Friday, August 29, 2014

Frilly Things and Shiny Things

While waiting patiently-not patiently-for the professional photographer's photos from Costume College, and working non-stop on my niece's Elsa dress, I discovered a few thrift store finds to share with you. There are quite a few professional  photos up already, if you want to check them out they are here: The Shotwell Collection. I'm waiting until I see all the shots of me before I decide which ones to buy.

My first priority is the Elsa dress, but my next event is The Gatsby Summer Afternoon,  which is put on by The Art Deco Society of California. Gosh, I'm all kinds of linky today. I found these two items at the thrift store, which I will bibbity bobbity boo into either a 20's or 30's picnic dress. They are both very tiny, so it might take a little more bibbity than bobbity to make this happen, if you know what I mean. You do? That's good, because I'm not entirely sure. There's this cute little ruffled skirt.
It's poly crepe, but it feels like rayon to me and that's up close. I'll be taking those ruffles apart since the skirt is, like, a size 0. $3.50
I also found this dress. Also teeny tiny. It has no label in it. I think it's silk, but it may be rayon. It looks right and feels right though, so it should pass muster.
Sooo small. $5.00
I'll be Frankensteining those things together, maybe over a slip. They are both see through, so a slip will be involved one way or another.

I've decided I need to own all the shiny things. I found this beauty. I wish I could photograph it better because it is really well made.
This was $10. A fortune!
Well, that doesn't tell us much more does it?

 I bought it originally because I thought I could use it to take apart for a 20's dress or something. You know what though? What Tracey? I'm thinking I want to start being more fabulous. More stylie. Maybe even stylish. I love all the shiny things. If I took the shoulder pads out and paired it with something rougher; like a leather jacket or a wool skirt, that could be really cool I think. I may just start collecting these things. It'll be my jam.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Guess what I'm making

I have a new project. My niece in England wants to be Elsa for her fancy dress birthday party. So, since that's my jam (thanks for starting me on that Melissa) I stepped up. File these items under 'cheaper to buy than to sew'
Found at a local thrift store $10

Also from Ebay .$5.95

Now excuse me while I get back to handsewing hundreds of sequins on the bodice.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Stress Cake and Anxiety Salad, Saturday at Costume College

This blog post had too many words. Saturday was a mixed bag for me. We had arrived on Wednesday and I only had to finish the trim on my Gala dress, so I thought I would have plenty of time. I just didn't. So when Saturday rolled around, I was a stress case. I had my only limited attendance class; "It's the 1860's and still handsewn" I didn't think this would be a problem for me since I've actually sewn an entire Dickens dress by hand before. I kind of thought it would be cake.
Stress Cake
The class started out fine. We practiced some hand sewing. I was actually a little further ahead than some of the people around me, so I was feeling a little cocky. Then the part happened that I had completely forgotten about. "we will fit your bodice using a 19th Century pattern system and then you will start construction" I hadn't worn my corset, so when we were going to begin the fitting process, I had to run to my room to put on my corset.
Bonus points if you know what movie this is from
I ran up to my room and grabbed my corset. Even though I had laced it to make it possible to put on myself, I COULD NOT GET IT ON. I was getting increasingly agitated, not knowing if they were waiting for me, not knowing if it just didn't fit me anymore. Arrrgh. Finally, I just grabbed it and ran back downstairs to class hoping someone would just help me put it on.

Well. I had completely not taken into account the fact that we were going to be draping the pattern for each other and I would be completely responsible for the fitting of someone else's costume. I have draped a piece of clothing for another person zero times. Nope, nope, nope. Here's the thing. I am great in a crisis. I have saved lives. Literally. I'm the person you want in a zombie apocolype, but my being responsible for a fitted bodice for another costumer, nope, nope, nope again.
For some reason, I had though we would be fitting our own bodice. On ourselves. This would be almost impossible, so I don't know why I thought this, but I did. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't stay. They thought of trying to maintain while pinning on another person that I didn't know, just started giving me that 'Wa wa' feeling in my head. Any of you who have had anxiety attacks or a panic attack know that feeling. So I calmly took the teacher aside and kind of explained what was going on and that I just couldn't stay. She was very very nice, but I was twenty kinds of relieved to get out of the classroom.

Since I now had a large chunk of free time ahead of me, I decided the best thing to do was just sew. I ran into Jennifer (of So Steady as she Sews) and of being a friend, and told her what happened and she was calm and I felt better. I went to the Marketplace again because shopping is my happy place and ran into my roomate Tanya, who is one of the most maternal people I have met and I felt even better.

I went to the room and grabbed my bodice and sewing stuff. I decided to go up to the Hospitality Lounge so I would be around other people sewing last minute stuff. No one was sewing though, so I decided to head to the bar to sew (as you do) Now that was super positive. I sat next to Ariel, the little mermaid, who was having a nip or two and met Chrissy (of The Laced Angel) and of being really cool. I had a little cocktail, some good chat and got my sew on. The whole drinking with a mermaid thing put me in a good mood, so I made a lot of progress.
Photo from Most Popular and Best drinking games on the Web because that's a thing
Now somehow or other it was TIME FOR THE GALA. I know time must have passed slower than that, but between the tears and the vodka, I don't remember it passing. I literally couldn't have dressed without Tanya and Melissa. They ironed my dress, sewed on a hook and eye, hot glued my bodice flowers, etc. Melissa even had to SEW ME INTO MY DRESS. I had to be sewn into my dress because my corset did fit me, very tightly and the bodice was now too loose.

They were ready before me and looking fantastic by the way. These photos are "borrowed" from Jennifer.
Once Ken and I hit the red carpet and then entered the Gala, it all was worth it. Everyone was stunning. The food was excellent. I met Gina of ( Beauty From Ashes) and of super talent.
Gorgeous Gina. Photo from Marie-Jo Dulade-Coclet
Gina also managed to get a great picture of Ken and I in all our glory. There are things I will change on the dress (not being sewn into it for a start) but all in all I was pretty happy and Ken is so great at dressing himself. I did have to beg off early because my corset was just too tight and even though my friend Mary tried to help loosen my stays, I just couldn't move.
Photo by Gina White
I learned some hard lessons this day. Finish the garments you plan to wear to events before Costume College, no matter how little you think you have to do. Friends are good to have,especially when they can also sew. There is no substitute for an actual bustle under a bustle dress. Don't tight lace your corset when you have eaten all the carbs. There is no anxiety attack too great that it can't be helped by drinking gin with mermaids.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Costume College Friday Blur

Friday. Friday? Friday......? Friday at Costume College kind of went by in a blur. Let's see. We woke up at the crack of 6:30. (we did this every day, not even on purpose) The L.A. sunshine sweetly singing to us like little birds. This is a good thing, since we had so much to do. Well, I actually had very little to do, since I'd cancelled my tour to FIDM. I thought I would end up taking more classes or work on my Gala dress or something. I didn't really end up doing that.

We did make it down to the Freshman Orientation at 9:00am. Poor Elizabeth, who was giving us the orientation had very little sleep. She managed to be funny and informative at the same time anyway. Here's a "proof of being awake" selfie courtesy of Tanya.
I'm becoming very aware of the fact that there are very few costume pictures on here. I am the worst blogger ever. I don't even own a camera. Thank goodness for other people.

Ah, I also managed to take in an 18th century hair demonstration from Kendra from DeMode Couture . I think that was Friday. Note to self, "blog right after you get back from an event. You are a flibbertygibbet" She wrote and amazing book on styling your own hair or a wig in 18th century style. There are definitely tips in there for working with wigs and hairpieces from any time period.
Buy the book here
Then what happened? I spent a bunch of time in my hotel room watching tv and sewing my gala dress. This was necessary as it was becoming increasingly obvious that it was not going to be finished in time. Then Melissa and Tanya came and rescued me with early entry tickets to the amazing marketplace that was set up in the hotel. I fell in love with one stall in particular.Acme Notions.
So many cool vintage bits and bobs. I think I went back about six time
Then all of a sudden it was time for the Ice Cream Social! Time she does fly. I had my beaded flapper dress made from an eighties dress to wear and at the marketplace I found old fashioned Roll Garters. These are basically just giant hair ties that hold your your stockings up without having to wear a garter belt. There's a really great explanation of what that was for on the Vintage Dancer site. I also scored a cute pink flask which I tucked in my garter.

The flask looks just like this.
You can get your own on eBay
Somehow we manged to be late. Poor Melissa was still sewing sequins on her dress, so Tanya and I went down to check it out. She looked AMAZING. She will no doubt have fabulous photos on her own blog, Sewing with the Benevolent Devil. By the time we got there, the ice cream was all gone, so we did the logical thing and skipped out to the bar.

Yes we snuck out of the Ice Cream Social for cocktails. What?
But, thank goodness and Geri Rex, I have at least one picture of what I wore.
I'm pretty sure Tanya took this picture.
A bunch of us (see previous post of all kinds of ladies around a big table) had some dinner and I'm pretty sure that's all we did. It's fuzzy though.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Like real college, only with more corsets

If I wait until I get my professional Costume College photo's, I will never end up posting anything. Much like actual college, my fondest memories are less about the academics and more about the people I met. First let me introduce my roomates. Tanya and Melissa. Thursday Night was a 70's meetup for friends from The Greater Bay Area Costume Guild. The official CoCo theme was Tiki Party, but we flew in the face of rules. Mwahaaaahaa. (There are no rules) Very different women with very different housekeeping habits. Okay, well SOME of us were very messy and liked the room really cold and SOME of us were very tidy and would have liked it a little warmer. In order to protect the innocent, I will not say which is which. (although, I'm pretty sure you guys know which one I am)
Tanya and Melissa, Photo by Laurie Tavan of Daze of Laur
And Lisa made four on Wednesday Night
I literally dressed from my daughters closet and grabbed an awesome suede jacket. I just happened to have a halter jumpsuit hanging around, so this costume was pretty easy.

Going for that blurry "I'm with the band" look
One of the things I noticed about Costume College, is how easy it was to talk to people. I can be a little introverted sometimes. Oh, I can ACT like an extrovert, especially with a little gin in me, but most of the time I get nervous around new people. This is one of the few places I've been to where it was easy to make friends. I'm not even kidding, pretty much everyone in this picture became friends with each other with something like, "You're pretty. I like your dress. Do you want to be my friend?"
Carol, Meredith, Lisa, Mary, Melissa, Victoria, Tanya, Geri and Me! Photo taken by a random dude using Geri Rex's camera
New friend Jennifer of So Steady as She Sews
So that was Thursday. I'll do separate posts of the other days.
I promise to post more detail and better photos as they roll in. There are some great pictures on Flickr. Here are some more of the pool party. Costume College Pool Party 2014.