18th century · Puget Sound Ladies Costume Society · Reenactments

Happy Dress Like a Georgian Day!

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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!

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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!).

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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. 😉

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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. 😉

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1850s · Reenacting · Reenactments

Queen Vickie’s Birthday and Black Chantilly Lace

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I spent a lovely day in the 1850s up at Fort Nisqually for our annual May event, “Queen Victoria’s Birthday.” This year’s event was a little different, as we had an artisan fair, where reenactors were invited to sell some of their wares. I didn’t make too much on my costumes (Etsy, here I come!), but I did come home with this fabulous Victorian black chantilly lace jacket.

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I call this my “Naughty Victorian” pose . . .

Isn’t it fantastic!?

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It was Auntie B’s and she gave it to me on the condition that I would make her a new dress (of course I said yes).

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I also tried on this fabulous cashmere repro shawl. I think I might just have to get it, look how well it goes with my outfit!

Of course, the day wasn’t all spent shopping and trying things on. My reenacting bestie, Nona, was able to make it, which was super fun. Here she is in the new chicken coop (isn’t it amazing with that woven roof!?), fearless among the fowl.

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This is gonna sound really weird, but I kinda have a chicken phobia. I’m scared of being pecked, and their feet are hideous. I do like eggs, though, so I guess they have their value. 😉

Anyways, I’m headed down to Portland tomorrow for a vintage brunch, which I’m really looking forward to! I do need to get my beauty sleep, however. I tell ya, being this fabulous is exhausting!

1850s · 1850s sewing · 1860s · Dress · Finished! · Reenactments

The Spring Ball

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Readers, yesterday was probably one of the best nights of my life. The combination of great food and friends, excellent conversation, amazing costumes, and fun historic dancing made the Spring Ball probably my favorite reenactment to date! I now understand what all those gaggles of giggly girls in Jane Austen novels are so excited about!

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Anyways, I did finish the dress (and thank you all so much for your lovely comments while I was working on it this week!), although I was sewing up to about a half hour before I left. Making a reproduction ballgown in a week while also working full-time is something I definitely do not reccommend. But, it came out so fabulously and fulfilled a personal sewing goal of mine – to make a ballgown.

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By far, the most time-consuming thing was the bertha (which is the front swoopy thing on the bodice). I decided to make a tucked bertha, as I’d read that this was the most common style during the project. And since I got so many questions from the ladies last evening on how I made this (surprisingly, the guys were not interested in this, lol) I thought I would try my best to describe it, as in my mad rush to finish this thing, I forgot to take progress pictures. Anyways, I basically made a bodice facing piece that would go on the outside (those familiar with modern sewing techniques have, no doubt, encountered facings). I cut this out of cotton batiste, and then sewed rows and rows of bias strips of fabric to this. I then sewed lace around the edge, and finally, pinched the whole thing in the CF, so it looks like I have two swoops going on. This whole process is very similar to what Katherine did on her Eugenie project ballgown, which you can read more about here. The results are lovely, but very time consuming, and was the most labor-intensive part of the whole dress.

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Now is the time when I must confess that this is not actual silk. I just couldn’t justify the expense of $20/yard silk taffeta for a dress I will probably wear once a year. Instead, this is a really good fake iridescent silk that – get this – only cost me $5 for all 6 yards of it. It was an amazing thrifted find last year, and the lace on the dress (6 yards @ $3/yard) cost more than the dress! With thread and notions added in, I probably spent around $30 total on this project. Not bad!

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As for the accessories, I wore my grandmother’s pearl necklace (from 1943! Eep!) and the head decoration was made by one of the gals at the museum. I won it in January at the silent auction (when I knew I would be going to the ball) and the white and pink coordinate perfectly with the dress.

My plate also matched my dress, so of course we had to get a picture of that!

A plate is an accessory, right?
A plate is an accessory, right?

Anyways, I came home exhausted last evening and am still recovering today (the whole moving the clocks forward thing is defintely not helping!). My feet seem to be healing, they were quite sore from having danced almost every dance last evening. There were a shortage of gents (as there usually are at these types of events), so some of us gals had to pir up. Which inevitably led to more silliness and fun. 😉

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As for my next project? I’ll be working on a reproduction 1940s novelty dress, so skipping ahead about 100 years in terms of fashion history. Should be a fun little project, with way less fabric!

1850s sewing · Millinery · Reenacting · Reenactments

The 1859 Ladies Tea

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I’m finally recovering from all the fabulousness that was this past weekend’s Ladies Tea. For those of you new to this annual reenactment I do, members of the public buy tickets to the tea and for $15 get a delightful afternoon of tea, desserts, and entertainment by reenactors. It’s held every year in February as a fundraiser for Fort Steilacoom, and this year I had the crazy idea to help co-organize it. Readers, I now understand why “Event Planner” is a job. I mean, if there was ever a girl that needed a drink in the history of girls needing drinks, it would be me.

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Girl that needs a drink

Despite this, the event was a ravishing success and our biggest tea ever. I had planned for 30 guests, made 35 tartlets (just in case) and was stunned when I arrived and was told we had 48 guests!

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Of course, the event could never have been such a success without the help of some of our youngest reenactors that volunteered to be servants. Look how cute they are!

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Child servitude FTW!

We also had a hat and bonnet display in the main parlor area. Here’s a shot of some of the quilted bonnets:

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I also re-trimmed my straw hat. This style is actually named after me. Yes, random annaintechnicolor trivia fact: I have a straw hat named after me, you can buy it here if interested. 😉

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Finally, thanks for all the career well-wishes on my last post! I actually just got a promotion this week, and will now be working with some of the big-wigs where I get to wear pearls and heels every day. It should be a challenge (I didn’t mean the wearing of heels, although that can sometimes be a challenge for me), and I’m really looking forward to it, so no more texting on the job. Not that I ever did that to begin with, of course. 😉

1850s sewing · Blogging · Contemporary Pattern · Finished! · Holidays · Modern Sewing · Musings · Pattern · Personal · Reenacting · Reenactments · Regency era costuming · Vintage

2012 – Sewing Year in Review

I thought it would be fun to do a sewing year in review, and when I saw the Top 5 of 2012 idea  on Kim-ing (who in turn got it from Crafting a Rainbow) I knew that would be a perfect way to reflect on my sewing projects from this year! So, here we go . . .

Top 5 Favorites

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1. Red suspender skirt. I wore this one twice. Once at the 1938 picnic, and then again for my vintage photoshoot. I’ve always wanted a suspender skirt, and to have one in red that I made myself from a vintage pattern just puts a smile on my face.

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2. Graduation dress for Lauren. This was my first modern dress commission, and I’m so pleased with how it came out. Best of all, Lauren loves it and says she got so many compliments during her party, so yay!

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3. Regency short stays. So proud of myself for venturing into another era in terms of costuming, and I love that I used all natural, nerdy historic textiles for this one and made my own hand-made eyelets.

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4. A frock for the end of summer. I love this little dress, and when I wore it downtown this past summer, I got so many lovely compliments.

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5. My sheer-yoked Macaron. Love this cute little dress and I can’t wait to have another occasion to wear it to.

Top 5 Sewing Fails

1. Rachel Berry Halloween dress. You think I would have started this one sooner, but no. In my defense, I was still adjusting to working full-time.

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2. Speaking of work, my next sewing fail is the skirt I made for work. I’ve only worn it once as the fabric has stretched (that’s what you get for using a cheap poly-blend that’s on sale).

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3. Mid-19th century corset I made this past summer. I used cheap cotton sateen from Joanns and some of the bones were too long, so they kept popping out (despite the fact that I used cotton twill tape to bind it).

4. Not altering that red vintage dress in time to wear for my Christmas party. The bodice is a bit too big and will need a bit of work, so I wore a polka-dot dress instead.

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5. My Regency dress for Bastille Day. I wore this one once and it looks like I’m being choked.

Top 5 Lessons Learned

1. I don’t need to have a new dress for every reenactment. This used to be a huge thing for me, and I would stress myself out the week before a reenactment to finish a new dress. I’ve learned this year that well put-together, historically accurate dresses (like my green wool fan-front) are worth the effort and will get more wear then something hastily thrown together.

2. You can’t care somebody into caring or love somebody loving. Not sewing related, I know, but it’s one of the huge lessons that I learned in 2012.

3. On a similar note, sometimes it’s best to let things go and do what’s best for you. I know that sounds selfish, and maybe it is, but, at the end of the day, you only get one life. I guess what I’m trying to say is: don’t give up your dreams for a boy. 😉

4. Ok, back to sewing now. I’ve also learned that I have too much fabric and will never have time to sew it all into fabulous things. I’ll probably be giving a lot of it away at some point . . .

5. Sorry! I can’t think of another lesson I’ve learned (I’ll blame it on the 3-day sinus headache I’ve had). If/when I do, I’ll add it to the comments, okay? Okay. 🙂

Top 5 Blogs/Bloggers that Inspire

1. The Fashionable Past by Katherine C-G. Katherine is an amazing costumer and I’m continually inspired by her productivity level!

2. Gertie’s New Blog For Better Sewing. Basically, this is my dream. Blog takes off and you get a book deal. Oh, and Gertie is also on sewing tv shows and wears fabulous repro vintage items that she’s sewn herself.

3. Vixen Vintage. I had the privelege of getting to meet Solanah this past summer at the 1938 picnic and she is every bit as fabulous in-person as she is on her blog. Solanah dresses vintage every day and she’s been one of my big style inspirations since I started getting into vintage style back in 2009.

4. Elegant Musings. I just adore Casey (in a fellow seamstress, vintage-enthusiast way).

5. And, finally, My Friends Are Married. Not necessarily a sewing blog (ok, it’s not at all a sewing blog), but it’s so hysterical and makes me not feel so bad about being single. 😉

Top 5 Goals for the New Year

1. Finish my UFOs! This includes the Rachel Berry Halloween dress, which is currently still in pieces.

2. Host a giveaway.

3. Wear more vintage and sew more with vintage patterns. I sorta got my feet wet (so to speak) with the suspender skirt, but I have a plethora of vintage patterns in my stash that I would love to use.

4. Write/film more tutorials. I have a ton of ideas for hair tutorials, which I’m really hoping to get filmed in 2013.

5. Move out of my parents house! 😉

Finally, this will be my last post of 2012 (fitting, don’t ya think?), as I’ll be taking a bit of a blogging break. If all goes to plan, I should be back next year (which is also coincidentally next week) with a giveaway! Until then, Happy New Year!

1850s · Holidays · Reenacting · Reenactments

Candlelight Christmas, 1859

Stringing popcorn!
Stringing popcorn!

Yesterday evening was my last reenactment of the year, Christmas at Fort Steilacoom. This event was a “candlelight” one, meaning that it took place at night, was solely 1st person (so, we stayed in character), and the audience was ignored. Not in a rude way, of course! The purpose in that is to make the audience feel as if they have actually time-travelled and are glimpsing upon the past.

Anyways, I wore my red wool basque (along with several other layers of wool), and green plaid shawl.

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I had a really lovely time, playing the Colonel’s engaged daughter. We spent the evening lighting the Christmas tree (with real candles!), singing carols, and reading a letter from my fake fiancee. Oh, and after the event was over and all the spectators had left, we had an impromptu dance party. Yep, that’s how us reenactors roll.

I finally got my arse in gear and got my gits made (I ran out of time to complete them for last weekend’s Christmas event). I made both homemade gingerbread loaves using this recipe (the packaging is also Martha Stewart he hee) and Victorian needlebooks using the instructions in Fanciful Utility.

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Speaking of Victorian needlebooks, head on over to The Sewing Academy if you’re interested in either making your own or winning one in a giveaway!

Also, in a random little note, this is my 100th post here on anna in technicolor! I’m thinking a giveaway may be in order. 😉

Holidays · Reenacting · Reenactments

A 19th-century Christmas

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Yesterday was this year’s last event at Fort Nisqually, 19th century Christmas. This event is always one of my favorites, as everyone dresses up in their best 1850s garb (can you say plaid wool dresses!?) and the Fort is so beautifully decorated. That being said, this year’s Christmas event was bittersweet as it was the last one for our event coordinator, so there was a lovely little farewell party after the event.

Anyways, onto the costumes! I wore my green plaid fan-front dress, but embellished it with a bow I made from red silk taffeta. Also, the food was wonderful. Not only did I get apple pie . . . .

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. . .  but there was also homemade mincemeat pie (with rum butter!) . . .

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. . . and a Christmas pudding!

Our amazing cook setting the pudding ablaze for the ladies.
Our amazing cook setting the pudding ablaze for the ladies.

Anyways, I have another Christmas reenactment next weekend, although I’ll be doing 1859 this time! Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!