Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lacey Costume Review

The Sophistique Noir monthly theme for October is lace, and I realized I don't have much in my everyday wardrobe with lace. A bit of trim here and there, nothing dramatic or terribly interesting. However, I love to use lace in my costumes. Also, on October 1, I'll be away from the computer at a costume event, so it seems appropriate to post about a few lace-decked costumes!

One of my favorite uses of lace was in this stripey 18th-century polonaise with a decidedly goth flair. I trimmed the neckline with a deep lace flounce (edged in velvet ribbon) and gave the sleeves lace ruffles. More photos are here and you can follow the complete dress diary by scrolling back thru here.

This era really lends itself to lace. Here's an 18th-century anglaise made of embroidered silk, made by my dear friend Sarah, which I trimmed in coordinating silk ruches, velvet ribbon, and huge black lace sleeve flounces. More photos here.

Those sleeve ruffles used scraps from another project -- they were leftover from the layered lace skirt over a purple silk hoopskirt I made to portray the Marquise de la Tour-Maubourg in the Franz Xavier Winterhalter portrait of "Empress Eugenie Surrounded by her Maids of Honor" with a group of friends. Here's the portrait gown...

 And here's my recreation. Our group won "Best in Show" for our costumes and presentation at Costume-Con 26 in 2008 (which is kinda like winning an Emmy or an Oscar for costume hobbyists!).

More photos, including ones of the whole group, are here.  The dress diary, con write-up, and a video of our performance are here.

I also like to use lace on accessories. For my 16th-century garb, lace is the crowning touch on ruffs, like this heavily starched 1590s ruff. The dress diary his here.

Finally, a photo of some lace in my fabric stash! I hope to use this on a really extravagant ruff in the future. I bought 10 yards in the L.A. garment district.

Can't wait to see the rest of this month's lace extravaganzas!


  1. So many lovely costume outfits! I have one 1800th century outfit with laces but a very modest one (I was supposed to dress like middle class woman). You succeded very well with the outfit looking like the painting.

  2. Oh my, I could drool over those costumes, and that hat in the first pic!! I could so use that hat for a Mardi Gras event next year! LOL

  3. I am always completely in awe of your costume-making skills. While I have a special partiality towards the first dress (what with it being purple and stripey), they are all beautiful.

  4. I am humbled by your seamstress skills! You have excellent taste in costumes and execute them beautifully! How many hours does your average costume take to create?

  5. I can barely fathom the amount of skill, patience and attention to detail required to create such beautiful costumes. If sewing were mountain climbing, you'd be atop Mt. Everest. :)

  6. Thank you all!

    Traicetrak - I bought the hat in the first pic from I do love making hats, but that one was just too pretty to pass up!

    VictorianKitty - It really varies about how long it takes to make a costume. At least a couple months bec. I'm mostly working on weekends (I find it hard to sew much after work; not enough time!). If you add how long it takes to source materials, well, some of these outfits take years & years to make ;-)

  7. SQUEE!!! Winterhalter and Eugenie! *swoon* *die* You just made my art historical heart leap with joy!!! These outfits are so gorgeous!!! Ingres would have just hugged you!!! Me too!

  8. Wow, those costumes are incredible! Your re-creation of the dress in the Winterhalter portrait is divine and def my favourite look. You're so talented! :)

  9. Thanks for sharing these divine dresses! And I can't wait to see what you use that AWESOME black lace on!!!!!

  10. Le Professeur Gothique - The Winterhalter portrait project was truly epic, what with wrangling all those ladies, & me doing an era that was not my forte. TONS of handsewing. Felt great to win the top award on top of it all too :-)

    The Irish Phantom Cat - Thanks so much.

    GothBarbie - I may have a chance to use the black lace this year. More projects are brewing...