Thursday, September 20, 2012

Parasol woes...

There is always something, I suppose, the one thing that makes me want to throw something across the room and let loose a curse word.  Or twenty.

For my first Victorian project, it was the bag.  More so because it was something simple.  You wouldn't think a drawstring bag would give me so my grief.  But really it was my overuse of fabric that made it so difficult, since I had to take it apart and trim away part of the top section's interlining to fix it.  Turned a simple probject into a hassle, especially since it was a day or two away from when I needed it.

This project?  The parasol.

Now, I realized after I painstakingly stitched on twelve strips that you aren't supposed to sew on trim before the cover is sewn on the frame.  Surprise, that wasn't the issue at all.  Haven't had one stitch pop.  No, the problem is the cover itself, which is too small for the frame.  As in, I can't sew the middle section of the spokes (or whatever techical term it is) without snapping the threads that are holding the end.  This was all after I broke a needle and got sliced up by a pin so well that it would have made a knife proud.  So I'm really at a lost as to what I can do.  I may not even have enough fabric left to trim the parasol at all.  I don't hate parasols.  They're a tad bit of a pain because of the now sewing trim on first thing, but other than that, they're fine.  But this one...This one makes me dislike it more than hats and corsets.  And that's bad.

Conversely, my little bag/reticule went together fairly smoothly.  Because of my skirt trim fiasco, I ended up having two leftover triangles from that, so I used that as the base for the bag.  It took about an hour, and all it needs are ties.  Picture later because I don't know where my camera is and if it's in my sewing room, I'm not going back down there until my parasol apologizes for being MEAN.  Or maybe I should blame the fabric.  It's probably the fabric's fault that it can't stretch enough.  Well, either way, that's what's going to have to change.

Whine, whine, whine, I'm putting that aside and working on my bodice tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A hat? And it's not at the last minute?

Buttons are on the skirt.  Final strips are on the overskirt and it just needs a waistband and closures.  Boning for the corset and bodice is in the mail.  Jacket pattern is (hopefully) done, though it may have to be shortened due to lack of fabric.  And my greatest accomplishment, I made a hat.  Pattern.

Well, I made part of a hat pattern, based on the TV hat pattern.  I was going to have to change the pattern anyway because the front of the hat was too narrow for my big head, apparently, even with the hat tilted forward.  So I thought, in my ambitiousness, why don’t I alter it some more?  So I took the TV hat pattern as a basis for the crown, altered it so the bottom arched upwards on the sides, and used an oval brim instead of the brim for the original pattern.  I wanted something a little different than the hat I already made but simple enough that I could do it with not that much skill.  Then I saw this fashion plate (the hat in the middle) and thought it would be doable.

So this is my interpretation of that, but with a short crown, since the larger one (the regular crown) just looked silly on me.  If I think that crown looks weird, I don’t know what I’m going to think of myself wearing a skyscraper of a hat for a late bustle dress!

One side is different than the other because I was playing around with the curvature of the crown, so it’s a bit lopsided in the front.  Man, making a hat pattern, even from an existing one, is a pain.  I’m going to have to do it again eventually, especially for my zodiac dresses, but hopefully I’ll have a better library of hat patterns to work with by then.

I may at least cut out the brim and start sewing on the wire while I’m at the beauty shop tomorrow.  Which reminds me that I need to start playing around with my hair switches to figure out what I’m going to do with them.
Oh, and here’s a quick picture of my skirt and overkirt that I took before above stuff was finished and I did a trial run of the bustling in the back.  I just look at that picture and it feels heavy...

That's all for now!  Hopefully I'll have an almost completed bodice and corset to show you by next week!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Quick update this week

This week is the week of doing the little things I've been putting off for a while.  Like putting closures on my drawers, hemming my chemise, and sewing the strips onto the back of my overskirt.  I also spray painted my parasol frame (which was a bit of a fiasco, but it turned out okay).  So nothing really interesting this week to photograph other than my bodice mockup, which now has buttons so I can actually try it on:

Fun fact, I'm not wearing a corset under that.

So next week I'll dive into some of my bigger projects, starting with my jacket pattern.  It felt so much like fall today that I'm itching to start it.  And other than lengthening the darts, my bodice is ready to cut out once I prep my white fabric.  Let's get stuff done!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Corset in a week? Sure, why not!

Okay, so it's not 100% done...but if I had my boning now, It would probably have part of the binding on it.  So like the skirt, it's almost done.

Pictures first, rant second

Front and back of corset before boning channels (oter than the back) and waist tape were sewn on:

The corset front with the basted channels...

And how it looks after finishing up this evening!

I would have tried to take a picture in it...but it seems as if my chemise has mysteriously gone missing...

This is my second real corset and the first corset I've made with external boning channels.  Sewing them on is a pain, but I do like the effect.  I'd like to thank my lovely Loop Pressing Bars for all those strips.  Simple gadget but awesome.

Other than basting before sewing on the channels, I don't really have any secrets.  It's still a miracle to me to put a corset together and have it even close to being even in the back.  Out of everything that I've done, corsets are the least fun.  It's a necessary evil and the one thing that holds me back in finishing Victorian dresses because everything depends on it.  I'd totally do a quid pro quo deal with someone if they'd make my corsets for me.

Well, at least it's something almost done.  I count that as a victory.  Now to work on the bodice, and the overskirt, and the hat, and the parasol...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Skirt=done! Well, 95% done!

So I've been sewing for 2 years, roughly.  The fact that I'm even doing this type of stuff is pretty ambitious for someone so new at sewing in general.  So I feel as if most days, I'm doing very well for myself.  Then I make a mistake so amateurish that it makes me think if I'm ever going to just stop making stupid mistakes.

Like for this skirt.  In the previous pictures, you saw that the trim design is in intervals, which meant I had to do a lot of math to make sure that it was even all the way around.  Guess what I forgot?  That the skirt is A-line, and therefore measuring the hem was not even close to the same measurement as the 12in up that the trim was to be sewn to.  As in, about a 16in difference.

Cue two hours of measuring the skirt between that point and the hem to make sure the trim would be even somewhere, pinning, and trying to stitch down this behemoth.

Cue two more hours of measuring how much to cut off, cutting off three inches from the top of the skirt, gathering the back as tight as possible (not easy with this weight of fabric) and putting in several darts to take up the HUGE excess, measuring, remeasuring, and finally putting on the waistband.

A lesson, boys and girls: double check your math.  Furthermore, double check your math in the correct place.  I never thought I'd be done with this thing.  Good thing it turned out the way I wanted to in the end.

So without further ado, pictures of the dress I took yesterday in the sewing classroom.  Still needs eyes (I got bored and sewed on the hooks) and buttons on top of each triangle along the top strip, which is why it's 95% done.

The corset was also cut out yesterday, and this evening I'm working on making the external boning channels.  Hopefully I can get everything but the boning, binding, and flossing done this week.  Keep your fingers crossed...