Thursday, April 3, 2014

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming...


I'm too busy doing other things to do any sewing.  But I can share the S'Octopus attacking the knitted TV.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Shifts and Centaurs - Lisa

I did a lot of things this week.  It feels good.  Robin and I went to the SF Opera sale.  I got all the stuff in the pictures plus some fabric for VERY attractive prices.  It's all wool and velvet and no item was more than $35.  Cloaks, skirts and coats.  (That red coat makes me think FLYING MONKEYS!)

I made my shift for both Regency and for my 18C court dress. Historically, they are NOT the same.  No one sees my underwear.  And I can always make a proper 18C shift later if I have the time (and the will).  I made a lot of mistakes.  And I didn't follow the important rule.  Once you start f-ing up, put it down.  I just kept going, and making mistakes.

I also made kid costume progress.  I made the centaur's hind end.  I made the lollipop foam base.  And I made a list of measurements because....  Someone is coming over to help today!  Cutting out fabric, batting, plastic net support, and gluing!

Here's a picture parade of progress:

 Shift - I used a free online pattern (basic shift).  I used some amazing sheer cotton lawn.  This meant I actually had to flat fell the seams for structural support.  I hand sewed eyelets.  I accidentally cut the neckline too big in the back and had to patch it.

The neckline is just rolled with a cord running thru.  Now I can put on all the 18C underthings so I can cut a petticoat.  Just a simple under-petticoat that goes over the pocket hoops.  And then, gulp, I have to figure out the dress.  I can also finish the Regency stays.

I also made the centaur.  It required patience.  And glue.  Wheels to legs.  Legs to heavy plastic mesh body.  Zip ties.  Foam.  More glue.  More waiting.  Cover in batting.  Wrap and tack fun fur.

Seems so simple when I type it....
Oh, and stuff a janky old wig into the foam buttocks to serve as a tail.  Most of the structure was stuff I found in the group's storage unit.  And the wig.  Hurray for scrounging.  And I even remembered to take pictures.  During the waiting, I cut and glued a big round foam lollipop (yes, another costume).

Today I plan to cut and glue the fabric for the Jar of Mayo, Corndog, Lollipop, Slice of Cake.

These are just fabric backed with a couple layers of batting sandwiching a layer of heavy nylon netting.  Twill tape and plastic tubing are the support.  Light weight and allow these kids to go to the bathroom easily.  Well, fairly easily.

There is another large circle glued over, and a face hole cut at the dot

Except for hooves.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sorry I forgot you blog! - Lisa

Working hard and not taking pictures.  Bad blogger.  Bad.  Yesterday, Robin and I went to the SF Opera costume sale.  We got a lot of stuff, like cloaks and coats and skirts.  They each cost less than the fabric they were made of so major alterations or complete rebuilds are completely logical.  Maybe I can take pictures today.  Also, I've been powering thru costumes for the play and adding bias binding on my 18c stays.  I thought they would be pretty with light pink binding.  Alas, I am lazy and my JoAnnes only had bubble gum pink.  And this is, after all, underwear.  I hand sewed the bias binding.  it is just too difficult to get the curves right when I machine sew.  And now I have met my goal of posting a picture of stays with ridiculously large pocket hoops.  I still need to attach the hoops to the twill tape band.  I think this corset pattern will work nicely for armor.

And then the kids.  I decided to make the easier costumes first.  That means cleaning, repairing and altering existing costumes.  And then I bought/ordered fabric and all the other stuff I knew I'd need that I couldn't scrounge from the costume storage.   Pictures are only half of what I did.

four cats, one with wing markings on her side
Two dogs and a rabbit
a few robes and lab coats
A bunch of kids wanted to wear wizard robes.  Some of them are heros and some are bad guys.  I measured their shoulders and the length, but forgot to measure their arm length.  Had to estimate from internet growth charts.  Same thing with the cats and dogs.  Luckily for me, we had one dog costume already, along with a rabbit, monkey, various lab coats,  safety vests, and a marching band jacket.  Next I need to make food costumes, a centaur, and a dress made from candy wrappers.  The play is called
  "Bacon - The Dumbest Day in San Francisco"
Mad scientists attempt to control ALL the bacon.  There are battles between heros and villains, and giant animals and giant food items.  There is a news crew reporting on the action during the entire play.
I think this means that the audience (parents) may actually know what's going on this year.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Titan success and Gallifrey - L

First, and most important, transfer paper works!  Mostly.  Well, yes, it does.  My craptastic painted Survey Corp logos are bound for the trash heap.  I'm a LOT better with an exacto knife than a paint brush.  But remember kids, images must be reversed!  Only made that mistake once.  Out of two images.  Here they are, ironed to muslin, then heat bond to the jacket.  The offspring decided they looked more like 'patches' that way.   The pictures are poor because I made the nugget get up at dawn for pics.  Next up for this costume is the 3D maneuver gear.  Thank you Ms Kurtz!  You are a life saver!!

And I spent the weekend at Gallifrey.  So much fun.  Everyone so nice.  And this year I wore the same outfit as last year, but caved into peer pressure and entered the masquerade.  I got the Fierce Stitching award!  Pretty awesome considering my truly horrific stage fright and the really stiff competition.  The workmanship judges are serious costumers and gave me a serious going over and quiz.  So I earned this one.  And, let's face it, Dr Who fans are the most inclusive in the world, so I had no reason to fear.  It's just like seeing a giant nasty spider in the bathroom.  I can't help being afraid.

Also work progresses on the 40 costumes for the play.  The basic framework and main fabric for the onion and brussel sprout are done.  I want to try them on the kids really quickly before I finish them.  Next task for the play is sizing up the cat suit pattern for 5 different kids.  With any luck, I will have some volunteers to actually sew them together.  Then the centaur, the slice of cake and the jar of mayonnaise.  Am saving the carrot and banana for last.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A funny thing happened... Corset - L

Regency stays outside

I'm at 'final' versions of both the Regency and 18C stays.  Robin and I had a quick sewing day yesterday to do fittings.  I was confident that my Regency stays were in good shape.  But NOOOOO.  We couldn't get the underbust to fit snuggly.  Problem was that my boobs and my belly were pushing out enough to make the busk look like this '/' and it wasn't providing support and separation.  I tried cutting the busk but (not unexpected, really) it just created a cantilevered shelf with no support.  So we resorted to a stay tape.  I have not seen this ANYWHERE, but it worked like a charm.  Sorry no pictures. No chemise yet.  No over-share on the interwebs.
Regency stays inside with stay tape.

Here's what it looks like on the inside.  The tape secures the busk agains my solar plexus and holds everything in roughly the proper position.  Since I just used cheap twill tape, I plan to double it so it doesn't stretch, and close it with something really strong.  I also need to trim the center front about 3/4 of an inch.  After that, I'll sew my eyelets so Robin can get a good pull and we can do the final final fit.  It's pretty obvious that I won't have quite the lifted bust that is proper for that era, but my chest is really too big to do that anyway.  It is NOT flattering at all.                                                      
Regency stays inside (before tape)
18C stays, boning channels
I was a lot less confident about my 18C stays.  If you recall, I used the Butterick Wearing History pattern and found it bewilderingly huge.  And this is after measuring me vs the actual pattern piece, and cutting the sides and back a size smaller than I thought would work.  I ended up re-cutting the front 3 times and trimming about 1.5 inches off each side.  That many changes, on the fly, is usually a good sign of trouble.  Also, I couldn't get the boning channels to look like the pattern.  So I just made them up - based roughly on what I saw in Corsets and Crins.  for the outside, I used a white floral on a black background that reminds me of 18th century prints but is not accurate.  I kinda wanna bind it in rose pink.  Anyway, I put it on and Robin pinned it and all the pins bent in half and flew out.
18C stays outside

Who knew fitting stays required safety glasses?  After upgrading to heavy duty pins and Robin physically holding it shut in back, we discovered that it fit like a dream.  I'm a happy, happy corseteer! Though I still need to cut at least an inch off the center back.

Robin also fit her Regency stays.  And they look beautiful.  She is using an antique gold silk dupioni as her fashion fabric and it looks amazing.

Both of us got immeasurable help from reading the Regency Fitting Tips from Jennifer Rosbrugh at Historical Sewing.  Well worth the money for those of use who are not lithe and willowy (read 'have boobs and hips' so not just chubby).

I am also working on costumes for the kids improve group again.  These little monkeys slay me.  Centaurs, giant vegetables (and evil giant vegetables at that), walking slices of cake and innumerable animals.....

And I'm ALSO doing a cosplay for my son.  My daughter is sewing along to cosplay with him.  They are doing Attack on Titan and being Eren and Annie. Here is a screen shot of what the costumes generally look like.
I have the jacket made.  Roughly drafted from a blouse pattern with the collar and lapels expanded.  I can't finish it until my daughter catches up so that our collars and lapels will look comparable.

In the mean time I'm painting the emblem patches.  It is much more difficult than I expected.  The fabric paint doesn't provide consistent coverage.  I may do them over with slightly watered down paint and more layers.  (Ugh).

Finally, I actually finished the Noro yarn scarf.  I blocked it and added fringe made from cotton sateen embroidery yarn and some glass beads edged with copper.  half the beads are dark blue and the other half are turquoise.
Yay for finishing a project.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Edwardian Ball and avoidance knitting - L

We went to the Edwardian World's Faire.  It happens the night before the Ball and is less crowded and has more cool stuff like bicycle rides and a midway.  Same amount of awesome music.  Being a horrific dancer, this is the night for me.  This is also a night to channel your inner Steampunk.  I took the Anteater underskirt and added the Gibson-inspired blouse and just made a vest, drawers, and a top hat.  The vest is from a modern pattern with princess seams.  I had to mod it to fit a corseted figure which makes the pattern pieces look really odd, but it works well.   And since I have to do a FBA anyhow...
I moved the implied bust point up and reduced the waist ALL in the side front pattern piece.  I also added about an inch (plus) of horizantal width for bust room.  Then all I added was 2 inches of length in the center front pattern piece.  I split that addition between the waist (at the lengthen/shorten line) and above the bust.  That allows the front of the vest to be lower so I can show off the pleating on the blouse.  The top hat has been on my list to make FOREVER.  It's the Lynn McMasters riding hat pattern.  I made a few mistakes.  Actually pretty serious mistakes.  The crown portion was significantly larger than the brim.  I sort of jammed it together and covered the ugly parts with feathers and ribbon.  None of this can be seen in the picture...  ha ha ha.

And then I indulged in avoidance knitting.  That's what you do when you have sewing burnout.  And when you got some awesome yarn for Christmas.  I made two scarves inspired by free patterns on Ravelry.  Neither is quite done.  One needs fringe and beads to be finished.  The other needs to be blocked.  But here they are anyway, because I will never remember to blog them later.  Of course we are having unseasonably warm weather now....

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Revamping my first dress - Robin

When I made my first costume, I never had time to fully trim it.  Two years later, during my "finish those dang things" project, I did it.
I started with the shoulders. Lisa and I had no idea how to fit a drop shoulder over my broad shoulders and ended up with a too-modern look.  I draped fabric over the dress and played with trim to see what I could do with it
I also raised the draping on the skirt and added trim on the sleeves. Here's how it came out:
The dress dummy won't conform to my corseted self, so here's the best shots. I didn't take any photos from the Dickens Faire, so there's nothing with the dress on a human. You'll have to use your imagination.  To finish my "finish this" project, I need to make the ballgown top for this skirt.  More on that later.