Christmas 2013 was supposed to be a bit different. Well, at least stress free. So a decision has been made, we are not doing it. No tree, presents, food etc, no last minute decisions who is doing what and where and when, no last minute family travelling plans. instead, we made plans to go to London. Not far, we can get a nice hotel for our airmiles, just pure relaxation.
Until I realized I have nothing to wear….
Yep, alas, as far as modern clothing is concerned, my wardrobe is rather limited. I buy sports clothing and occasionally casual clothing, but apart from a few old dresses ( I don’t think I bought a dress, top or trousers in the last 2 years…), there was nothing suitable to parade about in the posh London hotel. True, I can take a few Victorian/Steampunk bits, they would work, but since it was Christmas, I wanted to have something special.
So a project was born – and after a short rummage in the garage I emerged with a few lengths of nice corduroy fabric and a vague idea of what can be made out of it.
The most important bits to have in mind were – Original, quirky – but wearable, comfortable and suitable for sightseeing in winter.
Then a ripple jacket pattern caught my eye – and that was really it. A smart 1895 bodice, can be paired with a skirt – and would look smart, quirky but not too weird.
December temperatures in London were a bit of a problem – but seeing i have enough fabric, i decided to make the jacket reversible. it worked, sort of, though a major pain, as the jacket still has seams boned, so making it was a bit tricky.
Skirt was easy – 4 panels, and a waistband, plus a contrasting binding.
And since i still had some fabric left, and had a few hours left before we were due to leave, I decided to make a pair of breeches – just in case it would be either too cold or we wanted to do something more energetic.
Monday 23, we were packed, with half finished gear – buttons to sew on etc. I also managed to cram an old hat into the suitcase, plus some fabric straps – may just be able to make a matching headgear!
The hotel was indeed a tad posh (Crowne Plaza near St.James’ park ), but our weird clothes met with applause – the first day, after a nice sauna we set off to a Mexican restaurant, braving the gale force winds and rain – wrapped rather nicely in long Victorian skirt and coat, Lucas sporting his Regency Great coat 🙂
Next day saw us walking around and looking for quirky bits at Camden town. In the evening, after a lovely Christmas Eve dinner at Zizzi and a stroll over to the Westminster, it was time to finish my outfit.
Buttons were sewn on and it was time to work on the hat.The base was this: a modern I wore for a friend’s wedding:
a few hours work with leftover fabric, feathers etc, I ended up with this:
I was ready.
On Christmas day we had a brief photo session with the new attire – the hotel’s lounge and courtyard was ideal!
and after the session off we went – on our bikes! the Barclay bike scheme means you can get public bikes for pennies and cycle around London – so we spent Christmas days enjoying a leisurely ride through the Royal Parks – Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, then after a short walk ( just for a change) back on bikes again, heading towards Chinatown for our Christmas meal – crispy duck and noodles:-)
Funny thing, it was not the jacket or the trews that attracted the most attention – it was the hat! very amusing.
A very nice break – though badly marred by the Boxing day ‘adventure’ – we got to the train station to discover that when we were sold return tickets nobody bothered to tell us the trains actually don’t run on that day…. so getting back to Bedford was a bit complicated – and costly. well, you cannot have everything!
Rather pleased with the result of the costuming experiment too; the jacket was warm and cozy ( though turned out a tad too big)- and am now tempted to make something proper from the 1890ties…. will see….. 🙂
needless to say, clothing by Prior Attire,
photography by Pitcheresque Imagery