Sunday, 21 July 2013

ticking the apron off the UFO list

Yesterday I went to my sewing guild group and mended another laundry-bag (all my bra's get put in suitably sized bags for the washing machine) and after about a year got the binding replaced on my apron.  It came free with my Eurail pass (cough) years ago.  The bias binding had become tatty & broken but the fabric is still really good. So here 'tis.

Originally it had navy binding, but I decided green was another option I'd prefer.

Then I had to leave early for my haircut.

Friday, 19 July 2013

burn and bleach tests for fibre content

I've been looking out for new Ma Dola fabric - a royal blue cotton - to make the dress version of her costume. I hadn't found anything in the easy to get to fabric shops, not even at a higher price than I'd like to pay.

But I did find something interstate on eBay and there is up to 20m available.  So I asked for a sample so I could check the feel/drape & content.  The colour was ideal & weight was slightly lighter than I want, however the seller wasn't sure if it was pure cotton or not.

So Wednesday night I cut my small sample in half and did a burn test.  The result was a bit puzzling cos it had a black flame & ash, but not beading nor behaving like a poly cotton blend.  I admit to scratching my head in confusion. It didn't smell like poly either.  So I thought I'd follow up with a bleach test.

Last night I popped the other half of the sample into bleach and it *is* 100% cotton, so I did a bit more researching on why was the flame and ash black.  (Natural fibres completely dissolve in old fashioned plain bleach).

Answer: it's mercerised cotton. The chemical process (and possibly chemical residue??) causes the black flame and ash. So after years of sewing I've learned another new thing.

So I ordered some yardage of the mercerised cotton.   I've realised that the ideal bodice pattern is Truly Victorian 446, but I'm not going to order it. Instead I'll use one of the mccall or simplicity costume patterns.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

hand sewing makes me want to buy fabric

This is my year of actually sewing from stash, and downsizing said stash. Other years I've said I want to but not actively worked at it.

On Sunday and earlier this week I really really wanted to buy fabric online, and the only reason I didn't was that I'd spent all my fun money until payday.  I think my urge to buy more fabric was brought on by an internal desire for a quick fix while doing endless yards of whip stitch hemming. More than 4 and closer to 5 yards of it.

No wonder I'm trying to avoid finishing the regency skirt.  . In fact I'll leave that until after Steamfest.

I can also see why almost all the working class women in illustrations had shorter skirts, you need them to be! I also decided not to attach it to a bodice but more of a braces style waistband. Several times during Saturday I had to hitch up the skirt I borrowed from faerie-mistress, so a sort of braces would be much more useful

I've got my mind focussed on not buying more wool fabric for a working class regency skirt, and must continue to be strong. That handsewing, yikes it makes me crazy.

I may not have mentioned but all my fabric is spreadsheeted, into different categories too. The volume reached the tipping point of being fine to Too Much last year, around the time I got too sick to get much done.  Then that huge stash became a millstone and not a sail in the wind. 

I'm now down to 818m after adding 2 large pieces to my suitcase to give away.  Plus 3m cotton organdy for my corded petticoat that just arrived and will be cut up this weekend. Also I need to get approx 6m of royal blue cotton for the Ma Dola costume. Both of these are going to be made in the next 2-3 weeks so won't add to the total for long.

Once I've made up the 6m of steampunk1 and 5.5m of steampunk2 plus 1m coutil for a corset, my total will be down to 805.5m.  Plus I'll be using some metres of white cotton to make a petticoat for Ma D.

Yep, my inner data nerd is waving in celebration.  I think I'm winning the battle!

Monday, 15 July 2013

oops, I forgot to post about Sunday at Supanova

eek, I completely forgot to post about the Sunday at Syd'nova.

My long planned hobbit costume finally got to see the light of day.  I was even told how cute I was, and got a random hug from someone who was genuinely excited that someone did a background character ... so many want centre stage costumes. Not that I don't sometimes, but usually I pick something I want whether or not anyone else would recognise it.

PoisonedKitty wore Vanellope Von Schweetz (Wreck it Ralph)  a great costume, and comfy on a cold wet weekend

We weren't alone in our costuming choices, there was one other female hobbit and 3 other Vanellopes (2 in the same costume as PoisonedKitty and one in her dress).

a couple of my friends also in LOTR costumes :D

a couple of other friends in Doctor Who costumes - luv2costume made a brilliant Cat Nun/Nurse (Dr Who) and her husband is as the 4th Doc.  craftee is one of the brides of Venice

Now we're onto people I don't know but loved their work.

And during the day we met some sybilline sisters

There was so much diversity, and although I've never seen a single Jay or Silent Bob before, this time there were 2!

Sportacus!  I squeed & ran after him, and I think he was shocked to be fangirled by a woman old enough to be his mum. LOL   And this Edward was great, tho how endured the day I'm not sure.

Of course there was Disney

And this guy's friend appeared disappointed that it was the Green Arrow photo I wanted (the mate had his shirt off & was painted green).  and family costuming! Matrix

And the leashed zombie Poison Ivy + the Joker stayed in character all day! Amazing from my perspective

And cos I have to share a pic of me with as many of my peeps as I could, I've saved it for last

Sunday, 14 July 2013

short gown finished, only minor updates needed

eed to make a couple of tweaks to it, but yay finished and from stash.

The sleeves are too tight as my alteration wasn't too scientific. Thankfully the wool has enough inherent ease in the weave to get them on. I've also got enough fabric scraps to add a gusset, and I suspect it will be approx the same amount as the bodice needed.  So not too awful, just annoying.  Also I couldn't find my quarter inch tape to use as the under bust drawstring so I used knitting cotton which doesn't have enough guts to risk tying tightly.  So I'll unpick the basting stitches for the cord, and replace it with cotton tape.  I'll then whipstitch the seam allowance to the upper bodice so it sits properly

I'm also thinking of being naughty and order 2.5 yards of lightweight wool in yellow from FFC. It's away from my face and a fashionable colour for the time.

Friday, 12 July 2013

the shortgown glitches overcome

Very late last night I realised that I had cut the bodice lining wrong (ie too narrow) and not the wool outer layer wrong (I sewed a tuck it it to make it fit the lining).

This is what happens when you fold up and don't pin or tape in place adjustments to the pattern pieces.  Tonight I'm going to unpick the waist seam and the underarm tuck to let that out, and whipstitch a piece of lining fabric into place. Moar hand sewing {shudder}.  There's a couple of pleats at the side of the skirt section, one of which can be let out so the skirt to fit the correct bodice width.

If I don't do it, the front will cut into my arms pretty badly

Trying to be too quick and not taking necessary steps then is result in needing more time to fix it than doing it right in the first place.  I ignored my inner voice and am re-learning the lesson.

I'm so not getting my green skirt done this time so am being lent a skirt - it helps to be short!  A taller person's waist skirt will be long enough if I put it at underbust level.  I'm taking the square of cotton plaid to hem if I need anything to do tomorrow.

The first thing I did sewing related when I got home was slash the lining and unpick the bodice tuck and the pleated skirt for an inch or so.

And then I whip stitched a strip over the top of the gap. The wool is lightly caught in most of the stitches, but that's ok, this is working close and piecing is period.  This is what it looked like before I trimmed the strip to length

I got the sleeves inserted neatly and tidily ... which was a warning sign. Sleevil lurks everywhere. They're a bit snug - proof that I should have mocked up my alterations, but meh. Working class, sleeves can be a bit tight so long as they go on. The wool is very malleable so it's ok.

I've got under half the hem to whip stitch down, and a tiny corner of the sleeve (where it's almost a corner).

Tonight I made regency lemonade, and some pork and leek pasties for my lunch tomorrow. I used 4 sheets of rice paper roll wrappers as my gluten free pastry wasn't good after more than a year in my freezer.  Yikes, that's $20 of pastry I couldn't even try to use for half that year (dang gall bladder).  Oh well I'll get less next time!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

ticking off the UFO list, one at a time (winter nightie)

Yesterday I went to the 2nd alternate sewing guild group and worked hard to get my UFO winter nightie made.  I'd almost finished cutting it out last year. It's almost mid winter and time to have another snuggly thing to sleep in.

 I still have 21 unfinished items, but I'm likely to only get the sacque hat done this month. Unless I get the blue skirt done in brissie. Maybe I should take the DoS matinee blouse too. Only the sleeves to go.

Non costume
- replacement cotton sheers for my main room - cut out
- replacement curtains for my main room, with block out lining - cut out
- flannelette nightie - cut out

- teal knit top - half sewn
- aqua knit top - cut out
- paisley self drafted pattern - 50% sewn
- Decades of Style 1930s matinee blouse - 80% sewn
- blue linen/rayon herringbone 1930s skirt - half cut out
- apron - binding to be added
- Go Petunia's T - cut out

- striped pocket hoops - 80% sewn
- pink white stripe regency saque hat - half sewn
- regency bibfront cotton day dress - 25% sewn
- blue (with tiny black diamond) open robe - half sewn
- regency stays - daffodown dilly pattern, cut out
- regency stays - mantua maker pattern cut out for a friend
- regency stays - Missouri Historical Society, cut out
- 1850s ruffled petticoat - needs levelling & waistband. therefore needs cage crinoline.
- cage crinoline – bag & vertical straps sewn, needs steels & waistband
- stripe lobster tail cage bustle - sewn, needs canes/steels inserted & waistband
- red bustle dress - part cut out
- 1917 austerity corset - toile cut out

Pop Culture
- Hobbit, skirts cut out
- Idris - skirt cut out

Saturday, 6 July 2013

2 stoneware jugs ... a collection?

A second stoneware jug for my bumboater character, a little more modern looking, but so are some of the jugs/jars etc in paintings of the time.

They're dang heavy so I only want a couple. And none with company names on them, as that's far more datable.

It cost less than the last one which is good with me

Friday, 5 July 2013

the brain spins while picking a corset pattern

I'm going to go for the black with yellow flossing corset in Salen's book, page 71, it's 1890-1900, and very similar to Waugh's 1880 but it's a larger size to start with. wahoooo.  less adding of inches to it.

I enlarged at 200% on th copier and the scale equaled 3", so I'm at the original size already. :D  I can do the cording lower from the top edge as per Waugh's pattern.

Or both!


I started off on Wednesday with the 1885 "exotic" in Salen's book.  Only to later on switch to "yes I'll do the 1868 Foy", only to later decide that I'd make the 1870s Waugh pattern. {pause} and a couple of hours later decide on the 1860s red & black pattern (the cover on Salen's Corset book) but with a busk. 

Only to decide on something that completely and utterly hadn't even been considered. At all. Ever.

That day was so mentally exhausting that I'm sticking with Salen's 1890 Black with yellow flossing.  In white with pink or blue flossing.  Or cream with pale yellow.  I've got 2 pieces of coutil. One a stark white, and the other a soft white almost creamy in comparison.

I'm doing a single layer with applied casing (if I need extras).

Thursday, 4 July 2013

another stashbusting idea for this month

Ever since I heard of Trevithick's steam carriage of 1803 (!!!!) I thought that my steampunk options were much earlier than they had been.

4 years ago I got this fabric with the idea of making a Pride & Prejudice & Zombies inspired regency dress, and yesterday I had the flash if inspiration to use it for a steampunk regency outfit for my 2nd day at Steamfest.  I have underpinnings already, and will be taking them with me anyway for the heritage ball the first weekend I'm there.  I also have a bib-front pattern that works. :D  It's a quick dress to make, comparatively.

And because it's historical inspired, I had the idea of making a mini back pack wiith smallish bat wings attached. My brain has started running around in crazy making circles of squeeee.  I've got my costume parasol to recover - an easy thing cos it's tiny.  I may use this fabric and line it with black.

The possibilities are swirling.  Ahh the giddy rush of fresh costume-crack.

A nerdgasm was also induced at the discovery that someone made working version of it 200 years later!  Only the 2nd working version of it ever. Trevithick crashed his on the 2nd outing. oopsie.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

a dizzying round to end procrastination

Bolting out the door of sanity and running madly past the ideas of which corset I actually will make to wear with my next steampunk and my Ma Dola costumes. And others.

I'm tempted to make an 1860s, as that's suitable for both these ideas, but then my brain says make 1880s and then you can use it for both ... even though there are differences with the ideal body shape for these decades.

Once the costume is made to fit over the corset, it's the one I'll have to keep using.  I've got a scaled/sized up copy of the 1868 Foy patent which a former LJer sent me, and the red/black 1860 corset on the cover of Salen's Corsets book. Which I'd need to size/scale up.

Also in my grabby hands are the scale patterns by Hunnesett (late 1870s?), Salen's exotic 1880s, Salen's 1890s pretty housemaid, Salen's large blue jean corset (1890s) which is almost my size, Corsets & Crinoline's 1880s, and ageless #1298 (1890s) which also needs grading to size.

I may just flat measure the foy pattern and see if it's close to my size or not. Otherwise I may just plump for the red/black (looks to be about 24"+lacing gap waist).

I can dither forever but I need to decide really quickly so I can mock it up this weekend.

my crochet inspiration & yarn selection

 finally tracked down my inspiration pic for my blanket, and the original is for sale on etsy :

I've ordered some more wool from Bendigo in 8 ply classic.  The colours I've picked are Maize, Aster, Blueberry, Celery and Guava.  I'm going to make much larger blocks - 1 round Maize, 2 rounds aster, 1 round blueberry and 1 or 2 of celery, maybe 1 round of Guava, plus a joining round of it.

Lastly, although I have a full set of aluminium crochet hooks - teeny tiny to large - I'm going to get a bamboo one for this. It'll be more comfortable to use for such a large project, ie not cold in winter.