Sunday, December 4, 2011

Working the skirt - and another Dickens photo - L

I'm attempting the get the gathers 'just so'.  I had them nearly perfect and discovered another bit to add in.  So I tried to add more and messed it up.  Now I'm unpinning and re-pinning.  Here's what I had before I started messing with it.  I'm really glad I did the lace between the ribbons because I like it and it really wasn't that hard.

I took a break from sewing and being sick (again!) to create holiday cards.  And then I'm going to get a xmas tree set up.  All the while I'm thinking about the top I'm planning to go with this skirt.  I got the fabric yesterday and it refused to be photographed.  I'll have another go at it in better light.  I've seen about six styles of bodice that I like.  I need to edit my brain. I am going to create with bits of patterns that I already have and make up the parts I don't have, and am finding it difficult to avoid trying to cram all the things I like in one piece.  And I realize that a lot of things I like will NOT flatter my figure.  So my brain is going to churn away in the background while I'm making Christmas.

Here's a very silly photo of all our Dickens costumes (and my son in his Issun Boshi Halloween costume)

Robin's beau, in the vest and frock coat she made him (not quite finished here).
Robin in her 1850's full crinoline and bonnet.
Lisa in her 1870's Polonaise and straw boater.
Valerie in 1870's style we made together, and fascinator.
Her boyfriend in the vest and cravat Lisa made, along with a regular dress shirt with the collar tips starched to look Victorian, and the amazing jacket (a woman's size 10 long blazer with 4 inches of twill added in the center back and back collar - it should never have worked)
Zach - photo bombing as usual
We ended up doing a lot of last minute 'fixes' after this Thanksgiving dress rehearsal.

Now, back to the gathers...   Sewing cat, Tsunami, and I are making this face.
We are not amused.  Unlike Tsunami, I won't go pee on the laundry.  I will pin and un-pin and pin again.  And promise to never ever self medicate a cold with Chardonnay again.  (note - this does not work...not even a little)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New project - Lisa

I am making a black skirt with a more steampunk feel.  I have the basic skirt made and have made a band of pleats around the bottom.  Now I'm fiddling around with additional decoration.  I've pinned together a couple of ideas.  And I'm having trouble deciding....
I plan to have two rows of velvet ribbon, and the gathers above them (the pleats beneath the ribbon are really hard to see - black on black).  Should I add the strip of lace between the ribbons?  It's really pretty.  It's a lot of work if the pretty is nearly impossible to see.
Right now I'm leaning toward the pretty.
I have a little time to think it over since I haven't finished the petticoat yet. I also plan to let the white lace at the bottom of the petticoat peek out a bit beneath the skirt.  Is that a bit 'twee' for a woman of my 'experience'?  Yes.  And I just don't care.  Feel free to disagree! 

I have a couple of different top options planned, which I will post when I have all the fabric.  I'll just say that one is posh, one sort of military and one very librarian.

R says: More! More! Victorians did not have our sense of restraint when it came to frou-frous on the clothing.  Our modern sensibilities dictate "When in doubt, remove an item" but in that time it was "When in doubt, add more!" At least that's what it looks like in the fashion plates I've seen.  Go for it, Lisa.  Add as much decoration as that skirt can hold but rest assured you will never seem "twee".

The first of many photos - Dickens

Here, in this grainy pictures, we are strolling the Dickens Faire.  We have clearer pictures of us, along with the other outfits we put together, but not this moment.  Robin was the dream of many young girls with her lovely crinoline, and she was well photographed.  And finally, for my part, Heather's patterns were fantastic.  The instructions were logical and everything fit together.  My biggest problems were all of my own making.  Truly Victorian

Friday, November 25, 2011

Getting Down to Crunch Time - R

Lisa helped me get started on the Frock Coat. Because I didn't understand all the directions, I was afraid to cut anything out.  Her style is to charge ahead and deal with the consequences later. Her approach actually worked this time, although I have run into a few tricky spots that the instructions just didn't deal with adequately.

I used my own method of collar attachments.  The Laughing Moon pattern had you hand sewing the upper collar on to tailor's felt. I just faced the upper
collar with silk and sewed it on as a piece in a method I learned from a ladies' jacket I'd made some time ago.  Here's a close up of the collar.  It came out great. The jacket doesn't fit, though. I need to take in about 1 inch on each shoulder, otherwise it looks as if he is swimming in a giant bathrobe. Strange, because the muslin fit just fine. These are the things I don't understand, how you can make a muslin that fits but the jacket looks too big in the fashion fabrics. Ah, Life's Mysteries!
Crunch time meant it was time to stop fiddling with the flowers and actually sew them on to the bonnet.  Here's what I came up with.  In the spirit of the True Victorian, when I thought "OK, that's enough", I then added a few more flowers!

Voila, the finished bonnet.  It looks cute over the wig. Yes, friends, I bought a wig.  You'll see it in the final picture.  It is from Vogue Wigs online and is the "Scarlett" model from Lacey in Auburn. It is quite comfortable.

I now have two more days to finish the Frock Coat, with lots of hand sewing left to do.  Hopefully, my Beau will not travel to the Dickens Faire with pins still in his outfit!

We had tons of fun trying everything on for friends and family for Thanksgiving.  We took tons of pictures and will post them soon.  OK, some are already on Facebook.  Mysteriously, my Polonaise managed to grow and now needs to be taking in down the center front.  This will allow me to fix the mistake I made when I didn't follow instructions.  It will also need to be done all by hand.  My alternative is to undo a whole lotta facing.  Like the frock coat, this is truly a mystery.  No other item of clothing I own is looser.

Dickens Faire on Sunday!  Two days to fix and finish everything!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A blank black slate - L

I have been haunted...seriously thoughts of a black victorian skirt with lots of trim.   I have ideas of what I would wear with it.  And I finally decided I just needed to make it.  Get it done.  Clear my head.  I have 2 pieces of thin black silky stuff (the dreaded silkessence), one is 3 yards and one is 2 yards.  I used the 3 yard piece to make the main part of the skirt.  Again based on that 1895 walking skirt.  It is lower calf length.  I used the two yards to make pressed pleats about 7 inches long.  Yessiree....120 inches of 7 inch tall pressed pleats.  I used the vinegar water technique to set them and it worked really well.  (google it...there a hundreds of examples on the interwebs).  That actually took most of the remaining two yards.  I made two inch strips with the rest.  I used a candle to 'burn' the edges so I wouldn't have to hem.  It worked OK.  I wasn't totally steady so have some uneven melty parts.  And yes, I melted fabric to the candle and spilled the whole thing in my lap.  I HIGHLY recommend using soy candles for this.  The 'wax' washes out easily.  I'm going to  gather up the thin strips and use them to make designs on the dress.  I'll attach the pleats at the bottom with a bit of velvet ribbon. And make a pattern with ruching above the pleats.

Of course I had to make a new petticoat.  This skirt will be a bit shorted than prior skirts.  It needs it's own petticoat.  And the petticoat might have lace at the hem.  And it might peek out a bit.  I got that mostly done too.  I just need to attach the lace to the ruffle and the ruffle to the petticoat.  I was going to use french seams but I got lazy.  So I zig-zagged the seam allowance.  Like a flat fell.  A Zig-Fell.

And then Rob and I spent the day working on her frock coat.  And it was a LOT of work.  We got most of the parts put together.  All the interfacing and junk attached.  Lining pockets done.  She just needs to put the parts together.  And figure out the crazy instructions for the back pleat.  (For reals, she has a ton of work still to do, but we did a lot too)

And with that, I'm going to have to tidy up the sewing and start getting ready for Thanksgiving.  Probably won't do to have twill tape, pins and scraps of ribbons and lining all over the dining room table.  And the living room.  And the sewing room.  And the bedroom.  Uh, yeah, I've been making a mess.

Sorry, no pics.  Black on black didn't photograph well, and I was just too busy to fiddle with it.  Seriously.  Black skirt, white petticoat, frock coat, all 60 - 70% done.  In a weekend.  And there was some playing of the new Drake's Fortune game.

We did an amazing amount of sewing in one day.  It helped to have two machines, each with a different color thread in it (lining is red, fashion fabric is grey). It was like a little production line.  Lisa hates ironing, so I did all the pressing and interface bonding.  It helps to have another brain with you so that when you are staring at instructions that somehow have turned into a foreign language there is someone there to translate.  All in all, a fantastically productive day. Now I feel as if I have a chance to finish this as opposed to feeling overwhelmed.  Unfortunately for me, this is pay-forward for all the blackwork I'm going to be doing on Lisa's Ren outfit!

The jacket looks fantastic!  And you'll be doing blackwork for yourself too.  ; )

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Another sewing day and an outing - L

We had another group sewing day.  As always, we seemed to work non-stop all day and get almost nothing done.  Robin made undersleeves out of muslin and trimmed them with lace.  She stretched out the process by making placket closures.  They do look nice.  Lisa made a cravat, stitched together a large decorative bow, sewed the lining in a vest and other necessary pains in the arse.  We also laid out the frock coat and starting cutting.  But then it was dark and we were tired and other snively excuses.  

We also wore out dresses to a Victorian Haunted House  (Rob was pinned together!).  Pics or it didn't happen.....check out the vest!

 Of course we stopped for dinner ahead of time and created a bit of a stir at the Indian Buffet.  We had a big fan though....a five year old girl asked her father to come over and tell us that she liked our dresses.  I actually coaxed her into coming over to our table to say hello. 

We are sewing again this weekend.  We promise to take pictures.  In fact we plan to stage some pictures in Lisa's very overgrown backyard.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Another vest crawling to completion - L

I'm also working on a vest.  This one without a pattern.  I used advice for measurements from a couple of online 'free' patterns.  I tried my first single welt pocket and a 'cheater' collar (which means the fabric at the front V is self lined and folded over).

Here is the pocket in progress, and here is the vest partly done.  I've got the armholes and side seams done and just need to finish the shoulders, center front and hem.  Then buttonholes.  Haven't done a buttonhole since I was 15.  Sort of scary.  I will be practicing on spare fabric.  Wish me luck!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The vest comes together - R

 This vest was difficult to put together, but only because I followed (or tried to) the instructions. There were many points where I could have chucked the instructions and done it my own way, but I thought I'd learn a new technique somewhere in this confusing morass of verbiage.  In the end, i still ended up chucking the instructions and figured out how to finish it on my own.

It's only missing the buttons, which I tried to make as covered buttons, but the fashion fabric is too thick to create a 1/2" covered button, so I'll have to go to the store and find some that will work.  Otherwise, this puppy is finished with out my having bit the head off anything. Bring on the Frock Coat!

Bonnet work - R

 Got the Rit dye in the mail.  I ordered online from because the local store carries a limited color selection.  I dyed the Petersham ribbon with blue denim & wine and stitched it on, also attaching the tie. Then I tried it on the buttons, but they kept coming out lavender, no matter how strong I made the dye bath.  The solution?

SHARPIES to the rescue. (Thanks, Faye, for having a purple Sharpie at hand at work and suggesting this to me!) I colored them with purple Sharpie and I know from experience that Sharpie doesn't come out of fabric no matter what you do.  I also played with the flowers and have decided to paint them with the dye bath to get rid of some of the blue.  I'll do that this weekend, as it is not a priority right now.

All I need now are some fabric flowers, which Lisa will show me how to make on November 6 and I'll have everything I need to finish the bonnet.

I will show you the flowers and make them for you at the same time.  Each flower will take 5 to 10 minutes even if you 'take your time'.  Bring your dark ruching strips.  We can put Valerie to work making tubes.  You could pull this off, 100% yet!  

Yes, I really did this - L

Needed to put together a costume for a man, very cheap, and not too much work, for Dickens Faire.  I don't have the time to make something fancy, and neither my daughter or her boyfriend wanted to spend a lot of money.  Here's what we decided to do.  I have an old long black blazer.  I would slit open the back seam and cut through the collar.  Then I would add about 4 - 6 inches of black fabric that looks close the the twill of the jacket.  I would also add 4 inches the the end of each sleeve.  By any logic, this shouldn't work, and should look really bad.  Here's where I am so far:

I realize these are bad pictures.  It is difficult to take good pictures of black on black.  On the left is the outside of the back with the piece sewn in.  The match is better than it looks in the picture.  I was trying to create contrast.  The inside is to the right.  I tucked under the edge of the lining and tacked it to the seam.    It looks like there is just another set of seams in the back.  The problem areas are the center back vent and the collar.  In place of a single vent, I made the added panel into a flap that looks like two vents fairly close together.

 On the left is the vent from the outside.  And on the right is the vent from the inside.  And yes, it's ghastly on the inside.  If it is visible at all when he wears it, I will add some lining.  But I don't think so.  Next I will have to deal with the collar.  It won't be lovely no matter what I do.  If it is truly awful, I will buy a small bit of velvet and cover the collar altogether.  Pictures soon!
I also added length to the sleeves and made them cuff to cover the seam above the wrist.
Next I will make him a vest.  He needs it because adding only to the back of the jacket means it doesn't close in the front.  I don't have a pattern for a man's vest.  But I don't really need one since this fellow is very tall and very slim and any pattern would have to be modified beyond recognition anyway.
Based on my measurements, he's actually a true rectangle.  A very long rectangle.  So I made a quick muslin (pinned only) and have since cut out the fabric.  I decided I could teach myself how to make a welt pocket on this project.

  Here's my welt pocket (muslin).  I used a tutorial on the web for a single piece welt pocket where the lining is the same fabric as the welt.  It worked well.  Here is a link:   Single Welt Pocket Tutorial   I had plenty of the fashion fabric to use for this, so it wasn't a problem.  Finally we will make him a cravat.  I found a really nice brocade remnant.  That should disguise the fact that he's just wearing a regular white shirt.  He will also wear regular grey wool slacks.  Not perfect, not even close to perfect.  However he will clearly be 'dressed' and should look pretty nice.  Assuming, of course, that I don't mess anything up.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Devices and Desires - L

(All apologies to PD James)
As we have crested the hill on our first project (Victorian for Dickens Faire) we have been having an email chat about what we've learned.  Mostly about ourselves. 

We took a bath in reality.

Robin is currently focused on finishing the outfit for her beau.  She has not gotten to most of the ruffles and trim she imagined adding to her dress.  If she has time (and inclination) she will add to it.  I was pretty surprised by this.  She had some fantastic ideas, and had already purchased lace and extra fabric for ruffles.  She has had a craving for 'decor' far and above mine.  Ironically, I was the one who went 'all in' on hand crocheted lace and pleating.  In both cases it was a question of priorities.  Rob had a lot of fun out of town weekends planned that ate into her sewing time.  She also chose to delay her start to lose weight, and opted to make her own corset. (I'm STILL not finished with the corset, haven't lost weight but gained instead, and still want all my gee-gaws on the dress, but I also want my beau to have some semblance of a costume, so I defer to that desire. The dress looks fine as it is and I can always add the trim for next year. It was hubris to think I could make two complete Victorian outfits from scratch with only intermediate sewing skills and a busy schedule.)
Both of us found that there was more work, and the work took longer than we expected.  I (Lisa) started early after struggling with a plan to work out more.  I was also going to make a corset, but decided not to make one at this time (mostly hoping to lose weight).  Then I undermined myself by choosing to play with trim and crochet my own lace instead of working out.

So body issues all around!  Something we would rather not blog about, but since it has impacted our costuming, we chose to include a couple of paragraphs.  And body image is NOT the issue.  The real issue is how much time we've chosen to commit to these projects, what we thought we could get done, and our natural competitive instincts.  I can't say whether Rob would do things differently.  I would not.  I had my job increase substantially when my daughter and her boyfriend decided to make outfits.  I really need the time now for them, and for my son's Halloween costume. (The four things I would have done differently would have been: (1) to start the corset first and, if I'd had to build a new one later, I'd would've had all the experience from the first one.  As it was, I delayed the corset and that delayed my project and (2) use Silkessence as the foundation fabric for everything I made.  I now hate that fabric with a passion and, as my hatred grew, so did my lack of passion for sewing and (3) would've tuned up my sewing machine before the start of the project, thus curing a lot of headaches before they started and (4) to be more realistic about how much time I can devote to sewing given my already busy schedule - and that's the most important lesson and it's also the one I'm still struggling with because I honestly don't know how long it really takes to make things.)
And as a break from all that serious stuff, here are my newly updated accessories
Fingerless gloves (handmade), small bag for money and phone (handmade)

And my finished outfit front and back.  And sitting atop the dress form, my first cut at my hat.
This hat have generated more mental turmoil for me than nearly anything else.  I'm not sure why.
Here is the pinned, stapled, taped, and generally jammed together hat, close up (along with a photo of what I did next).

Later, after wine and reading, I'll be fitting the jacket I've hacked apart for my daughter's boyfriend.  It is a violation of every sane principle of sewing.  But it's not looking too bad.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Knit Sweaters for Penguins

Penguins in New Zealand need sweaters while they recover from the oil spill!  It prevents them from preening the toxic oil off of their feathers.  Plus, really, could they be any cuter?

Penguin Jumper in 8ply  - Must be 100% Wool Yarn1 pair 3.25mm , 1 pair of 3.75mm needles , 1 set of 3.25mm dpn’s or circular
Cast on 36 stitches using 3.25 needles.K1, P1 to end of row. Repeat this row 7 times.  Change to 3.75mm needles and K2, P2 rib. Work 4 rows increasing at each end of every row. (44 sts)
Continue until work measures 15 cms.
Decrease 1 st at each end of every row until 28 sts remain.
Decrease 1 st. in middle of next row (27 sts.)
Leave on needle.
Make second side the same.
Transfer the 54 sts from both pieces to 3 of the set of 4 3.25mm needles.(18 sts on each.) and work a round neck in K1 P1 rib for 10 rows.
Cast off.
Stitch up sides to decreasing to 27sts (opening for flipper). Add elastic to the top and bottom to prevent the penguins getting out of them. Top: 15cm of elastic; bottom 17 cm (knots allowed). Flat elastic OK.
Send to:

PO Box 3123, Onekawa, Napier, New Zealand
5 Husheer Place, Onekawa, Napier,
P  06  843 3174       F  06  843 3090   M 021 899 396  or
Skeinz - Knit for Penguins

Shawl Collared Vest continued - R

Why is it that you cut material out of the same pattern piece and they are radically different? Because one is slippery stuff and the other isn't, that's why.  So the slippery stuff (stretch polyester charmeuse) ended up shorter in length by at least an inch, so I added a strip at the bottom.  This came out so backwards that I'm just going to hand stitch a lot of the finishing work (you can finagle a lot more with hand stitching than you can with machine stitching) but I had to press it first to get an idea of just where I needed to add material. I stitched the armholes to check and it looks good. The back needs better pressing.  I can't get a tailor's ham in there to press open the seam properly so I'll be looking for some wooden thing to put in there to help press it.  I'm going to tack the lining to the interlining on the inside, then fold the top collar into the facing, thus hand rolling the collar.  Then I'll top-stitch all around by machine.
I'd kept the downstairs setup from our sewing bee.  I actually like working in this enlarged space rather than in my cramped office, but the stuff has to go upstairs today because of a dinner party on Saturday. Waaah!  I liked my little factory.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Shawl Collared Vest - R

Someone slap me when I think "I can whip this out in a day" again. I struggled with the welt pocket with flap and finally ditched the pattern instructions and did my own thing.  I didn't like the lining showing, it wasn't a true welt pocket and I had to make a top flap instead of a bottom flap to cover my mistakes, but here's where it's at so far.   Seems we had a discussion about this....and yes, I am refering to not waiting to start in case it's more difficult than you expect.....

I'm having a bit of a problem melding the two materials together because I bought STRETCH charmeuse instead of regular charmeuse.  I'm making it work.  I also bought a new sewing machine.  My old one had been acting up during  this entire process and needs to go into the shop, but with all the sewing I've got on my plate, I didn't want to give it up for a week.  Besides, I never really liked the way it "plain 'ole sewed" as opposed to the embroidery functions.  It really was designed more for embroidery and less for sewing.  Lisa found me a Janome Magnolia 7318 on sale on Amazon and I bit.  It was delivered on Saturday and I'm in love with it already. Now I'll be able to babysit the embroidery machine while I sew something else. Or have a different color of thread in each machine.  Or two different needles, or.......

The shawl collar came together pretty well.  I only put it on upside down once and caught that before I stitched.  What is with me lately, putting things on backwards or upside down?  It's as if I can't recognize geometry in space anymore.  Weird.

We found a shirt for Roger at a "vintage" store in Berkeley, got it home, washed it, then found a tear in it.  The vest will cover it and I'll put some fabric glue on it.  The cuffs are French, which isn't period, but I don't have time to make him a period correct shirt right now. It is slightly large on him, which I like.

So, here's where I stand: Waiting for dye for bonnet ribbon, working on vest, cutting out Frock Coat this week and taking the machine in to be fixed and maybe finish the corset?. Oh, yeah, and get some exercise in, while I'm at it.  No problem!

I couldn't resist playing with Esmerelda as she stood in the living room.  All the decoration is just pinned on as a first draft of how she could end up.

My daughter's dress - Lisa

We are not done yet, but we're close!  Our due date has been moved up since she plans to wear the dress to various Halloween events. Here's a rough idea of the finished outfit.  She needs to add the buttons in front and finish and trim the sleeves, bottom of the bodice and the bustle and apron.

I'm really pleased with my first experiment working without a complete pattern.  The bodice used parts of two patterns, the bustle part pattern, part me, and the apron was all me.  It has been a great learning experience. 

In addition, recall that I had to accommodate flute playing!  There are gussets in the armscye, a zipper in front (covered by buttons) and the bustle and apron are separate from the bodice so she wouldn't have the additional weight when she
lifted her arms to play.  And just for fun, here is the picture she sent me as guidance, and here she is.  Again, her outfit is still not complete, but the silhouette is awfully close.

Completely separate from my personal costuming, my son participated in our local haunted house where the theme was (again this year) Pirates!

He brought home a red velvet woman's jacket as part of his costume (no, he didn't know it was a woman's jacket) and a tricorn hat.  He wasn't excited about having a great costume, but his choices were limited.  I made some non-permanent alterations adding black cuffs, a placket in the back, and some shiny gold trim.  He liked the results, and ended up sharing the jacket with friends because it was just that cool.

Sharing his jacket with his pirate friend

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I actually finish some things! Yay! - R

 It took me all morning to rip out the sleeves and sew them back in.  i decided that I was NOT going to put pleats in the sleeves and just made the arm scythe bigger.  It worked. Huzzah!  Sleeves are eased, no pleats and the dang things are hanging the right way.

Then I decided that before starting to sew on Roger's vest (which I had cut out the night before), I would finish my stuff as much as possible.  I finished the waistbands on both the crinoline and the petticoat, sewed hooks and eyes on all of the and dressed Esmerelda (Oh, yes, the dummy has a name - Esmerelda).  Esmerelda lists a little from side to side.  I'll have to look into that, but now now. She's also a little taller than I am because I want to see the bottoms to the skirts to make sure nothing is hanging out.

And here is Esmerelda in all her glory.  All she needs is the front bodice closures, her "engageant" white undersleeves, and her bonnet and she is done enough to wear to the Dicken's Faire.  All the other trim will be done only if I have time.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Boil, Bubble, Toil and Trouble - A Night of Problems - R

I got all the tucks sewn on the skirt (they were just safety pinned before), got a frustrating waistband on and the hook and eye sewn and put the skirt on the dress dummy. I'm right between sizes on the available dress dummies (the ones I could actually afford), so I got the smaller one and plan to pad it if needed. I wanted to be able to use it for a corseted shape and the "normal" me and fiddled a bit with it. So far, so good but not perfect. Then I pinned the Pagoda Bodice on it.  After admiring my handiwork, I noticed she looked as if the top of her was....BACKWARDS!.  Yes, the sleeves are facing backwards.  Quelle horreur!  This will be the fourth time I re-do the sleeves.  Rats.You can't tell laying the bodice out flat, only when it is on the dummy, so it's a good thing I felt like playing with it. This outfit is not playing nice with me.

I started to lay out Roger's vest in the fashion fabric.  When I straighten the grain, I found the piece had been cut wonky and I lost a lot of useable material (3 inch wedges on either side, really???).  I gave up and will wait until tonight to try some different layouts, using a different material on the back and under the shawl collar, anything to get it so I can have enough material for the front of the vest. Such a bummer, because I bought extra material for shrinkage and in case this happened and I still might not have enough.  Thank you Joanne's cutting department! I think I hate my local store even more now.

On a more positive front, tonight I'm going to enlist Roger's help cutting the bones for the corset. I bought both flat and spiral boning and will need it cut and tipped, which is a two day process since you have to glue to tips on to make sure they don't come loose inside of the corset (crimping alone is not enough).  The poor corset is still slightly greenish in tine because I used Simple Green straight to get out the markings - you know, the ones that are supposed to just brush off???  Well, they didn't, so I Simple Greened them and now can't get some of the green out.  I may try Oxyclean, but I'll have to read the directions/cautions to make sure it doesn't eat silk. (Note: Oxyclean says NOT to use on silk)  Otherwise, I'll just have to live with a slightly greenish corset. Or maybe I'll turn the power washer on it??? Who knows what the solution will be?

So here's what's left to do: Change the sleeves, put on the front closures to the bodice, bone the corset, put bias tape on the top and bottom of the corset, dye the Petersham ribbon for the bonnet and sew it on, decorate the bonnet, sew Roger's entire outfit, make the ruched trim, put the ruched trim and ribbon on the skirt and bodice. I have one month. Hey, no problem.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sewing Bee - 12 hours of fun

We spent 12 hours catching up on stuff that we needed to get done.  It was hard work fun.  Really!

 Lisa - All I really have left to do is to address the oddness of the closure at the top of the polonaise.  Partly because of my bust, and partly because I didn't follow the instruction and to do ALL the bust and waist correction from the darts,  I now have floppiness (see below). Robin did take a lot of pictures, including me goofing off while getting my 20 lbs plus of outfit on.    That is corset, two petticoats, skirt and polonaise.  On top of a tank and bra.

Nothing is all that heavy, but there's just so much of it.
And then some close ups of trim. Lisa did a fantastic job on this trim. I don't have the patience to pleat all that and I don't know how to crochet so that pretty much guarantees my trim will be different.

 And finally, some pictures of me fully dressed and mugging it up.  We spent some time adjusting the bustle tapes in the back and I still need to tack them down.  When I finish this hand sewing I will be done.  All that I have left to do is accessories (including hat decor), and I'm well down the road there too.

Keep reading after my pictures for Robin's pictures and all of the work she did on Saturday.  Check out the oddity at the top just won't lay smooth.


After we took these, I returned to street attire and helped Robin fit her bodice and started tracing renaissance underclothing patterns until the young-uns showed up with all of their stuff.

Robin - Here she is ripping out here sleeves the first time.  She had to re-sew them because we needed to refit the shoulders.  And we had to do it twice because she wasn't wearing the crinoline the first time.  She also created this beautiful corded piping for her bodice out of silk that matches the bottom tier of her skirt. 
She used a cool technique that makes the piping self-facing. 
 This is a couture technique I learned from Threads magazine but never had a place to try it. I love it!

When she on the crin, the fit of the shoulders changed again.  One thing of note...both of us had trouble fitting the shoulder area of the Truly Victorian patterns.  We both love the patterns, but are now aware this will be an issue for our bodies.  Her bodice still needs the hem at the bottom, and her corset needs stays.  This will resolve much of the crinkling in the lower back.  Her bodice really is like armor.  This from the woman who had to pin the shoulders and sleeves.  Re-sewing the shoulders and sleeves twice, along with sewing down the piping was hours and hours of work.  And while she was doing that....the girls showed up.

Valerie's dress is about half done.  The sleeves needed to be sewn in and the bodice needs to be trimmed.  She worked on that.  In addition, we're making a separate layer with a bustle and 'apron' in the front.  We got the bustle sewed to twill tape and draped the apron front.  Since she'll be playing flute in the dress, we are avoiding adding too much weight to the bodice along with the soon-to-be-hidden zipper and gussets in the armpits.  The bustle and apron are in the same fabric as the bodice, and the center front trim matches the skirt.  Then there is ruffled lace around the edges and down the front.

We were joined by another friend who wants to learn to sew.  She brought fun Halloween theme fabric to make pillowcases.  An excellent way to start learning to sew.  We sat around sewing, drinking tea, and teaching each other new and innovative curse word combos.  We made a horrific mess in Robin's house.  And we made some beautiful clothes....

OK, we worked on making beautiful clothes.  Nothing is done yet, except the pillowcases.