Meryl Streep is my spirit guide…

Eleonora Update:  I am waiting to hear back from the museum about the napkins that I want to use for the pattern (apparently they were out of them?).  Margo has also kindly sent me a mock-up of a basic sleeve pattern that I need to get done so I can tell her the fit status, as it is the result of a new drafting method she is using.  Pirate Anne is in Philly visiting her mother and picking up the red silk yarn she will be using to knit the Death Socks (hee).  And I have been recouperating from the bug that El Jefe brought back from India with him.  Consequently I have done more web-surfing than sewing.

I did very little over the weekend because I went out of town with El Jefe to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary.

Weren’t we adorable?  I was a child bride of 21 and wearing my mother’s modified 1969 wedding dress and he was a hot paratrooper with abs of steel.  Sniff.  The good old days.

We went to Stillwater and Hudson and stayed at this inn, in the Queen Anne Suite.  It was LOVELY.  I think I have sold El Jefe on Jacuzzi tubs.  Hudson is a beautiful town and we are seriously considering moving there after S finishes high school.  This satisfies my “Pa Ingalls Itch to Move West” feeling that I get roughly every 3 years or so.

We also spent a great deal of time wandering around the little towns and (in my case) shopping in antique stores.  My big finds this past weekend were a 5 piece wooden hat form for $47 (score!), and so much vintage lace that I stopped keeping track.  You see, I’ve gone slightly astray in my costuming plans.

I elected to pull out of the Realm of Venus costuming challenge when I realized that I had not adequately planned time for the amount of stuff I needed to do.  I decided I would still make the Antea gown for Amanda 1.0 and enter it into the Showcase instead of the contest.   This opened up a bit of breathing room in my current sewing schedule.

Then I started thinking of all the events I have coming up for the rest of the year and realized that I have THREE Steampunk events to go to, two of which are multiple day events.  At this point I have roughly 2 outfits that could be worn, as well as the White Queen.  This is not nearly enough clothing.

I went looking through the Truly Victorian website and bought a bunch of patterns in the Belle Epoch section and some from the Late Bustle section.  I have long been a fan of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  I love movies from this time period, such as “A Room with a View,” and “Anne of Green Gables.”

(Image copyrighted to Canadian Broadcasting System, “Anne of Avonlea” production.)

How AMAZING is that dress?  And her big poufy Gibson Girl hair?  I have loved the outfits in that movie for years.  I hadn’t really thought of them as being Steampunk worthy or even thought of them at all recently, till I saw this dress made by Lauren at Wearing History.  It was so lovely and she made it in A WEEK.  She is my new costuming hero.

I was thus inspired and decided that I needed to have a dress like this.  Cue the acquiring of various pieces of lace at all the antique stores known to man in Eastern Minnesota.  By the end of the weekend I realized that I had WAY more lace than was needed for one dress, so I decided that I would make them for myself and my daughters.  Because why not?

I found this lovely vintage collar for $5.50 on eBay (free shipping!):

I had not found a pattern that I liked well enough for my Anne Dress (I am not comfortable draping this sort of thing) until I found a Promenade patterns 1905 summer dress pattern.  I am undecided on buying the pattern, as I have found an equally lovely skirt pattern at Truly Victorian, and a bodice pattern that could possibly work from Ageless Patterns.  I am a little torn about what to do.

I also bought this lovely piece of cutwork (drawn work?) eyelet vintage fabric from eBay for a simple Edwardian style tea dress:

It is a monsterously huge piece at 56 x 90 inches and is in perfect condition.  I’m a little giddy thinking about it.

During my pattern buying spree I started looking at the customer photos on the TV site.  When I saw this photo it sparked a thought in the back of my memories.  I couldn’t figure out what the thought was until I did a quick Google search and came up with this:

(Image copyrighted to Universal Studios, “Out of Africa”)

Suddenly I was 14 years old and it was the last day of school in 1986 and I was in the Boulevard Theatre (the cheap theatre!) wishing that Robert Redford would wash my hair for me on a safari in Africa.  And I remembered where my fascination of the Edwardian era and the early 20’s came from – “Out of Africa.”  I’ve only seen the movie twice, and yet it left such an impression on me.

I wanted a farm in Africa.  I wanted to wear those beautiful dresses and the hunting outfits and the lovely linen trousers and the big hats.  I wanted to write stories underneath my mosquito netting and be romanced by dashing pilots who had little crinkles at the corners of their eyes.

Honestly, I wanted to be Meryl Streep/Karen Blixen.  Without the syphillis.  But with the gorgeous skin.

And what I really deep down wanted was ALL of the clothing.

This one and

this one and

this one and

this one and

this one and

this one and

this one and

(All images copyrighted to Universal Studios, “Out of Africa”)

this one.

Apparently when the film was released it sent a wave through the fashion industry.  All of the khaki and safari jackets and crisp blouses of 1985-1987 were due to the response of the fashion world to this movie.  Ralph Lauren made out like a bandit, let me tell you.

And this is where the Cheap Chick would tell me, “Laura honey, beige is not your friend.  You shouldn’t wear beige.”

I beg to differ.  This is khaki, not beige.  And off white and almond and other lovely neutral colors that make me want to drive off in a Jeep and go look at some lions.

It also made me buy this truly lovely tropical weight wool from eBay:

Folks, wool makes me itch.  It has to be REALLY well lined and I have to have a scarf and gloves separating the wool from my bare skin.  Apparently my trip down memory lane has inspired some sort of insanity.

Then I started thinking about my previous Steampunk outfits.  I have tended towards culottes, towards browns and almonds and other neutral skirts and things.  I have worn leather vests and crisp blouses and straw hats…..

I have been subconsciously trying to be a Streampunk Meryl Streep.

Now that I know this, I have decided to just embrace it, head on.  I am going to make my Steampunk persona (Laura the Explorer, as named by the Cheap Chick) late 1800s to 1920.  I am going to incorporate a little “Anne of Green Gables” and a lot of “Out of Africa”.

Frankly, I am a little excited about it.

Now I just need to re-do the costuming spreadsheet with a more realistic time line for each costume I need to make.  And a more realistic plan for NUMBER of costumes that need to be made.

HAH!  Like that’s going to happen….

3 thoughts on “Meryl Streep is my spirit guide…

  1. Terry says:

    The Edwardian era is great, isn’t it? I especially love the costumes in House of Mirth. And it’s nice to know I’m not the only one with a costume spreadsheet…

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