Monday, January 19, 2015


I started working on the fancy dress with the matador hat, called a montera. I stated before I am not using period correct fabric as this is a costume and will probably not be worn more than a couple of times.

Here is a picture of an original montera. Mine does not look quite so good; more like a smoking cap with bulbs attached to the ends.

I started with a buckram band covered in black fabric.

I then added the top. It is a bit bigger than the top on the original and I did not decorate it as other originals have been. The top was based with buckram as well.

I then added the bulbs. These are supposed to represent the bull's ears. I stuffed these with fiber fill.

It's not perfect by any definition, but it gives the impression of a montera and the impression is really what is important for this rather than an accurate, exact copy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fancy Dress

This year at the Civilian Symposium in Harrisburg there will be a fancy dress party. This is basically a masquerade party with or without masks. Since my life has been so unsettled the last few months I really hadn't thought about making another outfit. But then I had an epiphany. A matador, stylize. I went looking for pictures of 19th century matadors and found paintings, original jackets and a ballerina.

My costume will include a bolero type jacket, a chemisette I already have, and a skirt the length of my hoop rather than pants. Similar to this costume.

Now keep in mind this will be a costume, not something I will wear regularly in living history so I am not willing to spend the money I normally would on my living history dresses. My fabrics are not natural fibers. Originally I thought to use gimp to add simple designs to solid fabric. But then found a brocade that imitates the fancier fabrics of the jacket and side of the pants.

I plan to use the gold colored gimp to add a bit more dimension to the brocade. The yellow will be the front and back of the skirt and cape, the red of course will line the cape and a cummerbund, with the brocade as the sides of the skirt and jacket. I also have black fabric for the hat and will add a black silk bow tie similar to the ballerina above.

My purist historian is balking at using these fabrics but I really am looking forward to putting this together; it should be fun!