Captain Cavedweller and I went to Reno to attend the RT Booklovers Convention a few weeks ago.
One of the events I participated in as a host required we all wear costumes. We could pick the era as long as it was something historical.
Since I recently released Quinn, I thought it would be fun to wear a costume from the Edwardian era.
Rather than do the smart thing and order a costume, I decided to make my own.
Here is the pile of stuff I used. Although I didn’t have a pattern for any of it, I wanted to make a blouse (shirtwaist if you want the period appropriate term) with an organza overdress. I spent three days working on the costume, right before we had to leave so there wasn’t much leeway for error.
The blouse came together quickly and without much trouble.
I used a pink cotton tank top for the foundation of the shirt.
Then I added lace and trim and sleeves.
The overdress was a disaster! (And that’s putting it mildly!) If I’d had a pattern, it probably would have gone much better. But I didn’t. I think I ripped it out at least half a dozen times before I admitted defeat and went to Plan B (which was order two maxi skirts and a long cardigan from Amazon).
I took a lace skirt I already had an ripped it apart. I sewed the front of it to the front of one of the maxi skirts then used the back of it to make a casing for a belt I already had.
The second maxi skirt went over the first since it had a high-low hem with a deep ruffle (perfect for the era).
Then I spent hours hand-stitching an applique on the cardigan to give it a more vintage feel.
Last, but certainly not least, I decorated the hat. The base for the hat was a wide-brimmed beach hat I ordered online. It came rolled into a little tube.
After flattening the brim with books, I then steamed it and gave it about six coats of heavy-duty starch to make it stiff.
The ostrich plumes I ordered for the hat were supposed to be navy. What arrived was this color. Not quite blue, not quite gray, not quite attractive at all.
So I got a navy dye kit and dunked the feathers in dye for almost three hours to get a rich, dark navy blue.
When I pulled them out of the dye, they looked like this – sad and pathetic. I crossed my fingers as they dried, they’d fluff up – and they did!
As you can see, the navy feathers really made the hat!
And that little rose and gold brooch I’m wearing I’ve had since I was in college.
I even found some pink gloves to match. For shoes, I had on a pair of navy lace-up oxford heels that look very vintage.
Captain Cavedweller even got in on the fun. I tried to get him to wear a string-tie to finish off the outfit, but he wasn’t having any part of it. That’s okay, though. I thought he looked quite handsome in his brocade vest and long jacket. I can’t tell you how many people came up and asked if he was a “real” cowboy.
In spite of my costume challenges, it turned out to be a fun evening with a lot of great people!
Here is a photo with the “hosts” of the event!