This is a photo diary of my costuming "travels"; where I've learned and struggled to make historical costumes for myself. They're not always pretty, but always fun, most of the time. And I want to share with others what I learn along the way. **You can find me on Facebook, or have my posts delivered to your email by signing up at the lower part of the right column.**

About Me

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HI, my name is Val. I'm a member of Costumer's Guild West in Los Angeles, Dean Emeritus of 2018 Costume College; Past President of the San Diego Costume Guild, member of Orange County Costume Guild, and a representative of the San Diego History Center. I make my own historical costumes but don't sell any unless I get tired of one.The eras I've made so far are 1770 up to 1918. My favorite is the 1880s bustle.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Time Traveling in the Outlander World

I was late arriving to the fandom world of Outlander, the STARZ TV series, and the book by Diana Gabaldon. I swear, someday I’ll get her name right. I tried years ago to read the first book, Outlander, but was put off by the X-rated story. But at the beginning of the year I decided to give it another chance, and found I liked it, and it wasn’t as X-rated as I remembered. Still lots of sex but not the same. Then I found out there HAD been a more risqué version out and apparently that’s what I bought. Don’t get me wrong, this book and TV series still has a lot of sex and naked bodies, but nothing as bad as Game of Thrones, which I’ve also become a fan of.

When STARZ offered the first season for free for a week when the next season was ready to start, I watched it and got hooked. That’s when I decided to go back and read the book before I continued watching the series. I haven’t seen season 2 yet but have finished the second and third book so I’m ahead of the series at least. I’m holding out for the free week again but don’t know when that will be.

At the same time a fellow blogger, Lauren from American Duchess, had designed two patterns for Simplicity from this series.  I attended a class she put on at Costume College about the costumes and patterns too. 
In an earlier post, I showed the fabrics and patterns I’d bought to make one of the rustic middle-class dresses Claire wears in the series. I liked the earthy-tones and less-dressy look of them. I don’t often get to wear tartan or not so dressy, and was determined to make one.

Lauren tried to impress on us that they weren’t totally period correct and how to fix that. She also wanted us to take a look at the middle to upper class dress also. Hmm, maybe this for next time? I do love caracos. I have a fabric in my stash I can use if I decide to do that.

My bum pad was finished using her pattern, then I made the chemise also. I bought a really nice weight linen from F&S Fabrics online and am very happy with it for my tartan dress but would like something much finer for a later version. It went together very easily. I made the neckline ruffle a bit narrower as recommended, and I love the ruffles around the sleeve cuffs.

With that out of the way, I cut my tartan fabric into two lengths to become the petticoat aka skirt. I was just going to pleat it into a waistband. This all got set aside as LIFE became busy and costume events came up that I wore things I had already made. 
The other night I pulled out the fabric again, cut a waistband and then set down to start pleating. Except something didn’t feel right. What was it? Oh duh! My brain was in Victorian-mode, and I was trying to do a side opening skirt with the waistband attached. This was Georgian, and it’s supposed to have openings on both sides that are just tied closed, and you can reach inside to your pocket that’s tied around your waist. *Shown here by Lauren of American Duchess  * So it’s not really a real waistband but just something to attach the pleats to. On my underpetticoat I just used twill tape as the waistband. It cuts down on the bulk, especially if you’re using wool.
Apparently when I cut and sewed the side seams of the skirt, my brain WAS in the right mode, because I had sewn it with the side openings. All this time traveling can wreak havoc on you sometimes.

BTW, speaking of pockets; look at these lovelies that the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is selling in their shops. They’re making them from the fabrics they sell for only $14. These are full size adult ones not the smaller child’s one. So, if you don’t have the skill, or time, to embroider one, there you go.  I’ve even got some colonial-period fabrics that I could make my own from.

They have some really pretty reproduction fabrics too. If you look at these long enough, you will be able to see similar fabrics that can work in regular fabric stores. I know I’ve seen some in Michael Levine’s in the Los Angeles Fabric District.  

I have my own pocket cut out from a nice white linen, but have yet to purchase some embroidery floss to begin working on it. I started tracing one pattern on mine but I’m still not happy with it. At least that’s water soluble pen so I can change it. I think I’m going to be putting some cotton behind it after I’m done because it doesn’t look very sturdy, even though the linen is. And I will want to protect my stitches. I’m also going to bind the edges with a colored binding like American Duchess did on hers. I like how it looks finished and has a pretty contrast color.

After the skirt is done, which should happen in a couple days, I can start on my bodice. I first intended to use the Simplicity pattern, which American Duchess posted how to hack it to make it period correct, but then I remembered my JP Ryan pattern that is already fitted to me, and is correct, and there I am, being lazy. I’m all excited to start cutting my blue linen now for it. I haven’t decided if I want to do the straight edge at the bottom, or like the skirted one in the blue bodice Claire wears but I’m leaning towards it. I noticed when enlarging that photo, her stomacher looks like it was just made from the same blue fabric, so it’s nothing fancy. That fabric is also a wool, so I’d bet the stomacher made of it is probably a lot warmer than a linen embroidered one would be. Hey, smart me! Not that it ever gets cold enough in Southern California.
All this flurry of activity comes from being notified that our next Costumed Walkabout theme at the Del Mar Antique Show in November will be cosplay: from any TV/movie series, comic book characters, etc. So, I have someplace sooner to wear this than just for Costume College next July. A virtual kick in the bum pad, so to speak. I only hope our weather begins to cool off by then. At least my bodice is linen but I’ll have that pretty knitted shawl I can wear if it is.
And you’ll never guess what I found while digging in my costume closets for stuff to sell at our costume guild’s annual costume sale? Things I had used from the Highlander Games in Vista, CA, years ago. I wonder if I can do anything with them now?