viennabelle: (Default)
In our house, Valentines Day has become a major holiday. Its occurrence this year on a Saturday made it even more delightful. Several weeks ago, I promised a friend that I would attend Washington's Birthnight Ball at Gadsby's Tavern Museum--which had really been the General's favored public establishment during his lifetime. Of course, I did wait until the last possible minute to get tickets--but luckily, my friend works at the museum and had already set them aside when the event sold out!

So, we went--and made a hasty reclamation of my DH's kit, which he hadn't worn for three years. In commemoration of the date, we both wore red. It was a marvelous evening, with musicans playing from a loft above, elegant dancing, gaming, sweets and festive drinks! We mixed with old reenactor friends as well as astonished friends from the political word (who never imagined us in costume).

Candlelight, gowns and photos of friends and lovers! )

It was a happy celebration of love and a beloved president's birthnight! So...do these entertainments appeal? If you can come, consider joining us upcoming events, including one the night before CostumeCon (hint, hint!):
  • James Madison's Inaugural Banquet (set in 1809, costumes and modern formal wear allowed) March 14, 2009 ($100 per ticket, including dinner, $150 for pre-dinner reception).
  • 18th Century Bread and Butter Ball (Set in 1790s, more advanced dances, costumes highly encouraged) May 30, 2009 ($45) (seems to me that it might a perfect occasion to debut a new stripey polonaise...).
Update--mea culpa--just realized I mixed up months. If only the Bread and Butter Ball were a month earlier...
viennabelle: (Default)


Tuesday, I spent my time at the sewing get-together ripping free the lining from the caracao jacket. Last night, I started pinning and turning under the edges. To my surprise, I ended up with a rather sizeable amount of stretched material that I ended up cutting off (note to self: hankerchief linen was not a good lining choice for this. Next time choose a denser weave). 

I also gathered and stitched down the second gathering row on the ruffle. As I mentioned earlier, I probably sewed it on too far down on the fabric, so the top flopped down. By gathering it a second time, I'm actually happier with the results--it gives it a decorative ruching.  Finally , I also gathered and pinned on the lace at the neckline.

Now I have a ton of handsewing to fix down that lace and the lining.  However, It's all made a huge difference in the overall appearance. It went from kind of lumpy to crisp and elegant.


On matters completely different, I found out that the series Cranford is available--for a limited time--online.  Since our tv receiver isn't working (and who knows when we'll get FIOS installed), this means I can watch it!!! Check it out here.
viennabelle: (Default)
Today it has been raining off and on again all day. Yesterday it was raining all day. Saturday it rained all day. Friday it rained all day. All in all, it's bad weather for welding (good weather to get electrocuted if I tried). So, I spent a good part of the weekend sitting indoors reading blogs, napping and scheming what to do to get ready to go to Costume College. Our kitty slept the whole time in shared custody fashion, alternating between couches, cuddling either Rick or me (I miss Binky horribly, but somehow I don't think Muffy minds being the only cat at all). 

I mused over what to make next. However, I have a lot of WIPs and items that need alterations. I pulled out costumes and started looking at the possibilities. I figured out a triage list. My biggest priority is finishing up my new 18th c. stays.

I also have the "Space Trees" gown (the bizarre name of one of the Indian handblock prints sold at Joann's about three years ago). I had made the caracao two years ago, finishing it in a rush so I could wear it to Mt. Vernon. This weekend, I mostly worked on the petticoat. I mounted the ruffle to the hem (a little fussier than expected to get it to sit level with the bumroll. I also pressed out the caracao to hide the places where the lining showed. I also started playing with trims...


The green ruffle is kind of a placeholder...I didn't have any red china silk ribbon on hand, so I tried using this bit of trim I'd ruched earlier but hadn't used (it was intended as a hat trimming). I don't quite like the mix of textures, so I'm planning on just applying the lace and sleeve ruffles.  I'm sure there will be ribbons, but not quite like this. After seeing the large quantities of linen that I had to crease to hide the lining, I've decided to open up at least the bottom edge of the caracao.  This pattern (JP Ryan)--which for all other point I liked--has a bag lining, which is not very period. The linen stretch a bit (it's on the bias) so it started hanging below the cotton, which didn't stretch as much. I don't think I have to worry about further stretch, but I noticed that even after I pressed it, it isn't sitting properly (granted, I don't have it in proper stays--it's in a Victorian corset and my dummy is bigger than I am). So, the answer seems to be ripping open the seams and then re-hemming all the sides. Alternatively, I could to that only to the bottom edge. I'm considering...

Another issue is the ruffle. I gathered it too low down. Not to worry, I'm going to put a second higher gather on it, which should make it look even sharper than if I'd gathered it higher up in the first place. I'm thinking it will look like a built-in ruching strip.



Meanwhile...those stays. Tonight I assembled all the pieces, so now I have to sew the channels. I'm going to get off-line and start sewing and sewing and sewing...

Must order some stays binding from the Sillies.  Well, I've done pretty well using the stash so far, so I don't consider this an exceptional expense.

By the way...I think I'm going to join the League of the Pink Pirates!  I did splurge and buy some small pieces of brocade. If I make a set of stays, I can use it with some pieces from DH's costumes and I think it will look rather fun...argh!

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