Friday, April 20, 2012

Next up: Labyrinth of Jareth Costume

Just off of the last project, I am eager to make something that doesn't make my brain hurt so bad.  I'm thinking if I have enough time, I am going to make a Victorian Cheshire Cat costume for Labyrinth of Jareth, a 2 night Costume ball in Los Angeles at the end of June.  I have a few people that are going to go with me and we are going to do a vague Alice in Wonderland Group theme.

When I was in reno last, I found some fabric that I loved to hate that is absolutely perfect for this event:

The green would be for the skirt, and the two stripes for a bodice.  This would be a bustle dress of course.  By the way, this is silk taffeta and iridesces to ORANGE.  It's HIDEOUS and I love it! That was my first reaction the moment I saw it and I continue to hold that belief!

For the bodice, I will either use Truly Victorian 423 and use the small stripes for the front and back, with maybe the green or purple accents:

Or I will use Truly Victorian 405:

Probably the latter as it seems cooler temperature-wise and more appropriate to the playful nature of this outfit. The great thing about this is that I should be able to get away with wearing this at Dickens Fair also!

Then I started to doubt my green skirt, and went looking for purple since that is the Cheshire cat's belly color, although I may make both, or a skirt out of purple and accents and a bustle out of the green. I am not sure. Anyway,  I have found a few and am not sure which to go with:



Or be totally crazy and go with #3 (this seems really crazy with the stripes):

Does anyone have an opinion?  Leave a comment if you do!I'll probably start the mockup of the bodice super soon so I can get this done way before panic-sewing mania sets in this time!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Professional Pictures from the Titanic event

Here are some of the professional photos taken at the titanic event.  If you wanted to go look at the full set of everyone that went, click here.

Me and my pal Mia:
Titanic Pro Photos

Titanic Pro Photos

Titanic Pro Photos

Titanic Pro Photos

Nancy, Aaron and me (looking awfully serious):
Titanic Pro Photos

All photos are Copyright (C) Richard Man,

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Few Pictures from the Titanic event!

So here are a couple pictures from the event.  I was actually very bad about getting pictures at the event, which I should have done better, but for once, I just wanted to enjoy it. The evening was beautiful - the venue was amazing, the food was divine and the gowns were spectacular.  The band played well all night and a good time was had by all.  We even found time to to go Forbidden Island (the Tiki bar on Alameda) and have a virgin sacrifice (a large bowl of flaming booze) after!

Anyway, pictures!
GBACG Titanic Anniversary Dinner

GBACG Titanic Anniversary Dinner

GBACG Titanic Anniversary Dinner

And one that is way more me:
GBACG Titanic Anniversary Dinner

Here are my Friends Nancy and Aaron, who I went with, in their finery (much more fine that mine!):
GBACG Titanic Anniversary Dinner

GBACG Titanic Anniversary Dinner
And a few that my husband took of my hair as I ran out the door and the next day when I went out to the Titanic Tea:
Hair and Pearls Are Ready

Saying Goodbye

Titanic Tea Outfit

Friday, April 13, 2012

As of 8:00 PM, my dress was done!

There's no interesting pictures of anything since you all have seen what it looks like - I just did hem facings and then stitched them down.  Tomorrow is the big day so that was just in time, and then we have a tea on sunday!  I'll post pictures from those events as soon as I have them!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

So very, very close

Well, I had a bunch of time thanks to WFH today (get extra time at lunch and instead of being on the road in the rain), so I got the sash extended and attached, I attach the trim, and I added hook and eye tape closures. I am so very close!

I am a bit frustrated because the more I do on this dress, the more opportunities there are for wrinkles and puckers to happen and it is kind of driving me nuts, and every hole you put in this fabric stays there so there's little blemishes all over the place that drive me insane, but this is good for me use as a learning experience. I also kind of believe that this dress is not quite formal enough for the event, but it will make a great tea dress later, so at this point: whatever, I just need to get in the door.

All that I have left to do is to hem the skirt, which entails making some facings, sewing them to the bottom of the skirt and then flipping them to the inside and sewing them to the lining.  I have plans in the evening tomorrow (massage!), so I probably won't get anything done, but I am pretty sure that I can get this done on Friday.

I do have for you a picture of the back, which is slightly wrinkly because it is not on a body - I am a smidgen bigger than my dress form so things get a tiny bit floppy on it.  Anyway, with no further ado:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I am taking the night off!

This is best for everyone involved. :-)

More tomorrow!

Good amount of progress today: Titanic Dress

Today I got the sleeves done, including lining them and adding a black cuff ,although I did catch some fabric of one sleeve while I was sewing so now there's what amounts to a scratch on the fabric there, but I can go back after the event and switch out the sleeve - I am just focusing on not being naked at the moment.  I also got the sash made, although I think I will add some length to it so it does a cool fold over thing in the back, and I got the bias binding made for the collar area and pinned it on to make sure that it is right, and it is. What that amounts to is that I have a picture that looks more like my finished dress will:

If you can look past the pins, you can see what it will be like when it is done. It's funny how a few small things at the end bring the dress from "uhhhh, I hope that turns out ok" to "oh phwew, that looks pretty good!"

I can imagine this dress with a HUUUUUUUGE hat with feathers sticking out everywhere at a tea somewhere so maybe at some point I will make that!

Anyway, to keep with the trend, here's what I still need to do:
Extend and attach sash
Attach trim
Hem skirt
Add hook and eye tape closures

Tomorrow I hope to do at least the first two, but I have a birthday dinner for a friend to attend, so I will be more than happy if that actually happens.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mission accomplished for the day

Well, I did get the over skirt done and attached, and I attached them both to the bodice, creating a dress-like thing. I also cut down the hook and eye tape that I got in hopes that I could make it less visible because it came on some gigantic backing.

I also brought it and my corset to dinner tonight and had a try-on. It fits! Yaaay!

I still need to:
Make and attach the sleeves
Make and attach sash
Make bias strips and add trim
Hem skirt
Add hook and eye tape closures

I hope to get the sleeves created and fully attached tomorrow!

Here's picture-proof of dress creation, though totally not in a state worthy of showing the world!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Much Dress Progress, still no dress.

Today was a flurry of activity.  I sewed for somewhere near 14 hours, minus some breaks to eat and load up some cars for Ham Slam tomorrow.

The run-down of all that I did was:
Sew together the skirt
Insert skirt placket
Bone bodice
Hem Bodice
Insert waist tape
Insert bodice placket.

I really does seem like I should have accomplished more than that in an entire day of sewing, but that is what happened.

Tomorrow I can sew until it is time to go over to one of my BFF's houses for Easter/Ham Slam/Spring Celebration/Passover.  Probably somewhere near 5-6hours.  Then again when I get home.

Here's what I have left to do to finish this sucker (and I now have 6 days 1/2 of a day and 3 evenings to do it in):
Cut and create over-skirt
Attach skirts to dress
Make and attach the sleeves
Make and attach sash
Make bias strips and add trim
Hem skirt
Add closures (please dear god, let the hook and eye tape that I have work for this)

I hope to accomplish the first 2-3 on this list tomorrow before dinner.

And so that I do not leave you without a picture, here's a snapshot that I took of the inside of 1/2 of the bodice just after I hand sewed all of the boning in (my pal Noelle would be so proud):

Friday, April 6, 2012

Corset finished!!

Thanks to some spare time today, my corset is all done! AND! I tried it on and it fits well! I have no idea how I will actually be able to eat 7 courses in this thing, but maybe that's how everyone stayed so thin back then! Here's some pics:

1/2 way bound!

I am mostly posting this because I wanted to see about posting from my phone, but I also did bind another 1/4 of the corset on my lunch hour. Go me!

Corset 1/4 bound!

I even got motivated enough to do the hand binding on one edge of my corset while I watched an hour of TV tonight! Yay! Better than I thought... Although I believe that I'll need every moment I can get as I run into the home stretch with this.

Skirt pannels are flat-lined!

Tomorrow I may not get anything done as I have work and then a concert, but if I can, I may try and sew the skirt together.... we'll see.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Annnnnd Grommets are done!

I was waiting to say this until I actually finished grommeting before I said this as not to Jinx it, but I dare say that I grommetted like a sober person, not like a drunk person for once!  Huzzah!

I also finished the tip-dipping in plastidip and inserted the last of the bones, so I am ready to trim it all up and bind it. Fantastic!

Also, I have made the decision to go ahead and flat line the skirt of the dress.  I purchased a book of Titanic Fashions and it looks like gowns of all sorts were not all flowey liquid-like craziness.  They did have some backed satin goodness walking around the room as well, so that is what I will be going with. Phwew! That's a relief to have made that decision made so now I can move on! I will start on the flat-linning process shortly and hope to get that at least done tonight, if possible. I'll report on progress when I have it.

Grommet fun!

Tonight, despite having a huge launch for work and working late, I managed to get my corset 3/4 of the way grommeted.  I did one whole side and 1/2 of the other before my hands hurt and I needed to stop for the day (my hands being my livelihood and all).  I also used plasti-dip for the first time myself.  I had a couple of bones that were about 3/4 inch too long so I clipped them, filed them and dipped them.That stuff is kind of amazing!

I hope to get corset binding tomorrow and start that process along with the rest of the grommeting. I am aiming to get the dress most of the way done by Sunday so I can have a try on at Easter dinner (we call that Ham slam at my house) where there will be people around to help me get dressed. It will be a big push, but I have all day on Saturday and a lot of Sunday so I think that I can probably make it!

Monday, April 2, 2012

More Progress!

I got the boning channels/boning tape in and the boning as well! 

On this I need to:
- Grommet
-Trim and bind (I have done most of the trimming already!)

I also whetted down and ironed out the fabric for the skirt portion of my dress so that there are no more water spots.

All-and all a good day's work.

I am at a crossroads because I need to figure out what to do with the skirt.  Do I:
A. Flat-line it, this making it have some good weight, easier to sew, easier to hem, easier to deal with my life (as the instructions tell me to);
B. Put the muslin skirt underneath as an under-dress/lining and then sew together the silk separately so it has more slinky drape to it and let it flow on its own? It may be beautiful and it may just stick in spots to the muslin and look weird.

I do not know.  I am contemplating overnight, but if you have a suggestion, please do leave it in the comments.  I am afraid to sew it and then pull it all out again because I may ruin the fabric doing that and I would loose all the work, so I would prefer to only do it once if possible.  If you have an opinion, please feel free to leave it in the comments. I may just do everything else that I can until I come to a conclusion on this one....

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Corset progress!

Well, it looks horrible on the dress form because it is pinned loosely on and I will need to pad out my bust when I wear it, but the busk is in and the front pieces are attached!

I still need to:
- Install grommets
- add boning tape
- add boning
- trim it down and bind the edges

I will probably work on some of that tonight as well as my gown.  I hope to get a lot done today so I can rest easier about this one.

Candace Kling Ruching Workshop

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to attend a rouching workshop put on by the GBACG and taught by Candace Kling. She makes amazing art from ribbons, including boxes of candy so real-looking that you would grab for them to eat them. Out of ribbon. I know.

What is rouching?  It's basically fabric manipulation that ends up being super textured and bumpy. It's used on wedding dresses, modern women's shirts, and, of course, historically, a lot.

The class was super interesting and informative, and Candace is an amazing teacher.  I took her ribbon folding class last year and it was amazing.  I would LOVE to take her cockades class.  Hopefully next year.  I'll post pictures of my board of ruched samples once they are all done!

Some of the saga of the Titanic gown

Oy. This dress. It is a saga at this point!

I had my mockup of my dress sewn up. It fit, and I felt pretty good about it.  Then I went to a "titanic panic" sewing session, at which I was given fabric for the over-skirt and advice on making the dress. Said advice was different than the pattern instruction, and different than my *PLAN*, most importantly, so, it had the logical consequence of throwing me right off the rails. I was totally frozen in panic over this, but I was at a workshop today and I spoke to a friend, who helped encourage me to just do what made me feel comfortable, even if that meant scrapping this fabric and going with a stiffer fabric entirely.

I hemmed and I hawed and I decided to take some of the advice for some of the dress and not some of the advice for other parts of it.  Namely, I was told not to flat-line my bodice, because it would cause the beautiful silk charmeuse that I am sewing with to loose it's lovely drapey quality. After consulting with my ample bosom, and my ample belly, we have come to the conclusion that I need structure up top more than I need a wispy fabric nightmare.  Also, I have concluded that were I to leave that fabric as it, you would totally see my corset right through the fabric.  So, today I decided to throw that advice to the wind, follow the instructions that came with the pattern, and flat-line it.

I am so glad I did.

Once I got it flat-lined, It ceased to be a pain in the rear to sew, it went together pretty quickly and I have a fully formed bodice at this point.  Witness (yes, I know i need to steam and press a bit more):

Now, for drama #2. I also got the advice to steam my fabric just to get the shrink out of it, so I had done that before I cut it. When I went back in yesterday to look at the left-over fabric for another purpose, I noted that there were huge water spots on it.  Then I looked at my cut pieces and noted that there were water spots on them as well.  *Sigh.* As I had been steaming, the part of the fabric that I was not concentrating on was puddled on the floor. I don't have a steamer, but I have an iron with one heck of a steam setting so I was using that and it had inadvertently dripped water all over my fabric. So, to make a long story longer, I had to dunk each piece of fabric in water and then iron it dry to get rid of the spots.  I did that, and then picked apart my mockup fabric (which was just cotton muslin) and used that to flat-line with since it was already cut and everything.

I feel so much better now that that small bit is done!  I am thinking for the skirt, I will use the muslin underskirt/slip that already exists from the mockup and then let the silk just sit on top of that and be drapey and exciting.  I hope that works!  If not, I can rip it out and flat line that too - we'll see.

I have nearly a full sewing day scheduled for tomorrow so I hope to make more progress on this project as well as work on my corset some more.  I have the hardware now and can get to work on that when I get sick of looking at the silk. I'll report more when I have it!