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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Midnight Velvet Cloche

From The Midvale Cottage Post I noticed that they had a relatively easy-looking free pattern for a cloche. This pattern was actually from the 1920s, so I was pretty excited to get started right away. I was planning on making it to wear to the theater, but time was against me.
Left over from my Vintage to Old School skirt project I had just about enough velvet from the hem, so I decided to test my sewing skills by making another hat - my first cloche. 

On the inside it's a mess, as the pattern calls for felt rather than velvet, the latter of which needs to be hemmed and generally treated well. But on the outside, it's serviceable. I'm about 70% happy with the results as I feel it could have been nicer with felt and slightly smaller to fit my head better, but for my first cloche it's an achievement!

I used corduroy for the top of the hat, as my velvet supply had run out by that point. S'cuse my terrible victory rolls - I have neither a 20s bob or hair thick enough for victory rolls. :)

I decided to forget the brim as it was busy and thick enough with just the massive bow.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

The Duchess

Last night I watched The Duchess for the first time and I was stunned by the costumes. Usually I wouldn't watch a movie with that kind of plot line (not really into dramas, being a comedy kind of girl), but I was pleased I did. Lots of inspiration has come from this film and it's confirmed my dream that I want to be a costume designer, as well as an author! Really, who wouldn't want to be surrounded by Georgian dresses all day?!
At the same time, I've purchased Patterns of Fashion 1660-1860 by Janet Arnold on Amazon, and designed some of my first 18th Century garments, including a sack-back gown, an anglaise dress, undergarments, and accessories. Wish me luck!

The story follows the tragic life of Georgiana the Duchess of Devonshire, stuck in a loveless marriage with the adulterous Duke, who even goes as far as to make her best friend - Elizabeth Foster - his lover. Not only that, but Bess was living in her home and she couldn't do a thing about it! So when she proposes that the Duke accept her love affair with politician Charles Grey, she is violated and blackmailed into submission in the end.
From what I've heard dotted around the internet, this story is based on real events. I've even seen Foster on a Duchess of Devonshire blog, listed as one of the biggest, most infamous Tart of the Week - which I admit made me giggle quite a bit.

Anyway, here are some screen shots of particularly gorgeous outfits:

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Today's Outfit: Houndstooth and Cloche

I decided to wear my new-ish Collectif dress to Jeeves and Wooster, as I haven't worn it yet; it drew a bit of attention as I was a tad overdressed for the event, but I didn't mind as I wanted to dress up to see my favourite book on the stage. Yet my dress was 40s styled, my hand bag 60s, and my hat 20s - oh well!

Cloche hat: John Lewis
Crochet flower pin: haberdashery somewhere
Wiggle dress: Collectif
Handbag: vintage 60s
Shoes: Hushpuppies

Perfect Nonsense

Yesterday my Mum, Dad and I drove to Crewe to see Jeeves and Wooster, Perfect Nonsense on stage! It was wonderfully funny and I never stopped grinning from ear to ear throughout the whole thing! I was overjoyed as before now the chances of me seeing this show were very slim, yet when I checked back the tickets were on sale again.

This show was the story of the catastrophic cow creamer, altered only a little as the story goes that Bertie was performing it on the stage with Jeeves and Seppings, due to a fleeting comment that went to his head from Bingo Little, that it would be ideal for the theater. There were only three actors playing many Wodehouseian parts, which led to many, many hilarious misadventures.

Although it's not the cast I saw, I love this picture of Bertie.

 Poor Seppings had to be Spode and climb up onto a high structure with a coat obscuring it, to make him look much taller - and not only that, but he looked and acted exactly like Hitler!
My favourite bit was where Jeeves was playing Madeline Bassett flirting with Bertie, and got a bit too carried away and tried to kiss him - he acted very realistically as Madeline, and we could all see Bertie looking astonished and amazed at the same time. Another favourite part was at the end of the first act, where dramatic music came on, the lights died down, and Bertie was behaving like a right drama queen whilst asking for Jeeves's council. Then when the curtain rose again, and Bertie was sat there naked in the bath; he called for Jeeves to bring his robe, and it looked almost although Jeeves was peeking at him from behind the towel! And at the very end, where they danced together like a couple from the 20s. I'd never giggled so much in my life. Very slashy - intentional or not - so I loved it. Whoever wrote the play must have been reading through the lines with a magnifying glass, like all us fangirls and fanboys at Indeed Sir (I say us because I joined the comm in the summer and have never read so much amazing fanfic in all my life)!

The Lyceum theater in Crewe was also a great experience, being built in 1911 and having a very quaint, vintage interior. Swing music from the 1920s was playing, and surprisingly I knew every song that played. I couldn't think of a better theater to watch Jeeves and Wooster in!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Vintage to Old School Skirt

A while ago I bought a black velvet skirt from Soho's Vintage with the view of customising it into a Lolita skirt. The velvet was far too gorgeous to pass on - and not to mention expensive to buy in a fabric store! The label says St Michael's on it (which is the old name for Marks and Spencer's), so I presume it was from the 70s or 80s judging by the stock of the store.

Beforehand, it was ankle length on me. Not flattering at all, given my height. So I cut into the lining in the side seams, and pinned it to just below knee-length. Hemming a lining is hard, so I simply prevented it from fraying with a zig-zag stitch. 
Cutting the velvet was nerve-wracking, but in the end it was worth it; I did have to mark it with chalk a LOT though, being a circle skirt with pleats. I used hemming tape and it turned out rather nicely. However, I did have to use steam from the iron to make sure it was straight (so place a dishcloth over the fabric to prevent it getting too wet or hot).

Then it was time for lace! I bought these laces from two separate shops, and surprisingly they matched quite well. I think they're both cluny lace? The white lace on a black skirt really gives it the old school Lolita look!


And after! It is now knee-length and lacy! The skirt also has a high waist (upon which I had to sew new buttons, one from my Grandma's stash that she recently gave to me - yay) that gives it a more elegant, sophisticated feel. Although there's not much puff in the skirt, I think it's still fitting as in the early Lolita days, skirts did have less volume.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Montélimar, South France

This is the villa that we resided in for our trip down to Montélimar. I just love the way it looks, with ivy creeping down the walls and pastel blue shutters! It was also very decorative inside, with Rococo-Victorian-esque furnishings and pictures. Mine and my sister's bedroom is the last photo, which was very comfortable for the week we spent there. 

I did so much walking around the town, going to restaurants (my favourite was the Don Camillo, which I strongly recommend if you happen to visit Montélimar - I had the biggest and best paella ever there!) and museums, such as the Modern Art museum and the Minitures museum, which also has some interesting exhibitions on Oriental hair accessories and hair. 

Most of the days it was sunny and hot, so we even drove down to the beach on one of the busiest days of summer (did you know that apparently everyone from Paris comes down to the South of France beaches on a certain day?). It only rained for two days, and even then we made the most of it by walking into town and going in the pool. 

Our bedroom, with traditional rugs and a light, airy feel.

Some framed pictures I particularly liked, of Georgian/Rococo scenes. I did a sketch of this one, as I'd like to make the dress and caplet some day.

Here is the house after an evening walk with my dad. We saw bats clearly in the twilight sky!

Some street art in the town, which is famous for nougat. They also have a lot of curious cicada emblems in the gift shops, which is strange seeing as I didn't hear or see any during our stay. Maybe the cicada season was over already?

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Fontainebleu, France

A few weeks ago, at the end of August, I went on holiday to France with my extended family, including grandparents and my Aunt, who came over from Australia. We all had such a great time soaking up the atmosphere and relaxing by the pool at our villa, and I got to take a lot of scenic photos of the very French surroundings! I've read a lot, done some sketching, a tiny bit of writing, and a LOT of walking. And for the first time in years, I've swam in a swimming pool and in the Mediterranean sea!
For the first evening and early morning, we stayed at Fontainebleu, which is one of the most charming little towns I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. All the restaurants and cafes are lively and atmospheric, and of course the food is always a delight! I've never eaten such lavish food before, so it's a shame my appetite wasn't very big when we were in France. The presentation is always great, too; we ate at L'Ovale on our first evening in France, and I had the melon and parma ham, and in the morning we sat at a "Tea Place" and drank hot chocolate - however, we didn't have it in those bowls, like we were expecting.
Then we had a promenade around the town, taking pictures with my photographer Granddad in the evening. I also went for little walks with my brother and dad, to take the photos in daylight. :)

We didn't stay for long (only one night), but I'd certainly love to come again. There is a stately home/palace that I haven't visited yet!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Current Life

These past few weeks have been great! I've had a wonderful family holiday in France, straight after getting some really good exam results, so I'm feeling very lucky right now. If I had a guardian angel I'd probably be thanking him or her for all the goodness in my life!

Recently I've started a new college, and whilst I can't say I love it (as Aspergians like myself find change challenging), I think it's doing me a lot of good.
Also, I've recovered completely from what my counselor called "psychotic depression", all thanks to some new anti-psychotics and her counseling. This illness had been draining my life away for more than three years, so I'm thrilled that I've finally overcome it - when things were bad it seemed that things would stay that way forever.

Another lovely thing that has happened recently is that my grandparents have gifted me with a wonderfully beautiful pair of pearl and silver earrings, from Pandora as a present for the great exam results. I feel bad for blowing my own trumpet a bit here, but I'm still excited enough to celebrate in my own way!

You can also see the necklace I'm making here.

Currently I'm reading the novels "Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day" and "Tess of the d'Ubervilles". The latter is for school and I'm rather enjoying it, but the former is a bit dull in spots - very, very light reading, and perhaps not my cup of tea, though I do love the descriptions of makeup and clothes of the era.
As for projects, I'm very busy at college currently, but I'm in the middle of my purple beetle cross-stitch kit, and I'm also customizing a black velvet skirt to look like it came from the earlier Lolita days - basically black and white, old school Lolita! Sometime soon I've also got to make my taxidermy beetle necklace, but the idea of steaming it into flexibility makes me feel a bit uneasy. So that project is on the back-burner.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Inspiration: Edwardian Fashions

Through joining Pinterest recently, I've discovered the joys of Edwardian fashions. All the dresses and ensembles are just too splendid, and these images have made me aspire to make an Edwardian dress in the near future - though first I want to get through a couple of Georgian projects, such as some stays that the lovely Bianca has advised me on.

I've just joined college though and things are already awfully stifling, so we'll see how things pan out before I start preparing a project. Besides, I don't think I could stomach those Edwardian S-bend corsets after knowing what they did to women's health! 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Rococo and Victoria

Drawn over the past month for my Aunt's late birthday, as she prefers my traditional art over digital medias. I took inspiration from the history influencing Lolita fashion.