Monday, December 31, 2012

My 2012 Costuming Blog Short List

2012 was the year I committed to blogging about my costuming adventures, and it was also a year of discovering many of the fantastic costuming blogs that I now follow.  I wanted to feature a few of my favorites in my last post of 2012, but I was finding it hard to narrow it down.  Finally I decided to do my top ten blogs that I have discovered in the last year which have less than 50 followers.  (Some of these blogs don't have their followers listed, so may have more than 50.)  

An American Seamstress - A lovely costuming blog that also has excellent reference links and a library of costuming/pattern books  

Arachne Attire - A very cool costume blog with an emphasis on Victorian and 18th Century fashions

Before the Automobile - A beautifully photographed blog full of gorgeously detailed costumes and wonderful construction techniques

Classic Costume - A very informative resource full of tips on laundering your costumes, definitions of different fabrics, weaves, and dyes, construction techniques, etc.  

Crazy About Costumes - A versatile blog with a wide variety of costuming interests

Damask Rose Diaries - A relatively new blog with some beautiful handmade corsets

Evie's Tea Room - An adorable vintage-inspired blog

Thread-Headed Snippet - Not only is the blog title a reference to one of my favorite book series of all time (Anne of Green Gables), but the writing style always cracks me up.  

Serena Dyer - The blog of a dress historian, with lots of good academic information

Starfish Lace - Another versatile costuming blogger who writes in both French and English

A Costuming Christmas

I got some awesome Christmas presents this year!  Among my favorites are three costuming-related books:  

The first two were on my Amazon wishlist, but the third one I had never even heard of!  It's very cool, with patterns and instructions for recreating iconic looks from Rita Hayworth to Madonna, as well as more modern variations of those same styles.  I can't wait to start on my vintage-inspired wardrobe!

I also received a new camera, which I used to take the above photos.  I had desperately needed a new camera, as my old one is very old and the batteries no longer hold a charge.  It is also so old that they don't make that kind of battery anymore.  :p

I also got a huge surprise gift - a new pair of American Duchess shoes, stockings, and buckles!

And last but not least, a sonic screwdriver!

I have to say, my friends and family are awesome.  :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas Caroling Capelet

Or at least the start of one.  :p  I had to turn this red-checked wool into something adorable and snuggly.  There wasn't much to start with, but I did have just enough to eke out a little capelet, such as I would imagine a Christmas Caroler wearing in the 1890s.  Here is my progress so far:

The trim is flat navy braid, just pinned on.  I'm planning to line it in solid red, and I'm debating if I want to add a collar or not.

Some inspiration images:

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Victorian Post Cards

This recent post on vintage Christmas cards reminded me:  A few years ago I received a beautiful Christmas present from my aunt - a framed collection of vintage post cards.  She made one for all the members of my family.  Here is mine:

She had discovered a whole treasure trove of these cards that one of our ancestors had received from his friends and saved for posterity - and here they are over 100 years later!  She had them all framed for display in these beautiful double-sided glass frames, so that we could see both front and back of these delightful pieces of history.

One of mine was a birthday card, one was never written on but is clearly a Christmas card, and the third seems to be a "just thinking of you" type of greeting.  This last one is the only one with a post mark, and it's dated 1909!  How cool is that?

Also, apparently Decorah, Iowa was such a small town 100 years ago that you didn't actually need someone's address to send them mail - just their name.  My sister lives there now...  Maybe I should give that a try.  :p

Monday, December 17, 2012

Speaking of Vintage Gloves...

In my new Etsy shop, you can see several pairs of mid-century gloves that I am selling.  They came to me buried amongst a treasure trove of vintage slips and nighties (the bulk of which will also go on Etsy as soon as I get them photographed) in a cardboard box labeled "old slips."  There's no telling how long they were packed away and forgotten, but some dye that transferred from one pair to another suggests it was several years.  I did not list the damaged gloves for sale, and I also kept a couple of pairs for myself because they were just so darn cute!  So here you will see my vintage gloves NOT for sale.

First is a pair that did not come in the box with all the rest - in fact I don't remember where I got them.  I've had them for years, and suspect they may have been my mom's at some point.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Etsy Shop is Open!

A Sartorial Statement is now on Etsy!  I have listed 20 pairs of vintage gloves, for a start.  I will also have vintage nightgowns up in the next few weeks, so keep checking back for more goodies!

Here are some of the gloves I've listed:

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Victorian Dust Ruffle Bustle Skirt

So what happens when your parents move out of the house they've lived for 30 years?  Turns out, they give you a lot of random stuff!  Some of this stuff can be useful for costuming... if you're resourceful.  Take this old dust ruffle, for example:

Ignore the rulers (for now)
It has a beautifully pleated ruffle around three sides, which means I *have* to use it for something... right?  Something ruffly, something fun, something a little bit ostentatious - I got it!  How about a Victorian bustle skirt with a train?

Perfect.  This will take hardly any work at all.  :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

...And Again

So it might seem like I have blog title ADD, but this time I'm going to stick with it!  I've also started a new Facebook page, and the Etsy store is still in the works.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Look and New Name!

I've decided to rename my blog to something a little more sophisticated than "Chelsea's Costume Blog." And I've updated the look to go along with it!  I hope this doesn't cause too much confusion.  "Gierelian" is an Old English word meaning "to clothe."  This name change is taking place to correspond with the opening of my new Etsy store, which is coming soon!  Watch for some vintage items that I'll be listing along with miscellaneous fabrics and other sewing/crafting supplies.

A small sampling to whet your appetite  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

American Duchess Shoe Giveaway

If you haven't already seen the new 23Skidoo shoes over at American Duchess, now is a great time to check them out!  They're up for pre-order, and a giveaway!

These also come in all white, so you can paint your own color(s)!
You can find instructions for entering the drawing on the American Duchess blog.  Enter today!  I have two pairs of American Duchess shoes, myself.  They are very high quality and extremely comfortable. And their customer service is fantastic!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Update on my Curtain-Along Cloak

So far I have been unable to find a suitable lining for my Lowe's curtain cloak, so I'm still at somewhat of a standstill on that project.  I had hoped to use this brick red wool gabardine:

It matches the red flowers in the curtain fabric perfectly!

It's the right color and the right fiber content - 100% wool - but upon further research I discovered that gabardine as a weave was not invented until 1879, which puts it 100 years too late for my 18th Century cloak.  Boo.  It had two out of the three!

Oh well.  My 2 yds of 60" wide gabardine is now for sale, along with several more fabrics from my stash:

Some of these are free!
I'm sure I'll be adding more fabrics and trims to my For Sale tab in the near future, so keep checking back for more treasures!  Unless noted, there is nothing wrong with these fabrics - I just want them out of my apartment.  :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Progress on my Stays

My 18th Century stays are cut out, and two pieces are fully boned so far.  I've had some issues with this project, mainly with the process of transferring marks from the pattern to the fabric.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lucas Sells Star Wars to Disney

I guess this means we'll be seeing more Star Wars costumes?

Read all about it.

Red Plaid Curtain Plan Revised

I was quite discouraged in my last post when I discovered that the gorgeous red plaid curtain set I had bought on clearance was half as much yardage as I had originally calculated.  I had wanted to make a big, Christmasy 1860s crinoline gown, which calls for eight yards of fabric.

Tartan Plaid Silk Taffeta Dress, c. 1871
This meant I would need four total sets of curtains.  I have one.  However, inspiration returned when I was browsing my blogroll, and found The Dreamstress' recent post about her plaid 1880s skirt.  Suddenly I realized that my red plaid would match a deep red taffeta dress that I bought off the sale rack in the bridal store where I work:

Which I bought specifically because the pleated trim around the hem reminded me of a Victorian bustle-era skirt!

The dress had been languishing in my closet for months, because I had been unable to find matching taffeta to make a draped overskirt.  Originally I had planned to pair the dress (as a skirt) with a frilly, creamy, gauzy blouse.  However, I should have enough plaid fabric to make an overskirt and matching jacket!

First I had to revamp the taffeta dress a bit.  I removed the zipper and lining, and let out all the seams as much as possible, since I want to use the full length of the dress (it was ankle-length on me) for my new floor-length skirt.  Fortunately it was a couple sizes too big for me already, so I was able to get enough girth for my hips to fit where the waist was supposed to be.

Then I put it on my dress form inside out and pinned in the top to fit to my waist.

I sewed up the seams, tried it on, pressed it and put it back on the dress form, right side out this time.  Then I draped my curtain fabric over it, just to get the effect of the plaid with the taffeta.

I think it'll be beautiful!  Now I just need to find a pattern to use.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Window Shopping

Well, boo.  I went to two different Meijers today, and neither had the gold embroidered clearance curtains I want.  :(  The first one did have the same style in three other colors, but they weren't on sale.

So I could make the gown in Bone, Brick, or Chocolate, for $70.
They also had several clearance curtains in a lovely jacquard that I thought might work for a someday Elizabethan gown, but I wasn't inspired enough to buy any.

The second store had even less selection, but I did end up finding one of the 5-piece window sets that caught my eye the first time I went window shopping.  I absolutely love this deep red and gold plaid:

So I bought one.
Now, my original calculations led me to believe that two of these sets would yield enough yardage to get a good Civil War era gown, because I was reading the description incorrectly.  I thought that each curtain panel was going to be 60x84", when in fact the attached valance is the only part that's 60" wide.

Each panel is only 28" wide, which means that I would need twice as many sets as I thought, and this Meijer only had one.  Boo.

They did have four sets of the same plaid in a pretty tan color, but that one didn't excite me as much.  And now I'm not sure what to do with this one.  It's not very 18th Century, otherwise I'd make a caraco jacket or something.  And the pattern is much too large to be suitable for a doll gown.

I think the moral of this story is that I need to stop buying curtains.  :p

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ugh, Math

So... I can't get this French court gown idea out of my head.  Something like this would be what I'm aiming for:

Robe a la francaise [French or Austrian]  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
I have this gorgeous gold embroidered faux silk, which is basically begging to be made into something extravagant.

Problem is, it's a curtain panel I bought on clearance, and it was the only one left at that particular store.  There are other stores I can check to find more, but first I need to know exactly how many curtains it'll take to make this beauty.  Hence the math.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Curtains and More Curtains

I was in Meijer again on Saturday, and decided to check if the curtains I had found last week were still there.  I quickly discovered that the entire curtain aisle had been re-arranged, and guess why?  They're joining the Curtain-Along, too!

It might be hard to tell on my crappy cell phone pic, but those are the famous Waverly indienne-print curtains in the bottom left corner!  So I guess the reason all those other curtains were marked down last week was because they were making room for the new Waverly line.  Their price is the same as Lowe's, though.  I'll keep my eye on them and see if they ever go on sale, at which point I might snatch up a red one for a caraco jacket...  We'll see.

In the meantime, I did end up finding some clearance curtains to tide me over...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

How To Make a Ruffled Petticoat From a Fitted Sheet

Need a ruffled petticoat to add poof to your gown, but don't want to buy yards and yards of fabric?  Use an old, worn-out bedsheet instead!

Look how pretty it can be!  
This can also be done with a flat top sheet, or with a brand-new sheet or set of sheets with a pretty pattern, for a nice underskirt worn with an open robe or jacket.  For my tutorial, I am using an old worn fitted sheet.  This petticoat will be worn only as an undergarment, so I didn't mind the fading in the middle of my sheet.  This will be strictly a utilitarian garment.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Past Projects - 18th Century Doll Gowns

American Duchess recently blogged about how she found her era, and this made me think about why I'm so in love with 18th Century fashions.  I've concluded that it dates back to my childhood playing with American Girl dolls. I had Samantha, my younger sisters had Kirsten and Felicity, and my cousin Melissa had a Girl of Today she named Sarah.  Melissa and I played with our dolls every chance we got, even after my much younger sisters "outgrew" them.  And looking back, I realize now how much fascination Felicity's wardrobe held for me.  She's a colonial American Girl, growing up in Williamsburg, Virginia.  I loved her clothes and all the little accessories and undergarments and everything.  And although my clothing and costuming interests have gone through major changes since those days, I'm still fascinated by the 18th Century.  Stomachers make me happy.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Flirting with Curtains

It's curtains for you!  
So I was shopping at Meijer today (Meijer is kind of like the Walmart of Michigan, even though we have Walmart here, too...), and I somehow found myself in the curtain aisle... and I think I'm in trouble.  :p  See, ever since I became aware of the 18th Century Curtain-Along using the Indienne print curtains available at Lowe's, I've been looking at curtains in a whole new light...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

18th Century Stays

All of the research I've done into historical costuming agrees that foundation garments are key to achieving the proper silhouette of the time period.  For the 18th Century, this means stays, a chemise, pocket hoops or panniers, and petticoats.  Lots of petticoats.

Stays and quilted petticoat, 18th Century, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

American Duchess Shoes

When I decided to get serious about historical costuming, one of the first things I knew was that I was going to need at least one pair of American Duchess shoes.  In fact, it was the American Duchess blog that really inspired me to delve into the world of historical costuming in the first place.  I ordered the last two pairs of size 8.5 Ivory Devonshires in June, used the 3-month payment plan, and they arrived on September 19:

Like my lovely anachronistic socks?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Past Projects - Deathly Hallows Midnight Showing

My sister Gretchen asked me to make her Gryffindor Quidditch robes for Halloween 2010, so she could also wear them to the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.  I modified a cloak pattern I already had to make the mid-calf length robes in scarlet, fully lined in gold.  I used reference images from the first two movies, before they had all kinds of racing stripes on the sleeves and hood.  I did, however, appliqué a large number 4 on the back, per Gretchen's request.

Her friend Kelli also wanted to dress up for the midnight showing, so I made her a Slytherin costume.  For the school robes I only lined the hood and sleeves in green, and painted green lines on silver fabric to make the tie.  I had quite a lot of fun with both costumes, and I was very happy with how they turned out.

Gryffindor vs Slytherin
Who will triumph?  

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Joining the Curtain-Along

Now that Celebration VI is over, I am diving into the 18th Century headfirst!  

I've been collecting fabrics and patterns for literally years now, and it's time to finally do something with them.    *Puts determined face on*  One of my first projects will be a hooded cloak much like this one:

I got inspired by the Curtain-Along started by Festive Attyre and several other costume bloggers recently.  I decided to make the cloak mainly because it should only take one curtain, but also because it seemed like most people are making gowns and I thought it would be fun to do something different.  Also, I can't start on any 18th Century gowns until I have appropriate stays.  (That's my next project.)

I was originally going to make a red cloak with the crimson colorway of the Waverly Felicite curtain panels, but when I went to Lowe's to buy one, I saw the samples in person and decided I liked the noir version better.  So my cloak is going to be even closer to the original version than I first envisioned.

I even plan on adding the pleated trim around the hem, if I have enough fabric.  The only thing I haven't figured out yet is what to line the cloak with.  I'd like something warm so I can wear it in the winter.  Any thoughts?