Let me dust those cobwebs! Wait for it……..I’ve been away. Stay with me. Goodness to come.
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Let me dust those cobwebs! Wait for it……..I’ve been away. Stay with me. Goodness to come.
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My lack of posting here can only mean one thing, I have been very hectily busy! I been sewing, working, cooking, mommying….very busy indeed. I was never the best blogger in the world, but then Titter came along and there went mu desire to write these long posts when my Twitter tweets filled that need nicely. So, I’m sure my readers most likely follow me on Twitter, so you know what I’ve been up to, but I know there may be some that don’t so I must apologize for not keeping current here. I have a slew of post to make, mainly my Costume Con 29 experience and our family trip to Orlando a few weeks back.
Here is my Balticon schedule though. Lets get this out the way first. I’m mainly on the costuming track, but I have a kids panel and I’m also helping out.
I’ve made a few updates as I have received my schedule from the Balticon scheduling person! Hipppppeeeeee!
Thursday, May 26
Not an official Con day, but I’ll be arriving to the Hunt Valley Inn around 6pm to start stuffing those registration packets!
Friday, May 27
Morning, before 1pm: I’ll be in/around the Con suite helping out there
Afternoon: I’ll be getting ready…I’ll be in my steampunk LITE gear
5pm, Salon D: Deconstructing Costume Construction – I’m on this panel.
8-10pm Kamikaze costuming, Chase room. I’m helping out.
10pm —– Dancing in the Gears!!!! Valley ballroom
Saturday, May 28
9am, Salon D: Corset, Hoopskirt and bustle panel – I’m moderating this one. Learn all about bustles, hoops, corsets and how to achieve that period-specific profile. Also, how to make them!
3pm, Salon D: Making Sense of Patterns and Sewing References
5pm and on – I’ll be prepping for the masquerade. I’ll be doing a presentation of my award winning CC29 and my daughter will be in her first masquerade!
Sunday, May 29
I’ll be in costume, floating and looking pretty. I have no panels!
Monday, May 30
10am, Salon D – The Sewing Machine Panel. My specialty is sewing machine feet.
12pm – Con Suite_ Kitchen Chemistry! Learn how to do cool and exciting chemistry at home! I’m THE panel!
So I look forward to seeing everyone at Balticon! Please come to a panel if you’re interested in sewing/costuming.
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McCall’s, we need to talk. Seriously.
Isn’t that pretty? It looks like a fancy prom dress. Oh wait a moment, McCall’s wants to call this a COSTUME pattern. See, this is why serious apparel seamstresses/tailors have NO respect for costumers. Rubbish like this. Now, what kind of costume is this? From the silhouette I MUST assume they mean it to be Tudor, but I can’t say I recall Tudor fashion having a strapless bodice!!! Seriously!
First of all, strapless! Princess seams on the bodice! No. The bodice laces closed, so it is not a corset and it laces in the back, not really Tudor. Those “sleeves”. Non! Sleeves like that exist only in fairy world.
Now, the skirt. It doesn’t look nearly wide enough, but that’s okay. I use this cheat of having a contrast panel on the front, which isn’t period, but it does simulate the look of a split dress. Hey, in fact, that skirt looks a lot like
I have that pattern and if you are anything like normal size, then the skirt isn’t wide enough for a Tudor-early Elizabethan era dress. It does work well for a petticoat, but really does anyone really need a pattern to make a petticoat? I also found this pattern to be very wasteful of fabric, and I converted all those weird curves into straight lines and also had to extend the tops for a proper pleating ratio as they wanted you to gather the skirt to the waistband….*sigh* the waistband is also way too wide. Oh, I misspoke. It looks like the skirt is pleated to the waistband, so all is not lost.
So nice try McCall’s, but you FAIL!
To even add insult to injury, they put this in the Historical section instead of the regular crappy costumes section.
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I’ll be glad when I come up with a name for this costume so I can stop calling it the CC29 costume or the Snake Charmer costume I want a nice, sexy name for it, but I just haven’t been bitten by the bug of inspiration as of yet.
So I have been working on CC29C for the past 2 months or so…maybe seriously the last month. I had one of my guild members come over who is an expert at draping and we went ahead and got the thing draped (whew), then she came back about a week later and helped me drape/draft the skirt portion. The bodice is a straight-up drape, but the skirt was adapted from Vogue 2931 which if I had more energy I would embed a photo of it. So I wanted that shape-sort-of in the skirt and I didn’t see the point of reinventing the wheel for the skirt portion.
So, the bodice took quite a bit of work and a few idiotic mistakes, but the entire dress had been toiled (if that is even a word) and is now sitting on Mini Me and looks really good. Since it is a one-shoulder gown, I had originally thought of making a foundation to hold up me, but now that I am wearing my lizard skin under it, I can wear a normal, supportive bra. I still went ahead with the foundation though, as this gown will be heavy and the foundation will keep the dress from sagging and looking ugly.
So I decided to make a corselette. What I find quite fascinating about the corselette is that is you Google it, you gets all kinds of rubbish and if you look in my Claire Schaeffer Couture sewing techniques she gives okay dorections on how to make on, but this is really a subject that just doesn’t get much visibility. Honestly, I may have been able to get away with a heavier, wider waist stay, but decided to make the corselette anyway. So Claire (I can call you Cliare can’t I? I feel like i know you so well) has these really complex yet strangely lacking instructions for constructing a corselette in the book. If you know the book then you likely know what I mean. So I could have drafted a pattern for this too, but didn’t want to so I went with Vogue 8288 which has a boned bodice. I didn’t like the cup shape, but I was able to draft that out and come up with a nice pattern. I made a toile of it, it looked quite good. The I went ahead a cut out a layer in my favorite bleached muslin and silk organza.
I haven’t bound the top edge yet, but I want to use the yellow of the top of my bodice in case it shows or is right at the top. I’m not cutting anything out of my fabric until I get the dress sections cutout. I’m just paranoid that way. It’s a lot easier to cut bias strips from a remnant that to not be able to fit a bodice piece onto my fabric because I just cut the bias out wrong.
So that is it. Well, not quite. I was originally going to use 1/4″ white steel for the boning since I have a crapload of it. Well, the white steel was doing this weird thing at the top, so I ordered what I thought was 1/4″ spiral but got 1/2″ spiral So I went back and removed the boning channels then made new ones and put the 1/2″ spiral boning in. It doesn’t make for a heavier corselette than I originally wanted, but it gives a nice shape and feels good and sturdy. Also, it fit me quite well and once I tack the dress to it, I’ll have confident the skirts won’t drag my bodice down.
SO that’s it for now. Next bog post I’ll finish up the dress toile and share with you the humongous list of stuff I still have to do for this costume. It’s a doozy.
Well, I was going to call this a costume and sewing update but that would require me to have done muchly non-costume sewing as of late which was no good. Really, I don’t know where the time goes! So I won’t even go into the more recent costumes, I’ll rehash the OLD costumes I was talking about.
Remember The Odyssey? No? well, I don’t blame you. At the bottom of this post is the sketch and this posttalks about the components. It took me about 3 months of sewing to get it all done, and I got plenty of other things done as well. This is why I am being so lazy about my new costume, which I have purchased the fabric for but that is all. A bit backwards, buying fabric first but that’s how I roll. Anyway, back to The Odyssey.
So I ended up using these patterns…
Laughing Moon #100 Ladies Victorian Underwear
Laughing Moon 112 Hoops and bustles
Truly Victorian 362 Wash overskirt
Butterick 5232Victorian jacket
Simplicity 2556 misses vests
All except the Simplicity are “costume” or recreation patterns. The laughing moon patterns were an absolute dream to work with, Very well drafted, they went together like a dream. I never followed the instructions for the corset. but I did for the small bustle I ended up making. I made the Silverado bust gore corset and I love this corset so much. It fit me like a dream come true. It was awesome and comfortable to wear. Of course I don’t have any good pictures of it, but I’ll review this on the web somewhere and when I do I’ll cross post it here. The truly Victorian pattern did not suit my body type at all, and it had this weird bit on the front of the corset that stuck out. Hmm, very strange, Instead f adapting that one to work, I tried the Laughing Moon and was very pleasantly surprised. The Laughing Moon bustle I ended up making was the View E short bustle. See, I was very concerned about having a “shelf” because I wasn’t wearing a full underskirt under my overskirt, so I thought I needed a tiny lobster claw bustle. Well, I never dis like the look of it, but by then it was too late to do anything about it.Knowing what I know now, I would have made the View D, perhaps shortening it a bit. This was my first go at bustles, and it turned out not so bad. I ended up not wearing a chemise under my corset, I made a tube of of cotton ribbing and that worked quite well. I also made these sort of tap pants to wear under it all, they ere quite comfortable and made restroom trips very easy! Most important when wearing a bustle, 2 skirts and a corset!
The Simplicity vest had to be seriously altered to fit smoothly over my corset. It had modern sizing and a corset is not modern sizing! I had to redraft the entire pattern, and I actually ended up over fitting it somehow. I made two of these vests, and one was significantly smaller than the other. I’m still not sure how that happened. I had to go back and insert a panel under the buttons so my corset wasn’t showing through.
I don’t recall too much pain from the Butterick jacket. I did make toiles of EVERYTHING! So I did have to make some sizing adjustments to the jackets. I do remember getting the cuffs on was a bit of a headache, and I had to hand sew quite a bit of the trim on. Other than that, it wasn’t too bad. I really like the recent Butterick costume patterns, they are decently drafted, just the sizing needs to be checked. Most of the directions seem to be quite well. Non-period of course but since this was an original design, I wasn’t going for historical accuracy. I just wanted it to look good.
The Truly Victorian pattern was also well drafted. Although this was the last part of the costume I made, well second to last. I must have been pretty fatigued by then as I made several large errors with it. Things like having the pattern pieces backwards, sewing the darts in the front instead of the back. It was crazy! Luckily though, this skirt has a LOT of draping, so the darts were not critical, but this was really the worst made item of the entire costume. I screwed up the hems, and tried to sew the trim on to hide it, and it looks terrible. Only from the wrong side, someone looking at the costume would never know, but that is the kid of thing that drives me crazy.
When I had the costume all sewed up, I had Jason tie me into the corset and I tried everything on. I didn’t like the way the over skirt was falling and the combination of the bustle and the overskirt just felt weird on my bare skin, so I whipped up a mini-under skirt to go with it. I was so proud of the wee skirt and NO ONE EVER SAW IT! Well! I made this gorgeous pleated trim that went around the bottom, it was SOOOOOO Victorian!
Anyway, here are some lovely photos of the ensemble completed and me wearing it…
This is the “official” photo…
This is a rear photo…
Rather nice, eh? Jut looking at these I realize that I forgot to mention much of the other trials and tribulations that went along with this costume. I’ll have to remember to blog more on the next ones.
At any rate, this was my very first masquerade entry, so I did enter as Novice for the first and last time. I won a wormadship award for Best Tailoring and a……Best In Class!!! W00T!
If I look tired in this picture, it would be because I WAS! This was taken at about 1am, not so terribly late, but I was so nervous for much of the day….I was exhausted.
Okay, enough of that for now. I’ll write another post to get caught up on the costume sewing (maybe) then I’ll start with my more mundane posts. Ta!
New Costume design!!!!
Ah, the promise that is a new costume! There is the figment, then the idea, the sketch, the colors, the fabric, the trim, then the very long but oh-so-worth it constructions process! We are now officially 233 days away from Costume Con 29, where this beauty will be competing in the Fantasy and SciFi Masquerade. How very exciting!
So, I have had the figment (some sort of snake charmer), to the idea (Yes, a snake charmer!), the sketch (see there!) with the colors. The Fabric has been purchased, now……
I know it’s not the best sketch ever, but you hopefully get a lovely idea of what I am trying to accomplish!
I went to G-Street fabric the other night and they were having the MOST AWESOME sales and I was able to get all the fabric I’ll need!
I am so looking forward to this costume! For those of you not going to Costume Con, but who will be at Balticon, don’t worry! You’ll get to see it there, thought I hopefully won’t be able to compete it there as I hope to win an award at Costume Con!
Well, watch this space for updates! I still need to come up with my patterns1 Yes, I know. I purchased fabrics without a pattern, bu I think I’ve been doing this long enough to estimate fabric allowances (says I now, will those words haunt me?)
A brief note before the post of the day. I was going to say that in French, but then I didn’t want to Google it, hey! It’s late and I just spent 3 hours fixing this site so give me a break already! Yes, the site is back up, whew! Let’s say I now know more about MySQL, databases, WordPress and GoDaddy hosting than I ever hoped or wanted to. I did battle and I came out victorious. I cannot help noticing however that the website looks old and tired. I assume most read it in a reader, but I am sure some of you still cruise by the site so maybe I’ll take some time to spiff it up. I still have LOTS of cleaning to do in my directories after that patch job! Enough chitter chatter, time to get on with part two of the invisible zipper tut!
You’ll recall from months ago, oh wait, it the post just before this one. Well, while the posts are separated in time, they are adjacent to each other in space! He he he. Okay, so if you look just below you’ll see that invisible zipper was simply put in the back of a dress, but what happens if you are making a skirt with a yoke, or if your dress has separate bodice and skirt sections? How on Earth does everything line up and not look crooked or wonky. Indeed.
Gather all the supplies, your zipper, pins, a tailor’s ruler, chalk.
Measure from the top down. Since this bodice is lined, I SHOULD HAVE measured down so the zipper stop will be right at the bodice/lining seamline. This is for my daughter and I don’t want to fuss with a hook and eye.
Now, pin the left side of the zipper to the right-right side of the panel. Making sure the zipper teeth are facing into the garment, the zipper tape should be ~2/8″ from the finished edge, the zipper teeth should be on your seamline, in this case 5/8″. I don’t measure this since my serged finish is 2/8″ wide.
Now sew it in, using the appropriate zipper foot. I can’t say it enough. I use YKK zippers, so I use a YKK zipper foot. The opening in the foot fits the zipper coils perfectly, leading to a fusion of form and function that is truly beautiful. Note also how I place the pins so I can easily remove whilst sewing.
Now, this next part is key. You see how when you zip the zipper, the zipper tape is against the panel (well, DUH!), take the chalk and mark this! Just draw a line on the zipper tape where the seam/join is on the panel.
Go ahead and zip it up again (see why I never bother re-ironing the zipper?), and check that the tops are even…
and check the join meets up evenly. You see here I won the Lotto and everything looked good, but if the top and/or the join is off you’ll need to shift and re-pin. This is very important and I would rather move pins that rip out zippers!
That’s it for now. At some point I’ll take a picture of all the ribbons I been winning and the costumes that go with them.
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I was perusing my sewing blogs via my RSS reader and came across a post that vilified the awesome invisible zipper. Truth be told, when I returned to sewing with a passion ten years ago, te humble lapped zipper terrified me. I discovered the invisible zipper and liked it so much I went on ebay and bought a huge lot of them. I already had bought the invisible zipper foot at Vogue fabrics in Evanston, IL. Since then I’ve done a handful on non-invisible zips, only when the design demands it.
Honestly, invisible zippers are soooo easy, and they look soooo good, I don’t understand all the hate. Putting one in is very easy, but there are two critical steps that if left out, will turn your invisible zipper into a hot mess.
If one does not do the two above steps, one WILL end up with an invisible zip that is visible and will be nigh impossible to zip up without breaking it.
I’m sure some eagle eyes is all nitpicky thinking, well I can see where it ends, but really! There isn’t a dimple, or a pucker and that is why it is so important to use a zipper foot beneath the zipper to get as close as possible to the seam. Like wise, the coil ironing will allow the stitches to form right next to the coils, right where they should be.
This is the easiest zip to put in, just in one garment piece. The next logical question is, how do I put an invisible zip into a yoked skirt or a dress? Stay tuned, that will be in my Invisible zipper tutorial, part II. I’ll give you a hint, chalk is your friend!
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So, I have been quite the busy bee, err, seamstress this month. I was able to make that entire big list I had made out earlier which was:
Complete blouse – Simplicity 2501
Complete Martin’s fleece hoodie – Burda 9822
Complete Emma’s pink velour – New Look 6770
Complete Emma’s diamond dress – New Look 6846
Start Emma’s grey flower dress – Simplicity 2483
Resume costume work – Truly Victorian TV101 (bustle), TV110 (corset), TV362 (overskirt), Butterick 5232 (jacket), Simplicity 2556 (vest), LM100 (Chemise)
Measure/prepare the patterns for the saffron silk ensemble New Look 6799 and Advance 2878
and then I had the nerve to add making a slip and a Burda Style print out pattern. Yeah.
The blouse and Martin’s fleece hoodie are both done, no photos, sorry. Emma’s diamond dress and the pink velour hoodie/skirt set are DONE!!!
I finished the corset and the chemise…
I never did take a photo of myself in the corset…it’s a b**** to get in, but it looks great, Maybe this weekend I’ll have Jason take a photo of me in it.
The slip I made for this crappy skirt…but I never did line it and I was having quite an issue with it clinging to my tights. I thought it would hang better with the slip, but it didn’t and I think I am going to have to rip it apart to fix the fit issues. *sigh*
I am currently working on the skirt and the pattern for The Saffron Ensemble. Like how I made that in caps? I was hoping to get that done in February. I haven’t really “prepped” the patterns. The Vintage Advance 2878 pattern is a size too big for me, so I went ahead and traced the pattern and cut it out in Muslin. I was hoping by simply trimming 1/4″ of selected seam allowances and tweaking the bust dart I would be able to get it to fit okay. The dress pattern is a New Look 6799. I love New Look patterns and they usually fit me quite well. The pattern is cut up and I am going to go ahead and make a muslin of that.
So my February Goals are:
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So, I have been doing quite a bit of sewing lately. While I do like to keep all my “sewing crap” organized, I have so much of it (a new notion? I must have it!) and the very process of what to do with extra needles, buttons, thread, elastic, zippers, interfacing, seam rippers, bobbins, extra presser-feet, thimbles, wax, chalk, snaps, closures, trim, seam binding, scissors, pins, cutting boards, irons, ironing boards, etc become quite the chore indeed. Right now, I feel like everything is a delicate balance. Like,m if I remove this before that, the whole mess will come crashing down. The only benefit is that I know where almost everything is, except for when I don’t. Last weekend my sewing came to a crashing halt when I was unable to find a pattern! So I did a stop-gap measure where I did a mini-clean, but look, these pictures really do speak for themselves!
First, the obligatory machine photos
My Platinum 730, which I love dearly and hope to have the rest of my sewing life.
My new, cute wee serger. I have heard it debated that this one doesn’t even “qualify as a serger” because it doesn’t do the coverstitch, but I don’t need a coverstitch. This s15 does exactly what I wanted it for, to finish my seams and it does it beautifully and I only had to spend 340 USD to do it. If I decide I need a coverstitch machine when I grow up, I’ll buy one.
So, as you see mu sewing machine and serger sit right next to each other on my work table. While I notice that most people seem to have their machines adjacent to each other or across from each other, I really like this setup. I have a bit less space on my work table, but the serger sitting on the front corner leaves room (as you can see in the pic) for all my iron supplies to fit right behind it, out of the way.
As you can see from this picture. the basket holds my machine manuals, and my pattern holding area. The pattern holding area contains patterns that: I am currently working on, want to work on “next”, want to work on but honestly will never get around to.
This is where I store all my thread. Yes, that is all the thread I own. I am now officially at just-over-full capacity and I am banned from buying anymore thread.
So this is just behind my sewing machine. I bought this big, divided box to hold all my smaller sewing notions. It stores all my machine needles, my needle stash, patter weights, thimble, wax, chalk, fray check, seam gauges, rulers, seam rippers, presser feet, and empty bobbins. I have a wee tray inside my sewing machine that stores feet and bobbins, but some of my feet are too big and I only store threaded bobbins in the sewing machine. I really love this box, but I have a hard time keeping it tidy. I love that it keeps my heavily used notions near, and I don’t have to scramble around to change a needle or whatever. I could get rid of a few things in it, like those pattern weights that I never use.
This is a scary picture! This is the rest of my work table. Ugh. If we just restrict ourselves to the surface only, there is my “dangerous box” which is the black and white open box, where I store my scissors, rotary cutter and pins. The white basket is where I store my current project notions, things like the right thread, my silk tracing thread, buttons, zippers, trim, etc. Then I will have other stuff on there also. Like the mending I need(ed) to do, a small jar of hand cream, my crotch/waist curve, fabric scraps, princess tiara, pincushion, trim bags, etc.
Now, for the really scary, before and after photos. I was really going to go all out and move everything around, but then I realized I was planning on moving my sewing area into the “cold” corner of the room, I quickly changed my mind and did light duty moving.
First, the mess
Are you horrified? I am and was! I cannot believe I was in that for so long. Like I said, I didn’t really get as much done as I wanted, hopefully this spring I’ll still have some of this manic energy left and I can finish the job!
After the purge:
So much better!
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