Tag Archives: Hats & Hair

Revitalizing My Garb

It’s been a long summer battling depression and anxiety, but I have my mojo back! This week, I’ve gone crazy working to revitalize my garb for St. Eligius. It all started when I had to borrow the earring loops from my pearls for a vintage outfit. Then I had to look at paintings to decide on a new earring loop to mount the pearls on. This got me thinking about all sorts of accessories until my brain was ready to burst. I made a few trips to the crafts stores to find all the parts for my vision, but found all the things I wanted…but in silver, not gold. Cue the spray paint!

Gild all the things!

I removed the center of the medallion and pearls before spray painting, then used a wooden circle thingie to fill in the hole. I secured the wooden circle with glue and white fabric puff paint, then gilded the medallion again.

Making the medallion

I glued pearls back in the orignal spots, then added a ring of pearls over the puff paint. More puff paint was used to paint the center of the medallion.

Pearled and initial painting

I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I added more pearls around the outer perimeter.

More pearls!

After the paint dried, I added another coat for more puff, and filled in the background. Two or three more coats later, it’s finished.

Finished medallion

Finished chain and hair ornament

The hair ornament was made at the same time and features pearlescent nail polish over white puff paint for the giant pearl look. These will be worn along with my usual necklace and earrings. I replaced the medallion on the necklace with an oblong pearl, and added decorative eyepins and bead caps to my pearls before threading them onto these earring loops. The earring loops were inspired by the painting below.

Necklace and Earrings

Jacopo Zucchi, Portrait of a Lady, 1560s, Indianapolis Museum of Art

After I finished all the jewelry modifications, I decided to dye a length of white silk habotai for a gold veil. The first attempt was too yellow. I added some orange and then it was too orange. I used color remover and the new veil was again too yellow. I threw a lighter gold silk chiffon veil into the dye bath and that one came out perfect!

Veils next to gold cord embellishment

The chiffon veil was washed and hung to dry, while I gave the habotai veil another dye bath. This time, it came out close to perfect. Again, I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I decided to add lace to the edges before sewing a comb onto the back to attach to my hair.

Finished veil

In addition to all this, I also sewed some new lacing rings onto my gown to tie the sleeves to, and repaired my petticoat hem. Hopefully the final look is as impactful as I envision it.



Flocked Linen Sottana

Posted on  

The Modern Maker 2 was released  at the beginning of March. I couldn’t possibly wait for my hard copy, so I bought the e-copy and immediately began drafting a new bodice according to the instructions. I decided it was time to use my properly aged flocked linen fabric for this new project. The fit turned out great – the best fitting sottana I’ve made to date. I look forward to making more garments with this book!

 



Robe a la Francaise Photo Gallery

Posted on  

This semester, I took a course at school called “Costuming: Projects” in which I had to devise and make a large project. I knew I wanted to make an 18th century robe a la Francaise, with all the required underpinnings. These are the photos from the process and photo shoot. I will hopefully publish my documentation later.

In-Progress Pictures:

Final, Formal Photo Shoot:



Glue-styling a Wig

Posted on  

Here’s my dirty little secret: I wear a wig.

I guess it’s not realty dirty or secret because I love telling people how wonderful it is to just take the wig off at the end of an event, rather than brushing out and restyling your own hair. I fully advocate the use of wigs!

In the SCA, if you wear the same style of dress frequently, a wig is much easier to throw on, and the style can be more effective with the boost of fake hair. I have short hair, which is why I choose to wear a wig for mid-16th C Italian, but even if I had butt length hair, I could never achieve the same impact with my real hair without hours of work and the addition of fake wefts anyway. There simply isn’t enough volume.

Today, I restyled my wig. It’s the same Italian style, but there were too many loose hairs and I dropped it in the mud while unpacking from my last event. Overall, the style held up very well and I’ll tell you my real secret: washable Elmer’s school glue.

I styled this wig, according to a Facebook post, in mid-January. Many of my friends were aghast that I chose to use glue to style my wig because it would not wash out, but I felt comfortable with my decision. If the glue stayed for 6 months, but ruined the wig in the end, I was comfortable that I had gotten more than my $50 worth for over a year of use total. Hair gel and hair spray simply did not last long enough.

I wore this wig to 8 events without touch ups and the glue washed completely out (even better than the gel and hair spray residue). I intended to wait until after Pennsic to restyle it, but the mud caused me to redo it sooner.

Here’s the first and last wearing of this wig styled with glue. You can see the wispies in the second picture, but they weren’t too bad.

IMAGE

IMAGE

If you decide to give this a try, here’s how I did it this time:

After your wig is clean, dry, and combed, and you’re sure you’re willing to risk ruining your wig, do this: I poured about half a bottle of Elmer’s glue into a bowl half-filled with warm water and stirred. I dipped my hands into the bowl and ran them over the wig, wetting the wig. I could feel and smell the glue on my hands, but it was thin and watery, like I wanted it. I styled the wig as desired, continuing to wet it with my hands. After it was finished, I smoothed the hair with more wet hands, and dumped the remained into a spray bottle and spritzed the wig. I wanted extra security since I had diluted the glue. I’m not sure I didn’t dilute it too much, I may have to touch it up with a less watery spritz. DO NOT leave the glue mixture in your spray bottle. It will clog.



Tall Ships & the Chemise a la Reine

Posted on  

For my birthday this year, I decided to attend “Tall Ships” in Philadelphia, PA. I have long followed other costumers on LiveJournal (did you know that still exists??), and someone posted that she was attending this event in costume the weekend after my birthday. I immediately requested to join, to which she agreed. I have been wanting to get to know some of the other non-SCA East Coast costumers I follow on LJ, as they have an annual Francaise Dinner that I hope to someday attend, and I’d like to know someone there already. This was the perfect opportunity.

But first, I had to do some work on my chemise a la reine before I could wear it to the event. A week prior, I dug out all the bits and bobs, looked at my previous pictures of this dress for improvements, and made a list of the things that needed to happen, as well as the nice to haves.

Necessity:
Tighten chemise a la reine neckline
Redo chemise binding so it’s not visible beneath dress
Wash and restyle wig

Optional:
Re-cover shoes
Finish about 12 inches of binding on stays
Stiffen sash
Make a bumpad
Make a petticoat
Make drawers
Make stockings

The stays were first, since they had the least work to be done. I have drastically improved my sewing skills and learned many tricks in the two years since I started and nearly completed these stays. It hurts to see how awful the binding looks, the bones are loose in the channels, the tabs are poorly shaped… But it works! It’s effective and feels great. I donned the layers all together and the stays are totally visible above the back neckline. So I won’t be wearing them, but someday, they will work for my Robe a la Francaise.

Then I had to re-cover my shoes. The rubber cement I had genius-ly decided to use when I initially covered them failed miserably. The fabric peeled itself off half way through the day when I wore this outfit, so I used Aleene’s tacky glue this time. Still not the recommended fabric glue, but it was what was handy. I still have enough fabric to re-cover these shoes several more times, if needed.

shoes

In case you forgot what they looked like

I spray-starched my sash and hung it up to dry, then moved on to the bumpad. Though a “rump” was optional, I really wanted one because I am lacking in that area and the pictures of my dress showed this fault clearly. I based my bumpad on Kendra Van Cleve’s article about 18th century skirt supports, #7. I was unable to find a better picture of the rump because the Manchester Galleries’ website is undergoing revision. So I made something vaguely crescent shaped, but only reaching as far as my side, unlike a 16th century bumroll, which gives bulk all the way around the waist (what I used in my previous wear of the chemise a la reine). The cool part about this item is I got to use my new flex ruler, one of those lead-filled ones that hold the shape, to pattern my waist exactly. I cut two layers of muslin, stitched it, filled it, then sewed a 1″ grosgrain ribbon to the inside of the waist. One problem I had with my 16th century bumroll was lack of comfort, and some of the alternate constructions I later read about suggested this solution.

I then spent several evenings pleating and repleating a petticoat. My waist measurements dictated that each half of the petticoat (2 yards per side) should be pleated down to a 13″” twill tape. IMPOSSIBLE. After at least 6 hours of guessing, then measuring, and still not getting it to work, I decided to use math! But I couldn’t find a tutorial I remembered reading once upon a time about figuring the correct pleat and return and all the math. So I had to create it from scratch, using a spreadsheet. I’m not great at math, but I am great at spreadsheets… I figured I could manage this. Well, after about an hour of googling for the tutorial, then two hours of Excel and repeated tests, I think I may have gotten the math right, finally. At least, the final test seemed like it would work. One of the major problems I encountered was measuring the pleats accurately, since the fabric had a slight stretch, meaning if I spread it *too* smooth, it changed the measurements! But in the end, I had necessities I had to get finished, so I never got back to the underskirt. However, I *must* finish it in the coming days so I can put it away, ready for next time.

Then I finally tackled the wig. Oh how I was dreading this part. The wig, in its previous hedgehog-ish incarnation, had gotten destroyed between airline travel and moving. I made the decision to reuse the wig, rather than throwing the rat’s nest away (next time, I’ll buy a cheaper wig and dispose of it when it is beyond repair). I washed it in shampoo, then conditioned it to try to give the artificial fibers some “slip” from the tangles. That part didn’t actually help. I ended up using children’s detangler and a wide toothed “wet” comb. Lots and lots of detangler. Between breakage, and later trimming a couple inches off the ends, I had enough hair to make a beret sized hair rat for my mother’s natural poof. Fortunately, the wig had plenty of hair, and all the breakage probably made styling easier than the first time. Or maybe that was the trimming it received. Either way, it was too long and too thick initially.

After the detangling, I re-read Lauren of American Duchess’ tutorial and loosely followed the directions. However, I decided to start at the back this time. I realized I needed to plan ahead so I had enough hair for a few lovelocks. So I pinned all the hair upwards and curled sections at the back. I set my curling iron to low, but it still felt like it might be too hot, so I turned it off, then occasionally tested it. When I was no longer fearful of melting the wig, I curled heavily pomaded lock. No melting. Eventually, I found I didn’t need the iron to sit quite so long, and I could hold it for a 60 second count. Also, the locks seemed to curl better pomaded AND powdered. I then hair sprayed them to death, gently tucked them into a shower cap (pinned closed against the head form) and let down the rest of the hair down. I went all the way around the head and sectioned out a ring of hair. I then teased the center of the wig, then loosely smoothed the outer ring of hair over the rat’s nest, starting from the back, then the sides, then the front. I judiciously trimmed some length as I figured out what length was needed in which area. This solved the too-long problem that I, and Lauren, had with our long wigs. Everything was heavily pomaded and hair sprayed as I styled, holding it in place, but also allowing the baby powder to stick. Then a few more coats of hair spray were added. Prior to the final powder / hair spray steps, I freed the lovelocks, but for transport, I used flat hair styling clips to pin the curls up, then I put a shower cap over everything.

I also curled, powdered, sprayed and cut a lovelock from somewhere in the center to use for my mom’s hairstyle. It was transported the same as the ones on my wig, then bobby pinned into her natural hair, though it didn’t quite match. The loss from the wig was never noticeable!

The wig styling was accomplished the night before the event. I did not get to bind the chemise neckline, but it was under the gown anyway. I *did* attempt to gather the front edges of the gown neckline, but it did not make a significant enough difference in the near indecent way it revealed my cleavage. No point in trying again, as I will have to completely deconstruct and remake this dress if I am to wear it again due to problems with the initial construction, primarily the awful hems, from learning how to use a rolled hem presser foot on polyester voile.

Just before hitting the sack, I had to figure out what I was going to wear in place of the stays. My options were bra or breast binding. I believe I went with a strapless bra last time, and was displeased by the appearance of my large breasts. I tried on a product I had used once before as breast binding, Futuro Abdomen Support, size medium. I purchased it after researching my options prior to a 1920’s picnic where I wanted to minimize my DD as close to flat chested as possible. I bound the edges of the support with felt to prevent chafing, and wore it comfortably all day (under close supervision). It’s a stretchy elastic, but not the same material as an Ace bandage, which can cut off circulation because they are designed to tighten with movement. It’s actually similar to “breast binder” a post-op compression garment, in that it’s a stretch fabric with velcro at the end. Because the support is designed to be a certain measurement, it’s nearly impossible to tighten it past the max stretch of the elastic. If you managed to completely stretch the elastic out, you’d be past the velcro area for securing it. Anyway, I didn’t end up wearing that item, despite past success with it. I have a fresh belly piercing (also in celebration of my birthday) and it rubbed it uncomfortably.

So, another alternate method: I have a shapewear girdle (example) that I wear under dressy modern dresses. Inspiration struck and I slid it up so that the waist was around my chest. Success! It flattened without being too tight, and it was long enough to fully cover my piercing without rubbing. I wore it all day comfortably, though if it had been a *little* tighter, it would have had less slipping problems, but I will probably buy one especially for this purpose, instead of using one stretched out from proper use.

Finally, the fun part: pictures. We didn’t take many, and the group shots were taken after a couple people had left. I *hope* I remembered the names correctly.

Me and Mom

Me and Mom

Lunch was at City Tavern, which apparently has a cool history and delicious food.

Mandy and Robin

Mandy and Robin

Mom and Erin

Mom and Erin

Moms hat

It’s blurry, but I wanted to get a shot of Mom’s hat

All the girls!

All the girls!

Costumed girls

Just the costumed

We peeked in the Independence Seaport Museum, but weren’t particularly interested. We mostly needed cool air and bathrooms.

no comment

Uhh… no comment

Me and Erin

Me and Erin

Mom and I didn’t even make it onto a ship, as we got there after the others had their tour on the famous L’Hermione, but I wasn’t bothered. I came for the costumes and the friends!

Me and Erin

Also me and Erin

And for the 61 foot inflatable rubber ducky, who looked like this the entire time:

Mama Ducky

Mama Ducky – taken by Amanda

Sadness. After many efforts to fix her throughout the festival, she ended up with a 60 foot tear, and many bad puns in the news headlines. But I did get to see her baby, the 10 foot “Rocky the Baby Duck.”

Baby Ducky

Baby Ducky

So, I guess all was not lost.



More 18th Century

Posted on  

I have been immersed in 18th century and loving it. I am in the process of making an set of stays from Butterick B4254, with a couple minor variations. I have lowered the back (although it may need to be lower still) and narrowed the straps, based on others’ review of the period accuracy of this pattern. One side is finished, barring a 5 inch piece of bias tape binding… One package almost bound the entire half. Oh, and the eyelets that are going to take forever to do.

In addition, my wig came in and has promptly been styled in a hedgehog poof. Or as close to a hedgehog as I could get it. I had initially purchased a Marie Antoinette wig, the blonde one with the pink bows, but it sucked. It had been squished flat into the package and I couldn’t regain the pretty look of the picture. I then ordered a 30 inch wavy brown Lacey wig from maxwigs.com and it was a very nice looking wig! I was almost sad to rat it to death. I would certainly order this wig again for other costumes and uses.

I used a combination of Demode‘s and American Duchess‘s tutorials to style my wig. I initially tried for a pouf, but didn’t leave enough hair in the front to smooth over the pouf so I switched to a hedgehog style halfway through. The pouf might have been a bit too early for my chemise a la reine anyway, and thus, out of fashion. I used a length of brown raw wool that I had laying around as a “rat” to give the style some height, and teased the 30 inch sections around the wig like crazy. I left a little curly/wavy piece for a lovelock.

I want to make a hat SOOOO badly, but my friend is making one for me, in exchange for her chemise a la reine. Maybe I should make one of those tiny crowned hats, that way I can make a hat, but it will be different…