March update

Amazing how being sick will either put a screeching halt to projects or make me so muddled any work I do is useless.

Corsets and stays are all on hold for the moment.

The 1911 one I started was going along fairly well, but after sewing up the second draft, I have determined that I hate, seriously HATE, the fabric I am using for the muslin. And I don't think I was feeling that way just because I was ill. Now that my head has cleared up, I can confirm 'hate' is the correct word.

During my trolling for Titanic dress fabric, I uncovered a big chunk of white twill that I had bought months ago to stand in for coutil for future corset projects. And it's even prewashed. Go me! That fabric is now moved out into the living room onto the cutting table so that when I am ready to start the Edwardian corset again, it will be waiting for me.

The coutil - I know where that is, and it is also prewashed - but I'm saving that for fully corrected patterns.

Lucrezia came over maybe two weeks ago to help me fit my 18th century stays, when I was still in the throes of whatever bug had grabbed hold of me. In my foggy brain reality, I thought I was ready for her to see what I'd done, but I was so not. After an embarassing bit of fitting, we ended the session with an agreement that she would work on drafting up a pattern for me based on measurements that she took away. And I was given direction on how to prep for the next fitting - which was pretty much me asking 'so what do you do? cause I want to do that!'.

So corsets on hold until after Titanic dinner next month.

For my Titanic gown, I am going to cannibalize my LotR elven costume. Seems such a waste to have that lovely silk hanging in the closet (or on the closet door). I thought about it and decided I am unlikely to ever wear it again.

So the main dress will be a silvery sage green, the bodice will be a silver silk/rayon velvet and the overlayer will be an iridescent purple/green silk chiffon. If the purple comes across too dark, maybe I'll find another fabric to layer over top of that. But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

My inspiration is a Poiret dress from 1910-11. Not a recreation, just loosely based on. At least I'll be comfortable!

For tonight and tomorrow, I am working on some hair/head pieces for a production of the Tempest. I've had a huge creative block on this project, but now that it's down to the wire, I think I finally know what I want to do. Fairly simple, all in all, but little details always help.
  • Current Mood
    working working

Ladies Blouse 0191 - the FrankenMuslin

edited on 2/20/2012 to add link to photo album.

The other members in my VPLL Group have been going gangbusters sewing up mockups of this blouse. I'm bringing up the rear. I really do think I'm the last one in my group to post!

For the most part, they are keeping the binding details in their muslins, but I'm not so sure I'll be doing that in my final version. More on binding and trimming later.

My muslin, for now, is more to try and get the fit right than to worry about the finicky little details. Though I did some experimenting with the trim detail, hence the 'franken' moniker since the sleeves don't match, nor does the neck treatment since I was messing around with possibilities.

The challenge here is that the pattern is for a 36" bust and a 25" waist. As another member of the project put it, my measurements are not even in the same zip code. And the blouse front and back are all one piece. Good times!

So I decided to size up based on my waist measurement, assuming that I could ease in any bust overages into the pleats in the front.

Oddly, the waist upsizing was almost correct, but the bust was still way too tight, and I only took the pleats in to the original pattern spec. I also did not correctly calculate the back opening overlap, which another test sewer had warned us about. I attempted to make the correction, but I suspect I didn't double check my math before cutting.

I did grade the sleeves correctly. They are very formfitting right now. I would not have been able to get them on if I'd left them as is. I think I will add another 1/2" of ease just for safety. I like the slim fit though. It works for the sleeve length and makes my arm look longer without making it look chunky. If I end up lining the sleeve - the pattern is technically only lined in the bodice - I may add a touch more ease.

I'm going to get some help with the fitting tweaks tomorrow, and then it's back to the drafting table to redo the pattern before the second muslin. And I'll dig out my dress form from the storage room, as it would have come in really handy for scaling this pattern, and I want to be sure it's around for me to use the second time around.

I like the overall line of this blouse, and would like to make it in a fashion fabric - I just need to decide on which fabric and if it will be one color or two. I'm thinking linen or cotton. White may be the most versatile option, as I have lots of trimmings I would be able to choose from my stash.

I will post my thoughts on the cuff and neck trim separately, as I suspect that a lot of other seamstresses will be interested in those details rather than the entire construction process.

This is a link to my project album

Next up - a month of corsets and stays

As always, I have a lot of things planned for costuming this year. We'll see how well I do. I'm not going to post the whole list here, cause it will just make me sad in a year if I look back on it and see all the things I didn't do, rather than focusing on what I was able to accomplish.

All these projects require good undergarments, so I'll be starting off with stays and corsets.

I need something for my new Bella Donna dress - which will be a strapless 18th century set of stays. Even though we are doing renaissance, we take a little bit of liberty with the underclothes so we look, uhm, sexier! Have to decide if I want to do a smooth front or the superfabulous zip-up version pioneered by one of my cast mates. The bonus is I can probably wear them for both Bella Donna and Lumieres.

I also need a set of half boned 18th century stays for Lumieres and other 18th century costuming.

And I need an Edwardian corset for the VPLL 1912 project. Which will probably be super handy for the Titanic dinner dress as well.

Current plan is to use JP Ryan patterns for the 18th century - I have the halfboned and the strapless patterns, and Past Patterns and/or Truly Victorian Edwardian TVE01 for the other.

I'm not sure TVE01 or even Past Patterns is going to be right for 1912 since they say they are thru 1909. But I really want at least one of them.

I'll keep researching to see if I need a different line for 1912. Oh gee, an excuse to go thru my library and look at costume details.

Accomplished so far:
The coutil is all prewashed and ironed.
Patterns are ready for tracing. (TVE01 is on order from Lacis and should be in by Saturday)
Fashion fabrics set aside for final selection.
Grommet setter borrowed.
Boning stock unearthed from the storage room.

This week will be prepping the mockups for fitting next week.

clean up on aisle 9 - project wind up Vintage Vogue

Whew. The GBACG fashion show had a lot of really lovely outfits.
It was a lot of fun. Cold, but fun. At least the rain wasn't too terrible when I was out in it.

Stupidly, I didn't have Judith take a photo of me, though I know several people did get shots of me. Ugh. It looked pretty good, I think, but I still want to go back in and fix a couple of things. I'll take some detail photos and add a link here to the album in a day or two.

Last week I did the finishing work - well, most of it - on the outfit.

First thing to fix is the jacket closing. When I went to finish the backside of the bound buttonholes, the front sides of them started to revolt. The fabric was shattering all around the stitch lines. Annoying.

Obviously I didn't stress test my samples well enough. Or reinforce the fabric sufficiently.

I ended up sewing the buttons on the outside of the jacket and just pinning myself into it. I'll be putting in snaps for the final closure, as there is no way those buttonholes will ever be functional.

Second, I want to go back and smooth out the sleevecaps a bit. I tried fixing them and made them worse for a few minutes. Decided it was safer just to let it ride and fine tune after the show.

But even with the flaws, I am very pleased with the jacket. I never intended to wear the dress without the jacket, but combined they make a really classy little outfit. I'm sure I'll get several more uses out of it.

This project made me really grateful for one of my Xmas presents from 2011 - a Tailor Board with pressing pads. LOVE it. Oh, and my Dad was very sweet and refinished a hardwood sleeve pressing board that I found out on the street. I have quite a nice collection of pressing tools now. I think the only thing I am missing is a clapper, but I don't work on a lot of wool, so that hasn't been an issue.

5 days to GBACG open house

Heavy lifting/sewing was done on the Vogue outfit over the weekend. In cleanup mode right now. I was super lazy and did very little trimming of threads while I was sewing. I will not be making that mistake again. I'm usually much more contolling about that sort of thing.

In retrospect, if I had been able to focus, I should have finished this outfit in 1 1/2 days of sewing. One day for machine sewing - and the next day for the hand work. Still, I didn't do too badly for my first sewing project of the year.

As it is, I'm still puttering about with shoulder pads, covered buttons and the hem.

Sorry, still no pictures. This outfit does not have a lot of hanger appeal. And I figured no one wanted to see yet another picture of my cats 'helping' with the sewing by sitting on things.

I will be sure to get some photos on Sunday - which reminds me I better check on my Flickr account to make sure I'm paid up.

After Sunday, it's on to the next project!

vogue update

Well, of course, I didn't get nearly as much sewing done as I would have liked over the weekend.
I allowed myself to be distracted by too many other things.

On the plus side, the shopping trip was productive, and I found almost perfect matches for thread, zipper and bias tape (too lazy to make my own for this project). And I stocked up on needles, bobbins and covered button forms since the notions wall was on sale. Also scored a batting remnant to make the shoulder pads out of.

On the negative side, I had the iron and steam a bit too hot while pressing and ironing the dress pieces, so the fabric got a bit more drapey. The jacket was saved from my error. I think this will ultimately be okay. The pleats on the back of the dress will be softer than I envisioned, but I'm a bit annoyed that I wasn't paying close enough attention. I blame Saba since she kept trying to jump onto the ironing board.

Both the cats were far too helpful. That certainly wasn't helping me focus on sewing when they were both getting into things they shouldn't. I just didn't have the heart to lock them in the bedroom, but it may come to that if they don't knock it off.

so far...

so good.

While I haven't done any actual sewing yet this week, I have been puttering about cleaning up the work area and gathering up all the things I need to proceed with the Vogue outfit tomorrow.

Vacuuming to help minimize cat hair on the clothes. Clearing off the work tables. Checking that I have all the pattern pieces and notions.

I've just been too tired after work to do anything major like pull out the sewing machine. But at least I've had movement towards a nice day full of good sewing time where I won't be distracted by any other business. At least my weeknights haven't been a complete waste.

Looks like I had not actually cut out the correct number of peplum pieces - or I did and they were misplaced during one of my clutter cleanups. Either way, I have plenty of fabric to cut more, so I'll take care of that in the morning when I do my final pre-sewing check.

I need to pick up a zipper and some thread tomorrow morning. I have a thread that would work. Close, but not perfect. However the outfit does have some stitching that will show, so I want to see if I can get a better match. And since I have to get a zipper anyway, it's not going to hurt to hunt for a better color thread while I'm out.

My goal is to fit and finish the dress tomorrow except for probably determining the final hem. The jacket, I suspect, will be mostly done as well, though I am already dreading the bound buttonholes. I love them, but I fear them sometimes, despite all the practice ones I make.

Ideally, I'll get them both to the point where it will be just handwork that I can do weeknights next week. Little things I can handle during the week. I hope!

The pattern is Vintage Vogue v1136
The fabric is a rose dupionni silk
Pictures sometime next week

A new year. A new start.

I'm not making any huge promises about how often I'll be posting, but I always think I'll be kept more honest about projects I'm working on this year if I diary their progress.

Currently in work: a 1945 Vogue reprint that I'll start documenting this week. I've already made the pattern up in a lovely wool crepe for a client. Mine will be in a dupioni silk.

I have also sent in to the Vintage Pattern Lending Library to see if they need any more people for their 1912 project. If so, then I will definitely be posting about that as well. And even if they don't take me on, I have been dying for something from the 1910-1920's, so there may be something along those lines too.

And I need to get moving on my new Venetian outfit for this season of Faire starting from the inside out. This new dress has been far too long in coming. Now that I have such a lovely silk, I need to do it justice. All I know right now is it will be a ladder front.

Plotting for a more dressy Costume College this year. Historically, I have never made much of an effort to dress up while there. But I'd like this year to be different.

Let the games begin!
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative

Almost there - September Issue update

I'm going to ignore the fact that the documentary, The September Issue, did NOT open in a theatre near me last week. grumble grumble.

And I will distract myself with the ever growing stack of September magazines I'm accumulating.

My Vogue finally came in the mail last Saturday. Slightly disappointing that it is smaller than previous years, but I'll get over it.

In hand, I now have:
Allure, Details, Elle, Elle Canada, Flare, GQ, Glow, Harpers Bazaar, In Style, L'officiel, Lucky, Marie Claire, Nylon Guys, Town&Country, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Vogue Paris Collections, W, Zink.

Still missing:
Nylon, Paper, Surface, Wallpaper (and Mens Vogue if they decide to do one this year)

Also picked up some of the 'home decor' magazines since they can be quite inspirational as well for colors and patterns.... so far, House Beautiful and Elle Decor

There will be a bit of a lull while we await the foreign magazines to hit the newstands. Then we'll finish out with

UK versions of : Elle, Bazaar, Marie Claire and Vogue
and, the jewel, Vogue Italia.

mini reviews of all forthcoming.

Well that's just too easy

In the August issue of Marie Claire, there was a spread on the new nail trends for this fall.

One of them was an ombre nail.

As fate would have it, the only nail salon in the Bay Area to have this product line is a mere 7-8 blocks from my house.


Might just have to wander on over and check out the possiblities. The gel comes in over 90 colors so many, many possibilities.

I'm sensing a splurge for the World Fantasy convention. Or maybe SteamCon.

pics over on this helpful blog.