Friday, 23 September 2016

Jane Austen Festival 2016

I've been wanting to go to the Jane Austen Festival for a few years now, but have always either run out of time to make a costume, or had other things on that clashed, so I kept having to put it off.  This year, as work was keeping me busy, I was once again in danger of waiting yet another year.  Luckily this time I'd planned ahead, and already had a day dress I'd made for myself in June.

I decided to just go for the promenade on the Saturday, so I could at least get a feel for it this time round, and maybe go for a longer period some other year.  I invited my mum along, who was excited to get her own costume, and my dad ended up coming too to take some photos.

I tried rag curls overnight, and they were semi successful.  I just pinned up the ones that didn't work out so they were hidden by my bonnet.  Unfortunately we were rained on for most of the promenade, so the successful curls didn't stay that way for very long.

Putting a brave face on for the rain.

Lucky I was wearing cotton, it dried pretty quickly. 
From behind.  Mum didn't want her face shown, which is why I've cropped her out of the other photos.

After the promenade we had lunch in a nearby restaurant, then checked out the market stalls in the Assembly Rooms.  To be honest, I was a little underwhelmed by the whole experience.  Being rained on didn't bother me, but I feel like, not knowing any of the other promenaders beforehand, the experience wasn't really set up in a way that made it easy to meet people.  We chatted a bit with the people around us before and as we walked, but that was about it.  I think part of it was because there were SO many people, and I'm a naturally introverted type.  I think if we'd gone to one of the events that involved milling around with a smaller group of the same people for a few hours, that would have helped a lot with the social aspect.
I really enjoy the Prior Attire Victorian Ball - and the group dances and circular tables for eating at all contribute to creating a more intimate atmosphere where it's easy to relax and get to know the other dancers.  So perhaps I should have tried going to the Regency Ball that evening as well... but alas, I had no gown for it!

Oh, and the other thing about being in a Regency Promenade is that it's rubbish for costume admiring!  All I could see were the ones in our immediate vicinity.  Oh well, you live and learn.  I'm glad I went, and I won't rule out going another year, I'll just have to try out some of the other events besides the promenade.

In costume news I've decided that I do actually need some regency stays to wear with this.  I thought that, being small busted, I could get away with just a bodiced petticoat, but because there's no lift whatsoever it just leaves the front of my bodice looking a bit sad and droopy.  Not the best look.  I also feel like the bonnet suited a later period than the dress, so that'll have to be rectified at some point too.  I am happy with the fullness of the skirt in the back though, yay, cartridge pleating!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Dick Whittington

I'm hard at work on various costume pieces for Dick Whittington at the moment, which is preventing me from doing any historical sewing.  I can't really complain though, as I've been given some wonderful designs and costume props to sink my teeth into.  Alongside costumes for Idle Jack and costumes and wigs for both Sarah the Cook and Ratty King; I've also been asked to make all the rat heads and tails for the ensemble cast.  I've been documenting as I go so will put up a few panto how-to posts once the show has opened.

A sneak peak.

I've also been asked to make some fairy wings, which I'm very excited to have a go at!  I very nearly got the chance to for Sleeping Beauty a few years ago, but the job went to someone else so I've been hankering after an opportunity to give wing making a try.

I've got a Dame fitting on Tuesday that I need to finish a couple of toiles for, but I couldn't resist doing a bit of googling for fairy wing inspiration in my coffee break.


FaeryAzarelle on Deviantart does beautiful wings made from iridescent film and an aluminium frame.  I don't have access to a water jet machine for cutting aluminium, so I'd be tempted to use a thin cuttable plastic sheet for the veins.  I've seen tutorials of other people using cardstock, but I'm not sure how durable that would be - and this does have to hold up for panto!

A couple of other options:

Fairy Godmother Wings from the live action Cinderella film
A very sophisticated take on the old nylon stretch over wire technique, from On Gossamer Wings
Plenty of food for thought, but now I must get back to Sarah's oversized sleeve puffs...