Posted in All Blog Entries, Exciting News!

Historical Costume Sale – In Seattle!

 Historical Costuming Sale in Seattle!!!!! 

Somewhere in Time, Unlimited has been generously offered the costuming estate of one of our members who passed away last year. There will be oodles of “finds” one can use, including… accessories. We will have other vendors there who are members, also selling their garments and accessories. Sound good so far?This is a MUST ATTEND gathering, and it’s FREE to get in! Be sure to set aside the date on your calendars.Additionally, the following weekend, we will be holding a special “tea” where you can bring your finds and/or fabric, to ask a panel of seasoned costumers and folks in attendance, how you might be able to improve on what you bought, re-muddle it, make something terrific out of what you bought, and in general, spend a delightful afternoon with friends! See you soon…. Lady V.

http://www.situseattle.com/12_Garage_Sale_Invite.htm

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Posted in All Blog Entries, Exciting News!, Patterns we've used or reviewed...

Titantic “Flying Dress” – Gets a work-over

It needed it.  Something.  A little “bling” as it were.

As many of you know, Sir Harry of Essex and I are historical costumers and belong to Somewhere in Time, Unlimited (SITU).

A few years ago, SITU held a Winter Event called “Titanic – The Survivor’s Ball”.  There was a 13-piece orchestra, 7-course Edwardian dinner, the lady guests came in beautiful Titanc inspired gowns, while the gentlemen arrived wearing swallow tail tuxes.  It was very elegant indeed.

In time for this event, I had designed and put together the same navy blue velvet top that Kate Winslet had worn in the “Flying” scene.  Mine is very pretty with the heavy lace center piece, but the collar looked rather naked.  I think I’ve solved that problem.

Top of collar with lace flower vine.

The Butterick pattern calls for this contrasting lapel area to be beautifully set apart from all the velvet.

I found some interesting vine patterned stitching which was attached to net backing.  Probably intended for a VERY expensive gown (the product was $60 per yard), I chose instead to stitch the vine carefully by hand onto the lapels, removing the the netting as I worked.

In this photo, you can see the lapel top area, as well as the dupioni white silk which I had over laid with heavy bridal lace which I found at JoAnne fabrics.  The vine lace, which BTW matching perfectly in tone with the outfit, I found at Nancy’s Sewing Basket (a specialty store for the discriminating seamstress), located on the top of Queen Anne hill in Seattle.

Lapel area at bottom with lace vine.

Why did I want several years before I attached the lace?  Well, in the beginning I didn’t have time to get the lace onto the garment in time for the event.  I just kept the lace handy so I could put it on later.

 Well, “later” finally showed up.  Sir Harry and I were invited to a swanky cocktail hour with the French-American Chamber of Commerce.  They were holding a Belle Epoque event at the Arctic Hotel in downtown Seattle.
 
The organizer, Madamoiselle Casey, had seen Sir Harry and I at a Port of Seattle Centennial Celebration, where we appeared in 1910 attire.  There, Sir Harry wore a frock coat and Banker’s hat, while I wore a custom designed and made 1910 day attire. 
 
The large blue hat I wore, I personally replicated from an historical photo I had found some time ago.  Each of the ivory fabric roses on the hat were hand crafted and sewn into place.  There are a few Swarovski crystals which have also been selectively sewn into place on the roses in order to reflect some sunlight when worn in a parade.
 
These are the same outfits we wore in a documentary movie directed by Vaun Raymond for the Port of Seattle.
 
Fun clips of this documentary are available on the SITU Seattle website if you have interest…
 
I digress.  Back to the French event –
 
Sir Harry and I were requested to arrive “fashionably late” at 7 pm.  We did so.  Upon our arrival, we stepped off the elevator and were “announced” to the massive crowd who had gathered for the evening’s entertainment.
 
At the event, we also spotted our local friends, the Baron and Baroness Von Kleinschmidt.  We chatted briefly and then began circulating about the room greeting people.  Several members of the French Chamber expressed how delighted they were in our appearance at their event, stating how we lent such color and classy flavor.  Several of the gentlemen had arrived in tuxedos.  The Baron and Sir Harry were both wearing swallow tail tuxes and white tie, along with the obligatory top hat! Very classy event put on by the Chamber!
 
Here are a couple of photos of my finished “Flying Dress” work-over, an image of Sir Harry, and then one snapped indoors on an iPhone by an attendee of the event.  If you’d like to learn more about Lady Victoria and Sir Harry of Essex or Somewhere in Time, Unlimited, please visit the website.  We look forward to having you “come dress up with us” soon!!!
 

 

Posted in All Blog Entries, Exciting News!

Victorian Tailor

In case you haven’t heard the news, there’s a new guy in town.  Literally.  He’s moved to Seattle from the UK.  Quite exciting actually.  Just how often do you get to meet and work with a cool, hip, “Bespoke Tailor” anyway?

Jason MacLochlainn’s the name and Victorian or Edwardian Tailoring is his special game!

What’s especially newsworthy is that Jason is not only an accomplished Victorian Tailor with a long list of satisfied clientele, but he is also a published author.  Impressed yet?  Should be.

Available both in the U.S. and in the U.K., is the bea-uuuuuu-tiful book called The Victorian Tailor.  It has hit the stands in a big way.  Not limited to interested females who sew, men are buying this book as a “bible” for tailoring and techniques for menswear. 

Yes, you can snag your own affordable copy thru Amazon.com or Borders Books and other sources.  But, if you happen to be in the general area and shoot me an email, we might be able to “hook you up” to get your copy autographed by the author himself.

P.S.  On April 3, 2011, Jason will be teaching a Tailoring 101 Workshop in Seattle.  VERY affordable, lots of one-on-one time, small class of people, located in Seattle.  Hop out to the Somewhere in Time, Unlimited site to see all the details.

Come on.  What you waiting for?

Posted in All Blog Entries, Costumes we're workin' on!, Patterns we've used or reviewed...

Victorian Bustle Era Dress

What else conjures up the image of a Victorian bustle dress better than an outfit complete with ruffles, lace, extensive pleats, swagged overskirt and plenty of trim?

With impending holidays looming in the near future, this historical costumer decided to tackle the construction of a bustle outfit (or dare I say two?) in time to be all festively decked out with ample “junk in the truck”!

Having already visited several fabric/textile stores in the general Seattle area, I had scoped out and then purchased, my stash.  Additionally, I had attended an estate sale, managing to pick up wooooonderful Pendleton wool fabic in smaller yardage quantities, but I think I can make it work.  Victorian fashions after all, seemed to be about as colorful as the homes in which they lived!

So where to begin?  Fortunately, Lady V already has a beautifully constructed corset, originally designed and built by the famous Marie Cooley of  “The Fitting Room”  Over this would be a corset cover (just bought a pattern for a new one!), followed by, ta-daaaah, “The Bustle”.

What exactly IS a bustle, say you?  Most simplest of terms, it’s the cage, wires (padding too), contraption, covered in fabric, which holds all the subsequent layers of the outfit away from the body.

For my complete outfit, I chose to work with patterns designed by the sisters from “Truly Victorian” patterns. 

The photos I am showing you here, are of pattern TV101.  Laying out the pattern was very easy and the instructions to put the item together, were also very straight forward.  With very little exception, I think that even a novice could understand the directions enough to put this together.

To make life easier and so that I had sturdy wire to use, I ordered the correct lengths of wire from Truly Victorian.  These arrived with the ends of the wire beautifully covered with “tips” to protect my fabric from fraying, due to the stress of being bent and straining to pop flat again.

One of the big challenges of the garment, was to sew down channels for the wires to travel within.  I used a wash-out-able, pink marking pen to designate where I’d need to stitch down the channels.

My friend, Miss Bobbie, who had already created the same garment before, advised me to use heavier fabric as my base, to help lessen the wear from wire from punching through thinner fabric.  The only place where I have used this heavy fabric thus far, is in the triangular back section which will house the bustle wires. 

Keeping this in mind, I chose to use a left-over, flat-fold item that appears to be white duck, twill, or possibly denim as my base.  To create the channels, I chose not to cut strips of fabric.  Instead, I purchased enough length of corset bone channeling, plus enough for turning and double-thickness for the ends.

Lickety-split, this part of the project went together  quickly.  Now it was on to preparing the length of fabric which would become the ruffles to cover and hide the structure created by the wires.

The bottom flounce and subsequent back ruffles, are all created from white eyelet.  The flounce has a 3″ hem.  I also clean finished all the seams using a French seam method.

On the inside, I was instructed to sew strings, ribbons, tape to hang down loosely inside the structure.  These would be tied together eventually (left to right), forming the “u” of the cage needed for “Da Look”. 

As you can see, I used ribbon instead of string.  The type is flat and has the little “bumps” along each edge.  My reasoning (tho I might be incorrect in this assumption) is the more texture = better traction to hold the bow the ribbon gets tied into in order to hold that “u” shape of the wires.

Next up: Ruffles.  Good GOD Margo!  How many yards are we talking about?  I sewed all the 13 strips, end-on-end together. For a moment, I thought it stretched as long as my house is wide.  Then I clean finished the “hem” edge of the entire long strip.  At this point of assembly, I’m tired.  I either need medical attention, caffeine, or assistance from the mathematical and carpentry genius – Sir Harry of Essex – to help me measure and cut the long strip of fabric into the pattern specified lengths for each layer of ruffle (there are 7 of them in my case) used.  At least the pattern designers were smart and started with the longest ruffle first, or we might’ve committed hari-kari… (wink)

Like a knight on a white horse, the shy Sir Harry rode in to save the day!  He whipped out his reading glasses.  Firmly grasping on the fabric and tape on one end, he worked to measure the accurate lengths before snipping them.  One by one, I then ran a row of basting stitch on the unfinished long edge.  Working together, we then proceeded to pull the stitching up and pinned each layer to the correct position on the back over panel.  What a guy!

One question we figured we’d face on Monday was, “Sooooo, Sir Harry, whatcha do Saturday night?” 

To which his reply would be, “Oh, I was busy sewing and pinning ruffles on a bustle….”  What would you give to be a fly on THAT wall???

The panel went together quite well and easily.  The far edges of each layer were then caught into the clean-finishing along each side of the panel.  Very clever, very tidy!

I had added the waistband at one point in the process.  Realizing how much stress is put on a waistband’s hook-and-eye closure and the likelihood of the fabric being stressed (okay, I’m fat….), I opted to make it out of the same heavy twill fabric together with the fashion fabric. Turned out well, we think.

Once I have all the pieces of the Victorian bustle outfit completed, I will post photos of each garment on-body so you’ll have a better idea of how they will work together.

Now, I’m on to sewing the “underskirt” of silk, as the next step in the project.  It’s quite beautiful fabric.  Has that one-way it’s beige and another-way it’s burgundy sort of weave.

Oh, Sir Harry – I’m gonna show you how to help me make a “poof” in the skirt….

Posted in All Blog Entries, Costumes we're workin' on!, Upcoming Workshop

Victorian & Edwardian Hat Decorating

It’s that time of year when historical costumers are invited to participate in a number of centennial parades and festivities. 

Can’t much do it easily at other times of year because weather in Seattle is unpredictable, even if we DO settle for “mostly cloudy and partly sunny” forecasts or wind up with showers.  We are after all, talking about The Evergreen State!
Back to hats.  If you are within driving range of Seattle, Washington and have interst in decorating a Victorian or Edwardian or other hat of your choice that you already own, we (of Somewhere in Time, Unlimited) would LOVE to invite you to come participate in a creative afternoon of hat decorating, entirely FREE!
Here is a link to the details: http://www.costuminginseattle.com/Hat%20DECORATING%20Workshop.htm
Would you be brave enough to participate in a parade with us?  I can assure you, it is a wonderful feeling.  The audiences are generally VERY thrilled to see people portraying a different era.  Even my husband Sir Harry and his gentlemen stride happily along side, tipping their hats to the ladies and waving as we go along.
If you like hat decorating, you might also be interested in hat PIN making, also one of our upcoming Workshops.
Stay in touch.  Happy to add you to an email list if you’d like to receive info on the Design Studios or Workshops in 2010.
All the best for lovely hat results!
Lady Victoria of Essex
Posted in All Blog Entries, Exciting News!

Horseless Carriages & A Victorian Connection…

WEB Horseless 1Wouldn’t think they would have much to do with one another, but on a fine Spring day in 2009, these prized beauties met up with the members and friends of Somewhere in Time, Unlimited to participate in the “Quilted Tulip” up in LaConner, Washington.

WEB P076Now, SITU has been doing historical costuming for a long while as a social group.  Most favorite is probably the Victorian era or the Edwardian period.  So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the group had co-hosted with the docents and management of the famous Quilt Museum, an afternoon tea.  Refreshments were free to the public with the paid entry to view the museum which just “happens” to be a Victorian home!

WEB Horseless 3Ah, enter the carriages.  The owners of these fine specimens were invited to come out and get all gussied up in their finery and join in the fun.  Mission accomplished!  These ladies and gents did a wonderful job of recreating historical attire, complete with hats.  Their cars weren’t bad either….(wink)

WEB Horseless PhyllisWEB Horseless Donna

 

 

 

 

 

 
WEB P040So, you have a soft-spot for Victorian clothing or dressing up in Victorian dress?  Come along.  SITU holds a number of Events and Dress-up Opportunities which cross a wide array of eras, including Victorian/Edwardian. 

We even hold workshops to help you learn how to put together an outfit, whether sewn or thrifted.

 Men are invited to participate in our Events as well.  This is not a “Ladies Only” sort of social group!  Lady Victoria will also give you sage advice on how to find suitable gentlemen’s attire for whatever Event or Dress-up Opportunity is in store.

WEB P072Contact Lady Victoria directly from the SITU site to find out more about the various eras we costume.  Be sure to visit our website’s Prior Events to see more photos of this particular Event.  We would love to have you come along for any of our Events or Dress-up Opportunities during the year.

These may include centennial celebrations, parades, parties, Kirkland Concours, murder mystery outings – virtually anything that  is centered around planes, train, cars and boats, provided we can put a historical spin on things!

Come, join the fun. You’d be surprised how much joy you will find…

Posted in All Blog Entries

The ghosts of Ezra & Eliza Jane Meeker…

Might’ve been in attendance when the members and guests of Somewhere in Time, Unlimited held a “Tea and Murder Mystery” at the historical residence of the Meekers in Puyallup, Washington on Oct. 26, 2008.

Ezra Meeker, as some will remember, was man of significance due to his connection to the Oregon Trail and the impact of hops farming in the Puyallup valley.  His lovely wife, Eliza Jane, had gone with him to England where she fell in love with Queen Victoria’s  home.  Ezra, being a rational man, told his wife if she wanted such a home, she’d build and pay for it, herself.  Well, never underestimate the power of a driven woman!  If you’d like to read more about the Meekers, visit the mansion’s site.

The tea at the mansion was hosted and served by the talented docents of the mansion in delightful costumes.  The food was delicious and the hot tea was served and refilled multiple times to grateful recipients.  There’s nothing like tepid warm tea, so having HOT tea served is WONDERFUL! 

Even the decorating at the mansion is incredible.  They have been able to replicate or restore much of the high style of the Victorian splendor in the house.   SITU participants were given guided tours thru the mansion.  We we treated to viewing quality furniture, beautiful fireplace mantels, leaded windows, crown moulding, stencils, inlaid wood, hidden spaces and more, along with a history lesson of the home and the family.

I am in the process (as of this writing), of putting together a webpage featuring photos of the frivolity of the afternoon tea.  Visit SITU’s regular site at: www.CostumingInSeattle.com and click on Past Events.  If I don’t have the photos up when you look, check back.  I may have them up soon, or email me and I’ll let you know when they’re uploaded.

In case you’re wondering, the murder mystery was solved and the missing antique necklace was recovered.  It turned out to be the ficticious half-sister of Eliza Jane.  Thank you to the Meeker Mansion management and docents who played along with us in the fun for the afternoon.  You folks were tremendous….