Wednesday, April 26, 2017

gathering supplies and organizing




I haven't had much time for sewing lately. We've had several parties at my house, and my sewing room is converted into a dining area whenever the guest list passes 6 adults. Since a few parties were back to back weekends, it seemed useless to pack stuff up to unload it for a day or two and then do it all over again.


But that doesn't mean I haven't been working on sewing related stuff!


I've been on the hunt for a sewing desk (I currently use a folding table). I think I will be going with Ikea's Hemnes desk with the add on. It's got lots of spots to put useful things that you need at arms reach when sewing. Plus the space designed for a monitor looks like a great spot to mount an iPad and watch shows while sewing.


My "to do" list is small this year, but some of the projects make up for it by being complicated. Keeping the lessons I learned with my stash only sewing, I've planned out my projects out far more thoroughly (but I get to buy fabric again, and I have been loving it!).


The next project to be completed is a Victorian gown for a friend's party. It has a secondary theme of  "by the seaside", so I went on the hunt for inspiration. I found this and loved it:



I have to redo my bustle cage for this project (as it's in sad shape after years of abuse).  I'm on the fence about the bodice, as it looks a little young to me. I might change the neckline a bit so I don't look like a mid-30s woman trying to wear a teenager's outfit. The neckline issue might all be in my head, but if I'm going to put in hours worth of work, I want to be happy when wearing it. I found my striped fabric, a VERY breathable cotton. I just need to get the solid blue and start working.
 
Breathable cotton is just what 90 degree temps call for.

After that it'll be time to work on my next 1920s dress. Looking to Miss Fisher, I finally settled on making an inspired by gown from Season 1 Episode 1.


Yes.


more YES.
I used this outfit as my much needed excuse to order the American Duchess Tango boots and found fabric that is a great color match. I have the base of the hat being shaped for me that I will then color and decorate myself.


Finding an exact fabric match to Miss Fisher was probably impossible.
But I'm really happy with what I did get.


Last of the recent fabric purchases, and I continue my dance with Regency fashion. I felt like I landed on the right approach with my riding habit last year. Hang the delicate whites and innocent looks and go for the colors I know and always wear. I absolutely love my jewelry set from InTheLongRun so I wanted to find something that worked with it. Digging around on etsy, I found a black silk sari with embroidery that had small pops of color.




The contrast really makes me happy (as does wearing black). I still have to pick a dress design (something that can be both day and evening? Is that possible?). I'd also like to get my hands on a coral tiara of some kind to finish off the jewelry set.


But what I'd really love to do is get some sewing time in...





Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tailor's Guide Riding Habit

My first project for 2017 is the Tailor's Guide Riding Habit. It's based off of the Snowshill Manor riding habit (also found in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion). Even though I do own the book, I'm a patterns sort of girl and found it well worth the money to pay someone else to scale up for me.


I treated myself to red wool from Military Heritage. It was a little on the expensive side, but what a dream to work with! The color is fabulous. The wool is deliciously warm. Shipping was fast. When I can afford to, I will be ordering from them again. The black wool accents are leftover pieces from a past project.


We both made up the same pattern!







SPECIAL NOTES: The pattern is for the jacket only! There were a few minor issues with the pattern that may have thrown me off in the past. (1) The cuff pattern piece calls for 4 of the fabric and 2 of the lining to be cut. It's actually 2 of interfacing, NOT lining. (2) The pattern markings to match up pieces are drawn on the outside of the pattern piece vs. the inside. If you cut the pattern out, you loose those markings unless you draw them onto your piece first. (3) The sleeves are TIGHT. Super tight. I made mine out of a size small, and I'm planning to go back and use the medium. I don't have large arms by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe super tight sleeves are historically accurate but I like more motion than a T Rex has. It's also possible the thickness of my wool contributed to the tightness, but I remain suspicious that the sleeves would have still been tight.


This pattern comes in sizes small, medium, large, and XL. I took a chance and just made up the size small because my measurements were very close to the highest measurements given for that size. I would suggest a mock up for this pattern if you have the time.


Despite these few bumps, I would recommend this pattern! It went together very well, and I loved how the pattern pieces had the seam allowances marked on them. The instructions were very clear and I didn't find myself confused over anything in particular.


TIME: I failed at tracking my time. Grabbing an hour here and there when I could, I manage to get the jacket done within 3 weeks. The petticoat was completed in a single evening.





PETTICOAT: I made mine using some help from tutorials from American Duchess and Koshka the Cat. To be able to pleat the waistband, I did a strip of cotton at the top. The wool would have added far too much bulk. You can see a bit of the black cotton in the above photo where I am sitting enjoying some wine. I wish I had done that with the lining of the jacket skirt. Live and learn! The petticoat is worn over pocket hoops. I had decided to make my petticoat a little on the short side. It's going to be a winter costume (all that wool would kill in warmer weather), and I anticipated showing off boots and avoiding the slush winter tends to bring.







Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 sewing in review

It's 2017 already. Time does fly by when you've having fun. And sleep deprived.


I really had hoped to document my sewing as I went. In the end, it came down to either sewing or talking about it, so I went with actually sewing.


2016 sewing presented several challenges for me. I decided this year I would sew mostly from stash. I had a lot of changes in my weight post pregnancy to wrestle with. Most difficult was adjusting to the time limitations on my sewing (babies really don't understand the concept of a sewing marathon, nor do they care).


My very first project for the year was a bustle gown for a seaside themed party. It was made entirely from stash. I was so happy to return to sewing I was perhaps over ambitious. I love love LOVE my underskirt with all those pleats. The overskirt ended up not looking how I wanted it too, but I didn't have time to redo it (I still have ample supply of that striped fabric, so it's going to get redone eventually). I also took the opportunity to draft a shawl collar for the very first time. That was a learning curve. Due to weight loss the bodice no longer fits.


It's quite big when the dress form is set to my current measurements.

I used Truly Victorian 201, 362 and modified 403 for the bodice. The overskirt is apparently my cat's favorite place to nap (which I'd love to know how because it's been hanging in the closet...). Overall I was happy with the outfit at the time. I need to bring the waist in on the underskirt, and redo the bodice (to one that fits) and overskirt (to one I like).


My second project (and the first completely 100% totally finished staying the way it is outfit of the year) was my 1920s Miss Fisher inspired outfit. I always love wearing 1920s fashion. It's fun, it's comfortable, and it's very forgiving. I scored a straw cloche hat from Modcloth and plan to decorate it to match the outfit. I really can't wait until the weather changes and I can wear this again.




Project 3 was definitely out of my comfort zone. It was all from stash and my first step into the 1830s. This project required a lot convincing to do (I am NOT an 1830s fan, or a big sleeves fan) and a ton of searching on my part to find something I would feel comfortable in. 1830s is such a fussy, feminine era, and not my style at all. I went with a riding habit because (1) I always feel safe in black and (2) the men's inspired wear was the least girly look I could find. The bodice is a mish mash of Laughing Moon 114 and Truly Victorian 455. I used the Truly Victorian pattern for the skirt, and corded petticoat pattern from Historical Sewing. I drafted a shawl collar again, doing a little better this time around.

It rained, so we spent the picnic portion of the event at a butterfly sanctuary. In most photos I am a blur, as I activated my ninja skills to defend myself from the winged menaces.

Channeling George Sand with my look...
The hat a loan from Madame Modiste

The riding shirt is just a regency chemisette with a stock (total cheat, I know, but after all those buttons and piping I was ready to call it quits). After all that sewing the dress was TOO BIG. I was actually really happy about that, until I realized that the corded stays I made last year are now also too big. I'm not so proud I can't admit I had more fun in 1830s than I thought I would, but I have a feeling that was more to do with the company than the era. I promised my hostess that I would give it all another go if she hosted the event again and that I will remake my riding habit to fit me (and out of wool this time).

Project 4 was an ultimatum with the Regency era. I have tried and tried again to find "me" in the style, and have come up wanting. Again, it's a very feminine style that just doesn't call to me. Searching and searching, I saw an outfit with a very military inspired look. I thought to myself if this doesn't win me over, nothing will and that will be it for Regency sewing. Not only was I thrilled with the end result (now known as the Velveeta dress) but I actually have photos of me in it!

 

I made this hat too, and I stole the plume from my husband.
He'll never know.

With my hostess The Lady Detalle and Madame Modiste.



I used Rocking Horse Farm Regency Riding Habit for the jumper, and Laughing Moon 129 View C for the spencer. Both patterns made up quickly and easily. I didn't get the chance to make the riding shirt, so I had to keep my spencer on the whole time. I loved how it looked, so that wasn't really a complaint.

My last outfit for the year was a winter Victorian bustle, made for a holiday tea with friends. The red wool was stash. I used Truly Victorian 261, 365 and 466. I had wanted to make an outer coat and add more velvet trim for a second event I planned to wear this too, but life decided to throw a major curveball for a friend. Sewing was put on hold and that portion of this outfit will be finished another time (the coat has even been cut out!).






It might not have been the most productive year in terms of the number of costumes, but I felt like I had some major successes. I tried drafting, I stepped into a new era, I finally made friends with Regency. Pulling mostly from stash, I put more planning into each outfit. I found myself doing more trims and little details that added a lot to the overall looks.

Now, on to 2017!