Thursday, June 30, 2011

A question and a preview

Hat or bonnet?

And by helping me decide you get a little peek at my pioneer outfit:

Technically bonnets are more "pioneer" but I prefer the hat. Plus it will be cooler and keep more sun off! Plus I've seen pictures with women in straw hats.

Can you tell where I'm leaning? But tell me what you think! Which looks/fits everything better?

And yes, everything will be ironed by Sat... :P

A slightly wonky corded petticoat

First everyone, thanks for the nice comments about my Aqua Spencer ensemble!

Second, I'm back from my trip and I'll try to post pics of the wedding dress soon, but of course I forgot my camera, so I borrowed my brothers. So I need to get those from him, but what I really want are the bridals she had taken, they looked lovely!

Also! It's almost the end of the month, which means I am close to finally being free to work on what I want! :) Yay! Saturday is the last day of the Pioneer Trek. They actually left this morning, but I'm only going for Sat.

In that vein, I've been finishing up my own dress. Last night I made a really wonky corded petticoat in just over an hour. So, quick and dirty! But it will do the trick!

I still have a bit of hemp left so may add another row or two...

Tonight it's finishing closures on the dress and perhaps making a ruffled petti to go over the corded. We'll see!

I'll try to post pics from the event on Sunday!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Aqua Regency Ensemble

So I promised pictures of at least the new things I made for Costume Con!  The first was probably my favorite outfit of the weekend, especially to wear as it was very comfortable.


I don't have a good picture of the dress alone.  It's a drop front based on the pattern in Janet Arnold.  I am not happy with the sleeves and plan on re-doing them at some point, but with the Spencer, that doesn't show and so doesn't matter too much!  The dress is made from a very lightweight cotton with blue Swiss dots.  I left a train, and I love the way it looks.  I sewed most of this by hand.


The Spencer was made from silk from Sewfisticated.  It has a very fine slub but it doesn't show too much.  I based this on a Spencer that Elizabeth Bennett wears in the 1995 Pride & Prejudice. Most of this was done by machine as I was in a hurry to get it finished.  The bodice is lined with aqua cotton, the sleeves are unlined.  They are in three parts, the long undersleeve, short puffed sleeve and vandyked over sleeve.  The puffed and vandyked sleeve are the same pattern with the bottom cut off the oversleeve.  The raw edges were then turned up and hemed with a small running stitch.  The back and shoulder seams were also top stitched by hand to add to the look.


My accessories were a straw hat or capote based on one that Marianne Dashwood wears in Sense & Sensibility.  The stripe fabric was cut on the bias and gathered to the crown piece and the brim.  I then wrapped a piece of ivory silk ribbon and a piece of blue velvet ribbon over the brim and finished it with a small rosette made from the striped fabric with a covered button in the middle.  The brim was created from a straw hat from Michael's that was partially dissembled and then slightly shaped with water.


The reticule is from the same stripe fabric as the hat.  I made up my own pattern of four diamond shaped pieces sewn together with a drawstring through the top and a small tassel of velvet ribbon on the bottom.  I also wore elbow length leather gloves with it and cream boots.

My hair was super simple to do as I created some little curly hairpieces to go on either side of my face and over a bun of my own hair in the back.  I was inspired by Harriet Smith's hair from the new Emma movie.

Edwardian Inspiration

So, as I'm apparently never able to avoid CADD (costuming ADD), I've started dreaming and planning some of my next projects.

One that's been on my mind a lot lately is an Edwardian Afternoon Ensemble. (Yes, there's more than one on my mind... but that's for another post.)

I have this pretty drapey aqua satin fabric ( can't get away from that color!) that I got for super cheap at Saftlers, I think it was 2 or 3 dollars/yd. Anyway, I have about 2.5 yds, so while not enough for a whole dress perhaps, I can do a skirt with a white blouse perhaps.

Some of my inspiration:

I am in LOVE with this skirt... hope I have enough fabric for it...

I really like this one too.  I have some white striped cotton voile that would look nice for the blouse.

This totally reminds me of Lady Mary's dress from the garden party in Downton Abbey!  I loved that dress!

A simple skirt and shirt pattern.

I also have a vintage hat that might work, or I'll make a big picture hat. I have gloves as well and I may carry my parasol! I may wear this to the Newport mansions, if we do that again this year.

But first things first, I need an Edwardian corset!  I'm planning on using the one from Corsets and Crinolines.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Next on the list...

So, it seems I can't just take a break from sewing for a bit...  I have too many things I want to do (and too much fabric to do it all with) that I can't just sit around and do nothing.  I knew this would happen.  I've been so busy and stressed for the last three months really that I thought I need to impose at least two weeks of not working on anything.  But of course the moment I'm done with something, my brain is full speed ahead on all the new projects I want to do.

Here's a list of the things I'm dreaming about doing.  How many will actually happen and in what order is yet to be determined.

Regency ballgown - embroidered and beaded net fabric for this
Green striped round gown
Aqua Edwardian afternoon ensemble
Navy blue linen Gothic Fitted Dress with reversible wool sideless surcotte, oneside pink, one side light blue (for King Richard's Faire) - this was a new decision yesterday...
Northager Abbey riding ensemble - white trained gown with blue velvet spencer, neckcloth and top hat
Purple striped early bustle dress
And, I have tons of pretty silk in blues and greens that I'm thinking of making 18th century jackets with or something, plus a quilted silk petticoat to finish.

But of course I'm crazy and started a new project last night.  I'd finished the pioneer stuff I needed to do and was doing some cleaning and organizing of the sewing area.  As I was going through my fabric (and all these plans were tempting me) I decided to start with something easy and fun (that of course I have absolutely no need for) that I can hand sew on my trip or at work.  Forget the fact that I am already working on an 18th century embroidered pocket.  I am crazy. 

Anyways, using the pattern from my Aqua spencer, I am making a simple drawstring Regency gown out of some embroidered cotton with a metalic stripe.  I wasn't super happy with how my drop-front Regency dress came out for CosCon (especially the sleeves) and so I figured before jumping into some other regency dresses, I should first figure out a pattern that works.  I cut it out and started sewing it last night.  I am not lining it as I will wear it over my bodiced petticoat, and so I am flat felling all the seams.  I love Regency dresses for hand sewing because they are so fast and easy!  I have the bodice almost entirely assembled just from an hour and a half of sewing last night while finishing a movie!  The other reason I started with this dress is because if I don't get to the Regency ballgown I will still have something I can wear to a dance, since the metalic thread makes it a little dressier than everyday occasions.  Anyway.  I hope it turns out!  I think I'd have enough fabric to re-do the bodice if I'm not happy with it.  I altered the pattern without doing a mock-up.  Since I'm doing a drawstring closure, I figured it wouldn't be too much of a problem! 

Anyway, I promise to post pictures of a lot of these things soon!  I realize I still haven't posted pictures from Costume Con!  I need to fix that!  I had a couple new things that I was really happy with!

Friday, June 17, 2011


I finished the wedding dress last night!!  It's done!  And she's very happy with it and so am I!  It's such a relief to be done and to not have to stress about it anymore.  I did way more stressing and worrying than she did.  She was the perfect customer and if I could be guaranteed that they would all be like this I'd be tempted to do more commissions...  I will post pictures after the wedding.  Lots and lots!

Anyway, the end is now almost in sight.  It's on to finishing up the Pioneer Trek stuff this weekend.  I'm going tonight to help sew, and will be making ~5 skirts next week to have on hand just in case.  Then next Thursday I'm going out of town for the wedding and to visit my family, which I'm really excited for.  Then when I get back, it's the actual Trek!  So I have to make sure it's all done pretty much by next Wed.  I think it's doable. 

And then I'll be free!  I told myself I'd take like a two week break from sewing or just do little projects (like the embroidered pocket I started - will post soon), but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen.  I have a million projects I want to work on and need to get going.  No deadlines really, which is good, but I want them now!  But no, now it's time to organize and clean my life up a little bit!  The sewing area is a disaster!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Circus Circus!!

If you want to see what else I've been up to, check out the birthday party I helped my sister throw last weekend for my niece.  I visited them in NC.  She turned 4 and I bought her a Hello Kitty Sewing machine!  She loves it! :)  More pictures here.

Circus Circus!

The treats!!

My nephew the "tiger" with a yummy mustache.

Blowing out her candle.

My cute niece.

It was a Circus theme and turned out pretty cute!  I painted faces (not very well...) and we had "Pin the Nose on the Clown" and "Feed the Lion" bean-bag toss.  The treats were candied apples, rootbeer flavored Mustache suckers, cupcakes, popcorn, peanuts, pink lemonade and chocolate covered oreos.  Yum!

Oh Pioneer

So I finally started working on my pioneer dress.  Which means I finally figured out what I wanted to do for it.  Well kind of.  After looking around for so long trying to find information I decided to just do what I wanted basically.  It doesn't need to be 100% accurate.  I had a wide range of dates to choose from really: 1847 - 1858 so that made it difficult since there were changed to little details over that time.  What I had a hard time figuring out was whether I had to do a pointed waist or if it could be straight.  In the end it seemed to me that a lot of work dresses had straight waistlines, throughout this time period, even if pointed was popular, so I decided to go with that since I didn't want to do the pointed bodice.

So I draped a fitted lining and then came time to figure out whether I wanted to have it gathered or darted over that.  In the end I went with gathers, which I actually hate now that it's done, because I read so much that cotton dresses were *always* gathered and not darted.  Which I don't think can be 100% true, but whatever.  I boned the fitted lining since I'm not going to be wearing a corset with this dress for the event.  I may make a very light corded corset for it later, but I just don't have time for that right now.  Plus, I'm not sure how many pioneer women actually wore corsets all the way across the plains.  I'm guessing not many.  Though they would want some support.

I also had a hard time figuring out how to do a dog-leg closure actually.  Then yesterday I had the brilliant idea of making it more like a "round gown" from the 18th century and having the front skirt panel tie on first, then the bodice close over that with the back of the skirt attached to the bodice.  I got this all attached this way last night and am pretty happy with it.

This whole project has been a little rushed and sloppy actually.  I've only worked on it about 2 and half evenings and right now, all I have left to do is the hem, one sleeve and the front closures.  And that includes the time it took to mock-up/drape.  I need to have this done by tomorrow morning.  And I also want to make a corded flounced petticoat.  So hopefully tonight I can get the dress finished and do the petticoat too.  Oh, and make a little pinner apron.  I also wanted to get together a plain straw bonnet, but don't think I'll have time for that, so I'll either wear the cloth bonnet I already made (which I also hate) or just wear a plain straw hat.

Then when that's all done tomorrow I can go back to the wedding dress full time!  We've finished all the mock-ups and fittings, so now it's on to the actual dress!  I'm hoping by Sunday night to have it pretty much totally assembled, minus of course all the hand finishing.  Then I can focus on the lace and the belt!  Oh man.  My life is so crazy right now, so sorry for the lack of posting!

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