elizabeth_mn: (winter)
I finished this yesterday!

cobblestone done

I used every last scrap of yarn, even undoing my gauge swatch for the last row and bind-off.

I haven't blocked it, not sure if I am going to bother.

The yoke portion was a little frustrating, only because it required constant measuring. Knit such-and-such an amount, then do short row shaping, then knit until it's such an amount of inches, then decrease, etc.

Measuring. Knitting. Sucks. It's stretchy; it moves all the time, and you never get the same measurement twice. My measuring kind of went like this:

Measure: 8"
Knit 4 rnds.
Measure: 7.75"
Knit 2 rnds.
Measure: 7.5"
Knit 6 rnds.
Measure: 8"

Not to mention it's in garter stitch so it's extra stretchy. I got very sick of seeing the tape measure go backwards.

For the neckline bind-off I used Jeny's surprisingly stretchy method, but omitting the directions to purl (and make it ribbed).

This took me about 6 months to knit, which seems to be typical for me for a sweater. Though I did take a break for over a month while I made The Girl's shawl.

My Ravelry page for this project is here. I might get pictures of my HB wearing it after christmas when I give it to him.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
First I made another set of Truly Victorian combinations. I love my other set and it fits great. But when I made this one, it mysteriously ended up WAY too tight across the bust.

Later I told my HB about it, and he suggested adding a strip of fabric along the CF. Yeah, I guess I could have done that, but what actually happened is I grabbed the scissors for an immediate solution. I cut the neckline down so the bust would not longer be an issue, then threaded a drawstring to pull in the neckline as needed. Now I have a low-neck version for evening dresses.

I will not be modeling them at this time.

underwears (2)

I have no idea if this will actually work or if it will stick out or slip down. If it doesn't work I guess I can cut the top off and make it into drawers.

Okay, so then I used Liz Clark's drawers directions to make these.

underwears (1)

The directions were good but I don't know if I made my crotch length correctly. And my waistband ended up a little snug, I think. I guess the proof will be in the wearing.

I had intended to leave them totally plain but ended up doing a few tucks and a little lace.

underwears (3)


Sep. 26th, 2016 09:21 am
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I got sick of knitting this. And I ran out of yarn. That means it's done.

I used 4 skeins of black and 1.5 of grey Knit Picks Wool of the Andes superwash. They are 50g, half the size of a skein of Cascade 220 (but basically the same yarn).

The Girl LOVES it, but can't sit still for a picture. Too busy adventuring. She wants to wear it all the time and can't stop talking about how she is going to greet everyone for the Little House Party wearing this and holding a lantern.

Details at my ravelry.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Here is the jacket I made for work last week. The pattern is Butterick 6140.

lana bolito jackets (2)

The fabric is lana bolito, a boiled/felted wool and rayon blend. The pattern was designed for this fabric, or one very like it, and has raw edges everywhere since it doesn't fray.

I liked sewing this. The fabric is spongy and forgiving. The pattern is roomy so I sized way down, and I may still take it in a bit in back when I take it home. I cut a small in the bust and hip and an XS in the waist, whereas the chart would have put me on the high end of medium. But that's pretty much par for the course with big 4 patterns.

I can see wearing it in spring with bright turquoise and fuchsia, with a short pencil skirt and leggings and a big scarf.

I have another work project this week, a blouse in a Japanese cotton double gauze floral. This fabric is wonderful and amazing. So soft and pretty! The pattern is a pretty basic princess-seamed, button down shirt with a collar band and no collar. My vision here is something to wear under cardigans instead of a long-sleeved tee shirt. If it works I will make more, in soft light flannel and lawn.

Sewing for work can be a little stressful with the deadlines and the pressure to make things perfect, but it is a nice perk since everything for the project is free. And sometimes it lets me try styles or fabrics I normally wouldn't.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
The first thing I finished in 2015 was this lilac-color 1860s ballgown.

lilac ballgown 010

I made a new hat and capelet to dress up my Victorian winter look.

winter (7)

A great modern party dress that I LOVE.

pink dupioni dress 006

Read more... )

I am just writing up my list of 2016 goals, and I'll post it soon!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I like making everyday stuff in batches, so I made these four skirts at the same time from the same pattern. It's a pretty efficient way for me to sew.

I started them way back in August, got them all put together, then had zipper foot issues and ignored them for awhile. In November I sewed the zippers, then the only thing left was hand stitching the waistband facings down and hooks & eyes, so I ignored them again.

Recently the skirts from my last batch have been starting to literally fall apart, so this weekend I finally decided to get these ones off my loose ends pile and finish them.

The pattern is New Look 6079, a slightly A-line straight skirt with shaped panels in lieu of darts. I made view B/C without any of the ribbon trim or weird flappies.

skirts 031

I made these in various linens and cottons. I consider these 3-Season skirts, for autumn, winter, and spring. They are a bit heavy for summer. The linen might be a bit thin for winter, but as you can see I like to layer them with leggings and socks. It is crucial to have skirts that won't creep up with leggings. I like long, full skirts but they just get bunchy with leggings. So a shorter, slimmer skirt works better for layering.

Here are some not super flattering pictures.

polka dot skirt (3)

more )

Simple modern sewing is not much I know but I feel good to have been busy with some sewing anyway, and of course it is always nice to finish a long-overdue UFO!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I was recently given the book 55 Christmas Balls to Knit by Arne & Carlos. A friend of mine was moving and downsizing her bookshelf so it was my lucky day!

First of all, it's hilarious to say "balls" and I just cannot stop myself. Second, I love All Things Scandinavian and these are no exception. They are so adorable!

And finally, I have always loved the look of Fair Isle and other stranded colorwork knitting, but I have been intimidated. The small scale of these projects is ideal to learn on.

So, yesterday I went to The Yarnery and got some yarn, wound it up, cast on, and finished half of the ball by bedtime, then knit the other half this morning. It was addictive!

Here's my ball:

balls 002

I am amazed the color pattern doesn't look lame and sloppy. I have read that beginners often have a problem with pulling the floats in too tightly, but I am such a loose knitter I was worried about gaps instead. But I am very pleased with how this looks!

I only knit right-handed, "throwing" style, so it was tricky deciphering the increase directions in the book, which were illustrated in the left-hand "picking" style with just pictures and no words. As for the two yarns I ended up just wrapping them both around my pinky in my usual way and using my index finger to pick up the one I needed. I am sure there is a better way, but whatever. This worked and my speed was hardly any slower than normal. For some areas with very long floats I twisted the yarns together.

I used polyfil to stuff it instead of the wool batting specified because a.) wool is hella expensive, and b.) I don't have any right now and I really needed to finish this ball!

Yarn info, etc is at my Ravelry.

I really want to just keep making these and then I will have a bunch for my tree as well as some nice gifts.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Ok, so here's the dress post to wrap up all the details.

18th c picnic 6 2015 086

The dress ended up fitting quite well, so yay! The front closes with pins. The back poofs are created by tying two twill tape ties together on each side. One is at the side back waist and the mate is about 12" up and 24" in from the front opening. I tied them with about 6" distance. I liked this method because I didn't have to worry about having a pretty cord that matched, and also I can wear it in the future as a plain open gown if I like.

lots more! )

Ok, so the hair. I relied heavily on Kendra's 18th century hair book. I more or less followed the directions for Miss Nettlethorpe, though mine turned out shorter and wider. And some of my front hair fell back and down instead of going up, but since the rats were all covered I didn't mess with it.

She tells you to make two tiny buns as anchor points on your head, but my hair is really too long to do them easily, so instead I made a tiny little micro braid at the back of my ear to ear crown part, then coiled that up into a tiny oval braided bun. That seemed to make a solid anchor for the rats and things.

18th c picnic 6 2015 004

hairdo details )

In fact, I was very pleased with the whole look. I think this is the most "complete" I have ever felt in 18th century costume. I had appropriate hair, hat, shoes, and accessories. The only really off thing was my glasses. I had planned to take them off for a few photos but I completely forgot.

This project reminded me that I am still kind of a beginner sewer in a lot of ways. This is the first garment I have hand sewn in silk; it's the first time I have made Big Hair. I have a lot farther to go! But I have this feeling that I am finally starting to get there. If that makes any sense.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I ended up with just the sleeves to set in and a couple odds and ends the morning of the ladies' luncheon. It all came together pretty smoothly and I really enjoyed wearing it. I took a zillion photos because it has been FOREVER since I have made a new fancy dress that I love as much as this one.

Hey it's my backyard again!

green ruffle bustle dress 014

There are a ton more )


Accessories! )

I really love the way this dress turned out. I love early 1870s and I haven't had a fancy one since my wedding dress. It's nice to play and experiment with other eras, and it's fun to make weird styles just because it's fun that they are weird, but bustle era for me is like coming home. It's an aesthetic I genuinely enjoy.

The only thing that ended up being wrong with this dress was I couldn't raise my arms much! That "tried-and-true" sleeve pattern turned out not to be so true after all. I probably don't have enough fabric to fix it so I will just live with it. It was fine, except I couldn't drive wearing it, and I had to put my hat on before my bodice.

There is an evening bodice in the plan for this, and I did manage to save out enough green silk for it, yay! It might end up being my costume college gala dress, we'll see. In any case, I will certainly wear it at the January 2016 ball.

the bustle

Mar. 21st, 2015 10:50 am
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)

bustle 018

bustle 022

More! )

Now I really want to make that matching corset! But it needs to wait; the one I have is good enough and I need to make a dress!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I did end up finishing this in time for the Winter Ball.

lilac ballgown 010

I like it more than I expected. The bertha looked doofy the whole time I was making it, but when I put everything on it came together a bit. I accessorized with pink glass pearls, white gloves from Finale Gloves, and some off-white fake flowers in my hair. I just used my own hair, braided in two braids and coiled up, with a couple small twists in front.

lilac ballgown 026

The ball was great fun! The dance program was perfectly suited to my taste; lots of polka and figure dances and only a few waltzes. I danced mostly with my husband but with a few other folks too, including lots of ladies, because I do enjoy leading in a couple dance. But I did also polka with a gentleman and I did let him lead. So I'm not hopeless, really.

I got a few photos at the ball but as usual none really worth keeping. They are on my other camera so I might share some when I get them off there. But here are a couple more from home:

more pictures! )

And some construction details )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Last weekend, The Girl and I had the opportunity to attend a Victorian-themed Christmas market at the historic courthouse in Stillwater, MN. For the event I made her this dress, based off of images for a "child's plain waist" and 4-gore skirt from this book of Butterick pattern catalog reprints.

red check dress (1)

red check dress (2)

I am pretty happy with the way it turned out. It's definitely the best historic dress I have ever made her. The one thing that bugs me is the yoke depth; I could have made the yoke portion much lower.

The original trim plan included more pink ruffles at the hem, but F asked me to leave it off and said, "I'm not particularly fond of pink." I love this for so many reasons.

I wore this old brown wool dress from back in my dinosaur days. It was a little tight but I just suffered through it. :)

stillwater nov 2014 (3)

yes, there's more )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
So I finished this in time for the 1864 tea last weekend. Here I am in front of my house with my friend Sarah when she picked me up.

plaid dress 009

This is the first 1860s dress I have made. I made up the skirt (of course) and the bodice is Truly Victorian 443, the 1861 Dress Bodice. It fits well enough and I like it, though I had to do my usual alterations (all TV patterns are a bit generous in the sleeve and upper chest for me). My only complaint is that the points in back, while being quite adorable, are also very distinctive, giving the bodice a bit of a cookie cutter look when 3 ladies all wear it to the same event, which happened on Saturday.

The collar is linen and I spent about 10 minutes on it, from drafting to done. I accesorized with my mother's cameo pin and pearl earrings. I did my hair simply, over my ears with a center part, and this is seriously as low as I could get it while still making it attach to my head.

Here's the back.

plaid dress 013

a couple more )


Nov. 3rd, 2014 03:05 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
We had a blast this Halloween. The weather was freezing (literally) but we all had enough warm underlayers on, thank goodness. Ok, well, when we started out around 6:00 it was about 42, but as soon as it got dark the temp just plummeted. But F only complained about being cold when we were already on our way home, and even then, only in her left toes.

Okay, pictures. First here is Dorothy in Kansas.

Halloween 2014 001

Lots of photos! )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I put off sewing this for quite a while. I had a purse that sort-of worked, and other projects kept getting bumped in front of this one. But now it's done!

purse 004

It's made from two cotton/linen blend prints, at least one of which is an Echino fabric, and lined with solid unbleached/undyed linen. The outside pieces are interfaced with Decor Bond, a really heavy craft fusible.

I made up the pattern but relied heavily on techniques in The Bag Making Bible, a really great handbag reference. The author also has a blog and shop at U-handbag.

more details! )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Here are a few more details to wrap up this suit project.

Okay, first of all, this is my 3rd attempt at an 18th century suit for my man, and I think I finally nailed it. My number one mistake the other times: WRONG FABRIC!! The first one used a relatively stiff silk, and the second used linen. Now, both of these fabrics were used extensively in men's suits of the period, silk being popular for the shmancy set, and linen used in blends or alone for casual or working garments, especially in America.


Wool is much easier. Period. Wool is your friend. Wool makes everything happy. Wool steams and shapes and eases and stretches and bends and molds and drapes. Wool doesn't fight you. Wool doesn't look stupid just sitting there disagreeing. There is a reason why all those tailoring techniques work best on wool. They were developed using wool.

Wool is also kinda warm, which explains why I avoided it the first two times around; the suits were for summer events and I didn't want my man to get heatstroke. But it breathes, and I think it's comfortable for all but the hottest Midwest days. Like anything 85 or cooler.

My wool of choice this time was a navy blue twill that I got at a yard sale for about 5 bucks. When I got it home I washed it in the machine to felt it slightly (fulled cloth being popular in the era) and to make it clean, because garages = eew. It didn't felt enough to stop it from raveling, but gave the surface a nice napped texture.

More! )

The whole project diary is under the tag blue wool 18th century suit.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
We ended up going to the ball despite my lingering cough. I brought a handful of throat drops and just hoped for the best. Overall, I did okay. Five dances is an acceptable minimum!

As usual, I am terrible about taking event photos. I will keep my eye on the group facebook page and hopefully some will turn up. I need to promise myself to make a bigger reticule that actually fits a camera! But here is one from home. I wore the pink cupcake dress again.

ball (6)

I did end up getting it together enough to make my HB's new tailcoat. Now he finally has somewhat proper evening wear!

tailcoat 009

More about the Coat Adventure )

The other new thing is my hairdo. I’ve been unsatisfied with bustle era hair for a while. People kept telling me “Just put it a little higher,” and it took me until now to realize that “higher” means literally ON TOP of your head, like the tippy-top-top. So I tried, and it worked out much better!

I took these when we got home, so it had slid a bit, but still not bad!

hairdo (4)

More hairdo shots )
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
I somehow decided I had an hour on my hands today to play dress-up. Here's my (totally hand-sewn!) Curtain-Along dress, finished!

curtain dress done 038

I wish I had a sweeping, picturesque backyard for nice photos, but this is what you get when you live in a city. Still, the light was quite nice today! The hat was a total last-minute addition; I grabbed it from the closet in the dark, which is why I neglected to find a hatpin and I'm holding it with my hands.

Detail views and more for fun! )
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
All I managed to get photo-wise were a few really quick ones with my street clothes just before the corset was whisked off to work for display.


Reading about [livejournal.com profile] jenthompson's issues with wrinklyness in her corset, I should probably be ashamed of myself for calling this done, but I just don't have time in my life to make it (or anything, ever) any better than this.  That being said, I'm pretty happy with it!  It gives me a 2" waist reduction, the bust support is good, and the overall shape is nice and curvy.

Lots more photos! )


Mar. 17th, 2013 02:29 pm
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
I finished these this afternoon.

green stays 002

Edit: They are WAY better than my blue pair.  I can't believe I felt so nitpicky earlier.  All I had to do was go back and look at a photo of the blue pair from 6 years ago to notice the difference.  Sometimes comparison is a good thing because I think these look freakin' gorgeous now. Yes, the support could be a little better, but it feels good enough now.  I think I set my standards way too high for my skill level and set myself up for disappointment. But I like these and that's enough.  No more griping.

They fit better than my last pair, the binding is loads improved, and I'm giving myself extra accuracy points for handsewn eyelets and not using bias.  They are much prettier!  But the main thing: I can put them on by myself.  That is crucial.  I get so sick of having to find someone to dress me, both for events and just for fittings.  I guess I could have just done a front lacing and skipped the back, but I like the sizing flexibility without sacrificing a smooth front. The neckline gapes a little but I can work an extra eyelet so I can tie the straps tighter.  The shape is nice and smooth enough.

More pictures! )
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