Friday, December 19, 2014

My new home

So I actually thought last year that I would be discontinuing this blog in favor of A Reluctant Seamstress, however events conspired to make this one logical again for me.

I've moved into my new home, a California Bungalow (sometimes called a Ranch) in Vallejo.  After stress inducing negotiations and machinations by the sellers agent, I moved in the day before Dickens opened. Crazy right?  My unpacking/renovations are relegated to evenings as my weekends are booked.  

While Rory is excited to go from one end of the small living area using the furniture, Malcolm seems content to sleep.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Quiet on the sewing front.

It's been very quiet here.  We are preparing to sell the house so I've had to put sewing aside.  I find that I miss it though and have a lot of projects in mind.  I've almost completed two dresses (Regency) and have plans to make over a bonnet and make another from scratch.  I'll try to update more when I can.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Accessorizing Head-to-Toe - February

For February the challenge was jewelry.  Since I'm trying to shore up my regency wardrobe, I wanted to make a rivière or collet style necklace.  Lucky for me Michaels not only had a sale but had some cool chains... Some were bigger and fancier that what I purchased but I wanted something not chunky.  It was pretty easy to remove jump rings and extra chains to put three pieces together to make a necklace.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2013 projects: A Summary

My brain is going through all sorts of hoops due to an upheaval in my personal life.  So I am woefully behind on my posts and documenting my projects.  Today I would like to do a quick wrap up of what projects I've done for 2013.  Thanks to Historic Sew Fortnightly I go a fair amount done.

January 2013
I posted about some small projects that have a big bang around my home... I made a fichu, an 18th Century Cap and I made some repairs to our 18th Century clothes.  I also altered my Regency Corset to be shorter, washed and inventoried a bunch of fabric I inherited from my grandmother's stash and I made a bunch of project/accessory bags.

February 2013
I made panniers... which I've still to wear...

April 2013
I made a hat for pony cart racing, a hoop skirt for Victoria's Alice costume and a bustle pad.

May 2013
I made a quilted petticoat out of a bedspread, a bustle petticoat and several skirts/petticoats for my new bustle dress (the lemon, and the raspberry).

June 2013
All for a bustle dress for the GBACG Tissot Picnic.

July 2013
Here I started sewing in earnest for Costume College, I made a long sleeved chemise.  I also finished my 19th Century Wrapper that I was a pattern tester for!  I also finished my first COMPLETELY HANDSEWN DRESS. (OMG, I didn't think I could ever do that!  I also embellished a reticule to take with me.

August 2013
At Costume College I learned a lot!  I learned to Ferret Hems and to make Fly Fringe (which I used to further embellish my reticule!

September 2013
After meeting Trystan at Costume College I decided to work on her Accessories Challenges and I made Victoria a Regency Tam for the first one. I made two Pelisses (one for Victoria and one for me)

October 2013
I took a break to make some Christmas gifts, and a huswife for myself.  I started working on costumes for Toy Parade (my guild for Dickens Fair)

December 2013
I finished my Queen of Hearts dress (Finally! and after fair started of course) and a fan to go with it...

Just in time for Twelfth Night I made a ball gown bodice for the dress and a belt with a wee crown buckle! Here's a photo as a reward since you were so nice to read all the way through!

My friends and I at the ball.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

American Duchess Give-Away

The American Duchess is having an Advent Calendar giveaway.  You probably know all about it, but if you don't go here to the American Duchess website for some more info!
The Devonshires

You can't see them, but I wore the
 Devonshires first to this 18th Century picnic...
photo by Marianme

American Duchess has made a name for her company by creating historical reproduction shoes that are affordable.  Yes, they run in the $100 range, but they are comfortable and well made and therefore VERY worth it.  I've three pairs now and love them all!

Tavistocks galore at the GBACG Tissot Picnic!
The Hartfields on a test run!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Accessorizing Head-to-Toe - November's Challenge - Fans

The Accessory:  I made a fan for the Queen of Hearts dress.  
Historical Period:  I went for the paddle type fans used in the Elizabethan era
Outfit It Accessorizes:  Queen of Hearts dress
Materials Used:  Velvet, cardboard, ribbon and cording
Techniques Used:  mostly cut out and glued (and a wee bit of sawing).... some sewing of the velvet to encase the cardboard and attach the cording.

Here you can see the slot I cut out of the end of the dowel.

I cut a slit out of one cardboard heart to fit in the dowel and then glued another heart onto each side to encase the dowel.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

HSF #10 - Literature and HSF #22 Masquerade -Fancy Dress Queen of Hearts

As you can see I'm not terribly worried about doing challenges early (although cannot start them before they are announced) or late.  I simply want them all done so as to keep my creative juices flowing and learn some new skills.  I'm also horribly late on blogging about some of them because I have been very busy.

So close to being done.  I eventually spaced out the hearts on the sash more.

This dress was created to be part of the Dickens Fair Alice in Wonderland cast.  As you can see it is a Queen of Hearts dress.  I worked hard to combine a sense of puled from the attic trunks and freshly put together.

The bodice is actually an Elizabethan bodice from a costume I bought from friend. The ruffle and the sleeves are from the skirt fabric of the same dress.  The black cotton velvet skirt and oversleeves are part fabric purchased from a friends de-stash.  The gold fringe was originally left over from the bustle dress (Oh good lord, I haven't shown you all photos of THAT either...) but I was lucky to be able to source more since I would be needing it.

Long story shortened:

Lots of pins were used...
I started by dying 1/2 inch twill tape black and cutting out and hemming the knife pleated ruffle for the hem of the skirt.  I originally calculated that I would use 3 panels of the black velvet and ended up having to add another panel.  This meant that the red ruffle was 522 inches long and I made it 8 inches deep.  I feretted the hem 18th Century style so the black twill would peak out at the bottom.  Then I pleated the ruffle onto one inch twill tape so it would be removable if necessary.

I used the same treatment for the Black velvet skirt, except that I used white one inch twill to ferret the hem there it was supposed to give a nice pop at the transition - but it wasn't as dramatic as I had hoped. The skirt is cartridged pleated into a grosgrain waistband (which I may replace).

I added a peplum to the bodice to make it more Victorian looking and add two sets of sleeves and poof! The sash was a trial because I wanted to match/compliment the fringe that I had already added to the dress so I ended up using a brushed twill and the wrong side of gold lamé to make the sash.  I added more fringe to the ends of the sash and stiched it together in such a way that I have one wee little pocket to hold my gate pass and a couple of bills since I don't carry a bag (what queen does?) and voilà! A fancy Fancy Dress Queen of Hearts!

The Challenge: Literature & Masquerade

Fabric: cotton Velvet (black and red), red silk taffeta, and white silk, brushed twill and some lamé
Pattern: none... o.O, I drafted everything free hand or used a toile I had on hand...
Year: 1850-1860 Fancy Dress
Notions: LOTS of thread, hooks & eyes, twill tape, dye,grosgrain ribbon, three tone Italian tassel fringe... and a lot of patience
How historically accurate is it? I think its pretty good.  The fabrics are correct (except maybe the lamé - which could probably substitute for cloth of gold - but since I'm using the wrong side it makes no never-mind except that it wiggles when you sew... :()
Hours to complete:I don't think I want to add it up.  I've been working at it since early October (evenings and weekends and put the finishing touches on by the second weekend of Fair.   I'd say a good starting estimate is 2-3 40 hour weeks (lots and lots of hand sewing). I've a couple of things left to tweak, but it is wearable and beautiful.
First worn: Dickens Fair November 2013
Total cost: somewhere between $400 and $500 for materials, labor?  80 to 120 hours - so a final cost is $1,200 to $2,900 depending on the hourly rate at which I pay myself (mentally that is and NOT including accessories).... o.O

*** I PROMISE to add photos of me IN the dress and a post about the Bustle Gown is forthcoming... Just look for me on Facebook if you don't want to be patient.