Thursday, May 7, 2009

A little re-organizing...

So, I have decided to split up my crafting and historical sewing into two different blogs. This one will become crafting-only and historical sewing is moving over to livejournal (under cotton_muslin).

just fyi! :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Its been a while...

Well, as it sadly goes with me and blogging, it has been a while since I have updated. So, instead of studying for a final tomorrow, I decided that OF COURSE it's now the perfect time to catch up!

A lot has happened in my small world of sewing. So much that I have officially weirded out my poor, long suffering roomate by prancing around the apartment in my newest constructions. All the more reason to find an outlet for my growing costume collection!

Firstly, as predicted, I have moved wholy into the 18th century realm. Yay! As it stands right now, I have:

-Pocket Hoops, the pattern right from Corests and Crinolines.
-Chemise, based on the instructions from here. It isnt hemmed yet and needs some fixing at the collar but o well...
-A not-quite finished Stays, also from Corsets and Crinolines (see previous entry). It has all its grommets sewn in at least! Enough to wear around for fittings.
Two Under-Petticoats, thanks to Koshka's wonderfully helpful guide here

Next on the agenda is an over-petticoat and a Caraco from Janet Arnold's patterns. I want to eventually make a gown or two from this period, but I have decided to start out with some smaller pieces to get a foothold on the period and on scaling up and adjusting patterns. Still havent gotten that down to a science...

Pics and posts on individual pieces soon!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

In another crafting interlude...

In yet another crafting interlude, I decided to try making some coasters. These little things work up nice and fast and have really infinite possible variations. I see different ones all over the place online and in crafting books, but I love the ones in Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts so I will cite that source, although to be honest my roommate tried out some first and really got me thinking about making my own. I'm sure there will be more posts to come on other projects from that book that I end up trying. I really want to make a pencil roll and a pin cushion, but more on that later...

For these first sad attempts at coasters, I used scrap cotton fabric that I had in my stash. For the stuffing, I used pieces of felt that I got from a local thrift store. I think I have about two yards of the stuff and again for only about $3!

Enjoy some individual and close up shots of the ones I have tried so far. I like the blue ones and the yellow (although it needs better crafting), but I think the green one was a bust.

Bodice test, take one

So this past fall, I made up a fun, historical-accuracy-be-damned, Renaissance outfit because my roommate and I were determined to go to a Ren Faire. It was a lot of fun and the costumes worked up pretty fast. I even got to actually wear my Victorian corset, although I was ready to get out of it by the end of the day. The Faire was lots of fun too, and there were so many fun costumes to see! We want to go again this summer if we can, so a little while back I started looking into different patterns to try out for this year.

This one is technically called a "corset" but it really works up to be just a slightly boned bodice that ends at the natural waist. It worked up very fast and turned out pretty good. I redrafted the princess seam like front a bit, not liking how my other bodice pattern sort of bubbled a bit in the chest area with the corset underneath.

To make this I used another mystery fabric, in the blue stripes, for the front and then just a striped sheet fabric for the lining. It actually ended up looking a lot sharper than I anticipated. The whole thing laces together at the front, two sides and then at the straps. So, LOTS of grommets to sew if I ever want to use this, which I may not. Unfortunately, it falls a bit awkwardly at the natural waist and I'm not sure a skirt would sit correctly under it. I am toying with the idea of actually forming it into a sort of dress by adding some skirt panels right to the bottom hem (which is still unfinished as you can see). The sides are all boned with featherweight boning around the grommets for support when lacing.

Oh, the pattern I used was Butterick B4669, combined view B minus the ruffle thing at the back.

I really love the blue fabric and I want to use it again, but unfortunately it was a remnant piece and I think I only got about a yard and a half of it. Sigh.

Enjoy a shot of the back with one front/side panel sort of laced up, and then a close up of the same lacing.

Rag Rug

In yet another spastic crafting moment, I decided that I wanted to try my own rag rug. I read about making them here and decided to go through my scrap bin and see if I could start my own. It worked up very fast and was super-simple, although I admit I was less than tedious about my braids. It was fun, colorful, and rather mindless and at the time that was my crafting-capacity. So, now all that's left is sewing it all together, which will take me a while. When its done, I think the plan is to put it in the kitchen. Fun fun! I might eventually make a more planned one, where I might get a few yards of maybe three different fabrics and make strips of that to braid.

Here is a close up of some of the sewing on the back...messy messy, but really, its gonna be walked all over so I'm not too concerned...

Other crafting distractions...

After spending almost all of this past January and some of February deep in the land of period clothing, March saw me needing a break. Not from sewing it would seem, just from clothing. Enter, the quilt...or perhaps, re-enter.

About, oh, maybe 5 years ago I went through a brief quilting phase, and managed to accomplish an entire quilt top. That's where I stopped however, and it has been in a closet ever since...right beside its border fabric, backing fabric, and batting. Really, I had no excuse.

Now, I find myself yet again interested in quilting and really, its just another thing I am going to have no place to store the supplies for! O well. Like that has ever stopped me before. Anyways, instead of finishing my old quilt, I started this one (not my fault! the other quilt was not available to work on...). So far, its just a crib sized top, but the batting is bought and the backing cut out. Its going to get a nice border and then I will pin it, and start hand quilting it. I haven't decided what type of pattern I will be doing, but it will be either in-the-ditch or something equally as simple. And this time, I have every intention of getting it finished and using it! Stay tuned! It may take me a while to get back to it, but I'm hoping to at some point this month. So, not top priority, but still on the schedule.

Enjoy a close-up of some of the piecing.

Moving into the 1700's...?

As much as I love the early 1800's, I have recently found myself wandering into the realm of the 1700's, mostly 1750 on, although I am sure I will eventually drift further backwards in the century...but for now, my fuzzy-focus has been on the latter half. I'm not at the point where I want to dive right into a new gown project (although I do have some future project ideas), however I have been working on getting the foundation pieces together. So, where better to begin than with a nice 1776 corset?

This is my third corset now, and only the second one that really required any serious boning. My first corset, which has yet to get its own blog entry, was an early Victorian (er, I thin knowledge of the Victorian era is a little thin) which I bought an entire kit for, with coutil, busk, bones and boning tape all included. Yay! It was nice and easy, but not really cheep. For this corset (or stays really), I didn't want to spend $50+. Since it doesn't have a busk, and I don't do metal grommets if I can help it, it was already going to be cheaper.

What I ended up using, happily, was:

-My first-ever Corsets and Crinolines (by Norah Waugh) pattern! yay! This time, I used a scanner and some tabloid paper to scale up the pattern pieces, and it worked very well. Much, much easier than scaling by hand. I think I will be using the computer from now on for this process whenever possible.

-A brocade fabric for the front, with the "wrong" side used instead of the right side. I read somewhere (can't remember where) that this can be a nice trick for making modern fabrics look more period-correct. The best part though, is that the fabric was from a set of valences I bought at Good Will
for about $3.50 I think. Now, how can you beat that?!?!

-For the inside, I used some remnant green fabric I had on hand from my Renaissance skirt that I made back in September (yet again, blog entry pending). I'm not even sure what it is, but its of a medium weight and sturdy enough looking. It ended up working well.

-For the lining, I think I am just going to use some white cotton that I have on hand. We shall see.

-For the boning, my new favorite material: Cable Ties!!! For about $8.00 for 10 yard-long pieces at my
wonderfully local home improvement store, you just can not beat it for convenience and price!! And, even though they are a bit wider that I might like and a pain in the butt to cut with scissors, they are really wonderfully effective as boning. I'm not sure I will ever want to use steel again.

As the lame pictures will tell you, I am still in the process of hand sewing all the channels shut, as well as making the grommets. Here is hoping that all the hand sewing practice will improve my skill...and not leave me with carpel tunnel. In the future I will hopefully have some pics for you with this on my dress form. At the moment I still have my open robe pinned to it.

Massive update

Well, it has been a while since I have gotten around to updating here, and I have worked on so many different projects between now and the last time that I did! I keep remembering ones that I still need to photograph...

But anyways, I think I will start with a project that I started working on in January, and only yesterday got back to:

Open Robe/Gown c. 1795

I have wanted forever to make one of these, and every time I saw one in Sense and Sensibility, I would say to myself that I was going to. So, finally, in January I started to look into finding the pattern for one. I ended up going with the V&A diagram from Patterns of Fashion, 1660-1860 by Janet Arnold. I also referenced the diagram by Norah Waugh in The Cut of Women's Clothes, but since hers was without a grid, I mostly used Arnold's. This was my first ever attempt at scaling up an entire pattern (I drafted up some sleeves for my cranberry gown), as well as my first extant-gown-based pattern. After working with simplicity patterns (although they were wonderfully easy to use, I must say) and being frustrated by the less-than-period-correct aspects of them, I was very excited to attempt this gown. Not to mention, there was basically no other choice. At least from what I could find, there were no patterns on the market that really resembled what I wanted to make. Even if there had been, it probably would have been cost prohibitive anyways.

So, I went to work scaling up, by hand...which was a trick with limited space and curly wax paper, but I managed to draft the pieces out. Then, upon making a quick muslin (which I am now using old sheets from Salvation Army and other such thrift stores, and what a wonderful bargain!), I realized that no, I would not magically be the same size as the original owner. Thus began the re-scaling to fit my own measurements. I managed to create nice, correctly sized cloth pattern pieces, which I proceeded to hang up on the wall and not touch until two days ago.

Now, I have managed to get most of the way done on this piece and I am pretty happy with it. It is made entirely of old sheets, but I actually sort of like the color of the fabric. Its too thin really to work effectively as the jacket/robe it is supposed to be, but oh well. Its still really just a practice and hopefully I will eventually make a nicer one. But for now, it works.

Excuse the crappy images, I couldn't be bothered to clean up the shots too much as they are still work-in-progress images. I still need to drape and sew the right side front, and attach the pleats to the lining...not to mention hem. More pics to come when it is all done. Also, it is pictured here with my cranberry gown underneath...which is its self terribly wrinkled as I dragged it out of a drawer just to see what the robe would look like over something. Hopefully I will get to blogging about the cranberry gown soon, and maybe I will even iron it! lol.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Blue-Green Summer Dress

This dress was again done with the simplicity 4055 pattern, this time with some slight alterations in the bodice. I lengthened it to give more gathering at the front, and I altered the back neckline a bit as well so that it would fall nicer.

For this dress I used a greenish-blue small checker pattern cotton fabric. The bodice is lined with bleached
cotton muslin. The skirt and the sleeves are unlined.

I'm ok with how this one came out. Its again not the best fabric choice as the gown ends up looking a little stiff,
but o well. Also, I think I might have burned the back a bit while ironing...oops. Overall, its wearable but I hope to take all that I learned making this gown (and others) and apply it to some better gowns in the future.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Green Cotton Dress

So, after finally making some stays, I decided that it was time to try out a regency gown. I chose this light green cotton fabric to make this dress. It ended up being nice and easy to work with, if not a little stiff looking in the end.

I used the same simplicity pattern 4055 for this dress as I did for my white chemise/petticoat, this time with the long sleeves and no train. I was in a rush to finish it and see how it looked, so it got sort of thrown together. Intended to be wearable but mostly a mock-up, it ended up OK but I doubt I would ever consider wearing it anywhere. It was fun though!

As this dress stands now, its still un-hemmed at the bottom and completely lacking in any detailing. I'm not sure I will ever get around to finishing it, although I may get the urge one day to at least hem the bottom of it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Usefull Books

After checking out what Jessamyn's site recommended as far as pattern books for the regency era, I decided to make use of that resource I so often overlook: the Library. I love books and read to excess, but I always forget about the library! Anywho, so I put an order in for two great books (the only two they could get for me from the list), and they just came in yesterday. I was up until all hours of the night reading them and they really are great. The books I got in are "The Cut of Women's Clothes: 1600-1930" by Norah Waugh and "Period Costume for Stage and Screen: Patterns for Women's Dress 1800-1909" by Jean Hunnisett.

I am hoping to attempt some of the pattens they show, especially an open robe and a drop front gown. Its going to be a trick scaling up the patterns, but I am determined to try.

For a great example of the drop-front gown I want to try, see Koshka-the-cat's version here. She did such a great job.

Short Stays

After attempting my first regency dress (the sad white chemise), I realized that I had to get myself a set of short stays. I wanted to use the Simplicity 4052 pattern, so I found it on ebay and bought it since it is now out-of-print. I was excited about an almost bone-less corset, since I had already made a corset before and the boning had been intense and involved.

I had some cotton muslin on hand, and some stiff blue fabric (have no idea of what type, I had gotten it so long ago), so I decided to use them. I didn't feel like going out and investing in duck cloth and the like if my first attempt was just going to come out crappy. Plus, I was rather impatient to get started :)

It turned out ok in the end, and only a few days ago actually did I finally get around to finishing the edges. The sewing is quick and sloppy, but the stay works well enough for now under a dress. The eyelets are hand sewn and only half done (hehe), but I plan on doing some hand sewing in the near future so they will probably get done then.

Overall, I'm happy with my first attempt at this pattern. I will most likely make a better version in the future.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

White Chemise

So, this project was my first attempt at sewing anything in the regency era. It was a good learning experience, but it was before I really understood the silhouette of the era. It was also when my sewing skills were just starting to really form, so there are many, many things wrong with this piece. However, it was fun to do and still works ok as a petticoat or a least until I get around to making a better one.

To make this
piece, I used Simplicity 4055, with the view A bodice without the sleeves and the view B skirt without the train. Since I made this before my short stays, it fits a little oddly over them. For fun, I added lace to the neckline, but unfortunately its sort of scratchy and uncomfortable on.
O well!


Welcome to my new blog, where I will hopefully be sharing with the world my love for sewing historical fashion. Although most of my current projects are focusing around the Regency era (due to both my current obsession with that time and my less than advanced sewing skills..), I hope to share projects that focus on other time periods as well in the future.

I hope you all enjoy!