Saturday, 13 October 2007

How To Make A Toga - Part 4 - The Trim

OK so you now have your toga all sewn up (geddit!!!). But if you have gone for a plain material you may be thinking that it looks well, erm, rather plain. So how about adding a trim?The trim can be in any color you like, perhaps you may opt for something that matches the color your toga material, or something that is in keeping with Roman tradition (see the post Adding Colored Trims). You will need to join and hem the strip so that it forms one long continuous strip first before anything else.

So now comes the question of where to place it? Well it can go along the straight edge or the curved edge. Historically, and according to Terry (yawn!) the trim went definitely went along the straight edge but it is uncertain whether it was ever placed around the curve - but believe me if you do decide to position the trim along the curved edge it really looks great!

So here's what to do.

1) Lay your toga flat and start pinning the trim along the length of the toga, starting from one corner. You must keep measuring the position of the trim, using a tape measure, so that the trim is the same distance from the edge of the toga all the way along. If you decide to add the trim to the curved edge, and hey I am not saying this is easy, then you may need to create small tucks on the inner edge of the trim as you go along.

2) Once you have pinned the trim then you will either need to sew it on, using a basic hemming stitch or using a sewing machine. Try and use an appropriate colored cotton so that the stitches do not look too obvious. Or cheat like I do and use hemming tape!

So there it to make a toga trim!

Friday, 31 August 2007

How To Make A Toga Party Movie Night

I am going to have another toga party a week on Saturday - just something 'low key' for close friends. I thought as it was the end of summer everyone needed cheering up. The weather has certainly cooled a bit, but I still may chance a barbecue.

But what to do if it's raining or there is a howling gale outside?

Well I thought I might make it a toga party movie night. On offer are to be the following dvd's:

Toga's are still required, of course, and I was going to give one of the dvd's away as a prize for the best toga of the night.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

How To Make A Toga - Sexy Female Version

OK so I have mainly concentrated my how to make a toga directions for men.

So here's a video for the girlies!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Has Terry Swallowed A History Book?

The guy has gone quite mad!

But I promised him I would relay the information here - so sorry if it's becoming boring - its not meant too...I am trying to stimulate the creative juices - both yours and mine!

So here it is....

Did you know that the colors of toga’s worn in ancient times discriminated between classes and professions?

There was only one sombre color allowed for peasants.
Officers were permitted to have 2 colors.
Clan commanders generally wore 3 colors.
The Imperial household could wear up to 7 colors.
Plain white was the color of choice of soothsayers.
Black was worn by theologians.
Philosphers kept to blue.
Green was the color of choice of medical practitioners.

Have a think what is most appropriate to you, and the theme of your toga party, when deciding on your fabric color and how to make your toga.

Alternatively do what I will probably end up doing - dispense with tradition and make your toga one that everyone will remember!

Ooops sorry Terry...

How To Make A Toga - Adding Colored Trims

According to Terry, many of the traditional togas had trims.

Take the toga praetexta for example , this was a white toga with a purple trim. The trim he tells me was about 3 inches wide.

I like adding trims to my toga's and we will discuss how to do this in more detail in a later post.

You don't have to stick with tradition though -you can select whatever color you like - I always like golds, silvers or reds - anything really that makes my toga look sumptuous.

If you want to add a trim my advice is to either buy ready made trims from a craft store or buy a piece of cotton fabric and sew (eww the dreaded 's' word) or iron on. I have used ribbons in the past, and found them expensive, so I would avoid these at all costs. Some of the ready-made trims can be pricey too, but they more than make-up for it in glamor!

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Is Your College Toga King?

Can you believe this? Al l through my college days I never once went to a toga party. Me - a complete toga-fanatic! In fact, I don't believe anybody had a toga party on campus. The main aim of college parties I went to, seemed to be just to get as drunk as you could in the shortest possible time - what you wore to them, no-one cared. I feel I missed out, maybe not on alcohol consumption but definitely on the dressing up....but now I am encouraged.

On sale today is the 2008 edition of 'The Best 366 Colleges'. For those of you that don't know, this is a survey that has canvassed the opinions of over 120,000 college students during the 2006/07 school year, on various aspects of college life.

One of its main reviews is of the top 20 toga party schools throughout the US, and here's the results of the first 15:

1. West Virginia University
2. University of Mississippi
3. University of Texas, Austin
4. University of Florida
5. University of Georgia
6. Penn State University
7. University of New Hampshire
8. Indiana University, Bloomington
9. Ohio University, Athens
10. University of California, Santa Barbara
11. Randolph-Macon College, Va.
12. University of Iowa
13. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
14. University of Maryland, College Park
15. University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Does anybody go to these colleges ? What do you think? Would love to hear from you (and see the photo's!). Oh and I think that anyone about to go to one of these colleges, needs to learn how to make a toga quick!

Just out of interest, I thought I would show the top 15 "Stone Cold Sober" Schools

1. Brigham Young University
2. Wheaton College (Ill.)
3. Thomas Aquinas College (Santa Paula, Calif.)
4. College of the Ozarks (Mo.)
5. Grove City College (Pa.)
6. U.S. Coast Guard Academy
7. U.S. Air Force Academy
8. U.S. Naval Academy
9. City University of New York, Queens College
10. Webb Institute (N.Y.)
11. Wellesley College, Mass.
12. Calvin College, Mich.
13. Wesleyan College, Ga.
14. U.S. Military Academy, N.Y.
15. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Mass.

Source:LA Daily News

Monday, 20 August 2007

Toga Party Phrases

OK, I am trying to collect some handy Latin phrases for use at my next toga party. I have only managed a few so far - my Latin is not all it should be. I will keep adding as I get more

If there are any Latin aficionado's out there - your additions would be much appreciated!

Toga Party Phrases

1. Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?
Is that a scroll in your toga, or are you just happy to see me?

2. Braccae tuae aperiuntur
Your fly is open

3.Capillamentum? Haudquaquam conieci esse!
A wig? I never would have guessed!

4.Da mihi sis cerevisiam dilutam
I'll have a light beer

I'm outta here!

6.Animadvertistine, ubicumque stes, fumum recta in faciem ferri?
(At a barbeque) Ever noticed how wherever you stand, the smoke goes right into your face?

7.Apudne te vel me?
Your place or mine?

8.Bonum vinum laetificat cor hominis
Good wine gladdens a person's heart

9.Brevior saltare cum deformibus mulieribus est vita
Life is too short to dance with ugly women

10.Brevior saltare cum deformibus viris est vita
Life is too short to dance with ugly men

11.Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris

If Caesar were alive, you'd be chained to an oar

12.Carpe Cerevisi or Corripe Cervisiam (thanks to anonymous for this!)
Seize the beer!

13.Cave cibum, valde malus est
Beware the food, it is very bad

14.Cedant arma togae

Let arms yield to the toga.

15.Certamen bikini-suicidus-disci mox coepit?
Does the Bikini-Suicide-Frisbee match start soon?

16.Cogito sumere potum alterum
I think I'll have another drink

17.Crapulam terriblem habeo
I have a terrible hangover

A Toga Party College Cookbook

I think I am a good cook.

My partner thinks I am a good cook - at least that's what he says to my face!

Yet during my college years I lived on chocolate, beer and peas on toast (canned peas were slightly cheaper than canned beans!).

It was not until I left college and lived by myself, when someone bought me my first recipe book, did I start to cook properly for myself and I found, at least after the first couple of disasters, that I really enjoyed doing it. I even started to make things that were, at least by now, edible. I have to confess it took some months before I could get a sponge cake to rise, but what the hell, I just used to break my disasters up, smear with jam and eat them as biscuits. I am nothing if not resouceful (thats why I can turn an old piece of fabric into a cool toga!).

So I have done some research and found a great new recipe book for anyone at college or about to go to college, or even just living on their own for the first time. This, I can guarantee, will avoid 3 years on peas on toast, burnt offerings at every meal time or high cholesterol inducing take-aways.

The book is written by two sisters, Megan and Jill Carle, currently students Arizona State University, who both started college life with no money, no cooking experience and not much in the way of kitchen utensils.

Yet despite this, they managed to create a fantastic cookbook
College Cooking: Feed Yourself and Your Friends
based on recipes they have adapted to their new way of life.

And get this, it is being quoted as this years must-pack for both existing and new students.

Both sisters have now since traveled internationally, worked in restaurants and acquired tastes for foreign dishes, and between them, have also managed to co-write Teens Cook and Teens Cook Dessert, with Teens Cook selling more than 65,000 copies.

The sisters give out sage advice that suggests students should forgo Ramen noodles and macaroni-and-cheese in favor of vegetables, fish and meat. They also discourage eating out. "In the time that you get into a car and drive to a restaurant, you can make a pretty decent meal," Megan said. "Cooking is cheaper than eating at McDonald's."

But why a think the book is a great find is that the recipes cater for those who have never picked up a saucepan before to those with quite advanced cooking skills.

But what has this got to do with how to make a toga or toga's in general, after all this website is dedicated to the making of the toga I hear you say.

Well without doubt truly the best bit? There are sections on throwing toga, tapas, Cinco de Mayo, Oktoberfest and '80s parties that all comes with easy-to-make dishes. RESULT!

So get your copy Now!

College Cooking: Feed Yourself and Your Friends

Terry's History Lesson 2 - Toga Variations

Did You Know That Toga’s Came in Different Varieties?

Terry is off on a history lecture again - and I am sitting here helpless -all I can do is listen -I knew I should never have shown any interest in the subject. He is always so enthusiastic about everything. He is annoyingly perfect.

I have to admit that the information is quite interesting, especially for anyone about to embark on learning how to make a toga, as it gives examples of the many varieties of toga designs there were during the Roman Empire, and how each one was used. This can be a great source of inspiration if you are stuck for toga ideas. So here goes:

Toga pulla.Translated to mean dark toga this was often used by those in mourning, during a protest, or to signify times of angst or danger and was made from black wool.

Toga picta/toga palmata.This is the ‘posh’ variety of toga. Purple with gold embroidery and highly embellished, it was worn by generals during victory celebrations or parades. It was also worn by consuls, magistrates during gladiatorial games, and the emperor on special occasions.

Toga virilis/toga pura.Sported by most Roman men from the age of fourteen (coming of age) onwards this all white toga was used for special occasions. It was the same off-white color as the toga praetexta, but had no distinguishing marks like the toga praetexta's purple stripe.

Toga Sordida.When a toga virilis got dirty, it was considered a toga sordida, and was generally only worn by poor people who could not afford to maintain their toga. The title of the group of people who wore togae sordidae is sordidati.

Toga trabea.These came as 3 distinct types, all purple for the gods, purple and white for kings, scarlet stripes with purple hem for augurs.

Toga praetexta.This was a white toga having a wide purple stripe to its border. It was usually worn by adolescent boys, priests, kings and magistrates.

Toga candida.This all-white toga, bleached by chalk, was worn for public office.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Toga Party Invitations

I am always thinking up different ways to make my toga party invites stand out – my friends have started to expect this from me now and I would hate to disappoint!

I have to be honest and say not all my ideas work but this one, for creating a toga party invite, seems to work a treat!

I am going to show you step by step how you can create an aged, antique effect to your paper invite.

Step 1
Using normal A4 white printer paper, write out your invite either by hand or print out from your computer. Using your computer gives you the option to play with various fonts.

Step 2
Pre-heat your oven using the lowest setting. Make half a cup of coffee. I used 1 teaspoon of instant coffee into a ½ cup of boiling water but you can use less or more depending on what depth of color you are trying to obtain.

Step 3
Crumple the paper into a ball then smooth out again.

Step 4
Place the paper onto a baking tray and pour the coffee over; ensuring the coffee covers all of the paper. Use a sponge if necessary to create a full and even coverage.

Step 5
Sprinkle instant coffee granules onto the paper. I used 1 teaspoon here but I did not get a very even spread - try lightly tapping the spoon as you move around the paper to ensure a more even distribution. Leave the granules to dissolve for 2 to 3 minutes.

Step 6
Dab the paper using paper towels so that all excess water and coffee granules are removed.

Step 7
Put the baking sheet and paper into the oven to dry. Mine took about 10 minutes using the ovens lowest setting. This will vary oven to oven, just make sure you keep your eye on the paper at all times as you do not want it to burn. Remove from oven when dry.

Step 7
This is optional and you may prefer to leave your invite as is. However I went one step further and burnt the edges of my invite, using matches, to really create a worn effect. Please be very careful if you decide to do this as the paper burns very easily.

Step 9
Get a scroll effect by rolling the paper around a rolling pin and tying with some decorative ribbon.

Toga Fabric Ideas

What does everyone think of Drew Barrymore’s latest fashion statement?

She received a lot of criticism for said outfit and yeah I have to agree, the gloves and clear bracelets are somewhat bizarre accessories.

But this gives me an idea. I have never thought of using satin as fabric material for my toga's before - always opting for a cotton mix. But I love the material of this toga style dress – the shiny, satin, dark blue is elegant and would look great at any upmarket toga party.

So anyone looking how to make a toga go satin fabric shopping now….

The Mighty Aphrodite

More on history - I am just lovin' this....

Has anyone been to see the statue of Aphrodite in California's Getty Museum?

At 2,400 year old, and over 7 foot tall, she epitomizes the voluptuousness of womanhood, despite having a chipped nose and being bald - well we all have our off-days!

This plus-sized goddess of love and queen of the heavens, makes it reassuring to think that the larger size was worshiped at one time in our history. In fact it was because of her size, and the strength it gave her, that made her a goddess.

But looking at her it has suddenly struck me! This lady is one clever cookie. The loose, billowing toga she is adorned in would never create a muffin top, or saddle bag thighs, and there would be no need to ask does my bum look big in this.

So anyone looking how to make a toga who is worried about being overweight, fear not, just look at the Mighty Aphrodite for inspiration.

Got The Toga - What About The Hair?

OK so when you have decided upon how to make a toga and have got your accessories in place, its time to think about hairstyles.

So I phoned Terry to get his new-found historical expertise and asked him what did the Romans do.

He tells me up until 300 BC they did not do an awful lot grooming-wise, spending most of their time fairly grubby - eww.

Well hey Terry, that's not much help, un-groomed is not a good look, especially for anyone out there hoping to find a date at said party.

Let me finish, he goes on. This soon changed with men starting to favor a groomed beard, only to be removed once grey hairs started to appear. I like grey on a man - distinguished and all of that. Shut up, he says.

Men’s hair, he goes on, was kept very short or shaven, the vainer amongst them would have had their hair curled with curling irons

Oh I think I have an old set of curling irons in my bedroom drawer, would he come over so that I can practice on he says, he's busy he says, all week he says...

So what about for us girls Terry? Women’s hair he says, would have been tied in a bun at the back of the neck, or coiled it into a knot at the top of the head. Alternatively the hair may have been adorned with ribbons or worn as ringlets.

Mmmm ringlets, mmmm curling irons..let me just check those curling irons still work...hang on he has not finished he says.

False hair and wigs would have often been used to create such flamboyant styles and many would have had their hair bleached blonde.

Bleach...wigs...oh I am so loving this.

Gotta go I tell much to do I tell him. Curling irons, wigs and all that.

So if like me,your really feel like making like a bona fide Roman, then invest in a set of curling irons or check out your local hairdressing supplies and wig store.

Toga's and Sequins

What about these Grecian-styled mini dresses as inspiration on how to make a toga for your next toga party? It certainly has given me some ideas.

Worn by socialite Kim Kardashian and Shanna Moakler, these white dresses have a sequined over shoulder strap.

Here’s the tip, and it is something I did not realize…. but you can buy these sequined strips real easily, they are available from most craft stores. Some you can sew on, but if you hate sewing like me (and hey I would rather stick pins in my eyes), then some come as an iron-on alternative.

Whatever, I am sure you will agree, these would give any toga a totally glamorous finish.

The Toga Walk Of Shame

You know, life can be unfair. I have spent most of mine towing the line but on the odd occasion, yeah my rebellious nature kicks in and I will do something that maybe I shouldn't, and yeah I probably should know better. But hey - why do I always seem to get caught out ! My partner will then take the morale high-ground and ask 'what was I thinking' to which I will sheepishly reply 'I don't know'. Well what else can you say in those situations.

I remember on one occasion as a kid, all my friends were playing a game of sticking, then subsequently removing, little stones from up their noses (why?). So of course I followed suit but, yes, mine was the only one that got stuck. (My spatial reasoning has never improved much - you should see me attempt to park the car!) I then had to go home and explain to my bemused parents, how the stone got there. My mom then lay me on the bed and emptied pepper into my nose, I cried, we waited for me to sneeze....


5 minutes later she emptied some more, I cried again, we waited for me to sneeze....


it never worked.

My dad then decided to prod and poke at my nose, I cried some more - but this thing was never going to budge! My mom was frustrated, my dad was frustrated, I was now howling, frightened and frustrated, thinking the only answer would be to amputate my nose.

The 4 of us, my brother now in tow, made a trip to the local doctors surgery.

Can you begin to imagine the humiliation of sitting in that busy doctors surgery, with at least 30 adults looking at me mystified, with this stone firmly wedged up my right nostril. We finally, after waiting what felt like a lifetime, all trekked into the doctors room. My mom explained what had gone on, the doctor looked at me disapprovingly for a couple of minutes, in a way only doctors can, and guess what....

I sneezed....

the stone blew out at such force it hit the doctors desk, landing 5 inches away from his chest. The relief....I could not express! No-one but me felt it - I could tell by their frowns.

Why this story? Well, I was recently reminded of the humiliation I felt during my 'stone incident' with a article I read a few days ago. It really made me laugh. It was about a man from Massachusetts who threw a toga party last year, got arrested for drinking underage, making too much noise, and having an unlicensed keg.

His punishment? To wear a toga for an hour whilst standing in front of the police station! Oh way to go, oh the humiliation - boy after the 'stone incident' do I know how he feels.

But it got me to thinking that for anyone out there in the process of learning how to make a toga you really need to think about the possibilities of were you may end up wearing it, and make sure you adapt the design to suit!

Terry's Toga History Lesson Part 1

My best friend Terry is my toga party staple! Why - because he is just one of those people that everyone loves! He talks non-stop, he laughs non-stop. Everyone has their own Terry, right?

At my last toga party - he was there as usual, dressed to thrill! He had captured quite an audience, being the extrovert he is. When I went over to see what was going on, he was spouting all this stuff about toga history that he had been reading up on, and everyone seemed really interested (maybe they were just being polite!), so I though I would pass it on here. Some of you will be curious, and some won't. But whatever, you can always use it to impress your friends at your next toga party - just like Terry did!

Here goes:

Did you know that in roman times a toga wearer was known as a togatus.

Did you also know that the original toga was a thick woollen cloak and used more as an overcoat. It was worn with loin cloth and tunic underneath and when indoors subsequently removed.

If you have ever worn a toga before you will know how cumbersome they can be. When made the correct way they require large amounts of material, which can be, not so much heavy, but more awkward to wear. Not surprisingly they fell out of fashion quite quickly and buttoned cloaks were introduced. They still remained as court dress during the days of the Empire probably because they have a regal look to them.

Just a word of caution here, if you are thinking about how to make a toga for a forthcoming toga party, I would strongly advise that you forget attempting authenticity and lay off the wool, I have tried it to my cost – hot, sticky – eww!