jennylafleur: (pp)

Yesterday's Pumpkin Tea was wonderfully fun - thanks again [ profile] sadievale for hosting! Sadly Bridget wasn’t feeling well so I took her home early but joined the fun again for dinner at the Pub* and champagne afterwards back at the house. *Note if going to a costume event with Kat always bring a tiara and some bling - at some point it will be needed! This is the last time I'm unprepared!

The day inculded:
joining the 'Campaign to Save the Tiaras',
helping in a small way with [ profile] dragoneyes19's official hazing into the Fabulousity Club (it's not over Robin!),
rocking some of [ profile] madamekat's rocks, drinking champagne out of a can, with a pink straw
and of course scheming about costumes and future events.

Everyone looked so great and it was so nice to hang out with you'all - I can't wait to do it again!

{Jenny-Rose Photos} - my photos of the event & my favorites from others

Gloria | photos | (flicker)
Amanda | photos | (photobucket)
Robin | photos | (google+)
Kat | photos | (flicker)
Maggie | photos | (flicker)
Jean | photos | (LJ - locked post)

(I'll add more links above as more photos from the day are posted...)

jennylafleur: (victoriana)

I had a truly delightful day yesterday at Kat's Victorian Picnic. Bridget came with me (so happy I had something she could wear that she liked!) which of course made it even better! :>

{Jenny-Rose Photos} - my photos of the event & my favorites from others

Kat | photos | (flicker)
Gloria | photos | (flicker)

Bridget wore my Poe Dress, which looked amazing cute on her. It fit really well except for being a bit short in the skirt and the sleeves, Bridget being my younger but taller sister. So I added a ruffle to the bottom of the skirt and moved the top ruffle on the sleeves to the bottom.

Luckily for me the new skirt ruffle was already cut out, the result of running out of time the last time I wore the dress. The plan was to add a total of 9 ruffles to the bottom of that skirt but I only got two on. That was in 2009 so it felt good to get that lone half-prepped ruffle out of my pending bin.

I still have the fabric for the remaining 6 ruffles although as I was working on it last week I remembered why that hasn’t happened yet. What a pain! This fabric is a rayon-poly-something and while it moves nicely on the body it is slippery and shifty to work with when cut on the bias as these ruffles are. Oy. I still say "someday" to the ruffle madness (it will be such fun to wear!) but probably not someday soon!

I wore my Black & White Bustle. Thanks to the twill interlining with silk taffeta combo that I used (I was silly enough to actually follow pattern directions for once, silly girl) it's definitely a cold weather outfit so I haven't gotten to wear it very often. It was fun to wear it again and it was perfect for this autumn outdoor event.

It also looked awesome with my very un-Victorian RED hair. I do love this hair color - and all the compliments I get on it - but of course the disadvantage is having to start all over with hair pieces.

Ebay was good to me in the form of some cheap Cosplay "dark red" wigs that were a great match. So the wigs were taken apart and I used some of the resulting wefts of hair to assemble and curl into Victorian submission. In the end I was really happy with my hair styling but I do need to refine the pieces a bit. Which is good for you since I'll be taking pictures of the process along the way next time. This time I was too busy trying to figure out what I was doing!

After the drudgery (dramatic sigh) of the shifty ruffles and the seat-of-my-pants hair piece making I decided to have fun by trimming a new hat. This 18th century hat from the National Trust popped up on my Pinterest a couple of weeks ago and I fell in love right away. It then occurred to me that I had a small black straw hat & striped ribbon in the stash and could wear the resulting cuteness with both 1870s and 18th century frocks. Sold!

Originally I was going to use some black & white striped ribbon I have in the stash but when I pulled out my ribbon bin I found this tan and stripe ribbon that is almost an exact match to the original photo. Clearly this hat was meant to be.

The black straw hat blank is very nice quality but rather floppy for my taste so I added some millinery wire to the edge of the brim before covering it with the ribbon.

The pleating along the brim was done by just eye-balling it and pinning it on the brim as I set the pleats to make sure I got the shape right. All of the ribbon was sewn on by hand using a straw needle and silk thread.

I'm really happy with the results! It's a little plainer than I usually go for with my hats (my philosophy being one can't put too much crap on an 18th century hat - I've tried!) but it's charming and will go with so many of my costumes. It helps that so I'm tickled with the fact that I saw a picture on Pinterest and was able to recreate it from my stash on a whim! It totally makes me giggle inside...

jennylafleur: (lotr)

I've been spending more time lately on Pinterest - what a great resource! I've been trying to limit myself to sewing and costuming (although I'm finding myself slipping into food and crafts too) but I'm been pleasantly surprised at how much good (cited and documented!) stuff there is. What has really surprised me is how many tutorials, how-tos and general info can be found there. And I thought it was just for inspiration boards and pretty pictures.

Through all this I just realized that my website is totally unfriendly to Pinterest. All those lovely thumbnails that are the foundation to my spiffy and fast-loading site? Un-pinable. So some revamping is needed to bring my site into the new age of linking and tutorial resource finding. I've already started on the précises, the dress diaries will be next then the study pages.

Maybe it's time to do a complete overhaul of the site, which as painful as it is for me to admit is a bit of a dinosaur. I've even considered switching it to a blogger or wordpress platform. 'Cause I have so much time on my hands right now. *rolls eyes* Perhaps I will just continue to patch thing and wait for the next big change in internet interaction to re-package my content.


What do you think - do you find my website un-wieldy or un-pleasant to troll through? Should my blog and site be more interlinked or is it okay the way it is? For those of you who have switched from a static website to blog format, do you like it, was it worth the effort? (I'm looking at you Jen and Sarah)
jennylafleur: (gossip)


I just wrangled Mom's share of the black silk taffeta in the stash. So my black Robe à la Française is officially a go. I don't know why but I've gotten my heart set on making a Robe à la Française for my Gala dress next year. Maybe because my attempt with a synthetic taffeta last Jan went so badly. Or so many of my friends are making one this year or did last year (I am a sheep).

Black honestly isn't my first choice but I'm poor and the only silk taffeta I have of any quantity in the stash is black so it's black or no Française. So black it is. I have found a few portraits of black gowns but it seems to be wishy-washy whether they are mourning or not. All the references I'm finding for black fabrics being specifically for mourning are matte blacks, not shiny ones like my taffeta. I am finding lots of black accessories which surprised me a bit so black was clearly fashionable that way. I'm not doing living history anymore so I'm not sure I care but in general I like to know when I'm entering a "gray" area in my costuming.

I actually have some really great black trims in the stash for this and I'm getting really excited about the possibilities, whether I can document them or not. I've just resigned myself that it won't ever photograph well and I'll be a black void in candlelight. Still it will look awesome with my RED hair, CosCol isn't candlelight and if I add enough spangles I can live with being a sparkly void... :>

So not only is my sewing muse making her presence known again she is very much decked out in 18th century, specifically the 1770s. I'm just in the mood again and have been having way too much fun researching. Lately I've been looking at 1770s images/garments thinking - that really is cute and I need that. Not that I'm abandoning my beloved 1780s and it's awesome hedgehogs and long sleeves completely but it's time for something different I think.

If money were no object I would totally make every outfit in the "Sharp Family" by Zoffany for CosCol next year. Wouldn't that be fun? Instead I'm going to be inspired by it (and some of his other family paintings) and make at least a Robe à la Française, a Riding Habit, a mantlette, a pouf wig of doom and some of those ridiculous caps to go a top it for next year.
jennylafleur: (georgian)

Thanks for all your support on my hiatus. I'm feeling much better about things and actually WANT to blog now - a sure sign it's time to come back! So what have I been up to while I was gone? Not much of interest, apart from getting a new look. I've been "Red" for a month now and I love it! I probably won't keep it forever (so much upkeep!) but for now I'm loving it.

Costume College officially starts today and I'm not with all my peeps this year, which is making me incredibly sad. This sucks!

Luckily there is a lot going on around here to keep me busy and I've set aside a big chunk of my weekend to do some actual sewing (something I haven't really been doing since the ETD in April). I have lots of projects to choose from but I started yesterday by cleaning my room from top to bottom and re-arranging my bedroom/sewing room. I was hoping my sewing muse would re-appear with the dusting and the moving of furniture, I have missed her!
jennylafleur: (medieval)
I'm going to be taking a little hiatus from LJ for the next few weeks. I'm okay, just feeling a bit overwhelmed with life in general and my online/sewing life in particular. So I need a break, some time to reflect, and get a better perspective on some things. Then I'll be back.

If you need to get a hold of me in the meantime e-mail or texting are good. See you on the flip side...
jennylafleur: (moi)
In lieu of costuming content (since I haven't really been doing much), here are random links I've recently found interesting:

Not soon enough for me...
Facebook will disappear in five to eight years

I find these images sad, creepy & cool all at the same time...
Immortal: bejeweled relics of martyred saints

I love it when a historical myth is busted...
History & Myths of the Suffrage Purple, Green & White

I have got to try this!
18th century recipe: Strawberry Fritters

These make me rather happy for some reason...
18th century trade cards

Admit it, playing with this is fun!
Online map calculates travel times in Ancient Rome

I love everything about this...
18th century meets space opera

Interesting series of videos on pin-up hair... (this is video 1of3)
jennylafleur: (georgian feathers)

Dress U pics - videos and thoughts to come...
(I'll be adding my favorite pics from others - since I was lazy about picture taking and have gaps in my photographic record of the weekend- and links as they are posted)

Jenny-Rose (me + favorites from others)
Gloria - Friday
Gloria - Saturday
Gloria - Saturday night
Gloria - Sunday
Gloria - Sunday night
Kat - Friday
Kat - Saturday
Kat - Sunday #1
Kat - Sunday #2
jennylafleur: (polonaise)
It's probably pretty bad that it has taken me this long to figure out what I want to wear to Dress U. What can I say; I'm very in decisive these days!

Friday: day: modern clothes or regency dress
Friday: evening: 18th century (Bellini Dress)

Saturday: day: Regency dress or pink Italian
Saturday: evening: (Titanic Dinner) Epic Titanic Dinner Dress

Sunday: day: (Tea) 18th century (a new late 1770s outfit if I can get it finished)
Sunday: evening: (Jampange Party) Evil Queen
jennylafleur: (absinthe)

For [ profile] koshka_the_cat... it's so true isn't it? *wink*
jennylafleur: (titanic)

My teens day dress plans have finally come together - yay! I'm calling it my "Auteuil Dress" since the look I'm going for is heavily inspired by all the photographs of striped gowns and large hats from Auteuil and other race tracks of the period.

The original concept for my dress was based on a fashion plate (the striped gown on the left), which I thought would look great made from a deep blue and cream striped rayon in my stash. I even had a lace that looked great with the fabric in the stash. However I was a little concerned about the shape of the skirt. I loved the band of horizontal stripes at the bottom but in all the experimenting I did on the skirts for my ETD evening gown I found that with my curvy hips and tummy a true hobble skirt or wasn’t the most flattering on my body. (Which is frankly why I went for a fuller skirt on the EDT dress.) So I was at a bit of a standstill on this outfit as I pondered what I wanted to do.

I looked around at other styles and dresses from this period but I kept coming back to that fashion plate. Then I found this gown from the Indiana State Museum (via Tumbler) and squee-ed with excitement. It solved all the problems I was having with the skirt by giving me both the dress from the fashion plate and a fuller skirt.

I went back through my images files and found some more dresses with the elements of both the fashion plate and Indiana gown, all in different combinations. Clearly I was onto something!

My biggest problem was needing another fabric for the full bottom skirt. My stash yielded nothing helpful and neither a look at Jo-Ann's offerings (surprise, surprise!). I thought about trying to do the top skirt with horizontal stripes with the bottom with vertical stripes (since I couldn't do horizontal stripes with a flared skirt). I pulled out the fabric to drape it on the dressform and see what I thought of that idea and realized that the stripe was printed and the "wrong" side of the fabric was plain blue. I already had the perfect fabric for the under skirt! Laaaaaa!

I'm still not 100% sure how I want to treat the bodice (do I want it blousy like the fashion plate or fitted like the Indiana gown? With the chevron braces of the Indiana or the little lace collar of the fashion plate? Or what about the cross-over bodice I'm seeing so much of in the other dresses?) but I'll figure it out as I work on the mock-ups. I'm going to construct it the same way I did my evening bodice, with a boned lining so that is what I'll be working on first...

Oh and yes there will be a big hat. A very big hat! :>
jennylafleur: (moi titanic)

I have to confess that I only liked my dress at the Epic Titanic Dinner but thanks to the revamp that Bridget and I did I now LOVE it!

It's amazing how small fixes can change everything. "Small" not equaling little time of course, alterations always being time consuming. First Bridget and I pinned up the black chiffon skirt (while it was on me of course, B not having dress form), changing the angle on the side and making it more dramatically asymmetrical. I was way too conservative the first time. Once that was where we like it, we took off the black chiffon "scarf" that was on one side of my bodice along with all the beaded trim on the bodice. We moved the scarf over so it didn't end in the center front, changing the angle so it better matched the skirt. So much better!

I then had to completely remove the skirt, recut the top, fold over the top edge, gathered and hand stitched it to the boned bodice lining. Once that was done I stitched the bodice black chiffon back on and re stitched on the vintage beaded trim, keeping it only on the black this time. To balance out the decoration on the bodice I added a row of spaced gold seed beads to the ivory "scarf".

For such little changes it was a lot of work (mostly thanks to the evil natures of the fabrics involved) but so worth it in the end. Which of course begs the question why didn't I just do that the first time?! I blame the sleep deprivation and the fact that my brain had to keep track of too many things the week I finished the dress. Oh well - it's fixed now!

While I was working on the construction bits Bridget was going to town on the embellishment. She beaded the gold laces on the top and bottom then finished the beading by gluing rhinestones and sequins all over. Yay - bee bling!! *happy butt wiggle*
jennylafleur: (titanic)

The GBACG Titanic Dinner on Saturday was amazing! It was one of the most magical costuming events I've ever had the privlege of attending. The venue was goregous, the food very tasty indeed, the live band such fun and the company completely fabulous.

The evening inculded the gentlemen at my table standing whenever a lady stood (squee!), couples dancing the Castle Walk to Too Much Mustard (I love that tune!), a very touching toast at the hour that the ship sank (thanks to the time differance it was right as we finished our meal) and some lovely conversations with friends and strangers alike in the drawing room after dinner.

I spent much of the evening just observing and trying to soak up the atmosphere, while squeeing inside of course. It was truely a night to remember. :>

I didn't take too many pics (too busy enjoying the moment) but I did manage to take a few videos:Read more... )

And the photos:
Richard Man
jennylafleur: (titanic)
Today Bridget and I are working on the great ETD re-vamp while watching Lord Peter Whimsey DVDs.

I'm re-working the black chiffon side of the bodice and the angle of the black chiffon skirt, making them both more asymmetrical. The dress is looking much better - more of what I had in my head than what I ended up with at the dinner. Bridget is beading and embellishing away on the gold lace. If we have time there will be rhinestones glued on too.

Have I mentioned that I have the best sister ever?
jennylafleur: (party)

The Epic Titanic Dinner – wow where do I start?!

It was everything I dreamed it would be, maybe even more. I can finally cross off "do a grand costumed Edwardian multi-course meal" from my bucket list. It wasn’t perfect by any means; we definitely had our shares of snafus, mistakes, unfortunate events and kitchen disasters but considering we aren’t professionals, we didn't have a staff of 15 and life happens really it couldn’t have gone any better.

I achieved what I started out to do – cook a meal that did some justice to the great Edwardian obsession with food and extravagance, create an atmosphere that set the mood for my guests and give all involved a chance to learn about a fascinating period of history first hand. Icing on the cake was really enjoying the process, that everyone looked amazing and the time I got to spend with dear friends.

Probably my biggest regret is the photos & videos that weren’t taken but in the case of my staff they were too busy serving (in more than one sense!), my guests were seemed to be too busy enjoying the experience (both of which I’m grateful for and take as a compliment) and I just plain forgot with everything that was going on. So I’m bummed about some of the gaps but oh well!

I’ll write more about the details and how we got there over the next few weeks but for now here are the all important photos. I combined my photos and those of Valorie Mundie of For Such a Time As This Photography as well as few of my favorites from others (*wink*). I broke them into a couple of sets ‘cause that made more sense to me at the time.

The Dinner & Absinthe Afterparty
Behind the Curtain (staff and in the kitchen)
The Food

Other's Photos:

And for more on the pretty frocks, here are their blog posts:
Nicole (Diary of a Mantua Maker)
Katherine (Koshka's Fashionable Past)
Gwendolyn (Idlewild Illustré)
Casey (Elegant Musings)
Aubry (A Fractured Fairytale)

jennylafleur: (titanic)

I just scored a ticket to the GBACG Titanic Dinner!! I'm SO excited! A Titanic Dinner I don't have to do anything for but dress and enjoy - whoo hoo! This is just the motivation I need to get my dress done. (Well at least in wearable condition. I don't see the spangles happening for the ETD.) Maybe for the GBACG now though... :>
jennylafleur: (Default)
I had a great weekend in Lancaster PA at my Mary Kay conference. I took my ETD dress to work on but didn't get too much done. No worries, it was nice to get away and get a mental break from sewing.

I continued my sewing break yesterday, un packing, laundry and working on some MK, Titanic dinner spread sheets and personal stuff before getting clobbered by a headache in the late afternoon. I have a few non-sewing things to get done today but then it's sew, sew, sew! My guests arrive in 9 days - oy!
jennylafleur: (sisters)
There are some days technology is annoying but yesterday it came in handy. I was whining to Bridget on the phone about my anxiety concerning my ETD layers, saying she shouldn't live on the other side of the country so she could give me her opinion. Then she said the magic word - Skype!

So after a very useful and fun Skype session where I draped my various fabrics in various ways and got some great feedback I'm feeling much better about the dress. It will be pretty! Bridget says so. :>

The skirt is now attached and the layer of gold lace on the foundation bodice as well. Today I'm off for a weekend of Mary Kay - going to a MK conference in PA. I'll have a bit of down time so my dress is coming with. I'd like to get the chiffon layer attached to the foundation and the hooks & bars stitched on but we'll see how much I really get done. See you Sunday!
jennylafleur: (titanic)
I am still plodding along with the ETD dress. The chiffon sleeve layer has taken a lot of time since all the finishing is by hand and the fabric is so delicate and finicky (darn crinkle!) that I'm having to take my time at it. The neckline and back seam have had rolled hems, the side seams/kimono sleeves have been French seamed. Thank goodness I was able to use the salvage on the sleeves so no hemming there! I couldn't handle the thought of hemming the bottom of the bodice (especially since it will be covered up anyway) so I stitched a length of 1/8" ribbon along my seam allowance to stabilize the bottom. I sewed a second strip of ribbon onto the front section that has to be gathered, again for stability.

The demon fabric has continued to put up a fight in the skirt. Letting out all the seams helped but wasn’t quite enough so I inserted a placket at the center back and am just off-setting my closure on that until it fits. It’s still a tight fit, little ease, but luckily my corset is long so there isn't any strain there and I have layers of fabric to go over it so it shouldn't be noticeable. *crossing fingers*

So (after multiple fittings to double check everything) the skirt and chiffon layer are pinned in place on to the foundation bodice and I'm ready to sew them on, the skirt by machine and the chiffon by hand. Then it's onto the layers of gold lace and black chiffon. I'm feeling a little apprehensive about that part, since I'm not sure how that is going to work. I mean if the ideas in my head will look pretty on my body. But I'm trying to push the negative thoughts away and just get on with it... It will be pretty, it will be pretty…

July 2014

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