A Sp00ktacular Halloween

Halloween has officially come and gone! Luckily I was able to grab some photos in memorandum. 
Before class, I went to participate in the Halloween Party at the student commons. I really had a great time and was surprised with all of the activities they had there for the college students: photo booth, picking out your own pumpkin and painting it, a murder mystery, face painting, a fondue fountain with other snacks, and of course free candy by the coulduron! By the time class let out at 1:45, I headed on over to the local mall and visited my mom at her store and volunteered an hour to help around and get stuff ready for the holidays. 
For my daytime costume, I was torn between what to wear. I had specifically made a Victorian gown  but at the same time, I wanted to wear my new 1790's pelisse jacket that I've made earlier this year, but have never written about OR worn. In the end, I decided on both, because why not? No rules apply to how many costumes you can wear on Halloween…

Plaid Olive 1880 Bustled Walking Dress

There's 2 weeks until Halloween and I have nothing to wear! 

Well, that's not entirely true. Sure I have a lot of cosplays and a whole wardrobe full of 18th and early 19th century dresses at arm's length (get the pun?), however that's my dilemma: I have so many outfits, I just can't decide what to wear! 

Ultimately, I've decided to just go with my new outfit I'm working on. This is mostly because I've already got 5 yards of fabric that was in the queue to be another victorian gown, and given that I live and work in an old Civil War/ Victorian town anyway, why not wear it for Halloween?

Choice of Fabric: Olive/Purple Tartan Plaid shirt fabric; purple quilting cotton fabric (lining for the jacket)
Pattern: Simplicity 1558 and Truly Victorian

Year: 1885

Notions: hooks & eyes; purple cotton thread, snaps, buttons, ribbon (to make bow for back of the jacket), binding tape

Historical Accuracy: The pattern is as close to accurate for that time…

"Black Widow" 1812 Mourning Gown: Part 2

When I last left off on this project, I had shared the history of the mourning gown in the United States and western Europe as well as the concept idea of why I was making this gown. Here is the finished result, and for the record I am really loving the Autumn sunlight cause it really makes the dress bolder in the photos (especially with an old SD450 digital camera.) 

To make the gown, I used the 1809 dress pattern from Period Impressions. This is a really neat and easy to follow pattern (even better with the detachable sleeves offered). But because I misplaced the long sleeves I omitted using the puffy sleeves and went for a different style (my 18th century JPR sleeve pattern). It gave the outfit a different look altogether, which I favored.  
In addition to making some alterations, I also decided to simplify the decorations with just some braided trim. This would allow me to pair the dress up with other jackets or dusters with ease and not just make this gown strictly f…

Otakon 2017 (It's much bigger on the inside)

Wow, what a weekend! Where do I begin?

This year, Otakon 17 has been moved from Baltimore, to Washington DC. This means bigger space and more things to see and do. However when my husband and I arrived at the Washington Convention Center, we were awestruck with what we saw. The convention center was so large compared to the BCC in Baltimore, that it was like stepping inside the Tardis from Doctor Who (bigger on the inside); in addition to the WCC, Otakon also had events running in the Marriott next door! As a result, Otakon surprisingly not crowded at all this whole weekend! 
The second thing about the convention that was new, were the bag inspections at the door. Given the recent incident at a convention in Phoenix ComiCon this past May, a lot of conventions have now taken security measures by conducting weapons and bag checks; as a result of how smooth the line moved from outside to the check in counters, things went by very fast. Speaking of lines going by very fast, throughout th…

1885 Victorian Day Bodice Part 2

Previously, I was working on my first mock-up of the 1885 Curisas Victorian day jacket by Truly Victorian. While following the pattern instructions (lining, interlining, boning, etc.) I realized that with the undergarments and corset in place, it would be a bit uncomfortable for me to wear; as a result I decided to just cut and sew the outer fabric and the lining together. The form of the jacket would fit around the corset just fine. In fact, the whole jacket came together nicely enough to get started on the real project. 
As I've mentioned in my recent post, I did a lot of research on the types of prints that women wore during the late Victorian bustle era; to my understanding and what I've seen in fashion pictures on Pinterest, there was a wide selection that matched either the wearer's preference or whatever was remotely fashionable at the time. For example, there was LOTS of plaids, stripes, floral prints, etc. Sometimes the outfit was a plain solid color, but the maj…

1812 Mourning Gown "Black Widow" :: Part 1

Last year at Baltimore Comic Con, a friend of mine asked me if I was interested in joining her and a few friends in possibly doing a federal period variant of the Marvel Avengers. Excited, I immediately knew who I could cosplay as: Black Widow. 
To give you a broad idea of customs in the 18th and 19th century, when a loved one died, the people closest to the deceased would go into a period of mourning. While we still traditionally will wear black at funerals, we'd only wear the outfit for that one day. In the time of our ancestors, they'd wear black, gray, or purple for months-sometimes years. Case in point, when Queen Victoria's husband passed away, she wore her mourning clothing all the way up until her own death. Mourning clothing was also very expensive; having all of your clothing either overdyed black or had to buy a new wardrobe of mourning clothing was very financially taxing (especially for those who were in the lower class). 
Full Mourning
The wearing …

Mini Millinery

Looking back at my internship last month at Margaret Hunter's Millinery Shop in Colonial Williamsburg, I recall seeing a lot of beautiful silk and decorated straw hats and bonnets. There was even this peculiar-looking bonnet called a Calash Bonnet which was modeled after a french 18th century convertible carriage with the same name.

This Summer, I decided to give one of my straw hats a makeover. I removed the red ribbon from my straw hat and replaced it by adding trim with some white tape and green bows made from fabric. I also added some paper flowers that I got from the Francaise Ball the year prior. I really love how this hat turned out. With using just fabric instead of ribbon, it gave the hat a new personality and I can wear it with most of my outfits rather than just one or two jackets.