Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on September 9, 2013
It’s been one of those rare and unforgettable days when what seems to good to be true is true. When something you’ve been planning towards for months on end finally starts to come to pass, and when you’re so busy making sure you haven’t forgotten a thing that the sheer enormity of what you’re doing seems to get lost in the shuffle… This morning I stood looking at my bare sewing room, where only a few hours before countless dresses had been laid out on tables and hung on the dressform, and where I had spent so many pleasant hours over the last eight months happily sewing for this very trip. In this place where for the last few weeks there has been nothing but bustling and busyness to finish my costumes, the room seemed strangely empty and hollow with all the gowns gone and packed away. It was one of those days when you have to keep telling yourself, “This is really happening! I’m going to England today! My costumes are really finally all done and I’m going to England!!”
I can hardly believe that I’m typing these words, but I’m in London! Hip hip hooray! I managed to survive the 5,000 mile trek in one piece with all my luggage, thank the Lord, and with only several minor “tragedies” along the way. Just kidding! Well, my bags did cause me some slight problems throughout the course of my airplane travel, but I’m back on track for the rest of my trip to go smoothly.
If one has to travel, one ought to do it in style!
And as is only fitting for a costume tour, I was indeed sewing right up till the morning that I left. So much for my goal to be done with all sewing one month prior to the trip! Oh well. All the sewing over the last few months did pay off, though, as I now have three Regency day dresses, two Spencer jackets, two bonnets, one petticoat, and one elaborate, over-the-top ballgown (completely hand-stitched) in my suitcases. These of course are in addition to my “normal” outfits which I’ve sewn for the tour, many of which you’ll be seeing in my upcoming London and Winchester blog posts.
The official costumed festivities will begin in another day or so, but I thought I would post the links to my England trip blog posts from my 2009 tour to tide you over until then!
From the Edelweiss Patterns Blog archives, here is the Victoria & Albert Museum Part I, the Victoria & Albert Museum Part II, a Kensington Palace blog post, and an article about the Jane Austen Festival and my Elizabeth Bennet outfit reproduction. If you read my blog post from last year about Queen Elizabeth’s royal tour gowns from the 1950s, you will see many gowns that I will be viewing in person next week! (Please note that I am using much higher resolution cameras this time than I did four years ago, so hopefully even the low-lit museums will show up quite nicely just like the DAR Museum pictures did this spring.)
So until next time, happy sewing!
Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on September 1, 2013
It’s hard to believe that in just one week I’ll be in the UK! I have been planning towards this costume study trip for so long that I can hardly imagine I’m finally this close!
The trip will be costume-focused in a couple of ways – firstly, we will obviously be studying a lot of magnificent gowns in some of England’s finest museum collections. (The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Fashion Museum in Bath, and Kensington Palace, just to name a few.) And secondly, our group will be wearing a plethora of costumes, as well! For the last eight months I’ve been sewing on and off towards the Jane Austen Festival which will include a marvelous Regency ball held in the very Assembly Rooms that Jane Austen mentioned in her novels, as well as a lovely costumed promenade through the historic streets of Bath.
Here are a few of the things I’ll be seeing while I’m in England:
~ Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation gowns at Buckingham Palace
~ Queen Victoria’s silk wedding dress housed at Kensington
~ Evening gowns worn by Princess Diana
~ The actual filming location of “Longbourne” (the Bennet’s home) from the 1995 version of Pride & Prejudice, complete with a costumed supper in the dining room and Regency dancing afterwards!
~ A tour of “Pemberly” (Lyme Park), for which I have recreated an “Elizabeth Bennet” film costume to replicate some of my favorite shots from the film!
~ Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral, both famous sites of the renowned British royal weddings
~ Plus studying dozens of sumptuous court gowns and day dresses from the 1600s up to the 1900s…
I will try to blog just as often as I possibly can while I’m on the trip , and I’ll be taking hundreds of photos to share! Rest assured that if I can’t find time to chronicle all the goings-on while I’m in England, I will be sure to write much longer blog posts once I come back!
Well, before I go stuff all my dresses into my suitcase, here are a couple preview shots of just one of the Regency outfits I’ve sewn while it was under construction. Does anyone want to take a wild guess as to which Pride & Prejudice costume ensemble I’ve recreated?
And here’s one last picture of a special hatbox I’ve decorated for carrying my Regency bonnets on the plane! I used pink spray paint on the top, “I Love Lucy” fabric for the sides, and sparkly pink ribbon for trim. I think it should hopefully keep my bonnets from getting “squashed”!
The next time I post here I will be in London.
Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on July 20, 2013
You may remember how last fall I sewed a blue and white gingham dress from the 1958 Party Dress pattern. What I never blogged about, though, was how I made a matching little girls version for a dear young friend of mine who was only too happy to model it with me!
Sense & Sensibility Patterns put out matching women’s and girls’ sized versions of the same pattern late last year, and this versatile design can be adapted to all kinds of fabrics and occasions. But best of all, they can be used to make adorable mother-daughter matching outfits, or identical big sister-little sister frocks.
I had the most wonderful time using these patterns! The dresses came together without a glitch, and they are remarkably simple to fit to yourself. The bodice has kimono sleeves and darts (for ladies), and a slightly above the waist seam. I chose the pleated skirt method, though you could just as easily gather the skirt instead. Both dresses were worn with crinoline petticoats underneath for fullness. Little girls are soooo much fun to sew for! I wish I had more reasons to do so.
And as for the pictures themselves, we had so much fun having them taken! My adorable friend Suzi made the cutest miniature model, and we both wore white gloves and red ribbon sashes to complete the look. It was so fun! The only downside of the photo shoot was when our ice cream sundaes started melting all over the old fashioned counter.
And isn’ this the cutest soda fountain? I’m told that this place has been in existence since the 1940s and still retains its original decor and memorabilia. It’s really darling!
Well, that’s the sewing fun for this week, and now I should go get back to my Regency costumes for the Jane Austen Festival. Speaking of which, a slot has just opened up on the historical costume tour I’m going on, and if any of you are able to go this September you would absolutely LOVE the trip! We will be studying costumes of all eras (from the 1600s to the 1980s), with a special focus on the more “old fashioned” sorts of designs from about 1800 to maybe 1950 or so. (At least that is what we saw the most of on the 2009 tour.) At Kensington Palace we’ll be viewing Queen Victoria’s wedding dress, many of her court gowns, Princess Diana’s gown collection, as well as magnificent Norman Hartnell creations (1950s-1960s) created for Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret!
Some gowns we studied at Kensington back in 2009.
Other highlights include the Fashion Musem in Bath, the Museum of London’s private costume collection, and the creme de la creme – the Victoria & Albert Museum. Of course we will see more than just costumes, with time set aside for shopping at historic department stores and quaint antique shops, not to mention free time for sightseeing in London (you can be sure I’ll be making some Royal Wedding stops to Westminster & St. Pauls if I can possibly help it!). Oh yes, and did I mention some of us will be going to a costumed Regency ball at the Assembly Rooms in Bath? So all in all, it’s going to be a fabulous trip and one that you won’t soon forget! The official website is here, with all the wonderful details.
And if the royal baby ever comes, they just might have the child’s christening while we’re in England – you never know!
Have a wonderful week!