Monday, September 29, 2014

A whole new level of nerd

This weekend, I attended my very first SCA event. The SCA, or Society for Creative Anachronism, is an organization that researches and recreates skills and arts of pre-17th century Europe. So, basically it's a bunch of nerds getting together to do nerd things but instead of nerding over the latest technology, they nerd about things like blacksmithing, archery or cosmetics from days long past.

So, I was a bad blogger and didn't get a single picture of me (or anything else for that matter) but I was wearing my red peasant dress as seen here except with a different shift and partlet. I really wanted to have my Italian dress done to wear but that didn't happen. Hopefully, I'll be able to share some progress on that later this week.

So instead of pretty photos of me and other people from the event. I thought I'd share my experience and maybe give some tips for going to your first SCA event. Also, lots of pictures from the Borgias tv show because right now I want to make one of those dresses!! In silk!! Sew all the pretty things!!!

Ok, moving on.

Tip #1: Bring a Friend

This is the type of thing that can be super intimidating to go to on your own especially if you are shy like me. If you go in a group, at least there will be two of you running around having no idea what's going on.

Even more helpful than bringing a friend is bringing a friend who's in the SCA. The SCA is kind of like the military where they have all of these code words and acronyms that you will have no idea what is going on when people are talking. Even having been to several of the meetings and reading some SCA blogs online, the jargon was a bit overwhelming. Will wasn't able to come with me but luckily, I ran into some of the people we met at the Kentucky Renaissance Festival and they showed me around, introduced me to people and explained things to me.

Tip #2: Go to some meetings before hand

Local SCA groups usually meet at least once a month. Going to at least one meeting before hand will allow you to meet some people and get used to some of the lingo before you go to the event. You can look up your local group on the SCA website. It was nice to see some familiar faces at the event. These people can be your "bring a friend" as long as they are not heavily involved in running the event (because then they will be busy).

Tip #3: Dress comfortably

For your first event, wear a comfortable costume that you can go all day in. Nothing is worse than major pain at an event due to uncomfortable costumes!!

If you don't have a costume to wear, there are loner costumes available. Go to the "troll" (where you check in and pay) and ask for the "gold key" (loner garb). Again with the jargon!!! While I did have a costume, I only learned about this magical stash of loner costumes by attending the meetings.

Tip #4: Try something new

The SCA encompasses a wide range of topics with many winding rabbit holes. In much of the historical costuming community, 1500s is quite old but in the SCA, it's on the new end of the time scale. This is a great opportunity to take a class on something you've never even heard of before. I happened into a class on paternosters, which are prayer beads, and it was very interesting.

Tip #5: Bring some snacks

Both at this event and the previous event that my local group hosted (but I didn't get to attend), the dinner feast got sold out. I'm sure this doesn't happen at every event, but bringing extra snacks will save you from having to leave and go to the drive through in your costume!

Over all, I had a lot of fun at the event. I really enjoyed the classes. It felt very much like Costume College. Plus I adore learning new things! I did get to watch a bit of fighting but that's not really my thing. (I hates all sports.) I'm not 100% sure that the SCA and I are a perfect fit. Really, I just want to costume, but I'm definitely going to go to more events and see how I like it.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress

One of the great things about vintage is that it connects people across time. Today I am going to share with you a dress that is connecting a whole lot of ladies not across time but across the world!

When Joanna of Dividing Vintage Moments suggested a traveling vintage dress, I knew I just had to join in if the dress would fit! As luck would have it, it was just about my size. The waist was a bit small but that's nothing a waist cincher couldn't fix!

The dress is a darling handmade gem from the late 40s. I just adore late 40s styles and I knew that it would look smashing on me! (It's cut very similar to this dress which is probably my favorite dress ever!)

The details on this dress are even more amazing in person. One of my favorite details are the self-fabric buttons and button loops that close the front of the dress. I love these little matching details even if I wouldn't have the patience to add them to a dress I made myself.

I'm towards the beginning of the dress' journey so I haven't seen it styled a ton of ways but I wanted to try something a bit unexpected with the styling. I wanted to stay away from pinks, yellows, oranges and browns with my accessories to push myself into some more daring styling choices.

The dress had lost it's self-fabric belt somewhere along the line (even though the belt loops were still in tact) so I started there. My favorite black velvet vintage belt was just the ticket.

From there I added more black accessories with the shoes and gloves to tie the whole look together. The floral hair combs were sort of a necessity since my pin curls were being a bit crazy that day. (Seriously, hair flowers can totally save a bad hair day!)

For the photo shoot, we walked down to a near by park. I love shooting at this park but usually it's too hot or too busy. Now that school is in session, weekday mornings are very quiet!

 We're all going to sign a ribbon and then have it sewn into the hem of the dress to commemorate the traveling dress but silly me went ahead and mailed the dress and forgot to sign the ribbon! Whoops!

I've had so much fun being a part of this project and can't wait to see how everyone else wears this dress!

Photography by: Will Thorpe Photography

Friday, September 26, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Finding my personal style

Vintage fashion is quite a small niche that once you find it, it's easy to think that you've got your style sorted out. But once you've been wearing vintage for a while, you find that you gravitate to certain looks more than others. And it you wear vintage long enough, you'll find that your tastes will change.

So here's some snapshots of my personal style journey.

Initially, I was drawn to 40s styles, but 50s styled pieces were easier to find so I ended up doing a lot of more 50s styles.

Once I started sewing, I could do much more period accurate looks.

I discovered hats and learned how to harness my hair.

I obsessed over the early 40s.

And the late 40s.

And I made a couple of side trips to pixie land.

So what have I learned about my personal style?

  • My favorite fashion years are 1940 to 1950 although I do occasionally go older or newer.
  • I prefer clothing that is comfortable and easy to wear. While I'm more than willing to wear a girdle and huge crinoline for special occasions, for everyday wear I just want to wear regular old under things.
  • I don't like most novelty prints. Oh, they are so cute, but they make me feel like I'm 12! I need be more picky with my prints and also do more solids.
  • Separates are awesome! Again, more solids than prints.
  • Hair matters. I need to work on finding a great everyday hairstyle so I can look good everyday.
  • I love linen, cotton and rayon! No more polyester!
  • I look good in color! And I can wear loads of shades that a lot of people can't so I should embrace them.
  • I prefer a classic, tailored look rather than a frilly, girly style or a tomboy look.
What have you learned about your personal style?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Indian Summer

September is the month that never really makes up it's mind as to what season it wants to be. We had quite a long stretch of chilly late fall weather so I packed up all of my summer clothes.

And wouldn't you know, it was decidedly summery this weekend. So goes life in the midwest.

So I pulled out this Bernie Dexter dress to wear to a wedding we shot this weekend. It is such a fun dress that I couldn't resist the chance to wear it one more time.

To be honest, I'd been having a bit of an identity crisis lately. Between the growing out pixie, the new hair color and the having to wear more modern clothes to work, I just wasn't feeling like me.

Plus, I've been doing so much costuming, I haven't even had the chance to start on any of my fall sewing projects!! But this weekend, I really felt like I found myself again.

My hair is finally back at pincurl length again! It probably would have been ok earlier, but with work being crazy, I hadn't had time to really play with it until this weekend!

 And I finally gave up on the reddish brown hair color. It just wasn't me! So back to darker hair it was.

 Sometimes it's nice to have a break from all of the effort that goes into dressing vintage, but just like any vacation, it feels good to be home again once you're done!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Old Favorites

I've gotten to wear a lot of new things this year but sometimes it's nice to break out an old favorite! This grey wool kirtle is comfortable and fun to wear and I just love it!

It might not be the most flashy outfit but sometimes you don't want to be flashy.

I also wore my faux fur partlet. My husband thinks it looks a bit silly but it's nice and warm.

The drape of the wool is fabulous and the skirt is super swishy! The pleating plus my own natural bum padding gives a rather fashionable shape to the skirt.

Some sass taking off the partlet! I guess this would go under the heading of Elizabethan pin-up. ;)

People wore a lot more clothes in the 16th century than we do now! I know they were in a mini ice age and in England but it does take a bit of getting used to. I really still needed to wear a pair of sleeves but I don't really have a good pair of sleeves that matches this outfit yet.

 Everyone was bundled up in capes and fur this weekend! I'm sure it will get colder before the end of the season but it was still quite chilly in the morning.

This past weekend was the annual camping trip we take with our friends and we got to hang with them at the faire all weekend! It is so much more fun to go in a large group! 

We worked on making sure we got around to seeing all of the shows we hadn't seen yet this year. There really is so much to do that you can't see it all in one day. Plus, some of the performers don't do the same show every time they perform so there's even more to see.

Alas, we won't get to go back for a few weekends. We got some weddings coming up and we'll be busy busy busy. Hopefully, this will mean some more vintage outfit posts over the next few weeks.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Some Good English Weather

This weekend, we had some good English weather for faire! It was chilly and gray, although, it didn't rain, thankfully. So I got to wear some of my cold weather costumes!

I decided to wear my fitted English gown on Saturday when it was going to be chillier. It was so fun to wear!

I planned on wearing a pair of plain black gloves but I forgot them. The pocket slits don't actually have pockets but I could still tuck my hands in them to keep cozy!

Plus I got to wear my pocket! It's quite handy for stowing all of my modern bits while in costume.

It was pirate weekend! Arrrr! There were a lot of great pirate costumes around this weekend!

 With it being pirate weekend, we just had to see the pirate stunt show! I adored last year's stunt show because they threw in some Shakespeare references. This year was also excellent.

There were duels to the death, swash bucking action and quite a bit of laughter.

 Some of the non-pirate cast members also got into the spirit of the weekend!

Stay tuned for more costuming adventures coming later this week!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wearing History for All!

I've been a huge fan of Wearing History Patterns for years! And I'm proud to announce that the proprietress Lauren is launching a line of clothing. Right now, she's running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the initial costs of production.

The Maisie Dress has that look of separates and features a great music novelty print designed just for this line!

The Victoria dress is the perfect everyday vintage dress! Dress it up or dress it down, I guarantee you'll reach for it again and again.

The line also features some great separates like the Norma Jean Blouse paired here with the Smooth Sailing Trousers.

The last piece is the Ruthie blouse in the same dotted chambray as the Victoria Dress.

As part of the Kickstarter campaign, you can pre-order any of these beauties. There are also some other pledge rewards including a scarf in the music print, a Wearing History tote bag and deals on e-patterns! Please consider pledging towards this project so we can all have Wearing History pretties!