Saturday, August 29, 2009

Project Update: Bumroll and Medieval Heraldic Tabard

I've done it! I'm actually in advance!!! Not at the last minute, no, a whole 36 hours in advance! Mark your calendars people, this will not happen often. (Unless I'm becoming more organized, could that be possible?)

Yesterday, I made my bumroll (the one I said I'd make to wear with my 18th century Bourgeoise Outfit).

OK, I know it looks like an uncooked croissant, but since no one is supposed to see it, who cares! The point is to give my skirt the right support.

I ended up using the pattern piece for the bumroll from Simplicity 8881 (It's out of print, but I sort of collect pattern, in case I might need them one day). After all, why bother drawing a pattern piece if I have it somewhere, already printed.

Simplicity 8881

The pattern calls for the bumroll to be mounted on some sort of wide belt, but I just used narrow twill tape to tie it in the front.

In other news, although I will not be going to Fête des Bois on September 5th (the usual reasons: Baby, money, etc.), I am still working on my Medieval Heraldic Tabard to wear on the same date, but at a different event: the Fête médiévale de Saint-Colomban (it's closer to my home and cheaper).

So, let me remind you first what my device looks like:


Device of Mórag filia Scayth

And now this is the front of my tabard.

It's not done yet, but you can already see what it's going to look like. The Cinquefoils (flowers) have been satin stitched in place, the red and yellow bands are sewn together and pressed, the entire "sash" part has been pinned to the front of the tabard, so my next step it to sew it in place.

I just thought I'd let you know what I was working on and I'd show you my progress.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hairdo: Scarf tying

While I was preparing for my first LARP week, oh, back in 2005, I spent a lot of time cutting and sewing garb and costumes while watching Era music videos. One that inspired me greatly was Misere Mani.

I really liked the costume worn by Irene Bustamante, who plays the role of the mother / singer (and this has nothing to do with the fact that she is, in my eyes, the most beautiful woman I've ever seen, no sir...). I often wondered how to wrap scarves the way she wears hers in said video. Then, recently, I was sent a link for some Jewish online clothing store (through a costuming list I belong to) that also features scarf wearing tutorials; I need wonder no more. Her scarf tying technique is called The Crown. The little blind girl's scarf is apparently The Classic Tie.

And for those of us who watched The Mists of Avalon (2001) and wondered how the maids could wear a braided head wrap (I sure did), this is how you do The Braid.

For all of the different scarf tying technique, go to Head Scarf tying instructions.

Now none of you have any excuse not to cover your head the next time you go to a Medieval Event (if you don't and you get a heat stroke, listen to my voice in your ear that tells you "You deserve it: you should have listen to Gwenyver, she is always right!" - mwahaha).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

National Costumes on Miss Universe 2009 Pageant

Let's make something clear: I don't agree with the concept of Beauty Pageants. I think a person needs more in life than just a pretty face and an artificial smile. (Like a brain maybe?). I may be generalizing here, and exaggerating, but it's my opinion on the matter (and it's my blog, so heck!).

Having said that, I do sometimes watch
Toddlers & Tiaras (while frowning at the idea) because those sequined puffy dresses are so cute. And while flipping the channels, I did come across Miss Universe. I don't know if it's a new thing, but they had a National Costume category that yielded some pretty interesting costumes, so I thought I'd feature a few (sometimes accompanied by my usual witty repartee).

Note: To see the costumes of the participants from all 80 countries,
follow this link. Also, do know that I hate it when after a red carpet, people bash on the celebrities' dresses, so I will not be doing that here. All of the costumes presented in this post have my admiration and appreciation (except for the last one).

National Costume winner - Miss Panama (Diana Broce)

I do love Carnival costumes, and this one was indeed impressive.

National Costume 2nd place - Miss Nicaragua (Indiana Sanchez)

I'm not personally too fond of this one, but I must admit the mask skirt is an impressive piece of craftsmanship.

National Costume 3rd place - Miss Thailand (Chutima Durongdej)

This one does have a certain "Thai Barbie" feel to it, but with a modern twist.

And now, in no particular order, a dozen I liked:

Miss Ukraine (Kristina Kots-Gotlib)

She is either an Ice Queen, a Mythical Bird or a Silver Fish. Which ever it is, I like it!

Miss Singapore (Rachel Kum)

What a beautiful Orchid Dress; she seemed straight out of Alice in Wonderland!

Miss Great Britain (Clair Cooper)

Inspired by another Alice in Wonderland, The Queen of Hearts meets the Union Jack. "Off with their heads!" Should we say, Gods save us from the Queen?

Miss Russia (Sofia Rudyeva)

Now we have a Nutcracker! (It is actually a reference to Tsar Nikolai II.)

Miss Netherlands (Avalon-Chanel Weyzig)

This is great! What better way to represent Netherlands than with a windmill? Kudos to her!

Miss India (Ekta Chowdhry)

I love Saris and Indian ladies' outfits, so I'm glad this one looked glitz, yet traditional.

Miss Germany (Martina Lee)

Originally, I thought this was Miss Greece as a Goddess in front of a temple, but it turns out it represents Brandenburg Gate. Still a great way to dress up as a building.

Miss France (Chloe Mortaud)

That's the way to represent France: with a French Can-Can! She's having a blast; good for her!

Miss El Salvador (Mayella Mena)

I have a thing for Peacock Dresses...

Miss Egypt (Elham Wagdi)

Isis in person. Besides, Turquoise and Gold: what's not to love!

Miss China (Wang Jingyao)

Not my cup of tea, but you've got to admire her for stepping out of the box and going for something way different from what everybody else wears!

Miss Cayman Islands (Nicosia Lawson)

Love the headdress: it reminds me of fireworks.

Miss Bahamas (Kiara Sherman)

I'll say it again: I love carnival costumes, and this one is impressive!

Miss Universe Winner, Miss Venezuela (Stefania Fernandez)

This costume reminds me of Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. I don't know what it has to do with Miss Venezuela, but it's a lovely way to make a classic movie costume look very 21st century.

Miss Canada (Mariana Valente)

Now that you've seen all these awesome costumes, when you see Miss Canada I bet you think just like me: What the heck? I know, Canada is a youngish country, we don't have an elaborate national costume, but a purple sequined bathing suit and vinyl boots? Seriously? Purple??? I don't get it. I'm glad to say I am Québécoise so I can disassociate myself from this. My dear Mariana, I do not wish to offend you, but please, do explain the concept.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday Weekly Wishlist: Peau d'Âne

Everyone has a favorite Fairytale from their childhood: mine was Perrault's Peau d'Âne (Donkeyskin). I still have my book, Les Plus Beaux Contes de Perrault (Lito-Paris Editions) illustrated by Monique Gorde, and I still like to read the story from time to time (plus now, I can share it with my daughter).

Peau d'Âne from Les Plus Beaux Contes de Perrault, Lito-Paris Editions, Illustrations by Monique Gorde

Why that story in particular you might wonder? Before she ran away, she got to ask for three dresses: a Sky coloured Dress, a Moon coloured Dress and a Sun coloured Dress. What little girl wouldn't dream of those!

Sky Coloured Dress, Peau d'Âne, Les Plus Beaux Contes de Perrault, Lito-Paris Editions, Illustrations by Monique Gorde

Moon Coloured Dress, Peau d'Âne, Les Plus Beaux Contes de Perrault, Lito-Paris Editions, Illustrations by Monique Gorde

My book shows no illustration of the Sun Coloured Dress, so let's look at the movie version instead:

Catherine Deneuve as La Princesse "Peau d'Âne", Peau d'Âne (1970)

So, obviously, being a costumeholic, I would one day like to make a Peau d'Âne costume. The dresses are one thing: they look a little complicated at first glance (I want to make them from the illustrations), but I know I could figure them out in a few hours. What poses a problem to me is the donkey skin. I haven't a clue how to make that. The head is the biggest challenge: it has to be solid, fit on my head and yet be empty.

To give you an idea, this is what I'd want the donkey skin to look like:

Catherine Deneuve as La Princesse "Peau d'Âne", Peau d'Âne (1970)

Basically, I'll need to learn how to make a Fursuit to make that costume (one can never have enough skills or be done learning), so I'm not making it anytime soon. But it's nice to dream!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Look what I got in the mail:

It's an add for some local optometrist, but that's not the point. Do you see it yet? I was so excited when I spotted it.

The girl is wearing modern Kanzashi! Didn't I tell you costumes could be found everywhere if you kept an eye out for them?

What do you mean you don't know what Kanzashi are? Must I educate you on everything?

Maiko conversing near the Golden Temple in Kyoto, Japan

Kanzashi are Japanese silk flower hair ornament, usually worn with traditional hair styles. Nowadays, we see them mostly on Maiko, Brides and young girls.

Kanzashi by Maya

One of these days, I hope to be able to afford a set to go with my Kakeshita. Maya is my favorite on-line store for traditional Kanzashi, but these don't come cheap: the set pictured above costs over 145$ CAD. I've bought Kimono and Obi for less!

Today, it is possible to buy smaller, modern Kanzashi for less. Some are even made by Japanese lovers of the Western World.

Modern Kanzashi by Puchi Maiko

You can even learn to make your own, using silk or leftover fabric.

A Kanzashi by Gwenyver; Yellow and Teal Dupioni Silk, Red Sequin

You can find many Kanzashi tutorials on-line, either the instructions and photos type or the video type. Because I care so much, I've found a nice video to initiate you to this craft:

Enjoy crafting your own. (And then you can wear yours everyday and be a happy Costumeholic!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Movie Monday: Coco avant Chanel

Coco Chanel loved to spin stories about her life, so it really is impossible to know the whole truth (the same can be said of Karl Lagerfeld, who's now head designer and creative director for the Chanel Couture House). Coco avant Chanel tells us the story of the woman behind the name, before she revolutionized 20th century fashion. The story begins in Edwardian times and shows us how this little orphaned girl built a Couture Empire.

Do I really have to mention all of the costume possibilities for this movie? (If you think I do, just go to Vogue UK's Coco avant Chanel Costume Gallery and choose for yourself!) If you do go, at least wear some pearls, since for Coco Chanel, when it came to pearls, her motto was "the more the better"!

Audrey Tautou as Gabriel Chanel in Coco avant Chanel

Coco avant Chanel opens in north America on September 25, 2009.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Upcoming Costuming Possibility: Pointe-À-Callière's 18th Century Public Market

For its sixteenth edition, Pointe-À-Callière Museum will be presenting it's 18th Century Public Market, which proposes an authentic trip back to the heart of Montréal's first public marketplace, circa 1750. The event takes place in Place Royale and the area around the museum, on Saturday and Sunday, August 29 and 30.

Considering how I had to miss the Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France this year, my friend Marie-Ange-The-Celt asked me if I wanted to go to that event on the Sunday. Do I ever! Now of course, the next all important question a girl asks is: "What shall I wear?"

I can think of three possibilities:
  1. I could go in regular street clothes (BO-RING!)
  2. I could finish my long plaid skirt, make myself a quick Bedgown with some hand-me-down Corduroy I have (which did exist in the late 18th century, but we have no proof that it could have been used for such a garment or even that it was widely used) and wear it with my apron and bonnet, but I'd have to use a Medieval-Fantasy shirt as I don't have one that is appropriate for the period. (Way too many wrong things with option 2, don't you think?)
  3. I could wear my mint green Caraco Jacket and pink skirt ensemble, which is perfect for a day at the market.

I think option 3 is the best. Besides I love this ensemble, and it will give me an occasion to take many pictures of it. I have matching scarf, basket lining and hat to go with it, and, as it uses a hook-and-eye closure, I can easily nurse Baby if needed. All I'll need to make this week is a bumroll to give the skirt the right support (I didn't have one before and I found the silhouette to lack the right lines for the period). I can get inspiration from Démodé's 18th century skirt supports and get instructions from The Elizabethan Costume Page (quite frankly, bumrolls did not evolve that much in 200 years).

Gwenyver as an 18th Century Bourgeoise, wearing her Mint Green Caraco Jacket and Pink Skirt

Remember in my Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France Reminiscing, I said I had gone in 2006, but did not have a decent picture of my new outfit? It turns out, Nancy-Raven had one and sent it to me. And yes, the green Caraco is made of the same 1$/metre jacquard as my Pink 18th Century Jacquard Dress, which I dyed green that year (to this day, I still have some of that fabric left; I'm thinking next time, I'll try to dye it blue and maybe make an 18th century outfit for my Sweetheart). So now you can find all of my 18th Century clothes (to date!) on this Blog.

Note to self: Remember to ask Nancy-Raven if she wants to come with us to Pointe-À-Callière's 18th Century Public Market on Sunday August 30th. (And if I forget, well, I know you read my blog sweetie, so you see, I didn't really forget; I meant to ask!)