Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Costumer's Guide website

If you are at all interested in movie costumes, I highly recommend Maggie's site: The Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes. I found this site a year or two ago and finally saved it to my bookmarks.

She posts fairly regularly, mostly of new photos people have sent to her or ones she's found. Great research pictures if you're doing movie costume reproduction.

I thoroughly enjoy reading about the reusing of movie costumes among our favorite costume dramas. Quite a few are shown on the 10/9/08 post. Enjoy!

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Even if you don't "celebrate," it makes a great excuse to wear one of your favorite costumes to work, the grocery store, or a restaurant.
What fun to have a lovely attired group invade In-N-Out Burger or even Denny's.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Costume Proof - The Duchess

In response to my last post on the film The Duchess, the specific costume pointed out from the UK article and the comment posted, I wanted to offer up some corresponding references that designer, Michael O'Connor, might have used for this particular costume.

I'm really liking the 1780s. I guess this comes from my first love of the 1870s Bustle era. So the blue bodice and fluffy cream skirt just took my breath away. One costume I'm dying to re-create is the green striped bodice and embroidered cream skirt as seen in Fashion by Kyoto Costume Institute.
This photo above is from their on-line gallery. In the book it is beautifully displayed with a cream sheer skirt embroidered at the hem and a tall black and green hat. You can tell from the display in the book it is very similar to what O'Connor created for Keira (blue jacket and cream skirt).

Now, in my research, I have not seen too many skirts/petticoats (as worn with bodices) with the overskirt and ruffle like you see in The Duchess. Most have been single layer. One could confuse the look of the movie costume as being a Chemise a' la Reine (see below) with a bodice worn over it to look like a jacket. But it is definitely a bodice and separate skirt with a fichu over her neck and tucked into the bodice.

Chemise gowns of the early 1790s were white, fluffy and airy - close to how the movie skirt is made up.

When I flipped through several pages of the Kyoto book, I quickly noticed that most of the bodice/skirt combinations were dated c.1790. So that clearly makes the costume circa 1790s too.

Another good picture from the book shows a blue silk embroidered jacket over a cream sheer skirt right next to a pink silk gathered neckline jacket over a striped cream sheer skirt. Both could have been used as inspiration for the film's outfits.

For further study, please look into the Kyoto book for more references to this look. If you find more examples of this particular design, please share!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Costume Design: The Duchess

The UK's Telegraph website has a recent article on the costume design of The Duchess. Above is a particularly great screen shot of one of my favorite costumes worn by Keira Knightley. Just brilliant.

I was finally able to see this new costume drama last weekend. (I was disappointed when it was first released Sept. 19 as it was severely limited - like only one theater in LA! But pleasantly discovered while at the Wives & Daughters Picnic that it was opening wide on Oct. 10. Excellent.)

I had to wonder about the plot because I didn't quite know what the filmmakers wanted us to get out of her life. I've only scanned brief sections of the Amanda Foreman biography and Lady Georgiana (Geor-ja'-na) did not have too happy a life. Fortunately the movie only touched on a few of her hardships.

The movie is a fabulous, constant drool-fest for gorgeous 18th Century clothes. The film starts in 1774 and takes us into the early 1790s. If you are at all interested in Georgian costumes, go see this movie! It gives much to discuss there.

Oh, and the wigs and hats are to die for.

Go here for the Telegraph article. Enjoy!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sara's Sewing Progress - Civil War Outfits

Well, my progress on this project has been at a halt for a while now as my focus first switched to a different project, a new Regency dress, and then to something new that I can't quite share with you yet - but I will as soon as I can.

This weekend, my husband and I went out window shopping and he ended up buying me an early Birthday gift (seeing as we had a 50% off coupon for that weekend only). What was it? A cutting table!

That might not be very exciting to most people, but to anyone that sews a decent amount and knows the pains, literally, of cutting out fabrics on a table that is too short for your height, it is a wonderful gift.

We set it up as soon as we got home as my husband says I can use it before my birthday (in less than a month now) since I am trying to work on some new projects - he's so sweet. His only condition to allowing me to use it beforehand is that I have to keep the bow on it until my birthday - that shouldn't be too hard :)

So with my new table in place, I have once again started on the Civil War outfits. Currently I am still making copies of my patterns. I have the Vest completed copied and am now working on the shirt. Next will be the pants and then it's on to cutting out the muslin for my mock-up.

The progress has been slow but it's still progress and that's what counts!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Wives & Daughters Picnic review

The Picnic was very delightful, albeit very warm for the first couple of hours.

Everyone was dressed so charming. What a pleasure to picnic and visit and taste vintage apple varieties while wearing clothing from an era not frequently done!
Most everyone was in 1830s with a few in 1840s costumes. The 1830s can be quite silly, but with a large group (30-ish) it looks fabulous.

While Lynn and Lily were discussing petticoats,

I caught them up and quite a few others to take a scandalous photo of us displaying the hard work that went into our individual corded petticoats. To find out more how to make your own, please see the Corded Petticoat report.

What a collection!

I managed to finish my dress (the closing hooks/eyes and neckline lace) Friday night exactly as Lily arrived at my house. We then hopped into the car to head north to San Francisco.

I'm very pleased as to how it turned out. The waistband could have been about 1/2" tighter but was just fine for wearing. The armholes, however, could have taken that extra 1/2" as they were very snug on my upper arm.
The front draped pieces were taken from a couple of period examples from Costume in Detail.

The wonderful bonnet I cannot claim as mine as that is one of Mela's hats (Mela Hoyt-Heydon who is a professor at Cal State Fullerton and is a long-time instructor at Costume College. She is widely known for her fabulous hats - many of which reside in my sewing room.)

The last-minute frustration came Thursday night when I realized that my basic gathered sleeves would not get small enough to fit into the armhole. I decided to pleat them in because I did not have time to cartridge pleat them. Both are period appropriate techniques. I think the pleats look terrific! I can see now how for late 1830s fashion, women stitched down the upper sleeves folding these small pleats flat and tacking to the inner sleeve.

All in all - a very fun weekend and wonderful completed project! This will definitely be entered into the Fair next year, although I may add a few black accessories to pull off a "Victorian Witch" costume so that my historical sewing work might be better appreciated as a modern costume. (See the post below for this year's results and awards.)

For more photos, please see the Cloak & Corset Flickr album.