Saturday, August 13, 2016

Miss Fisher Inspired Outfit

My first 100% completed project of the year is my 1920s outfit inspired by one of Miss Fisher's many amazing ensembles. This amazing ensemble to be exact.

NOT my version. I wish it was.

I've drooled over almost every article of clothing Miss Fisher wears (her "muppet" pajamas being the only thing I can think of I don't like) and I paid the outrageous shipping charges to have the catalogs from the costumes exhibits sent from Australia to the US so I could drool some more. GET THOSE COSTUMES ON DISPLAY IN THE STATES ALREADY!

Ahem... sorry.

If you love Miss Fisher's clothing the way I do, those catalogs are worth every penny. Marion Boyce provides lots of useful information about the outfits (what they're made out of, lengths of fabrics used, when something came from her stash that she purchased it 20 years ago so all your hopes and dreams of finding it are crushed).

The outfit is made up of two pieces: a pinafore and a blouse. Unfortunately my budget is a little more restrictive than the show's, so I had to go with more cost friendly and locally available fabrics.

My pinafore was made from linen fabric and is a combination of two patterns mashed together. I came across a lovely vintage 1920s skirt pattern in my size and price bracket on etsy. Not only that, but it looked darn close to the details on Miss Fisher's outfit. To make the top portion of the pinafore, I used Past Patterns Flapper Combination Underwear.


Not as bad as the famous Victorian line of "assemble in the usual manner" but the instructions were on the light side. They were printed on the pattern pieces instead of a separate sheet and didn't really order the steps in which to do things. So I had to wing it. I doubt it makes a world of a difference for this project because the shapes are basic but it is something to keep in mind when shopping vintage patterns. The combo pattern also only includes the original instructions, however I think most people can work out what to do.

Kind of blah, right?

At least it had this really fun pleating detail on the side.

In hindsight I wish I had given myself the time to line up the wait of the skirt with the waist of the slip pattern a little better, but it still worked. The pinafore looks kind of sad and silly by itself. I admit at this stage I was worried/disappointed/nervous the project was not working out.

The blouse is made of a chiffon of questionable content and origin. I found it at Jomar, a discount warehouse than stocks whatever anyone sells to them. The Miss Fisher blouse has a striped print, but what I found looked good enough to me for it to work. The details around the neck, sleeves and waistband are made of the same linen that the pinafore was. The buttons are self covered. The shoulder scarf is attached with a round plastic tortoise buckle.

To make the blouse, I heavily modified my 1925 zig zag dress pattern from Decades of Style. I didn't take photos of my process, because I didn't know if it would work or not. I loved how the blouse turned out, and plan to make something up with the same format again. So I'll document it better then. I'll explain as best I can, and hopefully someone will understand me!

 I used the front, back and sleeve pieces only. On separate sheets of paper, I traced out the neckline, shoulders and sides of the front and back pattern pieces, and drew straight lines at the bottom for the new straight waistline design. I made sure the side seams were the same length. Once I had done that it was very easy to create the facing for the linen details. I just drew them out on the same pattern pieces I had just made, and cut them out after I had used the new paper pattern to cut the chiffon. I just shortened the length of the original sleeves to where I liked them.

Something that I had forgotten to do and did not notice until later was change the armscye on the front pattern piece. The original pattern calls for gathering which I did not want to do for this project. It was an easy enough fix after the fact but it's something to keep in mind if you'd like to make this outfit up using the techniques I did.

When I did the linen details, I cut two of each piece (one would show on the outside, one on the inside). Right sides together, I sewed all the details pieces together at the side and bottom seams. I ironed down the reaming seam allowances on the top ends. With right sides together, I sewed the details to the chiffon. After that I flipped the linen so that the last remaining unsewn edge was on the inside of the blouse, and could be sewn through the chiffon to the front of the facings. I opted to hand sew because I didn't want visible stitching on the front, and I am HORRIBLE at stitching in the ditch. Ultra super bad at it.

The shoulder scarf is just one long rectangle. I used a rolled hem on the edges to prevent it from unraveling everywhere. The buckle was loosely stitched in place at the should and the scarf fed through. I might stitch the scarf down or knot it to prevent it moving forward or backward.

Once the blouse was over the pinafore, I was thrilled! It looked pretty good to me.

Accessories and other details were assembled. Some worked out, others didn't.
  • I had attempted to reshape a straw hat into a cloche, but it ended up looking to much like a 1980s bucket hat. So I made a chiffon scarf and tied it into my hair (my hair is short, and works for the 20s so this was an easy option for me).
  • I owned white crochet gloves, but to work modern technology (which was needed that day) I had to remove them.
  • I couldn't wear my stockings; it was in the 90s and I was outside all day. Passing out was NOT desired.
  • My 1920s inspired shoes were purchased years ago at DSW and I love them. Unfortunately with no stockings, it was blister city on my feet. Oh well, the price one pays for fashion...
  • I found red teardrop earrings on etsy, which I thought were perfect
I didn't track my time. Working on this project was sporadic. I grabbed an hour here and there. I did the hand stitching on my lunch breaks at work. However, I did get it all done in less than a month with a young baby in the house. So I'm confident in normal time that's about two weeks of light work. And probably two days of serious sewing time.

I really look forward to wearing this one again, and making it up in a different color combo!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

return to costuming!

Hello costuming world! Long time no contact! I'm afraid I've made very little since my last post (IN AUGUST OF LAST YEAR!) and attended very few events because.....


My husband and I welcomed our first child in March. I had plans for several costumes while pregnant, but the fates conspired against me.

Several twists of costuming fate:
  • I had made a Regency ball gown from a Nehelenia pattern, but early pregnancy symptoms made it difficult to track my time/opinion of the final outfit. Not to mention making me feel ill while at the event itself. I often forget I even made it.
  • I had planned on making the Mockingbird dress worn by Sansa Stark for a Game of Thrones themed event I co-hosted in October. Turns out I did not have enough black silk to correctly fit that gown to my then size. I was able to make one of Daenerys' more flowing gowns from Season 1, but it was a sort of quick and dirty never plan to wear this again sort of dress and I'm not particularly proud of it.
    • However, I did manage to make full costumes for two friends (a Sansa and a Littlefinger) and parts of costumes for my husband and one sister (Tywin and another Daenerys).
    • If I can get the chance and round up some photos I'll post about the event itself. It was good fun and I'd love to do it again sometime (with a costume I like)
  • I made my husband a Regency suit for an outing in Baltimore. At this point I was running low on sewing energy (and energy in general) so I didn't track my time, and I wasn't that happy with the final product. I'm just not sure I like Regency enough to keep making it. I have one more outfit I plan to try and if that doesn't win me over, I'll call it quits on making Regency.
    • I did make myself a new wool spencer which turned out fairly nice, but it needs a button
  • Finally, my last plan was to make a Victorian maternity dress for two events I was attending. And then I came down with a massive upper respiratory infection that knocked me out for all but 3 days in December. So that was a huge no go. I couldn't attend the one event and the second (which allowed for any era) I ended up wearing my summer 1920s outfit to. It was the only think I had that I could fit in. 
Recently I was able to get a Victorian gown (mostly) done for a friend's annual Victorian party. I say mostly done because it lacks the finishing like buttons and trim, but it was wearable for the event, and is still on my dress form so I remember to finish it up. I did, however, totally fail at keeping track of my time. I will post about the dress soon!

Because we're still adjusting to life with the bean, we've planned to attend fewer events this year (which means less sewing in general). That doesn't mean there's nothing on my to do list though!

Some hopefully to be done projects include:
  •  a new 1920s summer outfit for the Jazz Age Lawn Party. Creating a look inspired by Miss Fisher, I've found a vintage 1920s skirt pattern and the right fabric. Now I just have to get to work.
  • an early Victorian riding habit and evening dress (not to mention the required undergarments) for an event in early October. A friend suggested I make one skirt and two bodices to help save time. GENIUS!
  • a Halloween ensemble for myself and the baby (I asked my husband if he wanted to do a group costume thing. He declined saying he'll wait to embarrass the child when he's older)
  • my last ditch attempt at a Regency dress that speaks to me
  • a Victorian dress for a Christmas event (the same annual event I missed last year, so I'd love to make something really nice to make up for my missing it)
Maybe too ambitious? I'm not sure. We'll find out!

A few other things related to costuming are going on:
  • Firstly, GET MY SEWING ROOM IN ORDER! This is an official command from me to me. It had been in order at one time. Then it became the dumping grounds for everything when we cleared out a bedroom to make space for the spawn. I'm not productive in a messy environment, so this has to change.
  • Secondly, I'm stash only sewing this year. This doesn't include things like notions, or linings. It only includes fashion fabrics. I gave myself two fabric passes, of which I've already used one (1920s inspired fabric). My most recent Victorian dress was made entirely out of stash, and a roll holding 25 yards of black taffeta I found in a corner of my sewing room can easily cover those three Victorian gowns I have planned. And probably a few other things.
  • Finally, learn to use my embroidery machine. I bought a embroidery machine over the winter from a friend for a super steal. And it's been sitting there, giving me the sad puppy eyes, wondering why I've yet to try it out let alone have it make something cool.