The Fat Reenactress

The Fat Reenactress

Monday, July 7, 2014

Post #6                              Monday, July 7th, 2014


At the end of April, Terry and I were lucky enough to attend a steampunk event before the shite really hit the fan with his lung and cancer issues. We were both really glad we were able to attend this event this year. The event was the Cincinnati Steampunk Symposium....and it was held the last weekend of April this year. Like a doofus, I didn't realize until 2 days before the event that it was a themed event....not just Steampunk, but more like "Star Wars meets Steampunk". Oh well....we're still new to this hobby and we're learning quickly that most steampunk events have a theme to them.  It doesn't mean that we can't go if we don't dress the theme, it just gives it another twist of fun. We'll know better next year, since their theme next year is "Around the World in 80 Days". We are REALLY looking forward to that one!

Like all steampunk functions we've been to (all 4 of them....ergh.) we found it hard to see everything. We're learning to pick and choose what speakers and events we want to see. For Friday night, we were lucky enough to happen upon the lecture pertaining to women's unmentionables....and the change that occurred in the last 200 years. It was very well laid out, starting with stays and hoops, and actually went thru the regency and romantic eras up thru early 20th c. (I was kind of flabbergasted to find out....I owned pretty much most of the undergarments used up until the early 20th c. !)
A good under structure helps get the period silhouette.
what I found while walking around that weekend was a number of larger ladies....and all of them looked STUNNING.
this was her rendition of a female steampunk Hans Solo.

I loved her skirt and accessories! she really did play up her....assets. :) 
By Saturday evening, I found that there was going to be a discussion on how to dress the larger lady in steampunk/victoriana. I attended in hopes of getting some ideas. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased that they addressed the different style of corsets to play up or play down your good and bad areas. They discussed the use of trim to draw the eye to where you wanted it (ex. if you had a larger bottom, you put more trim up top on the bodice to attract the eye) This discussion was backed up with some very good images of original garments that did JUST that! Lets just say the Victorians LOVED their trims!  All in all, a very good discussion, and I was VERY happy to see it! They ended the discussion with how to help the larger man find some items they could use in thrift stores for clothes. What I'm learning is that Steampunk people are VERY crafty and ingenious!!! My mom would call it foxy shopping!

When I asked this lady to take her picture, I found out that this was not only her first Steampunk event, but her FIRST OUTFIT!  KUDOS!!!

This young lady definitely knows what colors look stunning on her!
Terry and I decided to change for the dance on Saturday evening. We put on our more formal wear. I call this my "Mad Duchess" look. I was given a compliment by a gentleman friend of ours that we were talking with. He just kept staring at me...and finally he said "I'm not being rude, but looking at you, I can only imagine my grandmother looking like you. I never got to meet the woman, I just imagine that she wore her clothes like you". I took it as a great compliment.

the sash on the gown really made all the difference.
I used the Sense and Sensability 1910 teagown pattern for this. I was doubtful as I was making it up, but found it to be wonderfully easy, and actually kinda flattering on me.

I lastly want to share a picture of two ladies who wore similar gowns, but they made them their own in stunning ways. I felt that they both looked amazing....and I would KILL to look like either of them!!!
Thanks to Rachel Turner for this photo. She's the one on the right. they BOTH looked amazing!
I hope you all enjoy my tiny glimpse into the steampunk world, with hopes to keep adding to this. I didn't think I would like this era....but it's kinda rocking it for me right now.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Post #5                                               Friday, July 4th, 2014

Accessorizing a quick garment

So, last week I went to a Burnley and Trowbridge gown making workshop (subject for another post) and spent a week with 3 other ladies in Williamsburg, Va. not only attending the workshop, but also spending a whirlwind trip visiting in the Colonial area.

Now, these 3 ladies are considerably younger than myself, and MUCH skinnier. There's nothing like traveling with skinny women who can put away the carbs. I did warn them that one day, Mother Nature WILL catch up with them, and start to slow their metabolisms....and I'll have a seat on the fluffy couch waiting for them. (alas....I don't think they'll be joining me for quite awhile though).

All 3 of these ladies already had planned to do "big" hair and gowns (although one girl did do a sweet little silk jacket that would have fit my thigh....) so I had planned to do something not feel like I was competing with them (because my inner dialogue would TOTALLY have been comparing me with them the entire time)

I had just previously sold all my "pretty" outfits (except the silks) because they were snug enough on me to make me feel uncomfortable wearing them....and lets face it, I have a fabric stash that could choke a I sold them in order to motivate myself into making  new garments. That pretty much came back to bite me on the ass.  I had the fabric....just not the motivation.

I ended up using a reproduction Colonial Williamsburg cotton print I bought on sale a month or two ago.I went with a cotton because....well, CW in June/July. You feel like you're 10 feet from the sun. No silk for me, thank you.  The pattern I ended up using was the Janice Ryan's Caraco pattern, for 2 reasons.  1) I had made it up before and knew it went together pretty quick and  2) it came in my size, and I had already worked out the bugs and tweaked it to my size the  previous time I had made it.

So, as of 2 days before I had to leave to head east, I had nothing made. Score one for me! Even not working, I can't seem to get things done before hand!!! The night before I had to leave, my hubby, Terry, helped me cut out the jacket. I used a REALLY heavy linen for the lining, to give the garment shape....but instead of lining the entire jacket, I just lined the body. By midnight, I was tired, so I went to bed. Wednesday morning, I woke early, packed my stuff, and actually sat at the sewing machine and did the main seams by machine. I even had a chance to set the sleeves. All the while, my loving husband used my scalloping shears to cut strips of trim for me.

Over the next 3-4 days, we were TERRIBLY busy doing these gowns at the workshop totally by hand. So much so....that the caraco sat to the side. By Sunday, if I didn't get this thing wearable, I would not have anything to wear for our 18th c. dinner that evening.  With about 2-3 hours of handwork, I did do the hem of the skirting, and basted the sleeve ends. I folded the unfinished front ends back and just pinned it closed. I am hoping to finish this garment by the end of summer (yeah....right) but it was wearable for the evening and next long as I accessorized it nicely.
Full ensemble.
I paired the jacket with a light weight blue wool skirt (the only one I could find that I actually hemmed to the butt pad I was using) and my red 18th c. shoes from Smiling Fox Forge.  To make it my own, I topped the ensemble off with a very fine ruffled apron that Nicole Rudolph had made and I bought off her, a white spotted neckcloth I got from Turkey Roost Traders, and a wired pleated cap made by Hallie Larkin. I finished everything off with a breastknot I made with pink silk ribbon and deep red cherries (my favorite breastknot to date) not only does it help close the jacket at the top, but it adds a pop of color.

evening wear. No black bonnet, can see my pink bow.
yes, I have a huge head.
Close up of cap, bonnet and neck cloth.
Lastly, the jewelry I chose to wear was a newly purchased pearl and gold bead necklace from Lauren Roosien and her company FleurdeLys Originals, and pink earrings with gold bows and a hand painted bracelet both from Amey's Adornments. Awesome stuff all!!!  My black chip hat was decorated by April Thomas of Fashions Revisited (THIS chick don't do hat decorating :(   )  and my cap had a very sheer gold/pink pouffy  ribbon to finish it all.

So, I took an unfinished garment, and camouflaged it with awesome accessories. I felt I held my own with the 3 other ladies. We each had our own distinct look.

when I do finish the jacket, it will have trim around the neckline, and around the the sleeves in lieu of cuffs. I'll post pics of that when finished. (to MAKE me finish it!!!)