elizabeth_mn: (needlecraft)

I love making lists.  Now I'm done with the linen suit, it's time to revise the list.

I had planned to go back to the grey silk 1780s suit and finish it, so yesterday I pulled it out of the closet to see where I had left off.  I had been hoping that time and distance would give me a different perspective on the thing, and I would realize that many of its flaws were merely my imagination, caused by my frustrations. 

No such luck.  The thing still looked like crap.  So the husband and I talked about it.  He still liked it, but we both agreed that if I didn't like where the project was going, there was no point in finishing it.  It was so disappointing to let it die, partly because of all the money, work, and effort put into it, partly because the early stages of the project had looked so promising, and partly because now my HB doesn't get another new suit.

But still, I faced reality.  It was time to kill the project.  I ripped out and saved the lovely silk/cotton satin lining and the horsehair canvas; I ripped the buttons and hooks off the breeches; and I threw what was left in the trash.  Phew!  What a weight off of me!  I still want to use the patterns again, with a more appropriate fabric, but that's not going to happen for a while.

Now I can move on to the next thing.  Here's how my list stands now:

  1.) Alterations.  I usually save these up so I can do them all at once.  I need to patch a skirt, replace a waistband on another, applique over a hole in a shirt, and do a little mending.

  2.) Summer shirts for the man.  I have made lots of shirts for him, but now I want to really fine-tune the fit of one pattern; a 3-button short-sleeve pullover with a collar.  I want to do a couple in batik.

  3.) 19-teens dress.  This is one that has been waiting way too long, so I decided to pull it up from the bottom of the list.  I did a sketch yesterday. I want to make something to wear in a modern context, so I won't be doing a corset; I'll just fit it over my modern undies.  I also really like the long collar seen on many afternoon styles, but I want to pair it with some elements more often seen on evening styles.  Not perfectly period, so I guess I should consider it teens-inspired.

  4.) Summer skirts and dresses, including the knits I was working on a couple months ago.  I want to work in a few vintage details to these.

  5.) ConVergence costumes, maybe.  I did finally actually buy my membership for ConVergence, so now I need to figure out something to wear.  I really want to do something character-based, since I currently have only 1 character costume, but I'm not sure what to do.  I'm trying to figure out if I would look too silly dressing up as Pippi Longstocking (one of my childhood heroes - in fact, once of my current heroes as well) or if that would even make sense in the sci-fi context.

6.) Renoir dress.  I pushed this back a bit since I'm not sure when I'll wear it.  I want to make it during the summer lull, when I can go slow and enjoy the process of the thing.

I also plan to start a new knitted toy as my evenings project.  I think I will do the Spherey.

Beyond that, I have tons of ideas, but nothing very concrete yet.


elizabeth_mn: (Default)

Okay.

Breathing.

Yesterday, I cut the grey silk and the horsehair interlining for the coat body, and I assembled the main pieces of the coat and breeches.  This silk is fraying like effing crazy.  It's already frayed into the seam allowance on some edges I haven't yet sewn, and I have lost at least an inch at the coat hem and half an inch at the back neckline.  I'm not sure what to do except zig-zag the crap out of everything.

I did manage to take a couple photos yesterday.

Here is how to get a suit out of 3 & 3/4 yards of 48" wide fabric.  The part of the front that is hanging off was pieced in with a chunk of the scrap just below it, and the cuff piece hanging off on the right was cut after the surrounding pieces (I opened up the fold). 



Here's the front of the finished vest, the grey silk, the light grey silk/cotton lining, and the metal buttons for the coat and breeches:



Today, I need to:
Sew sleeves and insert
Line/attach pocket flaps (I think I will skip actually making pockets)
Cut the linings for everything
Assemble and insert the linings into coat and breeches
Turn, press, and topstitch
Sew cuffs and attach
Attach breeches waistband
Not freak out

I think I have given up on the flap-front breeches idea.  I'm just going to make a CF hook-and-eye closure instead.  If I do the flap I think the silk might just disintegrate into nothing.

Tomorrow:
Hem coat
Breeches knee bands
Buttons and buttonholes on everything
Hooks and eyes
Any finish work
Last minute dance preparations

Trying so hard not to panic.  If I don't finish this, he can always wear his Victorian frock suit or his Ren suit.


elizabeth_mn: (Default)

Made and fitted all the new mock-ups yesterday.  Everything looks great!!  I also finished the vest, and he's very happy with it.

Today I need to cut the grey silk and do as much as can be done before the last fitting, this afternoon.  Then tomorrow I hope to line everything and do most of the finish work.

I'm feeling good that this suit is falling into place, and also I'm glad because the Villager article on the TCCG came out yesterday, and I was so happy and relieved to see it was okay.  I think they quoted me way too much, including a few things I didn't quite say, but all the important info is present and correct and the Guild did not come off looking like a bunch of goat-worshipping wackos, so yay!

elizabeth_mn: (Default)
Yesterday:
Pressed and topstitched vest
Made covered buttons
Bought knee socks 
Avoided doing more work
Melted into a little stressed-out puddle
Made lists for each day of the rest of the week so I can feel organized and avoid stressing out too much again

Today's plan:
Buttons & buttonholes on vest
Small amount of finish work on vest
Next (hopefully last) breeches mock-up
Make changes to coat mock-up from last fitting
Make pocket flap pattern piece and mock-up, mark placement
Make sleeve mock-up (draft cuff) and attach to coat 
Fitting

Tomorrow:
Cut the grey silk and carry on, quickly!

First of all, I am so silly.  How many times have I told myself to try to be better at planning ahead, to avoid the last-minute-before-an-event costume rush?  I still think I might finish in time, but not without luck and hard work.
Second, I am freaking out about our dance and whether it will go well.  Planning and hosting events can be scary!
Third, I feel kind of bad because I really was looking forward to this project, but all the rushing is preventing me from enjoying it as much I had hoped to.

I am dying to get a few photos up here but unfortunately I just haven't found the time to take any!

Off to the sewing room now!

elizabeth_mn: (Default)
Who would have ever guessed that the hardest part of a 3 piece suit would be the PANTS?!

I did more mock-ups at the end of last week.  Somehow, even though the breeches fit fine before, a few tiny changes to the mock-up and everything went to hell.  I had a minor meltdown about the whole thing last Thursday, some things got thrown, and some other things got torn up, but on Friday I had fresh determination.  I guessed at a few changes and cut a new mock-up of the breeches.  My HB tried them on, and they still sucked.

They had this annoying diagonal wrinkledy bunching around the inseam that I couldn't figure out.  Finally I thought back to everything I've learned from Threads magazine, and just started pinning the wrinkles smooth.  I ended up with a wedge (or dart, I suppose) starting at the inseam and tapering diagonally up toward the outseam.  I measured it, and folded the wedge into the pattern pieces so it lay flat.  This removed the extra fabric and shortened the inseam, making the legs hang straighter.  I did another mock-up and they were much improved.  I am pretty sure they only need a little bit more fiddling before they're ready for the silk.  I know that part of the problem is that I'm making them to wear with suspenders; this doesn't quite mesh with the design but I couldn't think of anything else, and I couldn't have the poor man's pants falling off.

On Saturday, I cut out the vest fronts in the pink striped brocade silk.  I cut backs and linings from plain drab linen.  I sewed up the vest, using very modern construction methods, I'm sure.  It fits very nicely, the only annoying thing is that the bottom edge ripples a little.  

Today I need to do topstitching and finishing, buttons, and buttonholes on the vest.  I plan to use self-fabric covered buttons.  I also want to cut out the next (and hopefully last) mock-up of the breeches.  I should probably also do the sleeve mock-up.

We're going out to get socks or hose this afternoon.  I also need to figure out something for neckwear; probably just a plain rectangular piece of white silk that can be tied in front.  I don't want to mess around with complicated stocks and such now.


elizabeth_mn: (Default)
 Yesterday I made all the changes to the suit patterns that I had made notes of during the fitting.  I drafted the sleeve pattern.  Then I got out the silk.  I wasn't planning on cutting quite yet, I just wanted to see if I would have enough fabric, or if I would have to do the pants in a different fabric (I bought everything they had on the bolt at S.R. Harris, which amounted to some 3 1/2 yards, I think.)

But yay!! All the pieces fit fine!  I will have just enough fabric for both the coat and breeches, with absolutely no room for error.  

But the amount of changes I made to the patterns, plus having no extra silk, plus this whole pleats in the back of the coat thing that I havn't quite figured out yet, and I totally lost my nerve.  Today I plan to make a whole new set of mock-ups.  I want to fit them tonight and then hopefully tomorrow I can overcome the fear and cut into the silk.  I will probably do the waistcoat first anyway because I have a little more wiggle room with the pink brocade.


 
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
Okay, here is where I eat my words.

I assembled the mockups for my HB's 18th c. suit at undycat's place on Friday.  Breeches, waistcoat, and coat.  Today he tried them on, and Wow!!  They are made of cheap and crappy muslin, but already the suit is looking awsome.  He looked really snazzy.  I take back everything I said about liking Victorian better.

Everything fit really well, and I only need to make a few minor changes.  Theorectically, I could make another full set of mockups with the changes, but things fit well enough that I will probably just make the changes to the patterns and then go to the silk.
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
I drafted up the coat pattern yesterday afternoon, using his Victorian frock coat as a fitting block and creating the pattern based on The Cut of Men's Clothes, as I did for the vest. I haven't done sleeves yet, I want to fir the armhole first.  I cut everything out in muslin and it is waiting to be sewn.  Altogether hard work and dull.

One good thing:  I realized that since the construction techniques are so much more pared-down compared with Victorian, I don't need to do chest padding, shoulder pads, collars, lapels, roll line taping, padstitching, or any of the other annying crap that made his 1870s frock coat so difficult.  So yay!  I will probably interline the body of the coat with horsehair, just because I like the way it smoothes the lines, but I will probably not do any other structural stuff.

Despite the obvious benefits construction-wise, I still think i prefer Victorian styles, at least on my HB.  I should probably wait to at least fit the mock-ups before I say that, but the whole time I've been working on this, I've been daydreaming about the next Victorian project I want to do for him!

Oh well.  It's not fun but I just ought to march through it.

Men's stuff

Apr. 9th, 2008 09:05 am
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
I finished my HB's new shirt last night.  I don't know why I was having so much trouble with it, it's a simple squares and gussets style; I've made several similar shirts for him before.   I should just accept the fact that a square shirt will never hang as smoothly as a shaped one, especailly in the shoulder and armscye area.  But oh well, it's done. 

I used his modern vest pattern as a sort of fitting block to make his 18th c. vest pattern.  I traced the shapes from the modern vest pieces, removed the back darts, and moved seamlines around, using The Cut Of Men's Clothes as a guide.  I will probably do the same for the coat pattern.  The pants I will probably have to do from scratch.  

Men's clothes are hard!  Boring and hard.  It's just such a different world, one that I know I will never acheive greatness in.  I'm really only shooting for adequacy.  I know that when I read things like "During the tailoring process, the iron was used with great skill, molding and stretching the cloth into shape," I am already fighting a losing battle.

 

elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I am at the point in my sewing To Do list that comes around every so often where I have only a little bit more tidying up of loose ends and small projects to do, then I can really dive headfirst into the next big project.

I finished my bias skirt, finally (yay!) and today I have some jammies and handkerchiefs I want to finish up, then there is nothing else but to start my HB's 1700s suit. I plan to make his shirt from the diagram in The Cut of Men's Clothes, and I will probably use that book for the coat, pants, and vest patterns as well.

I'm using a 1778 plate from the bibliotheque ds arts decoratifs website (thank you, high school French class!) for my primary inspiration.  I admit I plan to be somewhat loose with historical accuracy, first, because tailoring is hard and I will probably take shortcuts, but mostly because I want to come up with something that he will like and want to wear.  He is firm on the fact that he wants a coat that buttons; hardly the norm for late 1700s, but I plan to make a cutaway style with a gentle curve so the 2 or 3 buttons at the chest will be functional.  I've got some lovely greyish silk for the coat and hopefully the pants (if I have enough), and the most fabulous pink and white striped silk (it has either brocaded or embroidered embellishments, I can't remember which) for the vest.  And he actually picked it out!  I am so excited that my man wants to wear a pink stripey silk vest!

This is a scary project for me, but I just keep trying to remind myself that I made his wedding suit, so I am somewhat capable of men's tailoring.  I plan to do his shirt first because that is easy (and I've already made him lots of squares-and-gussets style shirts).  I hope to enlarge patterns and do mock-ups before the week is over, and get started on the actual fabric sometime next week.


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