Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gail Carriger in Brown & Cream in Santa Clara ~ Nova Albion Steampunk Convention Outfit Day 2, 2013

Cream and brown is a lovely color combination, I don't know why I don't wear it more often.

 1916  Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst, Arketektur, og Design

I haven't worn this particular outfit, in it's full form, in about a decade, if ever. The Rack instantly reminded me of this fact, Fashionable Reader. I mean to say, I knew I had ever expanding tracks of land but this gown took it upon itself to insult me with how far my empire has expanded!

Would you look at that? Sheesh.

It took not one, not two, but three assistants to wedge me into the bodice of the underdress!

This outfit is comprised of:

  1. A full train lace petticoat (made by attaching a lace skirt and lace curtains to one of those cheepy polyester petticoats they make for brides)
  2. Brocade with crochet trim and long train underskirt (made from a thrifted wedding dress - bodice was stained and didn't fit - and the crochet from a tablecloth)
  3. A satin under dress with brown satin and cream lace trim, velvet belt (from the robe) and brown ribbon piping
  4. A brown overdress with crochet detailing (made from a vintage velvet bathrobe and more of the crochet tablecloth)

I paired it with my tan pocket belt, the Brute Force Studio's leather fan, a Ruby Blackbird Handmade pineapple reticule, vintage brown leather gloves, a deco style necklace set, a broad-brim highly decorated Ivy-ish hat, and my big cream parasol. The parasol is my biggest and best but doesn't fit into any suitcases so it never travels with me. (It's wonderful, though, the "Penelope" $46, from Lace Parasols and Fans, where I buy most of my vintage looking ones.)

Sweet Romance necklace set (no longer available); the newly steampunked earrings. 

I integrated the pearls that matched my necklace with a pair of steampunk dangles made for me by a fan. (I do love gifts but I am hugely allergic to nickle and most other metals used in earring hooks. I can wear gold and silver for short lengths of time, but the only thing I can wear for more than a few hours is surgical steel.) Anyway, I subbed the posts for gold hooks and since I already had the needle noses out I added the drop pearls on the bottom. I think they came out rather well.

I've taken to wearing this lovely vintage-style pocket watch necklace all the time now. I like having the time around my neck, although it clangs against my necklace pen. Of course, it should be upside-down and isn't, and I discovered while wearing it with cream that it tarnishes my costume at the neckline, so I might have to put on a different chain. Still at $15 it's kind of a bargain.

The boots are cream brocade I picked up in the 80s, probably bridal. I replaced the laces with brown satin ribbon. I forgot how comfortable these are! I might change the laces again for ones of plain cream satin so I can wear them with more outfits.

The hat is that plastic buckram stuff, from a thrift store, probably 1970s bridal. I bent it into that shape by wetting it and stuffing it in a small empty ice chest and leaving it in the sun. The I got out the glue gun and attacked!

Jewell models the outfit.

And now, some of the issues I discovered with this costume. The thing is, I hadn't worn it is so long I didn't realize. Jewell's worn it more recently (pictured above) and she is taller and smaller chested than I, with narrower shoulders, so it looks far better on her.

Before and after 
  1. It took three of us to get me into the top part of the under dress, it really it too small now
  2. I'm not happy with the length of said under dress. It think it dips too low in the front and I want to try and bring it up
  3. We discovered an immovable stain right in the front (conveniently covered by badge), when I shorten it I'll try to do so in a way that drapes out that stain. (And before you kindly offer a million tips, I know my stains well and this one is not going anywhere.)
  4. My corset laces untied at the bottom and unlaced themselves shortly after I got the thing on, they really need to be replaced. I didn't have time to change completely, so I just took it off from under and went without. The under dress zippered up much easier without the corset (the bodice shape is more natural). 
  5. However, the plastic stays of the bodice were not strong enough to hold the Rack, flattened it oddly, and it buckled unbecomingly at the waist when I sat. So I added a big cream leather belt to hide the warp.
  6. I'm going to have to panel in the back of the bodice somehow (which has a zipper and I HATE dealing with zippers). 
  7. Then, it's either take the time to re-bone the darn bodice with steal instead of plastic (and it's fully lined), or hope it fits better over one of my other corsets.
  8. The brown robe, always delicate, ripped at the back of the neck and under the arms... again. I swapped it out for a little brown shrug and longer gloves.
  9. The whole upper part of this dress, as a result, has turned into A PROJECT. Sigh. Not sure if I have the time, energy, or interest in salvaging it, especially as these are the very pieces that don't travel well.

 All that said, wait until you see what I manged to do with the outfit for that evening, I think you'll be proud of the phoenix from the ashes results.  

But for now, let us leave this dis-dressing experience behing and explore...

Outfits for the Characters

For Alexia after the events in the Parasol Protectorate series...

1880 Afternoon Dress  The Museum at FIT

For Ivy...

1887-1888 Evening Dress The Victoria & Albert Museum

For Countess Nadasdy...

1889-1892  Redfern,   The Philadelphia Museum of Art

For Prudence in the Parasol Protectorate Abroad...

1895  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1 comment:

  1. Fun blow by blow of the challenging issues of costuming! thanks!


If you are using LJ to comment, it may not work.