Friday, October 17, 2014

a sewing room of my very own

In very exciting news, my husband and I recently purchased our very first home (yay!). We had outgrown our one bedroom apartment a while ago, and had started the official house hunt last spring.

The house needed to have space enough to accommodate both of our hobbies. My husband is actually a professional model maker, and that has spilled over into his home life of building hundreds of little things that for some reason need lots of big things to make them. Which is sort of funny because I make life sized things, and the machines to do that are quite small.

We made an agreement that he would take over the basement as his work space of any house we did buy, and lucky for him (and me) the basement of our new home is the full length and width of the house. So he has plenty of room.

Which means I get to have an ENTIRE ROOM just for me! Very very very excited about this! My old craft area was a corner and a dining room table. The prior owners of our home had enclosed the carport between the main house and the garage and used it as a dining room. Since the kitchen is an eat in, and there's only the two of us, we don't need to dedicate that much space to food.

The room is a little narrow (11 feet across) but very deep.


What? A window for natural light?
Enjoying that they just put up some plywood over
 the old window and painted it.
Of course, since it's just an old carport there's no closet to speak of, and the walls are brick. I think that's kind of fun, giving it a warehouse/industrial feel to it. The carpets are gross (they don't look that bad in photos, but they are). The plan is to put down some faux wood flooring. I had thought about finishing the walls, but I think I'll loose too much space. The back wall in the second photo has an outlet about every foot or so; I'm thinking a L shaped desk for the sewing machine and serger.
Along a side wall I think something like this Stolmen system from Ikea would be great for costumes.

Plus an additional full length bar for more dresses.
I admit I am slightly hesitant about the everything exposed to everyone look, but some curtains would easily solve that problem. Storage would be needed for stuff like books, hats, and patterns. Again Ikea would come to the rescue with those cube shelves they sell.
The husband has promised to put together a cutting table for me (more Ikea shelves with a butchers block secured on top). I usually like dark wood and colors, but for sewing/crafting, I really think white and light is the way to go.

Odds are my space will look like a show room until the first project. Then it'll look like a nightmare. But a roomy, all mine nightmare. That I don't have to put away or clean up to eat dinner. 

shoe time!

American Duchess is having another shoe give away! Check it out for your chance to win!

Thursday, October 16, 2014


The gown was completely finished and on time! Horray!
It was a great day at the fair (our original planned day had been rained out). I was very pleased with how the dress turned out, and will do a write up about the construction later. I thought I would finally share a photo of myself wearing something. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Anne Boleyn Dress: COST

About four months ago six friends and I all decided to get together and go to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire as the six wives of Henry VIII. I nabbed Anne Boleyn as fast as I could.
This was a VERY big project for me. I have never done anything Tudor before. I researched what I could about Anne's style (her favorite color was green, her favorite gem were pearls, her style was "simple"). Unfortunately there don't seem to be any contemporary portraits of her.

I followed my usual style of using a commercial pattern. I'm just not at drafting skill yet. I used Simplicity 2589 and the companion undergarment pattern for everything except stays. For the stays I used the Elizabethan corset generator.  The Simplicity patterns are out of print, but still available for purchase on their site, as well as all over ebay and etsy.

Let me say now that this is probably the MOST expensive outfit I have yet made. I couldn't give the exact cost, but I will break it down as best I can. Amounts are approximate:
$80 - 9 yards of green velvet (purchased on super sale at Joann's, this color is no longer available there. I know I used the rare an elusive 60% off coupon for this purchase)
$5 - felt
$40 - gold and black silk for the forepart and foresleeves. (I ordered too much and have a bunch of left over)
$20 - faux pearls. I started pearling with a necklace I had purchased years ago that fell apart and I never restrung. Once I ran out I purchased 99 cent strands from Micheal's crafts in similar size and color.
$20 - bracelets taken apart for the black "jewels" on the neckline and foresleeves
$40 - cotton for the farthingale, inner sleeves, shift, bum roll
$15 - faux fur

This does not include some supplies I already had on hand. I have a never ending roll of twill tape I purchased from Jomars. I used it for bone casing. I think I paid $3 for the whole roll, and easily have another 500 yards on the roll after this project. I had fill for the bum roll (left over from the 1857 day dress bum pad). Hoop steel and connectors left over from my civil war ventures, as well as zip ties from 18th century projects Thread and notions also were on hand. The patterns had been purchased while they were still in print for $1 each.

All this put this project at about the $220 mark. If I had to pick up the supplies I didn't have on hand it would have probably cost about $250. Some of the cost does come down to my fabric choices. There are cheaper (and less annoying) fabrics than velvet and silk. I didn't need to embellish the dress. Nor did I need faux fur on the turn backs. I also didn't "need" to make this dress, so it's all relative!

More to come at a later time, hopefully with pictures!