Monday, November 13, 2017

You do you...historical costuming resolution for 2018.

This is my historical costuming resolution for 2018. YOU DO YOU.

I'm a self-proclaimed historical COSTUMER.
I've been a re-en-actor, dressing in HA clothes and doing demo dances for the public in historic houses/museums. I've been a costumer, dressing in close to HA clothes and going to private events or public events in costume. Historically costumed, I've been  to fancy private houses, to fancy public houses, and everything in between: I've done demo dances for historic hours tours, I've been an extra in TV/film, I've been asked if I'm Amish, if I'm Victorian, if I'm in a play, or going to the Renn Faire, or if I work for Colonial Williamsburg, I've been photographed and featured on websites, in promotional videos, marketing materials, in newspapers, and in magazines, complimented by well-known politicians and more,and almost always in as-HA-as-possible historical costume. That's all great, but what matters is, I do this historical costuming hobby because it's F-U-N.

I'm not saying this stuff above to claim some sort of fame - if it were about that, I'd list and share and mention every time "I was noticed" in this hobby - I'd tell you all about the who and the what and the why, but none of that matters. What matters is that this is my JAM, it's me. I'm appreciative of each and every moment in this hobby, the private ones and the public ones, because to me, that's what it's all about, the fun. It's a way to enjoy myself, to express myself and to BE myself: I love to sew and I love historic fashion. I'm being me. Historical costumed me is me.

In this our costuming and re-enacting world, I'm tired of drama, of being told to let mean girl behavior slide because 'we all need to get along.' I'd LIKE to all get along, but we don't NEED to all get along. And there's a difference. I'm not willing anymore to sit down and be silent when my friends are treated poorly, or when I am treated poorly. To ridicule someone in public or in private, online or not, who is taking part in this historical costuming hobby (or cosplay, or re-enacting) or to pick apart their attempts to join in this hobby simply because it's "not HA enough", or they used a zipper or faux fabrics, or safety pins or the look is 'off' or whatever - I'm sorry, there's NO excuse for that sort of mean girl behavior. We all started with zippers, and it's totally ok if you use them now (I personally safety pin myself into my costumes often because it's not seen and it doesn't matter to me). And if you somehow skipped the zipper phase, you're not special and allowed to push your own standards on others. If someone is asking how to be more HA, great, share away, but please do it in love and kindness. Anything else I've found is or becomes unacceptable behavior. You do this to help others learn about HA fashion? Great, share away, in kindness and when they ASK for help. You graduated with a masters in this? Great! I have one too, just in business, not in theatre/art/fashion/costuming/sewing.  I do this for fun, many of you do this for fun or WANT to do this, but are too afraid to join in. I learned how to hand and machine sew from my mother, who is a professional quilter, and I am self taught since and have also learned from other historical costumers too, over the years. Please know, Your standards are not my standards. My standards are not your standards. Their standards are not your standards. Historical standards are not THE standards - we have a limited view into what they did in the past and sure, we research and confirm and learn things, but that doesn't mean that it matters or applies to everyone taking part in this hobby, to each her (or his) own.

Historical costuming is my hobby. It's a way to be creative, to sew, to dream, to plan, to dress up in fun clothes, to try different materials and methods, to learn, to grow, to enjoy life. To have fun myself, with my family and with friends, with others who like to do this and even at times with the public. I do a lot of research, I pour over fashion plates and portraits and extant garments. I like using materials that are close to what they had back then, I like to get the look close to what I see in the fashion plates and the portraits, and later the photographs. And I'm a SILK ADDICT, so yeah, I use that stuff A LOT. But the reality is, we often don't have the same materials, we don't have the same fabric or weaves, and we don't have the complete picture of what they did back then, because we only have snapshots and little windows into the past. I love to hand sew! I started young, with quilting as a child, but I don't do this full time. And I adore my sewing machine. I do both hand and machine sewing. And I have a small business that I do for fun and to help support my hobby, and because business is fun to me. I limit myself in historical costuming by my budget, time constraints, skill, other interests, family commitments, business, my career choices and so much more - by my choice. Yes, I like to be HA, but I'm not asking how to be so. I do my own research or ask for HA opinions when wanted. My standards are not your standards, they are mine only. I do me. You do you.

I stress again, this hobby is all about fun, for me, for my friends, for many others. If you're in this for fame, and you're miserable because you're not noticed or because someone else gets noticed, then we're probably not a good costumer friendship match. I'm happy for others successes and I'm here cheering you on! And there are many others who feel that way too! If you want to be invited to events to feel good that you're popular, but you have no intention of ever going or you only go to turn up your nose at things, or you're a bad guest to the hostess or other guests, we're simply not going to gel. And that's ok. Private(and public) events take a lot of time and effort, and my 1-2 costume private events a year I'm space limited. In the past, I've invited folks to be nice or to include or not make waves, but that's a thing of the past. No more. Personally I'm done rewarding or ignoring bad behavior. I'm resolved to take back my enjoyment in this hobby. I hope you join me.

And like so many of you out there, I'm an introvert. An extroverted introvert, but an introvert non-theless. For someone who likes to dress up and have fun, I'm a fairly private person. Sharing my costumes and sewing adventures online doesn't come natural to me. Sharing this here is definitely a huge step for me. There is no secret club, at least not one I'm in - I've just been doing this awhile, and so have others and we've all gotten to know each other over time. Many of us poured out our lives together, the good and the bad, on venues like Live Journal, and we bonded over a shared love of historic fashion and empathy over life's struggles. I know some wonderful folks in costuming, those are the people I'm going to surround myself with, along with new costumer friends, folks who believe as I do, who do this for fun and who I become friends with over time.

A dear costumer friend passed away two years ago yesterday, who had the kindest and most welcoming heart of any costumer I know. She knew her HA and did it spot on, and yet still welcomed me to my first private fancy costumed evening (late 18th century Twelfth Night) with open arms and a welcoming heart, even as I stepped in, with my faux taffeta late 18th century pocket hoop gown, an early attempt at HA. That didn't stop her from encouraging the beginner that I was in historic fashion. Let's take a page from her book and treat each other with kindness always. I do me. You do you.

Love,
TheLady Detalle

Sunday, November 12, 2017

11th Regency Pumpkin Tea Preview

Here's a quick preview of my 11th Annual Regency Pumpkin Tea outfit:

11th Regency Pumpkin Tea - my new Regency
stovepipe bonnet (Photo by Kat)
My outfit: I re-wore one of my favorites Regency gowns, a mustard yellow striped cotton Regency crossover gown finished with black cotton Van Dyke triangle trim that I finished a few years ago! But hands down my favorite part of my outfit it my NEW BONNET!!!

I commissioned a custom Regency stovepipe bonnet this year from 1800'sMillineryShop on Etsy, sending them a mustard and dark taupe striped silk (I have more fabric to make something up in future). I adore how the bonnet turned out, I'm very happy with their creations! Paired with a mustard yellow and black silk vintage dupatta, pearl bracelet and earrings by LadyDetalle on Etsy. Unfortunately no time to make a new dress this year, since I had two full outfits to make in the 5-6 weeks prior!


I'll post more photos and about the tea soon!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Costume College 2018 theme is really inspiring me!

I'm really inspired by "Dressing the Royals" theme of Costume College 2018!

I just finished my 1898 evening/court gown for the Last Csar Dinner, and I have some court wear from previously worn outfits, including CoCo 2016 Gala. I'm pondering on if I should re-wear all my court wear at Costume College this year - so tempting! Although I'm also inspired to sew some new things and revamp some previously made outfits (including the court wear), so in the end, it will probably be a little of both.

I stumbled across this photo that I had forgotten about, in Gloria's CoCo Flickr album: photo by InTheLongRunDesigns. I love the way she captured the sun and shadows on my Napoleonic Bee court robe from Costume College 2016 Gala!
'Bees, Bees, Bees' - my early 19th century Napoleonic Silk Court Open Robe & Court Gown
I have never felt so completely regal and ready to be or visit royalty that evening, than I did in this gown.

Time for some CoCo Royals planning!
What are you planning for Costume College 2018 theme?!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Costume College - What I wore

Costume College always goes by in such a blur! I'm long overdue in posting but I wanted to say I really enjoyed my trip to CA this past summer, and the time spent with friends and meeting new friends! There's usually a few bumps along the road, in an otherwise fabulous trip.

Thursday was a trip to the L.A. Fashion District with a car-ful of costumer friends, to scout out some great deals. I went home with a er *cough*ridiculous*cough* amount of silk yardage to add to my stash. I'm making lots of dresses this year and next! If I wasn't before, I am now, LOL! Lots of great deals and fun was had, and I really enjoyed fabric shopping with friends and running into other friends in the fabric district!

All of my costumes at Costume College were re-wears: none had I worn to Costume College before, but they had all been worn before, made for various events. I love re-wearing and re-accessorizing outfits, you get different and better pictures often in new settings!

Friday I wore my "Strawberry Picking" Regency (JoAnn's quilted cotton print) with my Regency stays and shift, white apron and mustard and black silk fichu. Paired with my beloved American Duchess Hartfield boots, these boots are super comfy! Hair by me (my hair with half wig of brown curls pinned on the back) and jewelry is Dames a la Mode pearl earrings with a vintage blue stone necklace.

Fun with photos
Back view of my Regency 'Strawberry
Picking' dress






















I taught on Friday, so I changed before class, so only wore this outfit for a little while, but it was enjoyable just the same - I really love Regency!

Friday evening I wore my white and black silk 1780's jacket, paired with my black silk ruffled petticoat, black sash with large rhinestone buckle, tiara from LadyDetalle, earrings and necklace by InTheLongRunDesigns. We had a non-rushed dinner at Corner Bakery before dressing for the Social, so we arrived quite late.
Late 1780's white & black silk jacket
w/ black silk ruffled petticoat (photo by Gloria)
View from the side back (photo by Gloria)





Saturday day I wore my late 1790's white sequin striped silk/cotton gown, with my Regency cream silk and white marabou pelerine, paired with a "B" and "bee" mustard and black silk reticule made by my friend Vanessa, a black shawl wrapped as a turban, mustard yellow feathers, pearl earrings by Dames a la Mode and my American Duchess 'Hartfields."
Back view with flowy train! (Photo by Gloria)
 
Late 1790's gown























Saturday evening for the Gala, I wore my Regency orange silk sari gown, paired with pearl earrings from Dames a la Mode, garnet tiara by Bohemian Belle, my hair with added bouncy brown curls in the back, my painted orange American Duchess 'Pemberlies', and a vintage mustard dupatta.
Orange silk sari gown w/ vintage dupatta
(photo by Gloria)
I combined three rows of gold metallic
edging to create the trim down the center front!
(photo by Gloria)

One of the best 'full length' shots of my gown
View from the back of my orange silk sari gown




Sunday I wore a modern sundress and white pullover and paired it with my mini tricorn with a huge, crazy amount of paper flowers on it, for 'wear crazy **** on your head" day at CoCo.
Crazy hat day! (Photo by Gloria)
Another fun Costume College experience!
-TheLady Detalle


Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Last Csar Dinner

My husband and I attended a private event this past weekend, The Last Csar Dinner in the Philly suburbs, a themed Russian Court dinner around the years of 1894-1917. I made a 1898 evening/court gown out of a dark burnt 'brick' (lol) red orange silk taffeta from my stash, using TV490 evening bodice and TV297 flared skirt patterns. My bodice is boned and I'm wearing my late Victorian corset, and an underskirt made up in the same TV297 pattern of a thick vintage cotton plaid. My husband's black wool military jacket was purchased/made from a seller in England and I added a few embroideries and his sash and 'royal orders.'

Here's a picture of the Last Csar Dinner group photo!
The Last Csar Dinner - November 2017
We had an amazing time, a sit down dinner of delicious food: I chose the soup special (cauliflower and feta cheese), filet mignon, and a pumpkin mousse tart!

Last Csar Dinner, my husband and I 
My dress was finished in about two weeks (since I was frantically sewing for another event right before this one, I'll post on that soon). I was originally planning on adding sleeves (Russian style court sleeves were planned but I ran out of time so I may add those for a later wearing). My 1898 evening/court gown is sleeveless and finished with a vintage fur, and lots of bling!

We had such a fun evening!

Trying to look regal (but my hair is hiding
my tiara, lol)




















Tiara with matching necklace and earrings set, extra long and long real pearl necklaces are LadyDetalle on Etsy, as are my matching real pearl bracelets. Catherine the Great crown bow order by Etsy seller Queen & Cavendish, and I made our 'bee orders' as well as our other orders either I made or bought/made, along with matching silk sashes. I wore my black 'Balmoral' boots by American Duchess. Hair by me using a half wig of brown curls and a touch of extra hair underneath for support.

I didn't get very many pictures since I was having such a great time, but the ones I did get are here.

The evening went by so quickly, but we had an amazing and truly lovely weekend: thank you, Judy!