Sunday, April 29, 2012

Undies and Accessories

So what have I been up to? A few things.

I had mentioned archery gloves in the last post, so I did a muslin mockup of my right hand (which looks like a three fingered glove). First time sewing gloves! It wasn't too difficult, and with just a running stitch, I was able to finish it in an hour or two. They're too big, but I'll be making more changes to it later on, so it wasn't a waste of time.

I've also did a duct tape gaiter pattern courtesy of Festive Attyre. Super simple, just sacrifice a pair of old stockings, put it over your botted feet and however tall you want the gaiters to be, and then take pieces of duct tape (not a long wrap like a mummy) and wrap up your leg and the part of the boot you want to cover. The hard part? Cutting it off your leg! The instructions are here.

Drawers are done except for a drawstring, and the chemise needs a few tweaks in fit before all it needs is insertion lace and a ribbon at the collar. I am going to suck it up and by the TV corset pattern, since we all know it takes a bit of time to get a good fit on a new corset pattern, so I want all that fitting done long before anything else gets started. I may order that next week. And who knows? I may be convinced to apologize to the Rejected Dress and finish it. I'm feeling slightly generous. That or I need a historical dress because the one I'm working on I want more free reign of creativity.

So what else do I need to work on? Gaiters, bustle pad, hat (at least the buckram frame of it) and depending on whether or not I finalize yay or nay for the leather thing, I can work on some of the archery accessories if I use the faux leather I already have. We shall see.

Friday, April 13, 2012

"Listen to your creative gut" is the moral of this story

This is what happened to my first Victorian project. I had planned on using a steampunk jacket pattern for it because I loved the look of it. But my mind started tugging at me. Pretty soon I wanted to change this and change that about the pattern, and it was apparent that my mind kept pulling at me so much that it was saying "this isn't what you want to do" from the beginning. So I made a plain bodice instead, my mind eased, and I was happy with the end result.

The tugging is happening again with this military outfit.

I realized I was trying to shoehorn this outfit into something that it's not, and I've narrowed my view of it to the point that I'm not inspired by it anymore. So one of two things needs to happen. Either scrap the military outfit all together (which I don't want to do) or find something else for DPP and do the military outfit the way I want to do it, without having to shoehorn it into "steampunk."

So. We're back to square one, ladies and gentlemen. Then late last night I came up with a tenative plan. I want to keep it a secret for now, but it does involve archery.

So what about all the plans I've made for the other outfit? I can actually still use a lot of it. The breeches and gaiters could still be used. I plan on making partial gloves in the form of archery gloves (And perhaps put plate armor pieces on the fingers? We shall see.) Nothing else has been bought or done, so I'm not backpedaling much.

And see? My mind's at ease again, so this was the way to go.

But Andrea, you might be wondering, what happened to the yellow and lavendar dress? Don't. Just. Don't. That dress is very very lucky I haven't started a fire in the barbeque pit and burned it. I'm through with it. It's not worth my time. Which means that along with a steampunk look, I also have to make a few pieces for the regular Victorian stuff this year. Oddly enough, the colors I'm working with will be dark purple and gold. The color family continues to haunt me!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I was going to make a crown pun...

But I'll spare you. I'm finished with my practice run of the crown!


It turned out better than expected, though as you can see, there's fuzz from the interfacing. I'm going to have to figure something out with that. I don't want to draw the design directly on the fabric, but I can't have that fuzz...especially since I intend to have this either on a black or red background.

In the end, I didn't find an acceptable way to do the monogram, so I either need to find another, plainer font, or something not as thin. Trying to make tiny horizontal stitches is difficult. I had a more successful time with all those tight curves in the crown. I developed a method for it.

First, I mark off the starting point and some guidelines so I can see where the stitches need to "flow" so to speak.


Then I start filling in the gaps. For tight turns, I go into the same hole on the inner curve side but continue as normal on the outter side.


Depending on the tightness, I may go in the same hole one or two times, but no more than three, otherwise it starts becoming bulky. Not sure if that's the correct way, but it turned out all right.

I'll tackle the final draft later with lettering and all, but now my sights are set on gloves. I got the Butterick glove pattern (because I'm too lazy to make my own, so it's worth the 99 cents) and the pattern's cut out and ready to go.  I may work on that this weekend, but I really should get the rest of the Project Runway stuff done.  Still haven't done the final steps in a couple of things.  So I'll focus on that before I immerse myself into handsewing these gloves.

How very fitting I'm doing all this hand sewing when I'm teaching a mini lecture on that very subject on Monday for sewing class.  I'm the unofficial hand sewing expert (yeah right).  Turns out that blind hemming and slip stitching have more variations than I thought...and I've been doing one of them "wrong" from the beginning.  Well, my logic is the same way with the above curve thing: I do something by trial and error, and it works, so I don't bother going the pro's way.

It's almost 2:30.  Let me get to bed.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

So it begins...

I've been starting on prep work for the military outfit. Monday evening I quickly realized that the original Victorian pattern for the vest and jacket was horribly out of proportion. Luckily, I have a already-fitted Truly Victorian bodice and both volumes of Fashions of the Gilded Age at my disposal, so between those two, I think I can come up with something that looks like the original design.

I've also been looking into gloves. I'll be making military dress gloves, and while I'm not sure the modern pattern was used back then, they did have gloves that buttoned at the wrist, so that's a start. I'll save my sanity and buy a pattern for that.

And tonight I started something I wasn't planning on doing: embroidery.

The thought came up some night this week in the wee hours of the morning that I should do some insignias or what have you, like uniforms do, like patches that denote rank or what branch of the military they're in. So I decided to do (hopefully) two things, a royal seal and a royal cypher. What is a cypher? A monogram basically, and I've seen it used for the royal family in Britain on various things. So since that was simpler, I started on that first.

I am a cross stitcher, but I'm not embroiderer. So this trial run is looking shoddy at best, but I wanted to see if I could do it.

I started with just tracing my printed out design onto tear away interfacing used for machine embroidery:


Then I (attempted) to satin stitch. I used gold cross stitch thread and dark red sewing thread. After an hour's worth of stitching, here's what I have so far:


As I said, shoddy. I'm sure it will get better as I go along. The royal cypher always ends in R for Rex or Regina. I chose to use the initial of the family name of the monarch rather than the given name since royal families in this particular place aren't so boring with the naming of their heirs, so they have cyphers to honor the entire lineage, not just one monarch. I decided.

I may break my vow of "don't buy anything that isn't mandatory" and get the glove pattern next time it goes on sale. I want a lot of the tedious work done first, and I do need these gloves for this outfit. So that's how it goes.