Friday, September 21, 2012

Getting ready for the ACFW Awards Banquet

When you read this I'll be at my sixth ACFW conference. For years I've wanted to attend in full 1860's costume, but packing a hoop skirt into a carry-on suitcase is not something I want to say I've done.

So when I found out this year's conference would be in Dallas, and since I only live five hours away, this is the year I attend in a hoop skirt. I went to my costume closet in July to decide what to wear. My gorgeous lavender and white dress won out.

Slight problem though. Too small. The dress was made for me in 2006, and I've gained weight since then. The seamstress included all the fabric scraps with the dress and it became an easy fix. For the skirt anyway. Fitting the bodice to me required taking half of it apart, and I didn't want to spend the time doing it just to wear it for three hours. Oh, I forgot to mention. It's polished cotton. Polished cotton does not breathe. It's like wearing Saran Wrap.

Out came the trusty seam ripper. I let out the gathers, extended the waistband and sewed it back together. Took me about thirty minutes. All fixed!

So, what to do about a bodice? I hit the costume closet again and found an appropriate white blouse. More than a little plain though, so I took the crocheted collar off my lavender bodice and attached it to the blouse. Instantly dressed up!

But wait! There's more. My hair. I keep it short and layered. Not exactly period appropriate for 1860. When I was reeneacting all the time I did my hair in snoods. Period appropriate, no bobby pins to fall out. Except I didn't have a white one, and currently have no idea where they are. So what did I do? I made one. With #3 thread and a crochet hook.

Looks ridiculous draped over my hand, but awesome when it's on my head. It'll be trimmed with skirt-matching ribbon.

Still not done though. Accessories. I'm wearing polished cotton. In Dallas, Texas. In a room with 800 other people. I'm probably going to get hot. What did every Southern belle in the 19th century carry? A fan. I have a gorgeous Battenburg lace fan I've never had the chance to use. Matches the outfit to perfection. Also, I have a shawl. Purple silk with embroidered flowers and butterflies. A gift from a dear friend and fellow writer.

Still not done. The modern woman has to hide things when she's posing as an antebellum belle. Enter the reticule. It'll hide my cell phone, room key and banquet ticket, while completing the look of a genteel lady out for an afternoon stroll.

To see the complete ensemble on me, you'll have to come back next week.

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