Thursday, March 9, 2017

My 1890s Victorian circus girl costume

I made this outfit for Costume College 2016. They had a circus themed Friday Night Social. I spent some time looking at vintage photos of circus performers. It was a really fun project! I knew I wanted to stick with the 1890s. As luck would have it I found 3 yards of brightly colored harlequin style fabric at the thrift store. Score!!! 3.99! I had some black cotton sateen in my stash, so a costume was born.

I used Truly Victorian walking skirt TV291 and Truly Victorian Ripple bodice TV496. I have reviewed both patterns in the past so I am just going to cover what I changed.

The skirt was simple. I just shortened it to knee length. I used the bright fabric on the front panel only. I also sewed little moon and stars sequins randomly on the skirt. The bright orange scalloped trim was an antique shop find. A whole gallon ziplock bag stuffed with organdy picot edge scallop trim. The trim was strung together. I dyed it orange and gave it a nice press. On top of the orange trim I used black string fringe and black sequins.

The bodice had a few changes. I used the TV490 ballgown sleeves. they are pretty dang cute! I was running out of black cotton sateen and harlequin fabric so I used some black clip dot lawn instead. I left off the collar since I knew I was going to use my orange trim anyways. I kind of wanted a ruff look around my neck. The front is closed with 3 sets of blue ribbon ties. The bodice is trimmed with red chenille ball and black sequined trim.

That hat! It is from a 1940s clown suit pattern. I had a great time making it!

One purchased red crinoline, black tank top, white tights and my American Duchess Tango boots.

This is just an example of how creative you can be with existing patterns.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Port Townsend's Victorian Heritage Festival 2017

I can't believe I am typing these words! Last year we thought VicFest 2016 was going to be the last year. The planners wanted to retire and no one wanted to take it on. Happily some wonderful people have decided to keep the dream alive! So without further ado...........

The most wonderful, fabulous, awesome festival will be the first weekend in April 2017! Port Townsend's Victorian Heritage festival! say! Why would I want to go? Well, why not!! Here are just a few reasons:

March 31st (Friday)
Pub crawl!
What a great way to get acquainted with this fantastic Victorian seaport! Grab some friends and make some new ones along the way. Find some delicious eats and drinks. Don't worry about driving either. You can just stroll back to your lovely hotel room and sleep it off. ;-)

April 1st (Saturday)
Victorian fashion show! Come and enjoy an hour of beautiful Victorian costumes.
High Tea! More information on the teas will be available in the next week or so.
Historic building tours!
Historic presentations on neat stuff!
A ball and Contra dance! Show off your dancing skills and lovely costumes.

April 2nd (Sunday)
Before you have to leave us, spend the afternoon browsing antique shops and many other fantastic shopping venues.

What do I think is the BEST part of VicFest? can dress up ALL weekend! Yes! What a great way to truly immerse yourself in the festival. Or you can pick and choose what events you wish to dress up for. Of course those of you who enjoy history but do not costume, please don't feel left out. We want everyone to come and enjoy Port Townsend! :-)Please come and join us for a fabulous weekend! xoxo!

Here is the link to the festival information. Stay tuned to the site because they will be adding more information. :-)

VicFest 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Simplicity 1026 Disney Fairy Godmother Costume pattern

Ok, so I wasn't going for fairy godmother but I HAD to make this dress! Look at how fluffy it is!!

I made this to wear to Venice is Sinking 2017 in Seattle. I decided I wanted to do a non historical costume that wouldn't require a corset. Simplicity 1026 has been in my stash for quite a while so I jumped right on in!

Princess seamed bodice with side poofs, skirt is separate and on a yoked waistband. Nice because it reduces bulk at the waist. Bodice is fully lined, boned and zips up the back. The sleeves are only set in at the underarm and the tops have elastic for fit.

My advice, before you start making any type of fitted bodice make sure you are wearing the undergarments that you will be wearing with the dress. I already knew I would be wearing my strapless bustier. After checking finished garment measurements I decided on size 20. If I had to take it in a bit that would be ok. I traced off my pattern pieces for the bodice and made a muslin. The fit was really nice. The only adjustment I made was taking in the very top of the front bodice so it hugged over the curve of my bust instead of gaping open. I had to do the same adjustment to my 50s strapless as well. I also shortened the skirt by about 2 inches. This is pretty standard for me across the board. I'm 5ft 4in. The sizing printed on pattern tissue is accurate and the bodice is very fitted. If you have fuller than average arms muslin the sleeves as well. Also, you are going to be lining and underlining this bodice. Plus adding boning. Make sure when you muslin you leave extra ease room for all those layers.

The rose gold fabric I bought from Fabric Mart during one of their sales. It is a silk/metallic blend. I was going to use it for the whole dress but I was about a yard short. Those hip poofs are major fabric hogs. Since the fabric had a pink undertone I bought some pink organza for the underskirt. The underskirt is several layers, fabric, netting and overlay/organza. The innermost layer of the skirt no one will see so I bought some cheap ivory lining fabric to use. The pattern doesn't really make that clear in the yardage info. Before I had bought any of my extra fabric I broke out the pattern, cut out/traced off and made my muslin. I also read over the instructions and fabric layout carefully. I needed to know what layers were going where so I didn't waste any money on fabric. It is very helpful to do this when you have multiple layers going on.

You know, this went together really well. I had zero issues. Instructions are clear and concise.

Changes I made:
In order to get the side poofs to stay fluffy I tacked 3 pieces of ribbon on the underside of each poof at the waistline. Then I draped up the poof and pinned it to the length of ribbon. Once I had the poofs how I wanted I tacked them to the ribbons. Otherwise one layer of netting wasn't giving me the volume I wanted. It may not be needed if you are using organza as your outer poof layer. I couldn't locate a separating garment zipper locally. Just big parka/coat zippers. So I used a closed bottom garment zipper and just pull the dress on over my head. I also decorated the stomacher with 3 big ass bows. I was going for a fantasy Rococo look.

Ok, so if you are expecting the dress to look as fluffy and full as the envelope picture you will be very disappointed. I made 2 separate petticoats for this dress. The first one was out of crinoline netting and the second was 2 layers. One layer of organza and one of netting. It's still not exactly like the envelope picture but at least it was closer. I use Simplicity 5006. I love this pattern. Initially I made view E for my 50s dress. So easy!!! You can save money by skipping the lace and binding the hem edges with double fold bias. Just sandwich the net in between and sew. It also makes a nice non scratchy finish for crinoline net. For this dress I made view E again but lengthened it about 8 inches. For the second petticoat I made view D using organza for the top layer and netting for the second layer.

Final summary:
This was fun to make! It's a bit of work but I would make it again. Definitely a pattern for intermediate and up. The seam lines on this bodice are really flattering for curves. I think they also made fitting easier for me, since I am large busted. The more curves in the bodice seaming the less shaping I have to do for it to fit my curves. My only gripe is the skirt yoke dips in the front and back. The skirt pattern pieces make no account for that dip and you will wind up with a hem that dips in the front and back. I thought I had fixed the issue but from my pictures I can still see a little dip in my hem. Oh well, I can live with it.

Me and Lady T.

 My beautiful bestie! Yes, I made her costume as well. It is a mash up of a couple different patterns.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

I made some Colonial doll clothes!!

I had a presentation coming up on women's basic Colonial fashion. My18th century wardrobe is fairly thin so instead of trying to make a wardrobe for me I decided to make one for my American Girl dolls. The first two patterns are PDF and Available on Etsy. The third patterns is a hard copy and also available on Etsy. For this pattern I bought the fabric kit as well. It has everything you need to make the full outfit.

First pattern: Highly recommend.

Thimbles and Acorns 18th century undergarments.
This is pretty much the full on 18th century undergarment wardrobe. I am keeping this basic so I only made a chemise, stays and a petticoat. There are panniers also included. These patterns are really fabulous. Well drafted, excellent instructions. Available on Etsy at Pixiefairepatterns.

Changes I made:
I sewed the boning channels in the stays but didn't use any boning. The stays aren't difficult, just fussy. I also hand sewed the eyelets. That is all.

Second pattern: Highly recommend
Thimbles and Acorns short gown. Pattern includes short gown, petticoat, apron and kerchief. I made no changes.

Third pattern: Highly recommend.
This pattern/kit is by Past Crafts on Etsy. The pattern is on heavy butcher paper and has great directions. The fabrics were good quality cotton.

Changes I made:
I used lace for the sleeve ruffle instead of fabric. That is all.

I had a really great time sewing doll clothes! It is like instant gratification.

 Round gown

 Short gown.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Masquerade mask hack for people who wear glasses (with pictures)

Ok, I love a masked ball. I love masks. However, I wear glasses.....The world is a total blur when I don't have my glasses on.

I tried a mask designed for glasses a couple years ago. It was ok. Not super comfortable and it kept pulling at my glasses all night. The mask itself is very pretty, just not as practical as I wanted. So for the last week or so I have been racking my brain for a way to wear a mask and glasses at the same time. And be comfortable while doing it.

What I bought:
Let's go to Party City! Who wouldn't want to go to a store with the name "party" in it! Kinda like BevMo! Beverages! And more! Oh hell yes! (yes, in the town I live these 2 stores share a parking lot)
At Party City I bought a couple cheap (98 cents ea) soft masks. They are semi stiff fabric/buckram with a satin layer on the front.

What I did:
First thing I cut off the elastic cord. Then after contemplating my life's choices for awhile I spent a few minutes looking over the mask and trying to figure out how to wear it over my glasses. It dawned on me I could use VELCRO! No, not by glueing it to my glasses, that would be lame. I cut 3 small strips of velcro and hot glued the loop (soft) side to the mask. One in the middle and one on each side. You will need to lay your glasses lenses side down on the wrong side of the mask and mark where the velcro needs to be. Mark on the mask and then glue the loop velcro strips in the proper spots. Then I used the hook side (ouch side) and wrapped it over the bridge and temples of my glasses and stuck it to the velcro on the mask. Holy crap! It worked! I have Silhouette glasses. They are very light and thin. I don't know how well this will work on all glasses. It would only cost you a couple bucks to find out.

I wore my mask for several hours and has no issues at all. No matter if you wear glasses or not a mask will block some of your peripheral vision. Yes, it still looks a bit geeky but that's fine. I had several people ask me how I attached my mask to my glasses so I decided to put this out there for others. I hope this gives my other glasses wearing brethren some hope.

Cheap flexible fabric/buckram mask. Soft, so it doesn't damage your glasses.
Hot glue
A pen or chalk to mark where the velcro goes
If you want to decorate your mask:
feathers, jewels, glitter, lace, trim.

The sample mask is a different color than the one I am wearing here. I made two, one pink and one gold.

 Same mask, different event. I aded more sparkle and glued satin leaves to the outer corners.

Butterick 6190 Downton Abbey peacock dress

I made this dress for a special event. One of my costuming groups hosted a wonderful Venetian themed masquerade party at the Sunset Club in Seattle. The club founders started construction in 1913 and the club opened in 1915. The building is fabulous and our banquet room was lovely.

Sooooooooo The last couple of projects I have done were from the big 4 patterns. Sometimes it seems the pattern companies shoot themselves in the foot by making the envelope cover models look meh... Butterick 6190 falls into that category. You fabric choice will make or break this dress. The fabric choices for the cover fall short. So much so that I almost passed on the pattern. The pattern is designed by Nancy Farris-Thee.

Pattern and Fabric:
This is a Downton Abbey inspired dress. The bodice is boned and closes up the back with hooks and eyes. There are several views. I made view A-B with D trained skirt. (regret, trains suck, just saying) 5 years ago I purchased 2.5 yards of this gorgeous peacock silk/velvet burn out. I finally felt I could work with this shifty moody fabric. My sewing confidence has improved in the last couple years and I wanted to put it to use. Since I am a beginner to shifty fabrics I thought the simple lines of 6190 would be perfect. Happily I was right. The fabric for the dress bodice and skirt are black poly crepe back satin. I used regular black satin for the sash and some black lace for the bodice. The kimono style cropped jacket is separate from the dress. It does cover up most of the bodice. You could leave off the bodice sleeves if you are making the cropped jacket. The overskirt and kimono sleeve hems are trimmed with black sequins. The peacock fabric doesn't need much to set it off. It speaks for itself. it is a bear to photograph. After making this dress I have approximately 1/3 yard of peacock fabric left. It was close.

Size and Alterations:
Big 4 I'm normally cutting an 18 or 20. After looking at finished garment measurements I decided on size 18 and did a .75 FBA and rolled out the side bust dart my FBA created. The bodice does have vertical darts on both front and back pieces. You could add your FBA to that dart. I did wind up taking the back dart in 1/4 more. Otherwise I didn't do any other alterations. If you are tall you will want to watch the skirt length.

Pattern Construction:
No issues at all. The directions are clear and concise. I enjoyed sewing it.

Design Changes:
I decided to pull up the center front of the overskirt and tack it up. I added a gold bullion tassel and a vintage black silk tassel. Instead of small hooks and eyes I used french hooks and bars. They always feel more secure to me.

Final Notes:
I like this pattern. It does have a nice Downton Abbey feel. It's not H/A. However, it gives the vibe of that time frame. I don't feel the envelope picture does this dress justice at all. Beware, this dress can look frumpy. Choose your fabric wisely.

 Yay! A good picture of my peacock fabric! 

 My American Duchess Tango Boots!

 Being naughty!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Wingeo Regency Turban pattern WN714 Mimi's green silk turban

I have a love hate relationship with Wingeo patterns. The directions can be a bit sparse and the illustrations are sometimes odd. But....They offer a good jumping off point. Especially for people like me who don't draft their own patterns. I would highly recommend Wingeo for theater costumers.

This pattern went together much easier than the Regency stovepipe hat I made. The pattern consists of 3 pieces. The inner band (buckram), crown, lining. The wrapped pieces are long rectangles. The dimensions depend on what type of fabric you use. This pattern uses no wire. (Yay!)

Size and supplies:
I made the size 23. Cuz I have a big head. This style of  headdress runs large because it needs to sit down on your head. The 23 was perfect. My advice is to cut the largest size and make the headband fit your head size. Like a quickie muslin. I used heavy buckram, green silk taffeta, black cotton lining. Wingeo patterns don't ask you to mull the buckram. I like to use mull so I used some cheap flannel and just mulled the buckram band.

Fairly straightforward. Their directions are handwritten and sometimes hard to follow. But I kind of do my own thing so I don't mind. I hate it when pattern designers try to micro manage me. Not a problem with Wingeo. They appeal to my free spirit.

Changes I made:
I used only 1 color fabric instead of 2. Also instead of hemming the long edges of the twisted drapes I just sewed them into long tubes and turned them right side out. I wouldn't recommend this for very thick fabrics. Worked for the silk taffeta just fine. That's it.

Final thoughts:
I recommend this pattern for a confident beginner who is new to headwear. Goes together in a couple hours and the handwork is minimal. Just have all your feathers and stuff ready. You could have a nice Regency turban in no time. You can leave it simple or gussy it up. I just used a pre made feather and jeweled piece for mine.

I will actually be wearing this with my fancy Titanic era dress, not Regency. But this style is pretty timeless so I will also wear it with Regency. How nice and versatile!