Thursday, February 26, 2015

When not even tea will restore motivation

With the new monthly format of the Historical Sew, I've been using it as an opportunity to make bigger things. Better things. More things. And this month's challenge lined up perfectly with other things I needed to get done. Both a Renaissance doublet and my 1915 outfit were planned to be in blue, so I wanted to finish all of them this month. I knocked the doublet out of the park (and matching breeches), and made my purple Renaissance dress to boot since it'll be needed first week of March. Then my petticoat/corset cover combo was made so I could then make my skirt, which is awesome. Now my jacket, which I've been hitting consistently, just needs to be finished in the next couple of days and I'll have a whole mess of blue outfits to show off!

Except . . .

Except, I'm tired of working on that jacket, which is ridiculous. The collar has been pad stitched, the facings have been applied, and seams have been sewn AND bias bound, and the sleeves have been set. What's left? Slip stitching the cuff facings, hand stitching the hem (not the whole hem mind, just the parts under the pockets), making the belt, and buttons and buttonholes. There's only a couple hours of work on this thing and then my ENTIRE 1915 outfit is completed (minus hat). But Idontwanna. And that's stupid.

Hopefully tomorrow I can muster a bit of enthusiasm and cross this ONE FINAL THING off the list.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Money Spent vs. Sleeve Drafting

My petticoat-corset cover combination is finished. I used my skirt pattern, minus the detail bits, to make the petticoat. Then I used this pattern for a corset cover, and then combined the two.
I added an 8 inch deep ruffle with lace on the hem to the bottom of the petticoat.
Close up of lacy ruffle.
I left off the bust holder part of the corset cover, and instead darted it to fit.
Close up of darts in the fitting stage.
Full length image. Yes I am standing on the edge of the bath tub and grabbing the curtain rod for balance.
Side view.

I stitched down the darts, added lace along the neck and armhole edges, and added a lace yoke around the neck.
Then plackets, buttons, and buttonholes. The result:

I almost have the skirt finished as well, just need to add closures, so I decided last night to start drafting the jacket. Both the skirt and the jacket were to come from here, a tailoring guide from 1912. The skirt was a bit difficult; it didn't state that when it said waist or hip measurement it meant half waist and half hip, so I got about a quarter of the way in when I realized it was too big. Plus, the steps weren't in order, so sometimes it'd tell you to connect dots you haven't drawn yet. Frustrating, but not insurmountable. The jacket, however . . .

The Norfolk Jacket is an exercise in hair pulling. Some of the lines have no measurements, some of the measurements don't correspond to any part of the body as I understand it, and a solid third of the English instructions were cut off so I'm doing my best to guess the French. I was about to sit down and untangle more of the pattern when I remembered, Doesn't Wearing History have a Norfolk-style teens jacket? Yes, yes she does. I was debating the pros and cons of just buying a pattern when it occurred to me that the 1912 Thornton pattern doesn't have sleeves with it. I would need to find and draft sleeves to fit. $10 pattern versus drafting a sleeve pattern for a jacket that'll probably need more mock-ups than it's worth?

Take my money. NOW.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Squire for hire

My friend is going to be doing a jousting demonstration in Los Angeles next month, and I am going to be her squire. Since she decided on a German nationality for her persona, I decided to make a middle class German outfit for myself.

I made my costume using Katafalk's Trossfrau tutorial and pattern, including non-period use of steel bones in the front for lacing. Since I didn't have any fabric that would be appropriate for a mock-up, I altered the bodice to my measurements and then cut it with 3/4 inch seam allowances. I planned to use the extra for any changes that might be needed, but luckily the bodice fit in one go.

The fabric is a purple wool I got for $5 or $6 a yard a couple of years ago. The guards are black wool and the lining is linen. I cheated and machine sewed the thing, except for stitching down seam allowances, attaching the guards, making the lacing strips, and attaching the skirt.

The shift is one I made three years ago from a medium weight linen.

Please ignore the face I'm making, I'm looking into the sun and my cat cannot be trusted.

The skirt is two widths of fabric carriage pleated to the bodice so it gives me a nice hip flair. I had wanted to do three widths, but I ran out of fabric.

The skirt has a single guard near the bottom, and I plan to add a second, narrower guard above it. My only problem with the dress is that since the front of the bodice has a slight point to it, the skirt is slightly too long in the front since I didn't take that into account. Also I made my lacing strips and bones a bit too long, so I could only fold up the bottom seam allowance 1/4 of an inch instead of a 1/2. That really doesn't make much of a difference, but it was annoying.

All in all I love it. It gives me a good shape, is super comfortable, and I don't feel restricted in any way. Photos of my knight will be posted later, as her outfit qualifies for the Historical Sew Monthly challenge.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Thou Shall Not Tempt The Sewing Gods

I haven't really been posting much lately, but this is not due to a lack of sewing; in fact, just the opposite. I've been sewing so much I haven't had much opportunity to take photos of the finished projects. Remember how I posted my plans for 2015, and since I didn't have a lot planned I was going to relax into it and add more as the desire struck me? That is to be considered 'tempting the sewing gods' and I will never do it again.

So a few weeks ago my friend Samifer (still keeping with the names from last year's costumes), told me that a school in L.A. is holding a Renaissance event and that she is the only jouster in a few counties that is willing and able to do a horse demonstration. They already have the insurance and licensing, but for the event she is going to need a Renaissance outfit. And also she wants me to be her squire and I'm going to need an outfit too. The event is the first week of March.

Since she is getting certified with the SCA and plans on having a persona and doing events, I didn't want to make a throw together outfit that she'll wear once and then never again. I wanted the pieces to be simple items that can to added to and become pieces of her Renaissance wardrobe. Which means we have to decide on a nationality. After a long look into different areas, their costumes and ease of wear, and other such things, she decided on German.

I made her a simple shift, with a little bit of decoration at the neckline, a sleeveless doublet (which will have tie on sleeves later), and I'm currently working on wool breeches. For myself I made a middle class dress, and plan on wearing a shift I made a couple of years ago.

Plus I'm still working on my 1915 outfit. I drafted the skirt pattern and made a mock-up out of stiff muslin. The actual skirt is going to have a nifty overlap-and-button bit, but I left it off of the mock-up and instead added a ruffle and some lace for a petticoat. It isn't finished yet, since I'm going to need a corset cover and am planning on making it all in one with the petticoat. Photos will hopefully be coming soon, but for now I have to get back to my sewing machine.

Thursday, February 5, 2015



This post is being written on my brand new laptop, a Toshiba Chromebook 2.

That is all