November 29, 2014

Something Old, Something New

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving!  I've been sewing up a storm to meet those fact, I have just about everything on my "actual deadline" list finished.  Except for one more fancy tucked petticoat, I am ready to dive into those college portfolio projects!  So, today I have to show a completed item from my winter to do list & the first of hopefully many past projects!

First up, pictures of the hairpiece I made for Stage's upcoming show, Little Women!

In the middle of junior year I really became serious about costuming and was searching for another theater that would give me a chance to gain more experience.  I fell right into the path of a Magical Journey Thru Stages, or simply Stages, the children's theater at the third floor of Rochester's Auditorium Theater.  After explaining my interests, the team of head costumers & parent volunteers accepted me for a trail "student costumer" position.  We clicked and I ended up staying on as the student costumer for a number of shows until the end of senior year.  During those experiences, I did everything from repairs to millinery to costuming the lead for Doctor DoLittle (2013), which I used as one of the highlights for my portfolio.

More recently, Gina & Lisa, the costumers for Little Women who I've worked with since my first show at Stages, contacted me about borrowing as well as making a fancy hairpiece.  Using the reference picture they sent me (view here), this is what I came up with:

Fancy Hair Snood for Stage's Little Women Production.

I constructed the double bow from navy taffeta, lining the outer bow with fusible interfacing.  I then added a hair clip to the back of the center velvet piece as a means of attaching.

Back of the bow with hair clip.

Decorations, including gem buttons and reinstone buckles, were hot glued for extra onstage security!  The whole project took around four hours (I swear mostly spent on the stretch velvet!) and cost around $10.  The taffeta, velvet and hair clip came from the stash, and were actually bought for the previous Stages' Sherlock Holmes millinery projects!

Sparkling decorations!

Speaking of the said stash up, the first Past Projects: three fashionable 1890s hats from Stage's production of Sherlock Holmes (2014)!

March of senior year was the month of musicals with both my High School's memorable production of Footloose & Stage's Sherlock Holmes on the same weekend!  I returned for the last time as student costumer and had the privilege of collaborating with the head costumer, Vera, her daughter, and the outstanding parent costume team.  Our inspiration came from Sidney Paget's original illustrations (view all 357, the entire collection, here: as well as the fashion of the 1890s.

In addition to other contributions, I was responsible for three fashionable hats:

One of the outfits I was responsible for Maggie's character.
(Too bad we misplaced my shirt, I really liked those jet buttons...)

The Lavender Puff Hat is made from a straw hat base with a wired brim, covered in vintage bias tape.  Trimmed with lavender taffeta, a feather spray and vintage broach.

Black Velvet & Golden Bows Hat, or, the crazy, over-the-top piece that was oh so fun to make!  At first, I'll admit I had the hardest time coming up with a piece that would fit the gold, royal purple & black color scheme for her outfit.  Though, after the triple bow, the rest just seemed to fall into place for the extravagant character.  Then, I worried about it being all too much...

The hat even has a bit of a flair at the front of the brim!

Again made from a straw hat base with a wired brim, other materials included: gold satin, black velvet, black satin ribbon, black bias tape & assorted dark purple feathers.

Go BIG bows, or go home!

Lastly, the Elegant Lady's Hat, which had a matching skirt & jacket ensemble - by far the most time-consuming and difficult, but definitely one of my most favorite pieces from the show!  

Up close & personal detail shot!

Materials included: black velvet, navy blue taffeta (used also for the Little Women hairpiece, above), black bias tape, assorted blue and black feathers & a large buckle.  The hardest part for sure was covering the base in the black velvet - I rather like how it turned out!

Next up: my new hand sewn pinner apron & 1850s undergarments - completed.  More past projects to come stay tuned, comment & subscribe for more!  Thank you for reading!  


  1. Oh I love all of the hats! The last one is my favorite one though...I adore the ruched taffeta and velvet!!! And I think your take on the fancy hair piece is much much more fantastic than the original!! Very well done!

    1. Aww thank you, Gina! Receiving compliments on the hats & hairpiece from you means a lot because you've certainly got the BEST hats around! Thanks again, Anneliese :)