Saturday, April 22, 2017

Cosplay McCall's Shape Shifter Corset pattern M2032

I like the Cosplay McCall's patterns for the most part. The designs are fun and they are nicely packaged. I have several of their patterns and look forward to making them at some point, says every costumer ever...Never enough time in my day.

I made M2032 view B for a friend of mine. We have a goth/vampire themed event coming up and, well...I had some red skull mesh fabric. When in Rome. :-)

Two styles of under bust corset. View A-no hip gussets, View B-hip gussets. My friend has a fabulous hourglass figure so I thought view B would be perfect. Pattern is printed on thin tissue paper. For 21.00 you would think heavier paper would be included. The instructions are very clear and well written. They even have extra notes on putting in a waist stay. Both are really nice solid designs.

Oh my!!! Sizing....DO NOT even think the finished measurements printed on that tissue are accurate. Pretend they are not there. They are so far off I don't know why McCall's even bothered. I was left wondering if I was incompetent, crazy or both. How can something you are selling for 21.00 be. so. wrong. Here is my advice.

1. Use the sizing guide on the outer envelope.
2. Ignore the bust measurements, really.
3. Find your desired waist size, not your actual waist size.
4. Example, I have a 37 inch waist. I would like to lace down to 34. So I pick size 18. Now that being said size 18 will be approximately 32 inches laced fully closed. So in theory if I go with size 18 (32) that will give me a 2 inch gap laced down to my desired 34 inches. I don't want a fully closed corset, I like a gap. If you don't want any gap then just pick your desired waist size. But bear in mind if your corset stretches out it may become too big.
5. Make a muslin. Truly, you will be much happier if you do.
6. In the most simple terms, go down a couple sizes.

Now on to finished garment measurements. I made two different sizes/muslins, here are the approximate numbers:

Size 16 laced fully closed
waist 30 inches
hips 40

Size 12 laced fully closed
waist 27 inches
hips 38

Printed on the pattern tissue the 16 was supposed to be a 27 inch waist and the 12 was supposed to be 23 inches.

The other interesting thing is the gussets, side front, side and side back are all one size. No difference at all between sizes. I don't know anything about pattern grading so I can't say if this is a normal thing or not. But that is a pretty broad size range. The other corsets I have made all had each piece graded, no universal sized pieces. Gussets would be the only exception.

Changes I made:
I prefer to use bone casing tape instead of making my casings with the lining or seam allowances. My corset is not lined. Fabrics I used, red skull mesh, coutil and underlined it with twill. A really great book I cannot recommend enough is The Basics of Corset Building by Linda Sparks. It covers the construction methods for several different types of corsets.

Fairly simple. I would not recommend this pattern for a beginner. My most favorite pattern for beginners is the Laughing Moon #113, under bust corsets. They have good sizing info and there are no sizing surprises.

Remaining crumbs:
Corset requires a 10 inch busk. If you lengthen or shorten it that size will change. The seam allowance for the body of the corset is 5/8 inch. For the top and bottom it is 1/4 inch. Since I didn't use a lining I bound off the bottom and top with bias tape. This corset really has a great shape. I don't know if I will make another. The sizing aspect was very frustrating. :-/

 Sexy AF. The red skull fabric was bout at JoAnns in the halloween section. It is a sheer mesh.

 Not even a little bit accurate.

Larger sizes not accurate either.
These 3 pieces, plus gussets (not shown) are all the same size, for all the sizes. FYI

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Port Townsend Victorian Heritage Festival 2017

The first weekend in April was the Victorian Heritage Festival in seance Port Townsend, Washington. I was somewhat surprised to see VicFest on the calendar because 2016 was supposed to be the last year due to lack of volunteers. Happily enough some wonderful folks stepped up and decided to revive it. There is already talk of a 2018 VicFest, how fantastic is that! I participated in the fashion show on Saturday. It was so wonderful to see many of my friends and we all had a wonderful time! Here are some random pictures of the event.

 At the Commander's Beach House for tea! We were very color coordinated that day.

 The lovely Lady Rebecca

 Caught taking a selfie!

 Once a mom always a mom, helping with shoes.

 Commander's Beach House and good friends!

 I'm so famous!

 This guy...He must have taken a wrong turn at the border. This was my fashion show outfit. Truly Victorian walking skirt and Eaton Jacket. You can't ever go wrong with those two patterns.

 Lovely view!

 Lady Rebecca and her magnificent bustle!

 Tea time!

 Two of the most lovely people!

 Ready for the dance social! Truly Victorian Umbrella skirt and 1883 Tail bodice.

The skirt is one piece cut on the cross grain. It works very nicely with a horizontal striped fabric. With careful cutting and matching the back seam stripes will chevron. It looks awesome, but of course you can't see it. ;-) 
 I do have plans for a true 1890s bodice. The one I was working on did not pan out, so this was my back up. 

My grey plaid Regency dress using La Mode Bagatelle patterns

There was a fabulous event this last weekend put on by the Jane Austin Society of North America. (JASNA) I made this dress last year but didn't have any good pictures of it until now. I am wearing my Wingeo stovepipe hat and a green silk taffeta spencer (Laughing Moon #129). This post is focusing on my La Mode Bagatelle dress.

Realistically this pattern set is all you would need for an entire Regency wardrobe. The whole package is beautifully put together and loaded with different styling ideas. I made the faux drop front dress with shaped skirt (view D). This puts my dress a bit later in the Regency period. I prefer the Regency styles from about 1810 on up.

Sizing and fabric:
I used size 20. My measurements in stays are approximately 44 bust, 39 under bust and 37 waist. I made no alterations to the bodice pattern. The skirt I shortened by a couple inches. My fabric is silk taffeta and the bodice is lined with sturdy white muslin. The sleeves of this era run long anyways so I didn't shorten them.

I didn't really have any issues with the directions. The gown went together easily. The sleeves have 4 notches along the sleeve cap. The double notch is the back of the sleeve. The next notch you match near the shoulder seam. Put the fullness where you need it. The last two notches match to the armhole notches at the front.

End notes:
I really like this pattern. It's only flaw is that it buttons up the back. ;-) This dress has a great shape and the waistline is nice and high. I also like the fact there are no gathers under the bust line. The gored A-line skirt is very flattering. I will definitely make this again. I would like to add a couple more cotton Regency dresses to my wardrobe for summer. I will probably use this pattern for one of them.

Laughing Moon #129

Cross over spencer jacket with 3 different collar options and hem finishes.

Sizing and fabric:
Just like my pink pelisse I used size 22. I shortened the bodice by 1/2 an inch and shortened the sleeves 1.5 inches.

Easy. No issues.

End notes:
I like the ruffle on the back. And the collar is super flattering. This is a really cute little jacket and I can see why they were so popular.

 Looking very plaid!

 The Countess looking demure.

 Friends time!

 Silly picture!

 Someone didn't get the mustache stockings required memo...

 Fun times on the stage!

Monday, April 3, 2017

My Edwardian plaid outfit Truly Victorian patterns TVE30 and TVE45

This last weekend was the Port Townsend Victorian Heritage Festival. There was much fun having!

I must admit to being completely and totally inspired to make this when I stumbled across The Antique Sewist's blog. She made a plaid version of TVE30 and TVE45 and I fell in LOVE! I knew at that very moment I needed a plaid Edwardian outfit. Nothing would stop me, even the lack of plaid fabric in my stash. I already had both the patterns and just needed some kind of fabric to fulfill my plaid dreams. A few days later I was at one of the local fabric watering holes and stumbled across this somewhat bright turquoise and purple plaid. It was love at first sight! It was on sale too!! So I quickly bought some and lovingly cuddled it all the way home.

I will start with TVE30, the skirt.

Sizing and alterations:
I cut a straight size I (36 waist). In my Edwardian stays I measure 43 bust, 37 high waist, 36 waist and 43 hips. You really want to pay close attention to your high waist, the is your jumping off point at fitting this skirt. Now as you can plainly see from my measurements I am not concerned about my hips. If you have a nice hip spring you would cut your hip size and blend it to your waist size, or you can play with the darts for adjustment. Also if you are taller than 5ft 4in you will want to lengthen the skirt. My alteration was fairly simple since I only needed a bit of extra waist room. I made the skirt darts a tad bit smaller (about 1/4 off each dart side at the top) and then blended it back into the rest of the dart. That gave me about an extra inch. For the inner waistband I just made it a bit longer and folded in the ends to make the belt fit my high waist. There are very small darts on the inner waistband and they are so teeny I didn't want to mess with them. That was it. The length was perfect for me and my 2 inch heels.

Yeah, I loved that plaid until I realized how uneven it was...I am somewhat impatient. Even plaids and even stripes are not super difficult to work with. However, when you toss the word "uneven" into the mixture things get dicey. So turning to my trusty Vogue sewing book I read about uneven plaids. Hmmmm...Not for the plaid novice. Great! It takes a lot to discourage me. And I was going to have that damn plaid dress, even if it killed me. Vogue says on the uneven plaids you have to pick a focus point on the plaid and just run with it. That is what I did.

 I patiently cut out my pieces in a single layer trying to keep it matched on my chosen focus point as I could. I knew with the lapped seams the plaid wouldn't be a perfect match but I managed to get close enough. It's certainly not perfect but I am pleased with my effort.

My fabric was some kind of mystery blend not quite mid weight suiting. I underlined my skirt with quilting cotton. Please, underline your garments. They hang so much better and you can just transfer your marks to the underlining. So easy. I used petersham ribbon for my belting. I found some on Etsy and bought several yards. It's light blue, but no one can see it anyways.

Not difficult. On my underlining I marked ALL THE THINGS. Every seam line, every dot and dart. Read the instructions carefully and follow them. The skirt came together like a dream. The placket seaming instructions seem strange, just follow them. It will be ok. I chose to use buttons as my main closure. I would rather make buttonholes than sew on a million hooks and bars.

Final thoughts:
I love this skirt! I even made another in dark navy wool suiting. It goes together much quicker when you aren't worried about matching plaid. A very satisfying project. TV gives great fitting info with the pattern.

TVE45 Narrow Panel Blouse

Really quick and easy to make. Since my bust is 43 I decided to use size H (44), view A with 3/4 sleeves. I did no alterations.
My fabric was not a bordered fabric but I went with view A anyway. I decided to cut my center panels on the bias so I wouldn't have to worry about plaid matching. I accidentally gave my blouse shoulder seams because I wasn't paying attention to the fact you have to tape both pattern pieces together at the shoulder to make it a single piece. (duh). Sewed up like a dream.

Final thoughts:
Easy. Great for a beginner. Instant gratification. I will make more of these.

Underneath it all:
Combination underwear, corset, stockings, a single petticoat. My under blouse is a lucky vintage find (because it is a larger size). Time wise it is WWI era but I didn't care because I didn't have to make it. I also loathe high collars. So this was a nice compromise. The blouse is completely hand sewn. It is labeled The Butterfly Blouse, size 42. It has a few minor flaws but that is to be expected. I will make a proper blouse to wear under this top, someday.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

My 1890s Victorian circus girl costume

I am happy and thrilled to announce that this outfit won 1st place in the Shear Madness quarterly challenge Big Top #13! I had so much fun making this and am certainly happy it won. :-)

Shear Madness Big Top Challenge #13

It was 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.