Sunday, November 14, 2010

Opera update

The only downside of Rigoletto was that it left me almost no time for costuming. Not to mention my Monday chorus group, Tuesday workshop/rehearsals, production of Die Fledermaus that I just got into (yay!) that rehearses 3-4 nights a week, and ~13 hours a week of tedious day-jobbing.

Not much time for costuming, once you factor in the fact that I really do need more sleep than I've been getting. I've already cut ballet and one concert from my schedule (the concert conflicted with opening night of Fledermaus; ballet conflicted with sleep). I'm not used to having to learn so much new material at once. The Monday chorus is pretty easy, but any music is pretty easy to learn when there's no blocking to go with it and you're surrounded by people singing the same part that you are. The real trick was Fledermaus (I'd been listening to it in Deutsch, and we're doing it in English - d'oh!), and the Tuesday opera workshop. I'm singing an aria that I thankfully have performed before, Susanna in the "Canzonetta sull'aria" scene and duet from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Sophie in "Bonjour grande soeur... Ah! Le rire est beni... Des larmes qu'on ne pleure pas..." (and whatever else is included in that scene) from Massenet's Werther, and the Second Spirit in the "Bald prangt... Du also bist" trio and quartet from Mozart's Die Zauberflote. If two of those pieces weren't Mozart, I swear I'd be done for!

How does this fit into my costume blog, you may ask? That's the thing. My main interest is opera (though if anything happened to my voice, costuming would be my next career choice), so lately I've been thinking I need an outlet for opera rants more than costume chats. 
As of now, my blog is officially dual-purpose! (Cue fanfares) 
I hope the costumers find my opera posts interesting, and vice versa. The way I do things, I keep opera and sewing pretty closely related. One of the things I love about opera is being able to wear the wonderful costumes and take regular trips back in time to the 18th century. I'd also like to find more people interested in opera to casually chat with - I'm hoping this blog might aid my search for a kindred mind or two. 

There may be a few design changes around here to accommodate the shift in focus. Nothing major - it's not a major shift, since the blog was already leaning heavily in an operatic direction.

I'm hoping the official change to an opera and costume blog will also inspire me to post more regularly. I miss writing when I've been away for it from a while.

Yours musically,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


The show last Sunday went fabulously!

My two minutes of solo fame couldn't have gone better, according to my teacher, and I trust her in all things vocal. I'm also quite pleased with my performance, including my time being seduced and spurned in Act 1, which was just as fun and silly as it had been in rehearsals, nevermind the 1000+ people in the audience.

I don't have pictures from the performance itself, but my costumes were too epic to miss keeping records of. So, a few days before the show, I convinced my mom to act as photographer and co-artistic director with me on a shoot in our backyard. She did really well!

Costume and mask from Act 1. I'm glad I supplied my own mask, I love having souvenirs from my performances! That necklace is glinting a very eerie green... No idea why it's doing that. The necklace wasn't really a costume piece, just a suggestion of mom's.

Did I mention that I got to be Gilda's "stunt double" for the abduction in Act 1, Scene 2? Gilda made her exit, we switched places in the wings, and Ceprano swooped in a few minutes later to carry me off. That dress was absolutely gorgeous, I need to recreate some version of it! It's a pity that the audience couldn't see much of it, but that was the whole point of having a "stunt double". It worked; many people I spoke to had no idea I was me!

The page! Now, that's what I call a frock coat. The fabric for the coat, breeches and vest was rather low-quality and of decidedly non-period materials (I could tell just by touching it), but it looked great from a distance - and up close, for that matter! See that bit of shirt around my neck and wrist? I found a very multi-century men's shirt at a TDF costume sale some weeks ago, took it in slightly, and now it's perfect for all and sundry costumial things, possibly even for dressing as a girl. And yes, another souvenir.
Oh, the epic shoes are mine as well.

Photos of S.C. in costume by Dianne D.; Costume pieces, unless otherwise specified, from the NJAVO's vast costume warehouse in PA. (I need to visit there some time!)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pseudo-Renfaire and Fort Tryon

The pseudo-Renfaire went very well! I wish I could have blogged more about my ensemble while it was under construction, but it all came together exceedingly well, with one or two alterations. I didn't get many photos from the pseudofaire, but here's one example.

There's the full outfit!
Capelet, corset, leggings, belt, and satchel just as planned, except that I omitted the sleeves from the corset to make sure I'd have everything done on time. The shirt's from Wal-Mart and looks surprisingly like unbleached cotton, and I used different boots to spare my best pair of heeled boots from the perils of running around on a hilly landscape after dark. The only things missing are a matching skirt and jewellery. For a skirt, I used my multi-purpose petticoat without an overskirt - so radical and daring for a lady!

Oh, and I made the bracers, just didn't wear them. Too hot.

A few weeks after the pseudofaire I attended the Medieval Festival in Fort Tryon Park, by the Cloisters in Manhattan. A few friends from the Renfaire and I gathered to watch the falconry demonstration, and I was picked to be a volunteer! It pays to show up in costume - I got to play perch to Spirit, the proud and graceful red-tailed hawk, between her flights across the field. The friends took pictures aplenty, but from where they were sitting, all they could get were side views.

Now that I'm done with my wenchly Medieval/Renaissance garb, it's on to my favorite century: The 18th!
I'm going to use the wonderful multi-purpose shoes that I bought a few months ago... (remember these?)

... And then sew a dressing gown, corset, and bodice or some kind of casaquin/caraco/figaro/robe and skirt. It'd also be nice to get a wig all fluffed and teased and together, I'm very curious as I've never done a wig before, and think one could look absolutely smashing if done right.

This post and the corsets it contains were brought to you by grommets and sledgehammers.
Hammering a few grommets is an excellent way for costumers to let off steam and create beautiful, professional-quality garments while doing it - because grommets make everything look awesome.

Monday, August 30, 2010

One thing at a time: Subito RenFaire!

Now the Fringe play is over and done with, I can shift my focus back to my main areas of interest: opera and costumes!

My voice is skipping happily along as it usually does, which is especially good since rehearsals for this fall's production of Rigoletto have begun!

I get to be tossed around by a few principals during the first act, and then dropped on the floor in a comical manner and forgotten about. I'm learning many interesting facts about royal courts in the 1600s, when our production is set. Men like the Duke of Mantua could decide to have an orgy to celebrate Tuesday, and the diritto feudale (ou le droit de seigneur) was in its prime, so with relative ease the Duke could treat said orgy as a feast for every sense, in every sense, as he'd already had a good deal of fun with most of the women in attendance. For the sheer novelty of it, now seems as good a time as any to seduce your jester's virginal daughter, no?

Anyway, I'm getting a bit carried away with the prose, here. The ball scene in Act I will be played as a masked ball, and I've decided to help develop my chorusey character by purchasing my own mask to match the costume I've been fitted for (alas, I've had no time to make my own). I've been thinking of adding lace or tulle around the top for a bit of extra flair (the character would like it so), but that might carry it over the top. I'll experiment with it.

The erstwhile corset of last July is still in production, but at the second to last step! I only have to add the bias tape and grommets, and it's ready to debut. Not a moment too soon, either. This Labor Day weekend, the yearly party I attend will be renaissance-themed. After singing an aria for the group two weeks ago that was received unimaginably well, I feel like I'm on a roll. I'd love for my costume to make a good impression. Also, I find deadlines to be a wonderful incentives to finish something quickly.

It's reversible!

I'm going to modify the design slightly, and combine two separate Simplicity patterns to make a fully-boned corset with detachable "sleeves." Everything will lace together with grommets, and interchangeable with other pieces made from the same or similar patterns, in case I want to do something more "harlequin" in the future.

I'm aiming to design an entire outfit that will be ready to wear to the faire in Tuxedo, NY before it closes, which I think will be on Sept. 20th. I planned to make the corset (with straps/sleeves), a matching skirt, and possibly a simple blouse if I can't find a cheap one. While wandering around the garment district today, however, I was forced to change my plans when I encountered a gorgeous, 1.5yd remnant of dark green wool crepe. There wasn't enough for a full cape, but it's perfect for a capelet, maybe even one with a hood (if I can figure those blasted things out).

So, a list of my costume pieces:
- Capelet (green, woolly)
- Corset (sleeves optional)
- Skirt (to match corset)
- Leather bracers (with the aid of grommets)
- Leggings (I think I have a pair somewhere)
- Boots (fancy, leather, waterproof, already mine)
- Jewellery (to be crafted)
- Belt (made of tassels) (More on that later.)
- Small satchel (to coordinate with the belt, possibly out of the green wool)

I think that's the largest single costuming task I've ever set for myself, or bothered to plan ahead of time. Gasp! I think I stand a chance of finishing it all, which would be fantastic for so many reasons. I'd always thought of doing something baroque first, but a Renaissance/Medieval woman of a generally unsavory character (part pirate, part cutpurse) is a fine first step into semi-serious costuming.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

One thing at a time: NY Fringe Festival

I spent half of July and most of August rehearsing and acting in a play that was part of the New York Fringe Festival. I won't name it, but I will say that it was a mildly interesting play and an excruciating run. My favorite thing about the entire experience was becoming acquainted with the other actors and the stage manager, who turns out to be a costume geek like myself. (Hooray, another costumer on the Eastern coastline!) 
A final, important note on the Fringe play: If anyone has the opportunity to work with one Thomas Praino in the future, please feel free to contact me about my experiences during this production, in which he acted as playwright, director, and producer.

After the final show, the stage manager and I wandered around the most interestingly appareled areas of the city, and had heaps of fun picking out costumes that the men of the play would  have been wearing if we'd had our say - and a considerably larger budget. The show shifted from the middle-east, to some steampunk era, and then settled in baroque Europe with considerable punk, goth, and steampunk influences. If we'd had those costumes during the run of the show, they would have more than made up for the minor imperfections in each performance.

In the next post, it's back to costuming. I just had to get the weight of the Fringe play (like the Scottish play, you see, but less noteworthy). I'm also back to opera - Freaking YAY!

Monday, July 5, 2010


I just confirmed with my two closest friends that they would not be opposed to my sewing them into uncomfortable costumes and us all running around in a giant park doing random improv. This may well mean I immerse myself once more in the thick of costuming, or this may turn out to be another wild idea that doesn't come to fruition. Either way, life's looking particularly benissimo right now.

"It's only a flesh wound...

...I'm not dead yet!"
Still here, still costuming, though I've been feeling decidedly detached from life in general lately. Since I'm 99% sure that nobody from my current job knows the URL for this blog, or even knows that I make costumes in my spare time, I think I can say here that it feels like work has been gorging itself on heaps of my time lately, even though I know I don't work that many hours a week. This job is so far removed from my ultimate goals in life in just about every way, I don't think it's a huge secret that, although I do the best work that I possibly can while I'm there because I was raised (by karate) with the mindset that slacking off should be physically impossible, I'm only there because it pays for my vocal lessons and a bit of fabric and nice togs on the side. 

But back A good friend of mine just sent me (cross-country!) some lovely green fabric with gold stripes. I think it's acetate, but it looks like jacquard, which makes it the perfect candidate for:
My first corset! I need to purchase the fancy bit of machinery that puts in eyelets for you, but I think I know where to find it. Aside from the eyelets and lacing (also easy to obtain), I have everything I need. Main fabric, check; lining/reversible main fabric, check; leftover interfacing from frock coat, check. Oh, duh, I just remembered (silly, forgetful me) that corsets need boning as well. I'm going for the tried-and-true modern whalebone substitute: thick cable ties. I hope the interfacing I have is thick enough to hold its shape with the "bones" in, but if it's not, at least I won't be wasting any expensive fabrics. I do hope it stays together, though. I love the way the striped fabric looks even when I can only see the different cutout pattern pieces lying flat together on the cutting board.

And a quick room design update: 

As  I keep adding things to the room, more pictures of things will be added to the blog. I desperately want to paint soon, hopefully I'll be up for that once the AC is fixed. 
(Painting + 90-degree weather = not the good)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

All that glitters...

...Is table lamps and shoes.
Or is it "are table lamps and shoes"? Either way, I have a pair of both in wonderful gold hues, and they do wonders for my room designing and costuming efforts, respectively.

A few days ago I schlepped a few items into a huge furniture consignment warehouse that just opened a few blocks from my home, and I plan to schlep a few more as soon as I can. From the same warehouse I purchased a vintage brass tea cart that I'd been eyeing since Thursday, and yesterday I spent a good 3+ hours polishing it. It looks gorgeous, but with some particularly stubborn tarnish that I think gives it character. Everything seemed to fall into place yesterday; I had been thinking about getting some new lighting for my room and, walking home from work, I found a pair of table lamps sitting by the curb as if they had stepped out of their previous home promptly at 8:30 to wait for me to walk by. They're a simple, elegant shape, and seem to be hollow metal that almost matches the tea cart in color. Sitting with them were shades that can easily be re-covered to match my design. I don't know yet if the wiring works, but if not it should be easy enough to replace. Hooray for street treasure!

And remember my shoe-covering efforts? 
Well, now I have a perfectly good excuse reason to abandon that effort, at least for now. From a thrift store in the city that was serendipitously holding a 50% off sale when I happened in, I found an absolutely gorgeous pair of gold brocade shoes in a very interesting style that looks like a variation of fancy 18th century shoes.
(They look a bit whiter in the photo than they actually are, but you can see the pattern really well here.)
I think I'll be able to wear them when I sing in the NJAVO chorus in October, depending on what the rest of my costume is. I shouldn't need an excuse to wear them, and believe me I'd love to have them on my feet every single day, but New York transit system and exhaust dirt would all too quickly change the beautiful gold to the ubiquitous grimy city brownish-sludgey color. Urk. So, they'll sit under my "mannequin" for a while.

Monday, June 7, 2010

New layout!

For personal enjoyment more than anything else (which seems to have been the point of the rest of this blog thus far, though I don't really mind), I've tinkered with the HTML and a few images used in this blog and designed a spiffy new layout. I think the new version is a bit easier on the eyes, meaning it doesn't have the back-to-back red and orange tones that could appear eye-gougingly saturated on some monitors.

The new theme is simpler yet more elegant, I think, and the subject of it has a certain resonance with me.
Bonus geek creds to anyone who recognizes the scene depicted in my new header.

Aside from the obvious cosmetic changes (background, header image), I did some tinkering under the hood and changed the column sizes so more text will fit in a page. The expanses of background space previously left untouched by words was driving me mad.

I might do a bit more tweaking over the next few days, but I'm very happy with how my renovation has turned out thus far. I can't stop staring at the gorgeous silhouette image I found for the header and the lovely black/white/burgundy color combination; I hope my further costumial endeavors can live up to the elegance the new design advertises.
I just put in an order for eight historical patterns at $0.99 each online, so a chance to test my skills should be arriving in the mail within a few weeks. In the meantime, there's plenty of other things to do.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Until I can secure a French Baroque estate for myself, this will have to do.

I have a flair for opulent, French Baroque-type interior design, with a color palette taken partly from that period but mostly from my continued, semi-subconscious favoring of modern goth style. When we moved into my current house, I was given the larger of the two non-master bedrooms. It's a plus for space, and at least it isn't covered with obnoxiously 80's wallpaper, but I swear my room has the worst carpet in the house.

See for yourself here, see also the rolls of fancy paper which I plan to turn into elegant wall art and possibly use to wrap around and cover things like frustratingly modern pencil cases.

Within the last 2 years or so my style has shifted drastically from modern (bold colors, simple shapes) to baroque/Victorian/1700s (jewel tones, flowing lines, and ubiquitous floral patterns), which is why this vintage tea cart I found at a vintage furniture consignment warehouse is holding my jewellery in things from the Container Store.

Did I mention that the walls in my room are stark white? That makes them easy to paint over, but horribly boring until I do. Here's a dramatic sample I painted behind one of my Venetian carnival masks. I'm hoping it will go on more evenly, and perhaps even look a bit darker, once I start on the real paint job using a roller.

Little pillows I bought from Ikea years ago, during my first, modern redecoration. I used scraps of old curtain fabric from the living room, which had a custom made set of gorgeous, sweeping drapes until my roommates got to them and decided they collected too much dust. I might try to make drapes for my window out of the remaining fabric, once I finish the other major things I have to get done in the space.
(Also, that tiny cube in blue floral fabric was once one of a set of fuzzy foam dashboard dice I bought on a whim - why waste the foam? The other die awaits re-covering.)

Fancy frame that I previously found way too feminine, but now fits my style very well. Nothing wrong with a bit of femininity.
You may note that in the frame is a photo from Forbes Life magazine of a few months ago.
It's a peach frock coat by Sete-Cento, an Italian couturier. Just by looking at the name you should have some idea of how much I love this company. I didn't find this image until I'd already started on my frock coat, but from now on I'll use this style of design as my inspiration.

This was supposed to be about interior design, but I can't stop my mind wandering back to costuming. I want to make a pair of stays or corset next, either in plain linen or with an outer covering of green fake-shantung leftover from my frock coat. Another idea I'm longing to get to before the summer is over is an odd mix of frock coat, jacket, and light summer dress in a white cotton knit that would keep me cool in the summer while staying true to my oddly nostalgic fashion sense. More on all of this when life allows.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Silken swirls of gorgeous Shantung

So the swirls aren't really done in the shantung, but I think I could have had you fooled, couldn't I? The color matches so perfectly. I found this thin cording - $0.59/yd! - tucked away in a corner of M&J Trimmings in Manhattan. M&J is a great resource for anyone in the area, I highly recommend them!

As for the coat, here's more of the pictures I promised weeks, possibly months ago.

The design on the front pleases me very much, I think I'll have to add some more around the bottom of the coat and coiling up along the back vents before I can say this coat is truly "finished." I should hurry, though, as it feels tight across the shoulders even with the inserts I added. Damn this wide, operatic ribcage! (But not really - I value my singing over my ability to fit into this coat when it comes down to it.) The worst case scenario is that I would sell the coat on Etsy for some ridiculous sum. Maybe the sum wouldn't be so ridiculous, it is a very fine coat if I do say so m'self.
In the meantime, I'll try and find an opportunity to wear it that won't involve floral pajamas and late night sewing/photography sessions.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Why yes, I do dabble in many, many things

Including jewellery-making, when the urge strikes.
While looking around Pearl Paint for my felt, I happened upon a wonderful green cameo in a metal setting that looks like pewter or slightly tarnished silver, and a package of nine transparant, plumbbob-shaped purple beads with wonderfully intricate end caps and wire loops at either one end or both. The combination of these two things demanded to be made into a necklace, so I bought the cameo and the set of beads for around $7 total. As I hunted in the basement for my pliers, which I'd need to fasten the purple beads to my chain, I unearthed a few unexpectedly wonderful things. Most importantly and unexpectedly, a pair of metal hoops with vinelike loops for attaching earring hooks and dangly beads. I'd had them tucked away for ages without finding any good use for, and they match the design on the cameo setting extraordinarily well. I also discovered a few more modern-looking beads in the same shade of green as the cameo, a ribbon, my trusty  needle-nose and flat-tip pliers, and enough silver head and eye pins to attach everything together. Before the night was over, I had designed and created an updated Victorian necklace and earring set, which I love. (Especially after seeing it in photographs!)
The green ribbon and cameo can easily be removed from the silver chain without having to remove the purple beads or even use a pliers, so if I ever need to adapt it to more period-correct costuming, it won't be a problem at all.

I can't remember the last time I was this pleased with jewellery I made. I think I've worn it every day since I made it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Make that, "I tip my fancily adorned hat to you."


Inspired by House of Nines design, I made my first cockade tonight to go with my felt tricorne-in-the-making. I bought the ribbon at M&J Trimmings, in Manhattan. It cost about $7 total for a yard of each, which seems very reasonable considering what the ribbons became. Next time (now that I know there will be a next time), I'll try two yards, and go for a fuller cockade. The button in the center was originally meant for the frock coat, until I started using the shantung. The color works quite well with the rest of the cockade, and I somehow prefer this simple, self-covered button to one of the fancier ones available. I'll save fancy for later.
Finishing the entire cockade took approximately 4 hours.

Until the hat is finished, meaning until Pearl Paint restocks my large pieces of felt, the cockade will have to content itself with being stuck onto bags and the occasional lapel.

Oh, and an added bonus...
... It matches the frock coat very well. (Better than this picture makes it seem.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

I tip my hat to you...

Or I would, if it had a brim.
I embarked on making a tricorne a few weeks ago, and its production is now stalled because Pearl Paint has my felt out of stock, and doesn't expect more for a few weeks. I've made the crown though, which in my opinion looks pretty good for a first attempt at haberdashery.

Here's my "hat block." Adapting some online instructions, I measured the circumference of my head, then padded a mixing bowl with paper towels til it had the same measurement. Tape the towels to each other and to the bowl every once in a while to stop your "block" from changing shape, and then cover the whole thing in plastic wrap when it's the right size. For good measure tape the plastic wrap down too.

Here's where I made a substantial mistake - instead of stretching the felt and pinning it, I for some reason thought one could pull the felt down a bit and brush it into a domed shape, agitating the material to make it shrink and re-form as a favorite wool sweater that shrinks in the wash. Maybe my felt wasn't high enough quality ($5 for a 1yd x 2yds piece), or maybe brushing for shape is simply a bad idea. Either way, I realized after a few days of brushing (bordering on over-brushing) that I had to re-check my source.
The hat looks quite good above, because I was stretching it without intending to. All the excess felt around the edges is stuffed inside the crown and down into the glass that acted as my stand.

Before confirming the instructions, I experimented with hat styles:
I'm still unsure whether I'll end up with a traditional tricorne or with some more modern variation. It'll be easier to tell once I get my brim piece on.

I ended up taking the felt off, rewetting it and stretching it over the block as nature intended. The only problem with using a pyrex bowl other than a styrofoam wig rest (other than the lack of it having a stand) (I used a tall but sturdy drinking glass) is that you bend quite a few pins before you figure out what angles are safe to stab at with relatively frail bits of metal.

The result:
A hat squid.

More on the hat later, and its accessory.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ze coat, she is feeneesht! (Almost)

That's right. This coat, which I've been working on for months than I'd like to count, is nearly finished! All the machine-sewing is finished, unless I decide to sew the buttonholes with the machine. All the major handsewing bits are done as well, the linings all turned under and the raw edges neatly hidden. What's left now is to sew the buttons on, probably add more embellishments in my wonderfully shiny silk shantung, and then grab up the courage to actually wear the coat some time.

Also, I've decided to try my hand at haberdashery and shoe re-covering. What internet blog-surfing can inspire me to do never ceases to amaze me.
For the hat, I plan to make a modernized tricorne suitable for daily wear from mid-fall to early spring. It'll be done in black felt, and I'll probably make a few clip-on cockades to attach or leave off depending on the occasion.
The shoes will be done in a light cream fabric, possibly silk, but most likely whatever inexpensive remnant I can find that would suit a shoe. I was chatting with my voice teacher this past week and mentioned that I plan to rework some shoes, and she said that it would be a wonderful idea for me to make myself a pair of character shoes. Plain, this pair will look 1700s, but I'll make some clips and bows and buckles to add if I'm acting the part of another period (or a higher class). Just when I thought I couldn't love opera any more, I find that it's a legitimate excuse to pursue costuming on the side. Meraviglioso!

Here's some hat progress -- exciting, right?

The shoes are a bit more satisfying to look at, at this point. There's one original shoe, on the left, and the shoe I've been deconstructing, scattered around the rest of the frame.
I'd rather do the hat first because I love the idea of not having to sew anything for a while, but it would be wonderful to have the shoes finished in time for this weekend's concert. Vedremo.

Oh, and yesterday my Italian genetics suddenly reared their tricolore heads, and I cooked my first real, fancy-style planning-ahead meal for myself. Sliced and fried (on the stove, in olive oil) eggplant with freshly cooked semi-saucelike grape tomatoes (sliced and cooked in olive oil with a bit of garlic powder) that were hot enough to partially melt the smoked mozzarella sitting between the sauce and the eggplant. To excuse this deviation from my normal crafty pursuits, yes, I took pictures.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Coat's Progress

I've decided that seeing the frock coat on a hanger is simply not enough, for my sartorial or photographic purposes. Because of the way it's cut, especially in the front, it tends to hang with the fronts wide open and flaring out from top to bottom in a way that makes it resemble a rather ill-fitting A-line dress. Or a tent. But never fear! Last night I remembered and subsequently unearthed my old custom dress form (made from a large t-shirt and copious amounts of duct tape), and proceeded to drape the dress coat on it and take copious amounts of pictures of the project finally starting to come together.

Oh, and I noticed that in my other pictures I haven't shown the coat with the collar attached. Here it is, notice the fancy machine embroidery. (And on the "epaulets".)

Epaulets and color-coordinated back vent buttons, from the back.

Pinned up one of the skirts to show the lining in its iridescent glory. Despite possible matters of "taste," I think the blue, green, and purple work well together. It might not seem like an ideal color combination, but I like it.

Some of the photos are a bit washed-out. I'll edit them properly once I have the whole thing finished.

Next up: Adding sleeves and buttons, and handsewing whatever else needs to be handsewn.