November 5, 2013
Here’s the gown I made to wear at Dia de los Muertos in Old Town San Diego this past weekend. Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday to celebrate and remember our dead. It’s a very colorful and happy celebration, and Southern California has embraced it.
Since I’ve made this pattern, Truly Victorian #410 Polonaise, four times now, it went together very fast other than having major problems again getting my sleeves to fit and getting them into the armhole properly. With some help, we discovered when I’m being measured for my sleeves the common measurement around my arm for the armhole doesn’t work because I’m bigger around my mid-upper arm. When I’ve enlarged the sleeve overall, it also made it too big on the rest of my arm, and I had those silly puffs at the top of the sleeve cap. After many refittings and cutting away of excess fabric, we finally got it to fit me and fit into the armhole. At some point I need to make a pattern to use for all future sleeves.
This is the top half of the gown, the polonaise, and a lightened up photo to show the embroidered pattern on the fabric. At this point my closure is a little crooked.
Trimming this dress was a lot of fun. There’s lots of ways to do that, and I like being able to make self-fabric trims. My cotton embroidered fabric gave me some great trim once I cut it in strips to have the embroidered section near the edge where I could gather it.
That wasn’t enough for me so I bought some 5/8 inch black velvet ribbon to also go around the neckline and cuffs. And I kept going by putting two more black velvet covered buttons on each cuff.
Other than coming up with some way to trim the skirt, the only other thing I could come up with was a big bow on the back of the peplum. After seeing the dress on me, I think the skirt is too plain and I plan on adding a deep ruffle to the bottom of it. The skirt is pretty lightweight too and even though I tried to make a black petticoat with a ruffle for it, I didn’t get that ruffle done so there wasn’t much fullness to it.
Since I was wearing this to the los Muertos Candlelight Procession and would have flowers on my head I didn’t need a hat for it. I would be draping a veil over my head with the floral headpiece on top. My jewelry was a black and brass necklace along with a pair of black “gutta percha” earrings I bought at the SF Dickens Faire last year. My face makeup was done by Cindy's daughter, Amy, and I think she did a bang-up job. We did discover that my skin is extremely dry and it was sucking up all the white face paint and she couldn’t get a solid white look on me. Apparently my expensive moisturizer is not worth the money I spend on it. She recommended Jergens brand so I bought the shea butter deep conditioning moisturizer version yesterday.
When I arrived in Old Town, I stopped by the Whaley House to visit with my friend Robin there and then walked back to the Cosmopolitan Hotel (one of the original buildings in the park) to sit on the steps and wait for other guild members to arrive. I was about 1 1/2 hrs early so I enjoyed having my photo taken with the public who came to celebrate with us. At one point a couple furry fellows showed up and joined me for awhile, and they got more attention than me. But I got lot of compliments on my makeup and my gown.
As more of our group showed up for the procession, the “paparazzi” began gathering around us taking photos. We started a line-up on one wall and every couple minutes another guild member would show up and we got bigger.
At one point so many people were wanting to have their photos taken with us that Gina’s husband, Larry, started announcing everyone to step up on the stairs to have them taken. We did this for about a half hour until it was time to head over to the Procession starting point.
A little confusion ensued as we weren’t really sure where we were to gather this time. Apparently it wasn’t the same point as last year, and we knew the path was different so we wandered over to the other side of the park where we saw the crowds we were expecting to see. We couldn’t even get through them. We finally managed to get closer to the front and then heard “San Diego Costume Guild to the front!!” People started parting so we could get through and we managed to get up with the banner carriers.
Here you can see how limp my skirt is, and how much nicer it would look with a flounce like Cindy has on hers, along with a decent petticoat. *I just love the color technique Jerry did on this photo*
I'm looking for photos that were taken of the beautiful cemetery but so far only have this one by Debbie.