Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Costume

So, my friends and I are big fans of J. R. R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, so when we heard that The Hobbit was being adapted to film and that the lovely and talented Martin Freeman was to play Bilbo, we knew that we absolutely had to go!  A few of us decided to make costumes, but because of time constraints and exams I decided not to.  Last Sunday, I hung out with two of my friends, Kelly and Hannah, who were both planning on making costumes to wear to the movie.  Kelly even brought something that I could wear and Hannah brought a bodice that she had previously made.  I had originally planned on making something like Rosie's dress from Bilbo's birthday party:

With some minor changes and color differences.  However, I just decided to wear Hannah's extra bodice and blouse and make two quick gathered skirts to wear.  We got supplies from JoAnn's and I was able to start and finish the two skirts the next day.  So, suddenly, the Hobbit costume was created!  Last night we went to see the movie and had a great time.  Two of our friends, Kelly and Heather, dressed as elves, while Hannah and I dressed as hobbits.  Here are a few pictures that we took!

If you haven't seen the movie yet, it is an absolute must!  It was extremely well made and, like all of Tolkien's works, highly enjoyable.  I've seen it twice already and I hope to see it more!  Anyway, have a lovely Christmas, everyone, and make sure you do not miss my post on the 1950's Thanksgiving party below!  Happy holidays!

A Very 1950's Thanksgiving

As I said in a previous post, I hosted a 1950's themed Thanksgiving party for a few of my friends.  I wore a real 1950's dress, which was amazingly beautiful and lent to me by my friend, Hannah (in the houndstooth).  We had a grand old time.  Here are some pictures to entertain you!

Just in case you were wondering, this lovely lady in brown is my friend Francesca.  We found out at the party that the 1950's is absolutely PERFECT for her and she looks gorgeous in it!  I just had to show her off a bit :) She also wore a vintage dress borrowed from Hannah, seen in the next picture.

Stay tuned for another update on our outing to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Amateur Cobbler

Yes, you read that correctly--my friend and I are going to delve into the wonderful world of shoemaking!  Armed with reproductions of the book Every Lady Her Own Shoemaker and many varied supplies, we are setting off to encounter the seldom-charted land of cobbling.

Now, as you might have already guessed, this isn't a one-woman job.  My dear friend Hannah (who may be making some guest blog posts soon) came up with the idea to start off, and I decided to run with it.  Because, who doesn't want a pair of custom-made reproduction shoes that you don't have to pay out of the nose for!  I know it's going to be difficult, but I think I'm up to the challenge.  It will definitely be an adventure and a lovely one, at that.  If you follow me on my Pinterest, you'll notice that I've been pinning a few shoes here and there.  Now that the sole leather for my shoes has officially been ordered, I can now begin to plan!  There are so many gorgeous shoes that I want to reproduce.  I shall leave you with a few of them from the Regency and Civil War eras, for those are the ones I'd like to reproduce.  Enjoy!

I absolutely love slippers that have ribbons to lace up the ankles.  These shoes, from 1812, are my special favorites because they feature a square toe (the lasts that I have are square-toed) and they can kind of be worn for Civil War, if I'm sneaky :) I'd be making these out of silk taffeta, lined in linen and bound with silk ribbon.

Another gorgeous green Regency shoe :) These are from 1818 and are a very simple but classic style.  If I was to reproduce these, I'd most likely leave off the fringe.

I absolutely adore these shoes!  Now, I'm not one for the extreme point of some Regency shoes, but the lacing on these and the slight heel just make me want to swoon!

Another gorgeous pair of Regency slippers, also from 1812.  I love the bows on these!  I will definitely be drawing inspiration from them.

I LOVE these Regency sandals!  I have no idea how I would get the pattern correct, so it's definitely low on my list, but I need a pair of these.  They are just so stinkin' adorable!

These 1860's button boots are Hannah's particular favorite, and  once we get the process down we are definitely going to try them out.  And who can blame her?  They're gorgeous!

These are a very good example of a typical side-lacing 1860's boot.  These are made in silk taffeta with leather foxing at the toe and heel.  The pattern for shoes like these are in the book, Every Lady Her Own Shoemaker, so likely they will be the first or second shoes that we try.

1860's red leather slippers.  These are my particular favorite because they have the side seam seen in a lot of Regency shoes, so making a pair like this would kinda-sorta-not-really-don't-quote-me-on-it okay for both time periods.  These will most likely be the first or second shoes that we reproduce because both Hannah and I need PC shoes for Civil War balls (we both already have reproduction boots).

And finally, the most gorgeous pair... cotton sateen boots from 1865.  I absolutely love the foxing, the slight heel, and the rosettes at the toes.  I must attempt these!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Regency Stays of Doom

I am terrible at making stays.  Absolutely horrible.  I am particularly terrible at making Regency stays.  Here is the story of my failure--please attempt not to laugh too hard.

So, I began with the Sense and Sensibility Short Stays pattern, which I didn't think would be too difficult.  I got a yard of cotton twill from Joann's and decided to tackle them.  First of all, learn from my example and do not make your stays entirely out of cotton twill.  I had extreme difficulty in getting the gusset fabric not to separate from the bodice of the stays.  A week before we departed for the Jane Austen Festival, my friend showed me her soon-to-be-done long stays and listened to my woes about my stays.  She suggested that I use her self-drafted stays pattern, chop off the bottom, and turn them into short stays.  She gave me fabric (a very strong interlining fabric of linen and rayon, an outer layer of linen and rayon and lining of cotton muslin) and I started on the stays.

In my stupidity I didn't sew the gussets correctly and the stupid stays ended up flattening what little bust I have.  I was not, not happy.  What's worse is that no amount of padding fixed it.  I looked like I was completely flat chested.

See?  That was with padding, too. This greatly irked me.

So, once I got home from the Jane Austen Festival, I ripped out a good amount of the seams and threw them across the room.  Now that I want to make more Regency things, I've decided that I ought to fix them now.  I despise them, but they must be fixed.

So, I began on them last night.  The good thing about they gussets having already been sewn down is that I was able to rip only one edge of the gusset and leave the other edge intact, making it much easier to sew.  I sewed with a really wide and uneven backstitch (my sewing machine is at home) and I will be reinforcing the seams with my machine once I get home.  I can already tell, however, that this pair is going to help me a lot more.  I'll be back with the results once I sew everything back together!  Tata for now!