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 [livejournal.com 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. [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com profile] girliegirl32786's big butt and billowy skirt:

Jen and [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com profile] the_aristocat in her 1880s court gown in the back right of the picture. Needless to say, she looked stunning!)

[livejournal.com profile] llyrafantasyfae and [livejournal.com 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)
This weekend I met the main members of a local group called Victorian at Heart. They are two ladies, Wanda and Shirley, who enjoy making Victorian costumes to play dress up and go to cool places. (Just my kind of people!) We went to Dalnavert House (where I volunteered the other week) to take a tour and have iced tea and cookies on the porch. Wanda and Shirley have been kind enough to share their pictures with me (because I was silly and didn't take a camera) and I'm sharing some with you, so you can see my finished print polonaise, my awesome new friends, and the gorgeous house.

Here I am posing on the porch with a borrowed parasol and century old linen napkin (both belonged to Shirley). I really need a hat for this outfit. I really like this shot of the bustling in the back. This pictures is in the kitchen and I'm checking out the butler's pantry. This is also my super easy Natural Form hairdo, which is just a very low French braid with the end looped up and pinned. It doesn't require particularly long hair or hair skills. It also works as a bridesmaid hairdo if you're doing your own hair (used it twice last year, with slight variations).
More pictures! )
We were welcomed warmly by the people who work at the house who were enthusiastic about our costumes and took pictures of us in the parlour. We also had a wonderful tour guide. Cool facts that I learned about the house: it was top-of-the-line with innovations for the time such as steam heat (you can see the brass radiators in many of the rooms), electric lights, and walk-in closets (as opposed to wardrobes and armoires). In addition to the call buttons (like bell pulls) there was also a shouting tube so that people (the lady of the house) could whistle or yell into a tube that went down to the kitchen. The top of the tube was in the lady's bathroom!

I should be volunteering about once a week there this summer and look forward to giving tours and showing people around. It's a beautiful house and I'm so glad that it's been saved and will not be turned into offices or something else.

Long day

May. 30th, 2015 08:02 pm
mala_14: (iris)
Whew! I'm tired out. I had a long day today. This is the weekend of Doors Open, when a bunch of historic sites around the city are open to the public for free tours. Places like the Legislative Buildings and the Lieutenant Governor's house, but also other random houses (and a jail!) that have been converted to offices and things. My living history society was invited to spend the day at Dalnavert House (built 1895) to add some colour. We hung out on the lawn and porch all day, playing games like croquet and the game of graces, and had a couple of displays of an early 19th century tea set and some 19th century sewing notions and tools.

I had to get up early to dress up in my polonaise and such. I was happy to learn that I was alright wearing the corset for about 5-6 hours, but that I might want to make a Victorian one with less reduction in the future (probably for the 1867 stuff). I had lots of nice comments from people about my dress which was fun. :)

I've also come up with a very simple hairstyle that works for this era: it's a low French braid (so that all the hair is joined into the braid as the first three strands are braided) with the end looped up and tucked/pinned under the little hole the French braid makes. I'd have a better braid loop if my hair was longer, but it gives the sort of low silhouette of the very early 1880s. I got the idea from some of the pics in Fashions of the Gilded Age Vol. 2 that have a sort of knot above a looped up braid. Mine's just a simplified version.

I didn't get a chance to see much of the house, but what I did see was lovely. It's all restored and filled with period furniture. The Costume Museum of Canada had also put up an exhibit of 1880s dresses in one room. This sort of confused me because the house is 1890s and they have tons of 1890s stuff, but whatevs. Also a weird convo with someone from the Costume Museum. I was with another living history girl and we were looking at the dresses when the Costume Museum lady said, "Can you imagine wearing a tight corset like that?" And I said, "Yes, I'm wearing one right now." She just sort of looked at me like I was speaking gibberish or something and then said, "The waist is so tiny," pointing at the mannequin. I'm not sure if she just didn't hear me, or actually had no comprehension of what I said. It was so odd. :s

I have lots of pictures of the dresses but am too tired to upload them right now. I also got several pictures taken of me in and around the house and I'll post those when I get them from the photographer.
mala_14: (iris)
I'm pretty much done with my print polonaise now. I got the 2 flounces sewn. I even sewed one of them on to my skirt. And then decided I was sick of this project and lazy and feeling behind schedule and needing to start on my ballgown. So I've decided to just have 1 flounce for now. If I feel like adding the other one later, I still can. Then I felt like a bad, lazy seamstress for not following through on my plan and decided I needed to find evidence of skirts with only 1 gathered flounce for this era since most seem to have at least 2 and generally more (I don't have enough fabric for more). I found one, so I can feel justified in my laziness! ;)

This means that I can get to work on my Little Mermaid 1882 ballgown now and hopefully get it done this weekend. First up is the underskirt. I need to trace out the pieces (with pencil, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] atherleisure's suggestion as a substitute for my too-quickly-disappearing fabric marker) and then mark out my fish scale design. I'm going to paint the scale lines in silver paint. I got the Lumiere stuff after seeing how nicely the gold worked for [livejournal.com profile] bauhausfrau.

I had my second living history event today. It was all day doing demonstrations for school kids at a local museum that used to be a convent. I was at a station showing how to card and spin wool. Now that I'm better acquainted with people, it's less stressful and more fun. We were outside and the weather was really nice. I met some new people too. And everybody acts like it's perfectly normal to dress up like it's the 1800s! (My kind of people!) I still need to find some sort of shoe that is not obviously modern, but won't bother my feet. I looked awful wearing my runners, but there was no way I was going to stand around all day in shoes that don't give proper support. My feet were tired enough afterwards as is. And one of these days I'll get an outfit made so I can return my loaner costume!

Next living history event is on Saturday, the 30th. It's at Dalnavert House, built 1895, so no need for Regency stuff at this place. It'll be my first outing in my polonaise. There will be pictures!
mala_14: (iris)
So close to being done! I got all the buttons and buttonholes finished this weekend. I wanted to have the entire thing done, but was just not disciplined enough. Since the closures are on, I was able to take pictures! The ties for bustling are all pinned. You know what's not fun? Trying on your polonaise and having pins poke you in the butt. Seriously. (Excuse the wrinkles. The skirt has been lying around unfinished for a really long time.)
Print Polonaise Pictures Presented )
All that's left is sewing the bustle ties, hemming the skirt, and adding the skirt flounces.

I'm so happy with how this has turned out. I was worried that I would have a lot of trouble with fit, but that went smoothly. The buttonhole-making wasn't too bad either. And I LOVE the buttons. They're vintage and made of real mother-of-pearl, so they're heavier and have a lovely rainbow-y shine. The only thing that bothers me, from looking at these pictures, is that it really looks like I could use another petticoat under the skirts. I have a narrow late-Edwardian style one I can use, so problem solved. :)
mala_14: (iris)
A picture of me sewing while on my stationary bike. ;p (I took a video for [livejournal.com profile] ashamanja_babu but LJ wouldn't let me upload it. Sorry, Elizabeth!)

The things I do for you people! That's me hemming the polonaise.

I also realized that I haven't shown any progress pics of the polonaise since my mock-up. Here's the real thing:
More pictures behind the cut )Pictures of the insides )
Obviously it doesn't fit the dressform, but it does fit me. The panniers look pretty awful without the petticoat and skirt to fill them out more. But I love how the back seams look and how the collar turned out. I used this method to put on the collar, but also had the front facing sandwiched in with the collar and strip of fabric. The pleats in the back are stitched down with a herringbone stitch.
mala_14: (iris)
I got the sleeves hemmed and I made a collar and edged it with my pretty cotton lace from Treadle Yard Goods. Hemming and adding lace were both hand sewing projects, so took a bit of time. I've attached the collar with a strip of fabric for a facing/edging along the neckline. It now needs sewing down, also by hand. Then I am moving on to hemming the skirts of the polonaise. The last few things are all rather time-consuming hand sewing bits: sewing down the front facing, buttonholes, buttons, and ties for bustling.

Oh, and then I have to finally hem the underskirt and add a flounce to it. I think I have enough fabric for either one wide flounce or two narrower flounces. One flounce is sounding like less work to me, so it'll probably be that. Hoping to finish this up this week and then get started with the ball gown!

Decision?

May. 11th, 2015 09:38 pm
mala_14: (iris)
Thanks for the input, everybody! I really appreciate it. I think on this one I am going with a falling collar. Although, like [livejournal.com profile] ashamanja_babu, I think the standing collar is more "Laura Ingalls" and I think I actually prefer the standing collar, I'm pretty sure that almost every single bustle day dress I'll be making in the future (and I have fabric for at least 2 in the stash!) will have a standing collar, plus most day dresses from 1866-1912. This may be my only chance for a bustle dress with a falling collar, so I'm going to take it!

Indecision

May. 10th, 2015 05:48 pm
mala_14: (iris)
Please help me decide, friends! Should my 1882 print polonaise have a standing collar or a falling one (like a shirt)?

Both are correct for the period, although the standing collar is far more common. I'd use pretty much the same technique to put in the collar, so neither is more work than the other. I think both would look good, so no help there. This is why I can't decide. See my Pinterest board to see what I'm talking about.

Also, I'm so lazy and just want this thing finished that I decided against adding cuffs and instead am just going to hem the sleeves. This is what prompted my collar indecision, because I was originally planning on having matching collar and cuffs, both trimmed with a narrow cotton lace. Now, with the plain sleeve hem, I can make plain white cuffs to tack in (which I see in tons of 1880s photos) and I can reuse the white cuffs for other things later.
mala_14: (iris)
I spent all day yesterday sewing. All that I really got done was the sleeves. And it wasn't that they were difficult or anything. Sewing, for me, is just something that is really slow. I had to iron all the seams, overcast several seams (shoulders, sleeves, and armscyes), sew the sleeves together, and set them. By the time I got those things done, it was time for bed. I did try it on and the fit is still looking good. The only concern is that the neck might be a little tight, but I can just cut that down a smidge.

Today, I am hoping to get the collar and cuffs together. I need to draft them and cut them out and edge them with lace. Maybe I'll even get them attached to the polonaise? Not likely. But it's already the middle of May! I need to get this done!
mala_14: (iris)
I have all the big pieces together now. It just needs ironing before putting together the sleeves and adding them. Then it will be all the smaller, fiddly bits, like collar, cuffs, buttons, buttonholes, hems, and ties for bustling.

There's also seam finishing. I'm not sure I even want to bother, but if I did, it'd be whipstitching all the seam allowances like in [livejournal.com profile] koshka_the_cat's antique cotton bustle dress. What do you think, friends: is it worth spending the time doing the hand work to neaten up the seam allowances, or should I just leave them so I can get on to sewing other things?

Darnnit!

May. 7th, 2015 10:31 pm
mala_14: (iris)
My day was much better today, except for one unfortunate incident. I was powering through on my Little House dress and got it almost all cut out and started assembling things. I was sewing the darts on the polonaise, which is a cotton print flatlined with voile, but one of the darts was sewn wonky, so I was picking out the stitches using the seam ripper - and I put hole in the lining! ARGH! So frustrating. Now I need to cut out a new lining piece. I still have a good amount of voile, but it's such a waste of fabric and it's so annoying to redo the work, outlining the pattern piece with removable fabric marker, cutting it out, lining it up again with the print. Plus all my other marker lines keep fading on me, so I keep having to redraw them. Also annoying. Yeesh!
mala_14: (iris)
Well looks like all the pattern really needed was to be lengthened 2 inches, 1.5 inches right above the darts and 0.5 inches across the middle of the chest. This is the Basque Bodice for Medium-Sized Ladies in Frances Grimble's Fashions of the Gilded Age Vol. 1 (pg. 173) using the 43 cm ruler. If you have a larger bust, you might not need to lengthen the bodice as much. But I'm pretty short and short-waisted and still needed to lengthen it significantly, so most normal height people will probably need to lengthen a bunch.

I added skirts to the front and side-back pieces as well as box-pleat extensions into the back piece at the waist (based on other patterns of polonaises in the book). I'll lengthen the skirts in the back and side-back pieces for the real thing. In this mock-up I just wanted to get a chance to see how the more fitted parts would go and to figure out the polonaised front. I also cut the armscye in a bit in the front. The curve of the CF of the bodice needed slight adjusting (taking in at the top and letting out just slightly at the bust). This was after I'd made the waist a bit bigger at CB and the side-most dart. Thinking about it, I could probably go up a ruler size, but I won't because I'm too lazy to trace out another one.

And, miracle of miracles, the sleeve fit almost perfectly! Seriously. It just needs a little bit taken out where the pins are and maybe where that wrinkle in the back of the arm is and to be lengthened by an inch to where the mock-up sits now. Crazy.

I think getting the silhouette just right first really made fitting this easier. With a period silhouette, it makes sense that the period pattern would fit correctly right? One of the key things that I've noticed about silhouette thanks to [livejournal.com profile] the_aristocat is a low and rounded bust. Also the natural form belly. Definitely have that going on. ;p

I'm glad this went so smoothly. I need to get a move on with the sewing or I won't have anything to wear at CoCo. Maybe I can get it cut out tomorrow? Or at least cut this mock-up apart for the pattern, draft up a collar, and actually sew the hem on the skirt. That seems more likely. Then I'll be away for a week's vacation in Chicago and Indianapolis. Darn, just when I'm making progress!
mala_14: (iris)
I made up a mock-up of the polonaise and it was a dud. I'm naturally short-waisted and my corset is even slightly more so, but this mock-up was a good 2 inches too short of that! Ridiculous! So I need to add length. The back looked alright otherwise and the front looked promising, so I'm hoping mock-up #2 will be a success.

Blah cold

Apr. 18th, 2015 02:40 pm
mala_14: (iris)
I don't it's cold here. I mean I have a cold. And it makes me feel blah. I think I just crashed after all the school and conference stuff. It's put a damper on the sewing. My skirt is still sitting around with its hem just pinned up. I ironed and trimmed it at some point, though. In even better progress, I drafted up a bodice pattern! I will attempt to cut out the mock-up today. We'll see how that goes.

Tomorrow is a sewing write-off day because I have to go to a baby shower during the day and group watching Game of Thrones in the evening and, if I'm suddenly completely better, maybe the weekly visit to my grandmother, but probably not. I had to skip out on the living history group sewing day today which made me sad. But my nose is like a leaking faucet and my head feels about 2 sizes too big. There's no way I would have been able to do 5 hours of sewing. Plus, I'd hate to go there and potentially infect everyone. So I slept in and had chicken-vegetable soup for lunch. :)

I have a new upcoming project for post-CoCo sewing: an 1895 outfit! It seems very likely that next year's Victorian Studies conference will be in my hometown with the theme of Making Victorians. Combine that with the fact that much of our conference will be connected with Dalnavert House, a local museum originally built in 1895, and you get my project/presentation for next year. I want to make an entire tailor made suit (but this may change to a dress, not entirely sure yet, depends on what fabric I find) from the ground up (including undies) and document the process. Talk about the research done, the hours put in, the $ it takes, what the historical costuming community looks like, what wearing these items is like, etc. I think it'll be really interesting. And with a big deadline like that, I'll have to get it done. :)

(I had shown my prof my earlier post of all my 1880s undies and the beginnings of the polonaise outfit and she said I should show that at the house. "But it's the wrong era!" I declared. We just couldn't have that, now could we?)
mala_14: (iris)
So I took a bunch of pictures of it all as it stands so far. Mostly my 1880s undergarments, but also an unhemmed skirt. The petticoat I'm wearing under my ruffled bustle pad is my Edwardian one. It's narrow (like Natural Form) but gives a little more volume than just one petticoat. I really like the ruffled bustle pad. Add a bit of extra junk in the trunk and stops the skirts from collapsing, but isn't as pronnounced as the shelf-like late bustle.
SO many pictures )
I think the skirt might be a bit too long in the back, but it wouldn't be if I was wearing heels. I have no idea what shoes I'll wear with this, but I think I'll leave it as is because I'm lazy and will probably have heeled shoes for it. I also took at hint from [livejournal.com profile] jenthompson and added an elastic to hold together the back of the skirt. Gives the right narrow shape in front. I'm pretty happy with how this is shaping up so far. :)

Closures

Apr. 4th, 2015 04:56 pm
mala_14: (iris)
I sewed a hook onto my petticoat a while ago. Just finished sewing the eyelet. So that is now officially done!

The skirt is coming along too. It's all together and I just did the button and buttonhole. I'm taking a page out of [livejournal.com profile] jenthompson's book an putting elastic at the back to hold the front of the skirt back. When I tried everything on the other day it was just too poofy, but holding the back part of the skirt back a bit gave the right natural form shape. I sewed one side down. Just need to try everything on again and measure the elastic. Then it's just hem and ruffles. The ruffles will have to wait until I'm done the polonaise though, to make sure I have enough fabric.

Blah

Mar. 29th, 2015 06:03 pm
mala_14: (iris)
My conference paper isn't progressing well at the moment and neither is my sewing. I managed to put in pockets and sew all the seams, but the machine was just being a huge hassle. It was doing the thing where the threads get stuck somewhere in the bobbin or something and then there's threads all caught in there. I had to re-thread the machine pretty much every seam I sewed. So frustrating! I'm seriously getting ready to just sew the entire thing by hand. It'd probably be easier. Luckily the next part is gathering the back panel of the skirt, which I was planning to do by hand anyways. It's progress, but it's an uphill climb right now.
mala_14: (iris)
I started sewing up the skirt for my Little House print polonaise outfit. I got the darts sewn and the front panel sewn to the 2 side gores. Not much progress really, but better than nothing.

I've been thinking about whether I should pleat or gather the back and how I'm going to do the collar on the polonaise and having massive indecision when suddenly today I realized all the answers were waiting for me on the internet! Right here: http://koshka-the-cat-antiques.blogspot.ca/2014/03/an-1880s-cotton-print-bustle-dress.html. Thanks [livejournal.com profile] koshka_the_cat! So I'll be gathering the back panel of the skirt. Katherine's awesome detailed post also brought to my attention that I didn't put in any pockets in my skirt. Silly me! I'll have to rip out some of the seam I sewed and add one, because one of the best bonuses of sewing ones own clothes is being able to put pockets into everything!

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