Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Jane Austen Appreciation Day WRS outing!

This last Sunday was The Washington Regency Society's Jane Day. We had been invited to the Seattle Public Library for a few hours to wear Regency costume and talk about Jane. It also enabled us to meet some potential new members! We had a great time and The Countess brought costume accessories etc....for people to try on.  Much fun was had by all, even Flat Jane our cardboard mascot. ;-)

We followed up with a WRS meeting at The Fairmont Olympic Hotel after our library adventure. There were snacks and booze on the menu. Plus it was happy hour! Drinks and food are served in their fancy lobby with plenty of comfortable seating.

 Flat Jane selfie!

 Just us two wallflowers.

 The darling Ms. K

The Countess as bad boy Mr. Wickham!

 And as Elizabeth!

 Oh dear! Two Elizabeths! Well, the naughty Liz for Mr. Wickham and the nice Liz for Mr. Darcy. Naughty Liz is on the right! ;-)

 At the Fairmont Olympic in Seattle.

 Patterns used--La Mode Bagatelle faux drop front dress in white clip dot with an underdress of yellow voile. Spencer is the cross front pattern by Laughing Moon patterns without sleeves. Bonnet pattern is the small brim Regency bonnet by Lynn McMasters. If you are going to make your first Regency bonnet I highly recommend the small brim version of this pattern. Use the gathered brim pattern piece for an easy brim finish.

Myself and the always lovely Countess! She has named this outfit of mine Buttercup.

I would just like to add that in the last two years of my costuming adventures I have met some of the most wonderful people! I am grateful for my new found friends! If you reside in the greater Seattle area and are interested in historical costuming here are some great groups:

WRS The Washington Regency Society
SITU Somewhere In Time Unlimited
Puget Sound Historical Costumers Guild

For the re-enactors set:
Northwest Colinial Re-enactors Association
WCWA Washington Civil War Association
Reenacting is a different animal from historical costuming. However, these groups don't mind us costumers showing up a civilians to their events wearing appropriate period costumes.

All of these groups are on FaceBook and have their own websites. I am to lazy to post links.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Folkwear 210 Armistice blouse review and Mansion tour outing!

Some of my costuming friends decided to do a mansion tour and tea recently. Time for a new outfit! It being summer I wanted something comfortable and easy to wear.

I was going for Titanic but landed closer to WW1. I had stumbled (no not really, I never just stumble into a fabric store) gorgeous green and white eyelet fabric. It was true love! Green is my most favorite color and in a cool summery eyelet it is a match made in heaven. I made the skirt first. It is basically two tubes of fabric seamed up the back with a basic placket and hook closure. The bottom portion of the underskirt (about 10 inches) is nice quality linen and the rest of the underskirt is basic muslin. Why waste good fabric on something no one will see. The shorter overskirt is my lovely eyelet. On to the blouse!

Folkwear Armistice Blouse:

WW1 inspired blouse with collar, long sleeves, cuffs and button front.

Sizing, alterations and pattern changes:

I literally fall between the L and XL (43 bust). I measured the pattern pieces and decided on the large. There is enough ease room without it looking like a sack. I made the sleeves 3/4 length which made the project quicker because I didn't need to make cuffs. I am short waisted so I had to move up the waist tie about 1.50 inches. Thanks to the advice from a friend I also skipped the buttons and made it a pullover. There is plenty of ease and the neck opening is large enough to slip right on over my head.


Directions are clear and concise. I had no issues putting this together. I know, how boring. ;-)

End notes:

Great pattern. Very flattering. The blouse can be worn tucked in or out. This would look more Titanic style worn with a earlier skirt like TVE30 1911 narrow panel skirt and tucked in. Looking at fashion plates and catalog listings this type of blouse was pretty popular from 1913ish thru post WW1. Even the very early dowdy 20's have tunic type versions of this blouse.

On to our fun outing pictures!! Our first stop was the Meeker Mansion in Puyallup, WA. Then it was tea at British Bites (very yummy). I didn't have any tea because it was too damn hot, but I did enjoy the rest. After tea we drove to Neely Mansion in Auburn, WA. Both homes are really beautiful.

Meeker Mansion.

The music room at Meeker Mansion.

 The vivacious Lady R.

 The whole gang!

In the dining room at Meeker.

 My partner in crime.

 Following The Countess AKA stalking.

 Victorian human hair art. I love this stuff!

 The Victorian intercom. Sadly it no longer works.

Gorgeous quilt in one of the bedrooms.

Photo op outside Meeker.

The always lovely Countess!

 The Neely Mansion. Our second home tour after having a relaxing tea.

 Neely Mansion in it's abandoned state before restoration.

 Neely interiors.

In spite of it being about 93 degrees that day we had a great time. Hey, did you know that Victorians didn't have air conditioning? ;-) Haha!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Simplicity 7157 Edwardian princess petticoat slip

I do not enjoy making my historical undergarments but this just had to be done. I have wanted and needed a princess combination petticoat slip. So I used Simplicity 7157 from the Simplicity vintage closet. My pictures aren't stellar. I had to recruit my 12yo son to help out. I was dressing for an event so I figured I may as well take photos of my slip. I am wearing my Edwardian combinations and my corset underneath the slip. The slip works like a corset cover and petticoat combined. Can you say convenient!

Sizing and alterations:
RST= right sides together
I made view A.
I waffled between the 18 & 20. My full bust is 42ish inches so I decided on the 20 and figured I could take it in at the side seams if needed. I cut size 16 for neckline and shoulder and size 20 for the rest. I shortened the waistline 1 inch. I also shortened the ruffle about 3 inches. I am 5ft 4 in. Looking at the cover photo I am figuring those ladies are 5ft 6 to 5ft 8. Technically the ruffle is sewn on top of the slip using a placement line. Meaning you have a full length slip with a ruffle overlay. I cut the slip off at the ruffle placement line and attached the ruffle in the standard RST manner. If you go this route you will need less fabric since you aren't cutting the full length of the slip. I made no other changes.

Fabric and construction:
Good quality crisp muslin. The higher quality muslin Joann's sells is pretty nice. It has a tightly woven and crisp hand. A lot like poplin. For the ruffle I used organdy and trimmed it with lace.
This is all princess seams so it can take a bit of time. I have a serger so I was able to whip through the main seams pretty quickly. The neckline and armholes I finished with bias tape. The neckline also calls for lace beading. Luckily I had enough in my stash to finish the neckline. No issues at all with the directions.

Final thoughts:
I am glad I took the time to make this. There is plenty of ease in this slip so use the finished garment measurements on the envelope. I am happy with the amount of ease room I have. If I was so inclined I could take it in a bit but there is no real need. It skims nicely over my Edwardian undergarments.

 It was a beautiful sunny morning!

 Back view. I know, kinda "yawn".

View A is on the left. I decided on that one because the model looks like a total hussy and I can relate. Ha! No, actually I went with view A because it has the least amount of ruffles.

Friday, June 23, 2017

1920s Elsewhen Millinery Sybil hat take 2

Madame Mimi's amazing vintage 1920s tablecloth hat.

The first version of Sybil I made almost two years ago. I used yellow silk taffeta. So technically I have already reviewed this pattern. However I could not resist making this lovely again for an up coming 1920s-1930s picnic.

Hands down this is probably one of the most well drafted hat patterns I have ever worked with. All the pieces fit together without any finessing.
I have made quite a few hats and let me tell you some of the patterns out there are bad. Big 4, I'm looking at you. I have literally had a 1 inch difference between crown and brim to finesse. I don't like that. It makes me stabby.

Size and materials:
This pattern goes up to a size 25 head. Truly wonderful. I have a 23.25 inch head so most "one size" hats and patterns don't fit. Since this hat needs to sit all the way down on my head I use the size 24.

I found this old tablecloth at the thrift store about a year ago. Beautifully cross stitched, stained and faded in spots. I don't know why I bought it. It may have been the bright happy colors of the embroidery threads. Or that little voice in my head that says "you can use this for something".

Needless to say because of all the fading and stains I had to do some serious fussy cutting. My second  concern was there were 8 motifs on the tablecloth but they weren't all the same. With a 6 piece crown I knew 2 crown pieces wouldn't match. Oh well, my work is never about perfection. I gather up my creative inspiration and just go with it. I decided to match the 4 front and side pieces and put the non matching ones on the back. The brim also had to be cut with some of the cross stitch design on it. I fused a crisp woven interfacing to all the crown pieces and used a heavyweight home decor interfacing for one of the brim pieces.

RST=right sides together
WST=wrong sides together
The pattern maker gives you 2 options on finishing the wired brim. Method 1 is to sew the brim RST and insert the wire afterwards. Method 2 is to stitch the brim WST, attach the wire and use bias tape to finish off the brim. You will have to sew the bias on by hand. The first Sybil I made I did the insert the wire into brim method. It was not fun. You can't attach the brim until after you have wired it. That was a huge pain in the ass. I wound up hand stitching the brim on because it was super awkward to run through my machine. So this time I used the bias tape method. It was so much easier. You can attach the brim BEFORE you wire it. What a difference! Even though you need to stitch on the bias tape by hand, it was worth it. I also use petersham ribbon as my hat band instead of fabric. I just stitch it in by hand and when it gets soiled I can always change it out.

I really like my tablecloth hat. The shape of Sybil is very flattering and the brim gives some sun protection. There was no reason to add any additional decoration because of all the pretty handwork. I would like to think the person who made this tablecloth would be pleased with the repurposing of it. Or they are rolling in the grave cursing my name for abusing their tablecloth.

You can see the beginning of my non matching panels in the back. That little bit of not perfect makes me love my hat even more.

ElsewhenMillinery is on Etsy. They sell both hats and hat patterns. :-) 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

My Harlots and Angels Versailles Corset

Yep. One picture. That's all I got. I had been asked to help out at the Brass Screw Steampunk event that takes place in Port Townsend, Washington. I worked will call at the hootenanny, because fun. :-) However, that also means I am too busy for pictures. Boo.

PDF Harlots and Angels Versailles corset/bodice size range 32-34-36 waist.  This is an actual corset that will give you waist reduction. The measurements are for the corset laced fully closed. Also, make sure when you print out the pattern you size it down to 100%. I think it comes in at about 126% PDF format. If you don't resize it your garment is going to be huge.

Under layer, 10oz black denim. Fashion fabric black/ivory cotton sateen.

I figured with a 37 inch waist the size 34 would give me ample reduction. My muslin told me different. I am calling it a muslin to save face ha! I tissue fitted this pattern (mistake) and jumped right in to construction. I had almost finished it and when I tried it on it was too big. Garrrrrr! On the plus side I had all the boning pre cut, there was my silver lining. I sized down to the 32 and figured I would baste the side seams (between pieces 2 & 3) last. Just to make fitting easier.

SA=seam allowance.
She is asking you to build a 3 layer corset. 1 layer of fashion fabric (outer layer), 1 layer of tightly woven underlining, and a heavy duck or coutil for lining. You will be using the lining layer to make your final boning channels.

The seam allowances are printed as 7/8 inches on the pattern pieces but in the instructions she says 3/4. I went with 7/8. There is no real SA information on binding the corset. I used a 1/2 inch SA. Also only the back pattern piece tells you where to end the boning channels. I was not sure about the rest. If you use spiral boning it will lay limp so I wasn't too worried about it messing with the drape of the peplum.

I will admit I find her method of corset building very laborious and her busk insertion method even more so. I pulled out my trusty Basics of Corset Building by Linda Sparks. This is my go to book on making corsets. Ok, off we go!

My changes:
I made a 2 layer unlined corset. Please bear in mind that whatever you line/underline this corset with will show because of the peplum. Since I alternated my fashion layer (solid, stripe, solid, stripe etc etc..) I used the black and ivory stripe as my underlining on the solid pieces and solid black underlining on my striped pieces. Even though I hate using my seam allowances as boning channels I decided to go that route due to time constraints. I serged all my SA and top stitched them down. I went with the book instructions and did a 1/2 inch top stitch VS pattern instructions of 3/8 an inch. One little mistake with a 3/8 inch boning channel will mean you can't fit the bone in. 1/2 inch gives me some wiggle room. I also used the book instructions on busk insertion.

Fitting adjustments:
Fairly minimal. I am short waisted. I was surprised I didn't need to adjust the waist length. If you have a longer torso you may need to. Between pieces 2 & 3 I took in the bust line seam about 1/2 inch total for a closer fit over my boobs. I let out the waist seam about 3/4 an inch total. Of course I needed to shorten the shoulder straps. That really was all I did. Because of the alterations to seams 2 & 3 I did use bone casing tape for that SA. All total I have about a 2 inch lacing gap in the back. That is my ideal.

Final thoughts:
So after I put it all together and tried it on I realized that Versailles must literally translate to "show the king your nipples" Ha! No, really this is very low cut. If I sneezed my boobs would have popped out. Also it is not much on boob support. So I wore my "makes me mean" uncomfortable AF push up bra and a black lace cami.
Not for a beginner. Make a couple basic corsets and find a method that you like and use it.
The only thing I would change when I make this again are the straps. I will do them 18th century style with grommets and lacing string at the front, instead of buttons. That way they are more adjustable. I do recommend this pattern for intermediate and up. I adore the finished product! Oh, and yes, you can make it like the pattern picture without the busk. Just adjust the seam/fold allowance and cut the pattern piece on the fold of fabric.
Also you will be doing some trimming along the bottom and top once the corset is sewn together to even things out a bit. Don't let that freak you out. The waist line markings don't really match up and there are no notches to help with matching the seams properly. It is what it is. Just go with the flow. That was easily 12 hours of work with my short cut methods. Her method would probably push you into the 16 hour range.

My cute pirate hat. Simplicity 8361 view D. About 3 hours of work. Skip the lining and use grosgrain ribbon as your hat band. Trim it however you want.

If I have the energy this week I will put this damn thing back on and take a few more pictures. I am wearing my Truly Victorian Umbrella skirt I made for VicFest and my little black bolero I made for my blue 50s dress. It's very satisfying to use existing parts of my wardrobe and just add to them. I also may just go ahead and wear this to The Siren's Ball at the end of July. Pirates and mermaids go together, right?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Truly Victorian TV456 1850s gathered front day dress

Well, it's about time I reviewed this pattern. I haven't felt much like blogging lately. My sweet little MinPin Havoc passed away at the end of April and I am still very sad. Some days I feel ok and then I get hit with a wave of sadness in my heart. I know in time it will get easier to deal with. He really was my special little friend and I miss him so.

Fort Nisqually was putting on a Queen Victoria's birthday celebration on May 20th. I decided it was time to make an icky green dress for the event. I do not possess a cage crinoline and really don't want to make one. I decided on TV456 because I figured I could get away with no crinoline and just use corded petticoats and a cheater net crinoline.

1856 dress for day or evening. Fan front gathers, dropped shoulder full pleated skirt. I used my normal TV size  G back and I front. I had 10 yards of this ick green cotton that I bought for a bustle dress but that never happened. When cotton is on a flash sale and it's 2.99 a yard you get 10 yards. Am I right or what!!

Anything after Regency and before the bustle are a mystery for me in regards to fitting. That dropped shoulder... I did my standard alterations, 1/2 inch tuck in the upper back, let darts out 1/4 inch, shortened the upper bodice length 1.75 inches. Normally I shorten TV skirts by about 2 inches. With dropped shoulder patterns I normally take about 1 inch off the shoulder area.

Fairly straight forward. I didn't have any issues. The bodice gathering is fussy but I expected that. The skirt is pleated and easy to do. I sewed my skirt to the bodice but if I make it again I will just make it into a separate skirt.

Final thoughts:
It makes a very pretty dress. This would be fantastic in taffeta. I managed to not need a hoop but the dress would look much better with one. Both center back pattern pieces are labeled as lining. One is the lining the other is the fashion fabric. The gathering on the center back piece is pretty minuscule. If I make this dress again I will not bother with the gathering and just use the lining piece.

As usual the Countess and I had a good time at Fort Nisqually.

 Such a demure lady...

 My partner in crime The Countess

 Oooooooo someone is playing with Lucifers (matches)

 Staring longingly at the marble bust of husband number 4. For some reason my husbands keep falling down the stairs and dying. I'm now on the lookout for husband number 5.

 The dining room

 The parlor.

 Some of the historical re-enactors.

 Havoc the rescue MinPin. From ??? to April 2017
You are missed.

RIP my Havoc aka SweetBabyLuvMuffins. You were my doggie soul mate and I will see you again someday.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Butterick 4918 Retro 50's evening gown

So I decided to make a retro 1950s dress for the Vampires Ball PDX this time around. I wanted something ankle length and easy to dance in. After going through my pattern stash I decided on Butterick 4918.

Circa 1952 evening dress. Fitted boned bodice with fabric drape across the bust. Full gored skirt, floor length. Sizes 6-20.

I was gifted with 8 yards of excellent quality blue/black shot taffeta. Yay! I decided to add some sparkle with a net overlay that was studded with faux sequins. You can find this stuff at JoAnns in their novelty netting section. It is fairly inexpensive and I was on a budget.

Sizing and alterations:
I chose size 20 based on the finished garment measurements. I figured I would need to take it in just a bit in the bust and let it out a bit in the waist. I was exactly right. From the bust apex up I took it in about 3/4 of an inch. I let out the waist 3/4 of an inch. I shortened the skirt by 2 inches, I'm 5 ft 4 inches barefoot. However, I did neglect to make a corresponding bust adjustment to the bodice drapes along the top seam line. So that part became a bit fiddly when I attached it. But I made it work.

Putting it together:
Easy. The instructions were easy to follow and it went together quickly.

End notes:
This is a really pretty dress! It was easy to wear and I received many compliments. Flattering for a broad size range. Again, if you are expecting it to look like the envelope art you will need a very fluffy crinoline. I used Simplicity 3737 view C. It really makes the dress look fabulous. Also the wider/fuller the skirt the smaller your waist looks.

I made a cummerbund (no pattern). It closes with hooks and eyes. I used Decades of Style Sleek Sleeved bolero pattern circa 1940s. A very easy make. I had run out of the blue taffeta so I just used black broadcloth and a layer of my sequined novelty netting. I made my headdress using a headband, roses, leaves, butterflies, netting and feathers. I decided on blue and burnt orange for my headdress colors. My shoes (not shown) were a 1940s style peep toe platform. 3 inch heel + 1/2 inch platform = 2.5 inch heel. That is as good as it gets for my middle aged feet.

We had a great time at the ball. As a retired goth it's nice to dance to some good music and have a couple drinks. My BFF and I will definitely go back next year.

The picture on the right shows the dress with a nice full crinoline. What a difference it makes.

 My sexy BFF! Patterns I used, McCall's Shape Shifter corset, Harlots and Angels hobble skirt and Vogue 9016 view C bolero.
 Melody Ballrom Portland Oregon

 Me and Ms. Smolder ;-) Rawr!