mala_14: (1882 Little Mermaid)
I tried on my petticoat yesterday so that I could fit the straps. So you get (not very exciting bathroom mirror) pictures! The fabric is a cotton print from the Old Sturbridge Village collection by Judie Rothermel and I found the actual fabric on the OSV website, which dates it to 1822, so a bit after this outfit, but still pretty close. This petticoat has a gored front piece and straight back piece that is gathered at CB. Slits are left in the seams to reach pockets (which I'm hoping to make for this month's HSM challenge: Holes), and the hook and eye closure is at the left seam. The waistband is fabric and the straps are twill tape, based on this example from the Royal Ontario Museum. I'm wearing it over my quick 'n' dirty Regency stays that I made for CoCo last year and my shift, which you can see I adjusted by gathering the back neckline to a band because it was too big.
I need to finish this off today so I can get started on the shortgown. Hoping to get it patterned today and maybe also cut out.
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 got my quick 'n' dirty Regency stays finished off. They don't look so pretty, but they get the job done. I think I've also got a Regency bodice pattern. I drafted something up based off of the shapes from this dress pattern and using my body block for some proportions. Today I tried on the mock-up and made some minor adjustments, so I think it should be good to go. It's going to have a lightly gathered front and a fitted back in dark purple poly shantung. I didn't draft up a sleeve because I'm just going to go with a short, puffed sleeve, which *should* be easy to figure out later since it won't be fitted. The sleeve will be made out of black poly chiffon, stamped with gold stars.

I really want to get this one done and out of the way by the weekend so that I can spend the last few days finishing up other things, like the boning in my Little Mermaid bodice, the hair ornament and corsage, and my reticule.


Jul. 18th, 2015 12:16 pm
mala_14: (iris)
I'm back home! It's always so nice to come home. My dad and I got all the important furniture for my apartment. It's a pretty nice place that has just been renovated, so all the bathroom and kitchen stuff is all new and the floors are refinished. It's also really close to the historic downtown and only a 10 minute walk to campus. Good stuff!

Problem is that it put a bit of a damper on my sewing. I got most of the binding on my Regency stays sewn during the trip. I couldn't sew it all because when I was trying them on before I left for this trip, I realized that the left strap was too tight and I need to loosen that strap just a touch. It dug into my shoulder hard enough to leave a red mark; not good. Plan for today is to fix the strap and finish off the binding. Hopefully I can also get the gown patterned and maybe even partially cut out.

I also did a bit of tambour embroidery on my reticule. It's slow going though. I think to be more efficient, I need a real tambour hoop.

So, what's left to do for CoCo?

  • binding Regency stays

  • Lost Hope Fairy: pattern gown, paint fabric, cut out and sew gown

  • finish Gala stuff: boning bodice, making corsage and hair ornament

  • reticule: finish embroidery and sew together

  • practice hair

  • bonus: 1950s play suit (this looks highly unlikely)


Jul. 13th, 2015 04:10 pm
mala_14: (iris)
I got back yesterday afternoon from a weekend out at a friend's cottage. The weather was so hot and humid, but I had a lot of fun. It was tiring though and today is my day at home then it's off again tomorrow to Kingston, ON. I'm going with my dad and we're going to try and get furniture for the apartment as well as actually see the apartment and get things signed. We won't be back until Friday, which is when there is some family coming in from out of town and stuff to do with that over the weekend.

I did a tiny bit of tambour embroidery on my reticule and I got a busk and some binding sewn into my Regency stays. I figure I can sew down the wrong side of the binding on the plane rides this week. Costume College is fast approaching and I'm just not ready yet! Although my gloves came in the mail and they are really pretty and they fit! So that's one more thing off the list. But with all this other stuff going on, it's going to be tough to get time to work on the Lost Hope fairy gown. Maybe I can pattern and mock-up today? But I still need to pack and I have a softball game this evening. So much going on!
mala_14: (iris)
Today I managed to pattern, cut out, and mostly assemble my new quick 'n' dirty Regency stays. They are based on the pattern of my "causing me grief, hand sewn" Regency stays, but with the bust gussets moved further to the sides, shaped differently, and the whole thing shortened. Pictures!

I re-pinned the straps after taking these pics so that the join was further down on the front piece. Definitely gave me more lift. There are only 2 problems with this pair of stays:

  1. The CF would really benefit from a busk or spring steel boning. The thick cable ties I have in there just aren't rigid enough. I think I will add another set of cable ties on either side of the ones that are there. Maybe I can replace them with metal in the future.

  2. The back is oddly longer than the front and it's giving me a bit of discomfort because it should actually be hitting my waist. You can see what I mean in the profile pic. I think I can just cut it higher so that it's in the right place, but it will mess with my eyelets which are off-set so they can be spiral laced. I may just have to deal with wonky eyelets.

Once I finish the above 2 changes, the only thing left is to attach the straps to the front and some sort of binding. I want to use white double-fold bias tape, but we don't have any around and I just don't have time to go to the store right now. I'll just sew around all the edges for now and bind them later.

This pair went together so much quicker and more easily than my handsewn ones. That means I can get to work on other things tomorrow. Yay!
mala_14: (iris)
I tried on my Regency stays and they have all kinds of problems. Like the straps are too short. And maybe the gussets are too short too? And I think I need another bust gusset because I think I put the gussets too close to the front. I think I need to do what [ profile] the_aristocat did on her Bernhardt stays and add a third bust gusset and a drawstring in the neckline. Luckily the top is unbound still, but I really don't feel like adding another gusset by hand (if I can even find the right fabric, wherever it is!) and then doing more eyelets by hand (for the straps, I swear the eyelet gods are laughing at me so hard). These are salvegeable, but not right now. With a big deadline looming, what's a girl to do?

I think I'm going to make a quick and dirty, machine sewn, metal grommeted pair of short stays. Like really short stays, so I don't have to deal with hip gussets. I'll still have to draft up a pattern, but I won't be starting from scratch because I can use my unfinished stays as a base. Any advice or thoughts?
mala_14: (iris)
I want to do a dress inspired by night. My original plan was to do a dark purple dress with a sheer black tunic painted with gold stars, but I just don't think I'll have time for that. Instead, I'm going to still make my dress out of the dark purple shantung and use the black chiffon to do sleeves. I'll also still paint the chiffon with gold stars and use it as both sleeves and some sort of turban. Not sure if I want to do a drawstring back or an apron front closure. So many decision!

I got the sleeve idea from this painting:

But I may do a short sleeve like this one. Also liking this veil thing:

The stays continue apace. I wanted to be done yesterday, but obviously that didn't happen. However, I got some work done today. Tomorrow, I just need to cut the busk, attach the straps to the front, and bind the top and armholes. Getting there!
mala_14: (iris)
I'm done with eyelets! YAY!!! They're all done on the Little Mermaid bodice AND the Regency stays. Whew! That was way too many eyelets in one week. My stays now have eyelets, the fronts and backs are sewn together, and the bottom edge is bound with cotton twill tape. Today is all about boning and busks. I want to put the busk pocket in my stays, cut down my paint stick so that it's proper busk length, get the boning (cable ties) cut and edges finished, and attach the straps to the back pieces. Then it'll be in good enough shape to try on and adjust the strap length. Tomorrow will be finishing off the binding around the top and armholes. That'll leave me this week with one day to pattern out a bodice and another day to cut out the dress.

My short cut is that I'm not going to properly finish my busk, just cut it to the right length. I can make it all nice later with holes bored into it and sanded down. Without the holes to tie it in the pocket, I'll need to temporarily sew it into the pocket. No big deal.

Darn! I just realized I'll have to make 2 eyelets in the busk pocket. Will it never end???!!!
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)
The 1880s corset is so fiddly I needed a break. Plus the living history stuff is more Regency-focused. So I went back to working on my Regency stays. Now the back pieces have boning channels! :) Unfortunately, sewing by hand for several hours on the couch all slouched gave me bad back pain, so that's on hold for the next couple of days. I'm going to an event on Saturday and will bring the stays to work on there.

My goal for the week is to finish up my 1880s petticoat. I now have the flounce trimmed with embroidery (store-bought eyelet) and tucks. I'm going to gather and attach the flounce with a facing to hide the raw edges inside. Then I'll just need to sew down the facing by hand and put on a waistband and closure. The closure will wait until I'm done the corset though, so I have an exact waist measurement. It won't matter if the waistband is a tad big. Then it'll be back to corsets and stays.
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)?

No sew

Sep. 24th, 2014 09:52 pm
mala_14: (Margaery)
I'm feeling crazy overwhelmed with school stuff right now and all my great and grand routine plans have gone out the window! Hopefully, just temporarily. I'm applying to go to a conference, applying for grant money, and trying to work on my thesis all at the same time. Things like cleaning and sewing just fall by the wayside. I'm not sure how I'll cope once my work starts back up again (even though it's only 10 hours/week). By then I should have some of my school stuff done though, so should be alright. I'm also trying to get lots done so I don't have to feel guilty about going away this weekend. Even though I'll also be bringing along a book and some scholarly articles to read on the trip.

I REALLY want to get back to my Tyrell gown. The only essential thing that is missing is the velvet shoulder pieces. I need to dye the fabric, pattern the pieces, and then sew the darn things. My original plan was to padstitch the pieces, but there's no way I have the time or patience for that now, so they're going to get fusible interfacing instead. That will save me a ton of time and should still be supportive enough. I find that in a lot of recreations of this costume the major stumbling block that prevents them from looking right is the lack of structure in the bodice and shoulder pieces. There is a LOT of hidden work going on there that the ordinary, amateur sewist is probably unfamiliar with. It's only because I've made several corsets that I was able to get good results with the bodice and I'm still a little scared by the shoulder pieces. Oh well, if they don't turn out great, I'm sure they'll still be passable for Halloween and I can always redo them for Costume College.

I'm taking my Regency stays along on the trip. I figure that a 7-8 hour car ride is the perfect time to get some handsewing done. (It'd be reading, but reading in the car makes me feel carsick.) So hopefully I can accomplish some good progress on those. At least finish whip-stitching the lining around the gores and attaching the front and back pieces. Maybe even the straps too! I should also probably mark the very few boning channels so that I can do those as well.
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 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


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