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ADBP – Basic Under-Petticoat Review

When you start a new project, you always want to start with a review of the foundational pieces: corset, petticoats, and chemises, and then you ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I need?
  • Do I have something from a different era that will suffice or are the shaped so radically different that I need to make a standalone piece?
  • Do I really, really need to make another [fill in the blank].

In this particular case, since I’m going to be working my way through the entire book, the answer is in the form of a question, “What is the first project?”  In this case, it’s easy-peasy: it’s the first project in the book: “Basic Under-Petticoat.”

Step 1: Find myself some heavy linen.

I have some 7 oz. Spruce green, heavy-weight linen. I’ve been planning on making some Outlander cosplay entirely out of linen, and this seems like a good place to start.  I have bleached linen, but it’s only 5.3 oz. Linen and thus, not heavy enough for this project.

Step 2: Measure from my natural waist to lower calf.

I got 33 inches.

Step 3: Cut two pieces 33 inches long by the width of the fabric.

Check; trim fabric width down to 50 inches from 60 inches, for a finished skirt width of about 98 inches, check.

Step 4: Sew. By. Hand. [hashtag #HandsewingInsanityProject ]

I’m using the mantua maker’s seam on the raw edges of one of the side seams and the other I’ve used the selvage.

Step 5: err …take pictures while sewing

Initial stitching -- my hand sewing skills are a bit rusty.
Initial stitching — my hand sewing skills are a bit rusty.

I’ve played a little bit with the color temperature of my iPhone photo in a vain attempt in try and get something closer to the actual fabric.  Alas, it’s a fail.  And yes, since this is an exercise in using what I’ve got on hand, the thread is a bit too green for the fabric.

You’ve probably noticed that the edges of the fabric are offset.  This was purposefully done.  I used the mantua maker’s seam to finish the cut edge side seam.  The seam finish is very similar to a traditional flat feld seam.  The book explains it better than I can.  I will add that requires a lot of pins to neatly hold the fabric in place while you’re sewing.  I like the look of the finished seam as it is very small and very flat.  I plan on using it for my chemises and smocks moving forward as it should make the armscye gussets less bulky and thus, much more comfortable.

Tacking down the selvage to form the side opening. My stitching is looking a bit better
Tacking down the selvage to form the side opening. My stitching is looking a bit better.


I switched to a black silk thread on my other side seam.  It’s a little easier to use a single strand, and not doubled. I tried doubled thread, but it kept twisting up on itself and annoying me.

Photo Dec 08, 2 44 44 PMStitching the double-turned 1/2 inch-ish hem.  I eyeballed it and then pinned it to death, stabbing myself a few times in the process.

Adding bias tape to serve as the waistband

Adding bias tape to serve as the waistband with lots and lots of straight pins to hold it and the pleats underneath in place.

The book calls for 3/4 to 1 ” wide linen or cotton tape for the waistband.  As I did not have any, only some 1/2 ” wide twill tape left over from my last Trunk Club, and I already had other plans for it, so I used the linen bias tape I made for the 18th-century cloak class I took at Costume College 2016.  [It’s the same fabric that I’m going to be using for my English gown.  This way if the skirts slip, it won’t be quite as noticeable.]

Finishing the waistband, and using lots and lots of pins to keep the fabric in place while stitching.
Finishing the waistband, and using lots and lots of pins to keep the fabric in place while stitching.


Whip stitching the ties closed with a zillion little stitches.
Whipstitching the ties closed with a zillion little stitches.

Step 6: Model finished project.

Petticoat is modeled by "the chick".
Petticoat as modeled by “the chick.”


As I totally stuck at selfies of any kind and my husband was out running errands to prepare of a business trip, I popped my new finished onto my dress form that we nicknamed “the chick” many moons ago.  It’s currently padded out to fit my BFF, so it’s smaller than my measurements, hence the droopy waistband.  That extra green fabric that hanging below is a cotton blanket that is being used to pad the chick out and impatient me didn’t bother to pin up out of the way.






Step 7: Conclusion and nitpicks.

Somewhere in my bio, I believe that it states that my mother taught me how to sew as an attempt to teach me patience, and probably what the results of perseverance will bring forth when you chose to apply yourself. When it comes to sewing, I am a speedy girl. It’s one of the reasons why I own a 1/2 horse-power industrial straight machine. I just want to “getter done.” What I am going to suggest to everyone, regardless of the years of sewing under their belt, is slow down and take the time to read the instructions before launching off into the deep end.  I completely glazed over the instructions for cutting the fabric and it wasn’t making any sense until I went back and reread the cutting instructions.

All and all, this is a very easy and straightforward project.  The instructions are well written, and for the visual group, the photos are worth a thousand words.  Once you’ve mastered this project, you’re ready to tackle the next project: the English Gown Petticoat.

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Embracing the insanity that is hand-sewing: The American Duchess Book Project

There are days when I question my sanity, and then I remember that I’m running a fever and everything makes sense.  I started coming down with a cold when I made this earth-shattering decision: I decided that I was going to make everything in the newly published “The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking” book.  Some of it will be done all by hand, some it will be mostly done by machine and other concessions along the way, but all of it will be for me.

The book is nicely presented with color photos and illustrations.  The text is easily understood.  My only initial complaint is the book does not contain shifts, chemises (if you’re French) or stays (corsets).  I’ve watched the YouTube videos and heard about the time constraints and that some things had to be cut, and would be covered elsewhere like the AD blog, but how about a book on underpinnings, and just underpinnings?

For the purpose of continuity and ease for searching, the blog posts, this series is going to be referred to ADBP with the project name. I’ll be using the Twitter hashtag #HandsewingInsanityProject

Wish me luck.


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Dia & Co. box #5 – now with pictures

Obligatory disclaimer: The majority of the comments shared here been sent to the company whose box is being reviewed. I am not receiving any type of compensation for my review. This rant is entirely my own doing, mostly because I refuse to do unboxing videos on YouTube, and I hate having pictures of myself taken unless I’m wearing a period costume.

I confess, I watch Dia & Co. unboxing video (since I’ve started down this path of dressing up again), I want to see what other ladies are getting and having a sense bout when the boxes are going to ship because they tell you when to expect your next box, I start visiting my page and peak to see if it’s been shipped. Well, back in the later part of November, I peeked and discovered that my next box was up on the site under “Rate my Items.” Wanting to know what was coming, I did some web-searching and striking out I made a note of what the items were and posted the list on the Dia & Co. discussion group on Facebook and asked, “Anyone else have these arrive in their box?”

Based on the descriptions, I wasn’t feeling this box with the exception of the skinny jeans as my current boot cut jeans are 4 or 5 years old and suffering from elastic failure. Or it could be because I’ve lost 40 pounds!!

Now to recap the items in my November box, which I kept three.  There were six items in this box and a holiday special were you only needed to purchase five of teh six items to get the “full box” 20% discount.

img_00091. A Dress: Esmeralda Skater Dress, $60.00, Society+, Navy – This is Society+ generic skater dress. If nothing else, this dress gave me the opportunity to try on a 4X and compare it to the 5X red dress that I just bought for Christmas. The dress is made in a medium weight polyester interlock, it fits well and since it’s a solid navy I can wear it with any of my sweaters or my silver gray blazer.

I kept it because navy is one of my Fall/Winter capsule neutrals. What I found surprising is that this dress in a 4X fits me the same way that the 5X red dress that I got earlier that month. Go figure.

Added bonus with this dress: it has pockets!! If this company had been around when I was still working in an office I would have had one of these in every color.  I needed pockets to carry my keys.
img_00082. A Top: Kaori Lace Top, $79.00, Kiyonna, Black – This is listed on the website as the Linden Lace Top as it’s $88. It’s a heavyweight polyester lace that was lined with a nude-colored heavy polyester tricot that matched my skin tone too closely.  The top was very pretty but, well … way too racy for wearing to church. It’s hard to keep your mind on the Lord and the university level teaching on theology in the sermon when you’re too busy wondering if the lady sitting a few seats is wearing anything under the lace blouse she has on. It’s not a legalistic fundamentalist thing by any means whatsoever, but simply an act by me showing respect to God in His house by not being a distraction.

The top fit me well, but the husband would never let me out of the house wearing it. I asked if I could exchange it for the one with the black lining that I knew was available on the Kiyonna website, but alas, Dia was unable to do it, so back the top went.

I purchased the black on black top from Kiyonna via and it was much better. The care tag said “Dry Clean Only” which knowing better having worked with fabric for the majority of my life, I washed it in cold water and the top became a much softer and less scratchy piece of clothing. I recently wore the top around the house because we were going out on a date night. As the day progressed, the more in my face the girls became, and the more modest I became. I think I was wearing the wrong bra or it was an impending migraine, but I really don’t remember that much décolletage when I tried it on.

img_00103. Top #2: Gianna Sleeveless Top, $69.00, Modamix, Navy, 28W – This blouse is double layer polyester georgette. the neckline is notched and has a narrow band that fastens with two antique brass colored snaps.  This really is navy but the iPaw photographed it as black. We both liked it so it’s a keeper.

This top was on the Lord &Taylor website as “Keyhole blouse” and on sale for $27.60.   I did try to price match, but the rules are it has to be exactly the same thing: meaning size and color. Bummer because screen capture of the top I submitted was red and I think it wasn’t my size.

img_00074. A purse: Morgan Ave Crossbody bag, Shiraleah $49.00, Wine, OS – The bag was divided into two separate compartments and both sides were too small for more than my cell phone, keys, and wallet. The color was okay, but there was this strange alien-looking jellyfish tassel on it that both made us to the confused dog head tilt thing. It went back



5. Pants: Lora Skinny Jeans, $59.90, Swak, Black, 5X – this is listed on the SWAK website as the Sammy jeans. I kept them because of weight loss and impending elastic failure. They are super stretchy so added bonus, they’re like shapewear. I also like the fact that the legs are long on me. I’m not opposed of the baggy at the ankle look and even better, because they are long I don’t get the gap between the bottom of my pants and top of my ankle socks.  No pictures because I think most people know what a pair of black jeans look like.

img_0011 img_00126. Dress #2 Abigail Sleeveless Dress, $89.00, Eloquii, Green, 28 – This is the sleeveless black bodice with deep emerald green tulle skirt. My iPad took a much better picture of this dress and so now you can see the details in the bodice and just how lovely this shade of green is. Now if they could me a faux suede or velvet leggings or skirt in the green, I’d be a very happy camper.

It went back only for two fold reasons. The first I really don’t have any place to wear this type of party dress. I work from home and the dress was really too girly for a middle-age woman to wear to church, or even date night with the hubby. Now, if I were 20 or even early 30-something, you bet I would have kept this dress and worn it everywhere. The second problem with the dress is that the armholes were very deep and suffered from gap-osis. (The curse of being a DDD girl.) There simply wasn’t enough fabric to work with to make any adjustments to the armholes and sizing down most likely would not have zipped around my waist.

If you’re feeling brave and want to try a Dia box of your own and would like to show me some thanks for this any or of my other ramblings and rants, please use my link, it will benefit the both of us:


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Dia & Co Box #4 — the beat goes on

Obligatory disclaimer: The majority of the comments shared here been sent to the company whose box is being reviewed.  I am not receiving any type of compensation for my review.  This rant is entirely my own doing, mostly because I refuse to do unboxing videos on YouTube, and I hate having pictures of myself taken unless I’m wearing a period costume.

As before, knowing that the next box’s arrival was imminent, I kept checking my “Rate my box” and again, googled the list to try and get a sneak peak of what to expect.  I was only able to find two of the items online, but as many fellow Dia-boxers will tell you, what the garment is called by the Designer and what retailers call it are two entirely different things.  Also, fourth box, fourth stylist.

For those of you who stumbled across this blog post and don’t know what a Dia Box is, it’s a plus-size subscription service.  You fill out a questionnaire, and a stylist selects five pieces of clothing and/or accessories based upon your survey and what’s hot in the world of fashion and they send you a box.  It’s a blind box so you have no clue what’s actually in the box until it arrives.  [Think you’re buying Doctor Who Titans Blind Boxed Vinyl Figures from ThinkGeek.  You know what the general perimeters of what you’re getting, just not the specific items in questions.]  There’s a $20 styling fee and they provide a SASE to return what you don’t decide to keep.

So with the introductory info out of the way, let’s review what they sent went me in this latest box.

1. A skirt – “Eliza” Skirt, Society+, Black/White, $60.00 – This skirt is called the “Kate Midington” on the Society+ website.  The black skirt with the white polka-dots is no longer available, but the white with black dots is.  The skirt is a good length, just below the knee, and has pockets.  The fabric is an interestingly textured woven polyester and the underside of the skirt is as interesting too.  As I am currently losing weight, the skirt they sent me is going to be too big on me within the month so I sized down two sizes.

2. Blouse #1: “Maggie” Top, Daniel Rainn, Black, $69.00 – This was a long sleeve blouse (in a polyester crepe) that had two layers of fabric on the front that overlapped each that was over the top of a basic shell/tank top style lining.  The lower edges had a tulip edge.  The neckline didn’t quite lay flat and the double layer of fabric doesn’t sit properly on my hips. My husband didn’t like it either. He said it looked like a sci-fi prison guard uniform.

3. Blouse #2: “Jayda” Top, Curve by Dora Landa, Purple, $49.00 – The color of the shirt I received was Burgundy, not purple as listed on my stylist’s note/invoice card.  [This is just fine by me as I’m not a “purple” girl, but rather a lavender or lilac girl. I post on the Shawl from Hell is testament to my color preference.] Generally speaking, the shirt is a little boring and the sleeves are a little too short, but the husband likes it and it fits me well right now and will look fine when I drop another 30 pounds, too. Finally, for a rather plain, lightweight polyester crepe de chine the price seems a little high, but I’ve done too much shopping at Wal-Mart; so my thoughts on pricing is a little skewed.  However, since the both the color and fit is good, and I am a costumer, I’m going to embellish the top with some vintage-looking gray lace, which will tie it into my Fall/Winter wardrobe capsule.

4. A dress: “Treasure” Dress, Taylor, Plum, $98.00 (yikes!!) – I like the colors, I like the weight of the fabric and we both like the pattern. The only thing I’m not happy about is the price. I did find the dress on Amazon and the price was $30 more than what I paid for it thorugh Dia & Co., so I feel better about it.

5. A jacket: “Mallory” Blazer, Society+, Navy, $50.00 – This is called Posh Zippered Blazer on the Society+ website.  First, it’s a motorcycle style jacket, not a blazer, people.  Second, there’s a little problem with the zipper sticking, thus it doesn’t zip back up properly. Third, this not quite my style and it doesn’t quite fit right over my hips. Also, the extra pointy pieces of fabric at the hips looks odd on me. This is a bit too trendy for my tastes. A military “Sgt. Pepper” type jacket would have been a better choice. [I had a navy linen “Sgt. Pepper” type jacket that had a low-high hemline back in the mid-80s that I loved.  I missed it.]

My latest Dia & Co. stylist has gotten a better sense of who I am.  The color palette was spot on for working into my capsule wardrobe and I ended up keeping three of the five pieces.  If the black blouse had fit better, I probably would have kept it, too.

If you’re feeling brave and want to try a Dia box of your own and would like to show me some thanks for this any or of my other ramblings and rants, please use my link, it will benefit the both of us:


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The Shawl from hell 10-20-16 Update

I think that I have lost count of how many times I have gotten so frustrated with this project because of miscounting stitches or inadvertently added them that I’ve been left with the only thing to do is rip out everything and start over from the beginning.  I think that this makes reboot number 9.

Wanting to truly wipe the slate clean, I started over with not only two different skeins of your, but a new set of knitting needles to wipe any bad psychic vibes that may have been imprinted on my bamboo ones that I have been using.  The new ones are part of a multi size interchangeable set from a company called Knit Picks. The needles are made from multi layer dyed rosewood. They’re very attractive in a quirky sort of way. I like them.


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Dia & Co. Box #3

My third Dia & Co. box arrived in record time.  It arrived before the five-day return window for box # 2 had a chance to run.  It was amazing how quickly it arrived.

Again, I kept checking my “Rate my box” and again googled the list to get a sneak peak of what to expect.  I was happy to see that they found the bag I requested and that they were sending me a black one.  Also, third box, third stylist.

Again, this box arrived nearly a month ago and I’m playing catch-up on my reviews and blog in general while taking a break from the shawl from hell.  So the basic gist of this is what I’ve already shared with the stylist.

  1. A Blouse: Daniel Rainn, “Kyla” blouse Indigo/Tan print for $88 — First and foremost, for a shirt to cost $88 and me to buy it, it has to be extraordinary — some type of embellishment and very flattering. This shirt was neither. The dark blue and tan abstract print looked very matronly and the colors are muddy. For a top to look like my 78-year-old mother should be wearing and not me, says something. On the plus side, it fits reasonably well. The shoulders fit and the sleeve length is perfect. Maybe if it been a solid color like a cranberry or wine or dark green or slate blue, I’d had considered it …but not at this price point
  2. Knit top #1: KIYONNA Knit Jersey Twist Top for $58 — Much to my surprise, I like this top in spite of the fact that it has 3/4 sleeves (those just make me crazy because they always hit in the wrong place: long arms). It fits me very well and who doesn’t have enough black in their wardrobe? [I can hear my husband saying that I do, but that’s neither here nor there at this point.] I confess, it’s a bit pricey for my tastes but it’s unique enough to become a part of my capsule wardrobe. Check it out here.
  3. Knit top #2 Eloquii “Ashton” Textured Knit Top in Black/White for $60 – Oh joy everlasting, a cold shoulder top: not. I freely confess that I did not say that I dislike cold shoulder tops if for no other reason is than they look broken and desperately need fixed – either by turning it into a tank top or sew the sleeves back on right now! I just bought a white with black stripe t-shirt at Target for $9, not going to spend $60 on a top that I’d have to remake. As a historical note: one of my instructors in fashion design school is the party responsible for this design atrocity.  Even they hated it by the mid 1980s.
  4. A little black bag: Under One Sky “Lucille” Crossbody Bag for $36 — Now, this is the bag I requested to see and made better because it’s black and not the tan one I saw on the YouTube review… And all of my bare-bones essentials fit, which makes it perfect for bopping about.
  5. A cheap necklace: Bijoux “Alexandria” necklace in silvertone for $29 — First, I specifically said no jewelry. I have more than enough as I inherited my mother in-laws’ and don’t wear all. This piece was very cheap looking, like it should be for a little girl as a birthday party gift and not a middle-aged woman.

The next box is expected the first part of November and I specifically asked for long sleeve blouses and tops.  let’s see what they send me.

If you’re feeling brave and want to try a Dia box of your own and would like to show me some thanks for this any or of my other ramblings and rants, please use my link, it will benefit the both of us:

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Dia & Co. Box #2– we’re getting better-ish

As I mentioned in my first “unboxing” review I had decided to give the company another chance.  After all, they gave me a credit, so it was costing me nothing to do it.

I confess, I’m going to cheat a little on this review and directly use some of my comments that I shared with the company, mostly because the box arrived almost two months ago, but partially because I hadn’t critiqued all of the items in draft form yet.

Since the receipt of my dismal first box. I went back to their website and seriously updated my profile, added more specifics and horror of all horror: increased the price threshold to $150 per piece.  [God forbid that they ever send me a box where each item cost that much a piece and I like the whole box. ] I even went the extra mile and provided such specific as hair and eye color and “seasonal” color palette of a Cool Summer.

Dressing by seasonal palettes is based upon the 1970s book entitled Color Me Beautiful — this book puts forth the theory that based on our hair, eye colors, and natural skin color undertones, most women fall into four basic color palettes (seasons) and by choosing colors from these seasons, we are guaranteed to look our best at almost all times.  I subscribe to this theory as it helped to explain why I never looked as good in the same shades of blue, green and purple that my “spring” mother and sister (and father) did and why I despise yellows and golds on me.  I also apply this color theory with my custom costume clients to help them look the absolute best or worst as their character or persona requires.

I also gave them two specific items that I had seen on two different YouTubers reviews of their August and September boxes that I liked and asked for them.  Alas, they did not get included.

Now, onto the box review.

Knowing about when my box was coming, I began to check my Dia “rate my items” page to see what was coming.  Yes, I realize that there are some that would consider this cheating, but I was the kid that liked to snoop around for hidden Christmas and birthday presents – I never opened them, I just like to see if I could guess what they were ahead of time. When the items were posted, I did a web search to see if I could find these specific items.  I found one.  It was a top that I had seen in an unboxing video that was in black and they were sending me one in beige.  So I was so optimistic, I went as far as telling my husband that if it fits and looks good, I’m keeping it.

Something to note:  if you chose to go searching for the items listed, keep in mind that what your Dia & Co. stylist calls it and what retailer calls it stand a 95% chance of not being called the same thing.  Case in point, my first item.

When the box arrived, I was left feeling “meh.”  First, the overall color palette was better suited to my “spring” sister than little ole “summer” me.  Second, I had mixed feelings about the selections.  While it wasn’t the epic fail that the first box was, it wasn’t a winner either.  I’d call it a swing and a mostly miss.

  1. A “peculiar” dress: Simply Be’s “Ophelia” Dress in Royal Blue for $100.00 – Now one would think that a dress style Ophelia would be a floral and flowy print dress that might have bell of bishop sleeves and perhaps some lace or embroidery that would bring to mind the tragic Shakespearian character: Nope, nope, and nope.   The dress was a solid Royal blue, which is so not my shade of blue.  I’m more of a navy, indigo, slate, powder and French blue type of girl. The fabric was a curious woven strip that I would liken to extra wide wale corduroy with the negative space between the wales that could best be described as mess-like, sort of like faggoting.  [Historical note: faggoting is an embroidery stitch that is generally used for joining two or more pieces of fabric or trim together.  It was used in late Victorian and Edwardian lingerie dresses or more recently Battenberg lace.] My husband said the fabric looked like I should be jumping out of a plane to skydive or getting ready to ride the space shuttle. I just thought it was weird.  And I’ve got to really, really like a dress and it has to have something going for it for me to pay $100 for it, just saying.
  2. A skirt: Swak retro-ish print Circle Skirt for $65.00  I like this style of this skirt as it’s very flattering for my pear shaped body… but I was on the fence about it because I wasn’t happy with any of my existing tops with it. I liked the “Judy Jetson-esque” retro 1950s space orbiter print. Ultimately this funky went back because I simply cannot pay $65 for a skirt that would end up sitting in the back of my closet because I don’t have a top for it.  And that, my friends, defeats the purpose for a Capsule Wardrobe.
  3. A purse / clutch-like thing:Under One Sky “Harper” Cross-body bag for $30 –First, this was not the bag I requested.  Second, this bag is poorly designed and was a pain in the @$$ just getting my wallet and keys out of it, let alone not have room for my reading glasses or any of heath related necessities.  The price was reasonable and had a slight vintage feel, but it was a fail.  [I once told a saleslady at Dillard’s that I’d pay $300 for a good, well-made leather bag if it meant all of my criteria and I really, really liked it.  So, $30 for a clutch is not bad.]
  4. A knit top: Oddi “Abrielle” Top in Black/White for $46 — The yoke neck kimono style was okay, the fit could have been a tiny bit larger.  My issue was the prints.  Stripes simply do not go with pastel Native American prints.  [My profile says no tribal prints and my husband looked at the shirt and said what the huh? ] Also, I simply will not ever pay over $20 for what is essentially a glorified t-shirt, ever.
  5. A sleeveless knit top: Eunishop “Ellie” Tank Top in Beige for $42 — This is the top that I was excited about.  The main problem with this shirt is that it is too close to my skin tone to be flattering.  It just got lost on me, and that was even with the black panels of embroidery on either side of the front opening. My husband’s response echoed mine: it was meh.  Fortunately, I was able to exchange it for a black one: much, much better and now I have a layering piece with a little more style than the obligatory generic tank top. Even better was the $20 credit I had so the top only cost me $22, which is something I can live with.

I threw caution to the wind and clicked the box to have them send the next box asap when I submitted my rating.

If you’re feeling brave and want to try a Dia box of your own and would like to show me some thanks for this any or of my other ramblings and rants, please use my link, it will benefit the both of us:

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Costume College 2017 — The Shawl from Hell

As part of my personal continuing education and need to keep my brain alive by learning new tricks, I’ve taken up knitting, and not just any knitting, hand-knitting lace.  Because I don’t have enough things to drive my insane.  Anyways, my neurologist signed off on the idea as being a good one and gave me her blessing to proceed.  And ultimate truth be told, I fell in love with all the knitty bits that Claire wore on Outlander and had to have them …and the only way to get them was knit them myself.  Fortunately, Lion Brand carries the official Outlander kits.

As my current skill level is slightly better than a novice, there is a whole lot that I simply do not know, thus making any project that’s beyond knitting the 4th doctor’s scarf is new and has a steep learning curve.  I’ve ripped it out at least 5 times now because it’s such a simple pattern, it’s easy to get confused.

mohair-shawlMy chosen project is a Lady’s Wrap circa 1961.  It’s to go with my lavender silk cocktail dress for the Friday evening cocktail party.  According to the lady from whom I acquired it from on Etsy: “This pattern is from Bear Brand and Fleisher Yarns Hand Knit Mohair Fashions Vol. 55, from 1961….”  I invite you to check out her Etsy shop: Vintage Knit Crochet.  There are lots of good things to recreate there.

The yarn in question is Patons Lace yarn and the color I’m using what they call “Plum Smoke.”  I got it at Joann’s, on sale, before I even knew what I wanted to make because I loved the soft heathery deep lavender color.  So when I decided what I was planning on making clothing wise, a wrap for a sleeveless lavender silk cocktail dress seemed natural.

I decided to take a break and write up a little something on this project before I go bonkers and rip it out yet another time.





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Costume College 2017 Project list …

One of the advantages of going to Costume College is getting to learn what the next year’s theme is going to be, and thus getting a metaphorical leg up on your fellow costumers — not that there are any prizes to won outside of bragging rights and exposure.  But it’s nice to be able to dress the party and not be rushed, which I’m going to be anyway because I’m on a D-I-E-T and planning on losing a half a dozen or more dress sizes between now and then …and I am so not going to make everything in a size 28-30 when I could very well be a size 18 by then, just saying.

The theme for next year is the 1960s, which is actually rather great as far as I’m considered.  Besides being a child of the ’60s, I am finding myself actually preferring the clothing convention of those two decades: conservative clothes with clean lines and ended with a little funky.  Basically, me in fashion.  So I decided I would make clothing that I could rotate into my normal day-to-day wardrobe like dresses, skirts, sweaters, pants, jackets and cute little blouses.  So I started trolling the interwebs for vintage patterns — those iconic styles from my childhood that we saw so exquisitely reproduced on Mad Men and lovingly watched reruns of Bewitched — but since they are going to be incorporated into my capsule wardrobe, I’ve got to really like them.

I have now acquired about a dozen or two patterns now and each delightful acquisition, with the exception of  two, when shown to my (semi-retired) MOD revivalist hubby what meant with “No, that’s too high fashion.”  You can well imagine the conversation that has followed….

Me:  What do you think of these? 

Him: They’re too high fashion.

Me: Did I at any time say that I was specifically doing MOD?  No. I said I was doing the ’60s.  And for that matter, I don’t think I was specific about what century either.  I could very well be doing 1560s, [insert dramatic pause] which gives me an idea…

I also made a list of the number of outfits I am going to need for the three-day event.  There’s the Thursday evening Welcome pool party reception, Friday classes, Friday evening cocktail party, Saturday Classes, Saturday night Gala and possibly Sunday breakfast, but only if it looks like I can jet out of Woodland Hills in time for church in Glendale.

  • Thursday Evening: I’m thinking something hippie chick. I’ve got some truly obnoxious green and blue paisley that will make a wicked swimsuit. Or possibly the pink and orangish swirl for a skirt and some type of floaty peasant type shirt.
  • Friday Classes: I’m leaning towards something sporty so I can move around.  I have some blue and gray paisley reproduction print from Liberty of London that I’ll be using for the shirt.  Haven’t decided if I’m going with sleeves or not.
  • Friday evening cocktail party:  This is the one outfit I’ve got locked down. I have lavender silk crepe di chine that I am going to hand-smock the yoke and bead.  (Think something that you would expect Samantha Stevens would wear to a corporate cocktail party hosted by the Tates.) And I’m knitting a mohair wrap to go with it.  Said wrap is already in production.
  • Saturday Classes: Again, like Friday classes, I’m leaning towards something sporty so I can move around.  To appease the gods of MOD-dom, I’ve decided to go a bit more MOD.  I’ll be hand-knitting a sweater.  It’s cute: it has a bow. I just need to decide what to pair with it: a skirt or the 1960’s equivalent of skinny jeans…. and research appropriate colors.
  • Saturday Gala: Because it’s my first love and truly my field of expertise, I’m going 16th century.  I haven’t decided with I’m going Tudor or Elizabethan or Venetian, but definitely 16th century.
  • Sunday morning: something that I can wear to church.  However, as I’m typing this blog post up, I’ve decided.  I scored some borderline hideous, reproduction blue-green and bone floral print cotton from Liberty of London and a semi-current Simplicity Patterns 1960s dress pattern release that I’m going to whip up.

Costume College 2017 won’t be until the end of July or the first part of August next year so I’ve got six to nine months to change my mind.  Let’s see if I do.  [Okay, make that let’s see how much I change my mind.] Blog posts to follow as each item progresses.

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