Monday, July 2, 2012

Steampunk High Tea


I've mentioned before that Elaine is my dress-up buddy, but I don't know that I've ever mentioned that we are also long-time best friends. We met on the first day of high school, and after a rocky start (we were forced to work together for a group project), we discovered that we lived a block away from each other and quickly became friends. High school was all about passing notes in class (I still have an envelope of these notes, and 90% of them are about boys), running up and down the block to each others' houses to "do homework," and talking about the day we would have significant others and no longer be under our parents' roofs (and therefore rules).

Well, fast forward fifteen years (goodness gracious, has it really been that long?), and here we are, spending the summer in our childhood homes (albeit in the in-law apartments downstairs), still running back and forth to each others' houses, but this time with men-folk in tow, and no longer subject to 9 pm curfews. It's so nice to be in the same city again and not angst about boys! Even better, we can go to costumed events together! Neither of our men are into this whole steampunk thing, so we made a date out of attending a late-night tea at Rue du The together. Since I'm not going to be able to make it to  SDCC or SteamCon this year, this will be my steampunk costume event for the year. It's really just as well, considering there's still so much more I want to make for it.
1912 project blouse #0219, curtain skirt, goggles, gun (on a hasty holster), new pocketwatch from Whimsic Alley, spyglass, magnifying glass, and gaming dice tube. And a belt from Ross.

The event description said to dress in one's best quasi-Victorian/Edwardian steampunk costume, so of course I took advantage of the opportunity to break in my steampunk detective costume. It's still not finished, but I put on all the pieces I had with me (yes, I dragged a shoebox of all my pieces from TCOCC with me to the city) and was sufficiently feted by other costume enthusiast attendees to gratify my ego. Unfortunately, I couldn't get very good pictures because of the lighting, but you get the idea.

I antiqued the heck out of these pictures in an attempt to make their graininess somewhat acceptable.

I love any excuse to get all dressed up, so if it had only been a be-costumed meet-and-greet I would've been happy enough, but we got to have lovely tea, mediocre sandwiches, stellar shortbread, and tasty cake (it was not a lie) to boot. And best of all, there was live music by Unwoman, a fantastic cellist/vocalist who sings post-apocalyptic love songs and other steampunk-flavored things. There was even some attempt at waltzing inside the tiny tea shop; unfortunately neither Elaine nor I really remembered how to lead properly (although Elaine was still much better than I), and I kept tripping on my train. Note to self: if I intend to dance, I need to figure out how to bustle my skirt, or just wear one that doesn't drag along the floor. Dance hampering aside, though, I really enjoyed the swooshing of the full skirt and train the rest of the evening.

Unwoman plays in the background while Mr. and Mrs. PEERS (and others) waltz and watch.

My favorite part of the evening was probably all the mutual admiration of costumes. I love it when other people can appreciate chevrons and trims and clever material sourcing, and I in turn can appreciate their thrift store finds, beautiful piping, and hidden-bustle-pocket design features. Since this was my first foray into costume events with other amateur costumers, I was really pleased and surprised by their warm welcome...none of that you-used-non-period-textiles-and-the-shoulder-seam-should-really-be-an-inch-further-back-and-good-heavens-is-that-elastic-I-see? that I was afraid of. I look forward to more events like this in the future!

Fraulein Michelle design this gorgeous blue and brown number herself!

And can I just say that these types of events work so much better in chilly and foggy Bay Area than swelteringly hot Tucson? I was actually glad for all my layers of petticoats and stockings!

Thanks for being my dress-up buddy, Elaine!

13 comments:

  1. You both look amazing! What a fun event!!!

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    1. Thanks, Debi! It was indeed tons of fun!

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  2. So jealous! You got to dress-up AND have a dress-up buddy! I love both your costumes - so much fun!

    I really like how steampunk allows for period details yet is not totally strict to specifics for period accuracy. It's true creative costuming - you just do whatever works and looks good. =)

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    1. That's what I love about steampunk -- creativity without the nitpicking. If you ever come out to California I'll be your dress-up buddy!!

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    2. I would love to - and same for you if you ever come to visit Texas! =)

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  3. I am so glad that you and Elaine have been able to spend some good time with each other! This late-night tea event looks so fun! You both look great! I love that you got to waltz and admire others' costumes! I'm personally sad that I missed out on the post-apocalyptic love songs;)

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    1. I think you might like her songs, Shayna! Next time we see each other I will play you some.

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  4. Both your outfits look great! I am such a big fan of that skirt, I think I'm going to have to make one of my own! Just thought I'd say as well that I've just been looking at the package you sent me from the competition (with the Hippos!) and it's lovely. I got it a while ago through the post but sent to my parent's house as that's where I'm staying over summer so had to wait until I got there to open it, and it's wonderful! Thank you for such a lovely note and I'm sure the extra trimmings will come in useful. I'll let you know as soon as I make any of it up! Thank you again :)

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad it got there safely! Sending packages overseas is always hit or miss for me. Enjoy your hippos!

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  5. Awww, I'm glad to be your dress-up buddy! Thanks for giving me an opportunity to dress up in my non-accurate, non-me-made outfits and not feel too silly about it! It really was such a lovely event. I can't wait to be back in SF for real (one hopes) and be able to attend more of these. Oh, and I'm endlessly amused by the slightly menacing black cat behind us. :)

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    1. No, thank YOU for dressing up with me and letting me be your personal assassin/bodyguard/hired hand! I, too, can't wait til we can go to things like the Gatsby picnic and Dickens Fair together!

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  6. Yay for dressing up and dress up buddies! You both look marvelous and it looks like such a fun event! I am in love with that skirt, even more so now after seeing your entire Stempunk ensemble - brilliant!

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  7. I love the utility belt! I need to remember to work on mine, I only have one thing so far!

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