Well, readers, today was the completely made-up (yet nonetheless absolutely fabulous) holiday of Dress Like a Georgian Day. For those of you not familiar with costume history, the Georgian period encompassed the years 1714-1830, with a brief stint in the early 19th century for the Regency period (since that tyrant George III went crazy-pants). It’s a period of luxurious fabrics, fluctuating hip size, and powdered wigs, and which definitely deserves its own holiday!
Here in the Pacific Northwest, the Puget Sound Ladies Costume Society paid homage to the occasion with a little tea party (since we ladies do like to party hard!). All of the ladies looked lovely, and it was so fun to see this era brought to life! 18th century fashion history (particularily the 1770s) was my first love when I got bit by the costuming bug, but there aren’t really any events out here in WA state to commemorate this time period (which is one of the reasons PSLCS was created!).
Of course, being annaintechnicolor, I had grand plans of creating a whole 18th century wardrobe from the skin out for just this occasion. Ha! I really don’t know why I kid myself anymore. 😉
So, I decided to go modern with 18th-century inspired touches, which worked out great for me since it was hotter than Hades today. This was my first costume event where I wasn’t dressed up in a costume, and I have to say I don’t feel as guilty about it as I thought I would. Sure, it would’ve been great to wear 5 layers of clothing along with all the other ladies, but with everything else I have on my plate, I’m good on that for now – I’m sure there will be Dress Like a Georgian Day in 2014. 😉
As I mentioned before, due to time constraints, I decided to go Regency. My dress is made from about 3 yards of black and white swiss dot, using Simplicity 4055 (which a few of the other ladies at the picnic had used, as well!). Despite lowering the neckline about an inch, it’s still a bit too high for my personal preference.
The other issue I had (which luckily you can’t see in the photos) is that the dress wouldn’t close all the way in the back. Luckily, the drawstring ties kept it together, but there was a gap back there (and interestingly enough, I always seem to have this issue when I costume for other eras, most recently, my Lady Mary dress for the Titanic tea). Since I can’t lace the stays any tighter to make my top half smaller and I don’t want to go through the bother of taking the dress apart and re-doing it, I’ve decided to let this one go. If anyone is in the market for a Regency dress, please let me know!
The hair was quite an experience! I totally forgot to get a picture of the back of it during the event, but, luckily, my friend, Kristen, snapped a photo of it.
I used this fabulous tutorial for most of it, although instead of pulling the front part of my hair to the back, I curled it, as this was fashionable in the Regency.
Also, I finished the stays on Saturday. I really like them, although this is the first corset I made where I can definitely feel my lungs being pressed together. 😉
Anyways, I’m back to working on mid-19th century stuff for the epic Civil War Reenactment I have coming up this weekend. Seriously, I haven’t been this excited for an event in a long time. Luckily, my fake auntie has decided to rent a hotel room for the occasion, so I won’t be camping out. I’ll get the intense mid-19th century camping out experience next month at Brigade. 😉
I’m buried beneath a pile of costume sewing here at Chez Anna. This Sunday is the Puget Sound Ladies Costume Society Bastille Day Picnic, the weekend after that is my first Civil War reenactment (hard to believe, but I really haven’t been to one of these before), and then 3 weeks after that is the weekend extravaganza known as Brigade Encampment.
So, Bastille Day Picnic. Originally, I had grand plans of making a whole 18th century wardrobe and wearing a Chemise a la Reine (for those interested, you can read more about this garment here), but I realized this past weekend that I only had a week to put an outfit together, and a Chemise a la Reine was just not gonna happen. I mean, I’m a crazy costumer, but I’m not *that* much of a crazy costumer. 😉 Instead, I decided to go with a Regency outfit, since a) the clothes are incredibly simple, b) I already have all of the materials needed for an outfit, so this would be a great stash-busting project and c) I’ve been watching a lot of Jane Austen costume dramas lately.
Anyways, yesterday I went over to Nona‘s and we did a ton of sewing on our Regency costumes, since both of us are new to this era. I started the short stays this past weekend, and almost finished them yesterday, except for the eyelets (which will be done by hand). I’m using the now out-of-print Simplicity 4052. I read a lot of reviews about this pattern before I started sewing and heard that because it’s a Simplicity version of this pattern from Sense and Sensibility, it runs big and to cut out a smaller size. Well, I cut out my regular size 12 (after doing a quick tissue-fitting) and it fits totally fine. I didn’t have any issues at all with the dreaded 4″ of ease that everybody claimed it would have.
So, the short stays are made from 3 layers: the outer fabric is cotton sateen, the interlining is cottom duck, and the lining is pima cotton. The trickiest (actually, it wasn’t tricky, just tedious) part was sewing in the gussets. that, and sewing so many layers of fabric together (especially the cotton duck, which, if you’ve ever worked with it, it’s like tent fabric). I’m used to my machine being pretty loud when sewing, but it was especially loud when working on these yesterday, and Nona asked me if my machine always made that noise when I use it, so I’ve decided to nickname my sewing machine “the clunker.” 😉
Luckily, there wasn’t too much machine sewing, as I spent most of my time hand-sewing the binding to the inside of the lining, using a whipstitch:
I tried these on today, and the fit is so interesting – they’re like a sports bra with the comfy shape (no belly constricting!) AND a push-up bra, since and they push the bust up to give the fashionable Regency “shelf” look where your boobs are basically under your chin. An added benefit is that since there’s so many layers and they’re so stiff, I’m pretty sure they have bullet-proof functions, as well. Pretty important if you’re in a duel with Aaron Burr.
Yeah, I totally just made an Alexander Hamilton duel joke. 😉
I’m just going to skip the part where I apologize profusely for taking so long to post about this fun and fabulous event and go straight to photos of the event itself and the dress I managed to crank out for it. Sound good? Ok!
So, Saturday was the Titanic Centennial Tea, an event hosted by The Puget Sound Ladies Costume Society and headed by yours truly. Readers, it was amazing. The food was delicious, the converstion excellent (we spent most of the time chatting about history nerd stuff, including the ship and reenacting), and the setting was lovely. All of the ladies were so well-dressed, and I was slightly jealous that I didn’t manage to crank out a hat since there were so many whimsical hats there. Oh, well.
So, the dress! It’s made out of a yellow and white poly-cotton striped fabric that I got from one of my best friends, Nona. I managed to finish it the morning of, and ended up having a bit of a wardrobe malfunction in that the dress placket was too tight and the snaps I put in the back wouldn’t stay closed. So, I had daddy safety pin me up in the back before I left. 😉
I probably won’t be making this dress again anytime soon, but I would recommend the pattern (Laughing Moon #104) to others looking for a good Edwardian dress pattern. And combined with lots of lace and some pearls, I was quite pleased with it. Since I was making a yellow version of the Lady Mary Dress, I decided to try my best “Lady Mary indifference” face:
The hair was an interesting experience, as my only experiences with historic hair have mainly been confined to the 1850s/60s or 1940s/50s/60s. I used this fabulous tutorial and was really pleased with the results (so pleased, in fact, that I left it in the style after the tea when I went to go see Titanic in 3D).
Speaking of the re-releasing of the movie and the amount of Titanic Centennial celebrations I’ve seen going on, the cult around the popularity of this shipwreck is really fascinating to me. Of course, the ship itself and its role as sort of a microcosmic view of the world at the time is also fascinating, but I’m really interested in how engrossed we as a culture seem to be in the whole tragedy surrounding. Without a doubt, the 1997 movie helped in this regard (Leo Dicaprio especially), but I don’t think that’s the whole reason. I think the sinking really marked the beginning of the modern age, with WWI beginning 2 short years later.
Interestingly enough, one of the gals at the tea asked me why I had decided to put together a tea to celebrate the centennial, and after jokingly (but somewhat truthfully) saying, “I was dumped!” I told her that I’d always been fascinated by the ship and that this was a good opporotunity to do an Edwardian event. I’ve actually been thinking about this question and my response to it quite a bit the past few days, and I can’t help but wonder: is there something morbid in commemorating the deaths of over 1500 people in a shipwreck a hundred years ago? And if it is, what does that say about commemorating other tragic events of the past, like the Civil War or the American Revolution, which are significantly more commemorated via reenactments? Thoughts on this?
Anyways, more photos can be seen of the event here on the PSLCS blog. We’re planning a Bastille Day Croquet picnic as our next event, probably in July. Definitely looking forward to making an outfit for that!
In researching Edwardian and Titanic styles for the tea, I thought it would be helpful to share what costuming resources I’ve found, in the hopes that this will help those out there who are new to styles from this era (like me!) in putting together an outfit, either for a reenactment or a 100th Titanic anniversary celebration.
One caveat, however: This is by no means an exhaustive list*, so please feel free to comment down below with any resources you yourself may have found!
Past Patterns has several patterns for underthings including corsets, drawers, combinations, and corset covers
Titanic movie costume resources (for those that want to make reproductions of the costumes in the film)
Titanic page from The Costumer’s Guide to Movie Costumes, which has screencaps of the costumes from the movie, as well as short analysis about each (very helpful for those of us new to costuming this era to see what the costume designer of Titanic got “right”)
So remember the “neat development” that I mentioned in my last post? Well, after some grunt work, I can now announce that I’ve started a costume society for us Puget Sound ladies!
The idea came about during last weekend’s reenactment. Fort Steilacoom has a huge field in the front of the buildings, and I always thought that it would be fabulous to do a Regency cricket game there, like in Becoming Jane. Some of the other gals agreed that that would be fun to do, and then I thought of what other eras I would like to costume that I don’t really get the chance to out here, and I immediately knew that I wanted to do a 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic event (since, really, that only happends once and I’ve always wanted to make an Edwardian outfit). So, the costume society was born!
Anyways, I’ve started a blog with more info for those interested. Our first event will be the Titanic tea on April 14th (which works out to be the *exact* 100th anniversary of the sinking) and I’m really excited to put together an Edwardian outfit (I definitely want to do reproduce Kate Winslet wore in the 1997 Titanic, although I’m caught between the yellow walking dress and the green lace breakfast dress with the big rose belt. Thoughts?)
Alright, off to go research Edwardian underpinnings. Hope everyone has a lovely long weekend!