mala_14: (iris)
Things I made in 2014 (some still need a bit of finishing, but are mostly done), with comments:
1. Smooth Sailing grey wool trousers: need hemming, nice wardrobe staple, will be good for when I have to look professional or something like a grown-up ;p

2. 1790s plum silk stays: technically need tape over the seams, but wearable as is, SO GLAD to finally have these done!

3. 1790s cotton-linen shift: practical and useful
More behind the cut! )
I did a terrible job on my 2014 goals, but don't care at all. I ended up wanting to sew different things. It happens. :p

On average I managed to sew one thing per month. Not bad for me. I also tried out a lot of new techniques and made a wide variety of garments. 2015 will mostly be CoCo sewing: lots of 1880s stuff and possibly a couple of other eras thrown in, plus many more accessories! :)
mala_14: (iris)
I bought my Costume College ticket the other day! And a ticket for the Gala! Yay! I can't believe that it's really happening. All I need to do is make a bunch of things to wear now... It looks to me like there are about 4-5 opportunities for costume wearing (not including vintage stuff that can be worn whenever, like it in classes). So here's what I have on the docket, but very little idea on which days to wear what:

  1. 1880s Little House on the Prairie cotton print bustle dress

  2. GoT Tyrell costume

  3. 1882 Little Mermaid gown for the Gala (Hm... just noticed that both of my bustle dresses have "Little" as the theme)

  4. Regency, either something new if I finish my stays or my 1790s white striped dress for the Breakfast with the Bennets (which needs a sash and petticoat, also need to figure out some sort of hair)

Also, hair stuff! I've got to figure this one out. I'm thinking a braided bun of some sort will be nicely versatile for lots of the above.

Other things that I am thinking of bringing, mostly vintage-y stuff for day wear

  1. 1960s pink cotton confetti print dress, has super handy pockets and is very comfy

  2. 1942 green linen dress, need to repair a seam, concerned with the fact that it's linen and wrinkles like a MoFo

Other things that I am thinking of making, but won't really care if I don't get around to it

  1. 1920s 1-hour dress, Gatsby theme

  2. Some other random vintage dress so I can make some use of my fabric stash and patterns that I have

  3. 1890s something, totally a pipe dream, I think 1890s might be my post-CoCo era

Whew! So many plans and thoughts! Anyone else bought their ticket yet? What do you think you're bringing or wearing to what (even though it's still months and months away and all plans are subject to lots and lots of change)?
mala_14: (iris)

Stays! With pictures! Worn with my shift from the Under-it-all challenge. You can see that I cut the back of the shift neckline about 2 inches too low. Oh well.

The Challenge: UFOs & PHDs: I started these stays all the way back in 2010. It's about time I finished them!

Fabric: Cotton twill lining, cotton pillow ticking underlining, silk dupioni outer layer

Pattern: Brown jean corset from Jill Salen's Corsets

Year: 1790

Notions: Cotton twill tape, cotton thread, cable ties

How historically accurate is it? I'm giving this one a 75%. The fabric choices are possible but the silk is an unlikely choice for the period, same with the cotton thread. The cable ties are obviously anachronistic. However, lots of hand sewing on these: eyelets, seams, and binding.

Hours to complete: Can't even begin to calculate

First worn: Last night when I finally finished them!

Total cost: Don't remember, but not much since most of it came from leftovers from other projects.

I am pretty pleased with these stays. They fit really well. The only thing is that I probably could have made them a little bit smaller and about half an inch longer. They are hitting right at the top of my natural waist. But they'll be just fine for 1790s stuff since most of those waistlines are raised anyways. If I had started these last year instead of 2010, I probably would have chosen something white to make them out of instead of the plum silk, but it looks pretty. I still need to get a thin twill tape to sew over the seams. They don't sell the right width at my local store.

Thanks for all the advice about horizontal bones in the stays! I decided to put them in. They don't change the shape at all, but they do support my bust and stop it from sliding down into the stays which is good.

mala_14: (iris)
What do you all think about horizontal boning at the bust of 18th century stays? My 1790 stays are pretty much done now, but I have yet to put in any horizontal boning. I know that some stays have it and some don't. Does it really make that much of a difference in terms of shape? I'd love to hear your wisdom.

For reference, I'm using the brown jean corset pattern from Jill Salen's corset book. The boning pattern is my own design based on multiple period examples. And my stays are half-boned.

Slow Day

Apr. 9th, 2014 04:24 pm
mala_14: (iris)
Today doesn't seem to be a very busy day on my LJ Friends page, so I'm filling up the silence with a fun discovery that I made the other day while browsing in my university library: a book of embroidery patterns from 1780-1820! It is called Embroidery Designs, 1780-1820 by Mildred J. Davis and is from the manuscript collection at the Valentine Museum in Richmond, VA. I didn't get a chance to look at it too closely, but it appears to be a bunch of designs drawn by some guy from the era that have been collected and published. It's mostly pictures of the designs, with just a bit of text at the beginning and end of the book. I guess this means I need an embroidered dress or two soon, before I'm not a student here anymore. (I've already been thinking of a 1790s gown with silk polychrome embroidery and a 1810 gown with white embroidery. My tambour needle is going to come in very handy.) The patterns are really pretty, lots of different sorts of borders (wide and narrow) and corner designs. (The narrow designs really remind me of the ones [ profile] jenthompson painted on her most recent gorgeous gown.) Mostly plant-like designs, sprays of flowers, acorns with oak leaves, scrolling vines, etc. They are very reminiscent of the ones by Ackermann's Repository, although those designs are mostly later (I think 1809-1829), so there are some differences in style. Some of the designs are also done in colours. I was pretty excited when I saw this book randomly on the shelf. :)

In other news, aside from being slowly crushed by the weight of all my end of term essays, I've also been working a little bit on my 1790 stays. The bottom is almost entirely bound. Then it's just binding the top, the eyelets for the straps, and putting in some horizontal boning at the front. I want to add tape over the seams but can't find any narrow enough locally, which brings me to my next point...

In other, other news, I will be going over the ocean for about a week and a half on May 1st to visit Paris, London, and Edinburgh! Definitely hitting up a few fabric stores while there. Right now I'm thinking Edinburgh Fabrics and the stores on Goldhawk Road. Also going to check out all the pretties at the Victoria and Albert Museum. But first, I need to get through these essays. And hopefully finish my stays in time for the HSF UFO challenge. And I may be left with enough time to try out this pants pattern with some tan stretch houndstooth I have sitting in my stash so I have more things to wear on my trip.
mala_14: (iris)
I'm slowly progressing on my shift. I managed to eventually figure out the fiddly bit of felling where the point of the gusset meets the two straight sides of the sleeve. It involved picking out some handsewing which was highly irritating, but now I understand how it works. This made it much easier to sew the sleeves to the body and the sides of the body all in one loopy line. I tried on the shift and my in-progress stays. I wanted to make sure the sleeves weren't too tight (something I was worried about) and to do a rough marking out of the neckline. So you get a picture!

Now I just need to do a bunch of hand work: felling and hemming, and get it done by Friday!
mala_14: (iris)
So, I dug out my twill tape to start binding my stays and realized that I only have enough to bind the bottom half. And I also discovered that my original plan of machine sewing on the binding first (before flipping to the back and handsewing down) was not going to work. Thus, HSF #1 is not to be. I won't have a chance to get to the fabric store until this weekend to get the twill tape that I need and finishing will be a much more significant time commitment. The stays have now been pushed to the UFO challenge, for which they should definitely be done. It's not a huge deal that I didn't get #1 done on schedule because I was only planning on doing the even challenges anyways, with the first one as a bonus. But it makes me a bit sad that my first challenge was a bust. I guess I should get going on #2. Luckily, grey pants should be much easier. Especially since I'm using a pattern I've used before.
mala_14: (iris)
I am trying to get my stays done in time for the first HSF challenge. (Just a reminder that these are the Jean Stays c. 1790 from Jill Salen's Corset book.) It seems doable if I continue to make progress and refusing to let myself procrastinate. In the past few days I have finished the eyelets on the front (Huzzah! Eyelets are always what keep me from working on stays.), marked and sewn all the boning channels, and cut and finished and inserted all the boning. I also did a preliminary try-on and they fit!

I whipstitched the seams together by hand last year and took some close-ups of the outside and inside:

I hadn't marked the channels before, which I probably should have done, so I had to be a bit creative in figuring out how to do that. I wanted to make sure that both sides were symmetrical. So what I ended up doing was drawing the lines in chalk on one side (the outer layer is dark so the white chalk showed well) then folding the stays in half, right sides together, and rubbing to transfer the chalk lines to the other side. I chose chalk so that it would remove easily. It worked really well, although my two sides were probably not a perfect match since I can tell that the channels themselves are slightly off. It's not too noticeable though and doesn't bother me. I'm just glad to have these so close to being finished.

Before and after pictures:

Up next is sewing on the straps and machine sewing on the twill tape for binding. All the HSF challenges are now up and I am excited to see that several of them will be good opportunities to make some of the garments on my wish list.
mala_14: (iris)
I feel like I've been so busy this summer that I haven't had time for anything. But life is good, especially the life of a research assistant at the university. I mean, they pay me to read! How awesome is that? I've been doing a little bit of sewing, which I will have picture proof of some time. I'm trying to get my plum silk stays done and have sewn all the pieces together by hand after taking them apart. I had originally sewn them by machine, but after holding them up against me, they looked too small. The tiny bits in the seam allowances that have been released by whipping and opening the seams by hand has made them a little bit bigger, and I hope it's enough. Up next is eyelets (by hand) and boning channels (by machine).

I've really enjoyed seeing everyone's Costume College pictures this year. It's a highlight every year seeing the finished products of all the weeks and months leading up to the event. Even though I've never been and may never get to go, it's still fun to live vicariously through the fabulous pictures on my friends list. So thank you all for sharing!
mala_14: (Default)
This was my list from last year. It's funny; I did do sewing, but I didn't really work on any of these.
For 2010:
Finish plum 1790 stays
1860 corset
Some kind of shift or chemise
Gold striped petticoat
Red brocade jacket
Red cotton dress
Finish chocolate knitted mitts

What I actually got done this year:
1860 corset (actually morphed into a green fairy costume for Halloween...) and green fairy skirt (no pics of that)
And more! (Well, a little bit more...) )


Feb. 8th, 2010 04:11 pm
mala_14: (chemise)
At the moment the eyelet count is: 6 done, 14 to go (not including the ones in the straps).


Feb. 1st, 2010 03:19 pm
mala_14: (Default)
On my stays they are occurring slowly, but surely. So far I have four done. But at least it's better than none. :) It's that darn school. Keeps getting in the way. But I hope to continue with getting the occasional random eyelet sewn. Only twenty more to go. Sheesh!

Snow Day!

Jan. 25th, 2010 09:52 am
mala_14: (Default)
Due to the ridiculous weather, my brother and I declared a snow day for ourselves and are playing hooky from school. It's incredibly windy and impossible to see anything because it's also snowing and the wind is blowing that snow and the snow from the drifts (since we got tons of snow on the weekend as well) everywhere and everything is just white. (Just for reference, it's -14 C (-27 C with the windchill) or 7 F (-17 F with the windchill), the wind is at N 48 km/h (gust 63 km/h) or N 30mph, and a blizzard warning is in effect.) So calling a snow day is totally justified. Plus, with all the drifts, if we got stuck, I'd have to be the one pushing the car because my brother can't for health reasons. Little 5 ft tall me just does not have the mass or strength to be pushing a whole car out of a snowdrift. :p However, since my prof is a jerk, I'm pretty sure that he'll make being in class today worth extra points or something.

Anyways, on the sewing front, all I want to do is make corsets. Is that weird? No, of course not. I got a little bit of work done on my stays and have re-sewn the fronts by hand. Next up is starting the boning channels and eyelets. But what I really want is more canvas to make corset mock-ups in. I really think that the whole playing around with the historical pattern and getting it to fit right is my favourite part. :)
mala_14: (Default)
These stays, dated 1780s-1790s are a pair that are part of my inspiration for my current stays. They are also part of my justification for being able to use the stays that I'm currently making for earlier than 1790. Partly I just really liked the lines of the 1790 stays from the Salen Corsets book, but I also wanted stays that were a little later than the generic 18th century stays, which to me always look about 1770s, something that would definitely give the right look for the 1780s. I didn't think that these ones would end up quite so short (I would maybe have liked another inch or two in length, but didn't want to alter the original pattern too much), but if the shorter ones from the Met are dated 1780s, I feel like I can justify using my stays for the 1780s too, because as much as I love redingotes and zone fronts, I still want to be able to make polonaises and such without it looking odd. Or maybe I'm just being anal and uptight about this and need to not be such a stickler. :)
mala_14: (Default)
So here are various pictures, just because I was in the mood to take some and say, "Here. Look. I'm sewing things!" These are the pictures of the stays-in-progress. :)
Pictures! Yay! )
Up next is undoing the front seam. (There won't be any seams in this thing left un-redone after I'm through with it.) I decided the "right sides together then flipping" resulted in a not good result, as in the lining will be a little visible later. So I now need to sew the outer fashion fabric layer over the edge, but not a big deal. 

I caved

Jan. 11th, 2010 06:33 pm
mala_14: (zone fronts)
I ripped out the front panel I had already whipstitched in and sewed it on the machine just to see what the seam looked like. And it looked so much better. The whipstitch method definitely works well, it's just that my skills are not up to par just yet, and the thread continually breaking and the pain of pushing the needle through all those layers were irritating enough to make me glad that the machine method worked so well. Plus, it's so much faster. The already whipstitched panels have all been ripped out and the whole thing is now sewn together! Well, except straps. It's not a super duper accurate pair of stays anyways, so I feel alright about all the machine stitching. I was going to do the channels by machine anyways. And it's all cotton and the silk is dupioni, so very not accurate, but all the inaccuracies are conscious decisions, not a result of ignorance, so I can always do a good pair if I want. I feel like I'm still in the early learning stage, so making things a bit easier and lower cost makes lots of sense right now. Up next for the stays is eyelets and boning channels.


Jan. 11th, 2010 12:45 pm
mala_14: (zone fronts)
Ok, I'm back at school, so sewing has slowed, BUT it  has not halted. Yay me! I decided that I'm not exactly happy with some of the seams I've whipped together on the stays and want to redo at least one (maybe two) now that I'm getting better at it. So far I have half the seams done, but with the redo well, less than half, I guess. I can't decide how many to redo. For sure the front one, since it's the most visible. (What's happened is that I didn't make my stitches far enough away from the first row of stitching that holds under the seam allowances, so when there's tension on the seams, some of the other stitching shows.) But for the under arm seam, where it's only in one spot and for the back seam where it's also only in one even smaller spot, doesn't seem worth it. Redo-ing isn't really my idea of a good time, however, there's only six seams altogether so it's really not that bad. It's just that pushing the needle through all those layers is tough on the fingers. I think that next time (even though I'm really hoping that there won't need to be a next time for 18th century stays any time soon ;p), if I'm not feeling like a stickler for accuracy, I may just sew all the seams by machine after sewing under the seam allowances.

On an unrelated note, the weather is all sunny and it's super mild out (well, about as mild as Canadian Prairies in January ever gets), which makes me happy. It's actually supposed to be above freezing this week, which is just ridiculous. :D
mala_14: (Default)
I did actually sew stuff this year, but not much of what I was expecting. So here goes:

Green stays (finally, it only took like five years... and I don't like the fit lol)
Scarf for my grandmother (knitting counts!)
Bridesmaid dress for my friend
Pink and chocolate cotton dress
18th c. style Halloween costume for my friend (Unfinished bodice Front, Back, and Side)
Ancient Roman Halloween costume (Front, Back, Fabric that I pleated)
Red satin skirt
Teal dupioni dress for my mom

Plum 1790 stays (currently whip-stitching the pieces together)
1860 corset (working on the mock-up, which has begun to co-operate, version 2 was much improved)
Chocolate knitted mitt (making up the pattern as I go, which is actually working surprisingly well so far)

For 2010:
Finish plum 1790 stays
1860 corset
Some kind of shift or chemise
Gold striped petticoat
Red brocade jacket
Red cotton dress
Finish chocolate knitted mitts

So, what I've learned is that I get more sewing done if: a) It's for someone else, 2) there's a deadline, and c) it doesn't take long to put together. Almost all the stuff I made for myself only took a day or two. And making things for other people forces me to finish because they need it. And while it's not always fun, it is when the person just trusts you to do what you think is best. I was going to do pictures today, but I got up way to late and now the sunlight is all gone. However, I just downloaded some old pictures. So the Halloween ones are new. And here's a bit of summer for you. Pictures of my rose garden. :)Pretties this way )


Dec. 30th, 2009 05:42 pm
mala_14: (Default)
Our computer was out of commission for a little bit but now it's back on track. As is my sewing. I have a new pair of 18th century stays on the way. Since last time, patterns were cut out, a mock-up was made that fit almost perfectly, it was adjusted, pieces were all cut out and marked, and today I ironed them and have begun the sewing. I'm using the method used by [ profile] koshka_the_cat and have turned under all the seam allowances and sewn them close to the edge (but by machine instead). Now I'm whip-stitching the seams, but this is taking a while. Pushing a needle through twelve layers of fabric (three layers and their seam allowances for both pieces) is rough on the fingers. But they're looking pretty! Which is, of course, the important thing. And they're coming together super fast. They're a little on the short side, but I guess that's to be expected with stays from 1790, nearing being transitional and all. They end at the natural waist with the tabs below that. Will definitely still work for 1780s and 1790s, which is what I wanted. So, overall, so far, Sabrina - 1, Stays/Corsets - 0.

However, at the same time of enlarging this pattern, I went enlarging-happy and also did a pattern for an 1860 corset and an 1890s one. I've cut out the 1860 one and did a mock-up which is aptly named because it's mocking me. It doesn't fit so well. Although, I did not put any boning in it when I tried it on, which may have contributed. But there are some things that I think really need changing, like it was just too big. So I'm going to make some adjustments to my mock-up (luckily, I left lots of room in the seam allowances to play with) and add some boning and see how that goes. It's tough though, because I'm not entirely sure exactly how it's supposed to fit, so making adjustments is a little sketchy. And now the score is Sabrina - 1, Stays/Corsets - 1. Which isn't too bad.

The 1890s one is a little more promising, because it appears to have the perfect measurements for me, so in theory I shouldn't really have to adjust much, right? I don't know though, because I ran out of fabric to do mock-ups in. I also have no plans to make anything from that era. I mostly want to make this one because I have some pretty ideas for it and hey! it's the right size for me. But what I'm getting to is whether it'd be OK to use an 1890s corset for earlier. This one has two bust gussets and a separate hip piece, which I've seen a lot in 1860s corsets. How much change in silhouette do you think there was? Is an 1890s corset going to be alright to use for 1870s clothing? I mean, using an earlier style corset always makes sense, but a later one gets kinda questionable. Well, maybe the 1860 one will just start to behave and this will no longer be an issue. Input? Opinions?


Dec. 6th, 2009 07:01 pm
mala_14: (Default)
I have such a nice mommy. She bought me my fabric and some other notions. I now have 1.5m of what the label said is "pillow ticking" to be used for my new stays, probably for the mock-up, but maybe as one of the middle layers of the actual stays instead as it is much thinner than the canvas that I have and should be strong enough with the cotton twill as the other middle layer. Comments or opinions on that? It's a pretty sturdy cotton muslin type fabric, somewhat like sateen. I also have about 1.8m gold taffeta that is striped with gold and brown to make a petticoat. (I'm hoping that it's enough. It was all that was left. The petticoat may end up being just a little on the short side.) I decided that my linen/silk mix was a little too heavy to make a good 18th century petticoat and will probably become a redingote or something instead. Also purchased were 1/2" cotton twill tape for petticoat ties and 2" wide elastic for my super easy skirt. Unfortunately I couldn't get black elastic and am using white instead, but it probably won't be seen anyways. Skirt will be like this, but red satin and, of course, white elastic. Kinda Santa-like actually, now that I think of it.

That's it for now. Back to writing my essay on Milton's Paradise Lost. Just half a page more should do it.


mala_14: (Default)

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