Friday, September 9, 2011

All sewn up and ready for a fit - R

The corset has been recut and is now basted together, waiting for a fit check tomorrow morning.  Now that it is somewhat together, I ordered the corset busk and the steel boning for the back.  I'll be using spiral boning for the rest, but the back needs to be stiff.  A website called is where I ordered from, but I've also used for supplies before. Both have been reliable sources for corseting notions.
I didn't get as much done tonight as I'd hoped.  This seems to be a recurring theme with me,  Tomorrow I'll cut out my pagoda muslin and the frock coat muslin.  Lisa is stopping by for a quick fit on her polonaise and to pick up a petticoat that she's going to modify for Valerie.  It will be a long and busy day tomorrow, but for now, the corset must lie fallow.

The Feed Dogs Ate My Homework!

No pics on this travesty, but last night I started the machine embroidery on the corset.  I did the test swatch and it came out beautifully.  I decided I'd do it exactly the same, not changing thread colors, rather, all in white. After fiddling with the test design's placement, I traced the hoop outlines with tracing paper on to the corset, hooped it and started stitching.  Everything was going fine until I noticed the top thread was pulling the bobbin thread up about 1/2 inch - waaay too much and it just looked funky.  I stopped the machine, looked underneath the hoop and saw a huge wad of thread the size of my thumb jammed into the feed dogs.  I believe, now, that I forgot to lower them and created such a mess of the corset that I'll now have to cut out two additional front pieces.  In the interest of time, I'm now abandoning the idea of machine embroidering the corset and will make it plain. A decorated corset will have to wait. I was so sad that I couldn't save the corset fronts and that my original plan was a complete and utter failure, not to mention a big time-suck. I actually felt like crying, I'm so frustrated with the process. But tomorrow is another day and I have this evening scheduled for cutting, so let's see how that goes.

Just the pix - L

Didn't sleep well so I grabbed a couple of phone pictures of my dress form all dressed up.  And no, it still isn't adjusted correctly.  I'm bewildered.  Also a highlight on my squid (octopus - whatever)

Yes, that's my hump-backed, flat chested dress form.  And the 'messy corner'.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Vik-torian idea for Nova Albion Steampunk Exposition - R

This year the theme is "Vikings, Villains, and Celts, Oh, My!". I'm having a hard time reconciling Steampunk and this theme, but here is what I've come up with so far. The top pics are my inspiration for the Viking elements.  Here's what I've sketched so far:
The actual sketch is not as squatty as this came out, but you get the idea.

The Mystery of the Dress Form - L

I got a dress form yesterday.  My son (nearly 10 yr) told me it was 'fascinating and disturbing'.  I set it up and dialed in my corseted measurements.  And I knew it was wrong.   I had expected the bust line would be too small because they didn't offer 'my' size.  So I draped the polonaise over it and...nope, doesn't even go on.  So I strapped on the corset, grabbed the measuring tape and compared: 
  • The waist was actually larger than the numbers on the dial indicated so I adjusted it. 
  • Strangely, I needed to make it nearly an inch smaller than my actual waist to get the polonaise to fit like it fits on me. 
  • I adjusted the bust size down, because I couldn't get the dress over the shoulders.  I think this is because I'm much smaller across the back and shoulders than most people with my measurements. 
  • The smallest neck size is over half an inch bigger than my neck. 
I still don't have it right but I'm going to keep fiddling until it's better.  And I haven't even started to figure out how I'll represent my chest.  So now I know that I won't be able to actually design and fit on the form.  I will be able to get close though, and can take better photos.    The form is all dressed up in my outfit, sitting in the corner of my bedroom (I has a happy!)

Next I flopped into bed to start reading Margo Anderson's binders that come with her Renaissance patterns  Margo Anderson's Costumes   I love all the information and detail and especially the comprehensive instructions.  Except I'm completely intimidated.  I am really hoping that it's just all the detail that has me flustered and that when I actually get down to making a garment I'll be fine.  In my mind, this was going to be a simpler project where I could add 'extras' as I went along.  Clearly that is not the case.  I will need to actually make some decisions before I start cutting.  Not all decisions, but more than I expected.  And I'm now terrified of the sheer quantity of fabric I will be wearing.  This is California....I may expire!

(keep telling myself 'start small, make the underwear first')

Sorry! No picture.  It was just too fun lying there looking at the dress form. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Finally. Progress! - R

This is a test run of the machine embroidery I'll use on the corset starting tomorrow. I used a scrap of the silk and plain old white cotton thread just to get an idea of the texture and size, but I think I'll use the delicate pastels of the cherry blossom design as is on the actual corset fashion fabric.

All the corset pieces are sewn, this is just the intermediate step before putting it all together, which I HOPE to do by Friday evening or Lisa will have nothing to fit to me.

Machine embroidery involves a lot of testing and a lot of computer junk that I hate. Since I have a Mac, I can't download embroidery designs to my computer, I have to use my boyfriend's and I just am not used to his layout at all, so I was constantly calling for help trying to find all the embroidery I'd downloaded in the last month (for Ren and other stuff). It was a frustrating evening which finally turned out OK.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New Projects, Creeping Progress - L

The holiday weekend was cluttered with projects and 'real life' distractions.  I went to a gallery opening for offspring and there was a sale on hats.  So I texted pictures to the other offspring and she decided to get one.  Here it is and thanks to my model, Fuchsia!  O'Lover Hats at Warehouse 416 in Oakland.

I cut a muslin for a vest to be made from faux suede I got on sale.  And immediately lost interest.  Hmmm.  Maybe because I got the knitting pattern I ordered?  It's the Edwardian Jacket from Debbie Bliss Simply Soft. Debbie Bliss Simply Soft  I have copied a picture from Ravelry (dskinla - thanks!)

I will not look like this! 
 Of course I'm using yarn I already have that is totally different from the recommended yarn and so spend an inordinate amount of time modifying the scale and adjusting the stitch counts. I got the back entirely knit which is good.  This is the first time I've knit a sweater.  Next up, front pieces and the sleeves.  I also helped Valerie sew up her bodice and put in her first zipper.  We pinned the hem in her skirt, but have no thread so need to run by JoAnns before we continue.  I'm going to add the peplum in the back for her since I'm making it up as I go.  Still need to add the sleeves, trim the bodice and skirt, make and trim the apron front and bustle.  And she thinks she's almost done.  And may want to make a costume for her boyfriend.  This will be more difficult than she thinks.  (Hi Valerie, if you're reading this!!)

And finally, I sewed the trim on my polonaise (all except the front neck because I haven't added the closure).  I even sewed the bows at the elbows and the back.  All I have left to do is to add the hook closures and I'm waiting for a final fitting and advice from Robin.  I hope to be able to post final pictures soon, along with a peek at the vest and the sweater I'm knitting. 

All this along with a beach survey (so many birds!) some kayaking, and a short hike.  Am proud of self.