Monday, March 24, 2014

Flowers & Frocks

This weekend was busy, busy, busy. 

I had to be in San Francisco anyway, so I decided to head over to the San Francisco Opera costume sale that Kelly mentioned on her blog (thank you, Kelly!).  Sunday was the second day, and things were quite picked over, but there was still plenty to explore.

I love examining well made costumes – especially costumes made by companies that have money to spend on builds.  The texture and intricacy is incredible.  Some are on the garish side, but on stage I am sure they looked magnificent. 

Some things I expected, like flatlined bodices with boning channels offset from seamlines for easier alterations, grosgrain waist stays, lots of catch-stitching, and some serged edges.

Some interior markings have even survived multiple cleanings.  Oh, the stories these costume could tell . . .

But here is something I have not seen before.  I have worn a few costumes that have boned bodices attached to skirts using large hook & bar closures to attach one piece to another.  But this zigzag grosgrain ribbon attachment is brilliant.  I would guess that it allows for more movement than the method I am familiar with.  I just love learning new construction techniques!

I would be curious to know why these particular pieces are being sold.  Sure, there were racks and racks of items that have seen a lot of wear and tear, but some of these gowns still look very serviceable.

Then I had a couple of hours to kill, so I headed to Union Square.  Look what I found inside Macy’s!  

I did not expect all the floral arrangements, but I am pleased there was something more interesting to look at than the clothes (especially after all that opera goodness).

All in all, I would say it was a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon!


  1. I loved have a look inside of those costumes! It must be a design challenge making them, because the people have to be comfortable enough to take those deep breaths for singing. Thanks for the tour.

  2. That's a concidence: yesterday at the flea market, a favorite seller was offering some costumes from the New York City Opera, which has, sadly, gone defunct. They were from Brigadoon (they used to revive musicals from time to time) and looked a lot like the ones you posted -- made to last forever (or almost); grosgrain ribbon everywhere inside. I passed on them just because they weren't really all that gorgeous individually. But they would have been interesting to examine more closely just the same. Oh, well!

  3. I saw that zigzagging on your instagram photos but couldn't work out why it was there. Thanks for explaining - what a brilliant idea!!!

  4. How fabulously cool!!! I would love (underline that a million times at least) to attend such a sale, even just as a spectator, myself one day.

    ♥ Jessica

  5. I went to the costume sale in SF on Saturday -- we stood in line for four hours to get in!!! By that point we had no more stamina to explore anything! How sad!

  6. Flowers & Frocks specialising in Boutiques, Fashion, Fashion Accessories, located in Grafton NSW, 2460. Ladies Fashion Boutique. content

  7. Thanks for showing these photos! I have no idea why they're being sold, but it's neat to be able to take a look at such different sewing than what I do.