Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wedding photos

Just married and heading out on our honeymoon! Before I go though, I promised the Dreamstress a while ago on the Russian Grand Duchesses post that I would show photos of my wedding dress, so here are a couple taken by our guests.

See you all in ten days!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


My heart and my prayers go out to the people of Norway. I was at Virginia Tech during the shooting there several years ago, but I can only imagine the grief and shock they must be experiencing at this time. This is the very meaning of tragedy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Out of the Study

I hope you will all forgive me if I am absent for a week or two. I am getting married on Friday and will then be off to the Mediterranean for my honeymoon. When I return the mad sewing of many projects begins, so I promise you lots of photos and research will resume. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ninya Mikhaila and the Tudor Tailor

 This is what, as a costumer, inspires me to always strive to be better. The fact that people like Ninya Mikhaila can so accurately reproduce works that they look almost indistinguishable from original paintings and extant garments.  I stand in awe of her talents, so I thought I'd share her website with you so that you may go drool over the many fine works that she, and her coworkers, hath wrought.

Wish you could make these garments as well? You are in luck! She is also the co-author, with Jane Malcolm-Davies, of a wonderful book called The Tudor Tailor, which I very highly recommend. You want patterns? It has them. Want to know what colours were most in demand by what strata of society in England in the 16th century? Check. Want to see all of the layers and how they were worn together in various combinations. Check. Want to ooh and aaah over really pretty costumes and accessories. It's got you covered. Plus links, how-tos, history, research, sizing, and more.

I can tell you that back before this book was initially published I, and many other historical costumers, stalked the website for the book eagerly awaiting its release. We were not disappointed and it has held an honored spot on my shelf ever since. So go, go now and check it out!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Film Review- Wives and Daughters

There is an entire series of Austen novels/films set in the Regency, and plenty in the mid-late Victorian era, but one period of time that gets less attention is the 1830s. Maybe this is because the balloon sleeves and elaborate hairstyles lend themselves more to parody than romance, but in the series Wives and Daughters the BBC manages to balance style and accuracy within character and image in a way that is very appropriate.

The series is based on a novel which was published in England as a serial between 1864 and 1866. In it a young girl by the name of Molly visits the home of the local nobility with some family friends and is accidentally left behind. The family takes pity on her and sends her to rest in the room of the former governess, Miss Clare. The governess forgets about Molly, but her father, a country doctor, arrives to get her.

Fast forward seven years and Molly is a young woman entirely devoted to her father. Her father, Dr. Gibson, is encouraged by local gossips to believe that Molly needs a mother, and so he hastily remarries- the governess, who reveals that her given name is Hyacinth and that she has a daughter of her own named Cynthia, about Molly's age.

Molly struggles to accept her new stepmother, but Hyacinth turns out to be a very different person on closer acquaintance than she pretends to be. When Cynthia arrives she comes burdened with excessive charisma and a few secrets; and although she and Molly become close friends, her habit of picking up men without even trying threatens Molly's budding romance with the son of the local Squire.

The book was never finished during the author's lifetime, but the miniseries does a great job of tying up all of the loose ends satisfactorily, and, like many a nineteenth-century story, a tad predictably. If you're a frequent viewer of period films (which I assume if you're reading this, you are), you'll recognize some familiar faces like Tom Hollander, Michael Gambon, Penelope Wilton, Barbara_Flynn, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, and Elizabeth Spriggs. My favorite performance was that given by Rosamund Pike as Lady Harriet Cumnor, for her wit, directness, and depth, despite being in relatively few scenes.

Have you seen this series? Enjoyed it? Hated it? Share your thoughts in a comment.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Vendor Review- Recollections

Recollections is a web-based store featuring ready-made costumes from the Regency to the Roaring 20s, in a variety of style for day and evening and in a wide array of fabrics. One of the theaters I work for used pieces from them for a show and we were well pleased. It arrived looking just like the photo, was sturdily-made, and the price was good for our never-quite-enough budget. Best of all, it integrated well with the intricate and well-researched costumes that we had made and borrowed from some of the best costume sources on the east coast.

I love their hats and accessories, and you can expect to find virtually anything  from underpinnings to pocketwatches, mourning clothing to parasols. I should mention that their menswear section is a lot smaller, but still well-made and priced. When I am next putting together a costume, especially a Victorian one, I will be revisiting their site.