Thursday, April 2, 2015

HSF/HSM - stash busting - L

OK.  I did it.  I made the hand-woven thing wider.  I'm still not ecstatic with it, but at least it looks like what it is.  A shawl.  I will it was about two feet longer but I didn't really calculate properly when I started.  And, candidly, since this was some yarn that I got with a knitting machine about 6 years ago, I'm not sure I'd have had enough yarn.  It's only about 6 feet long so it would be perfect for a 4th grader.

I am not a skilled weaver.  I know I need to practice to get better.  I am now realizing my epic hubris in choosing a novice project to show in the interwebs.  C'est la vie.

weaving two pieces at once
I made the shawl wider than the loom allows by weaving two additional strips and crocheting them to the main body.  The join didn't come nearly as 'clever' as I'd hoped (ergo no close-up).

I learned some interesting things.  Use different weight yarns intentionally, and know what the effect will be.  The cream colored yarn was slightly lighter and more stretchy than the blue.  The result was an uneven fabric  It was also very fuzzy.  Weaving fuzzy yarn leads to broken yarn.  Fixing a broken warp is difficult and tedious.  Fuzzy yarn requires a different heddle.  Shoving the heddle into the weave out of frustration isn't a good idea.  Kick something instead.  Weaving two pieces simultaneously was slower than I thought it would be but made matching the white strip a tiny bit easier.  Trying to match plaids WHILE you are making cloth is just a BAD IDEA.

uneven edge at bottom
 I do want to point out that wiggly edges are the mark of a novice weaver.  I managed to make some very wiggly edges.  The crochet did a great job of disguising it.  I tried to take pictures with the tripod but my exposure was utter crap.

Ultimately I folded it and hung it over a door.

Now I need a reason to wear it.  It's actually pretty soft and comfortable.  And not too warm.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Nereid - or 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.  (no offense to clowns)  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.....   

The scale is to go under shoulder armor.  The armor is made of painted craft foam and a chopped up juice bottle.  Decorated with wire, moss, shells and scrapbooking brads.

I have straps that are supposed to buckle in front and keep the armor on my shoulder.  Sadly my shoulders really ARE too small.  I will need to move the d-rings on the corset to keep the shoulders up.  This is will done later.  About the same time I finally make the holes in the straps to allow them to buckle.  I can't do that until its all fixed.  Despite a few problems, I still really like how it came out.

My corset is made based on the Truly Victorian 1880's corset pattern.   I really want to do 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.

Octopus beading in progress
Beading.  I will do beading.  On the corset.  An octopus and some sea stars.  Sea stars 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)  Update - sea stars are NOT gonna happen.  At least not anytime soon.  I overbooked my brain.  i beaded onto brown broadcloth and then stitched that onto the corset.  I also decided to make something fishy for my hands.  the pieces are made of beads and sequins on muslin with net covered elastic to hold it on.

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 it to fabric that curl stretches out a lot.

NOT this either!

 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.  


After two months of noodling around in my spare time, I'm finally getting to something I kind of like

Left long pleats 
Polyester organza is the devil itself.  It is stiff and stubborn and frays if you even look at it.  I'm still finding long strands of it stuck to my clothes.  It does look amazingly shiny and ripple-y in flash photos.   All the front pleats had to be hand tacked because they are on the bias and no amount of pressing (including vinegar and rajah cloth) would make those pleats stay put.  The side pleating was just slightly more cooperative.  I haven't decided about the back.  It's love/hate.

I also added some 'netting' made of gold cotton crochet thread.  It's macrame.  I haven't done THAT since the 70's.

Hat - Crab molts, melted plastic, sculpey and some seaweed.  This hat has been stewing in my brain for quite a while.   I've got the armature with sculpey bones done and baked.  The crab is an actual crab molt (shed) with spray foam inside for support.  I also sprayed some foam in molted claws.  And I made seaweed out of plastic.  Melting didn't work like I expected despite being enormously fun.  I used strips of medium weight plastic and stretched it at the edges.  Then I used glass paint of make a little detail and spray painted over it.  I also used glass paint on some bright green plastic (shopping bag).  The detail shows thru on the clear side.  The next step required Robin to help me pin it all together.  After that, I just tacked and glued until it all stayed together.

This is the part where I admit that I have better pictures.  They are trapped in a machine with no power.  The power cord is in the mail because I left it in Los Angeles.  I has a stupid.

Following are a bunch of pictures of the costume in action.  We hurried down to the beach to get pics before the sun blasted thru the marine layer.  And it just isn't easy to get things 'just right' when you're in a hurry.  And joggers have stopped to watch.

Thetis, nereid, queen of the shore and mother of Achilles.

Costumed in a Victorian style (you can call it steampunk but I'm not feeling love for the local steampunk community right now).

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Outlander - L (final)

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 girls.  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.  This is one of those costumes I'm making because I just really want to make it.

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 stash 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 here on the California coast I rarely get cold.

The Skirt
Initially I wanted to make a hobble skirt, but they were long out of fashion during the beginning of WW1.  And hobble skirts and pleats sounds pretty nightmarish.  From 1915 to 1918 skirts tended to be mid calf and full near the hem.  I spent hours looking at plaid fabrics online.  There were lovely wools that would break the bank (or at least destroy my travel budget).  There were decent medium weight cotton options but I didn't like the colors.  And there there was heavy cotton flannel.  Possibly the worst fabric choice I could make, but exactly the plaid I wanted.  So I picked the wrong fabric!

Because of the thickness, I had to forego a hem in order to get the pleating right.  Luckily the fabric is heavy and the selvedge wasn't weird.  Then I spent hours and two boxes of pins pleating it.  I left a smooth panel in front and a smaller smooth panel in back.  All the pleats fold toward the back.  I used my widest hip measurement while sitting for the skirt width.  And then I vinegar pressed the pleats.

I'm sure no one is surprised that even vinegar pressing will not hold a pleat in cotton flannel.  At this point I wrapped this big, pin covered piece of fabric around me and determined where I wanted the hem and where I wanted the pleats to start being stitched down.  Then I sewed a tiny seam along all the folds to hold them in place.  From the hip to the waist, I wanted the pleats stitched down.  But first I needed to cheat them in to match my hip curve and end up matching my waist measurement.  That required patience and math.  Then it was just a waistband, hook closure, working buttons on the left and decorative buttons on the right.  I made two sets of buttons (top and bottom) to channel the mid-teens look.

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 lots 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 made the sleeves longer and fuller and made up a cuff.  To control the fulness at the waist, I made top-stitched inverted box pleats in the front and back.  This means my shirt won't have ugly bunching and re-arranging while I'm wearing it.
front waist box pleats
pleating lines
top of nearly finished blouse

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 jabot patterns 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 buttons.  Interminable.  But also pretty much exactly what I wanted.

Selvedge fringe
Jacket - I used a modern jacket pattern as a base.  It's 2 or 3 sizes too small for me except for the back shoulders so it was interesting.  I had to make it longer, fuller, add big cuffs, and add actual pockets rather than decorative flaps.  I used the fabric selvedge around the pocket and cuff edges for texture.  I didn't take a lot of pictures during construction because anything that could be a problem WAS a problem.   Nothing big, but everything was a fussy, time sucking annoyance.  The worst part was the decorative waistband that just didn't want to lay down and play nice.  In retrospect, I should not have laid the waistband over the gathered front.  I should have made the front into two pieces.  Now that it's done, I still don't really love it.  If I have time, I plan to do the waistband one more time.  And finally get it right.

Purse/Sporran - My final accessory!  I made a purse with a chain handle OR the handle can live inside and there are belt loops on the back.  I can hang it from a belt like a sporran.  I used very cheap fun fur that I had left over from a kid's costume.  I ran uneven gathering up the back of the fabric to mimic sewn pelts.  On close examination it looks like cheap fun fur.  From a distance it's not that bad.  Really.

You may be asking 'but where's the vest?' because the Outlander guys wear a lot of waistcoats.  I made one.  I didn't like it at all.  It didn't seems to fit with the WW1 look of the outfit and it didn't resonate with the look of the guys in the TV show.  The vest is on an extended time out.

All 19-teens, out for a walk
Results  -  I had to do the photos myself with a tripod and a timer which was a bit of a struggle.  All the blouse detail got blown out in the exposure.  I've added a couple pictures of the blouse that highlight the pleating and cuffs and jabot.

Golf balls 'cause Scotland!

I will kill at tennis

The pose in these blouse pictures is deviously designed to hide the fact that I'd just rolled outta bed, slapped on some eye make-up and was trying to hide a hangover.  I really can't drink.  Be kind.

remember...these guys