Sunday, 22 July 2007

Honoured by my peers

Last night we attended a function at Penrith for the Institute of History and Arts where I was made a Fellow for my work in Costume Design and Construction. This group is dedicated to honouring Australians who are, through their private initiative, leading the way in studying and preserving Australian history and arts. I think I may have been noticed at the innaugural Vintage Clothing, Textiles and Jewellery Show in April last year where I displayed reproduction costumes and vintage inderwear. Those who know me could see that I have come a long way since the early days of making "historical" costumes for re-enactments to now dressing guides and staff at historic houses. There were 7 inductees last night, who joined some very notable Australians who are the Fellows of the Institute. Leonard Teale (actor), Werner Phillipitch (Australian landscape artist), Edgar Penzig (noted Australiana author and collector) and Peter C. Smith (Australian author on bushranging) are just some of the names I remember. I hadn't prepared a speech, which was just as well since I was still not very well and had a husky voice. I had been asked to display my work so I took along my purple and black 1887 bustle dress on a dress stand, the matching hat and some gloves, and my 1870's repro corset. 6 photos on easels of my costumes, and my Elizabeth the first wig and tiara on a stand with jewellery, collar and gloves and wooden fan. I displayed them on a table with a heritage green cloth covered with a battenburg lace square tablecloth over it. I had several people come up and ask questions and comment favourably, and gave out a couple of business cards for future contact. Now I just have to decide whether I'll travel to Bathurst in 2 weeks to display my vintage underwear at BATHEX 2007. In any case I'll be going as a visitor, I just have to weigh up the logistics of exhibiting!

Friday, 20 July 2007

Beetlejuice for an Eistedfodd

I've been recovering from the flu for the last 3 weeks, but this costume is needed for the City Of Sydney Eistedfodd on Saturday night, so I just had to soldier on for the last 3 days and cut and sew this outfit plus 17 hot pink organza pre-made mens' ties for the supporting dancers. Talk about "the show must go on" ! My daughter is the model, and she is 5 foot 2 inches tall while the dancer is taller and has longer arms and legs. The suit is in cotton lycra so the jacket had to be fused with Whispaweft interfacing. I use an Elnapress to do bulk fusing, so it takes less time than with a domestic iron and is more permanent too. The jacket is fully lined, and the hot pink organza shirt is sleeveless but has armhole facings. It is all quick- change so the shirt has little velcro squares for front fastenings and the trousers have a half elastic pull on waistband instead of a front zip. I sewed a mock fly on the centre front seam though, just in case the jacket pops or she decides to leave it open. The sleeves are intentionally cut on the horizontal as in the photo reference from the movie still. I'm a devil for detail as you probably know by now!