Sunday, December 23, 2018

2018 Costume Overview July to December Part 2

Continuing on with my costume overview for 2018 from Part 1.


Our first costume event for the second half of the year, was a tour of The Block Arcade in Melbourne, off Collins Street.  It was a delightful tour, learning about the history and architecture of the arcade.  Of course, our group was certainly the centre of the public's attention.

I used Simplicity 2581 Pattern to make my jacket.  Quite a good pattern, I was able to sew the jacket within a week.  To match my skirt I made for Picnic at Hanging Rock event.

One thing I find amusing about the day, when you look at the group photo, one would think we all organised to be in similar colour palettes. Which is not the case, we didn't organise it.


So in October I was transported to the 1970's.  Rippon Lea Estate held it's annual costume exhibition, Super 1970's. In conjunction with the costume exhibition, events are held.  So a 1970's Disco it is. 

I found this fantastic fabric from Flashback Wallpaper & Fabrics, unfortunately they are not around anymore.  I was a little nervous working with this fabric, because I hadn't worked with fabric that had so much texture, almost like an embossed look to it. In the long run, I need not have worried, it worked well with my sewing machine. I decided to make a wrap around dress, so I could wear it again in the future. 


So our next event was organised by my friend Rozalia, an early Victorian Picnic, held at Werribee Mansion.  I had this major plan to cosplay as Queen Victoria from the TV Series. I was defeated, so my costume ended up changing.  I made my first bonnet out of buckram.  I was very proud of it, and I enjoyed making it.  Overall the outfit was satisfactory, but it's not my favourite.

Last costume event for the year was a tour of the Yan Yean Water Supply System to Melbourne.  Yes you read correctly, a tour of the water supply system for Melbourne.  Unusual, yes, but really interesting. The tour covered the history of Yan Yean Reservoir, Yan Yean Caretaker's Cottage, remains of Wallaby Creek Weir, Staff Quarters and Bear's Castle.

I must say it was a challenge, because I was in a corset all day, and we had to get in and out of the bus all day, and even walk 2 kms.  Overall a really interesting and wonderful day. 

Oh my outfit, I wore one of my old Edwardian Skirts, made a grey shirt and belt. Wore my little cape from previous costume event.  All worked quite well.

At Bear's Castle, Yan Yean Reservoir, Victoria. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2018 Costume Overview January to June Part 1

I have certainly neglected my costume blog this year,  I seem to be spending my time either making costumes, reading, or just living life.  So I will do an overview, but it will have to be separated.


February started with an event held up at Parks Victoria - Hanging Rock.  The theme was 'Picnic at Hanging Rock'. For those who may not be aware, a famous Australia novel takes place at Hanging Rock about a group of school girls who go missing,  Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

The book is set at the turn of the Century, 1900 on Valentines Day.  So dress code was late Victorian or Edwardian.  I chose to go Edwardian.

Even though this costume looks simple, there was to much hand sewing for my liking.  The lace on the shirt, which of course needed to be tighter and the black ribbon trimming on the skirt, is all hand sewn on.  It was worth it in the end, but my poor wrist complained in the end. 

The next costume I semi completed, was for a friends 40th birthday. So what I mean 'semi completed', for the last 12 months I have been making a costume based on a colour fashion plate. I had completed the lower part of the costume, but not the bodice.  I was having difficulty with the bodice.  So I made the crazy decision to make another bodice. 


The 4th Annual Melbourne Regency Picnic came around so quickly.  I decided to wear one of my old Regency Dresses.  When I first wore it back at the 1st picnic, I had no stays at that point.  This time I had stays, and it certainly improved the look of the outfit.  The fabric was made in Korea and I purchased it from Luccello in Melbourne, Australia.  Also to complete the outfit, I purchased reproduction 1700's spectacles from Townsends in the USA.   It was a successful picnic, looking forward to our 5th Annual Picnic in April 2019. 

I'm a volunteer for The National Trust of Australia.   One of my volunteer jobs was to help in the sewing department.  I contributed with others to sew large curtains, pillow covers, reproductions of a Victorian Cape and Bodice.  I also got to make a reproduction of a boys 1895 dress.  I was very fortunate to be able to analysis the original Victorian boys dress.  Measurements were taken to draft a pattern, and I used muslin.  The embroidery on the original dress, was the only element that wasn't reproduced. Now that the dress is completed, it is permanently up on display in the children's room at Rippon Lea.

The dress now on display. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Super 70s A Fashion Exhibition

Super 70s A Fashion Exhibition
27 July - 4 November

Recently I visited the latest fashion exhibition at The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Rippon Lea Estate in Elsternwick, Melbourne. This time it's the fabulous 1970's.  To some people they care to forget the 1970's, with it's burnt orange and mission brown, but there was more to the 1970's than these two colours.

The exhibition looks at the 1970's in Melbourne with the use of fashion, images and music.  The costume exhibition has items by Prue Acton, Hilary Floyd, House of Merivale, and so on. I was pleasantly surprised by some of these fashion gems.  So if you want to go down memory lane to the 1970's.

Check here for all the details for the Super 70's A Fashion Exhibition.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Year in Review: Costuming in 2017

Well another year has flown by so quickly.  I look back on 2017 and I can see that costumes I choose, make divisions in the year, like chapters in a book.

So how did 2017 pan out, compared to 2016?

The Edwardian Bathing Suit

This outfit was for a Victorian / Edwardian Beach day.  I loved these Edwardian bathers from the Gemeentemuseum The Haag.

I didn't have a pattern, check out here how I made them.

To be honest I wasn't very happy with this costume. My mistake was, I didn't do a fitting. The idea was there, but I didn't execute it to it's full potential.

 The Edwardian Suit

The Edwardian suit was originally constructed for a punting day at Royal Botanical Gardens here in Melbourne. 

Check here, how I made it. 

I was extremely happy with this costume. Comfortable to wear, the fabric was a delight to sew with and I felt this costume suited me well, (excuse the pun).

I think by this stage of the year, it finally clicked with me, to search for good quality fabric. Also do a fitting!!!!

I wore the suit again, when we visited the Dame Nellie Melba Estate in Coldstream, Victoria.  It was a real thrill when I saw someone in an old photo at the museum wearing a similar suit to what I was wearing. 

Photo Credit: Coombe Yarra Valley 

A Robe and a Stole

This costume was a commission.

My mother who is a funeral celebrant was conducting a funeral for a woman who follows the Wiccan faith.  The woman requested that my mother wear a purple robe and red stole at her funeral.

It meant a lot to me, that this would be suitable for funeral service. Even though it was a simple garment to make, I still felt a bit of pressure making it, due to thinking, would it be ok.

Overall happy with it.

The Georgian Ensemble

I made the Georgian ensemble of items for a Georgian / Regency High Tea, to be held at The Gables.

I was extremely happy with this outfit.  I was amazed with myself that I completed all the components on time.

Thankfully this costume was very comfortable to wear and easy to drive in!

To see how I made each component check out my posts here:-

Georgian Costume - Part 1

Georgian Costume - Part 2

Georgian Costume - Part 3

So 2018, so what will you bring me now?

Half way through a late Victorian Bustle outfit
Edwardian Dress for a Picnic at Hanging Rock event
Maybe start on my 2017 outfits off the list I made back in 2016 LOL
1920's Costume
1932 Costume
Regency Custom Order

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Making a Georgian Costume - Part 3 The Accessories

"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen".
      John Wooden

Continuing from Part's 1 and Part 2, we have the accessories.

Lover's Eye - The Jewellery

Lover's Eye also known as eye miniatures were all the rage in Georgian time. The jewellery was thought to be started by Prince of Wales later to be George IV.  He sent a token of his love to Maria Fitzherbert. This act was frowned upon by the court, so he hired a painter only to paint the eye, so there was anonymity and decorum.  

I really find Lover's Eye fascinating and creepy at the same time, chuckle. So of course I had to have my very own Lover's Eye for my Georgian outfit.

My first step was to find a frame, this was a harder task than I thought it would be. Luckily I was able to find a suitable piece at my local Op Shop. So next step, to make the jewellery look more Georgian was to glue some fake purls around the frame.  Lastly an 'eye'. I couldn't find a small enough image of my husband's eye, and he wears glasses. So I went the quick way about it, and just printed off an eye off the net.

Thus end result, my own version of a 'Lover's Eye'.

The Spectacles

I wear glasses, and I was tired of wearing modern day glasses with my costumes. So when I discovered one could purchase reproduction Georgian glasses, I had to do this.  

I found some spectacles which I liked the look of, I purchased them from an American company called Townsends .  So I decided to buy the 18th Century Reproduction glasses. 

I was VERY happy with these glasses,they are sturdy and fit to my head really well.  Now the lenses, this was the expensive part.  Lucky, my local optometrist could change the lenses to my prescription lenses. The optometrists loved the glasses and of course asked where I got them. Luckily I was able to get new lenses put into them. They said they were so small, it was like replacing lenses for a child's set of glasses. 

The Shoes

I purchased some second hand shoes from my local Op Shop, that had a heel that looked Georgian. I then proceeded to cover them with a dusty rose fabric. Then later I put some green trim on them (not seen in photo)

So that is it.  Another costume done and dusted.  I hope you enjoyed Parts 1, 2 and 3 of my Georgian costume journey.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

2018 Victorian Reading Challenge

Well it's that time of year when I start to think of what Book Reading Challenges I will attempt for the next year.  Scanning through Pinterest I found the 2018 Victorian Book Challenge, perfect I thought.  Checked out this reading blog by another Becky (spelt with a c) and she has so many reading challenges.  Great! 

The Challenge!

Victorian Reading Challenge
Host: Becky's Book Reviews
Duration: January - December 2018
Goal: Read a minimum of 4 Victorian books

Sign up in the comments (If you have a blog, please leave your blog address. If you have a Goodreads profile AND if you review regularly on Goodreads, then you may leave that as well.)

I'll have quarterly check-in posts. I'll be posting check-in posts March 25, June 24, September 23, and December 30. You may leave links to your reviews on any of those four posts. If you want to share your review with me BEFORE that, AND if you have twitter, feel free to tweet me a link @blbooks.

Option A.  Read alphabetically A-Z with authors OR titles OR a blend of authors/titles. I've decided that from now on X in reading challenges stands for multiple authors. I'm flipping my "x" to a "+".

Option B. Choose one author to read exclusively for this challenge; perhaps challenge yourself to read chronologically OR to read through an entire series in one year.

Option C. Do as many books from the checklist as you can. Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book. 

Option D. Make the challenge completely your own and read as YOUR whimsy dictates.

IF you love Victorian literature AND you happen to love tea...consider joining my Share-a-Tea reading challenge.  

Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book. If you list the books you read, that may help other people decide what to read.

This year's checklist:

  1. _ A book that was originally published serially
  2. _ book published between 1837-1840
  3. _ book published between 1841-1850
  4. _ book published between 1851-1860
  5. _ book published between 1861-1870
  6. _ book published between 1871-1880
  7. _ book published between 1881-1890
  8. _ book published between 1891-1901
  9. _ nonfiction published between 1837-1860
  10. _ nonfiction published between 1861-1901 
  11. _ A book published between 1902-1999 with a Victorian setting
  12. _ A book published between 2000-2018 with a Victorian setting
  13. _ A fiction or nonfiction book about Queen Victoria
  14. _ Biography of a Victorian
  15. _ Nonfiction book about the Victorian era
  16. _ free choice
  17. _ place name in the title
  18. _ character name in the title
  19. _ book in a series
  20. _ drama or melodrama
  21. _ gothic, suspense, mystery
  22. _ romance or historical
  23. _ comedy 
  24. _ science fiction or fantasy
  25. _ adventure, crime, western
  26. _ poetry collection OR story collection
  27. _ happily ever after
  28. _ unhappily ever after 
  29. _ children's book
  30. _ translated into English from another language
  31. _ a book under 250 pages
  32. _ book over 500 pages
  33. _ a book over 800 pages
  34. _ A book that has been filmed as movie, miniseries, or television show
  35. _ memorable heroine
  36. _ memorable hero
  37. _ British author
  38. _ Irish author OR Irish setting
  39. _ Scottish author OR Scottish setting
  40. _ American author
  41. _ reread
  42. _ book with a subtitle (the longer the better!)
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


I will only choose a minimum of 4 books, seeing I'm a slow reader and I need time to construct my costumes, thus Option D.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Making a Georgian Costume Part 2 - Caraco Jacket and Skirt

So continuing on with my journey of constructing a Georgian costume.

Once the corset and hip /bum pad were completed I decided to make a Caraco Jacket, which is short
version of an 'a la francaise' (without pleats) that end at the hip, giving the look of a peasant jacket.

Many months before I found this gorgeous fabric which I felt was perfect, (for me), for a Caraco Jacket.  The teal quilt fabric is designed by Di Ford-Hall and is part of the Bally Hall collection sold by Andover Fabrics online.  However I was fortunate I could buy it at my local Quilt Shop.

I am one of those costumers, who needs a paper pattern to work off. I had the American Duchess / Simplicity Outlander inspired Pattern 8161, but it did not have the peplum. So I went to Janet Arnold's 'Patterns of Fashion 1' to seek inspiration and a pattern. So to achieve the look I combined the Simplicity and Janet Arnold Pattern to get the look I wanted.

I decided to use the peplum from the B Caraco Jacket describe in Janet Arnold's book, on page 26 and 27.

I combined the Janet Arnold peplum pieces to Simplicity's Outlander inspired paper pattern. It all worked out quite well. So this simple solution has given me the confidence to think about combining patterns in the future.

Lastly the petticoat was to be made.  I used Simplicity's pattern for this, very straight forward and clear instructions.  At first I didn't know what colour to choose, thankfully I had a friend help me choose a mustard yellow to complement the gold highlighting the birds in the Bally Hall fabric.

Our cat, admiring my finished outfit. 

Stay tuned for Part 3 - the accessories.