Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Bleak December

I used to think that E.A. Poe should have a counterpart. Well heeled, happy, a ray of sunshine called Edgar Allan Rich. A combination of both Cherryble brothers and Mr. Fezziwig, but handsome.
It's such a dumb, cheerful idea.
Mr. Rich's powers of gladdening have failed me after a disheartening November. Politics, sudden death, a sad but dutiful trip to the Pacific Northwest (no shade to my Washington pals). The land of Sad-squash. It's so bleak, all hope is lost and your dreams are crushed. Not a fair assessment, I know. It may have been the funereal aspect that caught me.
Black velvet inspired by the picture on the lower right. And a 3/4 sleeve dinner dress in a brocade that has been languishing. It may languish longer.
 I did make a few half-hearted attempts at sewing, I started and abandoned a couple of ball/evening dresses for our annual Holiday ball in Pasadena, then opted for something from the closet. Because why try.

Look petticoat has a border! I call that progress.
I did find enough bon ami for raillery with my London friends. I'll pull up my socks and go onward to The Great Dickens Christmas Fair. Because I need a little Christmas, right this very minute.

Every Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

(Mostly) Thrift Store Anne Bonny

 And finally, pirates.
Scallywags, buccaneers, they even have their own talk like one day. We all have favorites and I want not to forget the ladies.  As the final thrift store personage from history, I give you Anne Bonny.
Copper plate engravings add 10 pounds.

We are guessing at her appearance so here goes!
Properly warned be ye says I!
Is this impression a little stereotypical? Sure. My apologies to Pirate Americans.
Stand back lubbers, he's mine.

Lets break it down.

This fab coat was given to my by Loren, I was to have been part of a Costume College Disney villain group  a few years ago, but was too sick to make it. Captain Hook represents!

Retrimmed Halloween store hat, American Duchess Pompadours and 99c Store striped socks.
Skirt, belt and shirt thrifted from various stores.
Astrolabe? Sundial? Sextant? Not sure but it's adorable. Fancy pomander which opens for the storing of poison! 
These thrift store treasures are collected throughout the year, honestly it's a numbers game. You just have to go regularly, sometimes you score, but mostly you don't. Still thrifting means I can buy shoes. American Duchess and Remix are my two favorites. Here's a link to the Pompadours-

Happy Halloween, may all your fun-size be Snickers and may black and orange taffy never clutter your stash.
Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine

Monday, October 24, 2016

Thrift Store Frida Kahlo

We know her.
The mono-brow, the flowers, the braids, the folkloric aesthetic. Fierce painter, wife of Diego Rivera, life long communist (which now seems so quaint).  Style icon.
Would she be pleased that we can distill her down to a few shorthand pieces? Who knows.
It's the hallmark of the original.
Frida's Vogue cover portrait.
And my humble homage.

Monkey is optional.

Let's break it down.
Indian cotton skirt, cotton blouse with embroidery and random white skirt used as petticoat. All from the thrift.

Fake fur mustachio cut down and used for mono brow. This is a 99c Store treasure.

Snaky belt from deep inside the closet.

Floral headpiece also from the 99c Store. One flower came on each headband, I bought 5.  Monkey looks right at home.
Remix "Balboa" shoes and jingle-jangle bracelets from the bottom of the drawer. 
Now work it, baby!

Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Senorita Brilliantina 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Thrift Store George Sand

Halloween time.
Not a time for amateurs, sure the costume muggles may buy party store sexy nurse in a bag, but my patience with the lack of imagination gets thinner every year.
Honestly, if you want a sexy costume why not branch out? Sexy Supreme Court Justice, sexy Settlement House worker, sexy Huguenot?
You will ask, "Why sexy"? It's not the sexy I object to as much as the abysmal poverty of imagination. The sexy will go the way of all such youthful excess, let 'em have it.  
To that end I present-
Miss Brilliantine's Gallery of Thrift Store Historic Personages!

Thrift store George Sand
Merle Oberon, Judy Davis and of course George Sand, herself.
Authoress, muse and scandalous flouter of conventions, she lives in our imagination not so much for her novels as her determination to live by her own rules. Frankly, she sounds like a nightmare, but we don't have to invite her for the Holidays and listen to her sob stories, we can just enjoy.
Here's my version-
Bad case of "Resting Authoress Face"
Let's break it down, The whole impetus was finding a Macy's I.N.C. brand jacket at the thrift. It had all the things, length, color and even flap pockets at the waistline. It is modern so no actual waist seam, the thing that makes a frock coat, frock.
I just changed the buttons, because ugly plastic
  Frilly cotton blouse and trusty brocade vest made up the rest. Both came from thrift stores, the blouse recently, the vest so long ago it's been very kind of dress-up. The plaid pants are from my current closet, they look cute with boots and a sweater.
Ruffly shirt says "Dandy"!
And nothing sells an impression like accessories.
"Pardon me, can you direct me to the acetate ascot department?"
Robert Land boots, from the olden days, Laura Ashley hat, because who knows when it will come in handy? And pencil watch fob, nothing says "Authoress" louder.
There you have it. Will the unenlightened ask if you are Willy Wonka? Sure, but if you are like me you'll detain them with a lengthy history lesson, that'll learn 'em. Now add attitude and have your fragile lover write you a couple of sonatas, hopefully by moonlight.
Next up thrift store Frida Kahlo.

Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Every Day I Dye a Little and Shoe Confessions

Where was I?
At the intersection of too many choices and indecision. It was time to dye the un-dyed.
My American Duchess 'Dunmore' shoes had been languishing for lack of color. First I made a false start with aqua. I had visions of 'go with everything' deep Caribbean blue/green depths. Not to be. Then this happened across the Facebooks. Holy Cow!
SO much beauty....
 I ordered the dye from American Duchess and set to work. The dyes go on great but two tone colorways are a bit tricky.
I let the coral pink dry for a few days, screwing up my courage to add the black. I used junk drawer duct tape to tape off the pink, it worked fine. You need a steady hand and a few fine tip cotton swabs in addition to the cotton daubers and defiantly more than one coat of dye.
 Are they as pretty as the originals? Hardly, but I still like them, which is good. They will be worn with all the dresses.
The walking dyed
 Not surprisingly, I also had a pair of  'Tissot' dance pumps in need of color.
Orphan Tissots, alone and palely loitering.
 I had enough black dye left to give the Tissots a few coats. Super easy, this dye goes on smooth and the cotton sateen is very absorbent. They will all need a fix of Scotch-guard before wearing or my stockings will tell the tale.
My dragon's hoard of buckles, the shiny....

Now which to use? I confess, I like a sparkly buckle.
I wish I had ordered another pair of Tissots before they sold out, they would look smashing in a pale champagne color.
'Dunmores' come in dye-able cotton sateen and black wool, here's the link

She has a new boot called 'Balmoral' which comes in black leather with black cotton sateen uppers. I'm hoping for a dye-able version with the same black toes and heels. Dreamy.

Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

All the Voting Ladies!

I have ventured into the ankle deep waters of commerce.
Whatever your political persuasion. We have a solution, a 19th Amendment one.
Don't mess with the ladies.
T-shirt not to scale, solutions are.
Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine

Friday, July 29, 2016

My Little Enthusiasms

I had the conceit of a small trifle, a little giveaway from your Blogess to the attendees at Costume College. Had them made up and then called to have them overnighted (who wants them next Monday) Then received a call that the whole thing was being re-done and I'd have them Saturday. Well maybe they will show, maybe they won't, here's a peek.
I know I'd like one.
So that put a damper on things.

I did muster enough to make a long delayed Franken-blouse from a  dress pattern. See.
I'ma gonna wear it!
Baby wants to be a Franken-blouse.

I found a post about using a glue stick to position a zipper and it works a treat! Just don't get any of the glue on the metal teeth.

Since I'm only 20 mins away from the Costume College venue I'll pop in and out hopefully with treats. Otherwise the Trick or Treaters are getting something incomprehensible in their bags this Halloween.

Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Turque(ish) Delight

 I had a wonderful invitation to a Bastille Day/Birthday party for a dear friend.
 Let's call it a Birthille day party. I thought it would be the perfect time to try out a little Turque jacket, from scraps. You've seen these little jackets, not a Pierrot not a caraco, sort of a transitional affair with stripes and a tail, not unlike a platypus.
Confusion and dangerous times, with dagged sleeves.
I had a small stash of hoarded scraps in a pretty color with just enough to eek out a pair of dagged sleeves. I set to work.
 I used it ALL.
With a little frankenpatterning of the JP Ryan Anglaise pattern, I managed to eek out a fake "zone" front and sleeves. I cut out the front stripe and treated it as one with the aqua silk. Not the way I have seen it done on extant garments, but I'm telling a story here!
I love the sleeve on this pattern, I used the upper part and just added the dags. Then I treated the over/undersleeve as one. HA who knows... I think maybe the answer is lost to time. ;)
It was all coming together, an easy sew and a fun one. No big problems to unravel, SWEET.
No corset on the dummy so it looks a little crumpled, but golden tassels!
Fleur de lis buttons, Citizen? Perhaps my commitment to the Revolution isn't what it should be.
Fancy paste buckle, just waiting to be used.

I was sick as a dog. I had spent the preceding Wednesday at the ER with my mom and her terrible stomach flu. No good deed goes unpunished and I was laid low, very low. I laid on the sofa, barely able to open my eyes and felt like the only kid not at an epic party.
On the positive side, I have a new jacket waiting to be worn.
Such cold, cold comfort.
Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Outlander at the Paley

The Paley Center for Media has a wonderful exhibit on now, the Artistry of Outlander. A gallery full of costumes and set design, beautifully staged.

So much attention has been given to the Dior suit and the red dress, that the brilliance of the other costumes have been overshadowed. This is a close up look at the great detail involved in the making of these suits. I was really impressed by the men's costumes, the embroidery was fantastic. Of course it is all machine done, but so well it's a marvel.

Nice detail of  one of Bonny Prince C's suits.

It holds-up to close-up scrutiny.

As much as I liked the women's clothes the men's suits were remarkable. 


This trim, on close inspection turned out to be the bars from hook and bar closures, sewn very close together! It is genius.

The back of the apothecary's coat, you only get  glimpses of it on screen. The rest of the of the embellishment is embroidery in nightmarish motifs.
All the dresses are there. The Dior suit, the red dress and the brown embroidered, banyans etc.
This exhibit runs through August 14. If you plan to be in the Los Angles area for Costume College, I'd put a trip to Beverly Hills on the agenda, about the only thing you can do in BH for free./

Ever Your Thimble Servant,
Miss Brilliantine