Thursday, December 8, 2011

18th Century Stays

Finally, the stays. This is my second try at corestry, which, honestly, isn't nearly as hard as everyone makes it out to seem. I cut these stays and put them together in a day, no problem.  Really, the only issue that came out of them was binding them by hand, which, as it turns out, was also all in my head (see the title of this blog).

The pattern was J.P. Ryan's "18th Century Half-boned Stays for a Fashionable Shape". They fit with no alterations at all and were super easy to construct. The directions were very clear. I used a layer of striped silk, a layer of coutil, and it is lined with simple cotton muslin. They took me 7 months to make, but only because I was being stupid about binding them until Noelle showed me how easy it was. In real-time, it was more like 2 days.

I will totally admit that any matching of stripes was totally accidental - It just happened that way, I wasn't actually trying! There's some problems with them, mostly due to my own lack of perfection in sewing, but for my second attempt, I am pretty happy with how they turned out. They are totally wearable and surprisingly comfortable

Here's some photos for your viewing pleasure:

Robe a la Francaise

18th Century Stays

18th Century Stays

18th Century Stays

18th Century Stays

18th Century Stays

Possibly dull for you, but motivating for me

I note that on other people's blogs, they update progress, even if it is just a little sometimes, and even if it has no pictures.  Frequently, I like those posts a lot. They are short and sweet, i feel connected to what they are doing, and I start to root for their project and get excited when the reveal happens. This also seems to have the effect of making the person have to have something to report here and there, so they do more.

So, I have decided to report progress where it happens. Even if that is boring for you. :-) Depending on my life, that may or may not happen frequently. You can skip these if you want. I'll try and title them with a "Progress" of some sort and may tag them as such too.

With no further ado: Today I washed 12 yards of white cotton which will be made into a bustle cage and lining for a skirt for my 1870's outfit (I will show you the jacket progress shortly).  I then spent an hour ironing said cotton and trying to get the fold on-grain.* I would like to note that I HATE doing that part, with a passion, on a tiny ironing board.

I also set the last 4 grommets on my 18th century stays (post about that upcoming as well) and can now call them officially totally done.

Go me. :-)

*aside here to mention that when i was at Noelle's house**, she has this giant cutting table with a custom made ironing pad on top that is totally amaze-balls.  What took me an hour here today would have taken 15 minutes at her house. I cannot even tell you how much having something that big, pinable, and at a decent height helps your sewing speed, accuracy AND motivation! Sigh. Someday, I will have the awesome too, but not in my tiny current house. 

** Aside from my aside.  I *do* actually have other friends, just not many that sew, and even less that I actively sew with.  Also, she's got the best toys of anyone I have ever met, and she blogs about them, so she gets a lot of attention here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pssst! It's someone Very Special's Birthday today!

It's my pal, Noelle's birthday today!  Happy Birthday to an awesome chick who deserves a year of wonderfulness after a tough run this year! I hope you get it and more! XO!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Dress of PAIN

Ok, I have re-committed to making this blog, and sewing more, work in my life. I often feel like my accomplishments are small and insignificant compared to the rest of the blogs that I read, so I don't post anything. Also, they are few and far between, and tend to drag on and on. However, I have been noticing that everyone does the latter, and as for the former, well, maybe there are people out there that might like to see what it is that I am doing that are more at my level. 

So here goes! My Voyage to see my doppelganger.

In the beginning of November, I set out to visit my pal, Other Noelle, for a week in Salt Lake. We had a mission: to sew. I had a list a mile long of what we *could* accomplish, and not a very realistic grasp of what was actually going to happen. I had ventured out that way in April to try and create an 18th century Robe à la Française, which we thought we would finish in 3.5 days on that trip.  Well, that didn't happen and I ported all the stuff back to Utah again this go round to finish it up.  We thought it would be another day or two, topps! HA! 4 days of sewing later, it is wearable, but not trimmed, and I just finished the stays a few days ago here in San Jose (More on those in a later post).  The outfit consisted of:

- Bloomers
- Stays
- Panniers
- Under Petticoat
- Over Petticoat
- Robe
- Stomacher

We are now finally the trimmings stage and I feel good about the outfit, so here's some pictures of the final fitting for you to see:

Robe a la Francaise
Me in my underwear (and pajama pants, sorry about that!)

Robe a la Francaise

Robe a la Francaise

Robe a la Francaise

This was the dress of PAIN. Every possible place where something could go wrong, it did. Between the two of us, we pleated the back wrong, the sides did not fit at all and had to get cut down smaller, etc etc etc. Also, I had to learn to hand sew on this dress (never had to do that before now), and I made my second ever corset (stays) without much guidance, but my irrational fear of binding them made that project last forever. I'll do a detailed post on those sometime soon. I now have labels for this dress that read "This took forever." They look like this:

You can get your own here.

At least the worst is behind me and I can trim this out.  When I do, I will post on that. Next up will probably be a post about what we did with the other 3 days or a post about my stays, we'll see, but hopefully It will be soon.

Big-ups to my pal (who is also named) Noelle who fretted and slaved over my gown with me to make sure it was perfect (at times, she was even more obsessed with it than I was). She is the most awesome queen of awesomeness ever and I love her! Hopefully I will get to see her again soon!