Sunday, November 29, 2009

Victorian Ball

Last night I was able to attend my first Grand Victorian Ball since before I had my children. I was a wonderful evening full of costumes, dancing, friends, laughter, and lemonade. Getting my ballgown done in time was a little stressful, but I got it done and was overall very happy with the results. (But I won't lie... there were definitely several safety pins where hooks, bars, and snaps were supposed to be!)

I did have a dilemma with my hair since mine is much to short to be Victorian. Rather than wear a wig, I decided to try to pass mine off as best as possible by pin-curling most of it and styling the front into a pompadour. I added in some jeweled hairpins and a sort of fascinator and I felt very pleased with the effect.

If you think period costumed gatherings might be an adventure you would like to try, the Social Daunce Irregulars, Friends of the Engilsh Regency, Victorian Tea & Dance Society, Mikal Sandoval's Speakeasy, and Club Cicada are just a few of the many options available to folks living in the Los Angeles area.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you enjoy your holiday as much as this dancing duo seems to be! Enjoy your meal, love your family and friends, and count your blessings!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

They're called "aglets"

Those little metal or plastic tips on the ends of your shoelaces... and I need to find two and an applicator ASAP.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Turkey Day Trinkets

this feathered hairpiece entitled Wild Turkey

this bold Turkey Feather Brooch
this beautiful Turkey Brooch

How much fun would it be to spice up your Thanksgiving wardrobe with these little numbers?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Flower Girl

(Photo by Cathryn Farnsworth)

When Celia (my recent bridal client) and I went shopping for fabric, she casually asked whether I like to sew for little girls.... ummm, heck yeah!!!! I love little girl clothes, especially with a vintage vibe, and given that I have two boys I don't get my fix very often. So I was thrilled when she asked me to create a top for her niece who would be her flower girl. And, on top of making my day, she had the brilliant idea to use the same vintage laces on the blouse that we were using on the wedding gown.

Celia had thought of having her niece wear this JCrew top, so we used it as our inspiration:
We used the pearl white silk taffeta from Celia's gown for the foundation of the gown and added three layers of lace that made an appearance on her gown as well and this was the result:

(front view)(back view with keyhole opening and rhinestone button)

Celia's niece was so sweet and adorable during her fitting, and judging from the pictures, she looked great on the big day!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Process and The Gown

(photo from Cathryn Farnsworth)

I am extremely pleased to say that the bride I made a custom gown for has been featured on the popular blog east side bride. There is one post summing up the wedding and a second post in which the bride details the story of having a dress custom made. She also has several posts about it on her own, very fun-to-read blog life according to celia. So this seemed like a wonderful opening for me to describe the process.

A former colleague of mine from the Los Angeles Opera costume shop contacted me to say that a bride-to-be had gotten in touch with her to make her gown. This friend of mine now lives in Nashville, and referred the project to me. My background is in costume design for theatre, so I approached the design process as if I was designing for a play. In theatre, the costume designer reads the play, conferences with the director, and takes the design concepts of the set and lights into consideration all while evaluating the character the design is for and how to express that character through the clothing they wear. In many ways, a wedding isn't a far stretch from a theatrical piece. The characters are the bride, groom, and wedding party. The set is the location, and the bride is definitely the director! The collaboration results in a design that is unique to the bride, physically flattering, complimentary to the surroundings and expressive of the bride's personality.

I asked Celia to send me pictures related to her wedding, what accessories she had, anything that inspired her. From my point of view, nothing was irrelevant.
She also sent me images of what her bridesmaids would be wearing, and images of dresses she liked.

The top right dress was the main look she liked, with the back pictured top left. She also like the capelet-look of the bottom right image. She said she liked the dress on the bottom left because it reminded her of a cupcake and she told me she wanted an empire waist gown so she could enjoy her meal on her wedding day. And she added that she wanted to try to do something with ruffling down the back because her fiance enjoys a more simple, streamlined aesthetic, while she likes things a bit more textured and ornate. She also told me that she almost exclusively wears vintage clothing. I was getting really excited at this point!

Based on what I had seen and discussed with her, I presented her with a few images and ideas of my own at our design consultation.
We talked a lot, and the design changed here and there over the course of our process together. Our first meeting was a design consultation and measurement session. The second meeting we had was to go fabric shopping in Downtown L.A. Later we met for a muslin mock-up fitting and then had a few more fittings after that. And this was the end product (which I believe Celia once called a "vintage lace cupcake")...

The gown was made of a pearl white silk taffeta underlayer with a champagne silk chiffon overlayer. The train is trimmed with ruffles made from eleven antique laces found on ebay. A vintage lace applique adorns the front of the bodice with more antique lace gracing the neckline. The gown also features embroidered organza trim and pleated taffeta trim.

It was a great pleasure to make and I couldn't have asked for a more unique, beautiful, fun bride to work with! I am sure Celia and her husband will live a long, happy life together and I feel honored to have played a small part in the day that bonded them together!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

'Tis the season for entertaining...

With Halloween officially behind us, it is time to turn our attention from candy and costumes to turkey and table runners. We're getting into the Thanksgiving and other winter holidays, and many of us will be entertaining guests in our home. And you know what? You deserve a beautiful apron to wear on those occassions. There is a good chance your guests will be seeing you in it, so treat yourself to a cute one that you can be proud to wear in front of people. I have absolutely fallen in love with the selection of aprons from The Apron Shoppe. They're a fashion statement in and of themselves. A flattering, feminine, but utilitarian apron also makes a wonderful hostess gift if you should happen to be a guest instead of a hostess. I hope everyone has wonderful and delicious holiday plans ahead of them!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

For Next Year

For Halloween next year, I am planning to make a real-life version of this rubber stamp image. Maybe if I get started now, I'll have it done in time for Halloween 2010! It should be a really fun challenge!