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.