Friday, January 31, 2014

Death Comes to Pemberly

I have a love/hate relationship with sequels written for classic books. If they are done well, I love them. I read P.D. James' book "Death comes to Pemberly" with a little trepidation, but she is an excellent mystery writer and obviously has a great deal of respect and love for Jane Austen, so I enjoyed it immensely. BBC did a beautiful production. The story itself is gripping and interesting and the characters are true to to Pride and Prejudice, and I loved the casting.

First Elizabeth Bennett. We know that she is "the second prettiest of the five Bennett sisters" I don't think she is meant to be a great beauty. Darcy starts to find her more beautiful the more he gets to know her and specifically mentions her "fine eyes" Anna Maxwell Martin is not a smack you in the face beauty, but she really is very lovely in the way she carries herself and the intelligence you can see in her eyes. I first noticed her in Bleak House and I remember wondering why everyone kept falling in love with her and then understanding it more and more as the show went on.
So pretty and simple
I love her costumes too. They are not gaudy even though she is now very wealthy. She wears simple clothes that are made from beautiful fabrics. Exactly what Elizabeth would do I suspect.

Darcy is portrayed by Mathew Rhys. Best know to American audiences as Kevin on Brothers and Sisters. He's not gorgeous, but neither is Colin Firth. It's the way they hold themselves that makes the difference. I love the dignified way he holds himself, but also the way his face can soften when he looks at Elizabeth or his son.

And his pants aren't TOO tight either
 Lydia Wickham is silly and impulsive and young. She is played by Jenna Coleman (Clara!) and runs around mostly in dishabille, since she's in distress for most of the show.But she also wears a fabulous military inspired redingote to match her dashing Captain Wickham.
The impossible Lydia

 I watched the whole thing on You Tube, but I'm not sure how long that will be possible.

More of the cast

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thrift Store Haul

I have a favorite thrift store in town. All the items are 50% off everyday. I find some delicious treasures there. Here's what I found last time I went. First off, buttons! Some of them are too trashed to use, but there are some very interesting little vintage buttons in there too.
Whole Bag $1.50
A little binder filled with about 30 colors of embroidery floss, organized in zipped pouches.
Grab bag full of goodies.
Another grab bag.
Hook and eyes! At last. $2.00
And this one held a special surprise.
What is that thing with the cute Russian dude on it? Whole bag  $1.50
It's a punch needle. I've never used one before, but it comes with very clear instructions. So, yeah, gotta go google that.
Or it's for doing weird drugs
I also found three panels of cotton voile curtains from World Market. 40" x 84". So I think about 7 yards.
Not this orange. More rust colored. $6.50 for all three
And last but not least, this pretty shawl. I have no idea what it is made of. The embroidery is most certainly rayon, but I really can't tell what the actually shawl is and there is no tag. I'm guessing maybe a rayon/cotton blend?

The embroidery is really pretty

If you look closely, maybe you can guess.
Sum Total of Purchases. $22.00. I can literally make a Regency dress, embroider it and accessorize it with a pretty shawl with that.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

More Handy Handsewing Tools

I keep discovering items that simplify my sewing life so much. Since I've been fiddling about with epatterns lately, several of these have come in very handy.

The first ones are Pilot Frixion erasable pens. The draw like regular rollerball pens, but as soon as you iron them the ink disappears. You can can buy them at any stationary store in black, blue and red, but I ordered mine in a myriad of colors from Amazon.Frixion erasable pens on Amazon. Some people don't like them, because they erase with heat and they do leave a slight almost invisible line. If you put the garment in the freezer, the color comes back. Some crazy science going on here. I find the indispensable for marking lines for handsewing and corset channels. I'm not going to wear my corset in the freezer. Here is a review with pictures from Delightful Quilting.
Don't let the Japanese writing fool you. These are the same pens. They come in even more colors than this.

The next item is Bosal Create a Pattern. It seems to be the same stuff as what other bloggers are referring to as Swedish pattern paper. It is essentially an interfacing. It is very see thru, so you can trace your original patterns onto them. This is very helpful in the case of ePatterns, because they fold up very thin and you don't have to deal with cumbersome taped pieces of paper. The Create a Pattern stays put on the fabric much better than paper. I bought mine at my local fabric store Order from them online, they are awesome!!
You can sew through it and use it as your mock up instead of a whole separate muslin
The next thing is Hawaiian quilting needles. The package has teeny tiny little needles perfect for fine lawn and longer, but still fine needles for sewing through heavier fabrics. They have a gold eye which makes threading the needle easier for me. I hate wearing my glasses, so this is handy.
and the package is pretty

Friday, January 24, 2014

Epatterns...ooooo..hate to love you baby

The GREAT thing about ePatterns is that you can have them RIGHT NOW. They are convenient to purchase and they are usually cheaper. The HORRIBLE thing about ePatterns is putting them together. I have a really hard time dealing with all those sheets of paper and then the fussing around to tape them together. I came up with a way to deal with it that helps me. I break it down to smaller chunks.
First I print out all the pieces and put them in a notebook
I make sure the directions are all ready to read like a book
After printing out all the pieces, I lay them out on the floor in the proper order
I then cut out each individual piece and tape them together. Painters tape isn't ideal, removable scotch tape would be best. You don't have to be tidy here, just make sure all the pieces are together.
Once you have more manageable pieces, you can take your time and really match them up well.
File this under "Things that aren't helpful"

Monday, January 20, 2014

GBACG Raffle Score

On Saturday, Ken and I went to the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild open house. As well as being the yearly guild meeting, there was a really fun Fashion Show and a raffle. Here are some great picture photos from Georgia McKenzie Photo's from GBACG. I scored big time, thanks in no small part to Ken using his raffle win to scoring me this beauty...
11 yards of orange and blue plaid silk..What?!?
I don't know what I'm going to do with it, but it may end up looking something like this
There was another bolt, but that was scored by the lovely Melissa. This could have resulted in fisticuffs, but since she's obviously a pretty awesome person with great taste, we may become great friends instead.

Here are some of the other tasty treats I won.
Now I can make something to wear over my Dickens gown

I love the Romantic Era!
I can use this to make some kind of awesome period hairpiece
I think this was originally a sheet, and it's definitely a polyester blend, but I think some kind of groovy 60's thing needs to happen here

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day to deadline and.....stalled

Pieced together front
Sometimes, when I run into a snag it just completely stops me in my tracks. When I went to cut out the pieces of my linen shirt with the pattern, they were all too small, so I pieced them together. So tomorrow is the deadline for the Historical Sew Fortnightly 2014
Challenge #1: Make do and Mend.
Inside out, French Seamed
I just can't figure out how to make it work. I was getting frustrated, so I put it aside. My other plan was to fix the bodice of my Dickens dress. I was still sewing it at 4am the night before the fair and I realized I didn't have any hooks and eyes so I cut buttons and buttonholes off a silk blouse and attached it. It enabled me to close it and wear it, but it looked kind of messy.
Really messy
I also wanted to fix the pleating and the seams of the sleeves. The problem is; this event has passed. I'm kind of over this dress right now, so I'm having a hard time motivating  to mend it. Also, I still don't have any hooks and eyes.
Soooo, not sure if I am going to make this challenge. But...on a high note, I used my $25 gift certificate to Bookshop Santa Cruz to buy myself a few treats.
I have always love Tom Tierney paperdolls. I have a small collection

and one more
A book with patterns meant to fit tiny Asian women. What could possibly go wrong.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Meet Tessie

I am proud to introduce to you, "Torpedo T*ts Tessie" heretofore know as "Tessie" She is a Uniquely You dressform that my darling boyfriend bought me for Christmas. There is a fitted dress that fits over the form, which is kind of a memory foam, that you sew to your exact size and then fit over the form. When I actually do that, I'll let you know how it goes.
Holy Torpedoes Batman!

I'm participation in the Historical Sew Fortnightly 2014 again this year, and the first challenge is 

#1: Make Do & Menddue Wed 15 Jan. Let’s start of the year with a clean slate, and with a bit of a tidy up.  Use this challenge as an opportunity to get your historical wardrobe in order by fixing any little bits that have worn out and gone wrong.  Alternatively, you could focus on the historical precedent of making-do by re-making something into a historical garments, whether it be a bodice from a worn-out skirt, a chemise from old sheets, a bosom-friend from an old cardigan, or a new historical hat from an old modern one etc.  Finally, you could just those people who had to make-do by making something for a historical character who would have scrimped and saved and re-made and mended until the fabric entirely fell apart.

I have a pretty linen shirt that I bought at the thrift store. It is far too big, but I think I can make it into a nice victorian shirtwaist.
I took the whole blouse apart with a seam ripper, with the intention to then use the pattern pieces from the Folkwear Schoolmarm pattern shirtwaist, but of course the pattern pieces are way to big, so I'm going to have to get creative. Make it work! I put both the half finished walking skirt and the tucked in uncut shirt on the corseted Tessie, to do a little visual mockup of what it will look like. The picture isn't great, but you can get a bit of an idea. I have some other linen from some old pillow shams. If I tea dye the whole thing and those pieces, it may all look like it goes together.
The whole shirt will be reshaped.

More detail of the lace