elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
You guys remember this at all?

wool brocade (1)

Right after I last posted I brought these to work and my coworkers unanimously liked the plummy purple wool/silk with the lighter brocade. I bought out the rest of the bolt: about 7.5 yds.

I have enough of the solid that I want to make it into a Nice Plain Wool Dress, bodice and skirt, maybe a few pleats but nothing fancy. With 7.5 yd of 60" fabric I can do that easily. I want a nice plain winter dress I can wear alone or add fichus and fun over-bodices to.

Then I will use my wool brocade to make an accent piece I can swap in to change things up as desired.

Here are the plates that are currently speaking to me for the brocade bodice.

Left one here with the solid vest detail.


Left one here.
La Mode Illustrée, 1870:

Before I dive in to this I am going to finish my new undies and possibly a new corset.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Last night after I posted about my sewing mojo remedy, I decided one thing I wanted/needed was to de-stash.

A woman at Treadle last year shared her de-stash idea with us: she took all of her cuts of cotton prints under a yard and made bags. Tote bags, drawstring bags, knitting project bags, whatever. Mostly she gave them away.

This works for me because I need to get rid of stuff, but some things I can't bear just tossing.

So I went through my cottons last night, and anything big enough for a bag, I cut and folded ready to sew. Most things that were too small I just pitched, except a very few extra cute pieces I might use for quilting.

About cotton prints. I mulled over this a little when I was re-doing my sewing room, but here are some more realizations/reminders:

1.) I don't actually quilt that much.

2.) Lately I have preferred to pick special new fabrics for quilts, so having a "quilting stash" doesn't really help much anyway.

3.) Cotton prints become dated SO fast. There are pieces in my bin that I have never made anything out of, yet I am already sick of them just from all the times I have pulled them out during organizing and then put them back again.

Really, I am just not allowed to stash cotton prints any more. Cotton prints are going to fall under the "only buy it if you're gonna sew it NOW" rule.

So, bags! A few will probably become knitting bags, but mostly I am going to use them as reusable gift wrap. I am sure my sister and I will pass some of them back and forth for the next ten years, but hopefully I can send some away out into the world.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
As of right now I am setting aside all my own sewing for myself and completely focusing on making menswear for my HB. If you are stalking me on Pinterest (like I am stalking most of you) you have probably noticed my current mens clothing obsession. Here's what I am currently contemplating.

18th century summer - Linen coat, a light vest, breeches
Victorian summer - Linen single breasted frock coat, a light vest, light pants, a patterned shirt
Victorian separates - plaid pants, plaid pants, and plaid pants
Something for the renaissance festival - ???

Today I ordered the Laughing Moon men's pants pattern. I've been making him pants from that old simplicity pattern and I want something new and different. I have a bunch of patterns already for everything else on the list as well as a stack of possible fabrics.

I'm hoping with all the Victorian pieces he can have an effective mix and match wardrobe and pull something out for the Little House Party or any other event.

First up is summer Victorian. We don't have any events or anything but it's what I feel like working on so I should probably take advantage of that.
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)
This week I've been thinking about my dead-of-winter wardrobe. Modern/everyday, not historic. There are two main points to consider here:

1.) Cold. It's f#cking cold.
2.) Static electricity. Very cold = dry, dry air, and dry air = static. Enough static cling to make all your clothes stick to you horribly.

I have only a few skirts that I consider suitable for this time of year. I need to add to my wardrobe, but winter sewing is starting to wind down for me now, so I want to write these notes down as reminders to myself for the fall.

- Wool gabardine, or any hard-finish wool, is autumn fabric. In winter, it's fine for warmth, with layers, but the static is absolutely maddening. Softer wools are better for deep winter.

- Flatline rather than bag line wool skirts. A loose lining = static and annoying.

- Wide wale corduroy is warm enough, and avoids the static issue by being cotton.

- I know you want a wool jersey dress. Don't do it. Just don't. Because of static. Use a heavier wool knit if you really want a dress, and save the jersey for tops and leggings.

- Keep skirts below the knee or longer. Your knees will get cold.

- Linen and cotton pencil skirts are fine only when at home or driving somewhere, not walking.

- Make petticoats. (I used to do this; I made cotton muslin slips for the baselayer and cotton flannel underskirts for warmth.) Another bonus is the petticoats keep the wind from wrapping the skirt around your legs so much.

- Fit skirts over leggings. Keeping snug over the waist and high hip minimizes shifting during wear.

- You need more legwarmers. And swants.

- Think about giving pants another chance. Make them roomy enough for long undies. Make sure you could wear them under snow pants.

- Start winter sewing in September.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
My, I'm being posty today, aren't I?

Well, I just got home from taking The Girl to the park for a little ice skating, just to get out for a little of the afternoon. It was fun but it made me realize how totally unprepared I feel for our upcoming Victorian Ice Skating event!

First off, The Girl needs outerwear. Last year she just wore her dress and hood, but it was a warm day, 30 F and no wind. I don't want to assume Fate will smile on us again. So she needs a coat, or cloak, or mantle, or something. Obvy a cloak is the easiest, and most versatile, and will fit as she grows, but a coat is warmer. We'll see.

I need new socks. All of my plain wool socks are worn thin. I have plenty of bright and crazy modern wool ones, but they certainly won't work with my Victorian things. Come to think of it, The Girl could use some new thick tights and socks as well.

We both need muffs. Because muffs.

I am fine wearing my brown wool dress and fur-trimmed capelet again, but I would like to give the skirt the same interior twill tape/hook&eye treatment I did on my little house dress so I can shorten it for skating without having to baste a tuck and rip it out later (like I did last time).

My skates need new squishy insoles. I would love to have sheepskin ones, but probably I will just cut up an old sweater and make something.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
This is seriously just me thinking out loud to myself.
Sewing thoughts )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
For the last two years, my sewing goals have been completely vague. This year I have am going back to a more specific list. My focus is still going to be heavier on historic sewing and lighter on modern. I have 4 dresses planned for me and at least 2 new suits for The Man, plus some kid-costumes.

Modern
Finish all the ufo sweaters
Make HB a new sweater
Jammies and everyday skirts
Blouses
Winter coat
Quilt the Amy Butler quilt
My sister's WEDDING DRESS!!! (This is actually not going to be too huge a job. She is the opposite of me and has very simple taste; I am basically just making her a normal, knee-length modern dress, but in white satin. Maybe a couple fabric flowers.)

Historic
Trim the green ruffle ballgown bodice
1860s plaid separates for the HB
Summer Victorian for HB
Summer Victorian for The Girl
Sheer cotton 1870s dress
18th century summer suit for HB
Wool kirtle from the Tudor Tailor (all handsewn)
Pink cotton 1860s dress
Winter Little House dress
Winter Little House dress for The Girl
Winter Victorian wraps
Lots of accessories for everybody

Events to Attend (I will update this list as needed)
Jan 16 1870s ball
Jan 24 Victorian Ice Skating
Feb 27 LHS 1860s ball
March 20 Ladies Luncheon at Leduc
May 6-9 Costume Con Madison
June 25 18th century picnic
August 13-14 Pipestone Civil War Days
August 18-21 Tall Ships Duluth
Nov 18-20 Victorian Christmas at Stillwater Courthouse
Prep for Little House Party January 2017!!!!

And finally, the Historical Food Fortnightly! I know I pooped out halfway through the year last time, but I am excited for a new set of challenges, and if I don't finish, then I don't finish. I would also like to plan better to coordinate the cooking challenges with dress-up events, like cooking for the costumed picnic.

With The Girl going back to school in a few days, I am going to have a little more time to sew. Getting back to that focused, task-oriented mindset is not going to be easy, but I am going to try to do it. I know I can get so much done if I just start.

I still have all the same general goals as last year, too:

Stashbusting!
Attend local costume events
Accessories, shoes, and hair
Maximize sewing time
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Haven't been doing much besides knitting lately, but I've been thinking a lot about sewing. Especially at work.

Working and teaching at the fabric store, I get so inspired and fired up to sew! Which is great, except that when I get home in the evening, I either have no time to sew, or I am just plain exhausted. I wish I could hold onto that inspired feeling until I can actually get some sewing room time!

Anyway, here are some of my current sewing daydreams:

Winter Early Bustle dress. I have had a persistent vision of a blue wool dress with lots of deep blue velvet trim. We have several fantastic blue silk velvets at work, but the wool is an unknown.

I also have a vague idea of a wool bustle dress involving some patterned wool I have in my stash.

1860s for the man. Plaid pants and vest and a wool coat for a non-matchy separates look. With plaid. (Did I mention plaid?)

Still planning to make at least one new shirt for my HB for a christmas request.

Also, swants. Yup.

Then there is boring stuff. My green ruffle bustle ballgown bodice needs trim for the January ball. I could get around to quilting my last quilt top sometime. There are a bunch of modern skirts that need finishing. And maybe one day I will finish my Regency LWD.
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 at least, as done as it's going to get, for now.

It took ages for the moss bodice to dry, and I ended up using so much glue that it's quite stiff and the inside is pretty plastic-y. And on the table it kind of has a Sad Muppet look. But I tried it on with the dress, and it actually looks kind of cool.

I sewed up the shoulder seams but I am leaving the bust darts unsewn because I want to travel with it as flat as possible, and it'll take ten minutes to sew the darts on Sunday.

For the wings I decided to go with two, not four. I shaped them a little pointier, then sewed them together and hotglued some wire to the back. I punched a couple holes for a twine tie and done!

I also did a couple little fiddly odds and ends in the past couple days. My Regency petticoat was a bit too long so I sewed two more tucks at the hem to shorten it by 1". I also added some elastic to my green vintage swimsuit to improve the fit and the bust support.

So it's been a couple days of little things, but it feels good to cross them off the list. What's left?

* Spruce up Glinda - this is totally my Gala gown. I know I will feel kind of cheap and lame next to everyone's awesome finery, but it'll be more fun to wear than my other options. At the very least it needs more stars and glitter to replace the ones that fell off, and I'd also like to adjust the bodice fit and maybe mess with the sleeves. And figure out shoes.

* Finish the LWD and a quick spencer.
* new shift
* beach dress to go with my swimsuit
* finish knitting the lace
* some hairpieces

That's the plan, anyway. If I run out of time, so be it. The only one I really feel anxious about is the LWD. Everything else I can pretty much do in my sleep.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Ok, so I'm a little late to the party, but who cares!

I should mention I've only read this book recently. Everybody here was talking so much about it and I love a good novel with magic, so I got a cheap used copy last January and read it. I have to admit I had to persevere a bit to get into the story. The footnotes drove me crazy, and the text felt very small for my tired eyes at night. But after I few chapters I fell in deep, and loved it.

My vision for this costume is very earthy, like mold and moss and slightly rotted dead things in the dark undergrowth of the forest. That's how I pictured the fairies in the book. The Gentleman is also described as wearing green.

Anyone remember this annoyingly bright dress? Well I decided I could sacrifice it to the cause. I did really enjoy the brightness, but I'd already worn it twice for two different events, and I really doubted I'd wear it again. So I dyed it to make it more earthy and mossy. One pot of Procion bronze later, I had this:

dyed dress (1)

To make the wings, I bought a big sheet of fancy mulberry paper from the art supply store and did some paint. First a mottled layer of brown watercolor, then a sponged layer of metallic bronze.

After this I coated the back in Mod Podge to stiffen, which was a total fail. It's actually softer now, instead of stiffened! It's heavy and soft and floppy and thick. Probably you real artist types are saying "duh," but usually when I Mod Podge things they get stiff, almost crispy stiff, like they stand up on their own.

I am really not much of an artist, so please know this is really the best I could do. It's not quite what I envisioned, but oh well. I will go with it anyway. I have a wing template, sort of a dragonfly's wing shape, that I will use to cut out wings from my painted paper. I plan for them to hang down, like they are folded, not stick out to the sides.

paint

The twirly sticks are for my hair, which I plan to braid up and then cover with moss and twigs.

Finally the overbodice. This is still in progress, and it's a little ambitious for me, so we'll see how it goes. The plan is to glue a layer of moss to a tulle foundation to make a bodice made of moss. Here's the sample I made.

moss (2)

It worked pretty well, though I had to absolutely saturate it with glue (Fabric Fusion). I put freezer paper below and on top and weighted it with a book until it dried.

I have a bag each of brown and green and another bag that's more peat-y. I'll try mixing them a bit. I hope this ends up looking like what I am imagining.

moss (1)
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
The little white dress skirts are assembled, and the side opening plackets for the drop front are hemmed and finished.

The sleeve seams for the small pouf sleeve and the linen under sleeve are sewn and finished.

Today's goals:

- sleeve bands
- hem linen under sleeve
- make bib front bodice piece
- spencer mockup
- try everything on

Then to finish, it's just:

- pleat/gather skirt
- front waistband
- attach skirt
- attach bib front
- attach sleeves
- hem

Today is Friday. I really would like to finish this over the weekend so I can pick the unfinished Little House Dress back up on Monday. Aaaand I should probably figure out what I am wearing to the Gala.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
So I have the bodice of my Little White Regency Dress sewn. I am doing it all by hand. I need to try it on before I keep going (because I am paranoid, and I screw up a lot) but I HATE having to lace my stays up constantly. It's not like an easy-on, easy-off Victorian corset. It takes ages.

So I figured I would make it count by fitting my spencer mockup at the same time. But that means I have to figure out what the spencer will look like...

I know I have a couple wools in my stash, a mustard yellow and at least one deep teal blue. Right around the turn of the century the look is kind of loose, unstructured, with flappy bits everywhere and so on. I am going for a little later look, 1810-15-ish, when things became a little more tidy.

Here are a few plates I am looking at.

Fitted, nice collar: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/229894755952894174/

These sleeves are too crazy but I like the front: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/490188740669191893/

I probably won't do this trim, but I like the shape: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/268456827762195310/

A little fussy but cute: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/131589620337526759/

Love the fitted-ness, the collar, the color: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/178032991493300959/

The shape, the yellow, the bow! https://www.pinterest.com/pin/431501208018223050/
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments on my orange gown progress! I've been stitching away like a busy little bee here, but I still have a ton left to do.

Tonight before bed I hope to have both sleeves set in, then tomorrow I will pleat the skirt, attach it, hem it, and the gown will be done and wearable. Then Wednesday some trim; just at the neckline and sleeve ends.

I've also been playing with hair. I used some store bought rats to make my hairdo frame today, and tried making some false buckles with glue. We'll see if they hold together when I unwrap them in the morning. Whether they work or not I still need to make more.

For accessories I have my plain cuff ruffles, plain neckerchief, and a couple necklaces to choose from. I might put a ribbon bow on the dress bodice, but a bright fake flower would be fun too. Still hoping to magically pull off some headwear.

The only thing left (besides actually DOING all the stuff above) is to figure out a rain plan. The weather has been wet and unpredictable. Just like every June. Maybe I should stop planning picnics in June? But anyway, I want to have a Plan B in place.

If it's VERY wet Saturday I might not risk this dress at all, and fall back on my caraco instead. At least I would still have new hair.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Just being thinky.

Plans so far:

Thursday night: I really want to do a vintage swimsuit type thing, and maybe actually go swimming! I know nobody really swims at the pool party but why not?

Friday day: I might still do an Edward Gorey thing, otherwise maybe something old.

Friday pm social: Probably the orange silk anglaise I am starting now.

Saturday day: Little House printed cotton.

Gala: I suppose I will just default to the green and blue ruffle bustle dress. I will make an evening bodice for it.

I have to admit it bothers me to not be part of a group for the gala. Last year I thought I would do the court dress thing, then I thought I would do a fairytale thing, but neither of those ideas worked out; I just couldn't get the inspiration to make them work.

I really do love the green ruffle as a dress, for straight up Victorian stuff, but coco gala is an opportunity to do something different.

I suppose my other options are to make something new (not entirely feasible at this point) or to wear Glinda, which, as much as I like it, was made as a cheap Halloween costume and looks pretty terrible close up.

Sunday breakfast: LWD.

Sunday day: no idea.

If I end up with gaps I feel comfortable enough just tossing something old in there. Last time I attended coco I had this idea for some reason of only bringing new costumes. Silly of course because I had a full day of not being dressed up. Not gonna happen this time.

Deadlines

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.
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.

Project2

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.

plans

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.)
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Ok, I've decided. I'm going to make a new lobster bustle. Closer inspection has shown my old one to be sadly wearing out, and there are some lovely sloped examples in the Kyoto Fashion book dated to the early 1870s. I have the wire already, a pattern from the old one I can update/alter, and hopefully I can dig some fabric out of the stash.

I also need a new petticoat (a girl can never have too many!). I'll probably alter the TV pattern to make a demi-trained version with lots of flounces and things.

Both of these are fairly straightforward. I just need to be focused and do it.
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