2018 Costume Year in Review

Well, I set myself a very short list for 2018 and I accomplished none of it. I’m not sure I’m so much in a slump anymore as much as just not having time. Working full-time and having a baby is time-consuming (I mean, I don’t even have naps to use for sewing since I’m at work). If I made it more of a priority I’d have made more progress, but it just wasn’t. Sleep was a priority (and I don’t do well on low levels of it) as was keeping up with the house (important for my mental state – I can’t do chaos!). But I suspect I’ll have more time as my daughter gets better at playing independently. None of this is a complaint though – she is super delightful and I love every second I get to spend with her. So I’m good with this being the state of things right now.

What I didn’t do in the way of new costumes, I made up for in attending costume events (there were so many I couldn’t attend them all, and I skipped out on the Gadsby’s balls again this year because of time and timing) and in being photographed.

Being photographed is not something I’m 100% comfortable with because of not being model-sized, and with today’s high-res capability, it’s easy to feel like your flaws are out there on display. But on the other-hand, having costumes you’ve worked really hard on photographed is really nice, since so many of mine were made in the pre-digital era.

Since my sewing time/drive has been so low, I think my main goal for 2019 will be to have as many of my older costumes photographed as possible. At least I’ll have a good record of them that way! So it’s accomplishing something.

And I’ve been working at feeling more comfortable in front of a camera so I feel like there has been some personal growth there this year.

So if I failed at sewing the few things I had suggested for the year what did I wear?

Btw, my list for this year was:

  • a new francaise gown
  • Rey (The Force Awakens)
  • Windmill gown
  • regency gown out of the cotton flowered sari

I did not do any of these, though I did pull out the already cut cotton flowered sari fabric pieces and put it on my sewing machine.

No, wait, I did make a new francaise! When I was on maternity leave! This year has felt like an eternity, so I forgot. I did make a new gown, early in the year, though I have been meaning to trim it for the rest of the year and failed at that (ie, went back to work).

Ok, let’s back up. The first costumey thing I did was back in March (when my daughter was 4 months old!) with the DC cosplay group. They rented the Graffiti Warehouse in Baltimore and did a urban/grit shoot there. I wore my Violet Baudelaire, which is as gritty as I get. I think it worked pretty well. Getting hairpieces to blend right is tough with such high quality photography. What was good once for lower res is not quite good enough. Anyway, it was nice getting photos of my costume and even better were some of the arty pics. In particular, I asked Mike of In the Long Run Designs to get a long shot of me in front of the huge windows. He was dubious but totally realized my vision and we’re both happy with the shot.

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Also in March, was the Francaise dinner. And I made a new gown for it (yay!), but didn’t have time to trim it, make a new stomacher, or petticoat. So I used ones I already had – and some day, the gown will have trim and look different. I have photos of an extant gown with a similar fabric (in red), so I modeled this on that (arm stripe direction included).

Also, unbeknownst to me, I’d had a nasty norovirus the night before, not food poisoning. So I was kind of out of it at this event. Photos by In the Long Run Designs.

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Also in March (I told you it was busy!) was AwesomeCon. We had an Outlander photo shoot and Mike (In the Long Run Designs) photographed us, so I got some nice photos of my plaid Outlander gown (from the episode The Gathering).

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April was Fort Fred, and I rewore a gown I made 10 years ago. I didn’t lace my stays quite tight enough (which is what happens when you change in a parking lot) and so I wasn’t happy with the fit. I had fun with everyone though! Pics from In the Long Run Designs:

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April was also our Disney trip. I’d snagged this Baby Gap Snow White dress and bow while pregnant and deployed them during this trip.

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I went to Carolyn’s Victoria Day party in May and rewore my plaid 1840s (because my Victorian wardrobe is woefully underpopulated) and I didn’t spend a lot of time on hair and make-up because I was in a rush, so no pics. BUT I rewore (I know) the same gown again in December for Carolyn’s Victorian Christmas tea and got some nice photos.

June was the Georgian Picnic (moved indoors) that Gloria and I hosted. I rewore my chemise gown since I hadn’t worn it in a very long time – and accessorized with a blue velvet sash, a necklace made by Gloria, and my QVC Marie Antoinette Smithsonian report earrings. And a lover’s eye pin by Queen and Cavendish.

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Pic by In the Long Run Designs:

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Then we hop to August, and the Portrait Gallery shoot that Mike & Gloria organized. I just posted extensively about that, so I’ll just post a couple of pics – it was nice getting this gown photographed. The whole show was a cool experience.

By In the Long Run Designs:

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By Dan Arango:

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By Rich and Strange/Justin Schneider:

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In late August we visited England and though I didn’t get to do tons of costumey stuff (like the V&A), I did fulfill a long-time dream of seeing the Grey Lady costume in person. I didn’t get much time with it because they really race you out of the Great Hall. But it was so cool seeing it in person.

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BRB, going to Hogwarts.

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In October was Chelsea’s Historical Hogwarts party in Williamsburg – Janine, Conley, and I took a quick day trip and it was super fun! I accessorized my white regency Target curtain gown with Gryffindor bows bought at the Kings Cross gift shop in London, a shawl I already had in Gryffindor colors, American Duchess shoes, sashes I already had, and a witch hat I bought at a Con years ago. It’s gorgeous, leather, and heavy and hard to wear. This was a good party for it!

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Then came Halloween! It was awesome! I whiffed on sewing anything for Elena, but I did buy this cool Moana set (it’s her favorite movie) off Etsy. And the heart of Tefiti necklace off Amazon. I had to put a shirt under it because we don’t live on a tropical island. But I was super happy with it.

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I’d also bought this little astronaut suit for her, but… it was way too small when it came time to actually wear it. I took a few pics anyway. But the pant cuffs were hitting her at the knees! Oh well.

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So we changed into Star Trek for daycare.

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In November, Stephanie hosted her annual Pumpkin tea, but this year with an Austenland theme. So full face of make-up it was! I also wore my craziest hat, and my hot pink spencer over my white regency gown. I wore a pink and black shawl I made but hadn’t used every. And wore earrings by Gloria and hot pink necklace by Dames a la Mode.

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Pic by Stephanie:

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Which brings us to Caroline’s Victorian Christmas tea – Mike and Gloria were playing with a new lens and flash and through experimenting, got some cool shots!

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Necklace and earrings are Dames a la Mode and star hair comb is antique.

Not bad for my first year with a baby (who is now heading into toddlerhood) and a packed schedule! I also managed to purge a bunch of fabric (which will be dragged out for our next exchange), and pull out some stuff to mend. But that stuff has been sitting there since November and I haven’t even managed to do the buttons on one of the baby’s dresses, so who knows.

So next year, I’d like to finish the mending pile, to include actually assembling that new regency dress. Trimming the francaise would be good. As would doing literally anything else. I clearly need a bustle gown.

Other than that, I think I’ll just try to rewear stuff that never was well-photographed, and get as many pics as I can. Mike & Gloria have been so awesome to work with and it’s been nice having really nice photos of the things I’ve made. So big thanks to them!

Categories: Costumes