Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rocking Horse Farm 186 Chemise a la Reine and Washington Regency Society picnic

One of my most favorite events! The WRS Regency picnic at Lakewold Gardens. This was my second year in and I decided on a new Chemise a la Reine and hat. I have a white chemise from the Laughing Moon pattern line. This time around I wanted a fluffy one. I found the RHF pattern on Etsy and decided that was the one for me. Plus there was minimal fitting involved. ;-)


A drawstring Chemise dress with fluffy sleeves. You can add ruffles to the sleeve hems and neckline. This pattern is a fabric hog especially if you only have 45 wide fabric. I didn't have enough for a matching petticoat.

Sizing and alterations:

I went with size XL, 42-44. Since I am petite in length from my shoulder to apex I used the size medium shoulder straps. I shortened the skirt length by 2 inches. No other alterations were made. I chose to make mine a open robe VS sewing closed the lower front.

Fabric and construction:

I used a lovely silk voile with a very fine green pinstripe. Not period correct but it was in my stash. Silk voile is a delight to work with and so floaty when worn. The directions were easy to follow. Your neckline casing will show. I didn't realize this and used a lightweight white cotton for mine. No biggie. Also when I gathered the neckline to fit the casing I went easy with the gathers over the shoulder and concentrated them in the front and back of the gown. If you make the gathers too dense over your shoulders the sleeves don't hang real well and it made the armholes much tighter than called for.  My advice is gather the neckline and baste it to the casing. Try on the dress and check how your gathers lay. Make adjustments as needed.

Changes and end notes:

I used elastic in the sleeves. Not too tight, just enough to pull the sleeves in and rest gently around my arms. I loathe overly tight elastic. Plus the dress already has three drawstrings on the bodice, the last thing I want is drawstrings on the sleeves too. Three is my limit. This would be a good pattern for a confident beginner. It's easy to fit and make. I skipped on the sash and decided on a 3 inch double sided satin ribbon. After looking at examples on Pinterest I liked the idea of showing off the gathers on the bodice. Lol, and just a side note. This is not a slimming dress style. It is very fluffy and makes you look a bit like a marshmallow. However, I don't care about that. I felt very girly and pretty.


Pattern is "Sara" by Denise Nadine Designs. I made the brim 2 inches larger. Her directions are easy to follow but you are on your own as far as decorating goes. That is my preference anyways.

Now on to pictures!!

 The Countess and I talking shop.

 The lovely and lively Lady C and Empress S!

 The three graces.

 Our newest and youngest member was in attendance!

 Three lovely ladies! We like to travel in threes. One for the lookout and the other two can roll the drunks. ;-)

 Ms. R looking lovely amongst the flowers.

 The Countess and I enjoyed playing graces!


 Lakewold Manor

 Two other lovelies enjoying graces!

 The back of Lakewold and the veranda where we set up our picnic.

 A perfect day for croquet!

 Hat detail.

 If you make a hat you wish to wear tilted it helps to put a bandeau inside the brim. The bandeau will stabilize the hat as it sits upon your head. This applies to hats that are designed to sit atop your head VS a hat you wear pulled down on your head.

Yes, my needlework is pretty coarse but I try not to sweat it. Nothing I do is perfect anyways. :-)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Decades of Style Hazel Dress pattern, New Deal's Prohibition Picnic and 1920s stout ladies

July 8th was a fabulous 1920s-1940s picnic and swing dance in Seattle, WA! So it was time to make another Decades of Style Hazel dress. I did makes some modifications to the pattern just for my own personal taste and what I find flattering.

The dreaded frumpy 1920s. So many costumers avoid the 20s because of the slim straight dresses and feeling that you have to be super skinny to wear them. Ha! Like I am going to let that stop me! Nope, I am not skinny. In olden times catalogs I would be considered "stout". Boy, that is such a compliment. But you know what, it's true. I am stout. Whatever, it is not going to stop me from having a good time and dressing up. 1920s is not off limits for me, you or anyone else. I have spent too many years and so much angst fretting over my weight. Punishing myself with not eating and then following up with bouts of binge eating. It sucks. I honestly don't know if I will ever have a healthy relationship with food. I am trying not to pass on these issues to my children. As a matter of fact both my sons have a great relationship with food. It's so damn good I have to go to the @#$$%!!! store several times a week. Though I think at this point I could just toss raw meat in their rooms a few times a day and they would be happy. Ah, to be young and have a good metabolism.

I am pretty sure I have a review of this dress on my blog, somewhere. It's a basic shift dress with French bust darts and handkerchief accents.

Size and alterations:
I used size 42 (my FBM is 43). There is plenty of ease room. My advice is to measure the pattern pieces and determine your size that way. I added a waistband and a rolled collar/neck tie. I traced off the sleeve pattern piece and drafted a a flutter sleeve. I knew it would be hot and I didn't want long sleeves. My fabric choice was a coral pink and white check rayon. It was very comfortable to wear.

Easy, no issues. I used the rolled hem stitch on my serger for the handkerchief accents. It makes this dress pretty quick to put together.

End notes:
I like my frumpy 20s dress. It's easy to wear. You can do a lot with this pattern. If you don't like the handkerchief parts, leave them off. Add a belt or band at the hip area and you would have a nice straight uncluttered 1920s frock. Or if you want more skirt cut the dress off at the hipline and add a fuller skirt. The possibilities are endless.

Here are some pictures of our fun outing!

 The hat made from an old tablecloth.

 Totally working it.

 I should be on an Art Deco travel poster. 

 The Countess striking a pose.

It was a fantastic time and the weather was perfect! When you get nice days in Seattle you have to take full advantage of them.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Jane Austen Appreciation Day WRS outing!

This last Sunday was The Washington Regency Society's Jane Day. We had been invited to the Seattle Public Library for a few hours to wear Regency costume and talk about Jane. It also enabled us to meet some potential new members! We had a great time and The Countess brought costume accessories etc....for people to try on.  Much fun was had by all, even Flat Jane our cardboard mascot. ;-)

We followed up with a WRS meeting at The Fairmont Olympic Hotel after our library adventure. There were snacks and booze on the menu. Plus it was happy hour! Drinks and food are served in their fancy lobby with plenty of comfortable seating.

 Flat Jane selfie!

 Just us two wallflowers.

 The darling Ms. K

The Countess as bad boy Mr. Wickham!

 And as Elizabeth!

 Oh dear! Two Elizabeths! Well, the naughty Liz for Mr. Wickham and the nice Liz for Mr. Darcy. Naughty Liz is on the right! ;-)

 At the Fairmont Olympic in Seattle.

 Patterns used--La Mode Bagatelle faux drop front dress in white clip dot with an underdress of yellow voile. Spencer is the cross front pattern by Laughing Moon patterns without sleeves. Bonnet pattern is the small brim Regency bonnet by Lynn McMasters. If you are going to make your first Regency bonnet I highly recommend the small brim version of this pattern. Use the gathered brim pattern piece for an easy brim finish.

Myself and the always lovely Countess! She has named this outfit of mine Buttercup.

I would just like to add that in the last two years of my costuming adventures I have met some of the most wonderful people! I am grateful for my new found friends! If you reside in the greater Seattle area and are interested in historical costuming here are some great groups:

WRS The Washington Regency Society
SITU Somewhere In Time Unlimited
Puget Sound Historical Costumers Guild

For the re-enactors set:
Northwest Colinial Re-enactors Association
WCWA Washington Civil War Association
Reenacting is a different animal from historical costuming. However, these groups don't mind us costumers showing up a civilians to their events wearing appropriate period costumes.

All of these groups are on FaceBook and have their own websites. I am to lazy to post links.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Folkwear 210 Armistice blouse review and Mansion tour outing!

Some of my costuming friends decided to do a mansion tour and tea recently. Time for a new outfit! It being summer I wanted something comfortable and easy to wear.

I was going for Titanic but landed closer to WW1. I had stumbled (no not really, I never just stumble into a fabric store) gorgeous green and white eyelet fabric. It was true love! Green is my most favorite color and in a cool summery eyelet it is a match made in heaven. I made the skirt first. It is basically two tubes of fabric seamed up the back with a basic placket and hook closure. The bottom portion of the underskirt (about 10 inches) is nice quality linen and the rest of the underskirt is basic muslin. Why waste good fabric on something no one will see. The shorter overskirt is my lovely eyelet. On to the blouse!

Folkwear Armistice Blouse:

WW1 inspired blouse with collar, long sleeves, cuffs and button front.

Sizing, alterations and pattern changes:

I literally fall between the L and XL (43 bust). I measured the pattern pieces and decided on the large. There is enough ease room without it looking like a sack. I made the sleeves 3/4 length which made the project quicker because I didn't need to make cuffs. I am short waisted so I had to move up the waist tie about 1.50 inches. Thanks to the advice from a friend I also skipped the buttons and made it a pullover. There is plenty of ease and the neck opening is large enough to slip right on over my head.


Directions are clear and concise. I had no issues putting this together. I know, how boring. ;-)

End notes:

Great pattern. Very flattering. The blouse can be worn tucked in or out. This would look more Titanic style worn with a earlier skirt like TVE30 1911 narrow panel skirt and tucked in. Looking at fashion plates and catalog listings this type of blouse was pretty popular from 1913ish thru post WW1. Even the very early dowdy 20's have tunic type versions of this blouse.

On to our fun outing pictures!! Our first stop was the Meeker Mansion in Puyallup, WA. Then it was tea at British Bites (very yummy). I didn't have any tea because it was too damn hot, but I did enjoy the rest. After tea we drove to Neely Mansion in Auburn, WA. Both homes are really beautiful.

Meeker Mansion.

The music room at Meeker Mansion.

 The vivacious Lady R.

 The whole gang!

In the dining room at Meeker.

 My partner in crime.

 Following The Countess AKA stalking.

 Victorian human hair art. I love this stuff!

 The Victorian intercom. Sadly it no longer works.

Gorgeous quilt in one of the bedrooms.

Photo op outside Meeker.

The always lovely Countess!

 The Neely Mansion. Our second home tour after having a relaxing tea.

 Neely Mansion in it's abandoned state before restoration.

 Neely interiors.

In spite of it being about 93 degrees that day we had a great time. Hey, did you know that Victorians didn't have air conditioning? ;-) Haha!