Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Georgian Picnic costumes on the cheap

On Nov. 13, the DFW Costumers Guild is hosting a Georgian Picnic at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.  This is the second year for this event.  We decided to make it an annual event after we had so much fun basking in the fall gardens last year.

The costume turnout was of a wide variety of 18th Century.  Some people came to the event in Marie Antoinette inspired frocks and some came in more American styled clothing.  And then some came in later 18th Century fashions more of the Jane Austen bent.  Everyone looked Fantastic!

As always, we hope that as many people who are interested in the period will come to our picnic, but sometimes people worry about being "Period Correct."  Don't let that worry you.  For one, costumes are encouraged at all of our events, but not required.  And in addition, 18th century garments can be just about the simplest costumes to make if you know how to cheat.

Exhibit One - the Chemise Dress (Chemise A La Riene):

Marie Antoinette, the queen herself, in a Chemise Dress

Also Marie Antoinette in a simpler version of the Chemise Dress

Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Marie Antoinette's portrait artist, in a different kind of chemise dress.

Izabela Lubomirska, a Polish noblewoman in a lovely Chemise Dress

Madame DuBarry in a higher necked version of the Chemise Dress

Madame Seriziat in another Chemise Dress without much lace, but with a fichu.

Reconstructing History makes a pattern for a Chemise Dress, which I believe also includes a pattern for a fichu.  That pattern should be pretty period accurate.  However, if you already have a white chemise for your Renaissance Faire garb, you can save that $30 for the Reconstructing History pattern.  All you need to is find a nice wide ribbon to tie at your waist, some ribbons to tie the arms, and then a small amount of muslin to make a fichu.  You could also add lace to the neckline and wrists of your chemise if you are willing to take that particular chemise out of your Ren Faire Garb closet and permanently transition it to 18th century.

Exhibit Two - Empire Waisted Dress:

Period correct Regency dress includes a light under dress, a pair of stays, and then the dress.  However, if you get dark enough material for the dress, you can skip the under dress, and frankly, the Regency stays were designed to do Exactly what our modern bras do - lift and separate - so you can skip the stays and just wear a good bra if you don't have the time or inclination to make all of the correct underwear.

Here's a photo of us at this year's Regency Tea.  One of us in that picture may or may not have skipped the period underpinnings.  But you can't tell can you?

For those distiguished gentelmen who will be joining us:  Slim fitted slacks, top hat (stovepipe Victorian is close to the same look in regency), altered vest to be straight across at top of pants, and I purchased the Rocking Horse Farm 1790-1820 Tail Coat pattern that took me just a few days to put together (pictured above).  My other thought was to alter a tail coat from the thrift store.  My next step is to make shoe covers that look like tall riding boots (made with faux leather from joanns). 

And again please don't worry about being "period correct"...notice my HOT PINK skirt from last year lol:

Please feel free to post any questions or suggestions to yahoo groups message board :)

Looking forward to seeing everyone!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

From students to Pros

On Oct 7th I had the great fortune of speaking to a class of Theatrical Costuming students from Plano West High School.  And I really do mean great fortune because my speaking was the result of meeting a family member who volunteers with the class and we may never have connected if another, closer, family member hadn't mentioned she should talk to me about costuming.  Funny world isn't it?

The ladies in the Theatrical Costuming class are true beginners.  They've been set on a path of sewing napkins and aprons.  Honestly, I can't think of a better first project than those.  I think I started on a gathered doll apron myself in my Theatrical Costuming class in college.  Learning to handle those straight lines is one of those things I still mess up on occasion, but when I really need to focus, I transport myself right back into that workroom in Commerce, TX and keep an eye on the marker on the sewing plate.  It's like I'm in 1999 again.

The main purpose for my talk with the class was to discuss costuming in general as well as to discuss costuming outside of High School.  These students are just starting, but some of them are already eager to know if they could still enjoy the trade once they graduated.  I was happy to inform them that there are many opportunities to keep using the craft if you want to.  And some of those opportunities will even put some money in their pockets.

Many costumers will work to produce costumes on commission.  DFWCG founder Traci Baker does just that. You can see her creations on her website as well as on the bodies of many folks all over the country.  Other costumers choose to teach.  I lecture at local conventions.  Jennifer Thompson, our  guild president, blogs and has written articles for well known online costuming publications.  And some costumers in the DFW area enjoy the extra outlet of working their craft in the theatre and film arenas.

To get started with taking commissions, you should get examples of your work out in the world and seen by any means possible.  Build a website and join networks.  Make friends at conventions and events where people wear costumes.  Pass your business card out to Haunted Houses and Renaissance Faires.

To get involved in teaching and writing articles, start a blog and make friends with people who run conventions or host publications.  Submit an article.  See what happens.  Many costume groups will be delighted to have a new voice offer to teach something.  Conventions are great places to begin teaching and so are local recreation organizations.

In both theatre and film, the best way to start out is to volunteer your services for free to llow or no-budget productions.  I am not personally familiar with the process in theatre, but in film, the idea is to get on set doing Anything.  Even just as a PA hauling equipment.  By just doing your job and having a great attitude, you will be asked to join future productions.  Eventually, you will have the chance to shine as a costumer.  And just as in any profession, you will have the opportunity to advance in the ranks and maybe even get paid for your work.  Once you start getting offered paid gigs, then you can really get serious about applying for big jobs.

In preparing for this talk with the Theatrical Costuming class, I spoke to a fellow costumer who has made that next step from hobbyist to film professional.  I met Jennifer Dryden through mutual friends and conventions.  She has a long list of theatre and film work attached to her name that she worked on for little to no pay.  A few years ago she decided to make the jump and try to go pro.  She is slowly making her way to bigger productions with each job.  Here was her advice on getting your foot in the door:

  • Find out about the state film office if there is one and look at their ‘hotline’ for jobs every day and send a letter and resume to every production that shows up on said hotline
  • Join the local ‘production partnership’ if there is one.
  • Contact the local chapter of IATSE and ask what has to happen for you to join.
  • Find out if there is a local film production resource guide, get your hands on a copy and cold email the folks in the department you want to work in.
  • If offered a job, don’t say NO. If it is at all possible, take it.
  • Network, Network, Network. Join Facebook (and keep it professional), LinkedIn, and any other local message board or website that promotes film production in your region. 

You'll find links to all the resources you need on the following pages:

I have to say it was pretty wonderful meeting these new faces just as they are getting started.  I hope that I get to see the progress of these new costumers and that they bring great things to DFW area costuming.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Antique Elegance Show September 18th!!!


Just a few weeks away!!!  We hope that you can join us for the next Antique Elegance Show that will be held the weekend of September 18th, 2010.  The Guild will be meeting for the Tea Tasting that will take place on Saturday the 18th at 1:00PM.  We suggest arriving around 12:30PM to get a seat at our table(s).  I'm really excited to see all the new goodies (or should I say "old" goodies) from the antique vendors!. 

Costuming is of course optional, though if you do choose to get quirky and fabulous.... Regency through 20th century vintage costumes are encouraged. 

Cost: $5 for admission on each day (pay when you walk in)

Location: Richardson Civic Center (see the official webpage for directions)

Side note from the author::: I still can't decide what to wear to this event!! I had so much fun at the Steampunk Social I may go a little victorian steampunk :) ....something with a nice victorian bustle anyways :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Steampunk Social Wrap Up

What a fun evening! Gigets and Gagets galore!  Saturday, August 14th, the Guild met at Generator Coffee in Garland for some Steampunk Socializing.  This was my first Steampunk event and thanks to everyone who attended it was a great success!  Special thanks to Maggie for helping to organize and promote with our new friends at the Steampunk Illumination Society!   Looking forward to meeting and collaborating with Steampunk IS in the future.  Check out our Flickr photo stream for additional photos of the night.

Also visit http://www.steampunkis.com/ to find out more about our new friends at the Steampunk Illumination Society :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Are you ready for some gadgety fun?

This Saturday Steampunk enthusiasts and DFWCG members will meet together to share their love of invention and costumes.  The location, The Generator coffee house; the theme, as inventive as you like.

For weeks now, I have been working on my new costume as well as favors to hand out to participants.  And I have to say coming up with these little favors has been a lot of fun.  I am one of those costumers who has admired the creativity of this Steampunk movement, but has never been very confident in reimagining the historical, which I'm more comfortable with, as fantastical and inventive.  This whole exercise of preparing for the Steampunk Social has been a fantastic journey.  I've learned that I'm more creative than I thought!  And I might just have some interest in hardware store jewelry.  Imagine that!  Has anybody else had this experience in learning this new genre?

One of the most amazing things about this costuming hobby is the potential of learning something new every day.  Many of you who are attending our social event have been costuming Steampunk for a while now and others are just getting started.  I hope that through our social gathering, we can all manage to share something new with each other as well as make new friends.  And I hope that this social is the beginning of more similar events to come.

DFWCG Steampunk Costumes of the Past:

Irving Steampunk Event (L-R) Dartpoly, Daniel, Sally, Maggie

All-Con 2009 (L-R) Amie, Jennifer

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Steampunk Ideas

I know some of us are kind of new the steampunk era of costuming.  Just thought I would share this really cool Etsy.com shop that I found.  Looks pretty steampunk to me....Know of any other cool steampunk ideas to share?  Leave a comment :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

more adventures in millinery

I whipped up another quick tutorial on my blog,  about how I made my straw braid bonnet that I wore to our 19th c. tea party this past weekend.  While this was definitely more complicated than just reshaping an existing straw hat, I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and painless it was to make!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sense and Sensibility Underthings in Review

I am fairly satisfied with the way the Sense and Sensibility chemise and short stays turned out (and yes I crisscrossed the lacing).  The stays I sewed completely on the machine (except for the eyelets)  and the chemise I did any visible stitching by hand. 

PLEASE NOTE::: The stays pattern is WAYYY big...measure first *i had to adjust even after measuring*

It took a good solid 3 days with the hand sewing but overall wasn't too horrid.  I also bought the downloadable version from the site so that took awhile to piece together but not too bad.  I have been super busy so I didn't track the progress but will hopefully be able to for the spencer jacket and bonnet.  Also stay tuned for men's regency wear!!! Cut away tailcoats and drop front breeches!  Can't wait to see everyone's 19th century fabulousness!  Hoping to see some steampunkers as well so I can chat a bit about upcoming events and good costume ideas ;)


Thursday, June 17, 2010

another Regency undies overview

Regency underwear must be on everybody's minds lately!  Here's another great overview that just popped up on my blog reader yesterday.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

19th Century Tea Online Purchasing

Due to the reservations needed for our 19th century tea, we have been asked to have a firm headcount for our party.  To accomplish this, we are asking that all attendees pre-register for the tea.  Below you will find a Paypal button for purchasing your seat a the tea.  Ticket sales will end on June 30th and we will be unable to guarantee accomodation for anyone who did not pre-register.  If you have any questions, please contact the event chair, Kaycee, who is also our Vice President.

Purchase tickets to the 19th Century Tea here:

Please list all attendees in the Special Instructions portion of the paypal purchase so we can make a check-in list.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

regency underthings

A number of us are working on creating some new Regency-period costumes for the 19th c. tea, the Antique Elegance Show, or for the Pride and Prejudice Pity Party next year.  If you would like to see a good overview of some of the major Regency undergarment patterns that are out there, you might want to check out this site.  I thought this was very helpful - especially when they linked to pictures of finished examples! I'm working on the Past Patterns long stays right now, and I think I'm going to try one of those free chemise patterns at the top of the page.  I'll let you know how they turn out.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Suffragette recap

I had a wonderful time at the suffragette event last weekend!  We had 12 ladies in attendance (including the wee ones) who were wearing a wonderful range of fashions dating from the early 1900's up to the early 20's.  We did a little shopping at the farmer's market (yay cookies!) and then came back and shared a yummy light picnic lunch.  I really enjoyed chatting with everybody and taking lots of pictures in our beautiful setting.  And I had a blast making the banners and poster and researching some of the writings of the suffragettes.  Thanks to everybody who came out!  Here are my pictures from the event.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Just a reminder that our Suffragette picnic is this Saturday! The even begins at 10:00 and we'll be having a picnic luncheon on the historical park grounds around noon.

You can find full information here at the Guild website or through our mailing list.

I hope to see you all there!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

hat tutorial

I posted a little hat-shaping tutorial over at my blog. These things make a great base for Edwardian styles, but they could be used for a lot of other periods as well.

Friday, April 30, 2010

suffragette dress diary

Hi everybody!  I'm having a blast working on my new dress for the suffragette picnic, so I decided to make a dress diary so that I could blog about my progress.

Check out my Festive Attyre blog if you'd like to follow along!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Shakespeare in the Park: OCT 16, 2010

Shakespeare in the Park of Dallas presents: The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Here Ye! Here Ye! Join us October 16th, 2010 as we have the pleasure to attend Dallas’ Shakespeare in the Park in Addison Circle at 7:00PM.  The players will be showing The Two Gentlemen of Verona.  Those in attendance are able to bring food and drink for a lovely picnic during the show.  Are you a CURRENT member of the DFWCG?  As a paid DFWCG member you may purchase a discounted ticket in advance for $8.  Non members can also purchase tickets in advance for $10.  Check out www.dfwcg.org for more ticket info in the next few weeks. In the Shakespearean spirit costumes are encouraged to be around the Elizabethan/Tudor/Renaissance Era.  The play itself has a very Italian theme so think Italian renaissance to really get in the mood.  Need some ideas? Craft Store patterns are below:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Suffragette Picnic

Good new! Although we hit a snag with the Liberty Fest thing, the suffragette event is back on! We have moved the venue to Chestnut Square, which is a beautiful little historical site close to downtown McKinney. We are planning to set up a suffragette booth at their farmers market, and then we'll have a private picnic at noon when the market ends. I am SO excited about this event, and I am thrilled that we found such a welcoming host at Chestnut Square.  

I had the idea of bringing paint and extra ribbon so that people could paint their own "votes for women" ribbons to wear. It would be a fun way to occupy our time, and I think even some of the random market folks might want to get in on the fun. I figured that I would just buy some cheap floral ribbon and make a stencil that people could use for painting.  

When I was looking for examples of banners, I stumbled across a FABULOUS suffragette site that I hadn't seen before. It has an overview of the suffrage movement in America and an image gallery of various suffragette stuff that was really helpful. Some of us were wondering what colors were used for the banners back then, and the answer seems to be mainly yellow or gold, but purple and white were used extensively as well, and purple/white/green was also used occasionally (those were from the British movement). I also think I'm going to paint a copy of one of those posters and it would be cool to have a banner with a slogan on it too. And I was going to print up some fliers with one of the propaganda illustrations from this site and a quote from one of the speeches. Can you tell that I'm excited about this? ;)  

After the market is over, we can relax and have fun doing other various Edwardian activities. I thought about bringing cards or dominoes so we could play some games. If anybody else has any ideas, I'd love to hear them!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Another All-Con, another success!

It's the Monday after the 2010 All-Con and I'm still recovering.  Not only from being horribly sick, but from all the pure excitement.  And guess what?  I'm still excited.  I'm already crazy excited about next year!  If there's one thing I love about a good Con is the inspiration.  I know I've seen some good costumes if I come home and say, "Man, why didn't I think of that!"

This year, the DFW Costumers Guild hosted panels on the basics of Victorian fashion, we learned to knit, and we swapped fabrics.  All of our panels were a success.  People learned things in the first two.  I can't believe I can finally Knit!!!  And I went home with less fabric in my stash than I came with, which was my goal.  And some folks went home with fabrics that they didn't think they'd see at a swap.

I'm already thinking about the panels the DFW Costumers Guild wants to offer for All-Con 2011.  I have several ideas.  I'm pretty sure we'll bring the fabric swap back and we'll knit again next year as well.  Although it'll be a basic knitting circle with part focused on knitting for charity and part focused on instructing all at the same time.  I hope the ladies who attended our panel this year will come again next year so we can all see who we each advanced.  And maybe this time we can offer more items to the Austin Browncoats for their charity auctions. 

But more than my own ideas of what I'd like to offer for next year's All-Con, I'd really like to know what other people would like to see us bring to the table.  If there's a panel you would like to see, let us know.  We'll do our best to work something out.  And hopefully we'll see many of you at our events between now and next All-Con!