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...