mala_14: (Margaery)
The pretty-much-finished bodice! I am still pretty sure I'm going to brush it up with some fabric paint, and obviously it needs the shoulder pieces and skirt, but the bodice part is done.

The Challenge: Terminology: Bodice, described in The Historical Fashion and Textile Encyclopedia at the Dreamstress as "Originally a boned, stiffed garment for the upper body, without sleeves" or "the upper part of a dress"

Fabric: cotton broadcloth, cotton drill, and some sort of synthetic stuff

Pattern: based on my body block/sloper that I drafted last year

Year: um... the Year of the Five Kings? Actually, I'm re-reading the books and I think the part in the show this costume is from is actually the year before a new century in Westeros.

Notions: thread, poly batting, hooks and bars, snaps

How historically accurate is it? Not really at all. But I think it's fairly close to being screen accurate. Does that count? Also, I used some historical techniques while making it, like padding and boning and taking a dart in the lining that isn't in the fashion fabric.

Hours to complete: I started on the 20th with a mock-up, so it's been about 8 days of a few hours most days.

First worn: Not yet, but the finished product will be out and about on Halloween

Total cost: Maybe around $10?

And the inside, which I think is really interesting. You can see all the boning and padding and handsewing. Also, using my new green silk-cotton as a background.

mala_14: (iris)
It's just not quite big enough. ;)

The Challenge: Paisley & Plaid (There is a little paisley in one of the stripes.)

Fabric: 1/2 metre of quilting cotton

Pattern: My own based on a V&A example for design and various Met Museum bustles for measurements

Year: 1880s

Notions: Thread, twill tape, scraps (for stuffing!), and poly fibrefill

How historically accurate is it? Pretty close. Everything is natural fibres (including the stuffing scraps) except for the fibrefill and machine sewing would be correct for this period, so I'm going with about 95%.

Hours to complete: Maybe 2-3

First worn: As soon as I finished it! I wanted to see how it looked. I don't have anything to wear with it, however; that's something I'm hoping to fix next year.

Total cost: Probably a bit under $10

When I'm wearing the bustle pad, my hips are definitely wider than it, unlike on the dress dummy.

Spot the paisleys! I tried to make them a little more prominent by centering them in the upper bustle pad. I also had fun making one of the stripes the visible part of the waistband.

I had a really tough time figuring out something for this challenge. I just didn't have any stash fabric suitable and I didn't want to be spending a lot of time or money on this project. I remembered that paisley was pretty common in bustle era undergarments and thought I'd be able to find a paisley cotton at the fabric store. Apparently, not so much. This was the closest I could find, but I think the colours and pattern read Victorian-ish, and I thought it was cute. I didn't end up tacking the upper pad to the lower because I'm lazy and it seems to be fine this way. I can always puff/fluff it up like a pillow to re-distribute the stuffing properly.

Although the waistband gave me a bit of guff when trying to finagle it under the machine, overall I'm quite happy with this. It's cute and kind of silly and will be a useful part of my costume/historical wardrobe. :)


Jul. 26th, 2014 02:22 pm
mala_14: (iris)
I finished up my bustle pad last night. I spent a good chunk of time ripping up random scraps of cotton and linen fabric to stuff the two pouches with, but there wasn't nearly enough. It gave me a good feeling of being economical though. To get a good shape I used some regular old poly batting because it was sitting around in the house. I made the bigger bustle pad less full and then stuffed the smaller one more. I know that I don't have a problem with holding on to a modern aesthetic because, as I was stuffing, I kept thinking, "I don't think this is big enough..." ;p I'm still not sure, since it will probably squish down some with skirt/petticoat weight, but it is definitely a visible presence.

Pictures tomorrow. Have to get going to a bachelorette party!
mala_14: (iris)
So, stays may take me forever, but looks like I can make some progress on a bustle pad. I'm hoping this will be like a 2-3 day project. (I'm sure it's actually more of a couple hours worth of project, but I'm slow sometimes.) Today I made a pattern and cut out the pieces. My pattern consists of two 11 x 12 inch squares and two 8 x 9.5 inch squares and a part of a waistband. The longer side is the width, so the waistband is a rectangle 3 x 12 inches which will have twill tape ties attached at the ends. All the squares have their bottom corners rounded off. I'm going to stuff them with a mixture of little bits of scrap fabric and fiberfill.

While my design is based off of the bustle pad in the Victoria and Albert collection, I actually used extant pieces in the Met Museum collection to find my dimensions, as well as a couple of period ads. None of these are the sort of bustle pad that I'm making, but I thought they'd do for general sizing. The ones that are on mannequins show that the width is less than the width of the hips. Many of the Met bustle pads had a length of 10-11 inches (see here, here, and here). And these two (here and here) said the semi-circle circumference was 19 inches, so I calculated the diameter (or width) to be about 12 inches. I also may have taken a ruler to the screen of my computer to gauge ratios and such. Most had a greater width than length but not by much. Advertisements talk about being 9 inches at the waist and anywhere from 10-12 inches in length, but these were generally the kind of bustle pads with padding and ruffles.

Hopefully I can get some good progress done tomorrow. Really there's only about 4 steps: sew the square pieces, stuff them, sew on waistband, tack together. Even I can do that without taking forever! ;)
mala_14: (iris)
I have a couple of fabrics in the wash to pre-shrink them, notably a quilting print and white cotton drill (for my Margaery bodice). The quilting print is for a bustle pad for the HSF Paisley and Plaid Challenge. It is brown and multicoloured with wide stripes that have a floral stripe running in them and little paisleys in the skinny stripes. I'm making an 1880s bustle pad based on this one in the Victoria and Albert museum. Except, instead of a silk cord holding down the little bustle pad, I'm going to do some stitches on the underside of it tacking it to the larger bustle pad. I think it's cute and it must be way easier than making a bustle with boning and such.
mala_14: (iris)
Ok, so things are busy now. Three of my good friends are getting married (a wedding every 2 weeks from Aug. 23 - Sept. 21) and I am in two of the weddings. This means planning out and executing showers and bachelorette parties and 2 of those are this weekend. I have also been commissioned to make the bouquets for the weddings I am in. Plus, I will be making my bridesmaid dress for the second wedding. In addition to this, I am trying to get thesis research done so that I can write my Master's thesis and graduate in May and I have a part-time job as a research assistant (which is fun and awesome, but still takes up time). I also have regular life stuff to do, like be a normal sociable person and spend time with family, friends, and boyfriend. So what does all this mean?

When it comes to sewing, I have a lot of grand plans. (Don't we all?) But I think that I need to streamline them a bit. While I still want to get my Regency stays finished, there is no way that I will finish them and then get to the next 2 HSF challenge project and sew up a bridesmaid dress. So I am giving myself a pass on the Regency stays. I will work on them when I have time and they will eventually get done. But my next three projects will be (and aren't you getting sick of my sewing plan changes?):

  1. 1880s bustle pad (HSF Plaid and Paisley Challenge): a very simple project that I can complete in a day or two and that I have all the materials for

  2. My bridesmaid dress: something that I HAVE to get done, but since I don't want any extra stress I am changing my design for it. Instead of a bias cut dress (which I would have to pattern from scratch), I am going with an Audrey Hepburn-inspired design with a bateau neckline and slim skirt, (something like this) using a tried-and-true pattern that will take minimal adjustments. Not very exciting, but nobody cares what I look like, I'm just there for pleasant-looking background to the bride right? :)

  3. Margaery bodice (HSF Terminology Pattern): this will be the most labour-intensive because it will involve creating a new pattern and some hand-sewing, but I can use my body block as a starting point and I have all the materials for it

All of these projects are on the smaller side, especially the bustle pad, compared to my other grand plans. But that's a good thing, because it means that they will get done without taking up inordinate amounts of time and I will feel accomplished. Sometimes I really need to have completed projects. Sewing for weeks and not having anything to show for it can get discouraging at times, especially when I feel like so many other things in my life are going the same way. It's just like treading water: tiring and you don't go anywhere, but you have to keep paddling so you don't drown. If all the other things in my life are treading water type things, then I need something that I can get DONE, that I can have finished and put aside and check off a list and point at and say, "Look what I made!" and not have a UFO hanging over me.

Grand plans can wait until after the wedding madness is over. Of course, then it might be thesis madness... ;p Enough rambling for now.
mala_14: (iris)
I'm still working away at the Regency stays, in spite of all the GoT distraction. Hand-sewing is rather slow going, but I've got the two back seams sewn now. At the moment I am about to start sewing the front lining to all the gussets using a whipstitch. Next steps will be the few boning channels and eyelets. :p Since these updates aren't very exciting, I've included pictures this time.

Here are the front and backs. One side of the back is opened up so you can see the outer fabric and lining from the right side. The other back shows the wrong side of the sateen. The front is from the right side, with all the gussets sewn in!

This is the beginning of sewing the lining to the gussets. The seam allowances are folded in and it's pinned partly in place. You can also see the centre front lining where it's whipstitched.
mala_14: (Margaery)
I just feel like posting to keep up the good habit of posting regularly. I finished the centre front seam of my Regency stays. I sewed three of the layers together (2 sateen, 1 broadcloth) using a back stitch and only catching the sateen in the first and last 1/2 inch. Then I turned in the other broadcloth layer's seam allowance and whipped that down to the already sewn in broadcloth. Since I don't have a busk, this allows me to have all the edges on the inside finished and leaves me with a divided centre so I can put boning on either side of CF. I also sewed one CB seam, just backstitching with the sateen and broadcloth layers right sides together.

I am not looking forward to the eyelets, which will be coming soon. I'm thinking I need to find out the least number of eyelets I can put in. I will also be spiral lacing these. I find it so much easier to put on than cross-laced when there's no front opening busk.

Silk thread is so much nicer to hand-sew with than cotton thread! It hardly ever knots. And it goes through the fabric so smoothly. I don't think I can ever go back.

I've also been spending WAY too much time scouring the internet for fabric that I might want to use for a GoT Mormont gown. I want something with a bit of shine, but not too much. And something of natural fibres so I can dye it. I am considering cotton sateen because I can get it for pretty cheap, it looks nice and drapes nicely, and it will dye fairly easily. However, it doesn't have the same look as the actual GoT gowns have, which appear to be made of silk. Dharma Trading has some low-priced dupioni that looks fairly slub-free, but it seems that silk is more difficult to dye dark colours and it would also be twice the price of the sateen (and even more than that with the cost of shipping to Canada). I wonder if any of the silks back at the fabric store would work. They were all under $15/metre but mostly they were very slubby duipionis. Such a difficult decision... *sigh* :p

But on the plus side: Look! New GoT userpic! :)
mala_14: (iris)
I managed to find all the fabrics I need for my GoT Tyrell costume. All fabrics were $8/metre except the skirt fabric which was $5. Score! (Of course they're all synthetics, but for a costume like this which won't be super labour intensive and is fantasy I'm totally OK with having fabrics that just look pretty.) I got a blue and taupe damask?brocade?, where the taupe parts are fuzzy and a blue lightweight taffeta to match. I also bought some velveteen, which is sort of a mossy sage colour and will need to be dyed. (That should be interesting and fun. I already have some turquoise dye. Maybe I should get some dye remover too?) Not pictured is the white drill I plan on using as a strength layer for the bodice. (Disclaimer: all the colours are slightly lighter and greener in real life and the damask-y fabric and taffeta are actually a very close match.)

I really wanted a blue and gold brocade, but it was not to be. Maybe I could invest in some gold fabric paint and do a bit of a paint job on the taupe parts...

Miraculously, the store also had some silks. So I got this gold crinkle silk for $12/metre which is much cheaper than I've ever seen silk anywhere here. In real life it is very gold. I thought it'd be great to line the big King's Landing sleeves and for edging and piping.

Not GoT related, I also got some grey drill to make some shorts or capri pants. No pictures because it's not very exciting looking. ;p All in all, a very successful fabric shopping trip!
mala_14: (iris)
I'm going fabric shopping tomorrow morning in hopes of finding some sort of brocade for my Game of Thrones Tyrell costume, plus skirt fabric. I'm trying to think if there will be any other fabric I need in the near future. Whenever I have a fabric shopping excursion I try to plan ahead, but always feel like I'm forgetting something... usually because I forget something. Oh, right, just remembered: I'll need some sort of canvas/twill for the strength layer of the bodice. I could also use some stretch sateen for capri pants and some sort of quilting cotton for a sundress, but that's starting to get into wishlist territory, as opposed to will use in the near future.

Speaking of wishlists and sewing dreams, after seeing all the King's Landing style gowns with embroidery people on my Friends list are making, I totally want one too. Not sure when I'd ever get to it, but it's fun to plan and design. I'd probably come up with a House Mormont design because I like black bears and that's their house sigil. Also, they have really cool female family members who fight and such and have redeemed their family name after it was disgraced by Jorah. I'd want a dark green dress and I'd embroider it like Cersei's aqua gown only with pine branches and bears instead of swirls and birds.

Speaking of green GoT gowns, there aren't any that I can think of in the show, even though some houses have green prominently in their colours (specifically thinking of the Tyrells here). My guess is that it's because they greenscreen things and thus the characters can't wear green. Any other ideas or knowledge?
mala_14: (iris)
As my stays take longer and longer to finish and my CADD kicks in, I can't seem to help but reevaluate my sewing plans once again. I'm not certain that I will be able to get an embroidered dress done in such a short period of time. However, I am pretty certain that I could get a black Regency dress done for the HSF Poetry in Motion challenge (Byron's "She walks in beauty, like the night") and that I could make my GoT Margaery bodice for the HSF Terminology challenge (the term being "bodice" ;p). That would definitely make my sewing load easier for the coming months, which are going to be super busy, what with 3 good friends getting married and being a bridesmaid for 2 of them. Also, all the GoT costuming on my Friends feed is getting to me and I want to join in on the fun sooner rather than later!
mala_14: (iris)
I now have all the gussets sewn into the corset sateen layer. I managed to get distracted talking to my dad and watching a movie at the end and sewed both layers of the gusset into the sateen instead of just the sateen layer of the gusset. This resulted in some removal of stitches. Not fun, but finally finished this step. Next is sewing all the seams, starting with centre front and both centre backs.


Jul. 2nd, 2014 01:08 pm
mala_14: (iris)
Last night I actually got in some sewing. I put on the new Robocop movie and sat down to do some serious hand-sewing. (My boyfriend remarked that it was a combination that has probably never been done before. I'm rather inclined to agree.) I have cut out all the stays pieces; one layer of cotton sateen and one layer of cotton broadcloth. I'm using a backstitch for the gussets. Since I am planning on turning in the edges and sewing the two layers together using le point a rabattre sous la main (instead of binding), I am sewing in the gussets a particular way. I treat both layers of the gusset as one, sewing them into the slit in the fashion fabric (sateen) the usual way: folding back the edges of the slit about 1/4 inch and top-stitching at the edges.

However, at the start and end of the gusset at the edge of the corset, I only sew the sateen layers together, leaving the broadcloth layer free about 1/2 inch. Later, I'll whipstitch the broadcloth/lining front piece to the broadcloth gusset on the inside. This will allow me to turn in the edges towards each other.

Overall sewing progress during the movie: 1 hip gusset and 1 bust gusset. Not very fast, but I'm sure I'll speed up.
mala_14: (iris)
Well, this is my second time failing at making the HSF deadline. Life is just too busy right now trying to balance work, research, exercise, and time with friends/family/boyfriend. I try to squeak in some sewing time, but it only manages to happen a couple times a week. However, I don't feel like beating myself up about it because I really have to get things like thesis research done and it involves reading for several hours every day. And all the other things are as important as sewing. I think I just need to figure out a more balanced balance.

Also, even though I am not making the deadlines, I am still finishing the projects, which I think I can still consider productive. I am still averaging at least one project per month which is a huge step up from last year. I'll even get in a couple bonus modern projects, like the tan houndstooth pants I made earlier this year to wear on my trip and still haven't blogged about and the bridesmaid dress I need to make for September. That one will be an interesting project because I want to make a bias dress, so construction will be simple because it'll only be two big pieces, but figuring it out and patterning will be a challenge.

I have the next few HSF challenges figured out and managed to come up with a fast and easy project for the next one. Here's the line-up and status for my next few projects:

  • #12 Shape and Support: Regency stays (These are cut out, but need sewing and the dreaded eyelets.) Due: Today :p

  • #14 Paisley and Plaid: Bustle pad (Getting ahead for next year's sewing. Have some quilting cotton for this that has a little bit of paisley on it. Trying to figure this one out was killing me for a while. I needed something simple because the next HSF project is going to be a big one.) Due: August 1

  • #16 Terminology: Embroidered Regency dress (Have fabric and some idea of patterning out the dress. Hopefully the previous project will go quickly so I can get going on the embroidery of this one, which will be the most time-consuming.) Due: September 1

  • Bias cut bridesmaid dress (Have fabric, which is a taupe polyester crepe, and a design. Need to pattern and sew.) Due: September 6 (the wedding date), but will hopefully have it done before that!

  • #18 Poetry in Motion: No idea! Hopefully something easy and low-labour or maybe something that will help with the next challenge, like a skirt. Due: October 1

  • #20 Alternative Universe: Margaery Tyrell-esqe/Tyrell handmaiden dress (I have nothing for this, following two unsuccessful fabric-shopping excursions. There are two local fabric stores that I have yet to check out however, and one will definitely yield a fabric for the skirt. I have some ideas on patterning this one.) Due: November 1

mala_14: (iris)
A picture of the Regency stays pieces, for reference.
The back is on the straight of grain, as is the hip gusset and the slit for the hip gusset in the front piece. This leaves the front piece on a slight bias to better conform to the shape of the body. (When I was doing my mock-ups, I accidentally cut the front pieces out on even more of a bias and the result was an even smoother front, but bigger corset because of the stretch.) The bust gussets have the straight side on grain and the strap is actually on the lengthwise grain to reduce stretch (not widthwise as shown here).

Looking at the pattern in the flat, it does sort of look like a set of late-18th century stays lengthened, with one less body piece, and with gussets thrown in. Which, technically, it is. :)
mala_14: (iris)
I think I finally have a workable pattern for my Regency stays. I changed out the bust cup for gussets on one side of my stays and made the bust cup smaller, then I looked in the mirror a lot to compare. The gussets definitely have a lot more lift. With the cups, you just sort of sit in it, while the gussets push things up. It was visibly different. I wanted to take pictures, but I couldn't get the centre front to stay supported with the boning I had masking taped in there and having that support CF really makes a difference. I totally just guesstimated the size and shape of the bust gussets and they worked fine. (The joys of experience!) Each gusset has one straight side and one more rounded side. All I need to change is to make the top of the gusset slightly narrower (just a hair) and to move them a little more toward the centre. I'm going to try and get the stays cut out today and maybe get the slits for the gussets cut and ironed. Then it will be some days in hand-sewing land for me!
mala_14: (iris)
I cut out another front with the adjustments made in it, along with a slightly larger hip gusset and a bust cup. I definitely made the cup too big and, as a note, realized that the gathering needs to be along the bottom only. Gathering at the sides of the U-shape results in a very weirdly shaped cup. However, after trying on and pinning some things, I realize that I don't find the cup supportive enough. (Not enough Regency lift!) I'm thinking that I will have to try bust gussets instead.
mala_14: (iris)
Yesterday I patterned up my Regency stays using my 1790 stays as a guide. I traced the outline of my stays on paper using where the tabs begin as the waistline. I then used the Bernhardt diagram to make the changes. I lengthened the bottom, curving low over the front then higher over the hips and back down again a bit at the back (like Fig. C at top right). I also changed the one big outline into two pieces, a back and a front-side, with the break curving in at the waist (like Fig. E, bottom middle). I marked a spot for the hip gusset under the arm and made an underbust curve starting at the strap and ending just before the centre front. I also made a hip gusset: a triangle the depth of the slash and 2.5 inches at the base. I checked the corset's underbust, waist, and hip measurement to make sure that they approximated my own, minus about 3-4 inches for a lacing gap.

Today I made a mock-up using one layer of poly-cotton broadcloth. I figured that I'd try a really light mock-up because I could always add thickness later. Turns out, one flimsy layer was almost totally sufficient, so I will definitely be going with the sateen-broadcloth combo on the finished product. It also only had centre back bones, though I think I will need to add boning to the centre front. This only adds credence to the claim that it is the cut of the corset that does the work and that thicker is not always better. I cut the front on a slight bias and cut the back with the centre on grain. It felt supportive and comfortable.

One of the benefits of using a corset that already fits to make a new one is that most of the fitting is already done. The body pieces fit quite well. I can probably add just a touch to the hip gusset. The only thing that needs any real alteration is the underbust curve. I need to move the curve farther to the side and raise and bone the centre front to get that iconic Regency "lift and separate" look. I also need to figure out the cup part which I did not include in my mock-up. I patterned a sort of half oval, but I'm thinking I may need to make the top edge curved. No pictures, because an underbust corset worn only with a thin shift isn't the most modest look! ;p
mala_14: (iris)
As I embark on some Regency projects, namely stays and a gown c.1809-14, a couple of questions have arisen that I cannot solve on my own, even through extensive staring at extant garments various other types of research. I thus put these questions to more knowledgeable minds than mine:

  1. What fabric should I use for my stays? I am planning on using cotton sateen for the outer layer and am debating between twill and broadcloth for the inner layer. Both seem plausible materials. Obviously one is slightly more substantial than the other, but I'm not certain that I necessarily need the extra thickness. I'm making short stays like these: She uses twill and glazed cotton.(Maybe I just answered my own question there?)'

  2. To bib-front or not to bib-front? On my gown, I assume that a bib front would be more convenient in terms of dressing myself. But most gowns of the style I am looking at have drawstring fastenings in the back. I just don't know what I want for this one.

  3. Skirt pattern shapes: rectangular or shaped? For reference, I want a flat (not gathered) front and a gathered back. I plan on embroidering the hem and up the front. Looking at extant garments and patterns, both straight and gored skirts seem to have been around at this time. I'm inclined to think that rectangular panels would be easier, but I'd like to know what people think of skirt shapes and such.

Thoughts? Thanks!
mala_14: (iris)
I finally put in the last stitches of hemming and finished off my entry for the HSF challenge: Art. I was inspired by 1790s chemise gowns. In contrast with 1780s chemise gowns, these ones have fitted backs and often long sleeves.

These paintings are from the Tansey Miniatures Foundation.

The rundown:

The Challenge: Art

Fabric: Striped cotton fashion fabric (I think it's a voile) and cotton broadcloth lining

Pattern: Started off as the lining from the Open Robe in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion Vol.1

Year: 1790s

Notions: Cotton thread

How historically accurate is it? Pretty close. The design is totally accurate, the fabrics are accurate, the thread would probably not have been cotton though. Also, most portraits show some type of closure at the wrist, but I was able to get on my fitted sleeves without needing a closure. Machine sewing is obviously not accurate, but hand-finishing is! Overall, maybe about 90%

Hours to complete: Don't even know. I've been working on this on and off for the past month and a half.

First worn: Not yet

Total cost: Striped fabric was about $5/m and I used probably just over three metres, broadcloth was $10/m but didn't use much of that. Altogether, around $25.

More pictures: how it is put on, hand stitching )
All it needs to finish off the ensemble is a petticoat, a sash, and some big ol' 1790s hair!


mala_14: (Default)

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