Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When rip means RIP, and future projects

So you are probably thinking, "Andrea, what about that post about the Pisces dress?" We...aren't going to talk about that dress. Every piece of the dress had to be redone in some way, and it pushed me into that "Why am I doing this?" mode. But I pushed through it and finished enough of it to wear the dress. It was well received at Archon and during Halloween (hey, I won the costume contest at work with it, so I can't be too mad at it). Then I went to wash it. Now, I had already washed it before after Archon, and even though the train was dragged around a convention center, the dirt came out without any fuss. Not so the second time around. So after dousing the train with Shout, I rewashed the skirt. And because I didn't want the coloring to get off after washing the skirt in hot water, I put the polonaise back in as well. Long story short, that third wash caused the buttons on the polonaise to rip up most of the lace, so this dress will be politely shoved in a corner until I have the patience to take the entire thing apart, bound seams and all, to fix it. Until then, Pisces will be out of sight, out of mind. I have some progress pictures, but I'm still too mad at it to post them.

In other, happier sewing news, my winter coat is in the works (a bit late since it's already getting cold, but I should be done with it in the next week or two). It's made of black wool flannel, interlined with poly fleece, and lined with dark red bemberg rayon and dark red poly knit (I believe it's the Jet Set knit at Joann's, if anyone wants to know). I flatlined the lining and the fleece for the body pieces, and I have most of that sewn up. It fits well enough that I'm going to go ahead and sew up the wool pieces and finish fine tuning once I have the sleeves on. The sleeve/armhole fit always plagues me with these types of coats. I actually had a peacoat that I worked on last year, but it was scrapped for that very reason. I'm excited about this coat. I've been wanting a wool coat for years, and now I finally have one! Also in my sewing class we're slated to have a section on bra making and corset making, so I'll hopefully be focusing on that after my coat is done.

Other projects in the works...well, it depends on whether or not I can get all the supplies that I need. So I will say that I would like to make two cosplay outfits, Anthy's "Leaving Dress" from Revolutionary Girl Utena and Uriel's final outfit from Angel Sanctuary (really I just love his jacket, and I want an excuse to make it). Both will require wigs and specific footwear, and Uriel's outfit will not only require me to bind/pad to look like a guy, but makeup couldn't hurt either. Also I need to make a very specific pin for his outfit (see the first picture). So there's no guarantee that I'll make these (even though I have most of the fabric for it).

Costume Con will be coming in the vicinity of where I live (read: 5 hours away) in 2016, so I plan on going, and I want to make something impressive! Unfortunately, I don't have anything in the works as of yet, Victorian wise. I have fabric and a ball of "Ooh, pretty creative time!" that doesn't equate to anything in particular. I have Venetian Carnival fancy dress on the brain, so maybe that's where it's headed. No clue. But I want to make something for at least two of the competitions.

However, all of this will be put aside (except for my coat), for it's NaNoWriMo season! So I'll stop here and use my typing fingers to get another thousand words or two done tonight before bed.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

New costuming convention and extant Victorian/Edwardian garment pictures!

I live! Hopefully I'll be making a few posts fairly close together, since I have several months' worth of stuff that I want to share.

This past March was the first annual Midwest Costume Academy. It was only a one day convention, which made me a bit sad, but man did the organizers make use of that one day! They had wonderful panels, and I learned a ton. The panels I went to were: Sewing with an Iron (there were two parts; the first one was on ironing tools and pressing techniques and the second one focused on fusible interfacing), Combining Commercial Patterns (presented by Andrea Schewe, one of the pattern designers for Simplicity who makes, among other things, some of their costume patterns), The History of Costume, Making Costumes That Can Be Moved in and Move Well, Basic Pattern Drafting, Wonderflex Techniques, and Historical Clothing CSI. The last one, which unfortunately was in the last time slot of the day, woefully did not get as many attendees because of the impending snow/ice/gross storm, but I wanted to go to the panel more than any of the others, and I was not going to miss out seeing extant garments from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. It was well worth it (and the weather wasn't even bad on the way home, so double win!) and you get to reap the benefits in the form of pictures! I'm keeping them in the large format that my camera took them in, so just view them in a new tab/window to see the pretty up close.

This panel will definitely be back next year on March 28, so if you happen to be in the St. Louis area, check it out.

I'll make a separate update on my progress of the Pisces dress and other stuff later.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The blog lives! Also final Leo dress pictures!

It's been a while!  A combination of busyness and laziness is a good summation of my absence.  But I am happy to report that the Leo dress is done (was done quite a while ago, like the beginning of October...)

A few progress pictures though.  This is the polonaise after all but the facings and back were sewn together, from the back:

Not bad for pattern matching for the first time:

And I even matched up the buttons!  I had to cut into uncut fabric for some of those buttons...

And for the best parts of the outfit (in my opinion) the hat and the stole!  The pin for the stole I got from an antique shop in the St. Charles historic district.



And an above shot of the hat.  I thought I had some shots of the individual pieces being put on the hat, but you can sort of see most of the construction from the top.  The larger feathered area towards the back were just six of the smaller feather pieces bound together, and it's propped up a bit by a couple of net puffs.  There's a net puff in the front and a single feather gather on either side behind it to fill in space.  The fabric pieces were part of the pattern, which is the Lynn McMasters Bustle Hat pattern, View A, I believe.  The net puffs were from another hat version, but I don't think I followed the pattern piece, just the instructions for it.  I got the feathers from Joann's.

And this was the first incarnation of the dress worn at Archon.  I didn't have time to work on my hair switches or skirt trim, but at least the big elements were finished!  Alas, I did not make the gloves.  It was an ebay purchase.  In hindsight, I probably will not get leather that color again, since it's pretty close to my skin color and looks a bit odd if I think that's the skin on my hands...but it goes so well with the velvet stole...

I had a take two with hair switches.  These turned out much better than the original.  I kept them as switches instead of wrapping them around a piece of wire.  Then I sewed them to little wig clips and curled them using Magic Curlers, the mesh spiral curlers.  I just sectioned each switch into several pieces, used the curlers, and dipped them in a pot of hot water, then let them air dry.  No pictures since I was rushing at this point and I needed to get other things done.

Here is the second incarnation of the dress worn at Rural Heritage Day, without the stole but with skirt trim and my hair pieces curled and done.  Thanks to Mary for taking these.  I finally have some decent pictures, and of course since she's a seamstress, she knows where to take pictures to showcase awesomeness.  So here's some nice eye candy for you:

As for the riding habit, that was put on hold since I was having trouble finishing Leo at the time for Archon, and I haven't had a reason to start it up again.  But I had the jodhpurs and shirt done, the jacket partially done (I stopped during the lining stage, so I guess I just needed the collar and lining finished) and the vest still needed to be resized and made.  Maybe I'll have that done early next year.

Future plans?  Pisces is officially underway, and I finished the combination underwear just yesterday (no pictures, as I cannot find my battery charger for my camera...).  I have a petticoat cut out, which I should work on after this, and a mockup for the fantail skirt and polonaise made out of the Truly Victorian Tea Gown pattern.  Normally I wouldn't do a full mockup of a dress, but this one is very specific, so I want all the kinks worked out before I cut into my good fabric.  Speaking of fabric, it was such a pain to find fabric that worked for this project.  I was looking for fish scale/scalloped/fan-shaped patterned fabric in an aqua or turquoise color.  But the ones that I did find, for the longest time, just didn't work or were discontinued or the stores didn't have enough.  I finally found a suitable fabric by accident online, and at first it was a pain to find anything else that matched with it.  But the sewing powers that be finally shined on me, because not only did I find a solid fabric that worked but I also found lace, tulle, and beads as well...and with the exception of the original scaled fabric, which is on the left, I found the rest of it at Joann's, oddly enough.

This probably doesn't make up for almost a half year of lack of updates...but at least you had something pretty to look at, right?