viennabelle: (Crazy Cat)
I think Pilot has a shoe fetish...



Oh, yeah--and those are shoes I made, for my doll, not Pilot:



For my first effort at shoe making, I'm pretty pleased!I learned a lot making them and I can't wait to make a whole wardrobe of 18th century shoes (and now I start the mission to find adaptable shoe buckles, though the ribbons are period correct). However, now back to sewing!
viennabelle: (Strawberries)
Well, it's been a while since I posted, but I've been fairly busy. So, here is a bit of a catchup post...

After my abortive attempt to make a dress for the Poe event (in under 4 hours), I took the bodice apart and added piping to it. I also took some modern crepe, starched it and sewed it on to see if it looked like the old crape. It isn't perfect, but it's as close as I can come to the real stuff, which isn't, to the best of my knowledge, made anymore.

Now, since I altered this to be front opening, I am thinking of taking more crepe, ruching it and making a placket of it over the front opening. It, of course, will mean taking the bodice apart again--but since it's really almost done, that's cool.

Meanwhile, I've been cranking through the UFO pile. First up--I made a petticoat to match this little jacket. I love the combination (I wanted also to make a matching jacket of the stuff, but the marseilles cloth I used is no longer sold).
 
Our lovely night at Gadsby's Tavern got me pulling into items I've half made for DH. I restarted work on one shirt I'd hand sewn for him...All that remains is finishing the bottom and adding one cuff. Trouble is, I can't find cuff material, so I'm thinking of cutting it from the bottom edge of the front (it can be quite narrow, so it's workable). Also, I realized that I still need to sew buttons and buttonholes for a common man's waistcoat I'd made...

To be honest, the waistcoat was big a point of personal accomplishment when I made it. I bartered with a weaver for handspun handwoven cloth. Only the lining is machine made cloth. I hand sewed it...but cutting into it to make buttonholes is a little terrifying, since the weave is a little loose. I think I will try cutting it with a chisel, which I understand keeps holes neater. Fortunately, I have a scrap to experiment with.

Last fall, I took a stays fitting class from Mark Hutter, the tailor at Colonial Williamsburg. It was insane, mad effort to size a set of stays to my body. I ended up with pieces of a late 18th century stays ready for stitching. I've tossed the item around, sewing one piece down with a fair amount of distraction. So, I decided I want to get this done. I have resewn much of that piece and completed another two pieces. Three down, seven to go. Then I tremble at the notion of boning this sucker. A 55" piece of baleen awaits my paltry carpentry skills. But now, the portability of what I'm working on appeals for the time being (and just I don't think about boning)...
 
Finally--I scored on fabric on President's Day! I got five yards of some delicious stripey silk for $35 (plus $5 shipping)!!! It is gorgeous...satiny sage green and cream. Dreamy stuff--even DH approved! However, that kind of deal comes with its own "price"--it's got this really strange iron on interfacing on the back. To boot, it's fused on it really well! DH and I managed to pry about two yards of the stuff free last night, but it was a tough effort. I think I will leave the stuff on the back of the petticoat and make the gown with the "liberated" stripey stuff. Oh, I am soooo happy about getting this!

A final note--my sewing machine seems to be getting caught up on stitches. I am getting so sick of it misbehaving. It's back to the shop--but I'm starting to think that when I get back to more profitable work, I am probably going to start saving again to get a new one.

Tomorrow: down to Richmond for my PAC. I'll sew in the car...hopefully!

viennabelle: (Default)
In our house, Valentines Day has become a major holiday. Its occurrence this year on a Saturday made it even more delightful. Several weeks ago, I promised a friend that I would attend Washington's Birthnight Ball at Gadsby's Tavern Museum--which had really been the General's favored public establishment during his lifetime. Of course, I did wait until the last possible minute to get tickets--but luckily, my friend works at the museum and had already set them aside when the event sold out!

So, we went--and made a hasty reclamation of my DH's kit, which he hadn't worn for three years. In commemoration of the date, we both wore red. It was a marvelous evening, with musicans playing from a loft above, elegant dancing, gaming, sweets and festive drinks! We mixed with old reenactor friends as well as astonished friends from the political word (who never imagined us in costume).

Candlelight, gowns and photos of friends and lovers! )

It was a happy celebration of love and a beloved president's birthnight! So...do these entertainments appeal? If you can come, consider joining us upcoming events, including one the night before CostumeCon (hint, hint!):
  • James Madison's Inaugural Banquet (set in 1809, costumes and modern formal wear allowed) March 14, 2009 ($100 per ticket, including dinner, $150 for pre-dinner reception).
  • 18th Century Bread and Butter Ball (Set in 1790s, more advanced dances, costumes highly encouraged) May 30, 2009 ($45) (seems to me that it might a perfect occasion to debut a new stripey polonaise...).
Update--mea culpa--just realized I mixed up months. If only the Bread and Butter Ball were a month earlier...
viennabelle: (Strawberries)
Two weeks ago I took a class in Williamsburg on fitting 18th century stays...it was fantastic. During the course of the workshop, it came up that I once got to try the stays Glenn Close wore in the beginning of the movie Dangerous Liaisons. That occured at another workshop, run by Mela Hoyt-Heydon, who had been one of the costumers for the movie and sewed the stays. She selected me as model, since I was relatively close in build to what Glenn Close had been at the time of the filming (except Close had an exceptionally short back, apparently). Interestingly, the film editors tinted the stays in the final movie. So, after the flip, see me ham it up, just like I was the Marquise de Mertuil...

Why don't you stop around some time, sailor? )
viennabelle: (Default)
I did not take many photos this weekend. To be honest, it was by choice. Setting up good shots, lighting, etc. takes me out of the spirit of a time travel. It has really become work for me.  So, I brought my simple point & shoot, left my cat glasses in my purse and lapped up the glory and ambiance of the day with total abandon. It was splendid. However, I did take 4 photos (under the cut) which capture a bit of my enjoyment.
viennabelle: (Harem Girl)
I had a lovely time this weekend.

Yesterday, I had a minor epic, getting my wig ready for [personal profile] bauhausfrau's tea party.  I set it...and then realized my hair dryer disappeared!  After two hours of searching from both me & DH, we resigned ourselves that the painters who painted our bedrooms last week probably packed it somewhere we hadn't expected (we are finding things in really odd places). So, I ran down to Sally's, bought a new one and plopped it on the wig. Just then [personal profile] angldst arrived, soon followed by [profile] jehanni, ready to head off to the country. I tested a curl. Wet. So, I grabbed it, wig head and all, and threw it in the back of my car. We tooted off and headed to the country.  At arrival, I plugged it in and it hummed for an hour or so, then it was tea time. I started unwinding it...and the hair would not come off the curlers. Then I realized I failed to grab the bag with my brush and bobby pins. Egads...this looked horrible! But [personal profile] padawansguide lent me a few, I tore at the thing with a brush and made the best of what I had.

Oddly, the results were amazing (talk about big hair!) and I got to wear my new chemise dress, as this fetching butt shot (hat toss to [info]bauhausfrau) shows:

By the end of tea (with amazing food prepared by the other ladies present), I started having a bout of that midlife curse, vapors.  I was quite overcome with the heat, so while the others posed, I rested. I almost fell asleep on a pool chair situated perfectly to catch the mountain breezes. I was tired, but terribly comfortable and enormously happy in the company of the most amazing friends, new and old.  Soon we changed, I got into my bathers and ran right into the pool. It was heavenly--I floated in an innertube and waited for the rest of the ladies.  Loved it!

After the fabric swap (or should I say frenzy), I headed over to Bauhausfrau's father's cottage, where I would be spending the evening.  Her father is a special friend, so we visited, then I joined the ladies just in time to watch Marie Antoinette.  Thoroughly inspired, I joined Jehanni and we headed to the cottage to sleep.

Waking early, I realized that there was no reason to hurry, so I went back to sleep....and slept to 9:30! Then I joined Bauhausfrau's dad for tea and a leisurely talk about life, books and politics. So fun! Finally I joined those left at the house, at breakfast, packed the car and we came home.

There were folks who weren't there, but we thought of you and toasted you. It was a lovely day...perfect (well, except for styling my cursed wig).

It was a fantastic time...Thank you, ladies!
viennabelle: (Default)
This weekend I figure I have a full day of free time for sewing, albeit spaced around other responsibilities (like renewing my car registration, grocery shopping, some work activities, etc.).  I'm hoping I can really clear up some last UFOs. The delightful part--all of these are relatively close to finishing with minimal effort. So here is The Mission:
  • 18th c. stays: Sew up the front eyelets and figure out if there are final changes. This week, when I sewed the back eyelets, I tried it on with DH's assistance (he laced me in fairly loosely while I held the front together). My first impression was that the back holes are incorrectly placed in the pattern (ironic, since it took making my fourth set of stays from this pattern to realize that's why they are always crooked). I also get the impression that the back might be too high--something I can still alter. Getting binding on will take more time...that might not get done this weekend, but at least I can use the pair for fitting. I'll do a detailed post once I'm done.
  • Little jacket: some time ago, I got a pretty little jacket from the Silly Sisters. I want to refit its lacing to my new stays.
  • Bustle: I need to iron, sew up one last ruffle and stitch on a hook/eye closure. Then it's done!
  • Civil war corset: I have a corset that needs two seams and about 5" of hand sewing...and it's done. Ridiculous I never did it.
  • 18th c. Caracao: my final effort will be fixing the back pleat, which is a muddle mess. Should take a bit of ironing and a few minutes of hand sewing. I also may sew sleeve ruffles. I also have a decorative apron I want to cut and a belt to sew.
Finally, there are new projects, which are apart from The Mission. That would include testing out a new replacement bodice for my regency ballgown and getting things started on a new chemise gown. Finally, there's dreaming about what I'm going to do with this:



Dreamy, huh? Got it from a great vendor, Millhouse Silks...gorgeous, pure silk lampas at under $20/yard (if you use her, refer me, since she's offered me a discount if I get her new customers). I have 5 yards and I'm imagineering what to do with it. Half of me says go with a knock em dead Robe Francaise ballgown. Another side of me is inclined towards either a hunting or a pierrot outfit. Needless to say, I'm getting inspired but not making any decisions.

Finally, my ultimate wish item is the pink pirate. I'm still undecided there, too...

By the way, thanks to all who wrote or called about my cuts. The facial ones (thanks to copious application of antibiotic ointment) is almost healed. Pretty soon, I won't be looking like the walking wounded!

Ok, time to dry my hair, grab my sewing and head over to DMV. By the time my number comes up, I should be done with lots of sewing.
viennabelle: (Default)


Tuesday, I spent my time at the sewing get-together ripping free the lining from the caracao jacket. Last night, I started pinning and turning under the edges. To my surprise, I ended up with a rather sizeable amount of stretched material that I ended up cutting off (note to self: hankerchief linen was not a good lining choice for this. Next time choose a denser weave). 

I also gathered and stitched down the second gathering row on the ruffle. As I mentioned earlier, I probably sewed it on too far down on the fabric, so the top flopped down. By gathering it a second time, I'm actually happier with the results--it gives it a decorative ruching.  Finally , I also gathered and pinned on the lace at the neckline.

Now I have a ton of handsewing to fix down that lace and the lining.  However, It's all made a huge difference in the overall appearance. It went from kind of lumpy to crisp and elegant.


On matters completely different, I found out that the series Cranford is available--for a limited time--online.  Since our tv receiver isn't working (and who knows when we'll get FIOS installed), this means I can watch it!!! Check it out here.
viennabelle: (Default)
Today it has been raining off and on again all day. Yesterday it was raining all day. Saturday it rained all day. Friday it rained all day. All in all, it's bad weather for welding (good weather to get electrocuted if I tried). So, I spent a good part of the weekend sitting indoors reading blogs, napping and scheming what to do to get ready to go to Costume College. Our kitty slept the whole time in shared custody fashion, alternating between couches, cuddling either Rick or me (I miss Binky horribly, but somehow I don't think Muffy minds being the only cat at all). 

I mused over what to make next. However, I have a lot of WIPs and items that need alterations. I pulled out costumes and started looking at the possibilities. I figured out a triage list. My biggest priority is finishing up my new 18th c. stays.

I also have the "Space Trees" gown (the bizarre name of one of the Indian handblock prints sold at Joann's about three years ago). I had made the caracao two years ago, finishing it in a rush so I could wear it to Mt. Vernon. This weekend, I mostly worked on the petticoat. I mounted the ruffle to the hem (a little fussier than expected to get it to sit level with the bumroll. I also pressed out the caracao to hide the places where the lining showed. I also started playing with trims...


The green ruffle is kind of a placeholder...I didn't have any red china silk ribbon on hand, so I tried using this bit of trim I'd ruched earlier but hadn't used (it was intended as a hat trimming). I don't quite like the mix of textures, so I'm planning on just applying the lace and sleeve ruffles.  I'm sure there will be ribbons, but not quite like this. After seeing the large quantities of linen that I had to crease to hide the lining, I've decided to open up at least the bottom edge of the caracao.  This pattern (JP Ryan)--which for all other point I liked--has a bag lining, which is not very period. The linen stretch a bit (it's on the bias) so it started hanging below the cotton, which didn't stretch as much. I don't think I have to worry about further stretch, but I noticed that even after I pressed it, it isn't sitting properly (granted, I don't have it in proper stays--it's in a Victorian corset and my dummy is bigger than I am). So, the answer seems to be ripping open the seams and then re-hemming all the sides. Alternatively, I could to that only to the bottom edge. I'm considering...

Another issue is the ruffle. I gathered it too low down. Not to worry, I'm going to put a second higher gather on it, which should make it look even sharper than if I'd gathered it higher up in the first place. I'm thinking it will look like a built-in ruching strip.



Meanwhile...those stays. Tonight I assembled all the pieces, so now I have to sew the channels. I'm going to get off-line and start sewing and sewing and sewing...

Must order some stays binding from the Sillies.  Well, I've done pretty well using the stash so far, so I don't consider this an exceptional expense.

By the way...I think I'm going to join the League of the Pink Pirates!  I did splurge and buy some small pieces of brocade. If I make a set of stays, I can use it with some pieces from DH's costumes and I think it will look rather fun...argh!

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