Luckily I was able to get new lenses put into them. They said they were so small, it was like replacing lenses for a child's set of glasses. 

The Shoes

I purchased some second hand shoes from my local Op Shop, that had a heel that looked Georgian. I then proceeded to cover them with a dusty rose fabric. Then later I put some green trim on them (not seen in photo)

So that is it.  Another costume done and dusted.  I hope you enjoyed Parts 1, 2 and 3 of my Georgian costume journey.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

2018 Victorian Reading Challenge

Well it's that time of year when I start to think of what Book Reading Challenges I will attempt for the next year.  Scanning through Pinterest I found the 2018 Victorian Book Challenge, perfect I thought.  Checked out this reading blog by another Becky (spelt with a c) and she has so many reading challenges.  Great! 

The Challenge!

Victorian Reading Challenge
Host: Becky's Book Reviews
Duration: January - December 2018
Goal: Read a minimum of 4 Victorian books

Sign up in the comments (If you have a blog, please leave your blog address. If you have a Goodreads profile AND if you review regularly on Goodreads, then you may leave that as well.)

I'll have quarterly check-in posts. I'll be posting check-in posts March 25, June 24, September 23, and December 30. You may leave links to your reviews on any of those four posts. If you want to share your review with me BEFORE that, AND if you have twitter, feel free to tweet me a link @blbooks.

Option A.  Read alphabetically A-Z with authors OR titles OR a blend of authors/titles. I've decided that from now on X in reading challenges stands for multiple authors. I'm flipping my "x" to a "+".

Option B. Choose one author to read exclusively for this challenge; perhaps challenge yourself to read chronologically OR to read through an entire series in one year.

Option C. Do as many books from the checklist as you can. Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book. 

Option D. Make the challenge completely your own and read as YOUR whimsy dictates.

IF you love Victorian literature AND you happen to love tea...consider joining my Share-a-Tea reading challenge.  

Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book. If you list the books you read, that may help other people decide what to read.

This year's checklist:

  1. _ A book that was originally published serially
  2. _ book published between 1837-1840
  3. _ book published between 1841-1850
  4. _ book published between 1851-1860
  5. _ book published between 1861-1870
  6. _ book published between 1871-1880
  7. _ book published between 1881-1890
  8. _ book published between 1891-1901
  9. _ nonfiction published between 1837-1860
  10. _ nonfiction published between 1861-1901 
  11. _ A book published between 1902-1999 with a Victorian setting
  12. _ A book published between 2000-2018 with a Victorian setting
  13. _ A fiction or nonfiction book about Queen Victoria
  14. _ Biography of a Victorian
  15. _ Nonfiction book about the Victorian era
  16. _ free choice
  17. _ place name in the title
  18. _ character name in the title
  19. _ book in a series
  20. _ drama or melodrama
  21. _ gothic, suspense, mystery
  22. _ romance or historical
  23. _ comedy 
  24. _ science fiction or fantasy
  25. _ adventure, crime, western
  26. _ poetry collection OR story collection
  27. _ happily ever after
  28. _ unhappily ever after 
  29. _ children's book
  30. _ translated into English from another language
  31. _ a book under 250 pages
  32. _ book over 500 pages
  33. _ a book over 800 pages
  34. _ A book that has been filmed as movie, miniseries, or television show
  35. _ memorable heroine
  36. _ memorable hero
  37. _ British author
  38. _ Irish author OR Irish setting
  39. _ Scottish author OR Scottish setting
  40. _ American author
  41. _ reread
  42. _ book with a subtitle (the longer the better!)
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


I will only choose a minimum of 4 books, seeing I'm a slow reader and I need time to construct my costumes, thus Option D.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Making a Georgian Costume Part 2 - Caraco Jacket and Skirt

So continuing on with my journey of constructing a Georgian costume.

Once the corset and hip /bum pad were completed I decided to make a Caraco Jacket, which is short
version of an 'a la francaise' (without pleats) that end at the hip, giving the look of a peasant jacket.

Many months before I found this gorgeous fabric which I felt was perfect, (for me), for a Caraco Jacket.  The teal quilt fabric is designed by Di Ford-Hall and is part of the Bally Hall collection sold by Andover Fabrics online.  However I was fortunate I could buy it at my local Quilt Shop.

I am one of those costumers, who needs a paper pattern to work off. I had the American Duchess / Simplicity Outlander inspired Pattern 8161, but it did not have the peplum. So I went to Janet Arnold's 'Patterns of Fashion 1' to seek inspiration and a pattern. So to achieve the look I combined the Simplicity and Janet Arnold Pattern to get the look I wanted.

I decided to use the peplum from the B Caraco Jacket describe in Janet Arnold's book, on page 26 and 27.

I combined the Janet Arnold peplum pieces to Simplicity's Outlander inspired paper pattern. It all worked out quite well. So this simple solution has given me the confidence to think about combining patterns in the future.

Lastly the petticoat was to be made.  I used Simplicity's pattern for this, very straight forward and clear instructions.  At first I didn't know what colour to choose, thankfully I had a friend help me choose a mustard yellow to complement the gold highlighting the birds in the Bally Hall fabric.

Our cat, admiring my finished outfit. 

Stay tuned for Part 3 - the accessories.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Making A Georgian Costume - Part 1 The Corset B4254 Butterick

Gosh it's been a long time since I last posted.  No wonder I have had to make a robe for my mother, and for myself a major Georgian outfit from scratch. And of course life it's self happens.

Like anything one has to begin with the foundations of the outfit. So I needed to make Georgian
stays. I purchased the B4254 Butterick Making History Corset Patterns chose to make corset B.

Corset A and B are virtually the same, except corset B allows the wearer to put the corset on by themselves, because it is laced at the front as well as the back. This is what I wanted.

I don't know why I made the decision to hand sew the corset.  Maybe I wanted more control, maybe I wanted to know what it was like to hand sew a corset, maybe I wanted to know what the dressmakers of the time went through.  It was a good idea at the time, but half way through my poor hands were complaining.  Overall I am glad I made this decision. Now that I look back, I really appreciate my corset more.

4 Layers were used.
Top layer - Violet Jacquard Suiting
Middle layer - Grey upholstery fabric
3rd Layer - Interfacing
4th Inner Layer - Purple Cotton

I used spiral steel boning. Which is fairly easy to cut with little pliers. 

A sample of my hand sewing. 

The end product!

Overall I was very happy with the corset. The only changes I made to the Butterick pattern was to add more boning in the chest area.

I do realise my binding is better on the left hand side.  The binding on the right, is rather dodgy.

I find it very comfortable to wear the stays and I can drive in them really well. Bonus!  Overall the instructions were great and well illustrated.  I hope to make the other 3 corsets at a later day.  I recommend this pattern to a sewer who has some experience in making a corset.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Book Review - The Button Box

The Button Box: The Story of women in the 20th Century, told through 
the clothes they wore
By Lynn Knight
Vintage Penguin Random House

What an absolute delight to read Lynn Knight's social history book on buttons.

Knight reflects on a collection of button's in a shoe box that have been passed down in her family.

In each chapter, a button is selected. Knight writes about the buttons connection with her family and with its connection with fashion and society.

An assortment of buttons like a shoe button, baby button, jet button. Mackintosh button, coat button. And my personal favourite the toggle button are just a small selection of buttons she discusses.  When I see a toggle button, I automatically think of the childhood book character, Paddington Bear.

Each chapter intertwines history and quotes, accompanying stories of her family.  The Button Box is an excellent book to illustrate to the reader that the humble button is not just there to help us wear our clothes, the button is there to also tell a story.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Liebster Award!

Thank you so much to the lovely lady over at the Zeitenzauberin Blog for nominating me for a Liebster Award.  Her blog is full of her journeys into making historical costumes, so check it out.

So firstly I need to state what the rules of the Liebster Awards.

1) Thank the person who nominated you and link to her / his blog.
2) Answer the 11 questions
3) Nominate 3-11 new blogs with less than 300 flollowers
4) Come up with 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
5) Include the Rules in your 'Liebster Award Post'.
6) Include the 'Liebster Award' logo.

1. How much space do you have for your hobby? Do you have a sewing room?

I am very fortunate, I have a small room that I classify as my sewing room, also I use the dining room table, when I need to spread out fabric for cutting.

2. Which is your favourite piece of all time?

My favourite piece of all time, would be the Titanic Dress. 
It was a pain to make, but I felt I did an excellent job, 
working with chiffon for the first time. 

3. How old were you when you caught the sewing fever?

I only caught it recently at the age of 44.

4. In which era do you spend the most of your historical costuming time and why?

Regency, because in the past I visited the Jane Austen Festival Australia.  I also run the Melbourne Regency Picnic.  I love the this time period, unfortunately I don't always look the best in Regency attire. 

5. Is there something you didn't dare to make so far, but really can't wait to try?

A Georgian corset, I have only just started, and I think I am mad.  I am hand sewing it! Would like to make an 'Outlander' inspired costume. 

6. Which other hobbies do you have besides sewing?

I have a passion for Science Fiction, especially the TV series Doctor Who. I have loved Science Fiction since I was a child.  Thanks for this hobby I have made many friends, been to many Sci Fi Conventions and even met many actors who have been in Sci Fi TV shows. 

7. How long do you research before starting a new project?

Ashamed to say I hardly research before hand, it's pretty poor really.  I need to improve on this stage of the process.

8. Why are you writing a blog about your sewing adventures?

The blog is a record for me, but also I like to share my journey with others.

9. What is your families opinion of your hobby?

They think it's great!  They are glad I have finally found 'my calling'.  

10. If sewing is not your main job, what is?

I work in a library and I do volunteer work at Rippon Lea House & Garden here in Melbourne. 

11. How many pieces are on your UFO Pile?

Too many LOL.  
 - Edwardian Corset
 - Regency Spencer
 - Georgian Pannier
 - 1960's Style Dress
 - 1960's Style Jacket

So I nominate the following 3 blogs for the Liebster Award. 

Confessions of a Cosplay Girl
My Questions to the Nominees 

1) When did you start sewing?
2) Are you self taught or did you have lessons?
3) Do you have a sewing room?
4) What time period do you like to make costumes from the most?
5) What has been your best costume to date?
6) Are there any costume designers you admire?
7) What other hobbies do you have, besides sewing?
8) If there was anything you could make, what would it be?
9) Do you research your costumes?
10) What is in your UFO pile?
11) What would be your favourite costume drama / movie ?