Friday, February 27, 2015

HSF 2 - the Blue Challenge

All three blue things, standing together.
Nothing challenging about blue!  In fact, I did 3.  And yet, here I am on the second to the last day, not quite sure what to post.  Yup.  I did 3 blue things this month.  All of them part of other things that are 'in progress'.  So I'll be posting them again as part of the final update for each outfit.

The winner is the 1915 plaid pleated skirt.  Why?  Because it's the 'Historical' Sew Monthly.  And plaid and pleated skirts were very popular in/around that time.
This is part of a cosplay and that post will be updated very, very soon

 Runner up - the 'blue demon' skirt.  It is the skirt for my nereid, and it's supposed to be water.  The skirt, when worn with a petticoat, is inspired by Victorian natural form.  I considered using it, but polyester organza and a 3 layer fishing line hem aren't really within the guidelines.  I'd love to say this was fun to drape but I would be lying.  Polyester organza is everything that is evil.  It IS awfully fun to wear though.  I am readying an update to the nereid post very soon.  In fact, I'm making seaweed right now and then I'll get to it.
Second runner up - Regency shawl, hand woven with twisted fringe.  Perfect!  Historical, and very pretty.  But only 6 feet long and 12 inches wide so it needs to be longer (which I can't do) and/or wider.  I may be able to make it wider.  Maybe for a later challenge.  It will get it's own post soon.   Until then it is a relatively useless scarf.

I've been busy making things and taking pictures.  As soon as I hit my next major roadblock (probably on Sunday), I will update posts all over this blog!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Update on Robin's First "A Gatsby Summer Afternoon" dress

Roger and I at a subsequent 4th of July Picnic, before the dress fell apart

Gatsby has come and gone, but Lisa is forcing me to post. As readers may recall, my first attempt at a rereleased Simplicity pattern from that era ended up in the muslin trash heap as a total disaster. So it was back to pattern shopping. I ended up with Reconstructing History's 1930s Ladies' Day Frock with Jacket #1317 and 1930's Ladies Princess seamed Slip which you can look at here:  The site won't let me copy a picture from it.
I added an inch to the hips and all went well with this one. Some sewing techniques, like folding under the seam allowance and top stitching it down, were new to me but easily done once my modern brain got over it. The pattern has one omission in that it did not have an opening in the back neck, although the picture showed it.  I just put one in.  Lisa draped a better jabot for me (Thanks, Lisa) and that was that. Lisa also decorated my hat with stuff we bought in the Los Angeles fabric district when we were on a Costume College Shopping Safari. That stuff on the hat is actually a crinoline strip!
Here's the final product.  This dress fits me better than anything I've ever made. Oh, and the shoes are from American Duchess.  You can't see them, but they are great.  Love her shoes. The gloves I found on a trip to Europe in a fabulous glove shop that Roger spotted (He's good that way).
Post script to the post - the first time I had washed the dress, the seams started coming apart, even though I finished each edge. The dress is now unwearable and I am sad. I made a new Gatsby dress but it is so ugly I can't bring myself to write about it yet, let alone put up a picture. Oh, well.....C'est la vie!

Regency Dance Dress and Turban Finally Finished! - Robin

 Here's the final product of my first Regency foray. After making the stays and the dress last year, I had yet to finish the closings and the hat. Such a procrastinator! But as we have a Regency Ball coming up at the end of February, I got myself in gear and finished.

The dress is from Simplicity Costumes 4055, unmodified except for fit. The back is not historically accurate as I was only interested in getting something together to dance in. I ended up with too much back and overlapped it with double buttons.  Originally I had used hooks and eyes, but they popped open the minute I moved. The bow closes with hook and eye so it will hang correctly while dancing.

Now that my hair is l-o-o-ng, I really don't want to style it because all the curls will fall out the minute I sweat, so a turban was the answer.  But which one?? The answer came from a Costume College class Lisa took - Easy Regency Turban. However, mine was NOT that easy.  Here's why......
The back of the non-historic dress
The not-so-easy Regency Turban

starting the weave
the body of the hat
laying out the stripes
 I made the material for the turban out of ribbon bonded on to Pellon. The stuff I had was a bit stiff but I did it anyway. For the band,  I did it in stripes and machine embroidered the edge lines.  For the body of the turban, I wove the ribbon into a plaid that Lisa called "Sort of a Space Invader Plaid". This was a technique I saw in Threads Magazine a while ago and had wanted to try on something.  Evidently this should NOT have been the project to try it on.  This turban is supposed to be soft, malleable.  Mine is decidedly NOT. At first, all I could think of was "OMG, I look like a deranged Baker!", but as I sewed on the feathers and the jewel (from a hair scrunchie), I began to feel kinder towards it.  I will get some fake hair to make into tendrils to attach to the inside of the hat to frame my face, but as of now, it is wearable.  And by the way, the dog did not eat the pattern until after I had finished the turban. C'est la vie!

embroidery on the stripes

1830's corded petticoat - L - HSF Challenge #1

Did my my first HSF/HSM challenge!  I've been lurking forever.  It seems the challenges line up maybe sorta good for me this year.  We shall see how I do.  Anyhow, here it is, 1830's corded petticoat.
No pattern.  100" wide which is likely wider than it needs to be, but I'm pretty tall so I want to consider proportions.  I finally used cotton organdy which I now love more than anything. I really waffled about the cording.  I decided to use cotton cord (3mm clothesline from the hardware store), and enclose it in a facing.  True to every warning I read, the layers slip while sewing.  I finally resigned myself to having the facing a bit twisted and some bunching between layers.  I looked at a lot of pictures and read about a lot of how many cords and how high to cord.  I thought I could get away with about 30 rows, but ended up with 45.  This was determined by weight, how it looked as I worked, and by the overwhelming tedium of sewing interminable circles.  Just to make myself believe that there was a lot of thoughtfulness in this, I made each section 3 rows less than the section below.  My sections are (bottoms up) 15, 12, 9, 6, 3.  I have every intention of making a regular organdy petticoat to wear over this.  Just not right now.

During pinning and marking my cat would climb inside, and since he objected to being moved, there are already some little holes in it.  Just like a real antique!

Cotton organdy is very light and crisp.  If it gets a little wobbly, a quick iron sorts it right out.  Now I want to make all the pretty Gibson girl dresses.  Don't hold your breath.

Sewing cording in circles really makes me stabby, but if that wasn't enough, with just 5 rows to go, I was stricken by food poisoning/stomach virus that threatened to turn me inside out.  I've spent the last few days living on orange Gatorade and white rice.  No coffee.  So it's really a surprise that no family members were killed in the making of this petticoat.

Next up, I need to finish the WW1/Outlander mashup and put that to bed (for now).  And repair the Attack on Titan cosplay because we are going, en masse to 'Escape the Walled City'.  After I do all the laundry.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

While I was working - L

I'm still working on my two bigger projects, but I've done a few other things.  I'm being driven crazy trying to modify a 1930's dress that I'm pattern-testing.  I woke up this morning with another idea on how to make it fit.  I have to size it up quite a bit and the FBA is in the center front.  Every time I try it, the center 'V' is way too deep or the bodice sags badly under the bust.  But I think I figured it out.  More to come.

I'm participating in the Lowell Mill dress group on FB, so I'm making a corded petticoat.  So boring and yet so frustrating.  I'm fairly confident that 1830's dress will not be flattering and the fabric is lovely yet frumpy.  I just really want to do it.  I don't even have any place to wear it, except maybe Dickens Fair.

And I got my first paid commission.  A friend wanted a 1920's party dress.  She didn't need to be historically accurate and doesn't like the rectangular 20's bodice.  Lucky for me, she had an amazing sequined minidress.  I made a simple skirt with a silver sequined handkerchief hem overlay.  She also had a small feathered hair clip that we took over-the-top.  She's happy and I'm happy.

Outlander - L

Let's face it, who hasn't watched Outlander and wanted to make a costume?  It's winter, it's raining, and plaid!  With knitted stuff!  I've seen posts about Outlander costumes all over the place, and I want one too.  And yet, it's another 'Lord of the Rings' moment for me.  So many Claire costumes, and all done by lovely waifs.  Fragile and delicate in their yards of plaid skirts.  If I looked like that, I would be wearing it.  Right now.  Being me, though, I had two problems:  I would look like fairly-tale giant in those dresses, AND I sorta like the guys clothes better.  In a fit of early morning inspiration (or a profound lack of coffee) I decided that I wanted to make something inspired by the guys, and that their clothes reminded me of mid-teens ladies wear.  I have a whole Pinterest board of images but here are my favorite inspiration pictures.

This blouse, in white (and not shiny)
Girl in the Plaid Skirt.

I have been informed, by more than one person, that this will be the most obscure costume EVER.  No one will get it.  La la la la....not listening.

I started with the knitting.  Gave me time to think about the other stuff.  These are from free patterns on Ravelry and very easy.  Mitts and a beret.  Because it ain't an Outlander costume without knitted stuff.

I burned some yarn I had laying around.  I buy yarn because I like it and it's on sale and never have plans to make anything with it.  This is a much lighter weight yarn than the patterns called for but the result is soft and not warm.  Which is really good because I rarely get cold.

Then the skirt.
I have a couple of ideas about it.  First, it is simply a plaid pleated skirt.  Second, I secretly want it to be a hobble skirt which doesn't really make sense.  I have an idea about that, and it probably won't work, entailing button-on fabric bands at mid calf.  We shall see.  If it doesn't work, I will still be OK.  My target is 1915 - 1918 (early WW1) and hobble skirts were long past fashionable at that time anyway.

Being a nincompoop, I bought heavyweight cotton flannel.  I couldn't find any wool that I liked at a reasonable price.  I have, and continue, to spend too much money on travel.  Sewing needs must be cheap.  I am aware that this fabric will not hold a pleat no matter how much I iron with vinegar.  I am sewing 1/8 from the pleat edge to hold them in place.  You can sort of see it in the picture.  Sounds horrible but the pinning was a lot harder and more time consuming.  I pinned, I pressed, I sewed.  And I only sewed up to the hip.  From the hip to the waist, I will sew the pleats down, with a slight tapering for my waist.  (Haven't actually done that yet)  The best part of this is that I can wear this skirt around and no one will know it's a costume, let alone that it feels like wearing a granny nightgown.

Most every blouse I looked at for this period has a sort of sailor collar.  But I don't want a sailor collar.  I also don't want a high closed collar because they are kind of claustrophobic.  I decided on a high, two piece collar and I would add a button in jabot.  I use this Kwik Sew pattern a lot.  It lies.  It is not quick.  Two part collar, yoke, and its of topstitching.  I use it for it's parts because then I don't have to draft them.  This time, I added bust fullness at the shoulder and made pleats which requires more math than it seems like it should.  I also added about half an inch to the collar stand and the collar.  I had the sleeves longer and fuller and made up a cuff.  To control the fulness under the bust, I made top-stitched inverted box pleats in the front and back.

Next up was a jabot.  It seemed like a good compromise between the wrapped cravats from Outlander and lacy Edwardian neck decorations.  I looked at pattern pieces online and drew a picture of my estimate in 'real' size.  It took a few tries to get it right (using scrap paper for the test).  It's a simple Fibonacci curve that I tried to draw free hand.  Picture proof that my drawing skills are wretched.  I just kept trimming at the paper until I got it looking the way I wanted.  Then I cut fabric and hand hemmed it so the curves would lie nicely.

Made a little rectangle collar piece and added buttonholes at the ends (not shown).

I added buttons to match on the collar stand so I could button it in, or use the jabot on other blouses in the future.  The rest of this blouse was buttonholes and button.  Interminable.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Stash busting monstress - L

I had an urge to try out some of the new things I learned at Costume College so I'm making a Nereid costume.  This meant a corset, a 'wave' skirt, a lacy shift, fish scale arm covers, a crab crown and ass-kraken 2.0 (maybe).   This is where I should show a picture of what I had in mind but I REALLY cannot draw.  So I will just keep adding things when I have something to show.

First, the shift.  I decided to use the last of some very fine cotton lawn and make a simple 'peasant blouse' type of shift with long lace at the end of the sleeves.  It would be fun to have the lace around the neck too, but would make gathering the neckline nearly impossible without treading into clown territory.    The lace was from last year's LA fashion and fabric district field trip.  I bought it because it was cheap.  I still have lots and lots.  I expect I will find myself wearing this shift and watching costume dramas in bed simply because it is fluffy and frilly.  And yes, those are hand stitched eyelets.

Upper arm armor is cadged together based on a post Alisa Kester put on the Shear Madness Facebook page.  One day I will learn to keep notes when knitting the first of two matching objects.  That day I will become an adult.....   

My corset is made based on the Truly Victorian 1880's corset pattern.   I really want to do on some beading after learning the basics in a Costume College class.  The plan is to make creatures found on rocky shores as decoration.  Except crabs.  Because I have plans to add crabs elsewhere.  I'm using up some duck canvas remnants from JoAnns.  My store always has canvas remnants that are at least 3/4 yard.  I'm using two layers of canvas for the main structure with no lining (laziness) and a pleather remnant for the two front and back panels.  This is my first Victorian corset and I'm being shockingly lazy about good fit.  I want to make a good quality Victorian corset some day and I figured it was about time to give it a try and get my mistakes behind me.  First mistake - the corset shrinks as you add boning channels and boning.  Modesty panel will be needed.  All in, I thought it was pretty straight forward.  January will be my 'real' corset month.  I am really long forward to having a corset made to fit ME.  Short waist, small back, big boobs.

Beading.  I will do beading.  On the corset.  An octopus and some sea stars.  Sea starts have been gone from the California west coast for over a year because they all got a virus and died.  They are trying to make a comeback.  I miss them.  (gratuitous science comment)

And now the skirt.  It will be the death of logic.  I had a great idea in my head.  Organdy waves.  I could try a fishing line hem, use up some fabric that was a non-starter for it's original purpose.  Here is my 'curl the fishing line' anti-tutorial.  When the internet says you can wrap the line around toilet paper rolls and nuke it...  no.  Just no.  Do yourself a favor, wrap it around PVC pipe and dip it in boiling water.  In the microwave, you have about one second between 'hot enough to curl the plastic' and melty disaster.  Also, the 1/2 inch pipe makes the curls tighter which is good.  When you zig zag to fabric that curl stretches out a lot.

 My first fishing line hem!  It worked!  But it doesn't look like I want it to.  I added trim underneath it.  Still not working.  So now I'm re-thinking my plan.  I have some new ideas along the line of natural form era skirts.  I will update this post (or write a new one) when my plans are more tangible.

Hat - Crab molts, melted plastic, sculpey.  This hat has been stewing in my brain for quite a while.  This whole costume is a bow to my desire to make this hat.