elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I had her try it on yesterday and it was so goshdarned cute I just couldn't even. It's less cute on the floor, but you get the general idea.

flowergirl (1)

It's off-white cotton eyelet with a sweet, simple pattern of circles and a nice scalloped border. I underlined the bodice with light cotton lawn and lined it with the same. Just a single lining of the lawn was too sheer. The skirt will also have a lawn lining, just one layer, gathered very full.

flowergirl (2)

I used a dirndl pattern for the bodice, Burda 9509. I cut a 4 chest and a 6 length. I eliminated the darts and instead took in the side seams very slightly. I didn't want to dart the eyelet and her shape is still so girlish anyway so darts really aren't necessary.

flowergirl (3)

For the skirt I just cut plain straight panels. She wanted the dress VERY long, so I used the full width of the fabric to make a skirt about 24". On her that's about ankle length. She was kinda sad about it not going all the way to the floor but I pointed out that she does have cute shoes with flowers on them and this way everyone can see them.

Left to do:
Add skirt lining
Put in zipper (invisible)
Hand finish inside lining at waist seam and zipper

I think there is going to be a sash and some kind of fake flower crown also. And I am still looking for a tiny white wicker basket for her to carry some fresh flowers in.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
This is F's other new costume, a cotton 1860s/70s dress for Little House dressup.

She is doing her "Sunday face."

little house (4)

little house (6)

Again, these are from the hotel at the con so they are not great pictures. But you can see the dress, more or less.

I used the Truly Victorian princess dress for girls pattern (TV600) and used it pretty much as it came out of the envelope. My girl is a little slim for her height so even though she is 6 1/2 years old I cut a size 4 in the chest and waist (and that even came out roomy!) but lengthened all the bodice pieces to the size 6. I cut the skirt extra long in order to sew tucks. The tucks are 5/8" deep and about 3/8" apart (from fold to next stitch line). I like these as a cheap and easy skirt detail but also for practicality - I can pick a couple of them out next year to lengthen the skirt if needed.

The fabric is the one she picked out last year on our fabric and candy store trip down at Reproduction Fabrics. The apron is a Moda print from work. It was totally last minute. The dress is very plain and I knew it needed something. Plus what's more Laura Ingalls than an apron? I planned to make a bib section for it but ran out of time. It needs it, because as you can see, the half apron slides down. I still have the fabric set aside for it, though, so the bib section will be easy to add later.

It buttons up the back with antique shell buttons I got from a coworker, and she is wearing it over two fluffy petticoats.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Here is my little green nature fairy!

green fairy 002

These photos are all in the con hotel, so they are not ideal. I am hoping to get dressed up sometime this summer and do some photos in the nature park.

more! )

She loved wearing this costume and got tons of compliments! She even got a hall costume award ribbon for it less than 5 minutes after we registered.

I was pretty happy with it, too. Two issues: the glitter from the blouse shed A LOT. I had to quarantine it in our luggage so it wouldn't spread. Also, the dupioni strips in the skirt frayed like crazy and got stuck on everything. I know dupioni is shreddy but I didn't expect this level of thread-tangled mess. It's too bad, too, because it looked so pretty in there. But that's a lesson for later.

I might do a post about this on my serious blog, I'm not sure.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
This is 90% done.


The glitter blouse still needs some finishing work, the under-shorts need a waistband, and I need to make the wand. It will be a ribbon wand like the birthday ones from a couple years ago.

These wings are from Amazon.


I really want to get this all done and put away today, but I am pretty sure there are no dowels, paint, or green ribbon in the house to make a wand with. So I will finish the blouse and shorts and we will do the wand on the weekend.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
For Costume Con I told The Girl she could choose one new thing for me to make, it could be any idea she wanted, and I would try my best to make it happen. The one thing she wanted most was a green fairy costume.

We started out with crayons and sketched ideas, then went looking around the internet for images to fill in the details. Her vision is for something very organic, no recognizable order or patterns, (almost) all in green, with no flowers. Like things found in nature, plus some glitter.

We decided to buy wings but make everything else. Here is what I have made so far.

Shoe covers made of felt. The black elastic goes under the shoe. These actually look super cute on her feet! The long leather lacings will criss-cross up her bare leg and tie under the knee.

fairy 001

Leaf crown. We bought a $5 foliage stem at the craft store and I spent about 10 minutes cutting it up and floral-taping it into a shape. She was very particular about it looking messy and natural.

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And finally this ribbon skirt. It's unlined, just ribbons, twine, and ripped fabric strips. There will be some neutral color shorts underneath for modesty.

fairy 003

I can't even describe to you how much I love this. I love this skirt like, crazy person amounts. I would wear this in a heartbeat. I used a bunch of stash fabrics and a few I bought, and about 6 spools of ribbon bought for the purpose. I loved mixing the jute twine and burlap ribbon with the glitter and silk. It's just so dang pretty!

Left to make: neutral color tank and shorts for unders, glittery fabric peasant top, and a ribbon wand. I think I can get a goodish bit of that done today!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Sunday we had a Victorian tea to attend at the LeDuc house to celebrate the birthday of one of the costume group gals. I decided I would try some rag curls in The Girl's hair. She just had two little braids for skating but the curls are fancier!

I didn't want to make her sleep in them so I started them during morning cartoons. I dampened her hair with half and half Lottabody setting lotion and water, and wound up locks of hair on strips of muslin. I tied the muslin in knots to keep it on. I remembered reading something about rolling the hair away from the face in front, so I did that. For the rest of her head I was just winging it.

tea 028

She wore them all day, even on errands and to play in the yard. At around 2:30 I gave them a just-in-case blast with the blowdryer, let the hair cool, then unrolled them, nervously. Aaaaaand... they turned out okay! Not perfect, but if I'd wanted perfect I would have used rollers instead of rags. And gotten someone else to do it.

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I tied a nice cotton sateen ribbon around her head. She chose white. The curls stayed in very well and felt so very soft and touchable. I kind of couldn't stop playing with her hair.

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She wore the red plaid again, her only currently-fitting Victorian dress. I think this may have been the last wear for this one. Our next Victorian event is probably not until summer, and I doubt this dress will still fit when cold weather comes around again.

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And her new tweed coat. Hopefully not the last wear for this!

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I decided to wear my green calico. Everything else I have seemed either too summery (the Renoir or the seaside) or too dressy (the green and blue taffeta ruffle dress). So it was down to the green calico or the brown wool, and I am getting a little tired of the brown wool. Plus I feel very like myself in the green calico, and I guess yesterday I just wasn't in a mood for fussiness.

I spruced up the calico with a new ribbon, another one of the cotton sateen ribbons from work. I tied it in a bow and pinned it in place with this antique pin my HB gave me. It's very dark green glass in a gold-tone setting. I also had my winter bonnet and buff-color gloves. I took this photo at home afterward so it's a mirror shot!

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My HB wore his 1840s suit that he bought from a company in Canada. He also wore the new top hat which I need to remember to re-shape a little with the hat jack.

There were 8 of us total in attendance. I didn't get photos of everyone but here is the tea table!

tea 041

I made two plates of sandwiches: egg salad on soft whole wheat (we don't keep white bread in the house, generally) and smoked trout spread on very dense, very thin German pumpernickel. One of those loaves that comes vacuum-sealed like a little brick. You know.

There were also deviled eggs, raw vegetables, brandied carrots, crackers with goat cheese, apple crisp, three kinds of cake, lemon tart, and a cold joint ("for the men," as Mrs. Beeton puts it). With so many sweets I wish I had made more sandwiches! Or even just bread-and-butter! There was also tea (of course) but mostly we drank champagne, and a teeny pitcher of orange juice was arranged for F.

The Girl behaved very well and her good manners were remarked upon by the tea guests. She LOVED exploring the LeDuc house and pretending we lived there. And she sat very nicely at the table and said please and thank you and was very nice about the food, even for being as picky as she is. I was very proud of her. Of course, she did get restless by the end of the day but that's okay because we knew it was time to leave! So, overall, a lovely event. SO glad we all went.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Yesterday we had our Victorian Ice Skating event downtown at the Landmark Plaza rink. It was PERFECT weather, maybe even a little warm at 30 F, and no wind. The Girl and I were joined by Miss French and Mr. Geraghty on the ice, and Ms. Low attended and took photos.


I made The Girl a new coat and muff. She wore last year's dress and hood.

skating 001

Miss French was a little timid, not having skated in years. But I think she did wonderfully!


We skated about an hour and then headed to the St. Paul Grill for drinks and desserts. Lots of chat about the next events we want to do, as usual! Looks like Victorian bathing is going to happen for real. So I need to get cracking on historic swimwear that I can actually swim in! Or wade, anyway.

I am so glad that this ice skating event has finally gained a little momentum. I really want to keep it going and do it every year! Now if only we could convince the skating rink to play waltzes.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Finishing up the knitting on these, just a little assembly left.

This huge yarn and these huge needles are making my hands hurt like hell! They are cute and soft, and they went pretty quickly, but I am glad to be done.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
We got up at the crack of dawn on Sunday to attend the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. I hated getting up early but if you leave your house after 9:00 a.m. it adds an extra hour to the drive, because you are sitting in traffic the last five miles before the festival. So we left at 8:15 and got there just after they opened at 9:00.

I didn't get any photos because my camera battery died after taking ONE picture of The Girl in the parking lot. :P So these are almost all from my HB's phone.

Here is the new dress.


You can see more dress details in the dress post. I love way it turned out! Everything is drafted from The Tudor Child and I made most of it over a couple days.

We danced with the court dancers.


Then later we danced with the Scottish dancers.


We met Twig the Fairy.


My favorite thing was talking to Felton, this hilarious and adorable puppet in a booth marked "conversations." Spin the wheel and get a conversation!


As you can see I wore the same old thing.

We also saw Dr. Pandora's science show for kids, a little bit of a juggling show, met some huge puppet people, and hung out in the Princess Garden.

The weather was cool and pleasant in the morning and just verging on hot by midday. I ended up taking off her sleeves and tying them behind her arms to just hang there, which still looked kinda neat.

We were pooped by 3:00 and went home to eat takeout and loaf. It felt like a long day!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I spent a few days making a shift for The Girl. Hand & machine.

I put the details here at my new blog.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
We were going through a serious dresses-only phase for several months. Now we are back to pants. I made her a few pairs from stash fabrics this week.


The pattern is just a really basic elastic-waist pant. It's a little baggy for her but I am not going to get too finicky about fitting. As usual for her, and following the measurement chart, I have cut one size smaller than her age, with a little added length, and just drew in the waist to fit by ignoring the 'elastic guide' and cutting the elastic to fit her.

She always wants pockets. Sigh. I object to pockets on kid clothes for two reasons:

1.) Pockets are annoying to make. On a simple pant like this, the addition of pockets more than doubles the sewing time.

2.) When kids have pockets, they put things in them. Usually things that shouldn't go in pockets (crayons, chocolate, worms) and will wreck the washing machine. Then you have to check all the pockets on laundry day. Ugh.

But The Girl wanted pockets, so I compromised, and put pockets on a couple of the pairs.


The fabric of this blue print pair is from Ikea and I had originally planned to cover a bench with it. Here are the rest of the pants. They are all heavier-wieght cottons.


The dark purple pair is made of leftovers from this dress, the yellow pair with the weird onion-y print was from work and I forgot what I bought it for, maybe a bag? The dark indigo blue floral print is a remnant I got at a yard sale or something about 100 years ago. Seriously, this is OLD stash. I have had it for as long as I can remember. I thought it had a vaguely 18th century block print look to it, but there wasn't enough to do much. I thought maybe a small jacket or stays? But now it's pants. Probably for the best.

The thing that is toughest about stashbusting for me is letting go of the dreams. I buy fabric with plans and good intentions, but sometimes either my ideas don't work, or I change my mind, or I get distracted, and when another idea comes up I have to let go of the earlier one. Most of these pieces were so small - less than a yard - that it made sense to make them into kid pants. What else could I use these pieces for? But the letting go is still hard.

Related: It is only one more week until kindergarten starts! Aaahhhhhh!!!! I am totally freaking out!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Last week I fitted a mockup for new modern everyday skirts. I let it languish a bit, then today made the changes and cut out four new skirts, all from the stash! It's pretty recent stash; I have only had these pieces for a couple years at most, but it still counts, right?

Then I asked The Girl to come in the sewing room and help me sort and choose fabrics for her school clothes. I don't make ALL her clothes - that would be crazy-making - but I like to make what I can. So I now have fabrics and patterns set aside for a couple dresses, four pairs of pants, a lightweight jacket, and a bunch more mixy-uppy T-shirts. I don't have a many old shirts to upcycle this time, but I do have lots of random odds and ends and leftovers in my knits bin!

I still have a lot of Stash to go, but I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have completely stopped buying fabric just to hoard, and I am working toward a point where I can fit it all in a single bin.

Makes me slightly anxious to think of a day when there might not be any Stash at all, and I just buy project fabric as I sew it. But I have to remind myself that even though stash fabric feels like it's free, I did pay good money for it. And anyway, there will always be changes of plans. And leftovers.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Or, as I couldn't help but think of it, Dress-Up Ice Skating.

I was right that it turned out to be just me and my fam. One woman from the group did come, but she wasn't dressed up and she didn't skate, she just wanted to take a couple photos (including this one).


But I didn't care because I love skating and the weather was great. The rink was totally deserted which surprised me because last time it was mobbed. And on a Sunday afternoon! But it was nice to have plenty of room. This rink is on St. Paul's Summit Avenue, where all the beautiful historic mansions are. Lovely!

While my husband can skate he didn't yesterday, he just helped The Girl a little.

skating (1)

She doesn't need much help, though! She is already learning to stay up quite well on her own!

Believe it or not, I am going backwards in this one.

skating (2)

I am not a great skater by local standards but I do have a lot of fun! And I didn't fall down, thank goodness! Trying to get up in this dress would have been challenging. I thought of that little poem from Punch (I think this is quoted in The Cut of Womens' Clothes) with the woman who falls down skating.

Ok, I think she is roller skating, and it's more a comment on tight natural form dresses, but whatevs.

We skated for about 45 minutes (I could have stayed for hours, but my fam was getting cold) and then went to French Meadow cafe for coffee. F had a cup of hot chocolate with a HUGE mountain of whipped cream on top and somehow managed to keep her dress spotless.

More about What We Wore )

I have been wanting to do an event like this for so many years. I am glad we finally just did it! Maybe next year we can get a few folks to join us. Because I am definitely going to make this an annual thing.
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 made this petticoat for The Girl yesterday.

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She is wearing it over the bodiced petticoat/underdress thing from her last year's dress. I am DYING to get her into some corsets, but I am sure that neither she nor her dad would stand for it. And I do mean with just a little cording, and obviously not too tight, so please don't judge me! I mean, kids her age wore them 150 years ago, right?

Read more... )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Something for work!


Ok, that's not entirely accurate. It IS for Treadle, but I get to keep my displays when they are no longer needed, usually a couple months.

When I saw the printed corduroy with the foxes I just knew that F had to have pants made of it. I decided to do them as a display and the pattern I chose (New Look 6257) had a jacket too, so I thought why not? The jacket is made of lightweight wool flannel and lined in a cotton print. The collar in the pattern is stupid so I drafted a Peter Pan collar, using the tutorial here as a guide. I made covered buttons from the apple print.

The pants took an hour. The jacket I spent a few days on. It was pretty simple but I made a few silly mistakes and had to do a couple do-overs. Plus when I say "a few days," I really mean "an hour a day for three days," because I just can't seem to scrape together a nice long sewing session lately. It's all bits and pieces for me.

It is suddenly chilly here. 60s in the day and 40s-50s at night. So probably more autumn sewing like this will be on my agenda. I kind of want to make the same coat over again in a cotton twill or maybe a wide-wale corduory. And she definitely needs more pants!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I did end up staying up last night for hours past my usual bedtime, sewing The Girl's dress. It was totally worth it, and it's looking adorable. Just one little bit left to sew: stitching the lining down inside the waist seam.

The pattern is the Mill Farm Child's Gown which has gone together really easily and looks super cute. I made it from an Indian block-printed tablecloth from Ten Thousand Villages which I have had in the stash for ages. It turned out to be just the right size for a 4/5 size gown with a little left over. She has tried it on a few times for fittings and I just about died of the cute.

She's got a small neckerchief and her coral beads to wear with it. I thought about an apron, but I am out of time. I do want to sew caps, though. Today my HB is at home (school's out!) and I have a few hours. F will get a cap and hopefully so will I. No fancy hand-rolled hems, here, though. Machine stitching and a little hand finishing only.

Our event is tomorrow, a picnic at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, a big garden outside the city, with an open eighteenth century theme. Rain is predicted. I have been mopey all week as the forecast gets worse and worse.

Best case scenario: the rain holds off during the early afternoon hours. Second best: light showers, we can hide indoors at their lovely little cafe, and if the rain clears a little we can do a quick tour of some of the gardens. Worst case: it's pouring down buckets and nobody even wants to leave the house. If that happens, I will invite everyone over here, but it would mean having to clean the house very quickly (at least the living room!).

I am encouraged by the number of RSVPs we have gotten. Seriously, if 2 or 3 other people come, I will be thrilled. My family group will be four (me, Girl, Man, and Lainey) and six would be a pretty decent number for an event like this in my area. Hopefully everybody who has RSVP'd will come!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I made F a bunch of new T-shirts this week.

F tshirts (6)

(She said this is her "normal face." I just could not make this stuff up.)

Sewing T-shirts at home is not something I do a lot of, mostly just for The Girl. Since T-shirts are so cheap these days they may as well be disposable, it doesn't make much sense to buy knit fabrics for 10-20 bucks a yard and make my own. So I only do it if I can meet at least one, preferably two, of the following conditions:

  - I am upcycling an existing garment
  - The fabric is really unusual
  - I have a specific design or look I am trying to achieve
  - I absolutely cannot find a single thing in the stores that fits

For F, I have a hard time finding clothes that fit because she is long and skinny, so pants that fit at the waist are ridiculously short. Shirts are easier because they just hang off the shoulders, but sometimes they are too short. I tend to buy the plain and boring ones but this time I wanted something more unique and cute.

The process and 4 more shirts! )

These were so quick and fun! Oh, and if anyone is wondering why I chose April to make new long-sleeved shirts, please know that it has been only three days since I was pretty sure all the snow had melted in my yard. So yeah, still chilly.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Last week I spent some time making dresses for The Girl. I used the same pattern for all of them, Simplicity 2828 (I am sure I got this for free at some point) and fabrics entirely from the stash.

First one. She chose this fabric from the stash before I even opened the bin. I was hoarding it for myself, but oh well. She has good taste anyway. Invisible zip in back. Stripe matching looks pretty good if I do say so myself.

little dresses (2)

More!! )
It feels good to finally make her something new! And it's always easier for me to crank stuff out in groups like this. Now I am in the middle of a group of T-shirts for her. After that, maybe some pants and then I will take a break from kid clothes for a while.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Well, I haven't been entirely useless lately. I did manage to make The Girl a new hat.

striped hat (1)

striped hat (4)

She chose the colors and I just made up a random stripe pattern as I went. I might add earflaps at some point, or maybe make mittens to match. 
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