Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lark Rise to Candleford

I'm so happy when I find a show I like and I'm only on Season 1. My new show to sew to is Lark Rise to Candleford. Not to be confused with Cranford with Judi Dench (which I also love). Lark Rise takes place in the 1890's in Oxfordshire. It takes place in Larkrise, which is a country Hamlet and Candleford, which is a small town expanding with the times.
The narrator is Laura Timmens, a poor girl from the hamlet, who goes to stay with her mother's cousin Dorcus, the owner of the Candleford post office. This show does what BBC costume shows do best, pathos. Laughing through tears, crying or just plain laughing. It's nice from a costuming standpoint because there are different social strata represented, from the workhouse girl to the country squire. It also stars some old favorites. Brendan Coyle:
Hellloooooo Mr. Bates
Julia Sawalha:
Saffron Darling, Saffron Sweetheart
and Ben Miles:
Patrick from the British "Coupling" not to be confused with the horrible US show of the same name.
I can't tell you if anything horrible happens because Im  only on Season 1, but if you have Amazon Prime you can watch it streaming for free.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

18th Century Insanity

I'm still busily handsewing the boning channels on my corset, so I don't have anything to show you there. I have picked up another challenge though. This ones not due until Costume College 2014, which is the last weekend in July. Demode Couture is having an 18th Century Court Ensembles project. Those of us participating will wear it for the Costume Gala at Costume College. Think super wide skirts here. Marie Antoinette on steroids.
I was trying to find a parody, but they are so big that I parody would be redundant
 Since I don't really want to negotiate such a huge skirt, I decided to go earlier in the century and make a mantua. The stomacher is missing, so I will pretty much have to make that up, but that will be fun to research.
I'm insane, but I won't be hand embroidering this thing

I just have to keep my eye open for some kind of bedspread or curtains or upholstery fabric that mimics this. I can always add more googaws

Monday, November 25, 2013

Dicken's Corset or OW! my thumbs are killing me

Spring Green Linen for the fashion fabric
I have been sewing my poor fingers to the bone all day on my corset for Dickens. I do enjoy hand sewing, but sewing through 2 layers of cotil and a layer of linen, is really tough on my thumb.This is my first corset, but I'm using Jennifer Rosbrugh's Historical Sewing Victorian Corset Sewing Workbook and following it step by step. It really helps take the mystery out of it.
It's a lot greener than this in person
I'm getting better at the little stitches, but its hard not to get a little wonky. The linen weave helps though.
bad flash photo
I'm proud of how well the busk came out, it wasn't as tricky as I thought it would be.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

City of Vice

I love to sew by hand, and I love to have costume dramas or sewing shows playing on tv while I'm doing it. They vary in historical accuracy of course, but I watch them all. I discovered a new one the other day; City of Vice.
This man wrote Tom Jones, do not throw your panties at him
The setting is London during the reign of George II, and tells the story of Henry Fielding (of Tom Jones, book, not singer) and his brother, and of their quest to start London's first police force. The show is historically accurate as much as possible, using Old Bailey Sessions papers and memoirs of the period. It's very gritty. Sort of like Law and Order: SVU meets the History Channel.
come for the beautiful costumes, stay anyway
It's set mostly in the poor parts of the city, so not as many pretty pretty costumes as I like, but the show itself is very good. We do get to go into a brothel at one point and they had nice clothes, but the storyline is not for the faint of heart.
Sex swing of the18th century

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dicken's Fair Dress

I bought some fabric for my outfit for the Dicken's fair, but it turns out that it wouldn't be historically correct to make up a plain skirt and a plaid bodice as I was planning. I got very lucky though. I found a $100 cotton plaid on sale at Joanne's for $2.99 a yard.
A little dreary, but I think it will look good with the pattern I'm using
I'm going to use the Truly Victorian Pattern TV456: 1856 Gathered Dress. Which has recieved good reviews.
I think the gathered fan front will be more flattering on my generous bosom, than a high necked fitted bodice.

I got free shipping, so I have to wait 7-10 business days for the fabric. I'll just make all the other parts of my costume first (including a corset. Ack!) and then whip that baby right up.This will also fit in nicely for the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #26: Celebrate!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #24: Re-do

For my Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #24: Re-Do I decided to do the Challenge #3: Under-it-all.

Here are my first pair of crotchless drawers. Ooh la la. I made them for Dickens Fair, and they'll be hidden under at least two petticoats and a skirt, so they aren't really very sexy. They were historically for convenience purposes, and will be so again while negotiating porta potties at the fair.
Don't you want me baby
Another sheet bites the dust in the name of fashion
They have a drawstring waistband and are made from 100% Cotton.They have little pintucks on the legs. I'm practicing my straight stitching and getting better, but it's a work in progress.
Good thing this will be UNDER wear

Doncha wish your girlfriend was hot like me.
The Challenge: #24 Re-Do or #3 Under it All
Fabric: cotton
Pattern: Laughing Moon #100, Ladies Victorian Underwear 1840-1900
Year: 1840
Notions: Cotton Thread, Cotton Cording
How historically accurate is it? I did everything by hand and it's all natural materials. If the pattern is historically accurate then it's at least 95%
Hours to complete:24 hours , the pintucks and the self bias binding added time to the mix
First worn: Just parading around my house making my daughter laugh
Total cost: Cording 25 cents, sheet $1 . So $1.25

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dicken's Fair is calling

Okay, now that the prohibition pub crawl is done, it's time to start getting ready for Dicken's Fair. I need to make; a corset, a chemise and drawers, two petticoats, a skirt, a blouse and a jacket. All by hand. Luckily Dickens runs through December 22nd. So we will go, when I get the outfit ready. I've decided I need to be really organized if I'm going to pull this off, so I started by putting my pattern in order. I also have one leg of the drawers finished. I'm off and running.
Keep patterns in order by using a binder with page protectors.

The pages of directions are put int the binder so they can be read like a book.

All the pieces for each part of pattern are kept together in a page protector.

Since this is a muslin mockup, I marked each piece in the seam allowance.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Prohibition Pub Crawl 2013

What an amazing night! I can't even begin to describe the feeling of walking onto the cable car and being surrounded by beautifully dressed people right out of the 20's. Ive been to events before, like Dickens Fair where there are people dressed up and some people don't don't. But Ive never been to anything so immersive. It was magical.
I was terrible at getting everyone's names, but we all had so much fun
The pub crawl was put on by Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild . We started off at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco and then drove around on the trolley to various speakeasy type bars. We made quite the entrance, I'll tell you that. There was some elevator hooch swigging and spontaneous Charleston doing. All in all, a marvelous time.
The photos are a little blurry because they were taken on a moving trolley
My ever game boyfriend, Ken, who puts himself together by the way. He's the best accessory a girl could have.
I'll try to get some better close up shots soon. I also made the hat

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fringe Tutorial

I wanted to use fringe on my flapper dress, but I didn't have any hanging around the house and I can't spend money on anything right now. What I do have is yards and yards of cotton string that I got at the thrift store. I also couldn't find a tutorial for handmade fringe, so I made my own.
figure out how long you want your fringe to be, then wrap your string, yarn, floss or whatever have you around a book that is roughly twice that long.
Cut the string at the top and bottom of the book
You'll end up with a pile of string
Double each length of string and loop it over a cord
Pull the loose ends through the loop and tighten
do this a million times
Squish them together
I don't know if they will be swingy enough, since it's cotton. Any pig in a poke I say. We'll see what happens when I have a long length of it.
Actually pretty great. On the dress, it almost looks like marabou feathers

Friday, November 15, 2013

Flapper Dress in Process

I have lots more bling to throw at this thing. I'm also going to add a low waistband (hip band?) to kind of pooch the top and I'll probably toss the green fringy stuff on the bottom.
More gold! More movement!
I also need to make the hem shorter and move uneven. It's midnight time to call it. What me worry? I have one more night.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Time and Tide

I've come to the conclusion that I simply don't have time to do all the ribbonwork detail that I wanted to do on my Robe de Style.
Not by Saturday!

I may just go full on flapper after all. Like this.
Not pictured. Me fitting my size 14 body in this size 2 dress.
I do have lots of shiny things around the house. I grab beaded mother of the bride tops and dresses whenever I find them at the thrift store. So I'm going to throw every shiny thing I have at my mannequin ands what sticks.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Vintage Snuggy

Well, the Cocoon coat is done, except for the closure. I'm just going to go ahead and say it. It looks like I'm wearing a bedspread.
On the upside, it also feels like I'm wearing a bedspread
I only have my iphone camera at the moment, and it's not very good at capturing color, but here's a closeup of the collar.
Gah, I hate doing piping
I think a fabric with more drape would help, but the back is still kind of a cool shape.
For a bedspread
Here's the dress I'm going to convert to a Robe de Style.
I've decided that the fact that I have hips will have to be pannier enough.
Its 100% Rayon. I tried my panniers on under it and they look way too big.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Make it Work Moment

Well, I had my first Make it Work moment. I have a feeling these will be a regular feature. One of the problems with using linens as fabric is that I don't always, well rarely, okay never, actually measure them. I just grab them  if they are good fabric. The Folkwear Cocoon Coat pattern is great because it only has three pieces, but the main piece is HUGE. So this happened...
On the upside it's so wide I don't have to sew a back seam
All is not lost. The design is fairly subtle, so I just cut the bottom of the piece separately on the adjustment line and I will piece it together. The actual garment gathers at that approximate point, so I'm hoping the piecing will be sort of hidden in the folds.
My cute little pattern weights that I made out of washers wrapped in string
Luckily the duvet cover I'm using as lining fabric was so big, I was able to cut out the full pattern piece and place it on the fold. So no back seam on that either. This is great because I am sewing the whole thing by hand and the event is in 6 days. I may or may not be slightly nuts.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Prohibition Pub Crawl

For my first blog post..Hi! I wanted to start out with something fun, that would introduce me to some local people who are in love with fashion and costume and historical sewing like I am. I've been binge devouring every blog I could find. Flashing between inspiration and intimidation at the amount of skill I'm seeing. My lovely and very game boyfriend( who is really joining in the spirit of play with me) and I are going to join the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild in their Prohibition Pub Crawl. Although, I feel about 25, I'm, um, not, so I didn't really want to go full on flapper. I decided on this as my inspiration.

Boue Soeurs Robe de style

Since we are going to be outside, in San Fransisco, it's bound to be a bit chilly. So I am using the Folkwear Pattern, Poiret Cocoon Coat Pattern.
I'm also not wealthy, so I try to not buy new fabric when I can help it. Unfortunately, that means I can't always use 100% historical fabric. But I try to hit as close as possible. Maybe for Costume College (eek) I will splurge, but while I'm just beginning, I'd rather experiment with curtains, sheets and other assorted items from the thrift store. Here are some of my scores for the coat.

I was gifted a lovely, but very small embroidered indian shirt. I believe it is silk, but there is no label.It's very small, so I'd like to use it for the collar. I may have to do some careful piecing.
This is a coverlet or tablecloth, not sure which. The label was cut out, so I don't know the exact makeup. My best guess is cotton and rayon. I'm going to use this for the main fabric of the coat.
Subtle striping for lining. Taken from a duvet cover. %70 Silk %30 Polyester. This will be the lining fabric of the coat.