Friday, January 10, 2020

2019 Costume Year in Review

(I'm behind on updating events for the second half of the year, but you'll get some of that within.)

I… pretty much did nothing this year. Ok, that’s not totally true, but going through year two of motherhood + working full time leaves not enough time for me for sewing. At least, not enough big, contiguous chunks of time. I used to take a whole free weekend (when I had them) and spend all day on a project. I don’t have that anymore. And my evenings are for relaxing and recovering, and they are just enough time to take stuff out before having to go to bed. It’s just not working for me now, but I know that will change. And someday she will want to do her own thing, and I’m going to wonder what to do with my time!

Knowing all this, last year I said, “ 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 “ 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.”

Since I set the bar so very low, I can say that yes! I accomplished this! I rewore stuff, I had photographs taken of old stuff. I did not trim the francaise, though that’s not because I didn’t try. The trim I had envisioned just didn’t look right with the fabric I had, so after trying a couple different ways to pleat the fabric, I put it away for another time. So I did at least try. And I did finish my mending pile!! I did not assemble the regency dress. I took it out a few times and just wasn’t into it. And since the Pumpkin Tea this year was bustle era and not regency, I figured I can do it next time I need a new regency day dress. So I deprioritized it.

I did go to quite a few costume events, which was nice. And I bought two Victorian gowns on FB, so I finally have things to fill in the gaps where I have not had time to sew. One of them still needs hemming, though I hemmed the first one I bought.

So here was my year.

February: Victorian Tea at Dupont Hotel


The lighting was terrible but Mike and Gloria did do some pics. I wore my old 1840s watered silk gown with an antique pelerine over it just to do something new. Here’s their pic of me:


I participated in In the Long Run Designs New Kit-Cat Club photo project. Here was my photo from that project. I wore an older gown, but one of my favs. Red and white striped silk and a take on the famous gown from the KCI collection. I got some nice photos of it from that shoot!

the new Kit-Cat Club portrait

More below the cut!

March: The Francaise dinner

I really slacked this year and just did my chemise gown since it’s easy to wear. Also Janine went with me because Elena was sick, so Doug stayed home with her, and instead of babysitting, Janine came with me! She has a chemise gown so we got be be twinsies. Which was easy and comfortable and we both wore our modern Po-Zu boots underneath because no one was gonna see them and it was winter. Also my feather fell down so I have no pics of it looking right. Maybe next year I will be less tired and make more effort costume-wise. Sometimes it’s a fight for me and the thought of dealing with hair and make-up and stays is just exhausting.




Gloria and I were roomies at Costume-Con this year, which was super fun. I brought all old stuff again, and sorta struggled with it. I wore a Star Trek dress, but am still dealing with a post-baby waistline.


A League of Their Own should have been comfy but I was actually cold in it.


To be honest, I wasn’t really into wearing costumes that weekend, but I love loved hanging out with Gloria (who I do see a lot) and other folks I don’t see very often, especially Carrie and Sarah, as well as a poet-friend who met us for lunch in Salem. So for me it was a really good social Con, but I struggled costume-wise.


I did try to rewear my Padme picnic outfit. It had been like 10 years since I last wore it and I forgot it had so many fiddly pieces and it took forever to put on and pieces of it were still crooked or not sitting right, and we missed most of the Masquerade because I took so long, and it just felt like a fail. I love this costume too, but it just wasn’t sitting right. I think I’d like to make it less bulky and find ways to streamline wearing it. I didn’t get any pics of it I was really satisfied with, so maybe that’s a project for another day. Fortunately, I do have many past pics of this costume: in front of the real one, in Italy in the actual picnic meadow, and more.

Gloria and I spent a rainy day hanging out in Salem before the Con and that was really fun, so nice to combine some costume and non-costume stuff.

April was AwesomeCon and I went in for the Saturday. I wore my Leia Bespin costume, and Mike and Gloria were kind enough to take lots of pictures for me. This was my fav:


With friends:


Doug and I did go to Fort Fred, but in Muggle clothes, just to wander around.


May: Celestial Ball

Thanks to Janine and Ron babysitting for us, we were able to attend the Celestial Ball at Gadsbys Tavern. I was just a tad slow to realize that the ball was on… May the 4th. Also known as Star Wars Day. Get it? Celestial Ball? Anyhoo, once I realized, I sprang into action. I was hot off of rewearing my Leia Bespin gown at AwesomeCon, and I thought… maybe I could make a regency Leia Bespin outfit and Star Wars bound. So I dug out the very first regency dress I ever made (which was terrible) and took a look at the available dyes I had, and tossed it in the washer with said dyes. It took a mix of scarlet and tan, and taupe and 3 tries, but I finally got it the shade I wanted. Dry, which was tricky since it looked the right shade wet, but then faded when dried. I wore my actual screen accurate Bespin cape as an over dress, and added Han/Leia profile necklaces, the accurate hairdo (it totally worked!), and a rosette I got as a party favor at the waist. And I wore my Leia Bespin flats. So basically it was almost all screen accurate but the dress. Doug wore his Han Solo jacket over tan pants and a white embroidered vest. I’m not sure how many people attending really got the whole Star Wars thing, but it was *definitely* Gadsbys intent given their traditional cheese hedgehog had Leia buns!



June: Carolyn’s Goodbye party

Carolyn was in DC for a few years, renting a gorgeous Capitol Hill house. She threw lots of fun parties and we were sorry to see her go when she moved back to Canada! It was lovely having her in our area for a while! The party was sort of “any costume” so I threw on this 20s dress I had bought on Etsy and never worn. It was delightful and easy to wear. Would wear again! I loved the pics Mike & Gloria/In the Long Run Designs got of me!




July - 18th Century Market Fair, Baltimore

We met up with Rebecca and her family in Baltimore for their historical society’s little market fair. It was July so no costumes, but we had fun! We were pregnant at the same time so her youngest and Elena are close in age.


October - Diagonalley

Ok, not truly a costume event, but in October, we visited Ellicott City for their weekend Harry Potter event! It was really fun seeing the stores really turn it out. Elena and I wore appropriate t-shirts.



I dressed Elena up like Rapunzel (post hair-cut) for Halloween. I bought two costumes and used the sleeves from one and the costume from the other. Good enough. I did buy props though. IMG_3769

She had a tiny cast iron skillet, and a Disney lantern.


November - Gunston Hall

We were supposed to do a picnic, but the cold temps chased us indoors. We instead had a mediocre tea (with lovely company), and then a tour of the house. We had a small but really fun group and we took pics and had a good time. I wore my Outlander “the Gathering” dress since I thought it would be warmest of what I had. I need a Quidditch riding habit. That’s on my “someday” list.



Bustle Tea - rather than regency, the theme was bustle, with 1880s era in general being acceptable. I wore the gown I had bought online, which was not a bustle, but an 1882 tea gown with Watteau back. Good enough. I wore uncomfortable shoes and then changed into my trusty Po-Zus so I could walk. You can’t even see them. :-)

We had fun using the tintype app to take spooky pictures. I had really big fake bangs (probably too big, but I didn’t have a ton of time to style them), and wore my cameo tiara. Which I dropped, so one of them popped off.




And in December as the Cosplay DC photoshoot at Woodlawn Mansion. Rather than historical (which would have fit great), I wanted something easier to wear/drive in, and something that hadn’t been photographed well, and also had easy hair. I decided on my Arwen Mourning gown. I was able to slip it over a tank top and leggings, so I didn’t have to drive in it, or a corset, and I got a bunch of really nice pics of it!

This one is my Ali Drew:


And this is my Mike & Gloria/In the Long Run Designs:


So I was happy I got some photos of this costume! Win! :-)

And that was my year in costumes.

Do I dare set any goals for 2020? Hmm.

I’d like to hem and wear the 2nd Victorian bustle gown I bought. (It’s really more of a day gown.) I’d like to maybe find another bustle option to wear.

I’d like to keep photographing old costumes.

If I have any time at all to sew, what’s on my current wishlist?

1) a Rey costumes
2) the Sleepy Hollow Windmill gown ( I checked and I have put this on my list every. single. year. since 2006.)
3) A 20s coat
4) A Gryffindor riding habit
5) Rework Padme Picnic costume

I see none of those things happening. :-)

Also find In the Long Run Designs here:

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