Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A few costuming links

Oh, dear! Where has the time gone? Sorry to be running so late!

Scientists Find 5,500-Year-Old Preserved Shoe In Cave via NPR

An Overview of Regency Stays/Corsets at the Oregon Regency Society

Costume-Con 29 will be hosted by the Sick Pups, the NJ/NY Chapter of the International Costumers' Guild (ICG).

Thistle Hill Weavers has hard-to-find reproduction fabrics

There's a new issue of Yipe

YIPE! Volume 2, Issue 6, "We'll Take It In A Little," is now available for download at http://www.yipezine.com/

Our June issue has a special focus on the recent Baycon here in Santa Clara:

Our first BayCon tale comes from our good friend Leo Schwab, who writes of his out of costume life as a man everyone accuses of being in costume. The awkwardness is reinforced by Joanne Pelaschier's take on her first ever outing to the San Francisco Bay Area's. um. BayConiest. convention?

Then, right on schedule, EspaƱa gives the Masquerade system an atomic wedgie and steals its lunch money. Longtime reader and first-time contributor Deborah Bretschneider follows with the tale of "Eat theGuests", BayCon's first attempt at a zombiewalk. or zombie sit, as the case may be.

And, because we're all a bunch of selfish bastards who can't stop talking about ourselves for one instant, Mette puts us back on track with 10 questions for Cosplay goddess and BayCon regular Karisu.

As usual, we're always on the lookout for submissions for the next issue. Drop a line to editors@yipezine.com if you have an article,photos, art, poetry, etc. you'd like to contribute to issue 2.7 for July!


Saturday, May 22, 2010

More costuming links

The Mourners: Tomb Scultpures from the Court of Burgundy - Sculptures from the 14th and 15th centuries. The views of each statue rotate.

Great slide shows from the Costume Preservation Workshop of the Vasser College Collection:

Black and Gold Beaded Dress – Treatment Report

Brown silk teagown – Treatment Report

Pink/Grey Bustle Ensemble Treatment

Monday, May 17, 2010

Links to Photos from Costume Con 28

Richard Man took many wonderful photos of the costumes at CC28. Enjoy!






The top level links to all the CC28 photos are

From Richard:
You can buy prints from the site directly. I have set the price to be fairly low: only $2.49 for a 4x6 print.

I will make CD of all the competition photos (web size resolution only, suitable for computer viewing) for $28 including shipping. Just send me a check or use paypal.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Now on Kindle

I am so happy! In fact, I'm thrilled!

My dictionary of colour in history,
Elephant's Breath and London Smoke,
is now available on Kindle!

More news from my publisher, Five Rivers: Apple, Kindle, Smashwords and The Docket

Friday, March 19, 2010

A little about me ...

My publisher, Lorina Stephens of Five Rivers Publishing, has interviewed me at

There's a bit about me, my pattern company, and my book, Elephant's Breath & London Smoke. Plus a few thoughts on my current work. Please drop by.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

from the Vassar College Costume Collection

Someone on one of my costume lists mentioned this very interesting site. *

Students from the Historic Costume Preservation Workshop at Vassar College examine ...

It gives short videos of students examining historic costumes from the Vassar College Costume Collection. Lots of construction details are shown!

* Sorry, I was brainless and deleted the email, or I'd give you credit.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bonnet Workshop on May 2, 2010

This looks too good to pass up:

will be on May 2nd, 2010 at the Sandy Historical Museum. It will be taught by Stephanie Johanesen and sponsored by the Oregon Regency Society.

Have a look at her gorgeous bonnets, and her instruction videos. She makes it easy!

I wish I lived somewhere near Oregon!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A new review of Elephant's Breath & London Smoke

Lorina at Five Rivers and Google Alerts mentioned this great review of EBLS at Rosemary for Remembrance. Thank you, Jonquil! And thanks for comparing it to a "box full of perfect chocolates" in an earlier post. You made my day!

Elephant's Breath and London Smoke: Historic Colour Names, Definitions, & Uses. Edited by Deb Salisbury, Five Rivers, Neustadt, Ontario, Canada, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9739278-2-5, $32.95.

To begin with, this book is fun. Just skimming the pages leads you to treasures like "wine yellow", "the pale and doubtful shade of claret known as wine-and-water", and "clair de lune", "A color that gives the effect of sheeny white, over pale blue." If you want to browse 19th-century fashionable clothing colors, this book is absolutely perfect for you.

There are, however, some execution problems. The back cover promises to cover "from around 1380 to 1922" in "English, American, Canadian, and Australian publications." In practice, however, few of the citations are to sources from the 1700s; most pre-19th-century citations are to 19th-century references to older works, including an 1845 modernized edition of Chaucer and Letters Received by the East India Company, 1897. There are no references to modern scholarship -- one obvious omission is Janet Arnold's magisterial Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd.. The author says frankly that "A great many of my sources were found on Google Books", and the book reflects the limitations of what is currently digitized and in the public domain. (If you look at the bibliography, however, the author has clearly researched works that are not currently digitized.) Similarly, the references to early 20th-century sources are scant; the last one I spotted was to 1910, and there are only a few 20th-century books in the bibliography.

Almost all the citations are to fashion publications. If you want to know what architects, for instance, were saying about colors you're out of luck. There are, however, some invaluable citations to a 1908 source, Modern Pigments and their Vehicles, and to an 1834 source, Practical Treatise on Dying, both of which give recipes for colors, useful for pinning down precisely what was intended by a particular name.

Although the book is in dictionary style, repeated references aren't merged into a single header. Instead, you have eight definitions of "iron gray", one after the other in a long line. Similarly, the entries for "dead leaf", "feuille mort", "filemot", "foliomort", "philomot" are cross-referenced but not merged. It's enormously labor-intensive to do this sort of merging, so for a single individual not working under the aegis of an academic press, its absence is unsurprising.

There are some enjoyable longer paragraphs in the back under the title of "Period Comments on Colours" including "Victorian Complaints about 17th-Century Colour Names" and "Old and New Colours:1872". There is also an invaluable bibliography. As a piece of scholarship, Elephant's Breath & London Smoke is somewhat limited. As a laywoman's (-man's) reference to the fashionable clothing colors of the 19th century, it is invaluable. And, as mentioned in the opening paragraph, it is fun.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tartans and costumes

Scotland for the Senses has info about the tartan, and a cool giveaway!

Tartan: The lore, the love (and this month's giveaway)

Kevin Roche announced a new issue of

The Costume Fanzine of Record

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fun award and an amazing 1906 video

John Sankovich at A little bit of... has awarded me with the "Creative Writer" award in his current post: WiP Wednesday

Thanks, John!

Here are the rules of the blog award:
1) Thank the person who tagged me. √
2) Copy and Paste the award on my blog. √
3) Link to the person who nominated me. √
4) Tell up to 6 lies and 1 truth about myself.
5) Tag at least 7 people for this award.
6) Post links to their blogs.
7) Comment on each of their blogs to inform them of the nomination.

Hmmm. I need to think up some lies.

But for now I want to share a fantastic link to a video made in San Francisco in 1906.

Thank you, Linda Bryan, for sharing this on the 19th Century Women list!!!

This is the text with the email she received.

Frisco Street 7-minute Car Ride 1906 - No lights, no traffic direction, all at the pace of a horse or bicycle. Thought the young people might not believe what life was like 100 years ago!Even some cars with right hand drive!

This fascinating bit of film was shot from the San FranciscoMarket Street cable car estimated taken just a few days before the '06 earthquake. Ntre [sic] the cable "rail" between the tracks. The cable cars currently in use have not changed since these pictures.

Amazing to see the casual way the early cars just wove in an outof traffic and the pedestrians seemingly taking their lives in theirhands as they walked in front of anything on wheels. Notice the heavy goods wagons running on tracks on the right as they get close to the Ferry Building. The wagons appear to have extra large steel wheels with a standard track width.

And what about the fat cop with his truncheon ready to deal withany civil disturbances. Wonder what he did during the earthquake.

Some comment from a local historian:
-This gets identified as 1905 to 1909, but recent research by some transitexperts concludes that it was done possibly on Monday, April 16, 1906 orTuesday, April 17! Yep a day or two before the earthquake that wouldgreatly alter this landscape.

The other interesting thing is to watch the traffic and the chances peopletook when crossing the street. Street accidents were endemic throughoutthe US as the country changed with the advent of the horseless carriage.

The cable cars that are visible were running at a predictable 9.2 MPH.Horses moved slowly on city streets too. But the automobile could reachspeeds of 20 MPH! Early autos had the steering wheel on the right, thenwe standardized it to the left. The rules of the road were evolving. Major train crossing had crossing lights, but rural crossing were only marked with a sign and you were responsible for your own safety in crossing the tracks and looking for the train a'coming. Even signal lights in cities didn't evolve until the 1920s. The cop directing traffic was about the only traffic control in use until then. As life sped up, we devised ways to protect the public, but it evolved slowly and unfortunately a lot of people died getting where we have some civility on city streets.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Another review for Elephant's Breath & London Smoke

by Carol Wood

Just got my copy of "Elephant's Breath & London Smoke: Historic colour names, definitions & uses," ed. by Deb Salisbury. I LOVE it! I'm a sucker when linguistics meets costuming and this is a great book, I think.

I've as yet only looked up a few color terms and I think it's well done.


Didn't know about it until I read a book review in the latest issue of the Virtual Costumer (http://www.siwcostumers.org/) and I just love it!

What do others think of it so far?

Thank you, Carol!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Georgian Stays - links

Hallie Larkin at 18th Century Stays has compiled a list of

Online Images of 18th Century Stays

WOW! What great photos! Thanks, Hallie!

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Reviews on EBLS

On Amazon UK:

Excellent reference work, 25 Dec 2009
By Malcolm Green http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R3LNMHO8Q79026/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

Not a book to read as such - this is not some coffee table tome on colours and pigments - but an excellent reference book, referring colour names (listed, with bibliographical details and often many citations for the same colour name) from the 14th to the end of the 19th century) over hundreds of pages. This is an excellent bit of sustained research that should appeal to everyone from artists colourpersons to the fashion-minded, costume historians, interior designers, people of the stage, horse-fanciers (sensibly many horse colours are listed) and not least of all poets. Quite a gem and quite unexpected. And if I wrote at the beginning this is "not a book to read" you will find yourself dipping and before you notice wallowing...


At the wonderful blog - Two Nerdy History Girls

The NHG library: Elephant's Breath & London Smoke

Thank you, Malcolm and Loretta!