Thanks for the Lisa Thiel link. I've heard her stuff on podcasts and such, but it never occurred to me look on YouTube. I love this song especially. Now I'll probably have it running through my head all night, but that's okay!
It's always nice to be able to comment on something that I actually know about!
You can easily rust chain by soaking it in salt water for a day or so. But the rust may rub off, and not necessarily in a good way. Better to do it a test first, and if you don't like the result, do it with paint. It's actually a bit difficult to spraypaint chain, because you can't get in between the links very well. A better way is to use acrylic paint that's thinned until it just runs easily (but still thick enough that when you dip your finger into it, the colour isn't transparent) and dip the chain in it. Stir it around to cover all the parts, lift it out and give it a good shimmy to shake off the excess. You'll need to hang it to dry (over newspapers because it'll drip) and re-arrange it every five minutes or so to keep the spots where the links meet from gumming together.
If your chain is quite shiny, it may take several coats, letting it dry a few hours between them. You can just use a single colour (burnt sienna or red ochre is fine, or tint it with about 20% raw sienna for a truer colour) or, for a very convincing finish, do a good base coat, and when it's dry, lay the chain out on newspaper and spatter it with one or two other colours for texture. Raw umber, burnt umber or black are all good for this, and the paint should be thinned quite a bit more so it just stains the surface rather than coating it. Just use a wide paint brush to flick paint over the chain (okay, use lots of newspaper for this, as there's no way to avoid making a mess!), turning it and rearranging it to get all sides. Don't worry about missing spots or being even. When it looks suitably grungy, hang to dry. Remember that the paint is much more visible when it's wet, so you may find that what looks just right may be far too little when it's dry.
Okay, from dirty metal to ruffles: If you don't have a ruffler foot (and once you've used one you'll wonder why you ever tried to do it without), another good way to do it is to lay down a heavy thread (buttonhole thread is perfect) and zig-zag over it, being careful not to catch it with the needle. (You may already have a presser foot with a little hole at the front; this is what it's for. Thread the heavy thread through the hole and it'll remain perfectly spaced between the zigzags as you stitch along.) To gather, simply slide the fabric back along the thread and tie it off. Use a fairly long stitch length and only enough width to easily clear the gathering thread. The advantage of this method is that there's little chance of breaking the heavy thread as you pull it, so it's good for lo-o-ong lengths of ruffle.
The only useful book I can find at the moment is "Making Clothes in Leather" by Ben and Elizabeth Morris. It has some good suede hats in it. Date is 1975, so a bit late and fashionable, but still fairly characteristic.
There are patterns and instructions for these two. I can scan them and send them to you if they'd be useful, though I think you probably don't have time before the festival.
If you really want hippy authenticity, it's important to remember that there are issues of class and politics involved. The kind of clothes shown in TattooedCrafter's patterns were really a middle-class commercial response to the styles of the actual hippies. Real hippy clothes were more gypsy camp than harem. Clothes were second-hand, lovingly hand-made and eccentrically worn. (That just sounds like Craftster!) No real hippy chick would have used a Vogue pattern to sew a hippy dress to wear to the protest march! While most of the hippies were from the middle class themselves, they made a point of not dressing in a way that would have been acceptable to their parents.
It's probably difficult to find good references online, though there must be at least some photo archives of rallies, music festivals, etc. Janis Joplin is certainly a good model, and you will get the most authentic ideas from watching any of the great outdoor concert movies of the time - Woodstock, Gimme Shelter, Monterrey Pop, Festival Express, etc. There are even some feature films of the period that are authentic enough to be useful. I think The Deer Hunter was good, and of course Easy Rider. (In fact 1970's trashy biker movies are all quite authentic if they feature hippies - and many do - because most of them probably provided their own wardrobe!) I would steer clear of Hair, which was already a period piece when it was made a decade after the hippy era. One movie that's surprisingly authentic is Godspell, which is pure theatrical fantasy but captures the feel and gets the details right.
To me the most characteristic hippy items are suede hats and vests, crocheted caps and vests (always with acrylic yarn, of course), long denim skirts (often embroidered, patched, painted or otherwise embellished), high-waisted bell-bottom jeans (likewise embroidered, etc.), bits and pieces of military uniforms, t-shirts (this was the beginning of silk-screened images on t-shirts) and bandannas.
I have a couple of books which might yield some good photos. I'll go have a look.
Ruffle Lust indeed! Katara, even if you never do anything with those fabulous ruffles, they'd be inspiring just to have to look at! I especially like the layer with the white-on-blue starburst pattern - it almost doesn't look like a ruffle at all.
That really is an epic shawl! No wonder your mom is already fighting you for it!
I've never thought of making my own trim like that. You could so easily do it. I don't crochet, though I suspect only minimal skill is needed for that kind of work, but it would be easy enough to add the beads, sequins, etc. onto commercially-made lace. Hmmm...
I tried embroidery the other day, but I'm not quite getting the hang of it. Why do they make 6 strands, why not 1 strands and 6 times the length?
It's something that's always baffled me too. You almost never use all six strands. It would make so much more sense to package it as 2-strand, because doubling or tripling it would be a lot easier than always having to separate it. (Which always ends up a mess, no matter how careful you are!)