A Year in Review: 2014

At the risk of my “year in review” posts being my most frequent kind of post, here is a quick round-up of 2014, so I can move on to my next most frequent post, my Academy Award predictions for the Costume Design category.

In February I started off making my first vintage-inspired piece, a skirt based on McCalls 6667 from 1946. I didn’t actually have the pattern or anything I just made is after being inspired a picture of the pattern I found through a random Google search.


In March I visited the Downton Abbey exhibit at the Spadina House. And in April I attended Costume Con 32, sporting a vintage look (including my 1946 skirt above).


In July we took a cruise to Iceland and Norway and stopped off for a few days in London. I was able to sneak in a little costume spying too. Including most notably a trip to the V&A for the exhibit: “The Glamour of Italian Fashion – 1945-2014“. Unfortunately no photos (or sketching!) allowed.

In September I made the Bluebird nurse’s uniform. And the missing collar and cuffs were added in October. Also in October I made a Halloween costume, for the annual dance I attend, that intertwined a Venetian masquerade ballgown style with Marie from the Aristocats.


And I got to don my 1912 dress again for the annual Haunted event. This time with wig and fur.

Bryan and Nicole, inside, Haunted Mississauga 2014

In November I helped celebrate local history by donning an 1812 dress. This one wasn’t made by me, but I put together the turban-style headpiece to match.


In November and December I made two museum costumes one 1830s dress and one WWI era. These combined Past Patterns and original pattern drafting by me.

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And post-Christmas I bought a pair of Miss L Fire 1940s-inspired heels to continue my foray into making vintage a larger part of my wardrobe.


In the meanwhile, we also bought and moved into our first house and adopted two kitties. And I started a dress that’s still lost in the packed boxes.

It was a busy year, but here’s to a much busier next year. (And I think it will be, because I’ve already completed a 1940s plaid skirt and 90% completed a Vionnet-inspired gown! Hurray!)

2013: Costuming in Review

I think I’ve been a very bad blogger. It’s a new year and I haven’t made an update since October. I don’t normally make new year’s resolutions, but maybe this year I should start by to making more time for my blog.

I’ll start with a brief year in review.

2013 was an absolutely fantastic year for me, not necessarily for my costuming though…

The first whole half of the year was dedicated to moving out and getting married in Disney World. I DIY’ed absolutely every aspect of our wedding that I possibly could manage, but before anyone asks not the dress.


In August I pulled out my Merida costume to attend FanExpo. And met my favourite actor Karl Urban (big Lord of the Rings fan here). My husband and I spent the last week of August fashioning a bow from PVC pipe.

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In October I was busy with a bunch of Halloween related projects.

A historical night out as a pioneer from the past. The bonnet I put together to make my Chemise a la Reine look a little more 1813 appropriate. In the dark, I’d say it passed off quite well.


My Snow White costume out for a night of dancing. Thinking of the last minute crunch to finish the costume still gives me stress and I forgot to bring the right ribbon to lace up the front of the bodice. I made it in time, but there are some definite improvements I hope to make to it.


Mary Poppins too made it in time for Halloween!

Dinner and the Opera on Halloween night. We dressed up circa 1912, me in a gown made for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic and my husband in the long overdue tailcoat tuxedo.

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And in November a stack of hats for a local museum.

For Christmas I got three lovely new costume/history books I can’t wait to dive into (already well into The Beau Monde by Hannah Greig), and my Husband bought me a pair of Pompadours and stockings from American Duchess. Looks like I finally have the excuse I need to move an 18th century dress to the top of my to-do list!

Well, that’s all for 2013! Here’s to a more productive 2014! Cheers!

The Snow White Ballgown Project

Back to Snow White…

My bodice fittings are well under way, and proving to be an absolute nightmare. I am literally waking up at night thinking about this bodice and how to proceed. Maybe I shouldn’t admit that? It’s not quite all bad. The fit is coming along, although the bodice seems to sit differently every time I try it on, deadlocking me in round after round of fittings.

Originally I intended this to be a simple boned bodice with no corset, but since I am running out of time to work through some unforeseen problems, I decided to slap the bodice over some stays I made up a few years ago. Unfortunately I can’t really get the stays on by myself, so that is also really halting progress. And the stays drastically increased my waist size, to the point that my skirt waistband only barely fits now. All that being said, the fit is actually really coming along nicely and I’m not totally unhappy with how it’s progressing. I just wish it could be faster! After all, I need to get to the beading and bejeweling!

Mocked-up bodice pinned onto the stomacher.

Mocked-up bodice pinned onto the stomacher.

Bodice Back

Bodice Back

In other news I have been commissioned to do a Mary Poppins costume, also with a Halloween-time deadline. Pattern drafting is currently under way, and I will update as progress continues. I was very good a balancing and project/time management in school, I need to find that place again, preferably sooner than later!

A Brief History of Snow White

We are now a few days into October, or as I prefer to view it, the Halloween season. (Hallo-month?) I love Halloween as a costumer and I also hate it. Allow me to elaborate. In August my cousin asked me what I was going to be for Halloween. I replied that I didn’t know yet. (I did.) In turn, I asked him what he was going to be, to which he exclaimed: “Are you crazy? It’s August!” I’m sure he’ll be deciding the day before.

Well those of us with slightly greater ambitions than the popular trend of the week need to start planning a little earlier, even if it is crazy. As an aside, did anyone notice a striking number of Grease costumes – my cousin included – last year? Hurricane Sandy was also getting a lot of airtime that week.

In March, while I was in Walt Disney World, I spotted a print in an Art of Disney store. It was a very regal looking Snow White, I’m guessing from after her Happily Ever After. Queen Snow White here is not in her simple dress from the movie, but a rather more historical mishmash of a gown, puffed out and bejeweled up. How exciting! I snapped a photo of the print, thinking it was merely interesting. Well, now I wish I’d just bought it, because it wasn’t that expensive and, more importantly, I’ve decided I’m going to recreate that gown.

I’ve been scouring the internet trying to get an artist for this print. According to two ebay listings and a tumblr post it is titled “Friends of the Forest” by John Coulter.

“Friends of the Forest” by John Coulter

A Brief History of Snow White:

I decided it might be interesting to delve a little deeper into the history of the Snow White character, to be learn more about her origins and by association what she might have been wearing.

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