Sunday, July 21, 2013

Another new project!

I'm alive!

It's been a while, hasn't it?  Mostly because I've had little to report.  I've been majorly slacking in the sewing department, and I've only just started to make some progress in the two outfits I want to finish by October.  The Leo dress was delayed by fabric acquisition issues (which I hope are now resolved) and I fairly recently decided to make a riding habit (of sorts). The jodhpurs need buttons and a waistband, along with a bit of waistline adjusting.  The jacket, which is from the pattern I drafted for my red and black dress, is still in the mockup stage, but hopefully I can sew that up this weekend.  I just got the top hat pattern, so that will be cut out soon and I can start wiring it this week.  That still leaves the gaiters, vest, shirt, and short skirt (well, short for Victorian).  Oh, did I mention this would be in black and gold?  I had bought some gold fabric a while back, and what they said online was twill was actually sateen and too shiny for what I had wanted to do with it.  So since I'm already making a gold outfit with Leo, why not use more gold this year?  Last year was red, this year is gold.  I feel like I'm an extra in that one scene from The Wiz.  I don't like green enough to have a year of green dresses.

For this being my Victorian dress this year, Leo doesn't have a definitive plan yet.  Fabric constraints may prevent me from my original plan, which was to make a box pleat trim for the skirt.  I have 15 yards of brown velvet ribbon that I don't know what to do with yet.  Maybe I'll get more inspiration as time goes on.

Pisces is in the "I'm seriously going to make this dress so I need to finalize my jumbled cloud of ideas" stage.  I'm going to a convention in April called Figments and Filaments.  It's a costuming convention, so I want to make something dramatic and awesome.  Except for Scorpio, Pisces fits the bill.  Right now the only thing I have are sketches and some of the fabric on the way.  It's a start.

More updates soon!  Promise!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fur-filled times with Leo

So I promised Mary that I would start on the hat first for my next Victorian dress.  I got the Lynn McMasters's Bustle Hat pattern in preparation for that.  Since I'm doing Version A and it's so simple, I may make two hats.  I don't know how possible it is to cover a buckram frame with fur, but if it's possible, then I'd like one to be fur for the Leo look and one to be fabric for the regular look.  I decided on fur because Leos are characterized as being high end, best that money can buy type of people.  So I think fur works better in that regard.  This will be my first venture into using fur, so this should be...interesting.  Luckily it's a simple hat and it's only a circle of fur to cover the top of it.

In addition to the hat, I've been messing around with stole and collar patterns.  Yeah, I got a pattern for the collar, just a wide shawl collar from a coat pattern.  I'm lazy, and it was $1.99.  This was after a few days of messing around with other patterns and not getting the result that I wanted, so I've earned my laziness.

In terms of current projects, my Renaissance skirt has the major seams sewn and the smock is cut out.  For some reason it was a pain to alter that pattern, especially it being such a simple garment.  And the bodice...I'm not looking forward to that.  Fitting bodices are such a pain.  But hopefully I can get most of this done before I start Leo.

So hopefully in the upcoming weeks I can get my hat wired and ready to cover (it's only two pieces, so it won't take long) and start the polonaise mockup once I get the pattern for it.  Also I might as well repair my red and black dress before I delve into this new project in May.  The red bled into the white overlay.  Should have seen that coming, but ah well.  I'll just cut off that section and make a chemisette.

Progress pictures to come and such once I finish something...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Petticoats and paisley

It's been quiet over here...

It took me quite a while to finish up a half dozen petticoats.  I left them alone for various reasons.  Disinterest, job stuff, teaching sewing classes.  So it got put off for quite a while after I managed to get all those things ruffled up.  So now I have an Early Bustle, Late Bustle, and Natural Form pettis, plus a bustle petti from the wire bustle pattern sans boning and overlay, plus two quick and dirty "gather fabric to a waistband" pettis for general purpose and Renaissance skirts.  After I was done, I decided to put them all on.  The volume was almost like a small hoop skirt.  And it was heavy, and it chafed my waist.  I wasn't wearing a corset, which would have helped some, but something tells me that having over twenty yards of muslin hanging from your waist probably isn't going to be light as a feather.

Plans have changed again.  I'll be making a Victorian dress, of course, but it's not what I planned.  After breaking down the cost, I have concluded that the Sagittarius dress is just too expensive to make right now.  Not just the dress but the archery equipment I have to make (since the real ones aren't allowed at conventions).  So that will be put off.  Pisces as well because I want something that I can wear for Rural Heritage Day.  So I decided to use some stash fabric and start on my paisley polonaise dress, which I will now dub the Leo dress:

The gold is a tinch too dark and rich for it to work 100%, but it looks so good with it that I have to use it. The brown is pretty dull in the picture; it's a richer chocolate brown. Also doesn't quite work, but I'll use it for trim and the hat, so I'm not super concerned.  It's okay if everything isn't matchy-matchy.

I haven't decided how to make the "mane" part yet or how I'm going to do the glyph, but they will be detachable since I want to wear this as a historical dress.  And I'm not going full on costume with this, so I'm not going to be a 19th century member of Cats with claws and makeup and such.  That's not really my thing.  Think of it as fancy dress.

I still have plans to work on my first Renaissance dress (if I can get the stupid bodice to fit...) and I told myself I would try to do something practical...but of course I can't just do something normal.  So I'm hopefully going to start a mockup of a tailored suit with Vogue 8333.  That jacket in that color wool is my dream suit.  Alas, I am not worthy of such wonderful fabric yet, so I shall stick to something less extravagant.  I have this thing for suits.  Especially on men.  I don't care who the man is or whether or not you think he's attractive, put a man in a tailored suit, and he's at least 20% handsomer.  Bonus points for three piece suits.  Why don't men wear three piece suits all the time anymore?...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Two and a half years...I've come a long way...

I was just thinking...this month I've been sewing for two and a half years. And I've come quite a long ways since then. I'm in a niche that I never would have thought I would like, let alone be in.

Actually, since I'm talking about a sewingversary, I guess I could talk about how I got into sewing in the first place. Back in 2008 when I graduated from undergrad, I told myself I wanted to learn two things: I wanted to learn how to decorate cakes and I wanted to learn how to sew. The former I got into right away that summer and I loved it. The latter...took a while. Sewing was something I was still a little iffy about. I didn't know much about it, certainly didn't know how to use a sewing machine. The only thing I could do was sew by hand.  I've had a needle in my hand since I was eight or nine, so transitioning from cross stitching to hand sewing wasn't difficult. I finally decided to get into it when I wanted to make my own kimono. So starting in July of 2010, I got around to taking classes. Sewing...was a lot more complicated than I thought. And like all of our projects that we start out with, it was imperfect. The stitching wasn't all that great. You probably didn't wear what you first made. But after I learned the basics I went on to make my kimono:

The thing about kimono is that it's not a complicated garment. Isn't meant to be.  It's a garment of rectangles. So once you've made one a couple of times, there's not...much else.  So I wanted to branch out after a couple of months.

Then my friend Meghann started getting into steampunk, and I was interested to a certain point.  I was interested in the Victorian aspect of it. So I did research. By September I was dabbling in Victorian clothing.  What you ask?  A skirt?  A blouse or bodice maybe?  No.  A corset.  I went from not knowing how to use a sewing machine to kimono to corsets (a perfect example of my very odd ways).  It was from a commercial pattern and I used plastic boning and it didn't fit well (I don't really count this one) but it was finished. I completed it by Halloween (no pictures of it though). Soon after I discovered Truly Victorian and, not really feeling the bustle at the time, decided to go with a plain 1890s walking skirt. That was the first skirt I made, of any kind.

There were other crafts I was messing around with at the time. Kanzashi, kumihimo. So while I worked on that type of stuff, my interest in Victorian clothing grew until I decided I wanted to tackle a full Victorian dress instead of just a skirt for my first year sewing anniversary. So by May 2011 (on my grandmother's birthday, actually, which consequently was the first time I went to the Ren Faire here and the first End of the World date) I started on my first Victorian project with stripping a pair of boots to repaint them. I finished it just in time to wear it to Archon in September, followed by Rural Heritage Day soon after.

And the truncated Project Runway project was at the end of 2011.  I never did take a picture of the vest and jacket (they're still in my sewing room, don't worry) but I had a quick picture of when I finished the pants and blouse (it's taken in a mirror tile wall, hints the weird lines).  Proof that I've made normal clothing!

Which pretty much brings us up to when I started this blog.  So yes, now you see the (very odd) evolution of how I got to where I am today.  Who makes a corset after a few months of learning how to sew?  This weirdo.  But if hadn't tried, I wouldn't be doing what I love doing now.  I always strive to push myself, strive to try something new for each project and learn as much as I can from both research and the sewing process itself.  It may not be perfect...but it's what I want to do.  It's what I love.  And you can't ask for more than that.

I love hearing about how people got to where they are, sewing wise.  Feel free to share.  I sure have jabbered on enough.