Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Creativity Fail - It should have been me! Lisa

I'm just not nearly clever enough!  This is hysterical.  Apparently the doors open and it makes sound

Mayfair Moon

Patterns for What I'm Making for Myself - Robin

 Thought I'd post the patterns I'm working from for my Victorian ensemble.  All of these are available at trulyvictorian.com.  Heather's designs are well-thought-out and she actually answers email queries. Great customer service.
The first set of drawings is the Laughing Moon underwear pattern. Yes, I'm gonna make ALL of them eventually.

 This is the 1858 cage crinoline shown on prior posts. It's almost finished save for the waistband.
 This is Heather's 1860's Ball Gown Skirt pattern. OK, so you're not supposed to wear a Ball Gown Skirt during the daytime, but I'm a Princess and I wear what I want.
This is Heather's Pagoda Top. I'll be making the square neck design. I may or may not fill in the neckline with a "Berthe".

Add a boatload of trim and fringe and a bonnet (and maybe a muff, if I have time) and I'm good to go.

Sprinting to Sunday - Lisa

I think I've become mildly obsessed with my projects.  I sewed up the skirt for my daughter (except the waistband) last night.  I tried the recommended underarm gusset in the muslin and it looks fantastic.  I'll need to try it on her body to be sure.  And I tried out making a flower out of strips of fabric stitched in a one inch zig zag, ruched, and wrapped up.  I like it, though I'd need to scorch the edges to cut fraying.  And yes, it's blurry.  (While I'm good at flowers for hats, what I really want is a tiny Tesla coil that can't electrocute me)

I have been working on my projects like it's a second job (although, admittedly, I'm enjoying the hell out of it).  After Sunday's big fitting day, I'm going to commit another couple days to sewing after work and then take a break.  My deadline, after all, is late November.  Part of the reason I'm spending so much time, though, is that I'm learning so much and want to try it out.  I have so many ideas right now.  But I'm not starting anything new until late September.  Take some time to walk the beaches and clean the house. 

What's Up With Pattern Envelope Measurements?- Robin

Just a rant on those measurements you see on all pattern envelopes - why both to put them on if you are going to make the pattern larger/smaller than you say it is? What is the point here? I used the envelope measurements for the Laughing Moon Dore Corset, meticulously traced and cut, sewed the muslin together and VOILĂ€, A CORSET TOO BIG! Now I have to decide if I have Lisa fit it or cut out a smaller one so there won't be so much alteration.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekend drudgery or how to screw up something simple - Robin

 Here's the muslin for the Dore style corset cut out and ready to fit. I've joined it at the center front to simulate a busk.  If I have time, I'll make a fitting lacer of twill tape with holes in it and tack it on. If not, Lisa will just have to pull and not pin me.
(I haven't hurt her seriously, yet - L)

The striped silk fabric for the bottom of the Vic skirt needs some support, so I decided to back it with cotton.  You'd think it would be easy to either back it or bag line it, but noooo!  The silk was so slippery that I didn't cut it straight, even though I pinned the heck out of it. So, thinks me, I'll cut the cotton evenly, lay the silk on top and use the cotton as the sewing line. That worked up to a point, until I realized that I'd sewn some seams incorrectly. So I have a part-bag-lined, part backed 21" wide 132" circumference tube. I may leave it as is, or correct it later in the week because it actually makes no visible difference, but as Lisa knows, I'm Princess Perfection and that may just irk me enough to fix it. It's just a time thing because I have to get the corset stuff sewn together or Lisa won't have anything to fit to me and fitting a corset to yourself is not something I want to do again.  Also, both patterns look...LONG! Normally, I have to lengthen everything, but the corset pieces look about an inch too long.  We'll see at the fitting.  I'd thought to use the fitted pieces not only as a final pattern, but also as the inner fabric, as it is cotton and would be comfy, but if I have to alter the length, I'll have to cut it out all over again.

Note to self: Find an alternative to that crappy folding cardboard cutting table. Wherever it folds, it screws up a straight line.  I'm so frustrated with it and I dream of a lovely (and much taller) cutting table. Dream is the operative word because there would be no room in the house or garage to store it when not in use, so I'll remain achy and frustrated. (pic of nasty cutting board on dining room table)

Today I cleaned out my machine and realized why I hate doing it. That dang bobbin race is hard to put back in. Grrrr. But my machine is sewing much better without that huge dust bunny I dug out of it.

New Project - Valerie's dress (and progress of my own) - Lisa

Spent hours this weekend building a dress for my daughter in my head.  I knew what she wants it to look like so I just needed to figure out what parts of which patterns I wanted to  use, and what I needed to make up myself.  While my brain was churning along, I sewed the trim onto the sleeves of the polonaise.  I'm glad I did.  I was planning on putting the same box pleated ribbon aroung the bottom of the bustle, but turns out it's quite stiff and may not work out the way I expected.  Now I have something else to think about.  And something to try when I'm further along.  Here's how it looks:

I also tried to make ribbon roses.  When I was just a little nugget, my grandmother (or maybe my mother?showed me how to make roses out of gift wrap ribbon. For the next year, all family gifts were adorned with ribbon roses.  I noodled around with ribbon scraps and made these (good for hats?):

And I also cut out and sewed together most of the dark brown skirt that will go under the polonaise using the same walking skirt pattern I used for the petticoat.  I won't made the bottom 12 inches until I get a level line around the part I've already done.  I'm going to cut the last 'foot' and attach it at the bottom. This is a necessity driven from not having enough fabric initially and having to get more.  I tried it on with the polonaise-so-far and I really like it.  I think I also figured out why I think the polonaise is hanging funny.  The weight of the bustle in the back is causing the bodice to hang oddly.  The bustle is attached to the bodice with twill tape.  If I bring the twill tape around to the front, inside, I think weight of the bustle will be supported more by my body and less by the fabric at the back of the bodice.  That will be easy to do, and I hope it works.

And while I did this, I was thinking about the new dress.  She wants a bustle style dress with apron style draping in the front.  And since she'll be playing flute in it, she won't be corseted and needs to lift her arms to shoulder height easily.  I have a costume pattern from Simplicity that I decided to use for the bodice.  It's a modern cut, and not designed to be worn with a corset.  I'm changing it to a front opening with a zipper, and putting a button closure over it.  Again, this provides secure closure yet will look authentic.  I added sleeves from a jacket pattern so that the upper arm would be full and not limit movement.  Then I'm adding a peplum around the bottom of the bodice so her waistband won't show when she lifts her arms.  I'm going to use the walking skirt pattern again, and will attach the apron draping around the front.  I'm using the bustle from the polonaise and attaching it to the skirt in the back.  Now I just have to figure out how to open and close the skirt with all the shenanigans hanging off it.  I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to do.  I don't want a lot of weight on the bodice because she'll be playing flute while wearing it.  We went to the fabric store and bought this:

The rust color will be the underskirt and trim on the bodice.  The print is the bodice, bustle and draping.  She may want more trim, but hasn't decided yet.  Mostly because she doesn't have to.  We made up a muslin of the Franken-bodice (patchwork of parts) and made some major modifications.  Like me, she's small across the back and bigger across the front.  And the arm holes are going to be challenging.  Everything pulls a little when you raise your arms, so we just need to minimize the pull and make sure it's comfortable. We also made the bustle and attached it to twill tape.  I will cut the skirt and apron draping this week, and she'll be joining us at our next sewing confab to do some sewing and fitting.  Also, she will probably need to make a petticoat.  I think she wants to do as much of this herself as possible, however this is a big and complex project, without a pattern.  So she's helping and learning as she goes.  (hope to have a better picture of the fabric soon, the light aqua background is really pretty, especially on a blonde).