Thursday, 27 December 2012

pattern MIA for too long

late last night I decided that as I'd been missing half the pattern pieces for a year, that I would replace Decades of Style skirt pattern 3004.

That way I might find the half cut out skirt ... started on the first Saturday in 2012 and packed away in June/July. Now I can't find that, so I figure if I replace the pattern I might find the skirt and if I don't at least I have the pattern again.

While I was at it I ordered a 1926 negligee, I've always liked the look of it and if I was going to pay more for international postage than the single pattern, then I might as well add another pattern.  I'll change the neckline of the negligee, either a slit or v at the front. I hates things around my neck.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

more inspiration from Dr Who

"I'm a lizard woman from the dawn of time and this is my wife".  LOL

Athough this xmas special had some creepy moments, I had some guffaws of laughter too.  I liked Clara's red & black ensemble but had major grabby hands for the blue/black bustle gown. Oh, want so badly.  A bit sad that it's at a time when I'm too unwell to get anything done - I'm typing this lying flat on my back cos it's the only position that stops my gallbladder squawking at me.

I need to see if I persuade my inner self to break my self imposed fabric fast

Thursday, 6 December 2012

work, sleep {rinse, repeat}

My life at the moment bores even myself, nominal excitement this week was buying more bobbins.  I'm in a holding pattern, where my gallbladder hasn't perked up completely and I'm still off my food, whining to anyone that will listen, and losing weight. 4kg in 3 weeks, which actually isn't good for gallbladder issues. {rolls eyes}.

I need to download my photos from Sunday and post about the annual costumers picnic ... I wasn't feeling too bad on the weekend but have been going downhill since.

(What did I say about whining to anyone who'll listen!)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

dissimilar thread eases that concern

It seems I don't need to worry about matchy matchy ... I couldn't find a thread colour that worked with both fabric.  So that settles my mind a little.

I didn't get any sewing done as I slept 4 hours in the afternoon (or just under that) and was in bed by 7.30, and asleep only half an hour or so after that.

I'm going to head out earlyish in the hopes of getting a spot for the ACG picnic - open genre at Parramatta Park western domain.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

first step ticked - cutting out the hobbit skirts

I went to bed early cos I was so very tired, and I was suprised to I wake up far, far to early today.  But I was all twitchetty to cut out my hobbit skirts ... tube skirts are so easy!  That way I can take the left over pieces (for waistbands) to the shops to get thread instead of taking all the dyed yardage. I'm hoping one spool will blend with both fabrics, but hey whatevs. It's a blurry shot, but it's all you're getting at the moment :p

I'm going to see Hotel Transylvania this morning, meeting a friend and if I get to the shops early I'll get thread first, and if not after the movie.  It's due to be a stinky hot day, so I'll probably come home & practice napping in the arvo. Maybe sew a couple of seams :)   I also found some pale pink canvas in the stash that I can use as the boned base of my hobbit bodice. Must double check how many grommets to hand I have for the back, and maybe get some more cable ties

Sunday, 25 November 2012

fabric: my mood altering substance of choice

I meant to post this during the week but was too busy sleeping!

I was able to not buy fabric yesterday (put some delicious green linen back on the shelf that would have been great for the hobbit apron, but not at $38m) because not only did I stock up when in brisbane only 2 weeks earlier, but I'd also shopped online and it arrived early this week. Although I'll try to wriggle on the fabric diet hook and say that at least I discarded half the fabrics I wanted to buy (both IRL and online shops).

I got the end of roll grey cotton voile with black tufts & white stripes. Just noticed it's a cross weave of white and black  It'll be an ideal early 1800s gown to go under my half made open robe.  The cotton shirting on the right is for a work blouse/shirt. I photographed it sideways by mistake and though I might prefer this to the proper direction I remember the only time I cut a blouse on the other grain cos I preferred it, it was just that bit tighter a grain and that shirt was never quite comfortable. So much so that I gave it away rather than keep wearing it.

I'm thinking that I need to use the shirting this summer. If only I could find my half cut out blue herringbone linen/rayon. I also want to dye some of the other linen/rayon to use this summer, maybe a berry red?

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Sydney sewing bloggers meetup

Kristy from lower your presser foot,  mentioned Christy's (Little Betty) suggestion of a sewing blogger meet up here in Sydney for today.

Despite still not feeling the best I joined them a little late and managed to not buy any fabric despite visiting both Tessuti & The Fabric Store in Surry Hills.

It's always great to see velosewer, Sandra, and Sharon, and to meet new-to-me sewing enthusiasts  - scaredstitchless etc.

I took one dodgy photo in Tessuti (which I might not be thanked for!)

At the Fabric Store I hit the fatigue wall and sat looking at KwikSew patttern book & noticed 2 patterns that others making a hobbit costume might find easily adaptable.  First up K3065 for the blouse with changes to the sleeve length.  In fact it's reminded me of an early intention to elasticate the waist and underbust to make sure it doesn't ride up while I'm wearing it.

And then K3220 for the bodice. Place the CF line on the fold at front, and at the back cut half or quarter of an inch from the CB line, and don't add a seam allowance so that there's approx a 2" gap between the lacing.  It still needs to be fitted more closely to the body and boned to keep it from bunching up etc.

By the time we were all ready to leave the Fabric Store for a tea/coffee/wine I felt shattered, so I got a cab home. 

And slept for 2 hours. This is the year of sleeping, not of sewing.

fabrics for the hobbit - pre & post dye

I tried very hard to use stash fabrics for my hobbit costume, if only because I have so much to use. This is the first from the stash that said, hey I can be hobbit-worthy.

I looked through the spreadsheet for suitable candidates and decided that these could be made to work with some dye. The pale pink no longer really suits me, and there's enough for an underskirt. After overlocking the cut ends & prewashing them I added 2x fire red and 1x silver grey Jacquard iDue to the washing machine.

I was feeling all paranoid that the dye had made them too matchy-matchy but I've told myself to just deal with it!  I need to use the fabric I has instead of buying ever more in search of elusive perfection. I also allowed myself to buy some check lawn for the blouse. It made me infinitely happier than a plain offwhite.

On the top: left fabric is the linen underskirt, and the top right silk/linen for the bodice centre front.
On the bottom row: plaid lawn for the blouse, floral print for the side & back oof bodice, and plaidy fabric is the over skirt. I'd like to dye some green linen darker for the apron, or I've got some coarse weave linen I could also use.

I'd better get started cutting the blouse & skirts ... the easy peasy items

Not the best of years

Turns out I've had another health problem all year that's just flared up ... gall bladder issues.

Now most people with gallstones have no problems, and when I say most it's around 70% are hassle free.  I found out from my ultrasound & CT scans earlier this year (for other issues) that I had them and the reason for the scans was tickety-boo fine but BTW gallstones.  Even the more problematic lady-parts ultrasound at the end said BTW gallstones. (What the???  how are they even close!!!!)

Anyhoo, it turns out that the reason all year that  I've (1) had days off my food (the sushi a month or so ago wasn't not-right, it was me) and that (2) off & on when I've gone to bed I flopped around like a dying fish cos of a whingy ache-not-pain around my right shoulder blade is all because my gall bladder decided it was unhappy. I've had no other more common pain or signs.

I think I've avoided hospital for this year, but at least even though it's only a matter of time, it's not as likely to be a sudden emergency when it happens.

I'm hoping my energy levels will be better and I'll get some actual sewing done and therefore have content to blog about.

Monday, 19 November 2012

baby-stepping to a hobbit costume

I know I could draft the hobbit blouse myself - using the Elizabeth Stewart Clark chemise directions but to be honest I know that would just lead to even more procrastination. So I squizzed peasant blouse patterns & thought Simplicity 1915 would be easy enough but wasn't prepared to pay the $18 price tag in Australia. Not even prepared to buy it 50% off at Lincrap.

But while I was there I thought I'd look at pattern books, something I haven't done for years. I was flipping through Burda and spotted in their Historical a set comprising chemise, 2 piece drawers and a corset. Which amused me cos the drawers are a different era to the corset and the chemise isn't a proper period pattern but it is exactly what I wanted. I got the pattern even though it was $16 and not on sale cos I want the corset pattern as well as the chemise.

There's some fuzzied up logic in there somewhere. 18x50% saved me time only & still needed tinkering. $16 saved me time with way less tinkering and got me the entertainment value of the pattern set AND the corset pattern.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

new fabric for current & soonish fabrics

One of the many highlights of my weekend with friends in Brisbane was a shopping trip to several fabric shops. I got 3 fabrics in each of the first and last shops. One in the middle gave me ticker shock even though I was warned it was luxe, and very luxe at that.

Here's the haul.
Top left is going to become a vintage style summer dress, and top right the petticoat skirt for Idris. Not perfect I know but it was affordable in a tight budget year to be.
Middle left is to be a summer lawn blouse, and the brown/red tiny check is going to be my hobbit blouse, and a 1800s fichu.

Bottom left I almost squeed, regency dress fashion plate below (posted on LJ by lamodeillustree), and bottom right is going to be a regency open robe. wooot.  ow that sheer isn't a dead ringer, but it's the best I'm ever going to find so I just couldn't resist.

Friday, 2 November 2012

easy peasy costume - pyjamas :)

I'm going to a Rocky Horror themed party tomorrow night and decided that I'd go for the comfort costume option - Columbia's PJs+mouse ears. She wears it in a song, which one I can't remember but it doesn't really matter.

I've taken almost no progress pics ... they're not exactly fascinating.

PJ pants all done, elastic on the waist -

then 5 automatic button holes & I can sew the buttons on by machine if I set it up right. Other wise I can sew them on the train out to the party.  Must double check my make up bag for

and the top is 50% done. body assembled, sleeve assembled, collar assembled.  Tonight I'm going to pin the collar and facing ready to blast in 1 steady seam ... then I'm stitching the facing down.  hem is overlocked ready to eyeball tomorrow morning, and I'll pin the sleeves in ready to blat around & then overlock.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

mmh cake is baking in the oven

I've been a patchy blogger this year - I've been plagued by ill health although that seems to be turning the corner.

I'm very happy with my new hand held blender, it's making baking much easier as my tennis elbow means I can't whisk or beat eggs/mixes by hand for long enough.

Today I've got a pear upside down cake in the oven - gluten free and I used nuttlex instead of butter for the topping.

This is it ready to go into the oven.  I could never have beaten the egg whites until they were stiff peaky.

The recipe I'm using is this one, although I used 4 eggs as mine were small not large

Monday, 17 September 2012

Deadwood on a Saturday night

A nightclub (but not really a nightclub, they have live bands, retro movie screenings etc) had a Deadwood ball on Saturday night.  I met some friends and friends of friends there for a fun evening.  I'd planned to make a copy of Alma's red dress but time and health intervened. I had my fallback plan of historical underwear and a short lived career in the Gem saloon.

I wore my candy stripe corset, and it's now so loose that I can put it on with the back fully laced closed. Also wore it over my bustle petti & bustle pad cos it's prettier that way despite being inauthentic. Oh and I added some eyelet broderie anglaise to the neckline of a regency chemise as I didn't need a wardrobe malfunction.  I figured I'd be lucky if more than 3 people knew it wasn't done that way.  A slightly matted long curly brown wig from my wig box was ideal for the Gem but not for Alma. 

The bustle pad could have been very handy if it was more stable

With a couple of friends, one as Joanie and the other as one of her Chez Ami girls (I was Gem saloon for sure)

A Wyatt Earp with a couple of the Gem's girls

The Reverend Smith showed his concern for all residents of Deadwood!  I saw him when I arrived but didn't spot him again until the evening was almost over, and I just had to get a photo with him.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

invited to the Miss Page Collection 1940s patterns launch

I feel incredibly lucky have been invited to the launch of a new vintage pattern range.  I met Lorna of Stitch Up History about 18 months ago through the Australian Costumers' Guild, and only recently found out she not only had a vintage pattern range planned but about to be launched. 

What a happy coincidence for me that I was in the right city, at the right time *and* was invited to the launch last Sunday. The Paragon Cafe in Katoomba was the venue, which is where Miss Page worked in the 40s ... and hated the drudgery by all accounts. Who can blame her for that though she made life long friends with other workers there.

Enjoying the champagne on arrival.  My camera is proving to be a disappointment. Too many out of focus shots and it's determined to not use the flash when *I* think it should.  It's also taking far too long to take the pic and waits a minimum of 6 seconds to be ready for another. grrrr.

So here's some more abstract pics of the garments.

A land army style overalls - stylish!  and a cuter than cute sailor suit.  If only it would make my posterier look half as good I'd have bought it. The website isn't showing the patterns so I can't tell you their names at this point.

The cutest dress Lily Rose - which I pre-ordered

 and here it is with a couple of other views. Onceuponatoile on the left is a comparatively new to sewing and made it in a couple of days so she could wear it to her friend's launch, and that's Lorna on the right in the red with green trim.

There are a couple of evening dresses - the yellow one comes with a fetching shoulder cape (seen further down on onceuponatoile), and the lady in red, Mouna, sang 40s songs between each new garment (one model),

And of course it had to finish with a wedding dress.  Gorgeous too and almost the only photo of the pattern garments to turn out!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Laughing Moon regency/romantic stays pattern

My near obsession with transitional and regency stays continues.

I first heard that Laughing Moon were beta testing a regency stays pattern about a year ago and it's finally being produced.   I pre-ordered mine about 10 days ago to get a small discount and also to get it into my grabby hands as soon as possible. Had I lived in the USA the pre-order also includes free postage, but I'm not so it isn't. (Not a complaint, just a comment).

I got an email saying it's in the mail to me :D 

The pattern includes a theatrical version ... which I'm hoping is easy to dress oneself in so I can use that. 

Saturday, 28 April 2012

at last a regency ball gown

I was inspired by a gown in Bradfield's Costume in Detail from around 1817

I wasn't up to the task of mocking up the sleeves, so I used the sleeves & skirt of the 1816-19 evening dress from Waugh's Cut of Women's Clothing (Diagram 37). I was really impressed with how easy it was to draft the sleeves & scale them up ... I literally drew the sleeves on the fabric with my chalk wheel. I thought I'd taken a photo of that but it seems not :-/

I had to get the back pinned (straight pins) closed on the night, as I haven't yet found a matching cord for the closure.  I'm also thinking of re-cutting the bodice as the neckline is a lot higher than I planned. I put that down to silk taffeta not behaving the same way as the poly-cotton I used as the mock ups.

a new under dress for my open robe

I started cutting out a new underdress in April 2011, and it's lurked in my unfinished sewing ever since. It's the same tufted hailspot cotton voile as my green dress, but a different pattern. I used the same bodice & sleeves as the open robe, but cut slightly higher at the bodice, a rectangle skirt pleated onto it. The same centre front opening as the green dress.

Because this has been the Year of Bad Health, I really needed something quicker to make & wear for the Jane Austen Festival Australia, than any of my other ideas. This was at least partly cut out, I knew it would fit and it would go with my existing open robe.

the good and the bad of packet mixes

I needed to make another cake to take to work .... if I want to join in the morning tea then I need to make it myself!

first the bad - a cup cake packet mix.  It looked like it would be good, but it turned out to be so hideously sweet that I could only eat 2 mouthfulls and then chucked the cupcake away.  Hideously, sickly diabetic coma inducing sweet. (even for a non diabetic)

Never to be tried again. Ever.

the other mix I tried was the buttery sponge from the range I've successfully used the chocolate cake mix

Now this was a success!  Even using nutlex instead of butter it was delicious.  I ended up not going to work the next day as I had a migraine, so I took it with me to Ironfest and fed it to my re-enactment group who happily declared it tasty and you'd never guess it was special for silly innards.

I've already bought another packet for the pantry just in case I need it again

Monday, 27 February 2012

getting ready for JAFA (Jane Austen Festival Australi)

At the beginning of the year, I cut out 3 chemises, a coutil cheat version of my long stays (so I can dress myself) and the 1790s jumps in cotton canvas lined with cotton twill.  Despite being under the weather for most of the year, I've almost finished the chemises and have at least looked at the stays & jumps. Not sewn, but the jumps are so easy that I'm not too worried.  I took the pattern with me to buy some flat steels for the jumps, hmm, I better check that the pattern still fits, as I've lost a little weight.

On Saturday I went to my sewing guild meeting and spent far more time than I'd like hand sewing the binding around the edge of the replacement (ie longer) shoulder straps and whip stitching the straps to the stays.  By the end I wasn't able to focus well enough to thread the needle so I didn't get the hand eyelets stitched for the the straps & where the tie to the front. Only 4 eyelets and it's altered to fit properly.  I also want to devise fan-lacing for it. 

One reason I want the jumps done next is so that I can make & fit this 1798 fashion plate.  I can use the past patterns round gown to make the dress, though perhaps with less fullness in the back to save my brain with all those triangles at the hem.   3 metres of triangle trim will perhaps make my brain go all explodey.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

at last, bread I can eat

It's very expensive, at least I think it is at $6.20 for a smallish sliced loaf. But it's made interstate & shipped here, so that accounts for some of it. Plus to make it without wheat/gluten/soy/potato/dairy/yeast and it still be tasty, well how can I complain, even if I can't afford it every week.

Friday, 3 February 2012

sewing slowdown ... a bit broken

I'm way behind on my austerity corse and I'm going to cut out the mock up this Sunday.  Sadly I've had some health issues that have impacted my my awake time.  That is I've been getting plenty of extra sleep at the time of day when I'm usually sewing. 

So I'm remember the turtle can win the race, and I'm defining win as finishing the corset and my regency clothing plans.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

sooking over shoes

I've noticed a sudden increase in posts about the Astoria shoes .... and I'm a bit down in the mouth about them.  Not cos of the price, sheesh I'm used to paying way more than that for shoes.

I'm having a minor pity party cos my mutantly wide feet mean I'll never fit them. My body is an example of extreme ends of the bell curve, my huge tracts of land are way beyond the norm, even for huge tracts (I dress carefully to not enhance them), my bone structure is shetland pony stocky. Lady watches wouldn't go around my wrists even when I was the right weight.  Large hats are the only size that fit and I have shoes that are boxy flippers not elegant for displaying shoes.

Hmm reminds me I need to see about ordering some wide fit georgian shoes.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

fun with scissors and sticky tape

Tonight I went to the library after work.  They've got a great long bench that I've used for cutting out fabric in the past. 

I sat down with my paper scissors and sticky tape and put together the A4 sheets of paper that the pattern was printed on.  Then I measured the waistline.  11 & 5/8" per each half.  then I worked out how much difference I'd need, and typing this I realised that I forgot to allow a gap in the back of the finished corset. {foreheaddesk}.  So I'm going to have to remove 1" from these 5 pattern pieces.

I didn't divide the total difference by 5, as there are 3 pieces in the front half, and only 2 in the back.  So I split the increase into 2 - equal amounts into the front and the back.  So the front pieces were increased by 1/3 of the quarter body difference, and the back 2 pieces increased by 1/2 of the quarter body difference.  I hope that makes sense to you!

This is what they looked like when I'd done.  I'm also going to extend the upper edge by 4 or 5cm, so that the Huge Tracts of Land are supported by this corset.

Monday, 9 January 2012

tick: enlarge pattern to original size of garment

Today I stayed a bit late at work and scanned & enlarged the pattern using Paint.

What I do is scan and save it as a jpeg.  Then I open the file using Paint.  Print it out once to work out the proportion I need to enlarge it and change that in Print Setup, as well as reduce the margins to as small as possible. Today I had to fine tune cos it was slightly too small - it came to 197.49%, and I went with 197 when 198 worked just fine.

I measure the scale over several inches (at least 3) just to make sure it's as close to accurately scaled as possible.

Came home & stared sewing the 1st regency chemise. Got about 1/3rd of the way and felt my energy plummet. So I stopped sewing before I made a silly mistake.

Tomorrow night I'll take the pattern pieces together & measure the waist & hip to see what they are.

the probable fabric for my Austerity corset

I located the cotton I bought 4m of around 2 years ago.  It's a tightly woven cotton, with the stripes about 1.5cm or 5/8th inch wide.  There's plenty and I thought it would be useful for 20th century underpinnings. 

I also have pale putty green canvas that I got for an edwardian corset - might use it for the denim 1890-1910 corset in Salen's book.  I've scaled that pattern up already, but don't think it's suitable for this sew along.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

not so Utility corset

I'm sewing along with the 1911 corset sew along as it's possibly the only titanic related event I'll get to this year ... however tenuously linked.  There's an 10 course dinner in the Blue Mountains, however it's the same weekend as JAFA so I'll be in Canberra. I'd love to do both but without teleportation it can't happen.

I'm going to be a little non-conformist and sew the 1918 Utility 1917 Austerity corset from Jill Salen's Corsets.  I've long wanted to sew my way through all the pretties and the less pretty, so I'm seizing the opportunity.

I'll not need to use hessian like textile, phew I can afford better than that. I'll do the patterning next week as my local library has printer issues since xmas. :(

I'm cutting out  the 1790 Jumps tomorrow :D   I'm using a single layer coutil with steel bones and metal eyelets.  mwa ha ha ha.  I'm such a lazy re-enactor.   My group's costume authority will allow it cos it's internal and not external clothing.