October 29, 2015

In Lieu of a Catchy Title...

"Some Sewing Stuff" just didn't cut it...Titles seem to be the hardest part, always!

Anyways, hello, loyal readers & welcome, new friends!  Today's post is a catch-all for the busy weekend last, with Spirits of the Past & Trick or Treat Day at the village, and a "throwback" to my earliest attempts at millinery:

Bustle dress & hat on the stairs of Hyde.

But first, you may have noticed a few changes to the blog...probably the most obvious addition is the new banner!  Yes, The Young Sewphisticate finally received the banner it had been waiting well over a year for, and I hope you like it is much as I do.  Also, speaking of overdue updates, check out the completed GCV&M Internship.  Lastly, I discovered that I somehow deleted quite a few pictures from earlier posts.  So, I spent some time combing through my posts and updating those broken links.  If you ever come across similar problems with my blog, please do not hesitate to let me know!

Even though the museum season has officially ended for the year, there are still plenty of opportunities to be had onsite.  One of those great opportunities is Spirits of the Past!  Very much like the Yuletide Tours in December, these spooky, after-hours, theatrical tours run for two weeks during October.  And, on the tours, guests are led by candlelight through the village to see and partake in the horrors of popular, 19th century literature.

A costumed tour guide resting on the steps of Hamilton.
Poor & bloody Mary has some nasty scratches - she warns her guests
to stay close and be on the look out for demons...she's never lost a guest, yet.

This year's theme was grim and gruesome tales from the Brothers Grimm.  So, each building along the tour featured a short, theatrical retelling or scene pulled directly from the pages of classics like "Cinderella," "Frau Trude," "Godfather Death," and many more.  Sometimes guests stood witness, helpless to save characters from impending doom, and other times they even became part of the scene.  And if the stories didn't scare them, the spooks of the night sure did!

Snow White at the head of the table.

This year, I was thrilled to have the chance to play Snow White in a two-part scene.  The first, in the Hamilton "castle," featured one of the two queens (double cast role), a huntsman and the royal cook; the second, in the Davis "cottage," the same, vengeance-seeking queen and Snow White.

Set & props for Snow White's cottage - the guests loved the dwarves'
place settings which featured each name in German!

Snow White foolishly disobeys the dwarves' warning not to let anyone but them in and is tricked by a harmless looking peddler, the evil queen in disguise, selling irresistible, ivory combs!  

Dressed rehearsal photograph courtesy of Maria.

While the comb may have only put Snow White to sleep, the apple got her!

Dressed rehearsal photograph courtesy of Maria.

Anyways, it was cold, but lots of fun thanks to friends!  And last weekend, the last weekend of tours, we sold out!  So make sure to reserve your tickets next year to take part in the spooky, historical fun...you won't want to miss out!

Sunday, October 25th, featured another Halloween museum event, this time much sweeter and more family friendly: Trick or Treat in the Village!  Children had the chance to partake in all kinds of holiday fun, including, meeting our historically accurate, Disney princess, roasting marshmallows, face painting, coloring spooky cute pictures, and, of course, knocking on historic doors in search of candy!  We were absolutely SWAMPED with children in cute, little costumes!  I heard it was a record breaking day - and the traffic jam to prove it - with attendance figures of over 5,300 people!!  (Wow, I sure wish every museum event could bring in those numbers!)

I was stationed in the grand Hamilton House for the day - lucky for me, next to my good friend and partner in crime, Ariana, in Hyde.  There was a non-stop line of trick or treat-ers between our two buildings, and we both had to be rescued with more candy.  At a rate of just one Kit-Kat per child, I went through three entire tubs of candy in 4.5 short hours...

So, my costume for the day...any guesses?

If you guessed a young, Queen Victoria, than you are correct!  What happened to your Cinderella costume, a few of you loyal readers may ask...well, I didn't end up finishing it for Sunday.  Instead, I fixed up an older costume (more on this to come).  But, never fear, Cinderella is not forgotten and she'll get her day yet...Anyways, I think it was a hit as I've never been called a "princess" or had my likeliness taken so many times in my entire life!!  I'm happy that the children (and their adults) enjoyed it :)

Ariana & I even slipped away at the end of the day to have a few royal portraits taken on the porch of Hamilton:

Doesn't she look regal?  I love her bustle dress!

Photograph courtesy of Ariana.

Photograph courtesy of Ariana.
AND, she even posed and allowed me to take a few more detailed shots of her 'seventies hat!  Many thanks!  This was my first attempt at millinery ever back in 2011:

Front view of Late Victorian tilt hat.

The vintage(?) straw base had to be cut to size, wired and bound with bias tape.  Then, it was attacked with flowers and cheap craft feathers...perhaps not all that period correct, but we all had to start somewhere, right?

She's so photogenic!

Someday, I'll get into the bustle era...but, for now, here's another early millinery throwback from The Secret Garden (2012), directed by Elana Gizzi.  My first hat that made it onto the stage (and, on second thought, may have actually been my first attempt at millinery, hmm...)

Pulled a hat from the box, covered it in fabric and proceeded to tack just about everything I could find onto it.  Yup, I've come a long way...

On stage.  I also made the ghost costume furthest to the left!
It was a challenge to get the fabric to drape and stay the way I wanted.
Photograph courtesy of Facebook.

Well, back to sewing I go!  Unless I "dye" first...more on that to come.  Thanks for reading!


  1. I love your new banner!! It reminds me of cards I used to get as a little girl!! Your first bustle hat is awesome!! Well done! But you as the Young Queen Victoria!! Epic!!!!! The dress is fabulous!! The orders fabulous!!! Your hair... Fabulous!! You have a sash!! Fabulous and your tiara!! I am swooning!!!!! Love love love!!

    1. Oh I am so happy to hear that you like the new banner! (I hope you were able to save some of those cards, because they sure sound cute!)
      And, WOW, I am just blown away by your response towards my Queen Victoria costume - THANK YOU, Gina!!! All of your royals costume research and tutorials were such a huge inspiration!!
      Anneliese :)