Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I drafted!

Ok, well, really, I enlarged and then slashed and taped to make something that is supposed to fit a 23 inch waist fit my, um, not 23 inch waist.  I am doing the 1911 corset sew-a-long and this evening I managed to catch up a week's worth out of the month that they have been at it.  I believe that this is doable pretty quickly.  I will try and get the mockup together tomorrow and maybe do some lacing strips, which are essentially the back part of a corset with the grommets and boning already done so that you can slap them on a corset mockup and lace it up without having to do the grommeting, etc every time.  You can then take them back off that mock up and put them on any future ones to save you time and energy.

They look something like this:

And here is what my enlarged, slashed and taped pattern looks like now:
Edwardian Corset Pattern drafting

Edwardian Corset Pattern drafting

Edwardian Corset Pattern drafting

All-in-all, I feel pretty solid about my first month hitting the sewing hard. More Tomorrow!

Congratulatory present for me!

I got a job offer on Sunday, with a company that I interviewed with last week and I really actually liked a lot. It will probably cut down on my ability to sew a bunch, but it is a good thing anyway because I do like to have money to spend on things, specifically costume related things. So, to congratulate myself, I went ahead and bough a pair of American Duchess "Astoria" Edwardian Leather Shoes...in each color. :-)

It might be excessive but 1) I have no idea what color I will make my titanic dress out of and 2) Who knows for how long these shoes will be available and I'd hate for there to be some event in like 5 years and have me going "Darn! I should have bought both colors!"  Anyway, they are perfectly suited for the Titanic dinner so I went ahead and did it.

For those of you who do not know, American Duchess has been designing period shoes and having them manufactured in very small quantities.  She has also done Georgian and regency shoes.  They are very good quality and I think they are beautiful.  Once they are gone, they are gone though, and you can get them at a nice discount if you buy during pre-order and your size is also then guaranteed.

Her pre-order is through Feb 3, and they have enough orders to for sure go through with manufacture, so if you'd like a pair and want them by the Titanic anniversary, you should order them now! They look like this:

I also set up my favorite-est hair person (frankly, the only person I trust with my hair) to do my hair for the event, so I feel like I am on a good path to some fantastic photos and a fabulous event!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Decisions, Decisons

So, after reading through all of the instructions to catch up with the Bridges on the Body Corset Sew-along, I have decided that I can do what she needs us to do and I want to give that one a go. Frankly, I like the silhouette SO much more than the pigeon-fronted one and it's more accurate to the 1912 Titanic sinking anyway. Here are some pictures of the front and side of the 1911 corset, on an actual human:

I am not worried about being able to catch up - I think a couple days of hunkering down and I will be right up to speed. They have been taking their time on the process with this one, which is fantastic because it makes every step into a bite-sized chunk. Go visit Jo over on her blog sometime - she is doing the most amazing things on her site!

I have fired off an email to a corset-goddess that I know, who has agreed to help me with fittings, to find out of she has any reasons that I should not attempt this.  As long as she gives me the go ahead, I should be starting this project shortly!

Diversionary tactics

So, I am thinking about the whole Titanic Dinner dress that I need to make and am at a bit of a block.  That era doesn't look good on my body type (think "Humpty Dumpty".  I am round in the middle and have thin legs.), I don't like the types of fabrics they used very much, largely because they are slippery and see-through and that requires a lot more experience than I have, and I'm not actually a big fan of them aesthetically either.  HOWEVER, that dinner sounds amazing, and I need to learn to move out of my comfort zone and learn more skills, so I am pondering the bottom layer first.  I have the Truly Victorian Edwardian Corset Pattern, which will give me a pigeon front, so it says:

OR, I can do the Bridges on the Body 1911 Corset sew along, which looks longer lined and less Pigeoned:

Which, Honestly, I like a lot better, but means I have to a) Learn to draft while I am doing it and b) catch up as they are 25 days into the sew along as of now.  I think this is possible, but I am hesitating.

Anyway, To avoid making this or any other decisions, I decided to look through the books that my wonderful friends got me for Christmas and my birthday (they are pretty close so I get one massive load of stuff a year, all at the same time).  Here's the take from this year's haul:

And Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty beautiful art book:

I am loved! :-)  Pretty good haul, eh?  These books are so amazing!  I am trying to figure out how to put all of my costuming books all in the same place.  I'll probably work on that tomorrow!  For tonight, I am going to read through the steps on the sew along and see what that will entail and see if I think I am good to go on that front - we'll see!  I may make lacing strips tomorrow as well so I can have them on hand for different corset fittings etc, since I seem to be doing that more and more.  Hope you are all having a good week so far!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Not totaly done, but presented to the world anyway!

Well, I got a fantastic stomach issue last week (food poisoning, I think, but possibly some sort of bug), which had me laid out for 3 days, and I was forced to miss the first night of the Edwardian Ball.  I did manage to peel myself out of bed long enough to attend last night.  I wanted to trim out the skirt (still on the to do list), but could not manage to perfect pleat for hours on end, so I gave it up and went mostly awesome instead of totally awesome. :-)

I present to you, my first full costume ever, from foundation garments to first wear!

!870's Polonaise outfit

Bustle cage:
!870's Polonaise outfit

!870's Polonaise outfit

Skirt (it has a pocket!!):
!870's Polonaise outfit

!870's Polonaise outfit

Polonaise Back:
!870's Polonaise outfit

At the Edwardian Ball:
2012 Edwardian Ball

2012 Edwardian Ball

If you'd like to look through my Edwardian ball full set, please do feel free to check out the set I created on Flickr.  Many incredible costumes were admired that night!

Shout out to my pal Noelle for helping get me started with the polonaise and sharing all of her wisdom and comfort with me!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Getting there!

Corset is done. Fastenings are on all clothes. Clothes are on Brynhildr. All I have left is trimming it to death and then a last minute iron. However, I think trimming everything is going to take a LOT of time, so I am not out of the woods. I also lament my lack of a hat, but such is life.

I have pics on my camera, but I am attempting to send this from my phone, so hang on, I'll go take a preview pic to hold you over...

.... Ok here's front and side and what the fabric actually looks like up close since the flash blows it out. Also, my very first corset is done, so here's one of me in that.

More tomorrow!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Progress abounds!

I accidentally took the weekend off, even though I should not have, but that's ok... today I got the skirt hemmed and the waist band on, so that is totally wearable. I also got my corset sewn together and boned, and one half of it is bound (I am hand binding it so it takes a while). I just need to get the other 1/2 bound and then i have a whole wearable costume for this weekend!  I still need to put closures on everything, bustle and trim the polonaise and trim out the skirt, but if I HAD to go as it is as soon as I get the binding on, I could.  That is a sigh of relief!

I should have some pictures for you all tomorrow as soon as I get things together a little more!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Skirt Progress

I got the skirt gores put together today, french seams and all. There's a pocket in it, which is super awesome, and it was my first time doing that, so that was fun trying to figure out how to do a french seam with a pocket, but eventually I did figure it out. :-)

It needs a waistband and a hem and trim and it will be done. I will do the waistband and the hem tomorrow so that it is, at the very least, wearable next weekend to the Edwardian ball.  Then I will go finish my corset so that I have a full something to wear.  After that, it's pretty much all gravy and I can trim my brains out if I want, but I will at least be dressed if I decide that I do not have enough time.

BTW, I got two new feet while I was down at my mom's house. One is adjustable between 1/8 and 1/16, which makes french seams and top stitching super easy (as I cannot normally sew a straight line to save my life), and one with a 1/4 inch guide, which also really rocks for french seams. Love it! Amazon is in the process of sending me a magnetic one that sticks to your foot plate so that I can have a guide for any seam allowance that I want. It should be here next week. Yay! I will finally have straight seams!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Petticoat totally done, Skirt started

I finished the waist band on the petticoat and moved on and did pattern prep and cut out the fabric for the skirt.  I am hoping to do some work sewing the skirt together tomorrow, but I also know that I want to trim the skirt out using some techniques that I have never used before, so that will probably take a while.  I am at this point just trying to get it to the point where I can wear it next weekend, then I will worry about the trim. We'll see how it goes!  I also need to finish my corset to wear with this outfit so I will work on that soon too!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

So Very Close to Done

I am ALMOST done with the petticoat, after wrangling ruffled french seams for hours tonight (grrr.. it was my first time). I only have to attach the waistband, but I wanted to do that last little bit when i am fresh tomorrow and not at 1:30 in the morning. I need to get some cord to use to tie it, but I have a running list of stuff I need at Joann, so I'll just get that when I go next.

I will probably finish that up and then at least cut out the pattern for the skirt tomorrow... hopefully.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Petticoat Progress!

Today I cut and I cut and I cut sections out for the petticoat. I did also manage to sew... for about 5.5 hours on it!  I got the main body of it together and the flounce is put together and the tucks are sewn and ironed in! I'm super slow and i french seam everything and I iron constantly, so yes, 5.5 hours is not enough for me to finish a petticoat. Such is life.

I need to attach the flounce, the waistband, and the ruffle and I will be done! I'll try and work on that some more tomorrow.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Starting a new petticoat and the last meal

For my first official petticoat, I am using TV170 Victorian Petticoats, View 1.  Tonight all I did was do pattern prep, which consisted of simply cutting out the pattern from the stiff paper that it is made because Truly Victorian provides hearty paper patterns in all of their styles.

Tomorrow I will cut the fabric out and may or may not start sewing, we'll see. As a rule, I'd rather set goals that are easy to achieve and allow me to feel accomplished, and to possibly overachieve, than make ones that I can't possibly do and then I feel badly. It's better to take baby steps and feel good about the whole thing than to put myself into a failure place that makes me hate to even try. 

I also signed up for The Last Dinner on the Titanic through the GBACG, which is my local guild.  It will be an evening of dinner and dancing in our 1914 finest clothes, and 7 out of 10 courses of the last meal on the Titanic will be served to us.  It will also be held on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, so it's really amazing that they could make all of this happen.  Of course, this means that I will have to create something to wear, which means that I should probably figure out what that something will be! I will get on that as soon as I finish this Polonaise outfit! Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bustle Cage is done! YAY!

I had a pretty big day today.  It started with my Grandmother on the phone calling to admit defeat and poor eyesight and saying that she has to give up sewing.  She has a pretty nice Bernina from the 80's that is a solid workhorse, but hasn't touched it in years so she wanted to know if I would like to come down to San Diego (which is about an hour from where I am staying) to pick it up.  I about died because she is the one that taught me to sew and she taught home economics at the high school and college levels for her whole life. Sewing is a big deal to her.  I feel like her giving up her sewing machine is her slowly giving up the ghost, so as you can imagine, I was both really stoked to get the machine I learned to sew on and really sad that my Grandma is giving it to me.

Needless to say, I did a run for the border to go get it.  This was followed by a nap, and then a birthday dinner from my mom (Thursday is my actual birthday, but I will be going to Disneyland so will not see my mom all day - she's better enough to make herself food and stuff and I am only 20 minutes away if there's a problem), and then my mom took me to the Apple store to pick up a new iPhone 4s (yay!).  Hours were spent setting that up, asking siri silly questions and trying to figure out why my synch is off a bit, but I did manage to finish up the bustle cage today.  I boned it, attached the belt, and hemmed the parts that still needed to be finished off. It does need a clasp, but I am good with calling it done enough to blog about!  All in all, a pretty good day, no?

Ok, I am off to bed now to have sweet dreams about the happiest place on Earth!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Quick, tired post..

... to report that I have most of the bustle cage done.  I need to put the boning in, stitch the edges of the side panels and put a ribbon or some other method of keeping it on my person, around the waste-line and I am done.

Hopefully tomorrow...


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012: The year of ambition?

Here's my list of ambition for this year (a girl can dream).  I would really like to finish all my UFOs if at all possible so I can feel some sense of accomplishment. We'll see how that goes!

UFOs/Fixing of old projects to Finish:
Finish Victorian corset
Finish bloomers (Just need to hem and apply lace)
Sleeves and shoulders in regency dress do not work for me - need to fix
I have a hoop skirt that is in bad need of repair and reboning
Finish Victorian Bonnet
Finish Mad Hatter style top hat
Finish Reticule that I started in my embroidery Class

Current project:
Make bustle cage (working on it)
Make skirt
Make petticoat
Trim 1870's polonaise
Trim 18th century robe

New Projects:
Victorian Hat
Regency coat to go with existing dress?
Steampunk apron
Split skirt
Make lacing strips for fitting corsets

Starting my first bustle cage

Well, I did do some work this evening, even though it wasn't a lot. It took a long time though because I am super meticulous about my prep.

I did pattern prep and cut the pattern pieces out for my bustle cage. I am choosing to make Laughing moon #112 (Hoops and Bustles), view D (shown left).

For me, pattern prep takes forever because I have a process that must seem crazy to everyone else. I go through my pattern and cut out the pieces that I will need with excess tissue still left around the edges (I do not cut them on the lines yet).  I then fold up every single other piece of tissue very carefully and place them in a one gallon zip-lock bag so as not to loose them. I add in the original package at the front so i can see it for when it is filed back in the pattern box, as well as any parts of the instructions tat do not pertain to what I am making.  I then gently iron out the tissue for each piece so they are flat and then iron that onto some freezer paper to get a more rugged pattern piece. Next I cut each part out so it is now just the pattern piece and finally I do one more iron around each one, being specifically attentive to the edges to make sure I have really good adhesion.

This pattern also required that I transfer lines for the boning onto the fabric once the pattern was cut out so I did that too.

Hopefully tomorrow I will get a chance to start the sewing.  It does look fairly straightforward, but there's a lot of hardware in this and it is my first attempt at a cage, so hopefully it won;t take me too long!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hopefully a good sign

I am sadly down in Southern California right now, nursing my mom back to health from a surgery instead of spending New Year and My Birthday with my husband. However, I did have the presence of mind to put a bunch of stuff in my car that I might need should I decide that I want to sew, and low and behold, I did! I think this is a good sign for sewing this year as they say what you do on the first of the year sets the tone, etc... so here's my progress report for today. It's just some small stuff, but it took me a few hours because I was going slow and had to set everything up and locate my mom's iron and practice my blind hem again just to make sure I knew what I was doing (I did), and I probably over-pinned... Anyway!:

1) Noelle made me a chemise while I was in Utah last time but she left the hemming to me, so I did that.
2) I chopped down some boning, filed it, re-wrapped it, and stitched it into my 1870's polonaise. I have to say that while I am not a fast hand sewer, I am MUCH better than I used to be since binding my stays. My stitches are tiny and spaced well and hidden for the most part!
3) I reviewed what I need to get done still for my 1870's outfit and am ready to tackle more tomorrow.

Everything that is left on that bodice is trim (hand sewing), so that leaves a bustle cage, petticoat and skirt. Oh, a hat and bag maybe too. OH YEAH, I also have to finish my Victorian corset (just needs to be boned and bound) (I have the stuff here for that). I am secretly hoping to get this wearable to go to the Edwardian Ball in (which is a celebration of Edward Gorey, and to some extent the Edwardian era, which are not the same, and despite that most people dress in steampunk or slutty-Victorian-outlandish-San-Francisco-wear. I love it!). We'll see how I do.

I also have a kind of ambitious list of projects that I want to work on/finish this year, although I do not actually think I will complete my list. However, it's good to have aspirations!

I will hopefully soon do a detailed account of that for you all and also show my polonaise off a bit! Until then, Happy New Year and I hope 2012 brings you all wonderful things!