The dress pattern in all it’s glory arrived in the mail today. The instructions seem thorough and easy enough to follow, which is a plus. Now all I have to do is find some cheap fabric so I can start making the practice garments. Oh, and get the sewing machine. And buy a tape measure. This could take a while…
I was so looking forward to making something in a mid-30s style that it kind of threw me for a loop when the writers decided to go for 1930. I’ve been doing a bunch of research lately and had found some awesome stuff, but none of the patterns I had fallen in love with were earlier than from 1933. What to do? Intentionally make an outfit that’s all wrong for the time period? Put hours and hours into a project I wasn’t completely sold on? I decided to go for option one, which in this case would be the lesser evil in my mind. I’m fairly sure most of the participants at this particular LARP wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference between a look from 1930 and 1940, much less one that’s “only” four years off. They’re lovely people and dedicated LARPers, but costume geeks they are not. I figure I might as well make something I absolutely love, and then find other uses for it. Although I kind of cringe at the thought.
So what does this affront to historical correctness look like? Why, here it is! If I will in fact use the cape for a coat, I’m going to have to find some sort of cardigan to wear underneath if I don’t wish to freeze to death. I’ve seen some cool coat patterns, but I’m trying not to get ahead of myself here. This is going to take a while, especially if I go by the book – which I absolutely intend to do (Me? Control freak?), and I’d rather not be sitting in a giant pile of unfinished rags tearing my hair three days before the big night. Better try to finish one garment at a time.
Anyway. I ordered the pattern from Eva Dress today. They have a beautiful collection of reproduction patterns ranging from 1800s to 1950s – it’ll be interesting to see if the pattern is any good to work with. Oh, I hope so! If it comes out a tenth as beautiful as in the picture, it’ll be my favorite outfit EVER.
The LARP officially has a name! Skuggor över Finnåker (Shadows over Finnåker). It will be set in 1930 – so much for my reliable inside source. Good thing I hadn’t ordered any patterns yet, I’m going to have to rethink the whole costume. But where will I find new ideas?
This little number may not be strictly Lovecraftian, but it definitely has the insanity part down. Who writes something like this?
Ah, the dress. The icing on the super amazing cake that will (hopefully) be my costume, the source of my future fellow LARPers’ jealousy and respect. Or something. I don’t have any hopes for finding free dress patterns, and I’m certainly not going to try to make my own – I’m a decent hobby seamstress, but let’s face it, I’m not going to apply to Project Runway any time soon. Again, perfect historical accuracy is not the priority, so all I had to do was go online, and find some nice shop that carries reproduction patterns to make a stylish, mid-30s outfit which comes in my size and works in cold weather. Should be a snap, right? Wrong, apparently. Astoundingly enough, genuine 30s looks do not dominate today’s fashion industry. That, or I’m looking in all the wrong places.
After going through quite a few sellers of very pretty vintage dresses that are way too valuable to be worn to a LARP, I eventually found Folkwear, a company that sells patterns for “vintage and ethnic garments”. Apart from some nice but not terribly useful patterns (like a cute Russian peasant outfit that I would never find use for) they have a retro department with some good stuff.
This pattern is called 1930s Day Dress. Pro: It’s a dress! Which is pretty! From the 30s! Con: Well, not so much from the 30s as in the imagined style of. I’m not going for prefect period accuracy here, but it would be nice to know what year I’m almost, kinda dressed for. Also: That dress in October? *Shudder*.
Here we have something a little more season-appropriate. The Sophisticated Lady (yes, that is what the pattern is called) isn’t specifically dated, or super interesting for that matter, but it’s something. I can’t help but feel that it looks a bit matronly, and possibly not like something a dashing old time investigator (or cultist) would wear if given the choice, but hey – it’s not like the internet has been real forthcoming with providing good alternatives.
I was pretty tapped out from hours of toiling away with search engines, when I finally stumbled on something that was really worth getting excited about: The Magic Bias Slip at Dressmaking Research. This beautiful undergarment from 1931 even comes with construct-it-yourself pattern directions! Suddenly I remembered why I started this project in the first place, and decided to not give up on trying to find a dress pattern that excites me as much as this pretty little thing.
There’s sill a bunch of stuff to do before I can start sewing – for instance, the machine I plan on using resides happily at my sister’s apartment an hour’s trainride away – but at least I have a plan (well, a start) and I can begin the search for fabric. I still don’t have a clue what I’m actually going to look like, but I have a feeling that what’s on underneath is going to make me feel pretty fabulous.
Today, I’m offering you two excellent video tutorials on 30s makeup style, plus the kind of dream crushing facts serious fashion history buffs always end up hitting you over the head with, but that’s not til the end of the post so don’t worry your pretty little head with that just yet.
The first one is from Helena Rubinstein (it can take a while for it to get going, but it’s worth it). The light shading around the eye is SO pretty, and the style is spot on. The eye brows look pretty much perfect to me at about 1:17 – after that the whole thing turns into more of an exaggerated movie star look, which is wonderful, but not really what I’m going for.
The second video is from makeup artist and model (and, might I add, makeup tutor extraordinaire) Natasha Rae. I get the feeling this look is intended for a burlesque setting, which would make it a little extreme in my context.
Actually, both looks seem a bit exaggerated (if super pretty) to my eye. Helpful style wise, but they leave the finer details kinda fuzzy. Is that really a lipstick color you could get away with? Luckily the retro fashionistas at Revamp have a whole page dedicated to makeup do’s and don’ts for the 1930’s.
You really should go over there and read the whole thing, but the jist is YES. The thirties looks we see today are usually WAY exaggarated. The short version: Lipstick not emulating natural coloring – only for evening. Eyeshadow – only for evening (unless you’re a bit of a harlot, in which case, please stick to light brown). For evening purposes good girls are allowed to darken their eyebrows a tad plus use eye shadow. But not a lot of it! Actually the Revamp thing is worth reading for the attached inspirational story alone. It’s about this poor girl who can’t hold a job and eventually ends up in prison for writing bad checks. I won’t spoil the ending, but her “muddy complexion” plays a major part!
OK, so here’s the deal. I don’t know the exact year in which the LARP in question will be set, nor it’s name (if it has one yet). What I do have is a connection in the writing team whom I shamelessly bombard with questions as I try to figure out the exact right thing to wear. Some would say I’m getting ahead of myself – a sentiment I freely poopooh. Three months is by no means an extravagant time frame to make this kind of costume, and I will do what I have to to get it done.
Well. What do I know? This LARP is going to take place at lovely Finnåker Manor (more on this subject in a later post) on Halloween. It will probably be set in the early to mid-30s, I’m guessing around 1934-36 (How do I know this? I am sworn to secrecy. Sworn!). It’s also going to be cold out – Sweden in late October is no joke.
So here’s what I’m thinking: A stylish yet practical mid 30s outfit that works both in-and outdoors. Seeing as I’m not super worried about historical accuracy, that’s close enough to start some serious researching. To the Interwebs!
I’m about to take on my biggest LARP costuming project to date: Putting together a complete 1930s look including several home made garments. Historical accuracy will not be an absolute priority – I’m trying not to bite off more than I can chew, sewing wise. This blog is a space for me to document my progress, but also to collect reference photos, post links about cool stuff and just generally put the LOVE in “Lovecraft-inspired early 20th century LARP”.