Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Some pictures of the sewing room (finally?)

I took a long weekend and turned this:

Into this:

View from the doorway
To be honest, there are still a few boxes hiding out behind the cutting table, but for all intents and purposes, it is a functional room!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sewing room complete, and personal update

WHEW!  The sewing room is complete -- I neglected to take pictures, but I will grab some this afternoon.  I'm getting excited to start working on some sewing again.

In other news, within a few short months of losing my Mo, Precious is not long for this world.  Taking care of elderly dogs is heart-wrenching, but they deserve as much love and attention that puppies do!

I don't think Tiny will deal with losing his buddy very well - they have lived together since he came to me as a puppy, and they have been completely inseparable.  It's been a very rough few days, on top of a very rough few months.

I love you my Precious Tank Girl!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

More organization

Stick a fork in me!  I am SO ready for this to be done!

But I bet you didn't know I actually had a window in my sewing room, did ya?!  Still looks like a disaster area, but compared to yesterdays post, I think there has been some significant improvement!  (Thanks again, sis, for helping me out!)

Nearly all the fabric has been put away on shelves.  (whew!)  Although I keep uncovering more, somehow....

I think I'm going to be taking (at least) Friday off so I can put my house in some semblance of order; it seems like every time I organize one room, the rest of the house turns into a tip!  But the deadline is approaching, it has to be done!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Took longer than I expected......

.....as do most things, to be honest!  I thought that it would take 1 day to paint furniture and 1 day to unpack & organize the sewing room.  HAHAHA!

2.5 days later, I finally have some more furniture in my house:

But.......my sewing room looks like this:  (brace yourself!)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hello, 2014......

Things have changed so much in the last 4 months - so I figure, why not one more change?  Let's get back into the costuming swing of things?!

Despite mounting social anxiety, I forced myself to go to Southern Regional Collegium this past weekend, and attended some classes taught by the fabulous, kind, talented, beautiful, knowledgeable, (and a whole bunch more adjectives) Tullia da Ferrara.  Even though I showed up late (thanks a lot, Best Buy), and had to leave early (thanks a lot, anxiety), I had a wonderful time seeing some friends I have not seen in a Very Long Time.

It's a bit late for new years resolutions, but mine will officially be "make more stuff", and "do more things".  Which doesn't sound like that big of a deal, and very vague but really, I promise, it is.  (A big deal, that is.  But also vague.)

Right now, I'm planning on:
1) Generally attending more SCA events
2) Go to SLCC - Salt Lake Comic Con
3) Go to Costume College

With all the upheaval recently, I'm in a new house which means, I have to start all over with my craft room.  I have plans.  Hopefully cunning ones.  (I may even post pictures.  Brace yourself)  I'm hoping to get my sewing room squared away this weekend, in preparation of "The Return of Serafina's Stash Unlock'd: Part 3"

Quite a bit of the SCA garb is spoken for, but there is still a whole lotta Victorian, Romantic & 18th c stuff, as well as so many hats and veils, I don't even know what to do with myself!  

The fabric stash barely looks like it's been touched after the last two sales, and I still have way too much -- so if you are interested, and are not able to come in person, drop me a note & I'll post pictures & have an online sale.  :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Quilting Sidetrack

We had a family dinner for my moms birthday yesterday - and being the fidgety person that I am, I lugged along my quilting project to work on while we sat around and chatted.  Within minutes of breaking it out, my mom disappeared and came back with a whole stack of quilt blocks that my grandma had made.  When she passed away, the unfinished project has moved from place to place, but no forward momentum made on this cute little project!

We could tell that she was planning to make a HUGE quilt, by the sheer number of little squares cut out (all of fabric from projects she had worked on over the years).  There are 12 mostly-finished 12 pane squares.  I'm thinking of finishing them up as-is, and instead of joining them (as they were originally meant to be), I'm probably going to add some sort of decorative sashing and finish the quilt up that way.  (Any quilters out there have an opinion??)

I suppose I'll have to give it back to my mom when it is complete, but I can already tell, I'll be loathe to part with it!  The consolation to all of this is, I am keeping the box full of pre-cut squares!  I had a fun time guessing the origin & dates of some of the fabrics....they're really quite varied!

I started grabbing out some coordinating colors -- I can tell already I'm going to have fun with them!  It is fun having a sort of crafty connection with my grandma!

Friday, September 6, 2013

After years and years of threatening, I'm finally quilting!

Some of the projects that I've had in the que for the last.....foreeeeevers have been put on semi-permanent hold for a whole variety of reasons, but I'e been itching to do *something* crafty/sew-y.  I've gone through crocheting blankets, making plarn bags, making rag rugs etc etc, until I realized, "Oh yeah, I've been saying for years now that I want to do a quilt again.  So, after nearly a week of bed rest and going absolutely stir crazy with the itchy crafting fingers, in the wee hours of the night, I dragged my sister to the only place that sold fabric at that ungodly hour.  (WalMart.  I know.  I know!  But when you have to start a project right now, what are you gonna do?!) and got some quilting cotton - as that is one of the things that I am sorely lacking in my fabric stash.  I've been semi-obsessed over quilting the last few of weeks!

Anyway, I absolutely do not claim to be a quilting, or English Paper Piecing expert, but this is what I'm up to......

Cute little travel quilting kit, masquerading as a makeup bag!
First, the supplies!  Because, let's face it, one of the very best things about all things crafty and sew-y are all the tools and accouterments!  I have a 'home kit' and a 'away kit' - and first up, the 'away kit'!

I scoured the crafting and make-up sections of multiple stores before I settled on this one - it's really quite perfect.  A little smaller than a lunch bag, and pockets and separators to keep everything somewhat tidy.

Et voilĂ ! A travel sewing kit small enough to take pretty
much anywhere, but packed full of hours and hours worth of sewing supplies!

Miraculously, everything that I need 'on the road' fits in this nice little 8x5x5 case!

The top zipper compartment stores all the tools, save the basting thread and the glue.  Technically, I can fit them in there, but they work nicely to prop up the 'to be glued' squares on the right!  The main body of the bag is split up between a rotating stack of squares that are glued (which eventually evolves into squares that are glued and trimmed), and naked squares.  At any one time, I have any combination of the different steps of the hexie process!  (I like to 'assembly line' construction, and switch to some other process when the one I'm currently working on gets a little stale -- it helps somewhat to avert the 'burnout'.)

The left pocket holds the cut hexagons, the right pocket holds the finished octagons (which I just emptied out last night!), and the front pocket holds mini clothes pins) (which I use instead of straight pins)  Some people use paperclips, which I don't find hold quite tightly enough, and lead to slippage, some people use specialty quilting clips, which I find a mite too expensive for my taste -- at least at the level I'm at right now!

The Tools:
Basting thread, glue, seam ripper, mini clothes pins, measuring tape, mini thread snips, Thread Heaven, magnetic needle case, quilting tape, extra quilting sharps (not pictured: leather thimble & general-duty scissors with retractable lanyard)
A few notes on the supplies - I researched the heck out of EPP (English Paper Piecing) before I started, and have refined what I can only called 'my technique' during the whole learning process.  (And I'm sure there will be a lot more to come!)

Pinning vs. Gluing - I was pretty sure from the outset that I didn't want to bother with pinning.  Because I'm somewhat of a klutz, I could see myself getting poked all the time, losing pins like mad, and I'm pretty sure that the warp that pinning the cardstock makes would drive me absolutely crazy.  I was originally looking for fabric glue sticks mentioned by a few quilters, but couldn't find any in my local craft/fabric stores (spend $10 and wait for shipping?!  No way!)- I decided to spend the 1$ to test out some regular old glue sticks, and found that the crummier/cheaper, the better.  Seriously, find the cheapest school glue stick you can!  I don't know if it will matter in the long-run, but I opted for the one that was branded 'washable'.  The glue un-sticks pretty easily, especially if it is a few days old.  If there's a super stubborn bit, I just poke a needle through fabric and wiggle it back and forth between the cardstock and fabric and it'll pop right out.

Trimming/Squares - A lot of the tutorials I've read on EPP, show cutting out the squares one by one.  (Again, my tendency to 'assembly line' things just does not want to do this!!) I can see that if I were trying to capture a specific portion of the print for a particular pattern, that would be a good way to go, but since I'm kind of aiming for the 'haphazard' look, I figured I'd just cut strips and make a whole bunch 'o squares all at once.  So far, so good.  I have tried to make them as close to the size that I needed, without going too big or too small, though I could probably have managed to get a lot more precise had I spent the time, but honestly, it hasn't seemed to matter.  RE: Trimming.  Pretty much every tutorial I read said to trim to an approximately hexie-shaped piece of fabric.  Later on, I found that some people just use the whole square.  I haven't tried that yet, but it does seem like it would go faster, but may make each hexie a little bulkier.  I may test out not trimming on a small project and see how it goes.

Template Cutting/Precision - Kind of the opposite of hacking out a few hundred squares of fabric, I spent an inordinate amount of time making sure each one of my hand-cut hexies were as close to perfect as I could get.  I haven't really run across an issue with imperfect/hack job hexies, but with my sewing experience, I know that having just a tiny error, multiplied by hundreds - dare I say thousands?! - of seams could prove disastrous in a final result.  So.  Take extra care if you're cutting out your own templates.  There are plenty of places that sell die-cut templates, but again, because I'm honestly trying not to spend too much money, a $5 ream of cardstock seemed like the way to go.

Basting - There are a multitude of ways to handle basting; from no basting, to glue basting, to going all the way through the template, to only grabbing the fabric around the template.  Much like seat belts, I believe in basting, so I don't think I could have ever gone without, but basting with glue seemed like a messy disaster in the making. I started out running my basting stitches all the way through the template.  While this seemed to make it easier to get the precision on the corners, I started to doubt I liked that method.  I messed around with basting just the fabric, and while it is a bit more fiddly, it does seem to be more practical in the end.  (Each piece is more structurally sound with the basting in place, and wouldn't have to go back through and remove all those hundreds (and hundreds!!) of basting stitches.  

Now that I've finally posted again, and I have a project in the works, I will hopefully keep updating, at least for a little while! ;)  I'm sorry to the folks who read (if there is even anyone left!) that is here for the costuming, but that's on hold for a while!  Will hopefully get back to it sometime soon-ish.

Assembly line-ing hexies

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Artisans Promenade Fascinator Class

Despite being crazy busy with work yesterday, I was able to make good on my promise to host a fascinator making hour at the Artisans Promenade.  The ladies that attended were super fun and creative, and I had a great time!

I ended up adding some feather pads and a buckled bow to a customers hat during the event, and of course I forgot to get pictures, but it ended up super cute, IMHO.

Small costuming update

My sister gave me this awesome brass ball pocketwatch which will become part of the outfit.  The lid is empty, so I may come up with something awesome to put in there.  :D

My ties came in the mail the other day, and I like them a lot more than I thought I would!  I'm excited to figure out how I'm going to end up using them.  Decisions, decisions!

I also found leather wings at the Steampunk Artisans Promenade yesterday - It's down to those, or a pair of white doll wings my sister spotted at JoAnns the other day.  I'll paint both of them, and once the hat arrives, I'll figure out which one looks better.

Just now I went through my stash to find some fabric for the bustle, and wouldn't you know....I can't find fabric that I'm totally in love with.  I found a few options that will work in a pinch, but since we sold some fairies over the weekend, I might take that money and see if I can find the fabric on sale.

To Be Continued........

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Steampunk(ish*) Genderswapped Cosplay

“What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a
major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.” 

― Terry PratchettGoing Postal
Despite the slightly disturbing title, I am pretty excited about this project!  There are a few events coming up this year that would call for a victorian/steampunk outfit, so this may fit the bill.  (Also - my intense desire for yet another bustle.....!)

To bring it all up to speed, I'm planning on doing a femme version of Moist von Lipwig - specifically, the 2010 British TV version (It's fantastic - watch it ASAP!) post-dastardly con man Spangler; pre-suit of gold Post Master.  To that end, I've been shopping!

The exact design of the jacket/vest/skirt is still on the 'to be determined' side, but to give me a head start, I ended up purchasing a selection of Truly Victorian patterns to hack and slash and smoosh together to (hopefully) come up with something that'll work: (.....and has nothing to do with the fact that these have been on my wish list forevs...!)

TV163 1887 Imperial Tournure
TV403 1872 Vested Bodice
TV290 1889 Draped Skirt
TV428 1880 Jacket Bodice
TV560 1880s Late Bustle Coat
TV464 1883 Riding Habit Bodice

As far as the hat goes, I've been torn between taking a pre-made hat and gold-ing it up, or making one from scratch.  I've been perusing victorian-era hats on teh interwebs, and haven't found an appropriately feminine version that I like yet, so I may just go with it!  I'm particularly concerned with the hat, as it is most likely going to be the one defining characteristic between "eccentric female explorer/victoran catlady" and actual cosplay.
Chauffeur Hat Black Police Hat Taxi  Conductor Cap Gatsy Adult Mens Costume

I ended up purchasing a plain black cap from Costumes International - if it doesn't work out, I'm only out about $20.  I'm probably going to be making the medal out of Sculpey or something similar.  I'm still trying to find a close-up of the front of the cap from the movie, or 'official' badge, so I can get a better idea of what the badge actually  looks like, but so far, no dice.

'Going Postal' movie poster art
The City Watch Badge
'Official' City Watch badge
Some of the many badges worn by GPO and Royal Mail employees over the years
Badges of the GPO
Post Office Regulation Keyfob
'Official' Post Office Regulation Key fob

If I do end up making something up, I'll be using this collection of real Royal Mail badges, the 'official' badge of the Watch, the 'Going Postal' poster art, and the 'Regulation Post Office' key fob (which I may need to complete my outfit anyway...) as a starting place...

For the wings, an extremely important part of the whole ensemble, I'm going to try to find at a craft store for a (not necessarily a real) wing set, but something that looks like wings. If not, there are plenty of more options of the real/taxidermy variety (albeit most likely more expensive!) on etsy - so all is not lost, I think.

I've been on a mad hunt for the perfect fabric or tie for the neckerchief for quite a while, but have come up empty.  The closest I've been able to find (at an affordable price, that is!) is this one:

...the underdog can always find somewhere
soft to bite.
― Terry PratchettGoing Postal
An ebay find - from 'Goodmaker'

I wish the dots were bigger and /or paisley, instead of dotted, but alas and alack, it is not to be.  I'm getting 2 ties to franken-tie into the final neckerchief. Not too bad for under $20!

Strangely enough (or not, since I cannot throw out old clothes to save my life), I already have a bright-ish yellow shirt that may fit the bill, as long as it doesn't clash terribly with the yellow of the tie.  (I'll find out once the ties arrive)  If it doesn't work, I am unsure of whether I'd go looking for a pre-made shirt, or if I'd actually go through the trouble to make one.  (I'm thinking.....not)

Shirt: Some sort of button-up yellow shirt from the depth of my closet
Waistcoat: Red brocade with a slight diamond pattern and chenille warp
Jacket collar:  Purple velvet from the depth of my stash
Jacket body:  Brown wool with slight pattern & flecks of red and purple
Skirt/Pants:  Lightly striped brown linen

(I'm not quite sure on this one! If I find a different fabric I like better,
I have another project in mind that will be perfect for it, so I don't feel bad having it in the stash!)
Now, to actually start working on things!  I have the patterns and the fabric, now I just need to figure out some solid designs and find the time to start working on it!**

And, finally, for your viewing pleasure.......(I dare you to watch this and not smile, at least a little bit!)

*The exact nature of the 'Steampunk' element is yet TBD.  It will be something clever and fabulous.  I hope.
**This post brought to you by being stuck on the couch working all Saturday long.  Win?  (At least I'm almost done - I may have Sunday free and clear!  Too bad there are a million other things I ought to be doing before digging in to a personal costuming project.......

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dickens 2012 Recap

I realized that I never posted here about Dickens, other than the "Oh crap!  Got LOTS TO DO!!!" posts.  Long story short, it was really fun spending that much time with my sis, Holly ended up hanging out with us for most of it (thank goodness!  It was so nice to have a third person!!!), and we won "Best Womens Costume".....we didn't even know there was a contest!  Lol!

Holly ended up wearing my red velvet gown and my purple 'Cranford' gown (Although I only have pictures of the red velvet):

Both Melia and I wore my 'old' green plaid gown (at different times, obvs!), and Melia ended up wearing her 'Red Queen' gown (minus crown) quite a bit:

I mostly wore the red plaid gown that I made specifically for Dickens, although I still regret making the sleeves smaller than they ought to have been!  The last-minute apron (seriously Last Minute!) worked well enough, but one day, I want to go back and make a better version.

All in all, we had super good fun!  Melia and I were quite silly the first few days (we entertained our neighbors with silly sing-alongs and crazy dancing....don't ask......), but our collective energy waned as the days passed.  :)

Let this be a lesson to myself - take more pictures, and post in a timely manner!

p.s.  The power went out multiple times on the last night, and that was quite a bummer.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pinterest and the New Project

I have seriously found my favorite use for Pinterest!  (my least favorite* being the addictive, hoarders-esque gathering of all the 'beautiful people' blogs and all their darn talent that I'll never be able to match!)

In the past, I've made excel spreadsheets, made folders of links, printed out lists, made electronic and physical inspiration boards, kept mental checklists, and any and all of the combinations of the above to make an 'inspiration board' for current and future projects, but Pinterest just blows everything out of the water.  (I wish reorganizing the location of things were easier, but alas, some bad with the good!)

Visual references, direct links to the products I'm looking at buying - pretty much all 'round awesome.  (It also doesn't hurt that I can bring up Pinterest on my phone while out fabric shopping to do some easy reference work!)

Anyway, all this to say, I'm thinking about starting a new (non-SCA, not-period-at-all) cosplay/steampunk-ish outfit.  I'm kind of excited!  But first, before I continue - have you seen Going Postal?  You haven't?!  I'll wait.  (It can be found on Netflix.  If you don't have Netflix, it's worth a one month subscription just to see that one movie!)

Ok, back?  It was AWESOME, right?

As much as I love 'Ms. Cripslock' and her fabulous hat and awesomely ridiculous puffy-sleeved patent-something purple dress, I am obsessed with doing a femme Moist von Lipwig.  Specifically the post-dastardly con man Spangler; pre-suit of gold Post Master.

I'm pretty sure I've seen other blogs have a pretty little link (with pics) to specific boards, but I'm having a hard time figuring it out at the moment.......Anyway, here's the board I'm using for Lipwig.  With any luck, I'll actually get some traction on this project, and have updates soon!

*Least favorite in the manner that too much of any one good thing is!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Val's Gown - Bethany and Robert Investiture

Remember this?  It did, eventually become a gown!  Many, many thanks to everyone who pitched in (Melia, Gypsy, Astrid/Theresa, and even Val herself!) to get everything done!

I did not stay for the entire event, but the Investiture went smashingly well - I do hear tell the remainder of the event was equally as awesome!  I keep saying it, and one day it will actually happen, but I really do intend to be around more....

Look!  It really *did* get finished!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Great tutorial!

So, this tutorial is for metal tipped shoelaces, but how awesome would it be for aiglets?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dickens - Down to the Wire

I did end up piping the waistband....and I really like the way it looks!
If I'm ever in the market to do this type of dress again, 
I'll certainly be doing piping everything!
Because the universe has conspired against me in the last two weeks, I'm not going to be able to finish nearly as much as I had originally planned, but we both should have new dresses!  Last night I finished up the buttons on the bodice (still need to do the wrists, though), and started attaching the skirt.  I dug out my petticoats, and decided that re-doing the waists and properly starching everything is a project for another day.  

I cut the sleeves much narrower than I would have liked,
because I was worried that I would not have enough fabric for the skirts.
What I ought to have done was to leave the sleeves for very last....as I 
had plenty of leftovers, I could have made the sleeves any way I wanted. 
Oh well.  Lesson learned!

My good friend Strid is letting me borrow her boufty wedding petticoat instead.  Not the best solution, but certainly the easiest.  I'll re-do the waistbands after Dickens so they'll be ready for the next time I need emergency petticoats!

I ended up piping the curved back seams, the waistband, collar, 
and the sleeves.  I think it gives it a  nice finished look.
(And also somewhat hides some of the less-than-perfect 
pattern matching...)
I'll also probably re-do the buttons at some point, they're too big and white - and too closely spaced for my taste.  I think they'll look a lot better as something darker that will blend in, rather than 'pop'.  But that's a project for another day....my goal is to be able to put the dang thing on!

I really want to get a lace collar and cuff done, but if it is not to be, I'll be OK.  I'm not particularly worried about someone snarking my garb, I would like to be as accurate as time allows, if nothing else, for my own satisfaction!

....And here is the whole bodice - before buttons and skirt attachments.

Melia and I also raided my hat stash last night, and came up with a cute lace cap & bonnet combo.  As much  as I wish I had a bonnet as well, I have a pretty spiffy antique lace cap that I am going to wear instead.  Not the right time period, but considering the suggestions for headwear in the vendor packet, I don't think there is any room for complaints!

We also found my old black crochet sontag for Melia to use - I have the feeling that it is going to be pretty bitterly cold in there!