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: (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)
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: (Harem Girl)
I'm on a serious kick here on completing my UFOs, so I'm going with it. I feel ridiculous that I never finished this thing. I made this corset at least a year ago, but never bound it off or punched in the grommets. This is late Victorian. It's got a real steampunk vibe, though I had no clue about the movement when I started making this. Come to think of it, inventorying my wardrobe left me with the recognition most of my fun clothes are either 50s era or victorian-inspired. Heck, my mom used to let me dress up that way even growing up (I can recall insisting on wearing full length dresses most of 4th grade (abt 1972)--and nobody ever making a comment).

Anyways, here are the pics:

 

I think this is my favorite corset so far--it's really pretty and it fits perfectly (which is great, since I adapted and altered it from a differently sized corset pattern). As my recently passed grandmother would say "hubba, hubba, girl!"

On a related matter, I was in an office earlier today where they had an old copy of last week's Sunday's New York Times in the waiting area. This is probably old news to everyone but me, but there was an article about the movement (linked here).  Interesting analysis.

I had a fun last night at sewing. Debbie is getting psyched for Costume College too. We're going to travel together, so we reviewed our registration and got advice from Jonatha.  I goofed in my registration--but the CC were nice enough to fix it rather than punishing me with my mistake. I'm already liking the atmosphere of this group!

I'm plugging away at the stays, but haven't had much time since yesterday morning. I should finish the sewing on them tonight, but then I don't have anything to bind it with.  I've tried emailing the Silly Sisters--but it seems Sarah's away. Oh well, once I get the bones in, I can at least machine off the bottom edge and use it for fittings until she gets back and sends it to me.


Finally, I am still waiting for my Featherweight!  I emailed the vendor--he apologized and mailed it yesterday. Isn't it pretty? I can't wait to see it in person!

Cursed

May. 13th, 2008 08:32 am
viennabelle: (Harem Girl)
I think I'm cursed.

This was the scene when we went to Jazzfest two weeks ago (a big shindig in New Orleans):



Fortunately, the pouring rain only came at the end of the day...and it didn't stop the music, either! 

Now after 5 days of non stop rain here, I'm getting really sick of rain.

Suddenly, it's a glorious sunny day. And I have to work now.

Sewed channels in on one side of my new set of stays last night. I'm making progress.

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