• Beauty and Fashion

    Jane Austen Festival 2018: Part 4 Regency Accessories and Festival Wrap-Up

    I’m on Instagram now, so I’ve been searching #JaneAustenFestival and finding lots of new costumers/historical fashion sewists to follow as well as some of the vendors. I will probably be featuring lots of articles here. I’ve been pinning tons of historical fashions lately too if you want to see my Pinterest board.

    Also, this blog post features a lovely selection of excellent photos of the stunning fashions at the festival.

    Here is the last of my shopping. A cotton print scarf and silk stockings from Burnley and Trowbridge. Two silk scarfs/shawls from 96 District Fabrics. A perfume vial from LBCC Historical (they carried several elegant styles), and a coral set (I’ve wanted one since I saw some in Williamsburg, again, harkening back to Felicity) from Design’s by Lady Anne.

  • Beauty and Fashion

    Jane Austen Festival 2018: Part 3, Regency Patterns and Planning for Next Year

    I’ve always loved historical fashion mainly pioneer (or prairie) girl with some Victorian and Colonial as a child; my knowledge stemmed from Little House and the American Girls, so the Regency period was an unknown time until I was introduced to Jane Austen. I sewed quite a bit for a child, but struggled to progress because of work-ethic and perfectionism problems.

    I’ve wanted to make a dress ever since the first time I attended the festival. I bought a beautiful silk antique sari, blue cotton velveteen, and various silk ribbons at the festivals. I still have these along with the silk ribbon flower kit my grandmother bought me the first year. But time, maturity, finances, knowledge, discipline, and will-power never came together. And now I’m not sure I really want to use the sari for a regency dress, but rather for something more timeless; however, I would like to incorporate the other items into my ensemble.

    I thought that I maybe could this year, and so I started researching and planning; I had to relinquish this idea out of practicality, but the planning has stood me in good stead. I had more purpose shopping and now planning for next year. I found three patterns that I had been looking at for quite a while plus a dress pattern that was featured in the style show. The rest of my patterns and materials as well as the actual construction, I can space out over the year.

    The stay pattern is Past Patterns #038 Transition Stay Pattern and is based on an American garment. The shift/chemise is Kannik’s Korner although I’m sure I technically could have drafted this myself, but the wonderful thing about all this patterns is all the historical background and techniques included in the instructions.

    The dress from Fig Leaf Patterns was new to me and is based on an American garment. While it is nice to try to find American garments, I’m not sure many people in my family would have worn them or worn them when they were at the height of fashion. I would like to do more research on what my ancestors would conceivably have worn, but I still want a fashionable regency dress as well.

    At the first Jane Austen festival, I first heard mentioned that very young unmarried ladies often wore white, so I’d been planning on a white dress as most accurate. I realized to my chagrin, that I wouldn’t really fall into the category of young (I’m Charlotte Lucas’s age, and she wore colors while the younger Lizzy and Jane wore whites, creams, and pastels), but I had trouble finding prints I wanted. A lot of the block prints are more Georgian and Colonial (I have my eye on one I want for a Poldark inspired gown; I love the gowns I see on Pinterest from that show, the slimmer silhouette). Anyhow, I don’t think I’m terribly too old although white is a bit boring. I definitely want plenty of trimming and color in my accessories. The fabric I bought from Regency Revisited.

    While I think I’d heard of Timely Tresses ages before, I first fixed on The Lucia pattern via this post because I’ve long loved Marianne and Lizzy’s hats of these styles the best of all the hats and bonnets in the movies.

  • Beauty and Fashion

    Link Love: Historical Fashion

    I think that a post on historical fashion goes well with the month of Halloween. This is often the route for those of us not interested in ghoulish costumes. Last year my sisters and I dressed in the fashion of a decade of the last century for Halloween.

    My love of historical fashion began with an obsession with pioneers as a child. All thanks to The Little House Books and the computer game Oregon Trail, of course. I had sunbonnets, aprons, “calico” dresses, etc.. My sister and I had a few American Girl dolls, and we loved pouring over the American Girl catalog every time it came.

    Then came the Jane Austen period. I’d never known about the historical fashion period between the huge dresses of the Colonial and the Civil War eras. I was fascinated by all the costumes in the JA movies, and later, all the reproductions from bloggers and Jane Austen festival attendees.*

    While I don’t make historical clothing myself, I do still appreciate the work of others.
    Someone pinned Angela Clayton’s work on Pinterest, and I’ve been following her blog ever since. Her historical fashion work is stunning.

    Lily at Mode de Lis posts quite a bit of retro inspired clothing as well as a few Colonial and Regency dresses.

    I found this interesting video via another blogger’s link post. The re-enactors show all the layers and pieces an upper-class 18th-century woman wore. So many layers and tools for the correct form. And people pinned their clothes on!
    If you love pouring over and analyzing the historical costumes of period films, check out this archived blog.

    *Speaking of Jane Austen, I think I’d seen someone mention this game, but thought it was the board game I played years ago. After another blogger posted the link to this hilarious video of the LBD cast members playing the game, I realized it was a different and far more clever game.

  • Beauty and Fashion

    Easter Outfit Take 2

    I was working on my dress and remembered an idea from Pinterest. I would have loved to have a polka dot, but I found a lace top too late for Easter which ended up being fine as I finished the dress too late as well.

    I used Simplicity 1607. I had to alter the princess seams a bit to fit my small bust. The neckline gaped; I wonder if I adjust the shoulders (to fit my sloping shoulders) the neckline would gape less? I bought the lace top via Ebay. I love that I can make several different outfits out of this dress if I wanted.

  • Beauty and Fashion

    Easter Outfit Take 1

    This was plan B. I had a polka dot strapless dress. I thought I needed to buy fabric, but, when moving projects, I found I could use pieces from a linen skirt I bought for a dollar years ago. I had to do quite a bit of rethinking, and I had to hand sew the final straps onto the dress to avoid taking the dress too far apart. Then I finally finished my lovely moonrise shawl which matched closely enough.

  • Beauty and Fashion

    Style Icons

    I read and see so many people trying to imitate a few of Audrey Hepburn’s looks. All of the ones I can remember do not have the Winter coloring necessary for wearing black; read color experts, not everyone can wear black. Most do not have her body shape. Style icons look good oftentimes because at the very least, their clothes are tailored to them, but also because they have a signature style or wear their proper colors or styles.

    I think it is a good idea to look for inspiration, but do not limit yourself to style icons, look in movies, blogs, history books. Look for inspiration (for your body type, coloring, and style type) not imitation (this is what bothers me about those who wear vintage without modernizing it; they look in costume). Style icons are famous for their unique looks.

    I know I have mentioned this blog ad nauseam, but it really does have it all. Fit, body shape (more than the unrealistic four or so one usually sees listed) coloring, signature style, sheen versus texture, texture versus softness (for touch sensitive people), color contrast, value contrast, body proportions, capsule wardrobes, face shapes for hair styles and jewelry types, etc.

  • Beauty and Fashion

    Business Fashion

    This is an important topic for me since I am trying to work my way into a more professional office environment and to pursue a graduate degree in business. Technically I am supposed to wear business casual, but that category has a great variety of definitions.

    I researched business and business casual dress in preparation. In my mind I wanted a bit softer colors, no suit coat, and more variety in blouse colors and styles but otherwise like business formal/professional. When I saw in actuality what others wore and what fit me and looked again online I relaxed this a bit out of wardrobe necessity. Neutral non-pencil skirts, a teal dress, a grey dress, sweaters.

    Oh, yes. Pants are not business formal/regular business or whatever you want to call it. . . . neither are dresses. Dark skirt-suits with white/light blouses and skirt hitting the knee, pantyhose, leather moderate heeled pumps with closed toes, and simple, classic jewelry is the outfit expected/required.
    And what I need to work toward . . . you know, dress like the job you want not the job you have.

    I want to wear pencil skirts and suits (I have gorgeous silk blend cocoa skirt-suit I bought consigned, but looks new which I want to have altered to fit) in softer colors (brown is not business formal nor is lighter grey) with silk blouses, silk knit tops perhaps. Keep dreaming, you will have to get the job you want first to pay for all that :/

    And oh, the pantyhose drama. You have to have it match your skin or it is extremely unprofessional and tacky. Also, you have to have a ton on hand because of runs. I have to order online to get pantyhose to both match my skin and not run easily. I tried wearing Berkshire 4415 which come in a variety of colors. They seem sturdier; obviously they will run if snagged, but they do not feel as fragile as some which seem to run if touched . . . or looked at! The downsize is that they are not super-stretchy; they are crisp and the feet are shaped and can pool a bit although I think they improved with washing. I gave up after I ruined all my pairs of this brand and switched to tights for the winter, but I will have to try again for spring. I think I will just have to be satisfied with only a couple wears.

    No make-up is almost as unprofessional as too much or tacky make-up. I usually wear foundation, powder, and mascara, sometimes light eyeliner. I have more difficulty with my hair. When I straighten it, the style can last several days, but the days that I do not use heat (trying to be gentle on my hair here; I already have a frizz problem, especially since I have to pull back my bangs since I am growing them out, again) I am hit or miss; I need to pick a few styles and stick with them. I feel like hair makes or breaks one’s look.

    I also am trying to minimize my preparation time without harming my look. I am just a pokey person in the morning, so I feel if I streamline my process a bit more, I could cut off some time.

  • Beauty and Fashion

    Bridemaid Hairstyle

    I originally wanted a cross between Hermione’s Yule Ball hairstyle . . .

    . . . and Lucy Steele’s hairstyle in the 2008 Sense and Sensibility.

    But (decisions, decisions) . . .
    I switched to wanting a complete updo after a sister mentioned that she thought that would be better, and the above photo was my inspiration. 
    I had a bit more indecision but went with complete updo. However, I ended up with more structure than the above photo. I think looser, more romantic hairstyles are harder because unless you are very careful and gifted, they ended up looking sloppy. One day I want to master the romantic look.

    I watched and rewatched Youtube tutorials before the wedding and during prep. Here are some of them: here and here (I used a couple from the second channel).
    The first one I really liked, but I really needed more techniques and help. So this ended up being more an inspiration. I used my silver floral bobby pins, two in each side of my hair (with one leaf end up and the other down, so it looked more like one piece), like the hair piece in this video.
    I put a little bit of my center back hair in a small bun former and then smoothed a couple locks over it for a form like the above Youtube hairstylist shows. I also needed to loop my curls into more than one barrel curl, and I tease and sprayed some curls a bit, so that the curls would not slip over. I tried to minimize the hairspray though since it makes my hair frizzy.
    Overall (and in hindsight), I found this a fun learning experience. I would like to try it more often . . . under less pressure (although I was rather preternaturally “calm” for most of the wedding day).

  • Beauty and Fashion

    Winter Fashion: Cape Coat

    I am trying to build (slowly) a satisfying AND sensible winter wardrobe. I made a major step before the season got to terribly cold (yay me . . . I sound like London Tipton :P).

    I knew I needed a wool coat (sensible) in grey (fashionable), so I searched on ebay and found a cape coat. I had kind of wanted one for awhile, and the price was right, so I bought it.

    I wore it a few times before realizing it needed a trip to the dry cleaners. Now it is fresh and crisp, but I still want to touch it up just a bit with new, sterling silver or pewter buttons at some point soon.

    I think one of my red hats would look well (perhaps) with it; now if only I could get over this hat shyness. 
  • Beauty and Fashion

    My Vague Autumn and Winter Fashion Plan

    I am summer colored and I tend to like summery fabric and patterns and styles. I was not happy with my everyday Winter wardrobe last year and I have very little in the dressy category, so I want to try to improve my Autumn/Winter style.

    I really need to realize that if I want the elegant style I have in my mind and the colors that flatter me, I am going to have to make quite a few of my clothes. I am also realizing overall that I really need to be more selective and careful shopping. Altering anything and everything is not reasonable, and much altering is not worth it to me; I prefer something original if I am going to spend a lot of time sewing. I have given away/gotten rid of so many clothes recently because they do not fit, are not my style, are not my color, etc.

    I made a secret board on Pinterest. I also glued some items from magazines on cardstock for a mood/style board. But I have ideas in my head that I could not really find, so I also created some Polyvore boards.

    I also have very little in the way of business outfits whether informal or formal, so I also need to work on that. Yeah, practicality. Oh, yeah. I need coats. I just have trench coats. I might want to try to make a coat or two.

    I am not that into plaids, stripes, neutrals, and dark colors, so I want to find ways to make my colors and patterns work and yet not look summery. I have some ideas, but we will see if I can make them happen.