Monday, February 12, 2018

Washington Regency Society 12th night Ball!!

I have been very remiss in my blogging lately. Life gets busy between family, work and sewing time. However, lucky for you I have a nasty cold and have taken to my bed. So lets talk about a most wonderful fabulous event put on by The Washington Regency Society!

This was a fairly momentous event. WRS decided to set up a ball for 12th night. It was held at our favorite Regency haunt, Lakewold Gardens. There was a wonderful dinner and a delicious 12th night cake. Plus Regency ball dancing! What can be better than spending the evening with friends, food and dancing.

What I wore:

Of course I did make a new dress and open robe. I kept it simple and used my Sense and Sensibility drawstring dress pattern. I had several yards of black silk gauze I planned on using. I figured a black Regency gown is a practical wardrobe choice. I have never worked with silk gauze before. It wasn't challenging but it snags very easily. On the other hand it is light and airy. Quite delightful. I will definitely wear it again.

For my open robe I used The Mantua Makers pattern, #1810-2. It is meant for sheer fabrics and I had some black and metallic cold chiffon I could use. The pattern is pretty straightforward and I recommend it. It makes up quickly too.

After making my black and gold ensemble I realize how much I need a black Regency bodice petticoat for my darker outfits. So now that is on my list of much needed undergarments.

Of course I didn't get as many pictures as I wanted. Here are a few from our wonderful evening. :-)

 Myself and The Countess!

 The Countess' lovely reproduction of a museum dress AND the pretty white dress she made for her friend. I was quite covetous of that gown.

 Selfie time!

 Setting up for dinner.

 A very dashing couple!

 The Lady Cynthia and her handsome escort! I loved the exotic look of both their outfits.

I found the prize in my piece of cake and was crowned King of the evening!

It was a wonderful time and I hope we can do it again! Now I am gearing up for The Victorian Festival in Port Townsend, Washington. Sewing away on new costumes (1890s) If you fancy a trip to the PacNW I highly recommend a trip to Port Townsend for VicFest! It is March 23-25th 2018.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Celebrating the end of 2017 in the 1920s plus a Nehelenia dress pattern and a Folkwear Cocoon coat

Happy New Year! I can say I am ready for another year of fun costuming events!

Costuming wise the end of 2017 was pretty laid back. December is a packed month for me in general. Our youngest son has his birthday in December and both our sons have piano recitals. That, along with all the other activities can make for a pretty busy month.

Dress #1: TNT Decades of Style Hazel Pattern

At the beginning of December I attended an intimate tea with some of my costuming friends. It was a 1920s tea so I decided to make a new frock! My 1920s wardrobe is all summer related so I wanted something more cooler weather friendly. I found this gorgeous embroidered black floral lace fabric while at the fabric store. It was a double scalloped border print. You can bet I used the borders for all of my hem finishes.
 I broke out my TNT Hazel pattern and whipped up a simple frock. With this type of densely embroidered fabric you want very simple lines. I even removed the bust darts. The easiest 1920s dress to make is a simple shift dress. You can easily add a sash at the hip to create that drop waist look. There was no reason for me to add the handkerchief pieces on this Hazel dress since the fabric was so fancy. Sometimes less is more.
I knew I was also going to want a kimono type jacket since my dress was sleeveless. I used a Big 4 pattern and just drafted a dolman sleeve onto the bodice front and back pieces. There are lots of tutorials around on how to do this. I used a lovely black rayon and added the last of my floral lace fabric at the hemline. It turned out really nice.

I also made up a cloche hat. It is a new pattern by Elsewhen Millinery on Etsy. I really recommend their patterns.

The Countess in her lovely frock and jacket!

My Elsewhen Millinery hat!

December part 2: My brave step into Nehelenia Patterns!

A small group of my friends decided to meet up the Saturday before Christmas at The Fairmont Four Seasons in Seattle. The Countess and I made a trip to the MOHAI Museum before our designated meet up at the Fairmont. I was still feeling a bit light in my winterish 1920s wardrobe I decided to make another frock and kimono.

Nehelenia NP E203 Party Frock:

Pattern description:
This pattern is one size (41.5 inch bust). No other measurements are given. This pattern is 4 pieces. The skirt you just cut to the measurements provided in the instructions. The dress is an outer dress attached to an under dress (slip) at the waist. The under dress is a two piece shift with straps, like a slip. The outer dress has a deep V neckline in the front and a shallower V in back. The skirt is just 2 rectangles.

Fabric I used:

Non historically accurate Grey leopard print stretch velvet burnout knit. RAWR!

Changes I made:

I did a 1.5 inch FBA and rotated the dart into the shoulder gathers on the outer dress bodice. The slip I just measured flat and realized it would fit just fine.  It's not snug but it is fitted. If your bust is any bigger than 43 you will want to do an FBA on the slip as well. In truth I'm not 100% sure I needed the FBA on the dress, but I don't have any regrets about doing one. I did wind up shortening the skirt by several inches. I think the length they have you cut (36 inches!) it to is meant to be adjusted based on height. The pattern wants you to use a hem facing but since my fabric was a velvet knit I decided to just do a 1 inch top stitched hem. For the slip I used some black cotton sateen I had in my stash. A slinky type fabric would be better but I didn't want to spend any more $. I also changed the back neckline to a regular curved one.

Putting it all together:

The instructions are sparse but clear. The most tricky part is stitching the finished dress waistline to the finished slip waistline. It's kinda fiddly. Make sure you clearly mark the waistline on your slip. My dress form came in very hand for this step. I was able to pin thru both layers while she was wearing the dress matching up my waist lines as I went along. Once I finished that I carefully removed the dress from my form and sewed thru all layers. I think the reason the pattern wants you to attach the finished dress to the finished slip at the waistline is so you get that nice blouson look where the waist is. Otherwise the weight of the skirt would pull it down. This is just an assumption. I used some black satin ribbon as my waist sash.

Final notes:

The dress is really pretty! I am going to tack the bodice V neck to the slip at the top. It shifted around a lot. This dress is super comfortable to wear and I will be making it again. Not a beginner project just because of the sparse instructions. You need to know how to finish necklines and arm openings on your own. No pattern pieces are given for this stuff. 

I used another Big 4 modern pattern for my kimono. That style of jacket is very popular these days so you have lots of choices.

Folkwear Poriet Cocoon coat #503

Pattern description and fabric:

I have actually made this one up in a slinky velvet knit at the beginning of 2017. I wore it with my Downton Abbey Peacock dress. I decided I wanted one in wool since it was pretty darn cold. I bought this lovely wool from Renaissance fabrics, jewel green. I used nice black satin for the lining and collar. The collar on this coat is sort of a faux collar. It's piped and completely stitched down around the neckline. 

Sizing and changes:

It is generously sized. I used the size large. I shortened it by 2 inches. I'm 5ft 4 inches tall. It would have hit the ground even with 2.5 inch heels on if I hadn't shortened it. I used my black satin lining for the collar piece as well. I did decide I wanted a removable faux fur collar. I used the collar pattern piece and added some length and width to it. It is just basted on to the coat. I omitted the weighted cording that goes inside the hem at the very back. It's meant to help weigh down the hem. The wool was going to be heavy enough. The lining on this coat is very prone to bagging out. In the directions they have you stitch some petersham ribbon all around the completed coat on the lining side. It's a weird step and even after all that work the lining my still bag out, so you might have to tack the lining invisibly to the coat. I decided I didn't care if my lining bags out a bit. Personal choice. If you are planning on forgoing that step make sure you have a lining you like.

Putting it together:

The directions are easy enough to follow. I had no issues. 

Final notes:

This coat is pure drama. I love it! Fairly easy to make but not a beginner project. Chose your fabric carefully as you do want some drape. The sleeves are average length. If you have long arms you will probably want to lengthen them a bit.

Well 2017 was a fun year! Thanks for following me on my costuming journey. Now it's time to start gearing up for a Regency Ball (January), Victorian Festival (March), Vampires Ball (May), Costume College!!! (July) and so much more!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Jane Fest 2017 Regency riding habit and an open robe hack

I've been quiet lately. After such a busy summer I had a nice lull in costume activities. I've still been sewing though.

Jane Fest 2017 took place at the University of Washington this past weekend. This is the first but hopefully not the last Jane Fest. The turn out was really great! There was also a ball and those tickets sold out in about 5 minutes. There is a definite desire in our region for Jane but also for Regency costume events. The Washington Regency Society (WRS) and JASNA both had informational booths at the event. We are alway looking for new members and there was so much interest from the public that our booth was jumpin! I also participated in the fashion show. It was very well received, and wow there were a lot of people in the audience! Needless to say for such an attention whore I do get very nervous during fashion shows and the like. I'm sure it shows, but I am also trying to step out of my introvert zone and live a little. I figure if I can inspire even one person to follow their creative passion then my work has purpose. Now, on to sewing!

Regency Riding habit:

I have wanted to make a riding habit for quite awhile. Practicality had been holding me back. However when the fashion show line up arrived in my email I was tagged to wear a riding habit. I easily had 2 months to make it so I jumped right in. The real trick was finding wool in a bearable color and at a good price. Not as easy as one would think. Luckily I ran across some dark brown 100% wool suiting for a sweet price. One of my fantasy garments has been a brown wool hooded cloak lined with rich lavender duchess satin. It is one of my favorite color combinations. Once I purchased my wool I set about looking for lavender velveteen. Again, not an easy task because I was really looking for a particular shade. After looking around I discovered the perfect shade of lavender velveteen at Wm. Booth, Draper. I knew I would be using it as trim on my spencer and for my top hat only. I happily purchased two yards.

Patterns used:

Laughing Moon #137 Regency pelisse and spencer. View C with view B collar.
Sense and Sensibility drawstring dress.
Lynn McMasters top hat pattern.

Laughing Moon #137

A new release pattern. I normally wear a size 22 in LM so I decided to go that route. It made up easily and I had no issues with the instructions. I feel like this spencer runs a bit large. The bust is roomy (even for me). I used the non overlapping center closure and I can actually still overlap mine quite a bit. I left off the belt because my velveteen was pretty bulky for piping and though it did work on the spencer body for a small belt it looked wrong. I thought about making my belt out of the velveteen but then realized I didn't want a horizontal line of lavender cutting me off. On my frame (chubby) a continuous unbroken column of color looks more flattering. My advice on this pattern is choose your normal size and one size down and make a muslin of both. I think if I make this spencer or pelisse again I will give size 20 a try.

Sense and Sensibility drawstring dress: S&SDD

AKA my favorite! I am pretty much in love with this dress. It is easy to make and size adjustable. I have made 4 drawstring dresses since summer. You can make one in about 6 hours. The sleeves are a bit fussy but once you figure out the fussy bit they go right in. Since this was a riding habit I made a sleeveless jumper out of S&SDD. I added length and width to the skirt. My train is very short because trains suck in general. The pattern only talks about adding extra width to the skirt for the crossover bodice view. However I find that the skirt looks better on the drawstring dress if you just cut the panels the whole width of your fabric. It adds a bit more oomph to the finished product. On my first drawstring dress my skirt feels so skimpy.

Lynn McMasters top hat/riding hat pattern:

Who doesn't want a lavender velveteen top hat! Since I like fashion drama I used the men's stovepipe crown and the Victorian women's riding hat brim. I knew I wanted a hella tall hat with a small brim. This is not a beginner pattern, more intermediate. It goes together nicely. I did have to finesse the tip and crown to fit together. This caused me to even/smooth those areas out with extra mull. It was worth the extra effort. Since the pattern is unisex sized and no measurements are given I went with size large. My head is 23.25 inches so I did have to take some bulk out of the head opening. She does cover how to do that in the instructions. The hat is a perfect fit.

Open robe hack using Laughing Moon 126 Bib front gown: TNT (tried and true)

I decided to use my TNT laughing Moon 126 as my open robe. I had bought a beautiful sari and was dying to make an open robe but didn't feel like fitting a new pattern. Hacking this was simple. I used the front lining pieces that you tie together under the bib front. I traced off the piece and just re-drafted the neckline to my preference.  Then I added to the front for the closure. I used 2 hooks and eyes to close my robe. The back of the gown stayed the same except I didn't pleat the skirt fabric I just gathered it.

 The original piece is above my traced off and altered version.

Here is the original piece laid over my altered  bodice fabric. 

Since I had run out of fabric for my under gown I had to add sleeves to my open robe. I just used the sleeve from the LM pattern. The under gown was made from thrifted fabric. It is white cotton with a gold metallic stripe. There were some stains on the fabric I had to fussy cut around but it all worked out. I used my Sense and Sensibility drawstring dress as my under gown and just finished the arm openings with bias tape. Easy peasy.

A most fun time! Here are some additional pictures of our long but fantastic day.

 My green silk spencer and matching hat!

The lovely Countess and I before the fashion show.

 The Countess having a chat with Flat Jane.

 Flat Jane saying something scandalous!

 Or funny!

 Flat Jane selfie!

 The Countess, Lady Rebecca and yours truly.

 Always fun with the Countess!

 Dancing at the ball!

I did enjoy four dances even though my feet were killing me! It was a super long day but so worth it. There were a lot of people dressed up for the main event and the ball. My only words of advice ladies, leave the trains off for the ball. I noticed a few young ladies struggling with their trains and it was painful to watch. You don't want your pretty dress stepped on and torn, trust Madame Mimi on this. ;-)

Final Notes:

My turban was made using the Wingeo turban pattern as my base and then I just draped the rest and added some beads and feathers. My pearl jewelry was purchased from inthelongrun on Esty.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Sense and Sensibility drawstring dress and Washington Regency Society's Tall Ship sail

It was that time of year again! Time for a fabulous picnic and lovely sail on The Lady Washington. Taking place in picturesque Port Ludlow, Washington.

We decided to make a weekend of it and reserve a hotel room in Port Townsend at Manresa Castle. Saturday was the picnic and sail and Sunday was for shopping in Port Townsend. I have been trying to build a nice Regency wardrobe so I have choices for events. I made two new dresses, one new spencer and a silk bag hat.

For the sailing day I made Laughing Moon's drop front gown (again) in a paisley print cotton shirting. I have a total love affair with this pattern going on. It makes such a pretty dress! I had been looking at Regency fashion plates to get some ideas for an easy spencer to make. I noticed some really cute open front spencers. I decided to hack my Laughing Moon spencer pattern and create my own open front pointy spencer. I used a pretty navy blue linen from Since I knew this was going to be hanging open I bought enough linen to line the front bodice pieces. The rest of my lining was some basic black cotton. I used some scraps of checkered silk taffeta and broke out Butterick 6397 Making History hat pattern. I used view A the Edwardian bag hat pattern. It went together easily.

On to Sense and Sensibility drawstring dress pattern!


The Elegant Lady's closet. Drawstring dress AKA round gown. Several sleeve options. Sizing is somewhat flexible. Also included is a crossover bodice pattern.

Fabric, size and alterations:

This was basically going to be a wearable muslin. I had some ok quality pink striped shirting in my stash. This dress is hard to muslin because of it's flexible sizing in the front, but he back is fitted so that's what makes it a bit tricky. I went by my bust measurement and made the size 22.

I did zero alterations. NONE. Yeah...... how often does that happen. The only thing I will do differently is lengthen the skirt. Oddly it runs a bit short even for me (5ft 4in).


I was a little baffled by the front only lining pieces (flaps). Not sure their purpose so I asked around. They help hold the front of the gown in place. Mine are just pinned closed. And yes, they really do help hold the gown in place.

I chose the 3/4 sleeve. It is nicely fitted without being super tight. If you normally have to do a full sleeve adjustment I would make a muslin of the sleeve and check for fit. I have average middle aged lady arms and didn't need one.

Setting in those sleeves.....I normally don't have sleevil issues. I do ok with them. This pattern has sleeves that go farther back onto the shoulder area. There is a weird little angle in the back shoulder area that you have to finesse. Now S&S does warn you in the instructions about the sleeves since this is based on a period dress. So I finessed the hell out of them. There were a few ripped seams and minor frustrations but I did get them sewn on. I still feel they are not perfect but I do not find them awkward or uncomfortable.

Final thoughts:

I like my dress! I didn't have any problems with the instructions. Other than the sleeves I found this dress easy and quick to make. You may have less finessing in the sleeve area if you go with the short puffy version. Gathers can cover a multitude of sins. ;-) You will really want the back of the dress to fit correctly. If it doesn't it may not be comfortable to wear. This pattern is in the running for a ballgown. It's got some competition with another pattern but.......I haven't made a choice yet. I will muslin the other gown first. This would also be a great dress to use under a open robe. If I did make a ballgown out of it I would also make an open robe. Just to gussy to up a bit. I highly recommend this lovely little pattern!

On to the pictures!

 Saturday Sail! Laughing Moon 126 gown and 129 spencer (hacked)

 The lovely Countess!

 Adventure selfie!!

 On the lady Washington for the evening sail.

 The Hawaiian Chieftain in the distance.

 Exploring Port Townsend wearing the Sense and Sensibility gown.

 At the end of the day I asked the Countess to take some pics in front of Manresa Castle. S&S dress with my hacked LM 129. 

Well summer events have wrapped up and now we move on to fall! My boys are back in school and the house seems too quiet. There will be some more Regency sewing on the way and also planning for VicFest 2018. Time flies by so quickly! Thanks again for stopping by and reading my little blog!

Instagram multi shots!!! ;-)