Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The 2013 Challenges

The Dreamstress has sent out challenges on her blog (http://thedreamstress.com/the-historical-sew-fortnightly/) to those who like to sew and sew costumes and other historical items. She has done this before, but I just joined the group the last couple of weeks of December 2012.  Every 2 weeks entails creating a project incorporating the requirement of that challenge.

And these are the challenges:

Finish a project, make a very simple garment, or something you have made before
A Chemise, very simple
 Sew something from __13, whether it be 1913, 1613, or 13 BC

1913 Umbrella/Parasol
#2: UFO - due Jan 28.
Let’s get something off our UFO pile! Use this opportunity to finish off something that’s never quite gotten done, or stalled halfway through.

Bustle & Corset Padding
#3: Under it all – due Feb 11.  
 Every great historical outfit starts with the right undergarments, and, just in time for Valentines day, here’s you’re excuse to make them. Chemises, corsets, corded petticoats, drawers, garters, stockings…if it goes under your garments, it qualifies.
Corset without its padding
#4: Embellish -  due Feb 25. 
Decorations make the historical garment glorious. Whether you use embroidery, trim, pleating, lace, buttons, bows, applique, quilting, jewels, fringe, or any other form of embellishment, this challenge is all about decorative detail.

#5: Peasants & Pioneers – due March 11. 
As wonderful as making pretty, pretty princess dresses is, the vast majority of people have always been poor commoners, whether they were peasants working the land, servants in big houses, or (later), pioneers carving their own space in new lands. This fortnight let’s make something that celebrates the common man.

#6: Stripes - due March 25. 
The stripe is one of the oldest patterns, appearing in the earliest textile fragments and visual records of garments, and its never gone out of style since. Celebrate stripes with a striped garment. Will you go for grand baroque stripes, pastel rococo stripes, severe neoclassical stripes, elaborately pleated and bustled Victorian stripes, or something else entirely?

Striped Blouse
#7: Accessorize - due April 8.  
Accessories add polish to your outfits, helping to create the perfect historical look. This week is all about bringing an outfit together. Trim a bonnet, paint a fan, crochet an evening bag, sew a shawl, or dye and decorate a pair of shoes to create the perfect period accessory for yourself.
New Edwardian Hat
#8: By the Sea - due April 22.  
The sea has inspired and influenced fashion for millennia. This challenge is all about nautical fashions, whether you make something to wear on the sea, by the sea, or in the sea (or lake or river).

#9: Flora and Fauna – due May 6.  
Textiles and the natural world are inextricably linked.  Until very recently, all textiles were made from flora (linen, raime, hemp) or fauna (wool, silk, fur), and dyed with flora and fauna.  Flora and fauna also influenced the decoration of textiles, from Elizabethan floral embroidery, to Regency beetle-wing dresses, to Edwardian bird-trimmed hats.  Celebrate the natural world (hopefully without killing any birds) with a flora and/or fauna inspired garment.

#10: Literature - due May 20. 
The written word has commemorated and immortalised fashions for centuries, from the ‘gleaming’ clothes that Trojans wore before the war, to Desdemona’s handkerchief, ‘spotted with strawberries’, to Meg in Belle Moffat’s borrowed ballgown, and Anne’s longed for puffed sleeves.In this challenge make something inspired by literature: whether you recreate a garment or accessory mentioned in a book, poem or play, or dress your favourite historical literary character as you imagine them.

#11: Squares, Rectangles & Triangles - due June 3.  
Many historical garments, and the costumes of many people around the world, use basic geometric shapes as their basis. In this challenge make a garment made entirely of squares, rectangles and triangles (with one curve allowed), whether it is an 18th century kimono, a flounced 1850s skirt, or a medieval shift.


#12: Pretty Pretty Princesses - due June 17. 
 Channel your inner princess and her royal wardrobe. Pick a princess, queen, empress, arch-duchess, or a de-facto queen as inspiration for a fabulously royal frock (or other garment). The occasional prince is also most welcome.

#13: Lace and Lacing - due July 1.  Lacing is one of the simplest and oldest forms of fastening a garment, eminently practical, and occasionally decorative.  Lace has been one of the most valuable and desirable textiles for centuries, legislated, coveted, at times worth more than its weight in gold, passed down from one garment to the next over centuries. Elaborate and delicate it is eminently decorative, and rarely practical.  Celebrate the practicality of lacing, and the decorative frivolity of lace, with a garment that laces or has lace trim, or both.
Lots of Lace!
#14: Eastern Influence – due July 15.  
 The East has had a profound influence on Western fashions for millenia, from the Chinese silks that were worn in Ancient Rome, through the trade in Indian chintzes from the 17th century onward, 18th century chinoiserie, Kashmiri shawls and paisley, 19th century Japonisme, and early 20th century Orientalism and Egyptian revival.  In this challenge make an item that shows the Eastern influence on Western fashion.

#15: Colour Challenge White - due July 29.  
White has carried many connotations as a colour, from defining culture and social boundaries, to denoting status, to implying purity, or simply cleanliness.  For this challenge ‘white’ is defined as anything in the white family – from brightest white, through to ivory and cream and all the shades between. Whether you make a simple chemise or an elaborate ballgown, your item should be predominantly white, though it may have touches of other colours.

French Drawers

#16: Separates - due August 12.  
Make a non-matching garment which can be paired with other items in your historical wardrobe to extend your outfit choices.
Edwardian Blouse and Navy lightweight wool skirt
#17: Robes & Robings - due August 26.   
Make a robe-shaped garment, from a biblical robe, through a medieval robe, an 18th century banyan, a Regency evening robe, a 19th century wrapper, or an early 20th century kimono.  Or, make one of the frocks called robes by modern English speaking fashion historians, such as a robe volante, robe battanterobe à la coerrobe à la françaiserobe à l’anglaise (+ turquespolonaises, & circassienne), and the 1920s robe de style.  Or, make something with robings (read the event page for a description).

#18: Re-make, Re-use & Re-fashion – due September 9.  
Sew something that pays homage to the historical idea of re-using, re-making and re-fashioning.  Turn one thing into another.  Re-fit or re-fashion an old gown into something you would wear again.  Re-trim a hat for a new outfit, or re-shape a modern hat to be a historical hat.  Re-purpose the fabric from an old garment (your own or a commercial one) into a new garment.

Fabric to cover parasol, turned into a corset!

#19: Wood, Metal, Bone – due September 23.  
Cloth may be the most obvious material in historic costuming, but wood, metal, and bone are just as important to creating the right look and silhouette.  For this challenge, make anything that incorporates wood, metal, or bone.


#20: Outerwear – due October 7th.  Make one of the layers that get added on to your basic outfit to protect you, and it, from inclement weather.
#21: Colour Challenge Green – due October 21.  Make a historical garment or accessory in any shade of green from palest spring green through to darkest pine green, and from barely-there eu de nil, to vibrant chartreuse.


#22: Masquerade - due November 4th.  Create something inspired by historical fancy dress and masquerade that takes you out of reality, in to another world (purely historical, fantasy, steampunk etc are all allowed).

I just altered the skirt that I had already made and made a "mist" of chiffon veil. It worked!

#23: Generosity & Gratitude – due November 18.  Celebrate the generosity of spirit and willingness to help others that makes the historical sewing community great, and give credit and thanks to those who have contributed to our collective knowledge without expecting payment in return.  Make anything that fits the general HSF guidelines, and utilizes research, patterns, and tutorials that have been made available for free.  Be sure to acknowledge all the sources that have helped you to create your item.
#24: Re-Do – due December 2.  This one is super easy.  Pick any previous challenge and re-do it (or do it for the first time).  It could be one that you didn’t finish, one that you wish you’d had more time for, or any time for, or one where you loved the theme so much you want to do it again.



#25: One Metre – due Dec 16.  Make an item that takes one metre or less fabric.  To keep within the spirit of the challenge, try to avoid making something that also involves metres and metres of trim

#26: Celebrate – due Dec 30.  Make something that is celebration worthy, make something that celebrates the new skills you have learned this year, or just make something simple that celebrates the fact that you survived HSF ’13!

I had made it through until Ardenwood opened it's season, then I slowed down and stopped for a while.  But I took it up again, working around my own "bustle dress" challenge.  

Normally, winter kind of drags, but with these challenges it was gone before I knew it.  And... I  ended up with quite a new wardrobe!

Now for another set of Challenges!

Monday, December 30, 2013

These are my final choices - Titanic Era

This is it:

I haven't decided which pattern to use and am thinking of doing revising.  This looks like an extremely easy pattern.  I think I just might use the red dress pattern but use the pastel over-lay with a change in the cut at the bottom and of course, no train.  I would also make a change in the bottom of the sleeves.
I need to do a drawing and tie down just what I want.

That lace is Alencon lace which is really yummy but very expensive!

I have my fabric ready.....have to remember to post a picture! 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Titanic Era

I have decided that I want to do something of the Titanic/Downton Abby era.

Here are a few examples:

I like this one except the crossing lines of trim. The train would really be impractical for giving tours at Ardenwood.  I have a hard enough time with skirts barely touching the ground.  Always have to be ready for someone to step on the skirt while on the stairs.

This one I really like with such clean lines.

This one is awfully busy.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Painting Day

Friday, a couple of friends and I painted at Ardenwood.  It was good to get out and paint.  The day was absolutely beautiful.  We painted near the barnyard and every so often we would get a wiff of the sheep nearby.

It was great though to hear the chickens, cow and sheep talking to each other.  Sorry I didn't get pictures.  I left my camera in the car.  I would have liked to get a little video of the calf that was literally kicking up his heels, you would have thought it was Spring.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Getting Ready for the Next Project!

I think the next project I will tackle will be a dress from the Titanic Era.  They loved beading so I have been doing some beading any chance I sit down.

So far I have this much done:

See, I have about 2 feet to go to finish this ribbon,

And close up:

I plan to do a dinner dress and there will be a sheer overdress with beading on it.

And I am still in the "thinking of the plan" process.

I have to admit, I am getting a bit sick of the beading.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Oh, Dear, A Little Ditty on Reflections on Dec. 26th

T'was the morn after christmas, when all through the house
Grandma is searching for a... forgotten computer mouse?

The children are all gone, and in their beds
and visions of toys still dance in their heads.
The empty stockings are gathered with care
are put away for another year.

And Grandma gets ready to load up her sleigh,
to do her rounds after Christmas day.

Lots of tangerines and nuts for the kids,
and several dispensers of Pez up for bids,
A bag full of toys,  forgotten mostly by the little boys
but then... on the sideboard, she spies,
 some eyeglasses, some lipstick, a corkscrew just lays.

And a black camera in a small bag,
and another camera bright with colors of the flag!
So it isn't just the little ones that leave
the all the things Grandma has to retrieve.

So off to Weigh Watchers, first to the scale
before new resolutions, to get fit and hale,
then out to deliver the "forgotten things"
she will be in fine form and sing:

"Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All!"

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

I don't know about you but I am in the midst of Christmas!!  Hope you are enjoying your day too!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Dickens Fair - Part 4

We all had fun watching Jen and Robert playing an old dice game with one of the men on the
"docks".  And then he took our "Family Portrait".

We kept happening upon characters in Dickens "Christmas Carol"

Queen Victoria's Regiment

Robert decided to buy a Top Hat!  He looks so handsome!

Robert in his Top Hat and Cathy in her bonnet

And then the mistletoe came walking down the street....
Robert and Jen

Monday, December 23, 2013

Dickens Faire - Part 3

I would love to have felt that I should just really explore each shop instead of exploring the whole town!  It is so big and it has so much to see!  The whole Faire is so well done and doesn't feel temporary.  The decorations and scenes are fabulous.  The people were all great.  I can't even imagine all the work that goes in to put this on.  My thanks to all that helped it happen, it was well worth the $30 admission ticket......Oh, wait!!  I didn't pay for a ticket!!  While I was in the ticket line a gentleman asked me if I was a "participant", I said no.  He asked me if I needed a ticket, I said yes.  And he said, here, and gave me 2 tickets!!  Wow, I was blown away!  All the rest of our party had their tickets and now I had 2, so I passed on one of the tickets to another person down the ticket line and made her day!  How fun!  Thank you, Mr Stranger That gives Away Tickets!

This little lady was reading her book tucked into a little alley space.
More interesting streets and shops!
Lots of entertainment everywhere!
Father Christmas!  We also saw Scrooge, Marley, Christmas Past, and Christmas Present!
We even had a little lessons on the advantages of corsets on boobage and how to make them move....did I really say that?
Even the bar ladies looked so pretty.
Jenny and Robert were enjoying a little pub crawl through London.

 And one of the most interesting sights was window shopping....This one shop had living maniquins portraying scenes in stories or poems.  You had to look really closely to tell if they were alive or not, they could really hold still for a long time!

This was a corset shop, see the gentleman's corset!  

Little Bo Peep

Toasting the Season

Little Miss Muffet

I loved the windows!

Last pictures tomorrow!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dickens Faire - part 2

 There are lots of little shops in this 1840s London, even book shops...

And tea shops

Printers, Telegraph office ( though I couldn't understand a thing the telegraph criers said as they went through town trying to find people telegraphs were sent to.

The only traffic is pedestrians, bicycles, and Father Christmas' sleigh.
 Lots of cute shops,
 And plenty of entertainers all over.

Need to know what is going to happen next?  She will read your fortune

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Dickens Faire, San Francisco - Part 1

We had so much fun at the Dickens Faire!  It is really well put on and so many try to fit in with costumes, even if it is a bonnet.  It really adds to the ambiance.

There were lots of people attending but the Cow Palace is so huge it didn't seem that crowded, except in the "dock" area maybe.

My camera decided to add bubbles to the scenes for some reason, but anyway, here are some pictures, (part 1) to give you a taste of what it is all about:
As we first came in, there was a ball going on near by.  Everyone was invited to join in.

Spencer and Simone took a few turns around the ball room!

The we decided to take a stroll down the streets of London.

Yay, It's snowing!  Oh, just in my camera.

More tomorrow!  I'm tired!

NOTE: Sunday, the 22nd is the last day of the Faire!