1850s · Reenacting · Reenactments

Queen Vickie’s Birthday and Black Chantilly Lace


I spent a lovely day in the 1850s up at Fort Nisqually for our annual May event, “Queen Victoria’s Birthday.” This year’s event was a little different, as we had an artisan fair, where reenactors were invited to sell some of their wares. I didn’t make too much on my costumes (Etsy, here I come!), but I did come home with this fabulous Victorian black chantilly lace jacket.

I call this my “Naughty Victorian” pose . . .

Isn’t it fantastic!?


It was Auntie B’s and she gave it to me on the condition that I would make her a new dress (of course I said yes).


I also tried on this fabulous cashmere repro shawl. I think I might just have to get it, look how well it goes with my outfit!

Of course, the day wasn’t all spent shopping and trying things on. My reenacting bestie, Nona, was able to make it, which was super fun. Here she is in the new chicken coop (isn’t it amazing with that woven roof!?), fearless among the fowl.


This is gonna sound really weird, but I kinda have a chicken phobia. I’m scared of being pecked, and their feet are hideous. I do like eggs, though, so I guess they have their value. 😉

Anyways, I’m headed down to Portland tomorrow for a vintage brunch, which I’m really looking forward to! I do need to get my beauty sleep, however. I tell ya, being this fabulous is exhausting!

1850s sewing · Millinery · Reenacting · Reenactments

The 1859 Ladies Tea


I’m finally recovering from all the fabulousness that was this past weekend’s Ladies Tea. For those of you new to this annual reenactment I do, members of the public buy tickets to the tea and for $15 get a delightful afternoon of tea, desserts, and entertainment by reenactors. It’s held every year in February as a fundraiser for Fort Steilacoom, and this year I had the crazy idea to help co-organize it. Readers, I now understand why “Event Planner” is a job. I mean, if there was ever a girl that needed a drink in the history of girls needing drinks, it would be me.

Girl that needs a drink

Despite this, the event was a ravishing success and our biggest tea ever. I had planned for 30 guests, made 35 tartlets (just in case) and was stunned when I arrived and was told we had 48 guests!


Of course, the event could never have been such a success without the help of some of our youngest reenactors that volunteered to be servants. Look how cute they are!

Child servitude FTW!

We also had a hat and bonnet display in the main parlor area. Here’s a shot of some of the quilted bonnets:


I also re-trimmed my straw hat. This style is actually named after me. Yes, random annaintechnicolor trivia fact: I have a straw hat named after me, you can buy it here if interested. 😉


Finally, thanks for all the career well-wishes on my last post! I actually just got a promotion this week, and will now be working with some of the big-wigs where I get to wear pearls and heels every day. It should be a challenge (I didn’t mean the wearing of heels, although that can sometimes be a challenge for me), and I’m really looking forward to it, so no more texting on the job. Not that I ever did that to begin with, of course. 😉

1950s · 1960s · Reenacting · Vintage · Vintage Saturday

Vintage Saturday: What I would’ve worn to the Fur & Feathers Luncheon

What a room full of history nerds eating dinner looks like . . .

Yesterday evening was Burns Dinner, the annual volunteer awards and recognition dinner for Fort Nisqually. I decided to go 1950s, wearing the outfit that I would’ve worn to the Fur and Feathers Luncheon last weekend (you can see fabulous event photos here and here. Don’t the ladies all look lovely!?), because though the organizers requested we wear “period clothing,” they never specified what period. 😉


Readers, I got so many lovely compliments, from being compared to Judy Holliday and Lady Mary from Downton Abbey, to someone telling me I looked like I had walked off the set of Mad Men (gah!!!!). And I have to say that I am just so grateful to be part of nerdy, fabulous history community that embraces my quirky vintage side.

Of course, dressing vintage, I had to make a pineapple upside-down cake the for the potluck, and here I am triumphantly showing the leftovers in my vintage camel wool coat.


I also got compared to an airline stewardess, so of course I had to do an airline stewardess pose once I got home.


And dressing vintage would not be complete without the accessorires, right? In this case, I wore my blue velvet vintage hat, my pearl and diamond earrings, and my grandmother’s pearl necklace.


I think every vintage-loving gal should have a sassy Southern grandmother to inherit pearls from, don’t ya think? 😉

1850s sewing · Blogging · Contemporary Pattern · Finished! · Holidays · Modern Sewing · Musings · Pattern · Personal · Reenacting · Reenactments · Regency era costuming · Vintage

2012 – Sewing Year in Review

I thought it would be fun to do a sewing year in review, and when I saw the Top 5 of 2012 idea  on Kim-ing (who in turn got it from Crafting a Rainbow) I knew that would be a perfect way to reflect on my sewing projects from this year! So, here we go . . .

Top 5 Favorites

photo shoot 4

1. Red suspender skirt. I wore this one twice. Once at the 1938 picnic, and then again for my vintage photoshoot. I’ve always wanted a suspender skirt, and to have one in red that I made myself from a vintage pattern just puts a smile on my face.

Lauren 1

2. Graduation dress for Lauren. This was my first modern dress commission, and I’m so pleased with how it came out. Best of all, Lauren loves it and says she got so many compliments during her party, so yay!

Regency short stays

3. Regency short stays. So proud of myself for venturing into another era in terms of costuming, and I love that I used all natural, nerdy historic textiles for this one and made my own hand-made eyelets.


4. A frock for the end of summer. I love this little dress, and when I wore it downtown this past summer, I got so many lovely compliments.


5. My sheer-yoked Macaron. Love this cute little dress and I can’t wait to have another occasion to wear it to.

Top 5 Sewing Fails

1. Rachel Berry Halloween dress. You think I would have started this one sooner, but no. In my defense, I was still adjusting to working full-time.

DSCN4535 - Copy

2. Speaking of work, my next sewing fail is the skirt I made for work. I’ve only worn it once as the fabric has stretched (that’s what you get for using a cheap poly-blend that’s on sale).

corset laid out

3. Mid-19th century corset I made this past summer. I used cheap cotton sateen from Joanns and some of the bones were too long, so they kept popping out (despite the fact that I used cotton twill tape to bind it).

4. Not altering that red vintage dress in time to wear for my Christmas party. The bodice is a bit too big and will need a bit of work, so I wore a polka-dot dress instead.


5. My Regency dress for Bastille Day. I wore this one once and it looks like I’m being choked.

Top 5 Lessons Learned

1. I don’t need to have a new dress for every reenactment. This used to be a huge thing for me, and I would stress myself out the week before a reenactment to finish a new dress. I’ve learned this year that well put-together, historically accurate dresses (like my green wool fan-front) are worth the effort and will get more wear then something hastily thrown together.

2. You can’t care somebody into caring or love somebody loving. Not sewing related, I know, but it’s one of the huge lessons that I learned in 2012.

3. On a similar note, sometimes it’s best to let things go and do what’s best for you. I know that sounds selfish, and maybe it is, but, at the end of the day, you only get one life. I guess what I’m trying to say is: don’t give up your dreams for a boy. 😉

4. Ok, back to sewing now. I’ve also learned that I have too much fabric and will never have time to sew it all into fabulous things. I’ll probably be giving a lot of it away at some point . . .

5. Sorry! I can’t think of another lesson I’ve learned (I’ll blame it on the 3-day sinus headache I’ve had). If/when I do, I’ll add it to the comments, okay? Okay. 🙂

Top 5 Blogs/Bloggers that Inspire

1. The Fashionable Past by Katherine C-G. Katherine is an amazing costumer and I’m continually inspired by her productivity level!

2. Gertie’s New Blog For Better Sewing. Basically, this is my dream. Blog takes off and you get a book deal. Oh, and Gertie is also on sewing tv shows and wears fabulous repro vintage items that she’s sewn herself.

3. Vixen Vintage. I had the privelege of getting to meet Solanah this past summer at the 1938 picnic and she is every bit as fabulous in-person as she is on her blog. Solanah dresses vintage every day and she’s been one of my big style inspirations since I started getting into vintage style back in 2009.

4. Elegant Musings. I just adore Casey (in a fellow seamstress, vintage-enthusiast way).

5. And, finally, My Friends Are Married. Not necessarily a sewing blog (ok, it’s not at all a sewing blog), but it’s so hysterical and makes me not feel so bad about being single. 😉

Top 5 Goals for the New Year

1. Finish my UFOs! This includes the Rachel Berry Halloween dress, which is currently still in pieces.

2. Host a giveaway.

3. Wear more vintage and sew more with vintage patterns. I sorta got my feet wet (so to speak) with the suspender skirt, but I have a plethora of vintage patterns in my stash that I would love to use.

4. Write/film more tutorials. I have a ton of ideas for hair tutorials, which I’m really hoping to get filmed in 2013.

5. Move out of my parents house! 😉

Finally, this will be my last post of 2012 (fitting, don’t ya think?), as I’ll be taking a bit of a blogging break. If all goes to plan, I should be back next year (which is also coincidentally next week) with a giveaway! Until then, Happy New Year!

1850s · Holidays · Reenacting · Reenactments

Candlelight Christmas, 1859

Stringing popcorn!
Stringing popcorn!

Yesterday evening was my last reenactment of the year, Christmas at Fort Steilacoom. This event was a “candlelight” one, meaning that it took place at night, was solely 1st person (so, we stayed in character), and the audience was ignored. Not in a rude way, of course! The purpose in that is to make the audience feel as if they have actually time-travelled and are glimpsing upon the past.

Anyways, I wore my red wool basque (along with several other layers of wool), and green plaid shawl.


I had a really lovely time, playing the Colonel’s engaged daughter. We spent the evening lighting the Christmas tree (with real candles!), singing carols, and reading a letter from my fake fiancee. Oh, and after the event was over and all the spectators had left, we had an impromptu dance party. Yep, that’s how us reenactors roll.

I finally got my arse in gear and got my gits made (I ran out of time to complete them for last weekend’s Christmas event). I made both homemade gingerbread loaves using this recipe (the packaging is also Martha Stewart he hee) and Victorian needlebooks using the instructions in Fanciful Utility.


Speaking of Victorian needlebooks, head on over to The Sewing Academy if you’re interested in either making your own or winning one in a giveaway!

Also, in a random little note, this is my 100th post here on anna in technicolor! I’m thinking a giveaway may be in order. 😉

Holidays · Reenacting · Reenactments

A 19th-century Christmas


Yesterday was this year’s last event at Fort Nisqually, 19th century Christmas. This event is always one of my favorites, as everyone dresses up in their best 1850s garb (can you say plaid wool dresses!?) and the Fort is so beautifully decorated. That being said, this year’s Christmas event was bittersweet as it was the last one for our event coordinator, so there was a lovely little farewell party after the event.

Anyways, onto the costumes! I wore my green plaid fan-front dress, but embellished it with a bow I made from red silk taffeta. Also, the food was wonderful. Not only did I get apple pie . . . .


. . .  but there was also homemade mincemeat pie (with rum butter!) . . .


. . . and a Christmas pudding!

Our amazing cook setting the pudding ablaze for the ladies.
Our amazing cook setting the pudding ablaze for the ladies.

Anyways, I have another Christmas reenactment next weekend, although I’ll be doing 1859 this time! Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

1850s · Finished! · Millinery · Outerwear · Reenacting · Reenactments

A black straw bonnet for living history day

So, despite my self-imposed reenacting hiatus, I kinda slipped this weekend and attended living history day at Fort Steilacoom.

These things are like crack, I tell you!*

In my defense, they really needed more women to bring the fort to life, so I was one of the two women there (I played the daughter of the Colonel, the other gal played my mother).

One of the bedrooms at Fort Steilacoom.

Fort Steilacoom is a bit different from Fort Nisqually (where I usually reenact) in that it is an American military outpost, as opposed to a (mostly) recreated British trading post. Another difference is that Steilacoom is only open select days out of the year, and, as a result, severely underfunded. The museum is right next to a mental hospital (we often joke that when the patients there see us and remark that there are time travelers outside, they’re not joking), which completely gutted the area in 1872 that now there are only 4 of the original buildings standing.

Anyways, the heat in the building wasn’t working (no surprise there ;)) and it was quite chilly, so I wore my red wool basque, tan wool skirt, 3 petticoats, long johns, wool socks, and, of course, my cage crinoline (I really don’t get enough opporotunities to wear this!).

I also wore my new straw bonnet!

The straw form is from Vivian Murphy (aka the Mantua Maker), but I did trim (aka decorate) it! The lace is from Fine French Laces, and the curtain, ties, and bow are from a silk Ann Taylor blouse I thrifted. 😉

The only photo I have of me during the reenactment itself was one taken by Carol, this red-headed older lady that works with the historical association for the museum. She came back an hour later with an 8 1/2″ by 11″ print of it. When she gave it to me, she told me that I could use it for my “publicity.” Too cute!

*Full credit for the connection between reenacting and crack goes to Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz.

1850s · 1850s sewing · Dress · Finished! · Reenacting · Reenactments

Smoke gets in your eyes (aka the reenactment)

Well, I’m back from a full weekend in the 1850s! It’s amazing how pooped I was this morning. As I’ve mentioned before, this is the only event that I camp out at, and, as a result, it requires a lot more planning and prep work than the typical reenactments I go to. So, I expected some tiredness as a result of the fabulousness that was this weekend, but not as much as I got!

I actually made 3 new dresses: a wrapper (which is like a mid-19th century robe) which I unfortunately didn’t get any pictures of, a lavendar sheer dress:

and my blue print work dress:

The blue work dress definitely got the most wear, and I’m really glad that I went with the short sleeves as it was hotter than Hades this weekend.

I spent most of my time in it hauling wood, looking after twins, and cooking over an open fire, where I got a lot of smoke in my eyes (hence the title of this post, it’s not a reference to the Mad Men pilot!) and mouth and had coughing attacks. As a result, all of my clothes smell like campfire, and they’ve been airing out all day today.

But, it was all worth it to get to play with historic babies in costume!

Anyways, I’ve decided to take a break/hiatus from reenacting and historic costuming for a while, and focus on some other hobbies (like finally learning the ukelele that I got as a graduation gift back in June!). I’m just a bit burned out by reenacting right now, and am really dying to sew something that I can put a zipper in! Anybody else ever get burned out from a hobby before?

1860s · Reenacting · Reenactments

First Civil War Reenactment AAR

Children learning about history!

I’m back from my first Civil War reenactment! It was an incredibly interesting experience, watching the battle and hearing and seeing so many muskets and cannons go off. The field that the reenactment was held in was just so gorgeous and quaint, with an antique barn (where a fashion show was held!).

Anyways, I spent my time in the Confederate camp, mostly in the Dressmaker’s Shop, working on a commission:

I wore my tan wool skirt (which was totally a mistake with the muggy weather we had) and what’s called a “whitewaist,” which is a sheer cotton bodice that was fashionable in the early 1860s. I made this whitewaist back in 2008, but since I only do about one late 1850s/early 1860s event per year, it doesn’t get much wear.

I also planned with “Historic Baby” (aka Alanna) who is the daughter of a reenacting friend from Oregon.

And of course, special thanks to my fake auntie for taking me along with her!

Aren’t her accessories just fabulous!?

All in all, I’m really glad I went and wouldn’t mind going back again next year. I met some incredibly lovely people and had a fabulous time. That being said, Civil War Reenacting just isn’t for me. I realized this weekend that I like reenacting in a historic house setting where the buildings are already there. Because there were no actual Civil War battles here in WA state, the reenactments inevitably have to involve encampments with tents. And it’s just amazing the time and effort that goes into finding antique and reproduction items to use in a camp and then set everything up and take it all down. I have great respect for Civil War reeanctors in this regard.  But, just having to show up wearing a costume at a historic site that has the bildings there is just more appealing for this young reenactress on a budget. 😉

Alright, back to sewing. I have 2 commissions I need to finish this week, and then I can finally sew things for myself. Look forward to that! 😉

1850s · 1850s sewing · Dress · Finished! · Reenacting · Reenactments

Reenactment: Queen Victoria’s Birthday Celebration

This past weekend was our May reenactment, Queen Victoria’s Birthday! I always look forward to this reenactment – the ladies are so well dressed, and it’s a chance to celebrate the refinements of the British Empire out in the Pacific Northwest.

I finished the little girl’s dress just in time for this event! Despite it being a little too big in the bodice (although for a growing girl that’s ok since she’ll be able to grow into it), I really like how it turned out and Janelle just loved it. She actually told me that she would wear it for every single reenactment she attends at the fort (and then I quickly replied that she didn’t have to wear it when it was really hot since it’s made out of wool).

Janelle in the new dress I made her. Look at her little model pose! I’m definitely having a good influence on her.

So, we both wore plaid Pendleton wool dresses during the day, and weren’t too hot (luckily!)

I also had a first-person presentation in the afternoon (for those non-reenactors, first-person is sort of like method acting where you become the character and speak as them) since I was portraying the wife of the Chief Factor (esentially a manager) of the fort. Despite being a “reenactor” for several years, I don’t necessarily consider myself an “actor” (or, actress). So, delivering a monologue as someone else was slightly nerve-wrecking, but luckily I had notes to read off of (since, despite being a history major, I’m really awful at memorizing lines).

My reenacting bestie, Nona, was also able to make it to the event and we had so much fun catching up!

Nona playing croquet. Isn’t her outfit so fabulous!? I definitely need a red dress now.

Oh, and finally, something really interesting happened last week. I’m currently in the midst of writing a 20-page research paper on Living History and Reenacting for my Senior History Seminar class (which partially explains my lack of blogging). Anyways, I was going through one of the books entitled “Living History Museums an Historic Sites in the United States” and decided to see what they said about fort Nisqually under the “Trading Posts” section. Lo and behold, a photo of Nona and I! I mean, how often does that happen – doing research for a paper and discovering a photo of yourself in one of your source materials!?

I brought the book with me to the reenactment, and of course Nona and I had to get a photo of ourselves with it!

Next month’s reenactment is a 19th century cooking contest and I’m already scheming up what to make after coming in 4th last year. I’ll be entering solo and cooking over an open fire all by myself for the first time (since Nona will be off to Indonesia for the month for a fabulous adventure), so of course a new dress is in order! I’m thinking something more working-class with a crazy mid-19th century printed fabric. 😉