What is Rêverie?
Rêverie is a special way of daydreaming, my personal project for living the illusion of being in an other century for a day. It is a small group I have created to recreate the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th.
It started out in 2011, as Steam-Victorian Tea time, and turned over time in something cleansed from steampunk, and mainly focused on historical clothing from 1880s to the early 1900s. It has grown with me and my skills over time, and I hope it will keep doing it.
I have always loved this time frame, but never found any chance of exploring it with a group, day after day, with people you can grow with. At least not in Italy.
I have one motto, that is “today was good, but tomorrow I will do even better”, and I have an other one, which is “If you don’t find what you look for, stop complaining and make it yourself”. And so I did.
I do not believe in making a new dress for every event. It’s time and money consuming, and if you’re not experienced, it doesn’t allow you the time to fix and adjust. I believe in making one dress, and fixing it over time, to achieve the best you can, a dress that you can use for many occasions. And I believe that in this way it is easier for people to attend events, and to get to a good and uniform result.
This is not a group for who buys my costumes, this is a group for who loves studying and creating, and diving every day deeper in the amazing fashions of the thirty years we work on.
Our mission: the day dress.
We have one goal: that every one that joins us for more than one occasion has a good day outfit to start from. For the lady it is composed by corset, petticoat, blouse/shirtwaist, skirt, jacket, hat and shoes. For the gentleman it’s shirt, vest, trousers, jacket, shoes, hat. Once a good level is achieved with these basics, one can improve, add, experiment, but without the rush of having to finish a new complete outfit every time.
Of course we have themes, and things do also differ from the occasion, but one can always join us if he/she has a nicely made day outfit. We have had teagown events, evening wear, half mourning, but it’s up to who can join us to choose to make one of these alternatives, or the basic day dress. And we do prefer the well made day outfit that works as a passe-partout.
We prefer who does not work alone, who starts to sew and look for ready things well ahead of time, and who wants to add a dash of personality in each outfit.
I do not demand that you wear something I made. But I ask for a nice thing to look at, something that matches well the work of who has worked on what he/she is wearing and working on for years. This is to respect their work, and to push you to do your very best. It is not easy to start, each decade and occasion has its own taste and rules, and for the beginner it is easy to mis-match details from different decades. I am here to help, at the best of my knowledge. It is easier to fix and improve something that we can talk about, than reaching out to us like “this is my complete dress I made especially for the event all on my own, without asking for advice or confrontation, if it doesn’t work, I am not joining you”. We love when you ask, at least a month before the day “hey, I have these parts already made, and I would like to combine them for the event, how do you think would be best to proceed?” or even “I would like to join this event, I would like to make a dress like this, can it work?”. Ask for patterns to buy, ask to know which are the fabrics and colors that can make you and your work pop out, ask where to buy, if you can’t sew.
And start ahead of time. Except for some very talented costume makers, that already have in their closet things ready to work, getting the costume requires time, even if you purchase it. It takes time to study it, to try, fail, and fix, especially if you’re not experienced. If you have sewn only two round skirts in your life, making a complete outfit in two weeks is not likely to turn out as a successful and gratifying experience to you, even if you already have patterns and fabrics. Give yourself enough time to fix any inconvenience, time to order stuff from abroad, and then add more time, because you don’t know it yet, but you will need it. This is why we are not very keen on accepting late requests to join us.
We do also believe that nothing is ever finished. Even who has been with us already is asked to improve some things from one event to the other. Nobody can rest, unless the result is very good.
How to join us?
Plan ahead of time. Show you are willing to improve things, to unpick, fix, sew again for the sake of a better look on you.
We are not “public”, not everyone can join, not everyone will get advice. We look for who is very determined to study, work and re-work on things. Those that think that working for a dress that matches the group is more important than forcing a chance to wear his/her goth or steampunk dress at something we wish to be historical.
Show us you’re willing to work with the group, for the group.
Most of what we will do is not open to those who have not joined us when we did everything open to the public, but sometimes we have special days when others can join, if they have the outfit. Think of what you’d like to wear, talk to us about what you wish to achieve. We offer you our knowledge, please, use it. We allow you to plan ahead of time, don’t waste a day because there’s tomorrow. And mostly don’t think there will be other chances. We have a tight and productive schedule for who’s already one of us, but it could be one year before we open an event to everyone.
Minimum requirements are the following.
Women’s basic costume:
-steel or synthetic whalebone boned corset, midbust preferred, no underbust. To be worn as undergarment, so it won’t have any clasps or extras that will show from the outer layers;
-a chemise is recommended, though it’s not mandatory, if not visible;
-at least one petticoat, to achieve the right silhouette for the decade, with no hoops;
-a bustle will be required for the 1880s;
-hat or proper bonnet, if the event is outside;
-proper hair styling for the decade;
-natural looking makeup or no makeup;
-limited and period accurate jewelry, if desired, no evening jewels for day wear;
-bodice, or shirtwaist and jacket, or shirtwaist with vest and jacket, all in natural looking fabrics and period accurate patterns. Bodices, vests and jackets should be boned and interlined to have the proper structure. No low necklines for daywear, no jersey shirtwaists, sleeves should reach the elbow in most cases, for daywear (exceptions have to be discussed);
-skirts should be rich enough in fabric to have a rich effect over the petticoat. Minimum circumference for the lower skirt is 2,3 meters.
The lavish use of accurate looking accessories is much appreciated.
Men’s basic costume:
-cotton shirt in accurate colors and patterns, no slim fit, no modern collars;
-proper tie, bow, ascot (depending on the style of the outfit);
-proper hair, mustache and beard styling is much appreciated;
-hat, depending on the style of the outfit, if the event is on the outside. Proper hats, no fancy-dress ones;
-vest, in proper fabric and cut for day or evening wear;
-high waist trousers in proper fabric and cut, with folds or richness at the waist, proper length below the ankle and width, no slim fit;
-belt or braces. Button braces are preferred;
-shoes in leather or leather-like material in the correct style for the suit;
-jacket in proper fabric. No slim fit. Historical cut is recommended;
-should go by itself, but no sport socks, use proper ones;
-accessories according tot he style of the outfit, no walking canes if you have a lower class outfit.