Monday, February 10, 2014

worn out!

I haven't really be able to post, because I haven't had much time. I have actually been sewing (!). But the more I think I have a handle on how much time something will take me, I am proven wrong.

February may be a little late to do a costume in review post of my 2013 sewing. The only outfit I did finsieh that I haven't posted a photo of is a Regency evening dress made from burgundy saris complete with matching turban.

2013 complete projects are:
robe a la Francaise
husband's velvet 18th century suit
polonaise (with bum roll)
18th century officer costume for the husband
Mey Rein Costume (for a friend)
The Burton Dress
hoop skirt
1860's ball gown
1857 day dress
and finally the Regency dress with turban

So 11 projects in 12 months! No too shabby.

So far this year I have made a Dr. Girlfriend costume, a regency bibb front dress, and a pelisse (that I have not finished trimming).

The 3rd Annual Francaise Dinner Party is less than 3 weeks away and I still haven't started that yet (eeek!!!!). Luckily a friend is going to help. I've picked out pink and green as my colors this year. I am going to be a watermelon! My goal for the dinner: at least 1 good photo of myself in my dress.

I have a few goals for this year:
a nice Regency costume for the husband (something less costumey than the officer outfit)
teens era corset
teens era picnic outfit (for when a group of us visit the costume exhibit)
new 18th century stays
a medieval outfit (part of a costume challenge)
17th cenury dress (part of the same costume challenge)
polka dot Victorian dress.

Which is also 11 projects total for 2014 if I don't add anything... weird.

But I probably will.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Simplicity 3727

This pattern is out of print, unfortunately. But with a little digging around you can snag one for a good price. The major pro of this particular pattern was the directions were AMAZING. I understood exactly what I was being told to do the first time every time. The major con was there was a lot of hand sewing. A LOT. Far more than I expected, and depending on how you trim, a lot that could have been avoided.

My absolute favorite part of this dress is actually the back. It makes me think of later Victorian styles.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Simplicity 9764

I started my sewing for the 150th Anniversary of Remembrance Day by sewing my very own hoop. I decided to make the hoop myself for a couple of reasons. One of the main reasons was because of all the "lamp shade" skirt warnings that many people said came with the purchased hoop skirts. And my OCD being what it is, I thought it was less trouble to make the skirt than the overwhelming paranoia I would suffer if I purchased one.

I used Simplicity 9764. It seems to be out of print, but it's still fairly recent enough that you can find fairly priced copies on ebay or etsy. I only made view A, which is the actual hoop. I didn't have time to make the petticoat.

 Here's what mine looks like:


Monday, November 25, 2013

why I haven't seen sunlight in weeks

I've (just barely) finished three dresses, and some supporting undergarments all in time for their various events. I'll do write ups later for each outfit, but I figured I would share the photos of the gowns before they are packed away in the closet.

The Burton Dress:
The orange and black could be limiting the time of year I'd wear this. But it won't. Some amazingly odd things happened as I worked this dress (such as shrinking cotton fabric and the ruffles that refused to be made) but it was finished in time. And I've gotten to wear it twice!

 The Mega Hoop:
I took up far more space in these than anything I've ever worn before. I found 1/2 steel for the bones. There were no issues with the hoop opening, but that steel did make it a very heavy garment to wear.

The 1857 Day Dress:
My first ever dress of this era. Deceptively simply looking. Took much longer than anticipated and way more hand sewing than I would have imagined.

And finally, the 1860's Ball Gown:
No lie, I felt like a cake topper the whole time. I was assured the look was period correct.

Monday, October 14, 2013

fitting issues

I've decided to go with TV405 for my bodice. I've made this one before, but having been told it was too long in the waist for me, I've gone about attempting to move the waist up.

My natural waist looked to be about two inches above the waist that was marked on the pattern. For most of the pattern pieces, I was able to redraw the waist line and then just fold the pattern piece to the new spot. However, the back piece presented an issue, since the natural waist was below the fold of the flapy dodads. Asking around, a friend was able to illustrate for me where I needed to remove.

Once I removed that portion, I lined up the curved portion to have the nice smooth curve return.

Now I am working with terror because I changed the pattern. Somehow my lining that I cut out was much shorter than my fashion fabric. I cut out the lining first, so I have no idea how that happened (since the pattern pieces were taped). 

After recutting the lining, I flatlined the pieces together. This time they were the same sizes, but it's somehow like I have air bubbles between the two pieces. I take it to mean that the fabric moved or something when they were attached to one another. Ot that they are somehow slightly different sizes again. I'm tempted to use some sort of iron on adhesive the next time I have to flatline. Maybe cut out the fashion fabric, iron it to the lining fabric, and then cut around to make sure they stay together? Any have any good suggestions?

Anway, time is a factor (I need this done enough for this Saturday). I've started putting the bodice together. And it seems a little big.

It's a little tricky to get a photo of one's own back, but here it is. A better eye than mine told me it looks a little big, so I'm going to try and see if taking in the seams just a but helps (which I will do by basting, to make sure before I have to rip out a bunch of little stitches).

I'm not too sure what to do about this shoulder issue. I think if I remove the seam where it is and take in more fron the front it'll fit more snugly... maybe?

I think life will be a lot easier if I make a duct tape dress form of myself.

I do this for fun, right?

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Burton Dress

I've begun my Halloween party dress. The theme for this year is "black and orange". Joann's had this fun stripe in the quilting fabric section, and I could not pass it up.

The striped fabric does not want to cooperate with the ruffle foot, and somehow the black ruffles ended just a few inches to short, but the striped ruffles had so much extra. But I am make steady progress and I'm enjoying the look so far.

I've got more ruffles to make/add. I need to sew the bustle parts into place. And the entire bodice to do.The skirt has a train which I will be pinning up for the party (being stepped on does get annoying) but will eventually make a dust ruffle to walk about with.

I've started calling it the Burton Dress. It seems fitting.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I have been sewing! Just not for me.

A friend of mine likes to go to anime conventions, but doesn't know how to sew. I'm always happy to help when I can, and it does give me the opportunity to try things that are (at times) difficult to do when sewing for oneself (fitting someone else's back is a whole lot easier than fitting my own).

This year I was asked to sew a Mey Rin costume from the show Black Butler. The great thing was that there are ample images of this costume to look at, from all angles. I found this and went from there:

After I found the reference illustrations, I went about researching how other people made their costumes. Someone had used Simplicity 4136 (Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz) and modified it as they went.

 I'm not a huge fan of "modify as I go" work. I thought the white blouse of 4136 was perfect (except the zipper back), but the blue dress portion needed something else.

I can't say exactly what it is about the Dorothy dress portion I didn't like. I looked around other Simplicity patterns hoping I could find something else to use.

What should catch my eye, but Simplicity 2325. Alice's dress semed to have it. The overdress (that is, the white portion that looks sort of like an apron) was just right. Except for that ruffle. Luckily I had picked up the pattern during a 5 for $5 sale, and after checking out the skirt pannel, I learned I could adjust the length and not add the ruffle. Yay!

However, both the patterns lacked the right sleeves. Again, a lot of people who went before me (and have infinitely more skill than I) said they just modified the sleeves.

I've never modified sleeves before. And I wasn't sure if adding a tube was the way to do (what with the need for elbow movement).

Back on the hunt I went. I was feeling fustrated, and shared my lack of sleeve success to a friend. Who just happened to think Butterick 3417 was just perfect.

View A was just right, and I could use those flappy shoulder things for the white portion of the apron as well! You'll notice on the illustration the white around the sleeves doesn't connect with the lower portion of the apron. What I did to create that was use the pattern peice, but I added a long strap to it at one end to connect with the back of the apron to give it the anime look.

I was a little nervous about using a non Simplicity pattern. I wasn't sure if the sleeves would line up to the bodice correctly. It look a little wiggling, but they managed to go on and fit very comfortably.

I changed everything to be a button up (as I think zippers RUIN the look). I had to make my own cuffs and hat. The cuffs I cannot explain to anyone. There are pilgrim lady patterns out there that could be used if making you own terrifies you as much as it did me. The hat was a square of fabric, gathered about two inches from the front, and then I attached a strap. Veyr easy!

Here's my Mey Rin!

At this point you might be saying: what the hell? You missed the white apron part! What did you use for that? I have to admit I just made a long white regangle to go around the waist. And the a triangle with the top chopped off for the bottom portion. I draped it on my dress form as best as I could and pinned and marked away. I hated not having a pattern piece for it.

When I get the chance I'll get a photo of the back when it's worn. I also should mention a pettiocat is needed or the skirt looks completely deflated. You can get them for about $20 on ebay.

I failed at keeping track of my time for this project. :(