Thursday, December 3, 2015

Sometimes people ask me if I am crazy....

Well not exactly. However, I have had people ask me how I am able to get as much sewing done as I seem to do. No, I don't live a life of leisure and just sew all day long. I have a family I care for and a part time job. What I try to do is schedule my sewing time. Nancy Zieman has a book called 10-20-30 minutes to sew. The theory is even if you only have 10 minutes you can make progress on any project. Some evenings I only have 30 minutes, or less. Yes, there are some days where I can get an uninterrupted block of sewing time. But for the most part I am chunking away at my current project. Also, I only work on one project at a time. I may have other things lined up, but never cut out or cluttering my space.

The other thing I find helpful is to block out time on my calendar for specific projects. If I know there is a big event in February and I need to make a costume I will schedule it. It helps me keep my focus.

The only other thing I will add as far as luxury goes. My children are not babies or toddlers anymore.  One teen and one tween. To some extent much lower maintenance these days. Also, they are boys and have zero interest in mom's hobby, except to appreciate my work. And husband who enjoys seeing my efforts and even benefits from them.

My husband's Hello Kitty Pink Gandalf costume for Halloween 2014.
His idea, my sewing = 100% fun

In the end, I am not a perfect seamstress or a perfect housewife. I have all the same day to day obligations as the rest of the world. Maybe this post will help someone find a way to make a bit of time for their creative drive. It shouldn't have to be an all or nothing proposition. Creative people need regular feeding and watering at the artistic buffet. If we don't, we wilt.

Truly Victorian Talma Wrap TV500 bustle era outerwear

TV500 Talma Wrap

This is the second time I have made this wrapper. The first one I did was for a neo Victorian gothic costume. It was made out of black faux suede. This new one is made out of a light weight wool jacquard coating. I found this fabric on Marcy Tilton's website. Much of her fabric is for the modern garment maker. As a person who does make some of my own every day clothing I am familiar with her product. I decided I only want to make one wrapper, so it should be a dark color. Navy or black goes with everything. Also I wanted something of decent quality that will last. So once I spotted this fabulous fabric I knew it must be mine!

I cut the size large and no fitting was needed. I recommend stay stitching the curve of the sleeves. It is very easy for them to stretch out during construction. The Talma goes together quickly and I had zero issues with the pattern or instructions. It is bag lined and has a ribbon waist tie on the inside. Haha! Basically a bustle poncho! Not a whole lot to review really. It does take a bit of trim, 7 to 8 yards I think. Also, if you live in cooler climes you can add a flannel underlining. I have lightened the pictures a bit to show detail.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Truly Victorian TV405 Vest Basque Bodice my 1870s silk bustle dress plus new undergarments!

This all started with the silk taffeta that arrived looking nothing like the color I thought it was supposed to be. I was expecting an olive-ish greenish something. It is, well... Brown. Sort of toffee colored with a shimmer of golden olive. It left me in a quandary. I was (and still am) planning a pretty green bustle dress. But this fabric, even though not expected, was drawing me in. A challenge. A color that does not quite suit me. I really wanted to make it work. This fabric is papery crisp and has the most delightful swishing sound when I walk around in it. I cruised around the internets and finally landed on some blue and brown micro check silk shantung at Mood. It was 9.99 a yard and the brown shade in the check was an exact match to my taffeta! Plus knowing I was going to use it as the vest part I didn't need to buy 9 gazillion yards.

TV405 Vest Basque:
I had not made this pattern before. It has been sitting in my stash for years (like 4). I know, I am so drama. ;-) The only thing I wasn't digging about this pattern was the cuffs. Those would drive me crazy. So I substituted the sleeves of TV403. They fit great! I found this bodice easier to fit. I think because on my last one I had finally worked out some issues and confusion I had been having. I took out a 1/2 inch fold across the back. As you can see it rid me of the back armhole lump bubble o' fabric I normally have. As usual I shortened the upper bodice 2 inches and I adjusted the front shoulder seam to get rid of that front armhole fabric lump bubble that always wants to become a dart. It did help quite a bit. I had no issues putting the bodice together. It was easy. You treat the vest seam as the second dart. I wound up making that seam a little smaller for fitting purposes. I really love this bodice and plan on making it again. It is very flattering.

The skirts are TV201 and TV305. All worn over the TV108 grand bustle. I also made two new petticoats, and two (yes two!!!!) combination underwear. One is baby pink and one is black (meow!) I will never make a separate chemise and drawers again. Historically accurate be dammed! Combinations all the way!

I decided to just make a basic black hat. It is the same hat base as my kelly green one. Easy and quick! Goes with everything!

Here are all the undergarments:

Truly Victorian Grand Bustle:

Truly Victorian petticoats View 1:

 First petticoat in pink!

Second petticoat in cotton lawn leftovers.

Truly Victorian combinations TV105:
This was surprisingly easy to make. The most time consuming part is all the facings. I recommend using interfacing of some kind on all the facings for stability. I had no trouble fitting this garment and it does go together pretty quickly. I shortened the length on the legs only, for reference I am 5ft 4in tall. I really like the low neckline. It doesn't show at all when I am wearing my gowns. I left off the mini sleeves and just finished the arm holes with bias. I put separate garment shields in my bodices and didn't want any additional bulk.

All in all, I am satisfied with all I have achieved in the month of November! I am especially pleased with some new undergarments. I don't enjoy sewing them very much. But I did manage to keep my focus and get them done. Yay!

Truly Victorian 1887 Summer Overskirt TV363 AKA My 1880s Jailbird Cupcake bustle dress

Last year I had bought some striped very lightweight cotton pique from Mood Fabrics. My master plan was to make a bustle dress out of it. Yay me! Eventually it finally happened. I have reviewed both this bodice (TV400) and underskirt (TV261-R) so this post is primarily about the overskirt TV363.

This overskirt is best suited to lightweight fabrics. The directions were easy to follow and I just used my waist size as usual. The only thing I don't care for is the front closing on this skirt. It adds bulk where I least want it. However, it is easy as hell to put on. Also bear in mind that the wrong side of your fabric may show where the fabric drapes up. I recommend lining the back poofs with netting for extra body. I had no issues putting this together. Trim it however you like. I used black silk taffeta ruffle and black gimp. I decided on a splash of magenta ribbon for a little color. Her skirts are really all about the trim you add.

On the bodice, I think I did a great job of matching my stripes on the center back seam. You can't even tell there is a CB seam! After that I clearly was either drunk or lost interest. I wanted the horizontal side back stripes to match to the bias side stripes. Hmmmm. Fail. But I can live with it. I was still struggling with the fit of this bodice and contacted Truly Victorian. She was very helpful. I was able to see what I had been doing wrong. It would have been better had I contacted her BEFORE I was working with my fashion fabric. But why make things easy?! At least my armholes are much more comfortable. I was making them too tight. The more you know!

The underskirt is just ok. I have used the pattern before and love it. I don't love the bottom ruffle. It has a mind of it's own and is pissing me off. So at some point there may be another black skirt in my future. But this one will do for now.

And all those bodice buttons!!! Takes FOREVER to put it on/take it off. But they look so pretty!!

A little cheese cake!

In the end, I like this dress, I just don't LOVE it. However, it will get worn and my skills are gradually improving.

In the end---How I feel about the underskirt...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Truly Victorian 1870s Day Bodice TV400, Tie Apron Overskirt TV301 and 1870s Underskirt TV201

I needed a new bustle dress for a museum event in October. I was thinking about the 1870s AKA the early bustle era. At some point I had bought a butt load of some close out last chance sale plaid silk shantung. I figured I would make a full bustle dress out of it. Well, once it arrived I realized the primary colors (golds) were not something that works with my coloring. So I set it aside until I found some other colors that would work with it. A friend helped me choose a really pretty kelly green to match the plaid. That is what I decided to use as my TV400 bodice fabric.

TV400 Bodice
The bodice is easy to sew together. I have standard fitting adjustments that I use for her patterns. However, as per usual I never account for the extra room boning and a bag lining take up. So it was a touch too tight. Well, no matter what I was going to make this work. Enter my favorite fitting tool, the button placket. I added what basically amounted to 1/2 an inch to each side of the bodice. Fitting problem solved. I really like this bodice and in fact have made another one. The back peplum is easy to do. I know some people get confused by the pleats on her other bodices. The back peplum is a good alternative if you don't want to fuss with pleats. I did add a waist stay as well, even though she doesn't call for that. I think if you are new to her patterns and want to make your first bodice this is a good jumping off point.

TV301 Tie Back Overskirt
This is a very easy overskirt to make. Great for a beginner. It is unlined so you want to make sure your fabric has no right or wrong side because it will show when the skirt is tied. You also need a bodice that has a peplum across the back to drape over the tied part. This skirt is really all about the trim. So have fun with it!

TV201 Basic 1870s underskirt
This underskirt id meant to be worn over the grand bustle. The grand bustle has two hoops on the bottom. In the late 1860s and early 1870s they were still transitioning out of hoop skirts. This skirt is easy to put together and it is really all about how you trim it. I used 2 ruffles of my plaid fabric. I wanted more but I was running low and still had to make the overskirt.

What kind of boning Mimi uses:
The lazy kind. I am a big fan of German plastic boning. In my TV400 bodice I used German plastic on all the seams except for the curved back seams. For those I use the spiral steel. FYI German plastic boning is just a high quality plastic boning. The stuff you can buy at craft/fabric stores is not good for much. You would be better off using heavy duty zip ties if you can't access the German plastic. The German plastic and the zip ties are very similar in weight. I like to use the plastic because it is quicker to work with. No cutting metal and tipping it.

Hey! And let's also discuss fabric covered buttons. I LOVE fabric covered buttons. However buyer beware because the ones you buy at the fabric/craft store are chintzy! I lost two on the day of the event. The metal loop that you sew onto your garment pops off the backing piece. There is no way to fix it, except replace the button. Learn for my fail. I am lucky enough to work at a business that has a professional button cover press. So I will be using that from now on. The buttons that we cover and sell are higher quality and don't come apart. I have no idea why I didn't use that in the first place...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Truly Victorian TV296 Ripple Skirt, TV498 Eaton Jacket with TV495 Gigot Sleeve

Review of Truly Victorian Ripple skirt TV296 and Eaton Jacket TV498 with gigot sleeves TV495. The RIPPLE skirt goes together easily. But don't think this is a quick project because of the simple lines. The skirt is underlined and has a hem facing. Because of this, the hem will need to be sewn by hand. A true fabric hog. I cut out my usual size (36 waist). What is nice is that she tells you what the finished hem length will be (42 inches) Too long for me. You need to make your alterations to length before you draft your hem facings. I did get into some trouble there. My length adjustments still left it too long, not on the front panel but the sides to back. Also there is some bias involved so you will want to let your skirt hang before you hem it. I decided to let it hang on my mani overnight and then just trimmed at the hem to the proper length. Not fun, but it all worked out ok. I was not able to use the drafted hem facings because they wouldn't fit anymore due to my length adjustments. So I ordered some 6 inch wide horsehair braid to use as my facing. It worked great. The skirt has a length of twill tape from sides to back that hold the ripples in shape. You will need to pin and drape to get the ripples just so. This was a fun skirt to make. Bear in mind you are hauling around a tremendous lot of fabric. There is 6 yards of sweep at the hem. My skirt weighs almost 4 pounds. I used a midweight cotton double weave. It looks like wool but is all cotton. I don't know when I will make another one. I would like one in black but may just go with the walking skirt for that. 

EATON Jacket, fun to make! I cut my usual TV sizes G back H front. Did my standard adjustments. There were no surprises. Goes together quickly. It is fully lined. I chose the large GIGOT sleeve from the TV495 patterns. You will want to make a muslin because the lower sleeve is very tight. I added an inch to the width in mine. These sleeves are very bulky and heavy. You will need lots of netting and I even put in an extra header of crinoline (looks like buckram). Because the sleeves were so heavy I also added shoulder pads because my shoulder was collapsing and it looked sloppy. Between those pads and the extra header it made a huge difference. Looking at the back of the jacket I could have padded out the upper shoulder area where those wrinkles are. In Joi Mahon's fitting book she talks about padding out when alterations aren't going to do enough. Like in this case with very heavy sleeves.

Side note the corset belt is TV492. Easy to make. Right now I have ribbon lacing but I will probably trade it out at some point. The sleeveless blouse is Wingeo 1890s blouse. Runs HUGE! But I like the gathered front. Hat is a Lynn McMasters pattern. I am very happy with my outfit. I will be wearing this to the Steamposium tomorrow.

Beneath it all, 2 petticoats, chemise, corset. I could use one more petticoat but I don't have the time. Not gonna sweat it though!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Mantua Maker corset cover , chemise and 1880s-1890s petticoat/underskirt

Three patterns from the Mantua Maker. I will start with the corset cover. There are lots of corset cover patterns around. This one looked easy enough, so I just ran with it. Consider the first one of these you make your wearable muslin. Her sizing runs XS-XL. However this pattern has large seam allowances for fitting. It runs really really large. You want a close fit with minimal ease. I cut the size large knowing I would probably take it in a bit. I did cut the shoulders at size medium because most shoulder straps are too long for me. I still had to take another inch off the shoulders. However, this is a Mimi problem not a pattern problem. After basting all the seams together I had to take it in quite a bit on every seam. But I was expecting this. It went together fairly fast. Her directions are wordy and she gives you several options on seam finishing. Her favorite being historically accurate. Yeah....not gonna happen. The neckline is very low and square, front and back. And the length is fairly short. So if you are tall or long waisted you may want to lengthen it. I think I could have saved some fitting time by just cutting out the size medium. But live and learn. I did go back and make pattern revisions so next time it will go even quicker.

Second up is the Mantua Maker's 1880s-1890s petticoat. This is meant to be worn over your chemise and drawers but under your corset. It is meant to be shorter than your outer petticoats. More of an underskirt, really.  I am not wearing it this way in my picture because I wanted to show more of the skirt.  It does give some extra volume to the bottom of your skirts and adds warmth during the colder months. I made mine out of some stiff silk and used a pleated vintage trim for the bottom ruffle. The "A" line skirt panels are sewn to a yoke and just use a drawstring closure. The yoke is fitted and doesn't add much bulk. I have made this before in cotton. It sews up easily and makes a good work horse underskirt.

Last but not least, Mantua Maker's Victorian 1870s-1890s chemise. A nice pattern, easy to sew. I made the easy rounded neck version and trimmed it with lace. I did not have to use the godet piece for the back. If you have larger hips you will want to. I cut the size large except for the shoulders which I cut to size medium. I also made this one shorter in length. It hits me right above mid thigh. I don't like a lot of excess fabric stuffed in my drawers. All in all a good little pattern.

Mantua Maker corset cover and petticoat.

 Mantua Maker's chemise.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

ElsewhenMillinery PDF Cloche hat pattern The Sybil

I love hats! And I do enjoy making them. I have several patterns by ElsewhenMillinery on Etsy. This is the first of her patterns I have made. With this pattern you will be using millinery wire in the brim. If you haven't done this before or made any hats ever, then I would probably go with an easier pattern first.

In most of her patterns she is asking for mid weight fabrics. I used a lightweight silk taffeta. To give the fabric more body I underlined it with mid weight cotton canvas. The hat body also has a lining. I used a light weight cotton lawn.

What I really love about her patterns is she goes up to a size 25. The 20s cloche was meant to sit way way down on your head. Well this chick Mimi has a big head, 23 1/4 inches. Her instruction are very thorough. And she does discuss sizing and how the hat should fit on your head. I made the size 24.

The whole process of putting the hat together is very straight forward. However, if you make the view without the bias binding on the brim you will be stitching a wired brim to the hat body. I chose to do this by hand instead of trying to wrestle it on my sewing machine.

The finished hat is lovely and it fits perfectly. I forget I am wearing it because it is so comfy. My advice is to read through all her instructions before you get started. Look at all the pattern pieces and don't forget to add seam allowances. I would highly recommend her patterns.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Butterick 6093 Downton Abbey dress

I just finished making this dress in time for a Downton Abbey themed garden party at Dunn Gardens in Seattle.

I chose view "A" because I think the envelope picture of view "B" is ugly. However, The Pragmatic Costumer made a revised view "B" that was fabulous.

This is a fairly easy dress to sew. I would not say it is for a beginner, but if you have a few dresses under your belt and can do some pleating, sleeves and a zipper, go for it.

Sizing. This runs true to size as far as the finished measurements go. I graded several sizes together to make my dress. My FBM is 42 inches D cup. High bust is 36. I did not want to do a FBA (full bust adjustment) so I did a cheater FBA. I cut size 14 in the neck and shoulders. Size 16 on the side seams.

But wait! If Mimi's bust measures a 42 how can she cut a size 16 and not do a FBA? Size 16 is for a 38 bust. Well, you see all those gathers on the under bust of the dress. Those are your friends. I just used less gathers for my under bust seam. Simple!

I do have a D cup and we know most patterns are designed for a B cup. But I found there was plenty of room. Now, if you needed to do a FBA you would just rotate the FBA dart down into the under bust gathers. Still easy, but I was super lazy.

Skirting the issues:
Where I could have gotten into big trouble is the waist/hip area. Luckily I read The Pragmatic Costumers review BEFORE I cut my fabric. This dress is a very columnar style. And even though my hips are never a fitting issue for me, on this dress they would have been. So I sized up the skirt to about a 20 (44 hips). My hips are 43, fyi. I sewed the darts and did the pleating. And I just used less gathers on the bodice once I attached it to the skirt.

There were some changes:
View "A" is a fabric hog. I did not realize it is a double skirted dress (over skirt and under skirt). TWO WHOLE SKIRTS!!! Duh! Well of course I ran out of my floral fabric...And no more to be found either. So I needed to think outside the box. One of the things I did not like about this pattern is the vent on one side of the skirt. I understand why it is there, but it is a very modern solution for the narrow skirts of that era. So I decided to make the under skirt a separate garment. I used the provided underskirt pattern and added a few inches to the back seam. I used a simple drawstring waist to finish it. By adding that extra fabric to the back I did not need the side vent for walking. My under skirt has ample room but still kept the column shape of the time period. My underskirt is also a false bottom skirt. I wasn't going to go buy 2.5 yards of fashion fabric when I could buy .75 yards and use muslin for the top of the underskirt. No one is going to see that part of the skirt anyway. You can't see in the picture but the visible underskirt is a light green and white check linen.

First picture taken in 2015

Updated pictures 8/11/2020

The quick and dirty round up:
Make a muslin. If you are over a D cup you may want to do a FBA. Really pay attention to the waist/hip size and make adjustments. I give this pattern a thumbs up and it has gone in my favorites drawer. I will certainly make it again.


Yes, Sean Bean...since you asked...Ahem 

I do not currently have pictures, but I made Truly Victorians Edwardian undergarments. Drawers and corset cover. I only wore one petticoat (gasp!) My favorite easy short petticoat from the Mantua Maker pattern 1880-1890s petticoat. I am not wearing a historical corset. Instead I chose to wear a off the rack Orchard brand mesh under bust corset, for comfort. A regular bra and of course a chemise. Gotta keep the corset off the skin.

Updated picture undergarments:

I'm wearing a Titanic era corset (purchased) a princess petticoat and Edwardian combinations under my corset. I think the long line corset improves my posture quite a bit.

Friday, July 10, 2015

J. P. Ryan 18th Century Jackets

This is a great little 18th century pattern with lots of options. I felt it ran about one size smaller than the Robe a l' Anglaise I made. I ordered the size bust 42-44. Size 42 is the one I made which is the same size I made in the Robe a l' Anglaise. However on the the Robe I had to take a bit out of the front seam for it to fit. For my jacket (view D), since I had already cut out the size 42......Of course! Why trace the damn thing off when you can just cut it. Impatient Mimi is impatient....

I made the stomacher wider on the sides by 1 inch and used a smaller seam allowance along the front seam. The fit is good but close. Also the sleeves are pretty fitted. So if you have larger arms you will want to check to make sure they are not too tight. This jacket is fairly quick to make up until you get to the lacing eyelets. Yeah.....those have to be all sewn by hand. I am pretty sure view A would be the quickest to make.

The stomacher is boned down both sides and the center. My stomacher sandwich consisted of 1 layer of each, fashion fabric, down proof ticking, cotton duck and plain white cotton. I also used pre made boning tape instead of sewing the channels directly onto the stomacher. That way I am guaranteed an exact 1/4 inch boning channel. I decided to use German plastic boning instead of steel. German plastic is nice quality and a hell of lot less work than cutting and tipping the steels. This all came together really nicely.

 My fabric is a floral cotton (not quite chintz) that I bought at Farmhouse Fabrics. I made my petticoat (skirt) out of a nice green linen. The only thing I will be changing is my lacing ribbon. The shiny cream stuff is the only 1/4 inch ribbon I could locate in my stash. Oh sweet irony. I have loads of ribbon, just none in the right width.

The above picture is my first JP Ryan jacket. The fabric is NOT period appropriate but I'm leaving this picture here to show my progress in 18th century fashion and hopefully it will help in your progress too!!

Pictures updated in 2020 below

This was my second version of the JP Ryan jacket. It is make from cream colored tone on tone woven stripe linen from Burnley & Trowbridge. I am wearing this with a bum pad.

Here is a more recent version in black wool suiting. This one is super easy and just pins closed down the center front. The quilted yellow silk petticoat was made from pre quilted fabric purchased via Larkin & Smith. They have stopped selling fabric though. :-(

For my caps I'm wearing a simple white Voile ruffled cap from a Fashions Revisited pattern (Etsy) and a "Grand Coiffure" cap in Voile from a Kannik's Corner pattern. This style I think was somewhat popular with Catholics (others too) and I'm paying some homage to my Quebec Catholic ancestors. It is worn over another cap when out in public and can be worn alone for undress at home. 

Decades of Style Hazel's Frock

Decades of Style Hazel's frock. Please excuse my hat, I haven't had time to make one to match the dress. But I needed something to cover my frizzy mess. This is a nice easy pattern and goes together pretty quickly until you get to the bias drapes. They really need a rolled hem and I am too lazy to do that. I tried scraps on my serger but it looked like crap. I fussed with my rolled hem attachment on my other machine and it still looked like crap. I was not about to do that many rolled hems by hand. Nope and nope. So I just pressed a narrow hem, sewed it and used lots of fray check. I did not need to make any alterations to the fit. I cut size C-42. It is a loose comfortable fit. I like the french darts. The sleeves I made elbow length. I also added a collar/neck tie and a band at the hips. I left off the shoulder drape. I bought the fabric from Mood. It is a (yikes sheer) silk voile with gold metallic threads. All in all a nice 20s style pattern.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Repurposing an old hat AKA creative magic

On my thrifting adventures sometimes I come across little orphan hats. Like this one:

SO sad!!!

I am pretty sure it was an old child's bonnet. The brim has wire underneath the velvet. The straw was all stained. Just a sad little thing. I decided I would make this into a 1880s era hat that I could wear with one of my bustle dresses. It would sit atop my head tilted towards the front. So I dug into my hat making stash and pulled out a 1 yard cut of yummy red silk I have been hoarding. You can see it in the above picture. I decided to leave on the velvet trim and the wire so I wouldn't have to rewire the brim.

 End result!!
I covered the hat completely with the red silk. Added some lace, hat netting, tulle, feathers and ribbon.

Now I just need a dress to go with the hat!! I have some beautiful red, white and blue cotton that would make a fabulous bustle dress. But for now this little lovely belongs to my mannequin.

TV494 Truly Victorian 1890s Shirtwaist & Butterick skirt 5265

This pattern is fun! I enjoyed making it and I love the peplum option. Works great for us shorter waisted gals. I cut my regular TV size. G for the back and size I for the front. I always wait to cut my sleeve size until I have the bodice together. Then I can measure the armhole. I made my usual TV alterations. I take 2 inches out of the upper bodice length and another inch off the very front length and graded it out to the sides. I did this because I felt it was too poofy in the front. I did also lengthen my gathers on the back and front blouse top.

I find the my corset pushes my bust up higher and though I don't normally have a concave chest the push up factor causes me to have one. So I wind up taking a lot of fabric out of the top 2.5 inches of the front where things button up. This has been consistent across the board on her patterns. I did leave off the high collar. I really don't like them, I feel like I am choking even if it is loose.

The sleeves are pretty epic! I did use the net headers to make them poof out. I should have checked the length before I made them because they are about 1 inch too long. I just made a pleat and sewed a button on it at the hem. It keeps them at my wrists instead of slouching down. The fabric I used was a lightweight linen cotton blend. It is very comfy. I will be making this again for sure. It was easy to sew and easy to fit. Unlined and unboned. On the sleeves I do recommend just gathering them all the way up before inserting them into the arm opening. You will be gathering them super tight . Especially if you use headers.

Butterick 5265 Victorian style skirt.
 I have had this pattern forever so even though not 100%1890s correct I decided to use it anyway. I used a silk taffeta in a fun plaid. The skirt has a set on waistband and pleats at the front, side, and back. I drafted a deep hem facing from the bottom of the skirt pattern. This skirt is fully underlined. I also added a side pocket. My only gripe about this skirt is the closure. It is on the left side of the very front pattern piece. It just seems awkward to me. I made no alterations. I just went by my corseted waist size.

Hat is a Lynn McMasters pattern.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The problem with chronic sewing. I have been wondering why I have been so hyper focused on costuming the last 5 months. The lightbulb moment came when I was shuffling my seasonal clothing around. As I was bringing out all my spring and summer stuff I realized how much I had sewn last year. Crazy! I have more dresses and tops than a human needs. I mean, I like to have choices, but this is too much of a good thing. I think by focusing on my costume wardrobe, especially the undergarments, has calmed the closet filling of my modern wardrobe. Whew! I was going to run out of room.

On the other hand... One of the main modern projects I want to do this year is make a coat. A freaking fabulous coat. I have the pattern and fabric already. Sitting there for the last 6 months. Sigh. I just haven't had the motivation. And there are a few modern patterns that I want to make, soon. I have one of the new Marcy Tilton  patterns all adjusted and ready to go. Again, not motivated.

Also on my list of to do, spending some quality time with Joi's new fitting book. I am tired of FBA and want some more options. I hate playing musical darts. It is tedious. Move it here, move it there! She doesn't do FBA in her book. It is more like pattern scaling. As I have been fitting Victorian bodices I realized that is a bit of what I have been doing. So I am going to give it a try.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Back from vacation!

My family and I had a fantastic trip to Germany and Austria. I am still dealing with major jet lag but will have some blogging done in the next couple of weeks. Some more Truly Victorian patterns! I am on a historical bender I guess. :-) TTFN!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Taking a detour! 1880s bustle hair and hat AKA I use fake hair

A bit of a detour here. I have been working on another bustle costume for a fashion show. Since it is a day dress I knew there would be a hat involved. I used a Lynn McMasters pattern for late bustle era hats. I chose view A because it would be the quickest to make. It is meant to sit forward on the head. The hat body was easy to make. I find with hat decorating I need to drape and walk away. In doing so I can get a feel for what looks good and meh... But first, fake hair.

I used to have really long hair. Right now it is above shoulder length. So extra hair is needed. Now, even Victorian ladies who had long hair used hair pieces. Most women did not have the hair volume for many of the more fancy styles. Right now I use 2 pieces. An accordion wiglet and a fake braid. The wiglet is very curly and has 4 combs. The braid has a clip on one end.

Please bear with me as this is a somewhat quick tutorial and a bit messier than normal.
First I part my hair ear to ear. Then I pull my hair up into 2 pony tails, leaving the front free. That way the top and bottom combs have a base to hold. Shown below.

I then use a small diameter curling iron to curl the front of my hair. Since I am brushing it out I am not super picky about the curl placement. I did not do a real good job here of parting my hair ear to ear. But you get the idea.
A VERY crooked part!
Curled. Now I comb it out and divide it into 3 parts. I twist it, pin it and fluff a bit so it doesn't lay too flat.
I find it best to use second day hair. It has more body and is easier to work with. Now I will put on the wiglet. I secure the top comb above the top stubby ponytail and the bottom comb under the lower ponytail. Then I pull the wiglet wide and insert the combs at the back sides of my head. I secure with extra pins. Here is how it looks.

Now I will wrap the braid around my head in front of the wiglet. Starting at the base of my neck, up and over to the other side. I use many pins.
Now ideally I would have done a better job of parting my hair. The wiglet needs to be a bit higher as does the braid. But this was a quick go around to see how my hat would fit on my hairstyle.

Yay hat!!! I used a brand called Look of Love for my fake hair. Bought via Vogue Wigs. The color number is 6 and quite a good match for me.
Above is a picture of my hairpieces in action at a fashion show. It does a good job of creating a nice look for the bustle era.