Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Papillote Curls

After posting Janet Stephen's video yesterday, I thought I'd try my hand at papillote curls.

I used 15 pieces of tissue paper, all about 12x9x9.  They seemed quite big, but you shouldn't go any smaller for large curls - mine were about 1 inch in diameter and 1/8 to 1/6 of an inch thick.

This is my hair before curling.  It's already wavy and moderately thick, so it holds a curl pretty well.  I didn't wash it for a few days before to build up some of that historical grime.  If you have thin, straight hair, you might want to use smaller curls and heat each one twice.

For this technique, it is essential to start at the bottom of your scalp because the curls hang down.  I did four curls at the base of my neck and two layers going all the way around my head.  I heated each curl for 15-20 seconds.

 Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of my head completely covered in paper because I started pulling out some of the bottom curls while waiting for the top ones to finish cooling.  But here's what they look like pulled out and unbrushed.  The whole process took about 30 minutes (so have an iPod handy.)

Now for the fun part: hairstyles to do with these curls (created very sloppily by me with 5 bobby pins.)

Loop up the curls on the side to create those silly patches of curls popular in the 1830's:

Wrap a turban around them for a 1790's look: 

Brush them out to get a big, fluffy base for a 1940's style:

Pin the sides back to get cascading curls for an 1870's evening look:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

18th Century Curls

Check out Janet Stephens' video on papillote curls which appear to be an 18th - early 19th century curling technique.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Vintage Shopping in Washington DC

As implied in my last post, here is my review of a few of the vintage clothing shops in DC (of course, with some show-and-tell of my finds!)

Selection: Moderate-Varied.  The picture on the website will give you a pretty good idea of how big it is.  Mostly spans the 40's to the 70's, and about a third of the items have dates.  LOTS of accessories and jewelry, and also quite a good collection of mid-century slips.  Clothes are sorted into small/medium/large size groups. 
Service: The woman who was working when I went was laid back, but still helpful enough that I didn't feel neglected (I was there with my mom, so I didn't need too much advice).  
Price:  Moderate. Willing to negotiate a price on items that haven't been marked yet, and I got a 10% discount on a skirt that had lost some buttons. (They don't take American Express)
What I found:  A navy hounds-tooth skirt that I'm 95% sure was home made in the 30's (metal zipper, no maker's tag, poorly hemmed) 
Please excuse the non-matching shoes, I seem to have left most of shoes at school. 

Close-up of the buttons and pleats
A white skirt, probably 70's.  Originally it had white buttons, but some of them has fallen off, so I replaced them with navy ones.

Mercedes Bien Vintage Clothing and Decor

Selection: Varied.  Plenty of 70's dresses, but also lots of things from the 30's to the 80's (I even saw a pair of late Victorian open drawers!).  This place also has a couple of great 50's crinolines.
Service: The owner was VERY friendly and eager to help you; it was a bit intimidating for an introvert like me.  She clearly knows a lot about textiles.  This would be a great place to have a big shopping spree.
Price: Moderate-High.
What I found: How awesome is this: I found an 60's stewardess' tweed skirt that was manufactured by Airways Industries (possible Airway Industries, I'd check, but I'm wearing it right now!)


Selection: Limited-Moderate.  Not as many things and mostly 70's with some 40'-60's. Really great scarves though.
Service: In between Meeps and Mercedes Bien. She gave good advice on things I tried on, but didn't run around finding things I might like. (This was perfect for me)
Price: Moderate
What I found: 70's polyester dress

Friday, January 27, 2012

Old Costume: 1880's corset

I made this corset last summer to replace a boring white one.  It's from the Truly Victorian 1880's corset pattern and is one layer of satin and two layers of cotton batiste.  If you ever want to make a corset out of satin, DON'T - SPARE YOURSELF.  I was terrified the whole time of making a mistake because picking out the stitches was practically impossible without ruining the fabric.  I ended up sewing the channels by hand so that they were the exact fit for the steel spirals.

Also, I swear I made a set of combination underwear, but I cannot find them anywhere.  They probably ended up on some closet floor during the many costume shifts.  Hopefully this will force me to make a new set without hideous sweat stains.  So, here I am with an 18th century shift and an 1880's corset.

Note: Do not try to adjust your shift after you're completely laced.  It will make you lopsided.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Finished Project: 1790's undergarments

Hooray!  I'm finally finished with the shift, stays, and petticoat for the 1790's morning outfit - this was my first entirely hand-sewn project, so I'm trying to bask in the glow of accomplishment and not think about how many more things I could have done if I had used the machine.  And I'm not completely done: the bottom edge of the stays need to be finished and I need to short the straps a bit, but that straightforward work can be done when I get back to college.

The chemise and petticoat are a cotton/linen blend and the stays are cotton sateen with the cotton/linen for the waist stay and binding.

It's hard to see, but there is a small bustle pad attached to the petticoat

Yeah, those straps need to be shorter

I used Past Patterns 038 for the stays and I have some advice for anyone interested in making it.  First, the "busk area" (there isn't actually a busk, just four boning channels in the center) was too wide.  This made it stick out away from me - this can probably be concealed by a sturdy bodiced petticoat, but it's a bit of a pain.  The extant stays I've seen have this wide busk:

So if you make this pattern, I would suggest that you only use the two center-most boning channels and ignore the outer ones.

This is probably just my high waist, but the side bones dig into my hips the tiniest bit.  Otherwise these stays are very comfortable.