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.


Jul. 16th, 2015 11:38 am
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Little House dress is done, people!


Now to figure out what to do next. Prioritizing is hard!


Jul. 15th, 2015 05:03 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
My Little House dress would be done right now, if I hadn't made a bunch of stupid mistakes.

When I tried it on the other day, there was an annoying wrinkle at the shoulder which wouldn't go away no matter how much I prodded at it. Reluctantly I ripped off the collar and brought the neckline down slightly. Perfectly smooth! But then I had to redraft the collar and cut and sew a new one. Which took an entire afternoon.

Then I couldn't get the back point to lay flat, it was rippling because it was too full at the lower edge. So I took it in, and then the seams no longer lined up. So I trimmed the edge, tried it on, still too full, repeat repeat. By the time I made it happy, the point was so short! Like half the original length.

So, the problems are fixed, but I lost some time. Now just buttons and buttonholes (totally by machine!) and about 6 inches of facing to tack down. And then figuring out what to prioritize next.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Just a few quick photos before I move on from this for a while.

Skirts are done!


There are 2 very stingy rows of pleats at the hem of the underskirt. The overskirt has a pleated apron front and a poufed back. There are more tapes and hooks sewed inside the back but I am still playing with how I want to pouf it. I like the poufs but you also see a lot of droopy draped backs to overskirts in the early 1880s. Since the hooks and tapes are all in, though, I have options.

The center pleats on the front overskirt are copied from a dress in Fashion in Detail. I love this detail; it keeps the dress from feeling too generic.

a couple more )

Left to do on this: sleeves, collar, bodice facings, buttons/holes. I am setting it aside to work on 18th century picnic stuff!


Jun. 1st, 2015 08:52 am
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Ok, I really can't stand abandoning a project that I have momentum on and switching gears, but deadlines are coming up. It's June! Eek!

So I am giving myself one more day on the Little House dress and tomorrow I will start the orange anglaise.

State of the Little House dress: one row of skirt pleats is on. I used the freezer paper method that [livejournal.com profile] kaesha_nikovana suggested to make the pleats and it worked out pretty well. One more row of pleats to go, then sleeves, collar, and bodice finishing.

There is no deadline to wear this dress before coco so it makes sense to set it aside but it's going so well that I don't wanna! Especially since I have gotten bogged down several times with this project and now I finally have some momentum. So I will get as much done as I can today.

With 3.5 weeks to sew the orange anglaise, I am going to try to do it by hand. I am slow but I think I can do it. The construction seems pretty straightforward (famous last words?) so I can just enjoy the process.

Step one: bum pad. Then mock up the bodice. Then obtain some batiste and make a petticoat.

Pleat woe

May. 29th, 2015 07:53 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
So when I bought the fabric for my Little House dress I was being cheap (as usual) and only got 8 yards. It would have been enough, I think, if the fabric was actually 45" wide, but it's only 42", and it has wide selvages so the printed portion is only 40", tops.

So I have left the pleated skirt trim until last and now I have to be really stingy with it. I am making 3/8" pleats with a 1/8" spacing (did lots of math - not my strong suit! - and graph paper samples to figure this out) which means they are too small to use the fork method, which I usually prefer. I have too little fabric to risk eyeballing it, so that leaves the most tedious way: measuring and marking every single pleat.

And of course, neither chalk wheel, chalk pencil, or washable marker will show up on my fabric. Sigh. Maybe I will stop by work tomorrow and pick up some red tracing paper.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Been chipping away at the Little House dress. The overskirt is done, the underskirt still needs ruffles, and here is the bodice with a sleeve mockup.

Back is fitting nicely but I need to try it with the skirts and fiddle with that bottom edge.
sleeve mock (2)

The sleeve isn't the smoothest in the world.

sleeve mock (5)

But who can lift her arms over her head? This girl!

sleeve mock (4)

The bodice based on the new bodice block I made for my green silk ruffle dress, and I am pleased with how it fits. I would never say I have mastered Victorian bodice fitting, but it does feel good to be at a point where I understand the mechanics and can make something acceptable without too much effort.

You can also see a little of the collar mockup in these pictures. Nothing thrilling, but it's laying smoothly and hugging my neck so yay.

As for the sleeve, I am going to try making the cap a little taller and the bicep a little narrower. I would love to eliminate some of those wrinkles and strike a balance between smoothness and range of motion. But if I can't make that work I will be happy with a slightly wrinkly sleeve that I can move in.

Also, I love this fabric so much! The print is so cute and it's busy enough to hide all the seams.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
So I have gotten a little sewing done. I made this little ruffle/pad combo bustle and I am very pleased with the late natural form/early 1880s not-quite-a-bustle-again-yet shape. Modest enough for Laura Ingalls I think!

bustle 023

I made it with green polka dot cotton. I had big plans for a stripe but I couldn't find one crisp enough to make the ruffles nice. So I dug this out of the stash.

I made a base of white twill that I stitched the ruffles to. Then I made two pads: the first one is large and flat and filled with layers of cotton quilt batting; the second is little, stuffed with fiberfill, and tufted. At first I tried to just use the large flat pad but it wasn't enough.

The insides, over a skirt, and more )

And I have been working on my tiny knitted lace.

lace (1)

I don't know exactly what size needles these are, because I lost the package, they don't say, and my gauge only goes to 0. But by comparing them to other needles I am guessing they are 000. I am using sz 12 pearl cotton and this 1884 lace pattern. My ravelry page for this project is here.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Staying home did have the benefit of getting me into my sewing room!

I put the waistband on the skirt and tried it. It's very narrow, perfect 80s. But I don't have the right bustle. I tried my small lobster and my dorky pad, but neither quite work. I could use the horsehair ruffle but I wanted something just a little oomphier.

It really doesn't make sense to make the skirt first and then the foundations, does it? Ah, well. Too late now.

So now I need to construct a new bustle support. I think I will make something like the one here center row, farthest right. Just rows of big ruffles. I will put a small flat oval pad underneath, filled with layers of batting (NOT polyfil - too puffy!).

I will probably stick with a single petticoat if I can, because I am using my one short petticoat with the idea that I will make some kind of button/tape system to hike up the skirt for dancing.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Ok, let's start with the fabric. I bought this on sale a couple years ago at work and since my plan for it was an 1880s dress anyway, I figured why not combine that plan with a Little House plan?

stash (6)

My primary inspiration photos are the printed cotton dresses from Fashion In Detail.


But I'm not making a direct copy, so a couple fashion plates from the Harper's book are helping to round out the missing elements.

More images )
I am going for a c.1883 style; while not a direct reproduction of any of Laura's dresses described in her books, I do want to make something that she or someone in De Smet might have worn. Something nice but not too fancy. Even Laura's dresses for Sunday Best were still modest compared to some of the schmancy stuff that appeared in Harper's.

Undies: She describes her preference for a smaller bustle in one of the later books, set in the mid-80s when the bustle was at its peak, so I might wear my smaller lobster or possibly just a small pad.

So far I have the skirt just partway together. This project has stalled a little but I hope to kickstart it again this week.


Apr. 22nd, 2015 02:39 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
You guys, I am still glowing about how much I love that green ruffle dress. Thanks for all your comments! And Lauren of American Duchess gave me a mention on her FB page! (*swoons from the awesome*)

I am spending a little time spring cleaning right now but soon I will need to move on to the next thing: an 1880s printed cotton dress. This is going to be my "Little House" dress. Being from Minnesota I really ought to make something from when Laura Ingalls' family was living closest to where I am, but I just feel like doing '80s, even though they were in Dakota Territory by then.

I also feel like I should be re-creating one specific dress described in the book, but I already had fabric and an idea of a dress I wanted to make, so. . . there you are. If I ever find brown poplin like Laura's dress in one of the later books (raise your hand if you know which one I mean) I will be all over it, but for now it'll just have to be a generic-y prairie dress.

I am thinking it'll be a pretty simple low-effort dress. I will probably use the bodice pattern from the green ruffle dress and just raise the shoulder line and adjust the lower edge shape (and make a new sleeve!) to make it more 80s. Because it fits pretty well. Then a walking length skirt, my older bustle, some pleated ruffles, and probably a bonnet. Oh and some fake bangs. (Not a heavy bang like Mary Power's, just a little so I can curl it across my forehead.)
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