Sunday, September 29, 2013

1920's Hair & Makeup

A rather silly picture of me but this is what I ended up doing for my hair and makeup in my 1920's outfit.  Here is me, posing with Edward & Jacob in the full outfit:

I wish I had stood up straighter. The dress is actually very flattering when I'm not half hunched over. Anyway, my hair is based on two different sources.

I wore my braids a bit further back on my head rather than go full Princess Leia but I really liked the look. Not everyone chopped off their flowing tresses in the 1920's. Many just pinned their hair up tightly at the base of the skull and carried on.

For the make up, I used a smokey eye shadow, a lot of face powder, my normal Burt's Bees lipstick (raisin), and eye liner. The eye liner really is key for the 1920's look.

Hand Puppets


Not the best picture since I took it in the car but I did want to post about the hand puppets I made for my 3 year old nephew. From left to right we have the not so wicked witch, the gingerbread man, Gretel, and Hanzel. Gretel can double as Little Red Riding Hood as well. I had a bit too much fun with the not so wicked witch.

The puppet base is just felt. All the clothing, trim, and yarn were all "scraps". The yarn was that 5 or 6 yards you always have left over after making a scarf or a hat. The trim on the not so wicked witch and on Hanzel (his suspenders for his Lederhosen) were tiny pieces I cut off from other long forgotten projects. Every bit of the cloth is from other, older projects as well. The not so wicked witch's skirt is all pieces of old saris. Gretel's skirt is from the hem of one of my trouser's legs that I made too long. Even the Gingerbread man's buttons were in the button bag - I only bought the felt for the project.

He seemed to like them and I'm sure I'll hear stories of both the 3 year old and the 5 year old playing with the puppets soon enough.

Friday, September 27, 2013

1920's Gown!

More picture Sunday, hopefully, but here's my 1920's gown!   The rusty burgundy (it's not orange like in the photo), underdress is based on this pattern:

No 4257 McCall Printed Pattern - Ladies & Misses Dance Frock - 1920's Vintage Sewing Pattern

The big differences being that a) I didn't dag the back, I made it straight and gathered the back skirt to the back bodice and b)I didn't add the bow. Really, the dress looks like it would be really cute by itself if I just made the skirt gathered all the way around and not have the a-line thing going on in the front. Still, I got a really good pattern from the above photo (I measured, cut it out to my measurements based on the lines in the photo, put it on the dress dummy and "fixed" the pattern slightly so it would fit me).

The overdress is a silk net duppatta that I was told was green but is really a gold/green color. Perfect for fall - which is what I'm trying to go with with this dress - sort of a fall theme.

Originally, I wanted the overdress to be a tabbard style with crinkle gold organza bows at the sides.  However, the only gold organza I have lying around isn't the right color.  Since I'm trying to use stuff I already have or stuff I can get at the thrift store (the rusty burgundy silk underdress was once a pottery barn curtain.  I got it for $5 at the thrift store.) ordering more organza was out of the question.  Instead, I remembered gowns like this fabulous one by BouĂ© Soeurs:

or for something more simple, like this one:

Okay, so that still isn't simple but both have gathered skirts at the sides. I left the actual sides open so you can see the gorgeous duppatta trim, but I also gathered the skirt, stitched up the bodice fits! I cut the neckline with a slight V at the front to show off the plain silk beneath the sheer net and offer some contrast. I think it ended up working well.

Now I have a full 1920's outfit! Yay!

1920's Combinations

The above was the inspiration and taken from this etsy page. They didn't come out exactly correct, but it's not horrible either.

I cut them out of the cotton backing to a silk curtain. The curtain is currently in pieces and about to become the underdress for my 1920's outfit. We'll see how this goes.....

1920's Brassiere

Page 171 if you do a click through

See the brassiere on the left hand side, the second one down? That's the one I ended up making. It's a bit small length wise but fits *perfectly* width wise, which is what matters.

Me in my pj's still. :-) I wanted the photo to be somewhat decent and non scandalous even if it is a post about a bra.

The idea of cup sizes didn't come about until the 1930's. Before that, this is what our grandma's (and great grandma's) wore. Honestly, it's comfortable. It fits sort of like a modern sports bra. The pattern is very basic - typical non darted bodice back with attached straps, a curvy rectangle (the left and right edges are oval shaped) for the front, a small piece of elastic, and some antique lace I had lying around to make it pretty. It laces up the back (makes it easier to adjust) and fits pretty well. I gathered the front piece to the elastic, and then sewed the front piece into the back pieces (the back pieces are doubled for added strength). Add the bit of lace and then sew down the straps. Very simple but gives a proper 1920's look. :-)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Historical Fortnightly #19: Wood, Metal, Bone

Originally, I was just going to recover a parasol but where is the fun in that? I needed to do something ridiculously impossibly challenging because....I need chopines. Actually, I just need new 16th Century shoes in general, but particularly chopines. Italian chopines. None of those "tie a brick to your feet and you are done" Spanish nonsense. Those are not chopines, those are bricks covered in fabric.

I wanted something like this:

Lovely, shaped, chopines wrapped in leather.

So, I needed to start out with wood for the core.  A lot of people have used the cork blocks but all I could find was the yoga ones and they are too small for my feet so, wood.  Pine to be exact.  It was 97 cents per a plank and it happens to be just the width of my foot, so yay!

The pattern sounds complex, but it's simple.   First, trace your foot or your favorite shoe.   In the 16th C, they did have left and right shoes - with straight lasts coming in in the Elizabethan age.  Second, draw out the base.  Now, because all your weight should be in the center of your foot, you need to make a "column" where the center of your foot is.  I measured the longest point and the widest point to get the center location.  I then transferred this to the base as well.  This helps greatly to line up the pieces later since the plank I got isn't that thick.  I had to double the plank.

Because of that, I had to make what I wanted to width of the shoe to be at the center a pattern piece as well.  That's why there are three pieces - the sole, the center, and the foot itself. 
I drew these using pencil on to the plank and cut them out.  The blue is the "top" side of the pattern and the green (probably looks black) is what the bottom side should look like.  This kept me from cutting into the wrong place on the bottom or nicking the top too much. 

A pre-sanded foot!   It didn't need to look perfect ( the marks are from using the chisel while it was face down on the pebbly sidewalk). 

Post sanded and shown with the pieces sandwiched together.  Although the mid to late 16th Century chopines are at an incline, the early ones aren't.  Since I do mostly early 16th C, this made more sense. 
A leather sole!

This is how I drafter the pattern for the leather.  Wrap some fabric really tight, pin it, cut off the excess.  It was a pretty decent pattern. 

This was the not fun part - punching all those hole with my awl along the sole just to attach the leather so I can have....a shoe. 

It's not perfect and I'm going to add some stuff to it before the end of the day but it is wood and metal (I had to use nails.  They are period)



The strap on the left one is a bit wonky and I do have to fix it but, as you can see, there are two! And I can strap them to my feet! Yay!
The Challenge: Wood, Metal, and Bone
Fabric: leather, wood
Pattern:  My own
Year:  1480-1530
Notions: Thread, nails
How historically accurate is it? I *think* it's pretty decent. I don't know as I've never made shoes before.
Hours to complete: 12 hours
First worn: Maybe this weekend
Total cost: Minus the wood crafting tools? 97 cents for the one plank of wood I destroyed. :-) I had the leather (it was an old waist cincher), picture nails, tacks, wood glue, and the leather for the soles as well was just the wood!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hysterical History Bustled Petticoat

The Inspiration:
1870's Bustle Petticoat

Cotton Strawberry Shortcake fabric, Duct Ties, Cotton Twill Tape, Green ribbon.

More Info:

I needed a new bustle. I wanted to go with something 1870's since I'm supposed to be working my 1860's corset and ladies still were wearing their 1860's corsets with the new bustle styles well into the 1870's. (Ie, I wouldn't have to make a new corset for the Bustle Era just to wear bustle dresses) My old bustle was a pillow with a waist tie...which worked but I love the look of the bustle petticoats. Since no one will see the petticoat with whatever dress I'm wearing, why not have a bit of fun with it? I'm not part of a stringent bustle era re-enacting group and I love Strawberry Shortcake.

I bought 3 yards of Strawberry Shortcake fabric and still have enough to make a corset. The back was about 51" before I pleated the channels for the boning. It's roughly 40" long after the channels were sewn. It's really just a big rectangle with pleats - the top pleat being slightly curved. It's also about 22" wide. The front is just a trapezoid, 41" long, with gores on either side of it from the 41" long rectangle I cut them out of. I added twill tape at each of the pleats in the back. The waistband is yet another rectangle with the bustle petticoat gathered to it.  To better explain, here is a picture of the pattern.

It's not a complicated pattern and it only takes an hour to put together. Assuming you sew the twill tapes to the inside and not to the outside accidentally... Luckily, I had only finished one seam and managed to rip it all out and turn the tapes so they faced out, not in.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dairy free, corn free, tomato free PIZZA!

I have been dying for a slice of pizza lately. It's been terrible! So, I figured I'd do something about it. I made pizza. Okay, so it's the Daiya Mozzarella shredded "cheese", pita bread, pepperoni, and olive oil with spices for a sauce. It's awesome. I did put too much salt in the sauce but that is super easy to correct. This dairy free/tomato free/corn free pizza is about like putting together those English muffin pizzas. It's not going to be the best pizza in the world but it will be good enough to eat and call food. Actually, I like the Mozzarella "cheese" better than the cheddar. It tastes a lot closer to what I remember cheese tasting like.


Pita Bread
Daiya Mozzarella shredded cheese
Pepperoni (or any other meats/veggies you want)
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 325F.  Put the Pita bread on a baking sheet.   In a bowl, stir together about 1tbl of oregano, 1/2tbl of basil, 1tea of Salt, and enough pepper to taste with the olive oil.  Brush this mix on to the pita bread.  Place the pepperoni on top of this and then sprinkle on the cheese.  Put in the oven for about 7 minutes.

  Costume stuff up probably tomorrow!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Historical Fortnightly #18: Re-make, Re-use, & Re-fashion

The Challenge:Re-make, re-use, and re-fashion
Fabric: Poly acetate 1950's brocade, duck cloth, and cotton for the lining
Pattern:  The original gown was Simplicity 8735 - that good ole Ever After Pattern. The back of the bodice is the same as the old dress but the front of the bodice is my own pattern and the sleeves are my own as well.
Year:  1520's Italy
Notions: Tin foil looking trim I got at Joanns, silver ribbon, silver rope
How historically accurate is it? It's a lot better than it was but there really isn't a way to make it accurate when it's poly acetate brocade.
Hours to complete: Maybe 6? I wasn't counting this time.
First worn: Tomorrow, hopefully.
Total cost: I think I spent $6 on the trims. The dress was the first Renaissance gown I ever made - and it's from the 20th Century! (Okay, so just barely..)

Research:  First, here's what the gown looked like before I ripped the poor thing apart:

First Gown 001

The real silk organza sleeves were pink only because I threw this into the machine with something red. Originally, the sleeves were silver.

This was my very first attempt at costuming. I had sewn a couple of retro dresses before this for Church but I wanted a Renaissance gown for the Renn Faire. The dresses I liked at faire were all in the $1000 range (now $1800 range as my Mom and I discovered last weekend), but, having learned to sew at that point, I knew I could go on this somewhat new thing called ebay, get a fabric I liked, and then sew up the dress. There had to be a pattern out there like that, right? Did I mention this was back in 1999?

Ever After was the latest "costume" movie and I had to have Danielle's blue library dress. Of course, not really having many pictures of it up on the internet yet and not yet mastering the art of pausing the VCR multiple times ( 1999...), I only remembered two things - it was high waisted and it was blue.

I ended up with something not quite like it but whatever. It worked - I thought. For a grand total of ten minutes. Although I knew nothing of darts and attached sleeves not being accurate for the early 16th C, I did know zippers weren't. Eh, I could cover that up with a coat or my hair, I figured. I made the coat to go with this dress about two projects after this one. I think I sold that poor thing a few years ago.

Anyway, the dress. Oh the dress. Zippers, darts, very odd construction techniques, pink sleeves - it was a complete and absolute disaster to be reworked. I've been wanting to rework it for years - I even saved the larger pieces of brocade to rework it, but I never got around to it until now.

First, I ripped the bodice from the skirt. The skirt itself was okay but I needed to take the front flaps that created a faux overskirt off the main skirt. The faux overskirt panels got cut up to become sleeves, per the images below.

The skirt panels! 
First, I cut a 25" long rectangle from the skirt panel to create the upper part of the sleeve.

It's really hard to tell in this picture, but the lower sleeve, which is a trapezoid, and the upper sleeve are pinned to the other skirt panel so I cut out the second sleeve.  The bottom of the sleeve will be a bit stained because the bottom of the skirt is stained.   Not a big deal, really, as it adds to the idea that this dress is OLD. 

See?  Dirty cuff!   However, the sleeve is now appropriate for the 1520's.  
Back of the dress.

 photo licinio1530ssvigerinne.jpg
 photo licinioca1524.jpg

Above are the inspiration portraits for the remade gown

There really isn't much I can do to make it accurate.  Right now, the gown is at least at a point where I can see myself wearing it to the Renn Faire again.  The cut is correct for the 1520's.  However, the fabric is still very much poly acetate brocade (and not silk like I was told in the ebay listing all those years ago) and it is machine sewn.  I hand sewed the trims on which hides a bit of the machine sewing but still, there is nothing that would get this to accurate. That being written, I have gotten it, I think, to not visibly garish which is a plus within itself.

Since it is my first Renaissance gown, I wanted to keep it in that style and not bother making it into something else of a different era.   I also wanted to get it closer to what the gown was originally intended to look like but with a more accurate cut.  Hopefully, I've gotten it there.  At least it's not in the UFO pile anymore!!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mom's new Renaissance Faire Dress

A few days before the faire, my Mom declared that she wasn't sure what she wanted to wear but that she didn't want anything that would constrict her stomach. Okay, Italian it is!

I went through my fabric stash to see what I had when I realized I had a ton of the teal wool I bought last year from Fabric dot com. It's gorgeous stuff and a dream to work with as I found out. I had planned on making a dress based off this portrait for me:


However, I figured making it for Mom was just as good, right?

I had drafted the bodice using the dummy mummy (a duct tape double I made of Mom a while ago) and the measurements she gave me. The skirt ended up just being two big rectangles since I made the bodice side lacing. The sleeves are a trapezoid on the bottom sleeve and a very large rectangle on top. The top of the sleeve is gathered to a band that can be laced or pinned under the bodice strap. All very simple and it came out pretty elegant looking, I think:

Despite it being above 90F today, Mom wanted to wear the sleeves. She thought the dress was cuter with them. :-) They lasted for about a half hour at faire - which isn't bad. She did get a compliment on her garb which made Mom very happy. She did look cute in it. :-) Of course, she wants something completely different now so back to making something else.