viennabelle: (Crazy Cat)
For those of you who never met him, this really is what Steve is like (plus some of those are my photos!)...


As for the dog, well, that must be a new feature in his life. My cat Muffy (who has a persistent crush on Steve) is jealous!

viennabelle: (Crazy Cat)
I had a tough day yesterday. After shredding nearly every lacing option in the house, after DH applied creative problem solving, we finally found some twine and got me in my bodice--and it didn't close. I don't know why--but somehow between the layers of lining (I added a layer of wool to smooth it out), the applied trim, it managed to cause the whole thing to shrink. So...I ripped the whole thing apart, including the eye tape I'd been using for lacing. Then I sewed the boned layer back together again with a looser fit. I replaced the eye tape with strips of grommets applied to leftover scraps of coutil. Finally--I recut the outer layer (thankfully, I just had enough leftover fabric--no extra sleeves!), leaving wide allowances (to know the layout of my pattern, I traced it in chalk).

That's when I realized that I wasn't going to get the look I wanted unless I hand sewed. So, I pinned it down (folding under the allowances) over my boned bodice and I prick stitched the pieces in place. Fortunately, it only took a couple of hours and there was a marathon of "Miss Marple" films on our local PBS.

Finally--I cut out the trim from the last bodice, folding under the edges. I'm about halfway through basting it back in place.

The good part--it really fits better and the outer layer looks much smoother. The down side is that I've got tons to do and I'm really sick of this project. So, I'm very happy to be at work...I'm not going to think of this any more until quitting time!

Sorry--no more piccies. I was racing yesterday, but I'll try to take some tonight.
viennabelle: (Devils Whore)
I am fighting off sleep as I draft this. Today went productively on the Charle II mistress gown (I'm Ann Pegge). First--I got the trim that I was scared I wouldn't get. Our postal delivery woman--who'd been getting my anticipatory looks this week--waited to see me open the package. Then I ran downstairs and started cranking on sewing. I have made detachable sleeves and an un-gathered petticoat. With tons of trim. My biggest effort was sewing on the trim on the petticoats, which took a bit of thought to work out so the stitching didn't show through the back--but the result meant no hemming!

What about other things? I don't know. I'm just too sleepy to think, but I do feel I will get this gown done tomorrow. I've opted for early period sleeves. Since they are detachable, if I can work out the fabric, I may bang out a second set for the later period. Though God knows when I'd ever have occasion to wear them...
viennabelle: (Devils Whore)
Ok, I am definitely cutting corners. But there was no way in heck I would waste several evenings hand sewing eyelets with so little time left. My machine seems only capable of elliptical eyelets (oddly appropriate, given that this is the anniversary of the Apollo landing, but not desireable). So what to do?

I got white eyelet tape and sewed it into the boned layer. I'm going to put a facing on the fashion fabric to hide it--but it's what is commonly done with Victorian era ballgowns. Not desireable--but I'm going for costume here, not abject accuracy. Together with chopping off the tabs--it may make this project reasonable to finish next weekend. Now I'm fiddling with the sleeves and hoping the rest of my trim arrives before the weekend.

So, call me a farbie Barbie! Life is good!
viennabelle: (Devils Whore)
I didn't get any free time this weekend, but I did manage to squeeze in a few hours of work this evening (note--I was writing this late Sunday) after my other chores were done, so I went to work on my 1660s gown. My first effort was a bit of web research. I'm getting very inspired by Dutch paintings of this era--which isn't such a bad idea, considering that the English court in exile spent significant time in Holland. Anyhow, one search found this one gem (detail, click to embiggen):

 
While the date of this painting is just slightly earlier than my objective--it gives some great details. First, the woman in the foreground--you can see so much there--the shoes, the hem facing on the outer petticoat, the guard on the pink skirt, the back of the hair. I also was a little surprised to see a Y necklace on the woman in gold (a trendsetter?). Well, this is definitely giving me ideas!

As for my project, I made one big decision. Given my time restrictions, I have decided to simplify the bodice. I cut off the tabs. Why did I do this? Well, eliminating the tabs will make binding the bottom significantly easier. Most images of gowns do not have tabs--except those before about 1640. But ultimately--it is a matter of convenience. This is a costume, done with consideration--but not strict adherence to historic construction. I don't have time to squander--so I'm cutting corners.

The cool thing is that with reed boning, all I had to do was slice through it with a rotary cutter!


The other thing I've decided to do might strike some as heresy...I've decided to use lacing eye tape instead of hand sewing eyelets. As you  can see above, I test fitted this using some black eye tape--but for the final version, I'm going to need eyes in white--so I need to buy some.

I'm also playing with the sleeve. I am thinking I want bigger, pouffier sleeves. I know that extant bodices have small sleeves, but the big pouffy ones in paintings are...well, just so badass!  So, I started monkeying with muslin and altering it.

Lastly about trim. To my abject horror, I put in a note promising to post an entry about how I did this. Really, there wasn't too much involved. Here is a photo showing samples:
 
The lace on the top is the base, the middle is base lace with a pailette/pearl layer sewn on. Finally, the bottom trim is sewn on the sides. That gives the full effect.

The one trick I did learn was that it's tricky to sew together. I never really figured out the kind of needle to use--though my local sewing store suggested ball point needles. My biggest issue was when the needle hit pearls--and broke. I ended up going through a full packet of 70/10 universal needles.

The other thing is to drop the feed dogs and use the free motion foot. That helps avoid the obstacles (pearls!) and it all goes together.

For this, since it was silver gilt trim, I sewed it together using "metallic" (really lurex) thread. It became virtually invisible when I sewed it all together.

Ok. I gotta crash, but wanted to push this out. ttl!
viennabelle: (Devils Whore)
Today was an insane day. I'm hosting a display at a major disabilities meeting tomorrow for the Democratic Party--just at the point where it seems that all the campaigns are switching logos. So--I was scrambling for fun stuff, like stickers. I've spent the major part of the past two days hunting down simple lapel stickers. Oddly, I ended up with a glut of tee shirts for various campaigns. Go figure.

With that behind me, I was hoping to give [livejournal.com profile] bauhausfrau  a belated birthday present--but no luck. I left it at work--and the terms of my status as a headhunted contractor means I can't go in the building after 7 pm Fridays (an advantage in my mind) meant no legal way of getting it at this point. So, it will wait to next week. I was totally nackered. I called her, gave my regrets and took a long nap.

When waking, the urge to make progress sustained. I have so little time to finish this dress! So, while more embellishments are still on their way from India, I decided to make as much progress as I could with what I have already received. I'm really happy with results so far...

Just a little background...I am basing my efforts from Reconstructing History's pattern 707. My first effort was getting the bodice to fit--an effort made complicated by my recent gain in weight and my DH's general bewilderment over general principles of fit. Over the past few days, I've made the bodice layer (which incorporates a kind of corset) and cut/sewn an outside layer.

Tonight I devoted my attentions to the most enjoyable part of construction: embellishment.

Ironically, I must admit that I've spent more for this than any other part of the project--and didn't do so until I got a job that gave me an accessible income. Fabric for this gown cost $40--I was lucky enough to get 8 yards of rayon/synthetic something or other (I burn tested it and rayon came clear, but whatever else was there was only notable as slight and vaguely melty).  On the other hand, I spent about $80 on trims--but only after landing the "job." Spending more on trims seems to make this really seem like the kind of dress a King's mistress would wear. The combination of spangles and baby pearls make it appear just right--although getting the right effect took a significant degree of layering.

So...here are the piccies. Enjoy some embellishment porn below the cut. Apologies to folk on both the Chas II  & Dress Diariies lists and my friends list. I just couldn't stop from treble posting. The look of layering is just so darn decadent.

For more posts--click the tags below.

I hope I finish this in time for Costume College!

Now for a little costumy porn!

click to see fanciful embellishment! )
viennabelle: (Default)
My friend who sent me Hermione's "I could have danced all night" sent me another version of the video over Facebook. I can't help but repost this, just because it's so darn cool.

From the special "The Broadway of Lerner and Lowe". Julie sings with Richard Burton, Robert Goulet, Stanley Holloway and Maurice Chevalier...sing!


viennabelle: (Harem Girl)
I am such a sucker for this kind of thing (but what a great song to have stuck in my head)!

viennabelle: (Devils Whore)
Today I finalized fit on the bodice, which is probably going to be the most complicated element of this gown. Right now, I don't have photos, mostly since I've misplaced the recharger for my camera battery (dead) and don't want to spare time to hunt it down. But come the weekend, I will try to get some pics up...

Mainly, I've achieved the fit by the following process:

1. I cut the pieces to the size closest resembling my size--then I scaled up, just to be safe.
2. After sewing boning channels according to the pattern, I machine basted the pieces together with a very slight (1/4") seam allowance.
3. I machine basted two rows of "eye" tape from hook and eye tape to the edge that I will lace up later with sewn eyelets. This gives me a temporary lacing edge.
4. I laced it up and tried it on inside out, threading cord through the eyelets I've basted in.
5. Pinching in with pins, I approximated a fit, then take the item off, trace a seam with chalk, and machine basted it in. After two tries, I got a good fit.
6. Once I finalized the fit, I oversewed the basting lines with a tight stitch and rip out as much of the basting as possible (but frankly, did't stress over what I can't remove).

So...now I have the piece sewn together. Now I'm in the painful process of boning this sucker. I used to teach a stay making classes at G Street Fabrics, up until they cancelled a class the night before it was scheduled (due to a corporate reorganization). That left me with loads of reeds. Slowly I'm using them up, but I still have an adequate stash on hand...That said, boning this is very tedious. Exceptionally tedious. I'm leaving a good seam allowance for binding, mostly since I want to bind this off really fast and not waste time with it. Hopefully, I'll finish it by tomorrow night.

My preference would have been to skip binding and merely to machine off the edges to save time (a cheat I'll do when corsetry won't be seen and I don't have time to be picky). However, that isn't a possibility with this, as I learned when I found a photo of a period gown that resembles what I'm aiming for. The Costume Museum in Bath has a 1760s gown in entirety--and it was once placed on a dummy and photographed. I found photographs in Ribiero's "Fashion and Fiction" (the best fashion reference I've found on this era). On that gown, the attachment of the petticoat and bodice is clear: the binding is almost complety visible...so I feel I must bind with leather...fortunately, I do have a stash of that, too.

During this era, there were two kinds of sleeves that overlapped in popularity. Earlier, short poufy sleeves (with longer hanging shift sleeves underneath) prevailed, whereas later, the sleeves lost pouf and hung longer, considerably past the elbow. I wasn't sure which style sleeve came with the pattern, so I emailed Kass, the owner of Reconstructing History (this is pattern 707) to sort out this detail. To my delight, it was the shorter sleeve--just perfect, since I portray one of Charles II's earlier mistresses, Catherine Pegge (fwiw, it's fairly easy to alter it to the longer sleeve).

Catherine was the daughter of one of the exiled cavaliers who served as his mistress for a prolonged time over the 1660s. This was during the era after the Roundheads executed Charles I (his father), Cromwell took over and Charles went into exile, traveling through several European countries with his court. It is likely that Anne wasn't from predominate wealth, although she was favored by Charles II for an extended time, bringing prosperity and titles to her family (and two kids). Though she was said to have been portrayed in several paintings, none are known to survive at this time. That said, there are portrayals of the court in exile (like this one of Charles dancing with his sister at the Hague). While that painting doesn't define Catherine's exact image, it does give a general idea of the look of the era when she was favored...so I will go for that portrayal.
viennabelle: (Default)
My 17th c. bodice left me with questions about whether I was fitting it correctly, so I called Bauhausfrau today over my lunch hour, since I knew she'd already started the same pattern. When I got her on the phone, I realized that my own motivation for this gown before CC was perhaps not as strong as it should be towards finishing it over the next two weeks. My excuse was clear: without the trims, attempting this wasn't realistic.

Then I got home from work today...

I not only got some exceptionally gorgeous doll fabric and doll trims, but half of my order of silver trims for my Charles II mistress gown. So, I'm forced out of merely rationalizing an excuse. Shall I try to sew it...or not.

I have to admit, the more I look at this trim (which is just fantastically awesome), the more I feel I just have to go for it. So, let's see how far I get tonight.

Plan B is to drape a new 18th c gown out of the discount silk I got online ($35 for 5 yard of some impressively gorgeous stuff). However, I could do that rather rapidly, since I can drape those fast. So, let's see how far I can get this week...

viennabelle: (Strawberries)
Last week, I rough fit my Chas II bodice. I'm using the Reconstructing History pattern, fwiw.

It took a bit of fiddling, several nights of cutting out cardboard, but I think it's close, which will do (though I'm still a bit concerned about it being too l ong waisted). Finally, Saturday night, I made it to my cutting table. I used random bits of fabric, marked it at will, since these layers are going to be completely encased when it's done. I then took a break from the instructions and sewed boning channels in each piece separately, then basted the pieces together (I like doing stays that way better, because it's easier to alter). It looks pretty good, but I don't know if I'll have this done by the end of the month.

I have a couple of issues generating my uncertainty about finishing--first, I'm not visualizing how the sleeves will turn out, though I'm pretty sure I could resolve that with a mockup. Also, I am waiting for trim to arrive...so go figure there. Finally, I am having sewing machine issues.

Once again, the tension is out of whack on my sewing machine. My results are ok for boning channels, but not acceptable for the rest of the garment. I will see tonight if my backup machine--a featherlight--is up to the job. I'll take my machine to the shop this week.

After sewing, I sat down with DH and explained my dilemma. He agreed that after resolving some debts, I could start shopping for a new one. I told him it would be expensive and he said OK. I'm not sure he understood how expensive. I'm leaning towards the Bernina Auroroa 430--a mid-line workhorse that can be expanded to embroidery capabilities. I also like Elna, for it's built-in walking foot and tight edge sewing foot--but their line doesn't seem to have a modular expansion capability. I think the sewing machine salespeople expect me to want to "trade up," just like with cars. Little do they know we tend to drive (or sew) both our cars and sewing machines until they die.

But right now, that's kind of moot. Well, gotta get off to work!


viennabelle: (Tightrope)
Well, Sunday night I just couldn't sleep. After tossing and turning, I went down to my work room and started mucking with a Soom Namu practice head that I'd bought some months back. To be honest, it wasn't a head I really liked--it was scratched, it had the pointiest nose and distinct eyefolds. But I got it inexpensively, so I figured it was a good piece to start on--I could improvise with abandon.

This is not my doll, but it give an idea of the pointiness of the nose...imagine this, with a bad faceup. Luckily, the face cleaned up easily.

The first thing I did was haul out the dremel--and slice down that nose. Using a very fine bit, I found it easy to get a rough cut on a nose shape I liked. I started fine sanding with a nail board, then I remembered I had a set of Japanese polishing papers that I'd bought for PMC clay. I tried that--and got amazing results. Feeling my success on the nose, I refined the shape of the eyelid, then I used the polishing papers to work off the scratches on the head.

What I ended up with was a face that looked like new--and in my eyes, much better than the original sculpt. It was pretty amazing how great it looked. I was truly surprised to see how much working it with very fine abrasives improved it. I was lucky--the head was not discolored, either.

Then I moved on to adding color. This time, I went for a very natural face. I felt that I was getting the hang of the technique of painting (my airbrush is not set up with a compressor yet)--but I am still stymied by caking of color--though now I'm careful to brush off any excess build up.


This evening, I put the doll on the only SD body I have--an Elfdoll. Unfortunately, the Soom resin is much lighter and greener. Still, I was amazed at how great it looked. I didn't do much to photograph it but use my point and shoot and it looked great. Here is the doll, wearing the gorgeous dress Bauhausfrau gave me last month for my b'day...I love the first wig, especially...and the green eyes look fabulous in person.


Which brings me to a dilemma. This was supposed to be a disposeable head that I could use to practice on, then pass along. Though I don't see this as a final faceup, my success is leaving me quite attached to her. However, she needs a body that matches her face.

Of course, none of this leaves me craving that Alice in Labyrinth face any less...c'est la vie, huh?

viennabelle: (Girl Reporter)


I'm back from Atlantic City...and Antiques Roadshow!

This was my second time going to the Roadshow. Some stats from the local paper: 6,000 are lucky to win the lottery for entry passes. 95% of appraisals are under $100 and only a handful of entries get filmed.

We lucked out. We got 8:00 am entry tickets. The box o' documents about slavery that I brought got a very high appraisal ($8-10k) but the auctioneer reviewing thought of trying to get me on tv, but the other assessors felt the collection was too broad to make it past the producers (though they urged me to submit it to the History Detectives).

As if that weren't amazing enough, the girlfriend who went with me hit pay dirt! She brought a book autographed by Walt Whitman, got selected for getting on TV and got interviewed by the Philadelphia Inquirer about the experience. So, I got the chance to hang out in the green room all day, which was pretty fun. The coolest part was that the executive producer came back for coffee and sat with me for an hour. I got him to tell about how he brought the concept to the US and how he transformed it from a snooty show appealing to the silver haired set to mass markets. It was really fun--and he gave me his card and shirt as a souvenir!

In the green room, we could watch the filming, which, interestingly enough, was edited as it was filmed (except retakes). Only people in the green room could see what was going on, though. Surprisingly, companions had the best situation--the folks selected for on-air appraisals had to stay seated at separate tables and could not speak with anyone. Companions were allowed to roam, talk and have fun. Since we were there for hours and hours (though we could visit the floor any time we wanted), there was this odd bonding experience--it was tons of fun.

The person who really seemed to hold the production together was the floor director, who has an amazing talent for putting guests at ease. The appraisers (who have to volunteer as triage appraisers to get the chance to compete to be floor appraisers--at their own expense--with odds against them for getting air time)--were mostly a very fun bunch (well, they were very happy if they got to the green room), though those new at it were very nervous.

Highlights from the show--the very adorable but nervous Jean, who called her miniature highboy chest a "highball" to Leigh Keno (to which her great niece, sitting next to me in the green room said, "after this, I'm ready to down a couple of those!"), the appraiser who looked like Mark Twain who valued a banjo and the fake--a guy who was sure his Chinese lantern was ancient (it was pretty obviously fishy--it looked like airport art).

So, it was totally a blast. I got home and zonked out, though!
viennabelle: (Strawberries)
I got back from my journey to MA last night, after losing my car keys, then finding out (after 3 hours of searching) that they'd fallen out of my purse and rolled far under the car seat (an unexpected dimensions of my keyless auto systems is having keys in the car, but out of pickup range).

As for the jacket project, I ended up starting on it at the final work session. It was rather awkward fitting into a project that had been underway for two years, but my work was needed, so I came out feeling accomplished. I started with sewing on spangles (or oes or pailettes, depending on who is speaking). At first, I felt very hesitant and worked slowly. Then I was switched to embroidering curliques on the golden stems. Real gold embroidery! I loved it! The need to make progress infiltrated my brain and soon I was cranking. At the end, they doubled us up for a time on frames and I went back to sewing spangles. Oddly, sharing a canvass gave me more confidence. I was cranking. My work was tidy. Then other folks left early, I got a frame to myself again and I started whipping those things on. I know I hit about 80 per hour, maybe more--I just managed to finish spangling the piece I was working on.


My take-away was a whole lot more confidence in my embroidery capabilities and a lot of creative inspiration for new items. I think I will try to make a coif inspired by--but not copying--the jacket (named "Faith"). I also am inspired by the 3-D design possibilities of stumpwork. A veteran stitcher from the project brought in an amazing stumpwork lamb that she'd sewn--seeing her effort left me thinking of designing my own creations. I'd love to make a sewing accoutrement like the needlelace thimble holders and needlebooks of the period. Only the design I have in mind is a bit fanciful...

Well, that is an idea for another day. Right now, I need to get cracking on my UFOs!

Meanwhile, thanks for all the comments from before. I wasn't able to respond, mostly since I never got online!  Life was very busy, but very fun!

viennabelle: (Strawberries)
Greetings from Mass.!  I am here, it's freezing cold up here, but it's a fun time as I got started with work on the Jacket Project. Today I spent the day sewing paillettes (ahem, o'es, as they say in 17th century speak) and just had the most fun time meeting and chatting with the other sewers. I have taken a bunch of photos, but I am going to wait to post them because my camera is in the car (and it's too cold to run out for it). Also, I want to be sure what I can and cannot post online.

Anyhow, it's a great learning experience. First, I got to hold the pieces in my own hands. My breath pretty much sucked completely out of my chest when I saw it. It is such incredibly fine work. The photos don't capture how amazingly small the work is. Those flowers are incredibly tiny. The jacket is really small. Those stitches are incredibly even and miniscule. At first I could only just trace my (newly cleaned) hands over the piece.

Wow.

The highlight of the day was when we got a backstage tour of the private collection, which includes three precious samplers. It was such a privilege to see the museums treasures--and to see the work close up that women worked so hard to make in the past. Unfortunately, two need preservation--and one is starting to show signs of deterioration. That sampler is a later one, but made by a descendent of pilgrim Miles Standish in the very early 1800s. It is unique since the girl who sewed it brought perspective into the house she portrayed. It also has, to my delight, a dog with lips! They are going to start fundraising as soon as possible to get it stabilized.

Then (squee!) shopping! I got to stock up on nifty items for my own embroidery supplies, too. The project leaders have some of the finest possble supplies available, including handmade needles (kinder on threads), gilt silk twist and gold threads! I am in love with my new items!  Even my teenaged nephews thought my loot was impressive, even though it all fit in a tiny little bag. Now, to sew something wonderful...like one of Laura's coif patterns!

Thanks to all who asked about my drive. Despite a long backup as crossing the Bronx, the ride up to New England went smoothly. Actually, the delay worked in my favor--as I turned off the exit to my sister's house (comfortably at 9:30), the audio book I'd been listening to all day concluded. Perfect timing!
viennabelle: (Strawberries)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] jehanni (who came over Tuesday night and helped me figure what I was doing wrong with the spiral stitch), I am almost done with the sampler (required for participation in the 17th Century Jacket Project) and it's finally looking the way it's supposed to!


Now I'm getting ready to drive to Mass. I still have to pack the car, get gas, then I hit the road. Snacks and audio books are all ready to go. Fortunately, my two sisters & father live only two towns over from Plymouth (Duxbury, where I grew up)--and it's only about a five mile drive (on the freeway, no less) to reach Plimoth Plantation, where I'll be working on the jacket this weekend.

Oh--and my sister the dentist promised to teach me a better way to make fangs!

Then we're planning the sister's night out--we're thinking of beers, fried fish and onion rings at the Lobster Hut. Cheap, tasty eats and lots of gossip on a wharf over looking Plymouth harbor. Heaven.

So, I'm quite psyched to hit the road! Have Prius, will travel!
viennabelle: (Girl Reporter)
I'm taking a bit of time off sewing to get ready to head to New England on Thursday to work on the Plimoth Plantation jacket project. I'm far behind schedule completing the sampler required for participating on the project, so I'm pressing to finish it this weekend. I'm not happy with my stitching on the embroidery stitches, so I'm expecting that I won't be doing that (I'm figuring I'll do the easier job of sewing on paillettes). However, I do hope I can learn what I'm doing wrong with the stitches (especially the spiral, which I've redone many, many times).


Oh, well, phooey.

I also purchased a lace sample kit, even though the actual lace for the project was done. I have gone through phases of lacemaking in the past and I've wanted to try 16th century techniques. So, for the first time in years, I pulled out a lace pillow and started hacking my way through the pattern. While I found the directions a bit confusing, it's a fairly simple pattern and the techniques came back to me rapidly as I started playing with my bobbins.

My experience with bobbin lacemaking is one of the strangest experiences. It's a totally intiutive experience--I don't think I could explain much of how I do it.  I can follow patterns, but I don't understand how those women in the lace guild can just look at a pricking (a diagram showing pin configuration) and know immediately how many bobbins to use, where to start and what options they have for execution). I expect that comes with experience, but getting my brain around that essential part of the craft is totally baffling to me. Still, I was pretty happy I could figure my way through this simple pattern.


The kit actually calls for making a sample using gold and silver threads and paillettes (provided). Since I wasn't confident about remembering my skills, I did a test run using linen and other paillettes I had around the house. I was pretty happy with the result, though I will have to work at this new way of making picots (they are all there, but they tend to twist oddly). However, I cannot say if I will use the kit materials--I'm not sure if they really want more samples, since the jacket project lace is completed--and given my druthers, I'd like to work on some lace I could use for a costuming project.

Anyhow, the effort left me remembering how lacemaking is a perfect filler project. Once a pattern is set up, it's a perfect little occupation for doing while watching tv--rather like knitting, but with prettier results.

viennabelle: (Girl Reporter)
My first impression: ROTFLMAO...


My second thought is--now that's a press secretary who really wants credit for writing the funny speech Obama gave at the White House Correspondent's Dinner.


Hmmm, I wonder if Cody's already sent his resume to Comedy Central?

Hat toss to [livejournal.com profile] heatermcca  for bringing this to my attention.
viennabelle: (16th c Italian maid)
Ok, as said, I drafted this pattern a year ago. This morning I basted on eye tape and laced it up. It went on, but it really felt funny. So then I loosened it and flipped it to the back.

Crikey, it's back lacing! I'm grinning here from combined embarrassment and relief!

Well, no harm done. Doesn't it look great with the tie dye?

It fits marvelously, giving lots of support (nb, this is a first layer over my shift). I think it's going to have to have some more canvass and wadding in the front to smooth it out (note the wrinkle by my left elbow).  I'm considering boning it as well. Also, fixing the straps to the back will help, too.

Crisis averted!

viennabelle: (16th c Italian maid)
Yesterday I looked at this project with new eyes. Something is wonky with the fit, so I got DH to help me try to get it on. He must be absorbing this (he's become quite helpful with fitting!), but he immediately concluded--too small in the bust. Other than that, it fits fine. I know I used a pattern I drafted a year ago--and come to think of it, I gained weight this past year (yes, I'm counting points too). Grrr.

So, now I'm thinking of adding a stomacher, which will make it more Tudor than Italian, but it saves the project from total failure.

Today I think I will baste in eye tape to try to get a feeling for how I want it to fit. I'm also considering adding boning channels to the front and maybe another layer of canvas (though it will be 4 layers thick at that point!). I'll try taking pics when I make progress.

The other thing--I think I also want to line the skirt. It will mean ripping out and resewing the bottom binding, but I think it will fall much better. I just hope I have natural linen in the stash!

It seems that every time I put down a project, it gets better when I return to it...so long as I do return to it!

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