Wednesday, July 31, 2013

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Event: Henry Ford's 150th Birthday Party at the Nat'l Automobile Museum

From a huge Duesenberg 
Warning: Lots of pictures of old cars.  I like old cars, and I like to take pictures of their shiny bits, so if cars don't interest you, this post may be dull.

Last night Mr. C and I attended Henry Ford's 150th birthday bash at Reno's National Automobile Museum downtown, along with my parental units.  See?

Mr. C came to an EVENT!?
  It seemed like an occasion to dress up, so I wore an awesome vintage dress that was a gift from Sharon R.  I don't know if this dress was a 1920s-altered-in-the1950s, or a 1950s-throwback-to-1920s, but after repairing the side zip and removing the front dart, it fit like a dream.

Blue dress, blue car - is it '20s, is it '50s? who knows!?
I worked my hair into a vaguely '20s waved style, with pincurls and my vintage wave clips I found at Sacramento Antiques Faire, though the wind in this town has a way of demolishing a carefully coiffed crown in a matter of minutes.

Sitting under the dryer, roasting the carefully set hair
Hair - taken at the end of the night.  Sorry it's a bit blurry.
The event was lovely - Mr. Ford was in attendance, talking about conspiracies and vanity and farmers and unions and how terrible General Motors is.  It was madly enjoyable.  There was cake.  It was a grand time. :-)

This is an engine.
This is my dad.
This is a Merce-drool-es
This is a wooden wheel.
Another view of the dress. I paired it with Gibsons in ivory, to go with the little white beads on the bodice.

After Mr. Ford's talk, Chris and I went shopping...
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Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Madame Demorest's Illustration Portfolio of the Fashions for 1880 - Full Catalog - FREE!

It's taken me a little while to work it all out, but I've finally fully digitized this wonderful catalog given to me by a dear friend, so that all may enjoy the glory of Madame Demorest's late Victorian magazine.

Click to go to the magazine in full

The magazine is originally quite large - about 10" x 14", making it difficult to scan or photograph.  I've done a lot of work in restoring the images and damage.  I've tried my best to keep the file size reasonable, but also the text readable, though in some places it will be difficult - the text in the original magazine is about a size 5 type to being with!

I've added links for dress patterns throughout, as well as some books and films I've found useful and inspiring. You can also download the whole thing (sans links) to keep for future reference: download the full PDF from Google Drive HERE (it's big, warning)

Please link and share as much as you like.  I believe this information is at its best serving the international costuming community, so please pass the eBook around!  The link to the online version with resource links is:

The link to the downloadable PDF on Google Drive (no resource links) is here:

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

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Sugarpine Living History Day, 2013 - Two-Person '20s Invasion

1920s costume Ehrman Mansion Lake Tahoe

Yesterday our army of costume-clad amazons, all two of us, invaded a nice little local event at the Ehrman Mansion on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe.  We go every year in '20s and '30s attire, confusing the event staff and generally making a spectacle.  This year we were few, but we were saucy.

My adorable mother wore a 1920s bathing costume.

1920s bathing suit costume

I wore the "just-in-time" Little Jersey Dress.

1920s gatsby dress MG TD roadster Lake Tahoe Sugarpine event

There were lots of mid-century British Roadsters to delight us, and take pictures next to, which had me scouring eBay later that evening, hoping to find one fully restored, in perfect running order, for a steal (yeah right!)
Morgan classic car roadster grill
classic car MG TD roadster

Historical Dog came along, too, and wasn't so sure at first...

...but then it was all okay, after chasing some chipmunks and rolling in the grass...

It was a lovely day, nice weather. We ate sandwiches while a trio involving an accordian played "La Vie en Rose."

The End.
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Friday, July 26, 2013

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Loose and Lovely 1790s Locks

Costume College is fast approaching, and while I think I've burnt out on trying to get everything done, I *did* fully finish the 1790s Chintz gown.

When I started this blog several years ago, my focus was on 1790s, but despite starting there, I have not made very many 1790s things since.  I do love this period, with all the crazy stuff happening with fashion in France particularly, and I'm excited to be sporting a new '90s dress in a couple weeks.

But the hair...

The 1790s was a decade of flux.  We see fully powdered hedgehog coifs next to loose, natural, and almost straggly Merveilleuse styles.  I love them all, but for the first wearing the the Chintz gown, I want to try something more loose and wild, something like these...

Princess Anna Gagarina (1777-1805) by Jean-Louis Voille
Mme JL Germain by Marie-Gabrielle Capet (French artist, 1761-1818)
Self Portrait, Louise Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun (1755-1842) painted 1790
Marie-Victoire Jobbe, wife of the architect JF Heurtrier, c. 1790
Comtesse Golovin by Louise Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun, 1797
I have a red silk beret hat thing to cover the back of my head, and the plan is to curl up the front of my hair and maybe add some long pieces dangling out here and there.  Jen over at Festive Attyre has an awesome video for the style the Comtesse Golovin is rockin', above, to help sort this craziness out:

Jen has a lot more hair than me to begin with, but that's what Sally Beauty Supply is for, right? :-)
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Monday, July 22, 2013

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1790s Chintz Gown - The Home Stretch

It's that time of year - that special time just before That Big Annual Costume Event when the mad "must-get-it-all-done!" sewing commences.   I wonder why I do this to myself: I have loads of perfectly good costumes to wear to Costume College, yet I simply must go right down to the wire making new things.  WHY!?

The neckline is well below the top of the stays.  I will need to wear a more opaque neckerchief to fill it all in
I spent this past weekend working feverishly on this 1790s chintz gown, made from the famous Lowe's "Felicite" curtains, in the noir colorway (yummmmmy).  The gown is for Maggie's October...and despite having one Curtain-Along dress to wear to Costume College already, I decided to finish this one up and wear it as well.

It's close, very close.  In fact, it was finished, until I put it on. (Isn't that always the case? lol).  I knew the neckline was going to be tricky, as it is *very* low on the originl gown.  As suspected, mine wasn't low enough, and wasn't working at all with the Regency stays, so I put on my 1780s prow-front stays, folded the bib down a bit, and was happy to see the correct silhouette emerge.  Yay!

Just a bit of a train in back - think I might add some weights to get it to behave a bit
I don't have time to make 1790s stays, so I'm going to have to wing it with my 1780s, which create the right bust shape, at least.  So now all that is left is to stitch down the bib alteration, remove the belt loop from the back (it's too high), add an oomph-pad to the back to kick out the skirt, and sew on the buttons.  Onward!
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Real Mod Cloth (Pssst! It's Polyester!)

Last night I was invited by Lady Carolyn to dress in one of my favorite decades of fashion, the 1960s, to appear with a couple other gals as a visual aid in one of Lady C's presentations on vintage fashion.  I teased my hair, drew on my giant winged eyeliner, and donned the dress of a Modern.

Thank you, England, for Twiggy and the 60s mod look. <3
I have never dressed in Mod fashion before.  My flavor of '60s leans towards Dior and Jackie O, but I have an appreciation for the broad array of styles and subcultures of this decade.  Each of them had their best looks, and their worst.

"...oooo, I think I'll find a British boy to marry...."
Another dancing Monkee
Despite it not really being my bag, baby, I *loved* wearing this vintage go-go dress, made of stretchy polyester, and cut surprisingly modestly.  The boots are reproductions and were a trip to wear, being all plastic and tight and non-breathable, but they really made the outfit iconic.

I don't really smoke (ew!) but it seemed like the thing to be holding

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

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Bastille Day Picnic 2013

This past Sunday, our local costume club, the Great Basin Costume Society, held a little picnic in honor of Bastille Day.  We called it the "Off With Her Head Tea."  The costume suggestion was for 18th century OR Alice in Wonderland, or any combination thereof.  We even had a mime.

The ladies, complete with adorable mime.
For many of our members, this was their first time playing in the 18th century.  Everyone put together something fun (and that is the whole point, right?).

Oscar, Debbie, and Autumn
Lady Carolyn, in her Revolution Robe a l'Anglaise
We dressed Anna in my red Revolution Anglaise.  She looked fantastic, and even spoke a little French throughout the day.
Angie and Chris - this was Angie's first historical costume *ever*.  I think she's off to a great start!
We invaded our local park late in the afternoon, and set up camp with tables of French bread, French cheese, French vanilla cookies, and some suspiciously American-looking cupcakes.

Dana and Carolyn in florals
We strolled and ambled around the park.
...occasionally stopping to admire the scenery. Liza looked resplendent in her walking-length pink and cream ensemble.
From left to right, Angie, Liza, Debbie, and me
Cindy was our Red Queen - she and her family went with the Alice in Wonderland suggestions
Margaret in a very Revolution-inspired red-white-blue outfit, perfect for the occasion.
The ladies picnicking in style
The obligatory shoe circle photo, with a couple ladies wearing Kensington and Devonshire.
Eleanor the mime, with her dancing monkey.
All in all, the day was lovely.
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