Edwardian Fashion at the Biltmore Estate

For my birthday, my parents gave me tickets to the Biltmore Estate - the North Carolina version of Highclere Castle - so that I could attend the "Dressing Downton" exhibit that's on through May. Best. Present. EVER! So of course, I knew I had to go in costume. My birthday present to myself was this Edwardian-inspired dress made using Simplicity 1517, and I had an absolute blast debuting it last Saturday!

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There are still some alterations that I'd like to make before I consider it "finished," namely: adjusting the straps on the corset to fit more tightly, attaching the overdress to the bodice so that it's all one piece, and tacking the lace sleeves to the corset straps. I definitely need to iron the hem on the skirt and potentially add a border for length since I seem to have cut it a tad too short, but I may leave it as it is. Before I wear it again, I'd like to find some nice, period-appropriate hair piece and make/ buy a purse that goes with the outfit better than the basic, black velvet purse I brought along to carry my phone and my money. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Maleficent: I want ALL the costumes!!

Despite having made absolutely no progress on any of the costumes I mentioned in my last post (Lady Sif or an Edwardian ensemble), I'm already having costume fantasies about the movie "Maleficent." Besides being an absolutely brilliant film with a story to make you swoon, the costumes were. Freaking. AMAZING. My desire to channel Maleficent is intense, but as I am not an Amazoness ala Ms. Jolie, I thought I might be able to pull off a pretty decent child Maleficent. (I am, after all, a mere 4'10").


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The dress itself would be simple, and straightening my hair would be no trouble at all. I even have the right shade of lipstick! The real hassle would be the wings and the horns. Does anyone know of a good tutorial for making feathered wings and artificial horns? The pointed ears I can do - they'll take some work, but I've seen tutorials for those and I'm pretty confident they wouldn't be too hard. But I've never attempted wings, and while I could probably flub some workable horns, I would love insight from anyone who's either made such before or has seen resources that might be helpful!
bella beloved

It's been a troll's age!

We're getting closer and closer to summer (thank the gods of the sewing room), and I'm starting to think about costuming again. We have an excellent little con here to the Carolinas that I'm desperate to go to, and I'm like some interesting outfits to wear. Two years ago, I went as Effie and was quite a hit despite the ensemble being rather haphazard; this year, I'd like something (or someTHINGS) that is/are a bit more professional and... well, cooler!

I've wanted to do River Song's "The Wedding of River Song" outfit for a while now. I love the eye-patch "drives" and the fact that the outfit itself is kickin' as well as sexy without being revealing. After some suggestions a while back from fellow costumers and friends, I'm thinking that I can make the outfit uniquely mine by adapting Simplicity 2172. The "coat" and skirt pieces would need to be shorter and that hideous ruff around the collar would have to go, but the look isn't immensely far off, and with the right shoes, the hair, and the eye-drive, I don't see why it couldn't work. Suggestions? Better ideas?

I also recently learned about a pub uptown called "Valhalla" that has sparked in me an intense desire to show up in my Asgardian best to demand an ale. After some "Thor" rewatches, I've decided that a Lady Sif costume would be pretty neat, but I have no idea how to go about creating faux armor. I know some of you have done that sort of thing before: perhaps you could lead me towards some tutorials or videos that I might peruse?

Otherwise, it's definitely high time I put together an Edwardian ensemble to celebrate the brilliance that is "Downton Abbey." I had hoped to have a Downton-themed birthday tea this year, but considering my birthday is less than a month away and I'm up to my neck in grading and end-of-term preparations, there's now way that that's going to happen. So I'll keep my hopes up on that coming to fruition sometime in the future.

Superhero Day? You don't say!

It has been ages since I've posted here, and I'm afraid that I am terribly out of date with the costumes that I've completed. I will work on a "catch up" post with my finished Regency gown and a few other small items, but I am currently contemplating a new project and I am in need of feedback!

A friend-of-a-friend recently pointed me towards an upcoming, local event; the city's hockey team is sponsoring a "Superheroes Day," and they're looking for people to show up in costume! I could care less about hockey, but they had me at "costumes." If I can get a few other friends to come along and join in the shenanigans, so much the better! But I haven't done a superhero costume since middle school when I went for Halloween as Sailor Neptune. So who should I be??

So far, I've had two separate friends suggest Wonder Woman (I'm flattered that they think I can pull this off) and another suggest Black Widow. I still have my red wig from my Melisandre cosplay that I could use for Black Widow, but the outfit itself wouldn't be particularly recognizable (being essentially a black body suit with utility belt). Wonder Woman could be fun, but I'm not sure that I could pull it off in the time I have. The event is on November 30th.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to which superheroes could be fun and how I could pull them off? What props would I need? What could I substitute for some of the more complicated pieces of the ensembles? And I am NOT above doing gender-swapped cosplay; if I thought I could put together a femme Loki before the 30th, I might just do it!

Concerning bonnets!

I'm finally at a place where I can start contemplating my accessories for my Regency ensemble! I've settled on the fabric for the gown, and now I'd like to begin planning my bonnet. I have a lovely (wiiiiiiiiide-brimmed) straw hat from World Market that I'd like to repurpose for the occasion, but I'm stuck on whether or not to keep the straw crown of the hat or to include a softly-gathered fabric piece.


I'm going to trim the brim so that it's about 3 inches thinner than it is now, and I'll probably shape the brim as it nears what will be the neck so that it has the tapered, Regency bonnet look. I'll likely have to put some sort of binding around the rim so that it doesn't unravel any further, but beyond that, should I keep the straw crown or add fabric?

In other words, it can look like this:


Or this:


Either way, the crown will be trimmed in ribbon which will drape down the sides for tying at the chin. I may even add some decorative bits like some fake flowers.


Wherein my birthday gown is quickly becoming an Ang Lee replica (...sort of)!

The best part of my bizarre (read: playing hostess to my dad's friends, running random errands, and taking care of my elderly gran) weekend came while I was out with my aunt. We went to the local Super Walmart (better known as "Consumer Hell"), and I took  advantage of the opportunity to check out their fabric stash. Many Walmarts in our state have eliminated the fabric section, so it's quite nice to have this one around. And lo! I found a lovely, blue jacquard that I plan on using for my birthday tea gown:


NOTE: The color is, in fact, a bit darker than it comes out in this photo.

And the greatest bit is, I bought this for $3/yard! This would have been the most expensive part of the construct for this outfit as I had to purchase 4.5 yards, but I only ended up paying about $15 for this plus the blue thread to accompany it. Score!

My conundrum now, however, is whether to go through with my plan of making an accompanying spencer jacket. I had originally planned on a neutral-toned dress with a blue spencer, but now I'm thinking that too much blue would be problematic. My options seem to be A) to forgo the jacket altogether, or B) to make it in another color completely. But what color? I'll be wearing it in April, which in North Carolina tends to be quite warm. Thus, necessity will not actually demand the wearing of a jacket. I'll also be wearing it in London, but even there, I don't anticipate particularly chilly weather. Thoughts?

It also occurs to me that I have inadvertently chosen a color and a pattern that will greatly mimic Eleanor's day gown from Ang Lee's 1995 adaptation of "Sense & Sensibility." See?


Now, granted, her gown is not made of a jacquard but rather a muslin or broadcloth. But the colors are very similar, and the cut of the neckline and the waist will be pretty darn close. Plus, I have a sheer, white scarf with flower embroidery that I plan to wear tucked into aforementioned neckline, rather like Miss Dashwood. Thus, I rest my case :D

Historicity request!

I may be fishing by asking for a "historicity" check, but I would love some feedback!

The following piece of jewelry came to me in a bag of costume pieces from a lovely lady at the religious center I worked at while studying at university. I've always thought it was lovely, but I've had trouble finding suitable clothing to wear with it. Now that I'm planning my Regency outfit and thinking about sticking to a "blue" color theme, I'm wondering whether this wouldn't be a nice accessory to add to the mix.


I'll be doing some research of my own, but as I know that there are some informed costumers lurking about, can anyone guide me towards an opinion on whether this would be fitting for a Regency gown ensemble? My thanks, mes amis, in advance!

NOTE: the picture doesn't do the proportions justice, but this is a choker.

Resolutions for the new year... and some Regency-inspired hair!

Most people put together a list of resolutions for the new year, half-heartedly committing to seeing them done. They usually (in my case, at least) include losing weight, being nicer to strangers, etc. And while I have a few of those - the weight one in particular - I've also put together a list of sewing/crafting resolutions to see me through the entirely of 2013.

My biggest project (and the one which would need to be completed sooner than the rest) is the Regency ensemble that I hope to have done for my birthday on April 17. In honor of the occasion, I am inviting a few close friends to afternoon tea at a local hotel that does a really lovely spread, and to top all, I at least will be in my Austen-inspired best! I've always wanted a reason to make a dress like Elizabeth Bennett, and this will be the impetus to move me along.

While I'm still in the process of settling on a pattern and although I have yet to even begin thinking about fabric, I've been playing around with little things that fit into my busy schedule. One of those is the hair, because one does not simply don a Regency-era gown and go around with a ponytail! Heavens, the scandal. So I found a YouTube video with a tutorial that makes a decent up-do, and I tried it out.
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I desperately need to start picking out colors, figuring out which corresponding undergarments it would be feasible to tackle in that time span, and get to work on the accessories (a bonnet and reticule, at the very least). As soon as I have updates, they shall be posted, post haste!

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WoTD: a Renaissance array

I'm happy to say that I was able to put together a workable version of my Renaissance Faire outfit in time for attendance last weekend. And thank goodness, too, as it'll be the last chance this year I have to go! I am, in general, happy with the way it turned out. However, there are quite a few things that need fixing and updating, and I would be very glad of some C&C!


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And that's that! For now, at least. My next costuming project will have to wait until after the holiday season; I've planned far too many crafty Christmas gifts to justify taking time out to sew for myself. But I'm hoping that next up "On the Dress Form" will be a Regency gown, something I've wanted for quite a long time. So here's to hoping!