Monday, August 17, 2015

Download ALL the photos

So this should be a post about my adventures this year at Costume College, but it won't be! I know- so frustrating! I just downloaded ALL the photos, and that was techie-task enough for one day. I need to sort and do some very mild editing. What is the deal with the yellow light in that hotel?!? BLEK.

I just wanted to get something out on the net as I also noticed I have not put up a single post since January? How is that possible? I have been doing some pretty epic (for me) sewing stuff. I took a week long tailoring class and made an entire Frock Coat from the ground up and it went right out to EOT in June and did it's job. Way to wear it Cindy and Scott!

Here is a picture of the lining in progress. Can I just say that when Jane of Aspen Filly Mercantile tells you a thing will take two days you just need to do some Scotty math and multiply by two (or three.) This lining took real close to four full days of hand sewn work. We both worked so hard on this project, I am so grateful Jane took a whole week out of her extremely busy schedule just to teach me the beginnings of tailoring. I am pretty sure she got tired of hearing me say
 "I am a dressmaker, not a tailor!" 

It all paid off. Cindy and Scott took 1st place at End Of Trail for best dressed couple and no one died. I did need a serious nap...but no one died. I am calling it what it is : ) a WIN. 

I also made the dress Cindy wore. Their contest story was of a wealthy railroad man who, while traveling in the orient for laborers and TNT, found Cindy and brought her back to the States where she runs a famous Brothel. It was a fun and irreverent story to kick around and brainstorm over. Cindy tries to channel this "prim and proper lady" when I sew for her and I laugh- a lot.  The dress and the character needed to to be all about "her" and not about me. I think we hit the mark. 

Cindy's dress based on a 1881 fashion plate with Chinese style brocade rayon/satin and a fantasy neckline in keeping with her contest and S.A.S.S. persona. 

Here is the happy couple in all their red and gold glory. 

Now that I have brushed off the very thick cobwebs from the keyboard and downloaded ALL the photos, there were a few hundred, which for me is kinda huge. I am off to do Monday type things and make a list of all the catch up posts of costume goodness that have happened so far this year (January?!?) 

Do you ever look up from your projects to notice months have gone by?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A very good mail day indeed...

So today was a particularly amazing mail day. I received a lot of buckles I purchased from an Etsy seller cleaning out her collection. I love buckles... They are just so very smart! It's not uncommon to see buckles go for 80-100$ dollars for quite nice ones and in the past I have picked them up here and there when I could not resist but I just can't pay more than about 30$ for one and the less the better! Well these beauties averaged 11$ each! Seriously I felt obligated to rescue them so they can grace historical costumes and be loved for the little beauties they are.

I was so excited to find them even nicer in person!

The most amazing part? Six....Six! Of them have the bar clasp to use the the other end of the belt! I don't have a single buckle with the bar clasp you don't often find them intact. 

So now I'm looking over my costume plan list for this year and imagining how a smart buckle might grace it. Hats and belts and pull backs for draperies.... Oh my! 

The next delivery was a beautiful find but alas not bragging rights cheap at all...but it looked sooooooo fun! I thought on it for a couple weeks and recently, when it was still available, I caved and got it. Today the very well packaged parcel arrived from the UK. 

It's a huge red and white striped feather and as you can see will match my Sailor dress perfectly! Squeeeeee! I will be adding it to my hat which I want to line and add finishing touches to. I hope to wear it again perhaps this Spring with its sister in Idaho. 

It's very fluffy and it has nice drape too.

In other sewing news I have been plucking right along with my corset projects for my friend Beth and myself. This one is for Beth and will be my entry for Historical Sew Monthly 2015 January challange. 
I've gotten the busk in and all the boning channels applied. Tomorrow will see grommets, and bones and binding. I'm pleased with the shape and the more pleased to be moving right along with it. 

Yes I did notice after this photo that the ends of the busk are uneven...the tops are even. It's the first busk I've ever had a flaw in it. I think for this an "'ole work horse" of an undergarment though -it is ok. This corset is going to be a mix of spiral and spring steel in alternating pattern. 

Did the postman bring you anything yummy today? 

Until next time! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A quick little post about stay tape.

I'm putting a brief little tutorial together to help a fellow Historical Sew Fortnightly dressmaker who is fitting an 1870 bodice pattern. 

Ok so we are going to address the gap that often happens here between the bust and shoulder of a collar. 

You want to crowd or ease a piece of stay tape inside the seam allowance to make the fabric slightly curve or cling to the body.

The stay tape will be slightly shorter than the seam. You can actually lay the tape very snug to the body from point to point. I'm simply cutting it about 1/2 inch shorter to demonstrate.

Note when you pin the end of the tape to the end of the fabric seam there is more fabric than tape- this is just what your going for. 

Pin it to death. I use a term from electronic repair called half-splitting I pin the ends, then the middle, then split each side in half and pin and so on and so on. You want there to be no pleats or wrinkles on the center tape stitch line. 

Stitch it! See how it sorta pulls that fabric in? Since this is stay tape it's not going to give or stretch- taming the gap. 

Typically you will be facing this edge. Again this is just a quick tutorial to get the idea across. Fold back your edge (facing) and press- don't iron! We are not ironing sheets- rubbing your iron back and forth across your fabric distorts it. Press, lift, press, lift, and so on. The more delicate your fabric the more crucial that is. 

See? Those wrinkles are not seen on the neck line and it is subtle but this seam now pulls into the body. 

Goodbye gap. 

I hope this has helped, I apologize for the slightly wonky photos I will correct that when my home internet tech (grumble grumble) fixes an issue. I'm leap frogging from my phone at the moment. 

Did you have the chance to play with stay tape today? 

Until next time. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The bolts are finding a home.

Well last week was my decompress week after the big ole' SASS convention in San Antonio TX and it was a success and and joy. I entered the costume contest and was honored with the ladies best dressed award. 

Although I have costumed for many years and I have been so tickled to have dresses I have made for others win contests at various levels of our sport. So it was kinda a big deal for me personally.

 I wore the fabulous court dress that was the light half of my dear friend Gina's fantastic idea for costume college 2014. However for this contest I chose to be a Texas debutante which is a very old and respected formal introduction to society still practiced today. There was even a St. James curtsy (as the infamous "Texas dip" did not arrive on the scene until 1954) all in all I survived the butterflies and although I would happily retire from contests without any further fuss, my friend Jane informs me she intends to continue to encourage my participation in future (stomach flops right over) we shall see. I'm sure I can put off the next one for 5 or ten years at least? 

Here I am with the stunning Velvet Glove and my friend "instigator" Jane- Aspen Filly. 

Even after adding boning to the bodice it still will insist on a wrinkle after sitting at the dinner table no matter how careful I tried to be. nicknamed satan for good reason. This particular fabric is actually quite well behaved, it came from Mood fabrics and they were very prompt in sending several swatches in shades of white and ivory which they marked well with sticker tags to keep the names straight. In the past I have ordered several swatches from other places and gotten 6 reds or 5 blues all in a Baggie and no indication which is which so a big WOOT! for Mood. Also it was on sale for $7.80 a yard so bonus yay! 

I truly love this dress...ivory thing and all. I will take some time to relate the rest of the SASS adventures soon as I complete all the photo edits. I had quite a few photos for me which is pretty epic. Typically I have maybe three and those are fuzzy and weird. I blame Gina, I'm sure she is contagious. 

Now I am back home however and I want to share the bolts with you! They are nearly all rolled and stored and my my... What a joy to see ----- ssssseeeeeee! the fabrics in your stash. It is so much easier to hear what the stash girls want to become this way. I am very sure a rainbow of organization will emerge soon, but it is competing with the equally fun idea of placing bolts to be used in the same projects together. We shall see.

So,we started with this

A little beginning.

Rollin Rollin Rollin raw hide! 
Then at last! We find ourselves here. 

There are several more- enough to fill up one more book case in fact but I've put my books that used to be in these cases out on their ears and I just can't move the last case until I correct my new and very serious lack. The books my friends must have a home, that is all there is to it. The two big huge industrial shelves that used to be here were most happily received by the Hubbie into the garage. Now I just need to make the trek to Ikea for a few more. 

My next projects are corsets...must must must. I need a new Victorian and I must reconcile my regency corset mess. I stuck to the pattern for the first go around but yeah, many changes for shape and comfort will be made. I'm also whipping up a Victorian work horse for a dear friend Beth because well, she has been so very patient. (Snort) I'm going to insist she take new measurements it's been so very long. If I'm going to spend five long days sewing she can just spend five minutes measuring and that is that. This "everything is the same" nonsense is fine for ready to wear but it won't hold water here missy! 

Are you cutting out corsets this week? Oh! My corset will be my Historical Sew Monthly as well as part of my continuing saga of Five Foundations Challanges. 

Until next time! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A little crafty-

During the Christmas holiday season I have always enjoyed making gifts. In more recent years (read since costumes took over my life) these projects are little joys I look forward to. With the wonder of Pinterest I now day dream in big fat photo folders all year about which new little goodie to make. Waiting for this season when the bug to craft bites. 

"I don't always craft- but when I do I like to use ALL the novelty cotton prints." As a historical costumer I often work in silk, or linen, or wool, and lots of plain cotton but the chance to sneak in anything nolvety is rare. 

I love nolvety cottons. "It's my one weakness" as Dorcas would say from Lark Rise. So my Christmas projects have developed a sort of set of mini rules over time. 

1) They must be fun- I have all kinds of opportunities to stretch and challenge myself thanks. These babies are for fun. Fun I say! 

2) They need to be smallish- I like a little instant gratification as much as the next girl, it's nice to see a result in less than a weeks worth of concentrated effort. Historical costuming is a marathon these are a walk to the mailbox ;) 

3) Cute is required- seriously the closer to all out squee the better. 

4) They typically call for novelty cotton prints, because justifying a years worth of "because I love it!" purchases lets me feel
A little more sane. :)  

With that preamble- I introduce one of this years projects. The Sew together bag. 

I don't remember what made me put the words "sewing together" into the Pinterest search bar but- oh my! Love at first sight. This is the brain child of Sew Demented and was made to carry sewing tools and notions to group sewing events. As a girl who has been known to "have costume will travel" I can both understand and lust over another packing/organizational goodie. 

Head on over to read all about this pattern...

I was all in- I got the pattern and read through the whole thing. Then I grabbed the link for the Quilt blog sew along and read the four day posts as well. You can find that one here.

There are four zippers! Did you note the four zippers?!? My main goal in historical costuming is zipper avoidance friends! Ok - breath in- we can do this. They are not invisible zippers of doom. This can be done. Right! Pulse rate normal? Good lets move on. 

Then I cut out all the yummy pieces. This is so fun! You can use ALL the THINGS! Seriously you can use MANY prints! Wheeeeeee! 

Those prints! 

Well before you know it it's time to put the zippers in. You may want some extra cute zipper colors, maybe you are reading this from the wilds and don't have a good source near by. I once was 82.5 miles from a Walmart- no kidding. So things like this Etsy source still sorta amaze me.

They also have cute zipper pulls if you like, made in America and periwinkle is an option. It is a true wonder. They will send you a color card with your order so you can OCD color match your cottons! It's possible that I have this postcard sized goodie in my purse. You know - just in case matching needs to happen. 

Then all the sudden you have a bag!!! You will note that just one bag will get lonely, and want a friend. Well gentel readers - there are no end of ideas for ways to make this up. 

Here are a few I collected together over at the Pinterest. 

This bag was made for my mom-
In-law, Connie. She might have a thing for doxies. This gave me the chance to use several of the "pets" prints by M'Liss we have been collecting from Hancocks over the last couple years. 

The bag on the left was made for my mom. It is made up of scraps from many years of Christmas PJs which is a tradition in our family. This bag is full of sewing memories with my mom. 

These bags don't need to just be for sewing tools, though that is a fantastic use! I placed my 8in dress shears both for scale and to show they will fit beautifully. 
Some other plans I have are a tech bag. I'm a gadget girl, and I like to bring all my tech toys when I travel. This bag would be perfect for my various charging cords! 
A makeup bag will happen and I think this could work great for costume jewelry. There are seven pouches. One per costume, this would work for even a convention with many costume changes! 

Now all I need is a travel case for my growing tiara addiction and my costume life will be complete. 

So what are you waiting for? Let's sew together! 

Did you make a squee worthy little craft this holiday? 

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