mala_14: (1882 Little Mermaid)
I kind of just want to make hats now. They're so much fun! Here's my "finished" hat, trimmed with flowers. I arranged them around the crown and pinned them, then I sewed them on with big stitches so that they'll be easily removeable. They're a bunch of the flowers that I used for my 1882 Little Mermaid evening gown repurposed. Yay for not having to buy new things!
I got the idea of a wreath of flowers from [ profile] jenthompson's 1883 Peterson's. The lady on the far right of this fashion plate shows this sort of style of hat with just flowers for decoration.

My busk and hoopsteel came in the mail today. I guess I should get back to work on that corset.
mala_14: (1882 Little Mermaid)
Overall, a very productive year for historical sewing because of Costume College, at least for the first half of the year. Sadly, no modern makes and not much done lately.
1880s Undergarments: Chemise, Corset, Bust Pad, Ruffled Bustle Pad, and Petticoat

Felt very accomplished in making all of these. Not pictured is the little ruffled panel that I made to button on my Edwardian petticoat that I wore underneath. This corset is pretty and kinda fancy (gives a very curvy shape) and fits almost just right, but I still need to finish the flossing on it and want to make a new corset this year that is more comfortable and fits exactly right.

See the rest here! )

Altogether about 12 individual items. Not too shabby and definitely a productive year for me. My 2015 goals were to:

  1. Make clothes to wear over historical undergarments

  2. Focus on fit

  3. Make accessories

  4. Use the stash

  5. Figure out hair

I definitely made clothes, 3 outfits/dresses! I am pretty happy with the fit on all of the things I made, although there are a couple of small tweaks that I can and will make in the future. Did better on accessories for some things, although still weak in the hat department. All 3 outifts used stash fabrics (print cotton, green silk, purple synthetic, black chiffon). Hair was OK, but nothing to brag about. Mostly curling and some braids. Having bangs was definitely key with all the bustle stuff I was doing.

My goals for 2016 are looking pretty similar. I want more clothes, especially since I have so many undergarments now, although some more are on the list. Fit will always be a priority with me and something that can always be worked on. I want more comfort (range of movement in arms, waist placement) and I know how to do that, so I can put it into work this year. More accessories, for sure, especially hats but also a couple of other things that are on the docket. I got a bunch of straw hats for Christmas that I can cut up and take apart to make new hats! I bought a lot of fabric this year, so next year needs to be about using them! (A problem you can all sympathise with, I know.) Hair, well mine's getting longer, so some styles should be easier. Also, I have Kendra's 18th Hairstyling book, so that may come into play some time.

Whew! So that was sewing in 2015!
mala_14: (iris)
I had to get up bright and early on Saturday so that I could dress in my Little House ensemble and go to [ profile] ashamanja_babu's dance class. It was so much fun and Elizabeth is incredibly graceful and a great teacher. I think I may have 2 left feet though and certainly my too-long skirt didn't help. A dress up to my neck and a corset also made dancing hot and difficult for deep breathing (I feared an asthma attack), so I sat most of the class out, but joined in again at the end. [ profile] jenthompson got a fabulous pic of me with my bodice unbuttoned and my skirt hiked up to my knees to cool down. Scandalous!

Afterward, our Little House group got together for pictures. Elizabeth wins the award for "most Little House authentic" for having a book of Tennyson AND having knit lace for this ensemble. Classic Laura stuff. :)

We all get points for historical wedgies though! ;p

After pictures, I was a slacker and took off my costume and didn't go to any more classes, but hung out with friends by the pool. I wore a t-shirt and jeans and had my entire head in curlers. I didn't get any pictures of that, but there are some floating around...

I needed lots of curls for the Gala. I was very pleased with how my Gala Little Mermaid gown turned out. I hadn't actually tried everything on together, so it was nice seeing it all come together just like I envisioned. The only problem was that, because I made my train's waistband too small, I had to waist rather tightly to get it to fasten. You could have seen me in the bathroom at one point with my bodice undone so that I could loosen my stays because they were really digging into my ribs. :p

Aside from having to put my hair in curlers and then later take them out, my hair was super easy. It's just 2 pony tails, 1 higher than the other. The flower ornament is shaped like an upsidedown U and it covers the elastics and is just pinned in. You can see sort of similar hairstyles on my Pinterest board, especially this plate.

There were SO MANY gorgeous ladies at the Gala! I loved [ profile] girliegirl32786's big butt and billowy skirt:

Jen and [ profile] nuranar made an awesome Grandma Wolf and Little Red:

These early bustle dresses by Elizabeth and a lady I met named Christine were so ruffly bustly wonderful! I now need an early bustle dress even more than I needed before! Conveniently I made a Garment District purchase that will help with this. ;) (You can also catch a glimpse of half of [ profile] the_aristocat in her 1880s court gown in the back right of the picture. Needless to say, she looked stunning!)

[ profile] llyrafantasyfae and [ profile] gilded_garb made incredibly clever, cool, and sexy burlesque Captain America and Winter Soldier costumes. I made them have a showdown so I could take a pic:

We had lots of laughs and danced up a storm. There was a small midnight photography session before heading to bed. Good stuff!
mala_14: (iris)
I finished my Lost Hope fairy yesterday! *throws confetti* I don't really have any cool accessories, but I have a dress, I have a long piece of fabric for a wrapped turban (which I tried out yesterday and was actually able to put on), I have stockings, and I have shoes. Good enough!

Today is all about finishing off my Little Mermaid outfit. This means boning the bodice, fray-checking the flounce, and putting together my corsage and hair ornament. I'd feel more sure about getting this all done if I didn't also have a softball game this evening. And I have work all day tomorrow. AAHHHHHH!!!! And still need to pack! Not enough time!!!
mala_14: (iris)
I am trying desperately to finish everything before leaving for CoCo on Wednesday morning. I really want to power through and finish up Lost Hope fairy today, including figuring out the wrapped turban. The dress just needs closures (2 hooks and eyes) and hemming the sleeves and skirt, since I just finished sewing the drawstring casing/neckline bias.

I also painted the flowers I want to use to make my corsage and hair ornament for the Gala. The store didn't have many peach flowers, so I bought white, but they were just too white. I used fabric paint, very watered down, and painted them so that they are pale blush with a slightly darker edge to the petals.

What's left:

  • finish off Lost Hope fairy (closures, hem, wrapped turban)

  • Little Mermaid (boning, corsage, hair ornament)

  • fix waist seam on 1942 green linen dress

  • reticule (finish embroidery, assemble)

The reticule will likely be my "hand-sewing on the plane and in the hotel room" project. Since so many of my costumes have pockets, I won't actually need it until Saturday night. Ok, back to work!
mala_14: (iris)
My plans to power through on the bodice didn't quite pan out. I made a mistake or two that involved redoing things and we all know how long that takes. Also, we lost power because of a storm yesterday, which slowed me down too. I ended up making some eyelets by candlelight. Ridiculous! Anyways, the bodice is pretty much finished. I tried it on this morning and it fits! All it needs now is a few boning channels put in on some of the seams/darts. The part where I'm getting waist wrinkles, though, is between the side-most dart and the side seam. I'm hoping a bone on either side will fix it.

I'm also now working on the Regency stays. The eyelets are much easier than on the Little Mermaid bodice because the fabric is way easier to stretch and doesn't close up while I'm overcasting the eyelet. But this is definitely going to be the first, last, and only pair of handsewn stays I make. I just can't handle all the handsewing. I need things to be done more quickly!

So tired today though. Went to a late showing of Terminator: Genisys last night. It was a very enjoyable action movie, but lacked the scariness of the first 2 Terminator movies. Still, fun and good times!
mala_14: (iris)
I am determined to finish my Little Mermaid bodice today. That means neck and armhole frills, bias facings on the edges, the last few eyelets, and boning a couple of the seams. It seems doable, especially since I have pretty much all afternoon and evening to work on it.

I really want to get to work on my Regency stays. I want to finish them by Monday, because I'll be going away for the following weekend and then again after, so I need to get my Lost Hope fairy dress mocked-up and started since I won't be able to work on it while travelling. I'm going to hand sew a reticule while I'm away; I need somewhere to put my camera at CoCo! Lots of driving and plane time to get that done. My inspiration (mine will probably be much plainer):

What's left:

  • Little Mermaid bodice

  • Regency stays

  • reticule

  • Lost Hope fairy dress

  • Lost Hope fairy turban? (This may just end up being a piece of fabric wrapped around my head and pinned. But it may also be a fixed turban. tbd)

  • *Bonus*: 1950s play suit (If I have the time. I have all the stuff for it. This one would be for Thursday.)

I bought this pair of gloves on Etsy for Little Mermaid. I think they should fit. Then I should have all my accessories ready for the Gala (once the reticule is done). Whew! Lots of stuff! Better get to work!
mala_14: (iris)
I made 12 eyelets today. I don't think I've ever made so many in one go. Still 18 left to do, but I'm saving the top- and bottom-most ones until after I've finished the edges with bias. On the plus side, I discovered that I don't have to do the ones I marked at the very bottom because they're too low for the bottom edge that I want. :)
mala_14: (iris)
Who has two thumbs and a kick-ass tiara?... This guy! (Except you can't see my thumbs cuz I needed hands to operate the camera. Not the point though!)

My tiara came in the mail today and it's so sparkly and lovely and tiara-y. I'm a pretty princess now!

True to form, I did not get nearly as much done on my bodice during my trip as I wanted to. The days were so long and hot that by the time I got back to the hotel in the evenings I was too tired to sew. I did get sewing done in the car though. I overcast all the seam allowances. The awl is too pointy and shank-like for me to feel comfortable using it in the car to make eyelets. (What if we went over a bump while I was using it? Blood everywhere, probably.) Hoping to do most of those today.
mala_14: (iris)
My bodice is together and I tried everything on so that I could do a fitting. That means pictures! (Trying on the scale-y skirt is a hassle, because the organza is fraying because I was too lazy to hem it and though pinking it would be good enough. So I keep stepping on silk threads that are fraying and it's kind of a mess, but I'll trim all the loose threads eventually and it should be fine when I'm wearing heels instead of just socks.) Look! It's a dress!

I've cut down the front neckline since these pictures. Although, it sort of looks like the back neckline could also use cutting down too. I was hoping I could get away with not boning the bodice, but the waist wrinkles say otherwise. (Just slightly too long-waisted. Darn.) I'll try boning just the side seams. Some of the wrinkles disappeared after shortening the right strap. I have a sloping right shoulder.

The second picture shows the inside of the train. It's the ruffled balayeuse. The little silver thing at the hem is a weight.

I bought a bunch of fake flowers this evening. I'm planning on making a big ol' corsage and some sort of hair ornament. Tiara should be arriving any day now!

Off for the weekend in the morning. I hope I get the eyelets done!
mala_14: (iris)
The train is finished enough that I'm crossing it off the list. It could use a little loop thingie to put around my wrist, but it's not really necessary. (The hem weights were a good addition and worth the extra time.) So I'm counting it as done! I wanted to have the bodice cut out today but, as I was laying out my pattern pieces (with their new ballgown neckline), I realized I didn't have enough sateen, which is what I'm using as the lining. I had to do some creative cutting. This involved cutting the strap separate from the front piece and cutting the front piece on the widthwise grain instead of lengthwise. I hope this doesn't make anything wonky. The silk outer layer front will be cut out with the strap in one piece on the lengthwise grain. I'll cut the silk out tomorrow and get it sewn together then a preliminary try-on for fine-tuning.

I'm going away for the weekend on a short road trip. I figure this will be the opportune time to overcast all the seam allowances and get the eyelets done. Productivity is time management, right?


Jun. 23rd, 2015 11:25 pm
mala_14: (iris)
My train now has a balayeuse! All it needs is the hooks and eyes and maybe some hem weights. I'm planning on getting a lot of sewing done tomorrow. I'm hoping to finish off the train, have the bodice pattern figured out (mostly just the neckline), and get the bodice cut out. I may even get the bodice pieces sewn together.
mala_14: (iris)

  1. I need a hat. Or several eventually. They really do finish off an outfit. My print polonaise really, really needs a hat.

  2. I'm figuring out the projects that I will be working on in the next year or two. Some of these have actual occasions to wear them. Most of them can be made out of stash fabrics. Some of them require whole new sets of undies, others only require a thing or two. They are: 1896 tailor made gown (for a conference in April 2016), 1867 cotton dress (for the 150th anniversary of Confederation), 1916 outfit (for the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in Manitoba), 1780 painted dress (I would REALLY love to get to the Francaise dinner in 2017 and check out the D.C. area).

  3. I feel good about the things that I'm making. They aren't perfect. But learning new skills and trying new things keeps it interesting. And I feel like some things I am getting a really good grasp on, like fit, that I used to have major issues with. Progress!

  4. Sewing for oneself is really empowering. We can put on different identities at will; one day I can dress like it's 1795 and another like it's 1882. We can make something out of (practically) nothing using our hands and brains. We aren't limited to how the clothing industry tells us we should look, whether it's particular styles of clothing or clothes for particular body types. Within certain physical limits, we can control how are bodies look, through corseting, use of colours and patterns, and padding. We can consider earlier beauty ideals as we strive for accuracy in our historical clothes and understand that a particular aesthetic is fleeting and, in many ways, meaningless as a standard that we need to hold ourselves to.

  5. Above thoughts are a result of the positive way I feel about myself when I'm sewing. Remember my naval gazing post from last year in which I felt rather lackluster about myself? A lot of those feelings have gone away since I got into some regular sewing. It actually makes me feel kind of bad for people who don't have a hobby in their lives, something where they can learn and strive and see results and feel accomplished. (Of course, there are some major downswings when things aren't going well and you just want to throw everything in a corner and have a tantrum, but looking back over the long term, improvement is generally the rule, not the exception.)

  6. I need to hurry up and finish my Little Mermaid gown! The waistband is on the train now. Just needs a closure, ties underneath, and the balayeuse. Then bodice!


Jun. 19th, 2015 04:19 pm
mala_14: (iris)
I forgot to mention, I finally ordered my tiara. I got this one from Venus Jewelry on eBay. Should arrive in a week or two. Yay! :)

My train is going slowly. I have the pleats finally figured out and the waistband is pinned on. I also think that I've decided on a change for my bodice. It was going to lace up the back, but now I think I'm going to have it spiral-laced in the front, like the lady in pink in this Tissot painting, so that it'll be easier to put on. (The problem with sewing things slowly is that it gives me time to change my mind and then I have decision-making problems!) My biggest problem is that I really hate making eyelets. I even considered doing front buttoning instead. What do you think: back-lacing, front-lacing, or front-buttoning?
mala_14: (iris)
No very exciting progress, but slowly getting things done. The train is sewn together and I have almost the entire hem overcast. Then it'll need to be put on the waistband and have the balayeuse added. Not too much. I honestly think I can get my Gala gown done this month, which would be great and hopefully leave me enough time to finish my Regency stays and make a Lost Hope fairy dress in July. I know I said I was thinking of doing a 1920s 1-hour dress if I had time after that, but what I would really like is a 1950s playsuit for Thursday of CoCo, just a top and shorts. I guess we'll see on that.

Life stuff is a bit nuts. Trying to do all the paperwork for the apartment. I also randomly got a jury summons, but the date is right at the end of August, so I really hope that my exemption goes through. I think moving out of province to attend university is a good excuse for not doing jury duty. Other stuff is busy, but good. I saw Jurassic World and Entourage this past weekend. Jurassic World was very fun, although towards the end it was just sorta ridiculous. I'm a big fan of the original movie, which is genius, so obviously this sequal wasn't going to live up, but still a good time. Entourage was alright, just like a really long episode of the show. I'd enjoy it more if it wasn't so blatantly sexist, but it was still good for some laughs. I also had a family dinner to celebrate my graduation. We ate lots of Chinese food and cake and it was fun to get together with my extended family.
Game of Thrones blather )


Jun. 12th, 2015 05:44 pm
mala_14: (iris)
I am ridiculously exhausted today. I've spent all the day on the phone long-distance trying to figure out an apartment for when I start school. Except that I need to snap one up now because it's a ridiculous market and there will be nothing remotely near the school by September. So things had to get all re-arranged for that. And after I finally figured out the one that I want, can afford, and is around, I got a call saying it had already been put on hold by someone else. It looks like I will get a similar apartment in a nearby building owned by the same people for a similar price, but I will still have to go through a bunch more stuff tomorrow like sending cheques and emails. Yeesh!

And if this wasn't enough, I was also trying to fill out my course registration form and it didn't want to be saved on my computer so that I could send it back. Cue more stress. Eventually I figured out that I should try it on my laptop and that sorted things out. I guess I needed a newer version of Adobe or something.

Of course, doing all this means that I wasn't able to work on my Little Mermaid gown today. I got the front sections of the train done yesterday. This meant sewing them together and overcasting the CF seam allowances and hemming the angled bits. Today I was hoping to sort out the back piece of the train (the lining is somehow bigger than the fashion fabric and thus needs to be cut down) and attach the fronts to the back. Then comes the onerous chore of overcasting and hemming the whole back piece. I've decided not to really hem the train, but just overcast and turn up the edge. On the bottom the nasty, lazy hem will be covered with the balayeuse.

I need a nap, but it's not in the cards because I'm heading out to a bbq and then going to see Jurassic World! So good stuff, but soooo tired.


Jun. 10th, 2015 06:46 pm
mala_14: (iris)
I have my train cut out (not including waistband or potential flounce) in both the sea green silk and muslin for flat-lining. It's also ironed. I was thinking of getting the pieces put together today, but because cutting it all out took so long, I just gave up for the day. Tomorrow I'll machine the seams (of which there are really only 3 short ones) and get started on the hand work. This one needs all the seam allowances overcast and the edges hemmed.


Jun. 9th, 2015 05:22 pm
mala_14: (iris)
I was finally able to solve my pleat problem. I didn't have any freezer paper on hand, so I decided to try fork pleating. But because the silk organza was so squidgy, I needed a fork with longer tines so I could pleat the whole width of the flounce at once. This doesn't really exist. So I McGyver'd a fork out of 2 size 0 dp knitting needles, a bamboo bbq skewer cut in half, and some painter's tape.

This probably would have worked if the organza wasn't the squidgiest fabric ever made. But it was and my pleats ended up looking wonky. So I took a trip to the grocery store and picked up some freezer paper, which worked a treat. It stabilized the fabric so it couldn't shift around. Eventually I managed to pleat the darned thing and spent last night pinning the top and bottom of every pleat to the skirt, ironing the pleats, and then, finally, sewing the flounce on by hand.

I don't know if it was actually worth all the hassle, but the skirt, now that it's done, really does look mermaid tail-y to me with the flounce as the fins. :)

I also spent today patterning out the front part of the train. The back will just be a length of the fabric with sort of rounded corners. I'm sort of copying this fashion plate, for reference, minus the rather intense butt bow.

It doesn't look so great in the newspaper, but with drapier fabric I'm hoping the folds will be better. Can I get the train done this week? Probably not, but I'm going to try!
mala_14: (iris)
Well, I just wasted several hours marking the increments for my box-pleated flounce. Wasted because most of them just disappeared and also the silk organza is so squidgy (yeah, that's the word I'm using) that the pleats were all wonky when I tried to iron them. I need help! Any advice for making box pleats in a shifty fabric?
mala_14: (iris)
I have the skirt together, but I still need to make and add the organza pleated flounce. I am the slowest sewer ever. The train shouldn't take too long though. (Famous last words, right?) I know what the pattern shapes will be, so making the pattern will be easy. Assembly should also be quick because it's only 3 main pieces. It's all the finishing and balayeuse that will take me forever. And CoCo is coming! ACK!


mala_14: (Default)

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