Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Victorian Valentine Weekend - For Lovers of All Things Victorian!

Who:  YOU!

What:  A Victorian Valentine Weekend - For Lovers of All Things Victorian
When:  Friday, February 15 through Sunday, February 17, 2019
Where:  The Historic Brookstown Inn, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Where Will We Stay?
Link Here:

The Historic Brookstown Inn, established in 1837, was originally a cotton mill and was preserved with it's grand ceilings, original wooden beams, exposed brick, and refinished historic pine floors.  The Inn is now a seventy guest room getaway with luxurious amenities.  A block of rooms is reserved for us with a discounted rate of $119.99 and tax for Thursday or Sunday, and $139.99 and tax for Friday or Saturday.  The Brookstown Inn stay includes breakfast each morning, a Wine and Cheese Reception each evening, and cookies and milk at bedtime.  The restaurant at the Brookstown Inn also serves dinner on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings.  The rooms are large with a sitting area and extra large closet and wardrobe space and can easily accommodate up to 4 people including costumes!  Optional rooms and suites are also available up to 950sf, with second floors, and fireplaces.  A personal refrigerator, microwave and Keurig coffee maker is available in every room.

Evening Wine and Cheese Reception Lounge

Historic Architecture

Courtyard Entry to Grand Ballroom

The Breakfast Room

Luxurious Guest Rooms

What Will We Do?

The weekend can be as full or as relaxing as you choose!  The Historic Brookstown Inn opens to a gorgeous courtyard and then into another building where we will have the Grand Ballroom to ourselves from 12:00pm Friday until 5:00pm Sunday.  The room can be divided into 3 rooms allowing us flexibility for fun.

Included in the weekend event price of $267 is:
  • Boxed lunches on Friday and Saturday
  • Friday evening Meet and Greet during Brookstown Inn Wine and Cheese Reception
  • Saturday Evening Buffet Dinner
  • Sunday Victorian Tea
  • Tour of either the Reynolda House Museum of American Art and the Reynolda Village, or the Old Salem Historic District
  • Three costuming classes with themed breaks
  • Tintype photograph for groups of 2 or more
--  Friday and Saturday Boxed Lunches --

 Choice of Lemon Tarragon Chicken Salad with Spring Mix on Croissant or
Roast Turkey Brie and Bacon with Cranberry Mayo on a Kaiser Roll
Both served with Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad and House-Made Cookie.

--  Saturday Buffet --

Herb Roasted Prime Rib
Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce
Grilled Asparagus
Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice Pilaf
Strawberry Shortcake

Rolls, Butter, Freshly Brewed Coffee, Iced Tea

-- Sunday Tea --
Smoked Salmon
Chicken Salad and Cucumber Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches
Assorted Biscotti
Miniature Confections and Scones
Iced Tea and selection of Hot Tea

-- The Tours --
Option 1:  Reynolda House Museum of American Art -  On Saturday after lunch you will taken to the 1917 home of R. J. and Katharine Reynolds.  The Reynolda House and Estate is the centerpiece of the Reynolda Historic District.  Here you will receive a guided tour of the restored mansion and explore masterpieces from three centuries of American painting and sculpture including Mary Cassatt, Frederic Church, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O'Keeffe and Grant Wood.

Link Here:

Option 2:  Old Salem Museums and Gardens - Fortunately, the admission for Old Salem Museums and Gardens is a two-day, enter at will, experience.  This undescribable historic area extends for blocks and includes a Church and Education District, a Trades District, and a Gardens and Residential District.  Established through the late 18th and early 19th centuries, it is a living history experience.  There are interpreted museum buildings including the potter's workshop, the silversmith's workshop, the shoemaker's workshop, the joiner's workshop, and the gunsmith's workshop where firearms are still created through original design and methods for custom orders.  If you choose this optional tour, we will have a short leisurely walk down the Strollway from Brookstown Inn.  The walk back is slightly uphill, but a stop at the Salem Tavern will be a good refresher!
Link Here:

-- The Classes --

Three classes will be offered during the weekend - Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, and Sunday morning.  The class offerings include a themed break.

Chapeaus and Chocolates

Parts of a hat and basic construction, supplies, patterns and books, getting started, the stash, fabrics,
floral construction/deconstruction, feathers, brim treatments, wire frame construction, examples.

Parasols and Petit Fours

Parts of a parasol, patterns and books, getting started with embellishing a modern parasol, recovering a modern parasol, recovering a vintage parasol, painting a frame and handle, the parasol seam, examples.

Fans and Fresh Fruit

Types of fans, patterns, supplies and suppliers, custom sticks, tassels, paper or lace or silk, examples.

-- Tintype Photograph --

We are fortunate to have Chris Morgan of North Carolina, join us to create a tintype photograph for each group of two or more included in your event package.  Additional photographs are available as time permits at an additional charge paid to the photographer.

Link Here:

What should I wear? 

Victorian Valentine Weekend in its beautiful setting of The Historic Brookstown Inn, the Reynolda Historic District, and Old Salem Museum and Gardens is the perfect setting for those wishing to enjoy their passion for historical costuming.  We understand that not everyone wishes to do that and some may be attending to begin their costuming journey with our classes and the guidance of those that do costume.  Some will costume for the entire weekend, some only for the social events and tours, and some not at all.  Do whatever is comfortable and fun for you!

How do I pay?

Brown Paper Tickets is handling our financials with two options to pay:  1.  Full price of $267 or  2. Three payments of $89 due now, November 15, and January 15.  The Early Bird Three-Payment option expires October 15, 2018.

When full or first payment is made you will be sent the information to book your room at The Historic Brookstown Inn.  The room block will be released on January 15 and reservations after that time will be at regular price.

Since your event reservation will be confirmed with your first or full payment, there are no refunds and you agree to make all future payments.  All spaces are transferrable at any time to anyone you choose.  Since we have limited space at this event, we will keep a wait list for anyone needing to transfer their reservation.  We will also coordinate roommates if desired.

Brown Paper Tickets:  Victorian Valentine Weekend at Brown Paper Tickets

How do I get there?

There are two airport options:  the closest airport is Piedmont Triad International Airport, GSO, in Greensboro, NC.  From there it is a 25 minute shuttle ride with ABC Door-to-Door.  Their link:  https://www.abcdoor2door.com
The other airport is Charlotte Douglas International Airport, CLT,  in Charlotte, NC.  From there it is about a 90 minute drive.

Who do I talk to if I have questions?

You can reply to this post and I will respond, or email me at theperfecttouchvictorian@gmail.com
Registered attendees will receive my cell number so they can reach me at any time before and during the event.  This event is also listed on facebook and we have a facebook group to share the costuming fun prior to the event.

Looking forward to seeing you at our Victorian Valentine Weekend, Victorian Lover!!

Your weekend host,

Friday, August 31, 2018

Historical Sew Monthly Challenge #8 - Extant Originals

2018 Challenge #8 - Extant Originals
Copy an extant historical garment as closely as possible.
The Dreamstress
I love historical headwear!  It is where I started on my costume journey.  I started creating historical hats only because I had access to patterns and the internet and with no fear I jumped in.  And loved it!  Studying museum photos and fashion plates from my home computer was all I had to learn the designs of the times and truly that can be enough to start you on your own journey.  There are many patterns available from amazing designers and I have used those by Denise Nadine Designs, Truly Victorian, Wingeo, and Lynn McMasters, and have learned so much I have even designed my own.
When I saw this 1870's bonnet online through the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Museum Number T.163-1923, Place of Origin:  Great Britain, Unkown artist/maker, I knew it was a beauty that I wanted to recreate.  http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O233687/bonnet-unknown/

The Museum description:  Bonnet of plaited silvered straw, trimmed with grey and mauve silk ribbon, embroidered cream net and artificial poppies in magenta coloured silk.  There are long narrow tying ribbons of black satin.  H 500mm, W 220 mm, D 190 mm

Quite a few years ago I purchased two colors of plaited straw at auction which closely resemble the extant original bonnet detail but are in a blue and cream color.  Since I have some remnants of a blue silk crepe which matches the blue straw, I decide to make my recreation with the blue straw.  Sadly I have a finite amount of the straw, so I choose to make my bonnet on a buckram base, covered in the silk crepe, and using the straw only where necessary.  The buckram is also a very rigid base for all the floral embellishment.

Lynn McMasters, Out of a Portrait, has a beautiful Mid-Victorian Winter Bonnet pattern with the shape I want for my not-so-winter bonnet.

And from here, it is just a step by step to a recreation!

The bonnet crown tip, base, brim, and crown side cut from 2-ply buckram.

Other supplies are millinery thread, millinery wire, and French elastic.
Millinery wire is hand sewn to the edges of the brim, base, and crown tip.  The crown side band is sewn into a circle and the tip attached.  All wire is covered with French elastic.

The bonnet base and crown are covered with the silk crepe fabric and the brim is sewn to the base.  Sometimes it takes a pliers to push or pull the needle through the layers of buckram and fabric.  It was here that I realized my design did not need the additional brim and I will save that for a future project.
With the crown sewn to the base I can now attach the plaited straw to the base edges, crown edge, and create the front straw wave embellishment.  Using a similar colored thread makes the stitches disappear. 

This beautiful swiss dot net became beautifully dark with some soaking in black tea.  And it still smells like Chai Spice.

The velvet flowers on the left are vintage.  I purchase vintage pieces online or in flea markets whenever I find them knowing that eventually they will fit on a hat perfectly.  The other flowers on this bonnet are made from two stems of modern florals.  I disassemble them, discard all plastic bits, and hand sew them to millinery wire and wrap the stems with floral tape.  For this bonnet I've combined parts of several different floral picks and cut, wet, and reshaped the petals.
When the net and all floral embellishments are sewn to the bonnet it creates quite a mess inside!  I use different colored thread as it matches the embellishment.  All this mess will be covered with the lining so all will be beautiful inside as well as out.

Finally this little beauty is ready to wear!  I love the way the base fits on the head and the black satin ribbon is a perfect fit to the base lower edge.  Here are a group of pretty photos I took outside this morning just as the sun was coming up.

I made a collage to compare my recreation to the extant original.  While my blue straw is more vivid than the original, perhaps almost 150 years ago the original was a bit more vivid as well.  Don't you wish these originals could tell us their story?  Who wore this bonnet?  What were they doing, feeling, and thinking on that day?  Did they love this beauty and feel pretty when they tied it on their head?  I can only imagine so!
Historical Sew Monthly
The Challenge:  #8 Extant Originals
Material:  Buckram, silk crepe, plaited straw
Pattern:  Mid-Victorian Winter Bonnet by Out of a Portrait
Year:  1870s
Notions:  Millinery thread, millinery wire, French elastic, tea dyed net, vintage and hand made flowers, ribbon
How historically accurate is it?  Recreation of an extant original in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, using both vintage and modern materials and historical techniques.
Hours to complete:  12 hours
First Worn:  Photos taken today
Total Cost:  $82

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Historical Sew Monthly Challenge #7 - Sleeves

There are some amazing examples of historical sleeves styles out there.  Put the focus on the arms and shoulders in your creation for this challenge.
The Dreamstress

There is no way for me to sew any historical fashion with falling down the rabbit hole of research.  The time period, the people of that time, their lifestyles, the joys and sorrows are all eventually woven into the final fabric that hangs on my simple dressform.  I've heard the names of those famous 19th century and early 20th century fashion designers - Jeanne Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet, Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Jacque Doucet, Lucy Lady Duff-Gordon, Jean Patou, Louis Vuitton, Charles Frederick Worth, Salvatore Ferragamo.  For this Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge one name came immediately to mind:  Paul Poiret.

Paul Poiret (pronounced pwah-rey) was a leading French fashion designer who lived from 1879 to 1944.  Recognized as the first "modern" master couturier he had a profound influence on 20th century fashion.  Early in his career he worked for Doucet and the House of Worth where he was considered too non-conservative.  In 1903 he established his own design house.

His major contribution to fashion was the development of the dressmaking technique known as draping.  He is remembered for freeing women from 19th century corsets and modernizing the Victorian silhouette.  Construction techniques were along straight lines and made of rectangles.

One of his iconic designs has been brought into a current pattern by Folkwear as their Poiret Cocoon Coat.

The pattern sketch shows the beautiful draped design with a sleeve that is basically an extension of the front and back of the coat looking like a bat wing.  Although the pattern is simple, just a single piece that is cut twice and a collar, I am truly confused as to exactly how this is all going to work!

There is a dart and a curved portion at the outward edge of the pattern.  After the fabric is cut and the dart is sewn the sleeve seam is created from the bustline outward by folding the fabric onto itself.  It is a brilliant design!  And look at that beautifully created sleeve!  Perfection!

See the seamline running along the front center of the sleeve where I have the fabric pinned?
 The four pieces are cut and sewn for both the outside embellished velvet fabric and the interior taffeta fabric.  All that is left is a collar piece which is interfaced and piped with velvet.  Velvet piping also made a nice finish to the sleeve edge.

Since I have just barely enough fabric to create this coat and the one-way design leaves some open spaces, I cut appliques from the remaining scrap fabric and work to position them.

The final coat design.

The interior taffeta.
With a lot of saving and selling I was fortunate to be able to attend Costume College 2018 in Woodland Hills, California this past weekend.  There were 650 people in attendance for a theme of Dressing the  Royals.  I attended classes and lectures, laughed with friends new and old, and costumed day and night.  This Poiret-inspired coat with a beaded gown I had made for a spring event were my Red Carpet and Gala gown for Saturday night.  The coat swished and sparkled and I added some attitude with my rose design Meerschaum pipe.

Those sleeves!!!

Does this coat strike you as a bit Art Deco?  Perhaps you know a Russian-born French artist and designer named Romain de Tirtoff.  His first employer was Paul Poiret.  He was best known by the pseudonym from the French pronunciation of his initials - Erté.  Oops, down another research rabbit hole!

Bonne couture,

Historical Sew Monthly

The Challenge:  #7 - Sleeves
Material:  Velvet blend, taffeta blend
Pattern:  Folkwear 503
Year:  1911 - 1919
Notions:  Frog closure, cord for piping
How historically accurate is it?  The technique of draping and this style is accurate.
Hours to complete:  27 hours
First worn:  Costume College 2018
Total cost:  $80