Saturday, March 14, 2015

She had me at "Young Victoria"! (A review of the 2015 Disney Cinderella)

Let me just say, that I adored Sandy Powell's work before "Young Victoria," but I loved her after that, so many outstanding costumes from that film, that it is hard to pick a favorite.  Now, however, after seeing the new "Cinderella," I must pledge my undying costume devotion to her!  The trailers and stills cannot convey how magical the film and costumes are. 

A whole new generation of little girls, will now believe in fairy godmothers and "happily ever after."

I do not think this a bad thing, if we women believe strongly enough, we can make it happen, as they say in the film, "with courage and kindness."

All involved in the film deserve praise, from the adorable Lilly James, to the CGI mice, Kenneth Branagh's direction, and indeed Disney for all the magic and not stinting on this production. 

We went, my daughter, myself and my mother to see the film this evening and even her sweet fiancĂ© came, (I'm sure he was a bit bored being his idea of viewing pleasure involves the "Packers" and beer.)  It was in celebration of her 25th birthday and we went out to dinner after where part of her presents included the Cinderella doll in her wedding gown, and the fairy godmother doll.  The reason I chose her wedding gown is my daughter is getting married in May.  Funnily enough she chose pastel colors of lavender, pink, blue and white 2 years ago.  The very color scheme for the film.  I am sure this film wedding will be more copied than the recent British royal wedding gowns.  And God bless Sandy Powell for putting her in a gown with sleeves.  I am so thankful that the tyranny of the strapless gown is ending!  My personal opinion is that it is incredible that a style that looks well on so very few women, could have dominated the wedding world for so long.  No more wedding videos of the bride hiking up her bodice!  (Pet peeve aired and taken for walk, moving along now!)

The centerpiece of the film is naturally the blue ball gown.  When Cinderella transforms you feel as if it is you the magic is happening to, and when the final reveal happens, you want to applaud, a costumers masterpiece!  If she never designs another thing, she could still live a happy woman and her name should be inscribed in the costumers hall of fame!  The gown lives and is magic and fits the actress, sets, dance and story so well and is fresh and lovely, such a challenge for such an old and many costumed tale. 

The other costumes are wonderful as well, the men, loved the cavalry capes with heraldry, the Step-mother, millinery genius, that Cate Blanchett carries off to perfection.  The wonderful, wacky stepsisters, almost burlesque 1830 and 1950 dresses.  You can tell that Helena Bonham Carter was having fun as the fairy, I can't imagine anyone doing a better job of making that white confection look as if it were all in a day's work. 

It was so delightful to see little girls in Cinderella costumes lining up to see the film with their mommies and daddies, and even little boys.  One never knows, if there is a budding male designer who could be inspired by this film. 

So to wrap up, the film is a delight, magic from beginning to end.  I curtsey, (ever so gracefully and swirl my imaginary silken skirts), to Sandy Powell, a queen among costumers!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Costume College 2014 - GO!

The Shoes

Purses and Fans

Pile of Costumes ( I took 8)

Hats and Toppers and Tiara!
After the sewing mania, revising, adding, subtracting:  I settled on 8 costumes to take with me.  My next post will start with the Gala Court Gown.  Then I will keep working my way through them all.   I thought I would post the accessories first since that was the theme this year.
I made a vow that I would not be sewing until the last minute, not pull any all nighters and be packed ahead and not scrambling at the last minute.  Wonder of wonders, I was able to do it.  I put in my last stitches a week before leaving and spent the last week cleaning up from neglected chores while working and packing.
We were ready on time and left the morning of July 25th and drove to Los Banos where we stopped for the night.  It was a reasonably decent Best Western there with a Hot Tub that we needed by then.  We ate dinner that night at Pea Soup Anderson's.  All the years I have passed that placed when I lived in California and I never ate there.  Well the soup was good and their salads huge and yummy, funky decor, loud obnoxious music.  We discovered that this is now the norm in California, the idea of pleasant soft music you can converse over is obsolete apparently, everywhere we went there was loud, headache inducing music, that you had to shout over.  I guess since most people there just sit at table and text message, it doesn't matter.  Rude!
I think next time we will plan to stop at Harris ranch, it is only a little further, about another half hour and so much nicer, although more expensive.  Since I was doing all the driving, I didn't want to try to make it all the way to the LA area in one day.  The next day we started out early and drove on to LA, we had hoped to get there around 11:00am and have time to see the heritage square museum/park.  But what should have been a 3.5-4 hour drive turned into a 9 hour one, as soon as we got over the Mountains, right where the freeway crosses over that heads to Pasadena, we were in stop and go all the way.  As soon as I realized that we needed to skip the park, I got flustered, I couldn't find a way to get off the freeway and find the directions for the hotel and so I called them, the young woman who answered didn't know how to direct me so she gave me bad directions from looking it up wrong in the computer and we ended up going off on the 101 to
Ventura and by the time we made enough calls to get back on track we had gone a total of 120 miles out of our way.  We finally made it to the hotel and checked in, threw our stuff in the room, rinsed off, and headed out to the park and ride for the Hollywood Bowl.  When we got to the location for that, we couldn't see anything that looked like what we wanted.  We ended up calling our hotel, who called a near by restaurant and between the two we got parked and on the bus, where a lovely local young woman took us under her wing and made sure we didn't get lost again the rest of the night.
Gloria Estevan was amazing.  The concert was fantastic and I couldn't believe how huge the place was, I really felt country bumpkin!  I thought there would be a few fireworks, and they had one of the best displays I've ever seen, the setting is fabulous and our seats were great.  I bought the CD during intermission and I recommend it, "The Standards."  She sings some of the oldies but goodies!  Mom had a good time too since there were songs she liked as well as some of Gloria's big hits.  More trip saga and costume goodness to follow dear ones, so stay tuned!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Vintage Luggage for Costume College 2014

Since the theme for Costume College this year is accessorize, I thought it would be fun to have vintage luggage to take with me.  I had looked at some older stuff from the Amelia Earhart line, however, I stumbled onto some pieces that matched an old suitcase I all ready had.  When I graduated from high school my Aunt had bought me a cute plaid suitcase that had a vintage vibe of the 50's, in 1977.  The ad for the luggage on ebay dated the pieces from the 1950's, but since their construction and materials are exactly the same as mine, I doubt it.  I didn't argue with the seller since it was very cheap and I knew what I was getting.  I was tickled to be able to find stuff to match.  The plaid was the same, however, the vinyl parts were black instead of green as my original piece.  Here is my trusty old grasshopper case:

It took me back and forth from the US to Europe, round and about for years and was still in great shape to be used by my children for their first trips.  I cleaned it inside and out and restored the vinyl with a good cleaner and it looks pretty good.  
I had also been given a red hat case my mom had owned from the 1950's that I cleaned up as it is in great shape as well.  So it will spark up the plaid collection and be great for hats and hair pieces that are going with me.  

The larger grasshopper and the tote on the right were one ebay purchase and the large garment bag another.  I think the garment bag might be slightly older as it has some differences in construction and the fabric has similarities but more color.  The thing I love about it is that it is long enough to take some serious costume dresses and quite wide.  The seller of the garment bag didn't claim any age for it, however, it might be from the 50's or 60's.  All the pieces, (except the red bag), were made by the Atlantic company.  I am having fun buying, and getting ready to use them all.  I had wanted to get more pieces from the collection when I was younger but never had the chance.  By the time I was able to buy nice luggage, times had changed and I have a lovely matched tapestry set, as well as some modern multi-directional four wheeled pieces.  Naturally none of these pieces have wheels, shoulder straps or any modern fittings, they are however, well made, commodious, and cute.  Since I am driving to LA and can use the hotel cart for moving them, they will work well for Costume College.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Demode Court Ensembles Project

I haven't forgotten I signed on for the 2014 Court Ensembles project.  I have been thinking and planning and all is  now coming together.  I have all my materials, trims and accessories, have pawed through patterns and determined what to use, or not.  Now I have a week off to work on it and get a great start with plenty of time to finish up before I go.  Here is the link to the project if you are interested in finding out more.

So my gown, you know how sometimes when you first see an historical gown and LAAAAA!  Music plays and you know you have to make it, well that is what happened when I saw this gown from Christie's web site.  It was originally made for (possibly), Sarah Otway-Cave, 3rd Baroness of Braye who may have worn it for mourning when her husband died in 1815.
Looking at the pictures posted I like most aspects of the gown, but I think the Baroness may have been a bit more showy of a gal then myself.  I may reduce the number of places the trim is applied as the bodice was simply loaded front and back and trim in 3 places on the sleeve?  Perhaps I may reduce it somewhat.  
I also can't quite tell if there is sequins or beads at the center of the appliqued silver braid flowers, but it appears there might be.  I think it would be fun to put pearl beads in the center.  So for the gown I have black velvet, gold Venetian lace for the outer trim and silver braid for the couching.  You can tell when you blow up the photos that the gown separates in the front at the middle, which makes sense as in another view you see that the trim is to the right and left of center, although the under skirt did not survive with the gown.  I have some pearl white satin that I will make into a petticoat and use with this, when you walk you will get peeps of pearl white, therefore, my decision to put pearls at the center of the flowers to tie the two together. 

I all ready have some sweet embroidered gold slippers to wear and will be trying my hand at a Cameo Tiara as well.  

See you at the Gala!

Long Pause for a new sewing room

So I thought I would have kept up better with my blog, however, I took a pause to help my youngest daughter move out and convert the room she was in to my lovely new sewing room.  You'll have to wait until late August to see pictures, because I won't finish the curtains until then.  I got all done but that and I took a break to finish my sewing for Costume College.  I have finished several things and will post some sneak peaks soon.  I am on a sewing stay-cation right now and working on my Court gown, more to follow.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

CoCo 2014 Ready, Set...

OK, I know I haven't posted for a year, however, I loathe reading or writing excuses, so I am just going to start back up.  Here is what I have collected so far for costume college.  I am so excited to be going.  At first it seemed that a whole group of us were going to go, then I and my daughter, and now it is just me!  That will be an adventure.  I have interesting times when I do things by myself and meet some pretty interesting folk that I might have missed if I were with a group.  I need to post pictures of the vintage luggage I have been collecting for this trip, I intend to arrive in style!  I will wait until it is all cleaned up and ready to go, before I take pictures.  This grand pile on the table is only the start, there will be more to come.  Some of this is for costumed events and some just pretty vintage stuff to wear out and about or to dinner in the evening.  Behind it all is my lovely Black velvet, you can't see much of it, but look for more information when I start posting about my court dress project.  There are lovely fabrics, fun cottons with cherries, (watch for a cherries hat!), silks with butterflies, houndstooth wool, navy shantung,  seaside colors in linen, and some wonderful cream, gold and brown scored from the clearance tables.  Some is from my stash and some new purchases.  There are things I made this past year that may go and new items to spruce them up.  It will be fun.  I thought about joining the Historical fortnightly, however, I have enough deadlines in my workaday world, I don't need them in my sewing world.  Just getting done in time for CoCo will be deadline enough.  I will try to post my progress and be a better blogger.  So feast your eyes on the fabric goodness and I am off to cut some linen! 

Happiest of New Sewing Year 2014!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Peacock in a Pear Tree

I thought I'd give a peek at some of the lovely things my family gave me for Christmas.  Some are here for fun and others pertain to costuming.  I was very happy to have "Fashion," from the Kyoto Costume Institute.  This is a new edition done in 2012 for Barnes and Noble.  The Photos are excellent and a full half of the book is time frames I work in, and the other half is fun too.  This is going to come in handy for my new year planning. 

I hope to go huckleberrying this year so a cookbook about huckleberries and a pie bird will be most handy. 

A pretty selection of machine embroidery thread for my best purchase of 2012 my Singer Futura 400XL. 

A darling lantern that will look lovely in any setting, period or not. 

The cute ornament is a plastic crystal with glitter frosted fake mistletoe on top.  We have tons of mistletoe on the oaks here about, however, I rarely bring it in the house as real mistletoe is so plain and it can be bug filled.  So I will enjoy this far prettier ornament.  It also came with a note that a rotary cutting machine is on it's way.  Yeah!  Now I can thing about getting that bias and piping machine.  Cutting strips and making piping is tedious but so essential to post 1800 sewing, particularly the 1830's and 1840's, one of my favorite time frames. 

A beautiful Shawl in peacock colors from my eldest daughter and a peacock pin from my youngest.  These clever girls didn't even plan to coordinate, they just have good taste!  The shawl and pin have inspired my main new year project.  Just a hint here, more to come on that subject! 

I received many lovely things and got to spend time with those I love, life can't offer better, I believe.