Saturday, May 9, 2009

Phew! It's been a very long few days! (But very fun and productive days!!!)

Holly and her sister came down to set up booth for the Ren Faire, and are staying at our house at night. I spent all day with them sitting in the booth, and had a smashing time catching up on the news in our lives and peoplewatching. We were in a prime spot, being right on a corner, near a stage. (Although sales would have been better had we been in the main square rather than all the way at the very end, I think.)

The faire closed at 6:30, so we were able to come home and have her try on her dress........It fits!!! I would have cried a very bitter tear if the skirt had not fit. (I've acutally had a couple of nightmares about that....)

But anyway, here it is!

(obviously, she will need to wear a camacia underneath the dress...and sleeves!)

(Yay invisible opening! And it looks like the skirt front is going to stay fairly horizontal as well -- I've been worried about this as well! Oh, and I'm leaving the ribbons extra long until everything is made so we can try it all on and fray-check the heck out of it before I cut it.)

In more different other news, I finished the tucked petticoat! w00t! No more tucks for me, I'm tuckered out! Teehee! Fluffy goodness! (Yeah, it needs to be ironed.!)

While sitting in the booth today, I made a neckline for my chemise. I made an oval, sewed the inside edge, clipped and flipped it over. Then I added crochet scallops to the edge, hoping it looks like crochet lace. I think it's a fairly good approximation, if a bit clumsy....(I'm pretty proud for my first attempt, tho!)

I cut the facing extra wide, so I can change my mind down the road how wide I want it. I think the finished neckband is going to be about 1/3 of this width, mebbe less. Don't quite know yet.

Next up, I need to hem Holly's dress, tack the ties and add the guards, and make the sleeves. (To be finished by Uprising, or else!

On my outfit, next up is the body of the chemise and attach it to the neckband. After that, I'll probably be tackling the corded petticoat. (OMG yay!)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Continuing Adventures of Cranford

I finally remembered to snap a picture of the fabric I'll be using for the dress....

I'm not positive it's period-correct, but at least to me, it looks like it *could* be.
re you sick of underwear yet?

I sure as heck am!'s looking pretty neat! (At least I think so......Viewer experience may vary.)

Four rows of tucks down......#? to go, and I think the floofy-factor is just about right. I cut the skirts plenty long enough to to as many tucks as my little heart desires. I'm just going to keep making 'em until I can't stand it any more! ( I actually would have gotten more done than I did tonight, except I had to work for almost two hours when I got home....Yay overtime?)

I'm still not positive I need a corded petticoat, but I want one so bad, I may make one anyway!

Close-up of the tucks....

(The tucks are 1/2" wide with about a 3/4" inch gap between each tuck seam. The hem is...ummm....i think 2 1/2"?) The odd-spaced gap between the hem and the tucks is completely accidental. I actually wanted it to be spaced the same as between the tucks, but somewhere along the line, I totally messed it up. Anyway, I like the spacing the way it ended up just fine, so I guess it's OK.

I am getting really impatient! I can't wait until I can put the whole underwear ensemble on! ...Oh, which reminds me, I need to go get some more fabric for the chemise and drawers!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Adventures in Cranford....

The flounced petticoat is DONE! (Well, as done as it's going to get for a while.) I want to get all my underthings made before I start slapping on waistbands. I think I'll need to do some creative layering to get it all to sit correctly. So, other than the waistband, it's done! And quite floofy! (Much, much more so that I had originally thought it would be. I was going to make a corded petticoat and a tucked petticoat to go with it, but it's so hugenormous on it's own, I may forego the corded petticoat. (But I still wanna make it! .......I have *plans*)

(My ever-patient hubby is holding it up for me while I took the picture...aaaw!)

I thought I had bought a ridiculously huge amount of while cotton fabric (I don't remember was the entire bolt, brand new, too.) to do the underthings with. Uh. No. Not even close! I cut out the pieces for the tucked petticoat and the corded petticoat after finishing the flounced petticoat, and all I have left is this sad little wad of fabric!

And I still have the chemise and drawers to go! *sigh*. There is something to be said for the economy of fabric in the SCA time period! I've never EVER used so much fabric for one project, and I'm just getting started on the underwear!!

Adventures in Cranford...

One more layer of ruffles have been added, despite all the mishaps along the way. Yesterday was a very, very bad day for sewing mojo. I had none. I won't even list out how many *bad things* (and bad words) happened in the Sewing Room of Doom.

But...'s pretty! and fluffy! I can't wait until it's all done so I can starch the living daylights out of it and be super-duper fluffy! Yay!

I thought this was going to be the last layer, but I think I'm going to add *at least* one more.

I'm still waiting for my dress pattern to arrive, so I feel fairly comfortable taking my sweet time on the underclothes.

After that....I'm going to attack a tucked petticoat. Depending on how fluffy the overall look is with the tucked petticoat, I may or may not buckle down and make a roped petticoat. *ugh* Oh yeah. I can't forget a chemise. Argh! I've tried making one from the Simplicity pattern a few years ago (to use as a nightgown), and it ended horribly. (I probably still have the sad carcass around somewhere, but I'm NOT going to pull it out and salvage it!)

Most things go horribly wrong when I try to use a pattern. I wouldn't for the Cranford dress, but I know NOTHING about the period or construction method for these types of dresses, so I'm hoping the pattern comes with pretty explicit instructions. I'll probably have to mess around with the bodice pattern quite a bit to fit my weirdly-shaped body, but having a piece that is the right 'shape' is a great starting point.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Adventures in Cranford....

I've been kind of stuck on the Blue Holly Dress since my last post about it, since I need her body for pattern drafting, and there are a couple of bits I'm not very sure about. I'll keep pondering, and work it out later, I hope. (The two main sticking points are 1-front closures size/type/color/attachments and 2-how the heck do I deal with the gold undersleeves?)

I posted to [info]costuming the other day, and got some really great pointers for starting out on my Cranford dress. Also known as the Purple Monster. (I need to post pictures of the fabric I got for this project....haha!)

Since I'm feeling uber-sewey, and can't work much on Holly's dress, I decided it was high time I start working on my dress for CC'09. (YAY!) I already have the corset squared away, so next step are petticoats. "This will be easy!" I thought. No. Not at all. I pre-washed all my fabric, and started hacking away. At this point I felt a sense of dread......"Oh noes! I'm doing this wrong, I just know it!" Since I had already begged the almighty LJ for help with the dress, I felt dumb going back again and saying "Um...yeah. I need underwears! Help?"

So I turn to my trusty bookcase. "I have some awesome books I know will help!"

"PoF2", not really. "Corsets and Crinolines", you'd think, with a title that includes 'Crinolines'....but no. "Let's see, what else to I have?" "History of Underclothes". Not a chance! Sheesh.

*Tearing hair*

"Ok, calm down. The internet has everything." *trot to minitop*

You would think that there would be a wealth of information about crinolines/flounced petticoats. Well, there is.....but not what I want. "Crinolines were used in the 1800's"......"Wear at least two petticoats, and preferably at least one flounced petticoat"......."Here's my awesome flounced petticoat I made, isn't it awesome?!"

"Well, yeah, it is awesome, but I need to know how to make one! After many, many hours of fruitless searching, I hiked back to the Lair (aka Sewing Room-O-Doom) and turned to my fabric pieces that I had so rashly hacked apart with little sleep, late the night before. I sighed. Again.

The base skirt portion itself is no problem. (If the base to a flounced petticoat is supposed to be 85" or so.) I start pulling out all the strips that I had cut for the flounces. "Oh NOES!!!!" I had cut them far too wide, and the exact same length as my base petticoat. "Not much flouncing there" I mumbled and sewed the pieces back together. *grumblegrumble*

"Ok, now what to do about the width?" Cut them in half? No, that is too small. Chop them at 2/3 and have yards and yards and yards of 4" wide strips of white cotton? That is wasteful!

It was then I came upon a cunning plan. (To which I have absolutely NO basis in historical fact.) "I'm gonna use the selvedge edge as the edge of an inside ruffle, and make each of my ruffles TWO layers!"

I seemed to work just fine! It's a smidgeon heavy for what I'm used to (and I'm not done yet!), but I have no idea what it's supposed to feel like!

So onto the pictures!

The bottom most two ruffles are completed! I am going to add 1-2 more above that. (And I finally used some of the 105 yards of lace I got on eBay for next to nothing!)

And here is one of the double-ruffles flipped up. I gathered about 1/2" down from the fold, and sewed it on at the same line.

The bottom most layer is flipped down, and the upper (lace) layer is flipped up.

I have no idea if it will work or not, but I sure hope so!

I've been on the prowl for accossories and bits for the Cranford Dress. So far, eBay has been far too willing to empty my pockets. I've won on some awesome stuff!

Straw hat!!! The crown is rounded, rather than the sharp edge of the stovepipe bonnets of the time. I'm going to try to figure out if I can steam a crisper edge to the crown. If not, I'll just wear it as-is and be happy that I have a hat. The trimming is actually off-white, which will go well enough with the dress. I am still hoping to track down some purple silk velvet ribbon to use as trimming on the bonnet and for a belt, though. (see below!!!) In the movie, Mattie wears her bonnet quite plain. I think I'd rather keep mine fairly plain, so I can use it with other future outfits. I really do want to try covering a bonnet at some point, and go all out with the trimmings, but I don't think this is the right project for it.

Also got about 4 yards of this pretty vintage lace. I'm sure I can get the age spots out with some OxyClean. I'll be using this lace for either a brand new cap, or possibly add it to one of the ones I'll hopefully win in the next few days. Remind me not to try the Cranford lace cleaning solution.....we don't need any cats in boots with digestional troubles!!

........If you don't know the reference to lace/cats/boots/digestional this, it is hilarious!

I also won this pretty antique (period-correct!) collar. If it's in usable condition, I'll use it with the dress. If it's not, I'll figure out some pretty way to display it, and use it as inspiration for a new made collar. (It's so pretty!)

I'm bidding on two antique caps (in seperate auctions). I'm really hoping I get at least *one*. Depending on their condition, I may just wear them. If they need special attention, I'll display them and use them as inspiration. (I've been wanting forever to collect antique clothing, and it seems I'm getting a pretty good start!)

This ribbon might be too light colored to be able to to used for a belt...but it's so pretty! (The listing says it has a stiffened backing, probably to be used specifically for a belt) I stopped myself from buying some darker purple that would have matched wonderfully, and it was gone within 24 hours. I'm still wiffling on whether I should get some or not! (If I do, should I get just enough for a belt, or should I get enough for some bonnet trimming as well??)

And I'm also bidding on one other thing.....not necessarily for the Cranford Dress, but just because I think it's pretty and made of 18th century fischu awesomeness....

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Blue Dress Update....(Looking more like a dress!!)

My fingertips are hamburger! I can't for the life of me get used to using a thimble. I usually end up hurting myself more than if I had not used it. I think I need to look into getting a leather thimble or something.

Aaaanyway......Here's the dress! (The white part is a piece of paper for contrast)

And a closer view....I'm pretty proud of how square everything turned out!

Do you see an opening? It's invisible! I know I keep crowing about it, but I really am proud of that little placket!

Deconstructing the placket....the left hand side is hooked inside of the bodice. The hook on the edge will be tucked underneath the pleat to the right.

There's the pleat pulled out of the way to show the hook buried inside. (Man, it was hard getting that thing back in there!)

And the whole ensemble from the inside.

So.....I might end up sewing on the ribbons. I'm still trying to decide! If I *do*sew them on, do I hand sew or machine sew? Oh the dilemmas!