Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bi-coastal costume adventures

Lots of fun costume adventures recently, starting with Labyrinth Masquerade in LA.  This is an event I've gone to intermittently for about a decade and it never disappoints.  Usually a ton of interesting costumes, and of course, being LA, beautiful people.  This year a friend and I had coordinating costumes based off of lovely masks made by Mitchel Walker of Peekaboo Masks.
We wanted to do a version of Victorian fancy dress, inspired by the costumes in Fancy Dresses Described, published in 1887.

The wings were made using this Realistic Wings tutorial.  Since super-helpful boyfriend and I made both sets of wings they were cut on the laser cutter.  It took less time once we had the basic file and it sealed all the edges.  To try to get a lightweight version we used heavy duty zipties as the boning, I'm not sure that was a better choice than wire.  I'd still like to add more wings for each of us and finish painting mine.  I also have a gazillion vintage sew-on cabochons and about 1000 heat-set rhinestones that will need to be added to bling everything up.
After our west coast adventures we came back and immediately started working on clothes for the Gadsby Tavern Jane Austen Ball.  Some googling after my arrival in DC this past month turned up English Country Dance classes and a Ball at Gadsby Tavern in Alexandria.  I'm not a super fan of the whole 1790s-1815  timeperiod so I didn't have anything to wear.  Fortunately I'd purchased a $7.99 ikea duvet while thrifting with my sister in Philly.  Ikea has some fantastic cotton prints that work well for late 18th century, early 19th century.  I wonder if they are using some sort of historic textile archive.  I don't know the name of this fabric but a twin duvet with the printed fabric on both sides was enough to make this era of dress.

I didn't use any patterns, nor do I have any research books with me.  So after a quick stop at the Library of Congress to look at Costume in detail, I did an approximation of a bib-front dress.  The mechanics of the dress worked out fine but I think it needs some serious re-fitting on the neckline, or maybe a drawstring to pull in the whole thing.  I did a quick Regency style fan using a leftover sandalwood fan from my sister's baby shower with some 18th style cartouche motifs in the style of this fan from the V&A, dated 1790-1800.

And, the final result.  Do we look hot?  It was 100 degrees.  Turns out that fan was a great idea.