Saturday, April 2, 2011

Stash Taffeta for “Double-No-L” Project

I’m having a terrible time concentrating on the project at hand (eyelets?!  who need's em?!), and am horribly distracted by the 18th c CoCo project.

I am hoping I will be able to make my entire gown out of my stash fabric.  The only thing I think I may need is trim – either dye for the current trim I have, or new trim.  Other than that, I think I’ve got it covered, as long as one of my taffetas work.fabric options

A.  Dark teal taffeta (not as dark in the picture, however)  I have the most of this fabric, and would have absolutely no problem with making the entire gown, petticoat & trim.

B.  Dark plum taffeta (the most color-correct of the five pictured)  I think this is the one I have the second-to-most of.

C.  Red/Black shot taffeta.  (not at all what it looks like in the picture – this is very, very dark, and has definite black undertone that is not picked up in the picture at all)  I’m pretty sure I have enough of this to make a full gown, and if not, I can always fake the back of the petticoat.

D.  Pumpkin taffeta (pretty much color correct, though a bit darker)  I have quite a bit of this, too.

E.  Rose/Teal shot taffeta (shot taffeta never shows up in pictures the way it looks in real life.  This fabric has the nickname “Icy Rose” in my sewing room, and is completely nummy, but may not be the right fabric for this project.  It is darker in real life than shows in the picture)  I’m pretty sure I have enough of this fabric.

F.  Black  (not pictured.  Yeah, it’s just like what it sounds like….black taffeta)  I have enough to make a gown, but may potentially need to get more for petticoat.

Purple Pin Cushion–Update

I decided to stitch the edges of the top and bottom yo-yos after all.  I’m glad I did, I like the look, and my needles aren’t getting lost in the bulk as much.  IMAG0727a

This pin cushion is going to be exclusively for my hand sewing needles, since I have not yet found a good storage system for them, and they always end up getting stuck and lost forever in my magnetic pin cushion.  (Which, by the bye, is also purple.  Yes, I have a purple problem!)IMAG0729

I also found a handy thing – the yo-yos on the side can double as a scissor pocket!  Maybe, just maybe I can hold on to scissors for longer than two minute at a time!IMAG0728

Red Kirtle–Stitching Progress 2

I finally got the skirt sorted out, and was able to move on to the center back boning.

I used plastic zip ties (one of the best, cheapest boning options out there!) for the center back to keep it from collapsing when laced.  I use a heavy duty pair of wire cutters my dad gave me years ago (one of my favorite tools to this day).  I generally don’t do much to prepare the zip ties other than cut them to length & cut the corners on an angle.  (If the fabric is particularly delicate, I’ll sometimes file & melt the ends.IMAG0723

I think one of the most important things about inserting boning at an opening is placement.  I know I’ve had disastrous results when placing the boning in the seam.  I find it’s a lot stronger when placing the boning in the fold of the interlining (or lining, as this particular case).


Then it’s just a matter of pinning in place and stitching a casing line.  IMAG0725IMAG0726

Next up:  Eyelets.  Lots and lots of eyelets.  (I’m thinking it was a very bad idea to stop at the eyelet stage on the black kirtle….now I have twice as many to do.  Wish me luck…..

Red Kirtle–Stitching Progress

I’ve got the neckline and the armscyes all stitched up.  (Hooray!)IMAG0720

Next up; because I put the skirt on backwards, I will need to unpick, re-press and re-sew the seams in the skirt.  Not a big deal, but it is taking time that I’d rather put towards the next steps - center back boning & bodice stitching.  (And because I spent a goodly amount of time today messing about with pincushions, I’m a smoodge behind on my self-imposed sewing schedule.)

After that, I’ve got eyelets for both kirtles, and a whole stack of sleeves to do (The original green sleeves ended up not fitting correctly, and rather than unpick and re-do them, I took some scraps to make new sleeves.IMAG0722

Friday, April 1, 2011

Purple Pincushion

Once again, I got distracted on the internets and decided I needed a pincushion, all due to this tutorial found on Crafty Pod.


I won’t rehash the tutorial here, or how to do yo-yos (unless someone really wants some details on how to make yo-yos?) since I did pretty much the same thing, with only a few small changes.

I also stuffed the pin cushion with 1/2 polyfil stuffing and 1/2 walnut shells. (Walnut shells help give it weight, and protect the needles)

I went a little nuts with the yo-yos though, and decided the ones on the side needed some décor. Things got a bit out of hand, and got a little rococo.

I made 2 different yo-yos for the sides. The first kind are a floral pattern with a little bow held on with a button.IMAG0707

To make a bow, fold ribbon with edges overlapping, and run a stitch down the middle.IMAG0705

Pull the stitches tight , and voilà! A pretty bow!IMAG0706

The second color is a darker purple with a ribbon cockade held on by a button.IMAG0712

To make an easy ribbon cockade, fold over the raw edge, and run a stitch along one edge.IMAG0708

I don’t have any good rule of thumb for how long the stitches need to go, I just kept checking every few stitches to see if it looked right.IMAG0709

Once the gathers are beefy enough, I stitched the overlap, being careful not to go through the front of the cockade.IMAG0710

Then snip off the excess ribbon, and there your have an easy peasy gathered ribbon cockade thing!IMAG0711

And just because I think they’re cute, here’s the whole string of yo-yos all lined up.IMAG0713

I couldn’t decide which fabric to use for the top & bottom, so I did a reverse of each.

I’m trying to decide if I’m going to whip the edge of the large yo-yo to the cushion – I kind of like the way it ruffles!IMAG0717IMAG0718

Red kirtle–Shoulders

I generally try not to put seams at the top of shoulders, but this particular pattern does, in fact, have a shoulder seam.

So, to start out, there are some ugly raw edges of the shoulders. 


Because these straps are so tiny and narrow, I wasn’t able to easily clip corners, so I just turned everything under as-is and pressed the living heck out of it all.


Then, placing the insides together, whip the lining together.  These stitches are going to take the bulk of the strain.


After the seam is whipped, I opened the seam up and press flat.


Then, stitch the top layer together, using bitty, pretty stitches.  (Since these are actually going to be seen!)


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Red Kirtle–Skirt attachment

After pleating, I sewed the skirt to the bodice, and zig-zagged the top edge.  There is a mild dip in the back, so I clipped that curve.IMAG0694

Then I pressed the seam up, making sure that the pleats were lying nice and straight.IMAG0695

Next, I pressed over the seam allowance on the bodice, making sure that the stitching line was covered.IMAG0696

Then I pinned the whole thing down.  I’m not going to sew down the bottom edge of the bodice until I’ve done the shoulder straps, top stitching, and boning casing; but when that’s all done, I’ll run a line of top stitching along the bottom edge, going all the way through each of the layers to hold the pleats in place and make the skirt attachment even stronger.IMAG0697

Blog Help?

I’ve got most everything figured out (sorta), and I have Live Writer set up for posting (which is AH-mayzing, btw.  I love it)
I’m just having trouble figuring out how to:
1.  Insert entry separator thingys.  I’ve looked at a couple of tutorials, but the info that is provided doesn’t look like what I have going on, so I get a bit….stuck. 
2.  Pretty/functional header.  And how to insert it.  I haven’t found one that I’m in love with yet, (and I’m having zero creative luck in Photoshop), but I still am not 100% sure how to insert said header once I find one that doesn’t make my skin crawl.
3.  Motivating my poor long suffering hubby in finishing up the script that will port over my LJ crap.  Hm.  Maybe cookies?  I guess you guys can’t really help me out with this one.
Soooooooooo……….can anyone point me to some helpful instructions on either of these things?  (And if anyone has art that would work for a header, I’ll be forever grateful.  Mebbe I’ll make you something in exchange?)

p.s.  Yes, my personal life has already crept into this blog, which is what I had a problem with in my old LJ.  But I’m going to try to keep it mostly topical.  (Like posting inspiration pics from New Orleans, perhaps?!)

NOLA, here I come!

Excuse the following….I am super excited and I’m blabbing.  A lot……

One of my very good friends (Reecey-Pants) is going to New Orleans for a week for work, and invited me along.  OMG, YES!!!!!!!  I love, love LOVE New Orleans!  We won’t have a car so we won’t be able to get out to Baton Rouge & Plaquemine, but then again, one whole week in the French Quarter hardly seems like enough.

I solemnly swear I’m going to Café du Monde Every. Single. Day.  (NOM!)

I’m bringing my camera, my sketchbook, and I’m going to have a fabulous time.  Too bad the friend I’m going with doesn’t like sea food.  (WTF, how can you go to New Orleans and NOT LIKE SEAFOOD?!)

Anyway, the following is a list of things I’d like to do, any other suggestions??  I have all day during the day to fill up my time, and then after my friend gets off work, we can go do whatever she wants to do.

Cafe-du-Monde_900x600(“Café du Monde” Christa Kieffer Studios)

Café Du Monde  (Completely and utterly a must.  It’s not so much ‘something I want to do’, but a place I’m going to be if nothing else is going on at the moment.)

New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

Beauregard-Keyes House

Musée Conti  (OMG a wax museum.  YES!!!)

The Cabildo

New Orleans Historical Tours

Jackson Square

LSM 1850 House

Ogden Museum of Southern Art

LSM Madame John’s Legacy (if it’s open – was closed last time I was there, and as far as I know, may be closed to the public forever.)

Haunted History Tours  (There are a bunch of them, and I’ve taken a couple already….I’m seriously thinking about the two Garden District tours…..a regular one and a spoooooooky one.  Heh.  Maybe, just maybe I’ll be totally nerded out and take the vampire one too.  HAHAHA)

WWII/DDay Museum

Suggested Places:

Green Goddess (Suggested by Other Noelle – This place opened after I was there last, so a new place for me to explore!  She says “The "Mezze of Destruction" secret message should still give you a secret foodie easter egg of some kind, if you eat there and say it to your server. It's the secret "Neil sent me" code.” )

Delachaise Restaurant (Suggested by Neil Gaiman via Other Noelle.  If Neil says it’s good, I believe it!)

The Café Adelaide (Again, suggested by Neil via Other Noelle.)

Fleur de Paris, Custom Millinery & Couture Boutique (Suggested by Other Noelle.  Looking at the website just makes me DROOL.  And wish I were a size 2……..)

Red Kirtle Progress

Before pleating, I hem the two edges of the skirt. (This becomes the center back later on)


After the hemming is done, I laid out the skirt, folded in half on my table. Then I clip every 1/2” to mark for my pleats.


Then lining up the center front and center backs, I begin pinning each side, using the 1/2” snips to line up box pleats of 1”. By starting at both the center front and center back, there is relatively little fiddling at the end to make the whole skirt fit, usually it’s only a matter of unpinning and re-pinning a couple of pleats.


Next up: Sew shoulder straps & skirt to bodice

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Costume College Joint Noelle's Project 2011

We (by “we” I actually mean the ‘Other Noelle’) have decided what the Double Noelle Project will be for CoCo this year.  (Is there a better name than the “Double Noelle Project”?)

The original inspiration picture was found via “OMG that dress!” tumblr.  (Many thanks to Other Noelle for finding this gown, and telling me about “OMG that dress!”)  The gown is at the V&A museum, and is available to view in their collections online.


Will need:


Yardage  (if applicable)

Notions (if applicable)

Stays 1 FF
1 Lining
2 Interlining
Ribbon/Twill tape
Shift 3 Lace
Drawers 3 Lace
Petticoat 4 Ribbon/Twill tape
Panniers 4.5 Ribbon/Twill tape
Gown 7 FF
+/-2 FF (trimming)
2 Lining
Petticoat 4 FF
+/-2 FF (trimming)
Wig SEEKRIT (maybe.  I haven’t decided if I want to blog this bit of the ensemble yet….)  
Shoes American Duchess  
Stockings Jas Townsend & Son (?)  
Jewelry TBD  

My very, very least favorite part of costuming is undergarments – specifically shaping garments.  More than half of my corset/stay/bodies collection are purchased (bad costumer, BAD!)……I need to go through my stash and see if either of my Elizabethan bodies will work for this gown.  I’m really hoping one of them will, because I certainly don’t have the money right now to purchase a pair of stays, and I really, really don’t want to make ‘em.  ;)

I have to run off and make dinner, but perhaps tonight I’ll post about fabric options. 

I really need to buckle down on the kirtles because I can’t touch a new project until they are all done!

Miniature Project

I saw this project while bumbling around on the internet a while back, and decided I needed my own custom tacks.IMAG0682

I used left over covered buttons from my silk victorian project, so the project took only as long as it took for the glue gun to heat up!

I quite like them, and will be making more in the near future.IMAG0683

Freezer Paper–My very best sewing friend


I love freezer paper.  No really, I LOVE it!  It’s cheap, easy to find, and has so many uses! 

Regular rolls can be found in pretty much any grocery store, wider rolls can be found at warehouse stores (Costco, Sam's Club) and restaurant supply stores.

1.  Pattern paper – I’ve used pretty much everything under the sun for pattern paper…the expensive gridded and dotted pattern paper, paper bags, newspapers, craft paper, painters paper; and freezer paper wins out as the best paper, in my opinion.  It’s super easy to make a sheet as wide as you need buy running an iron along the seam to join sheets together, is slightly transparent so you can trace through it fairly easily, and is super-durable without being overly bulky.IMAG0669

2.   Pattern stabilization – I can’t remember for the life of me where I first heard of this trick, but it has saved many a pattern.  (If only I had heard of it sooner!!!)  Now the first thing I do whenever I get a new commercial pattern is to stabilize it on freezer paper.IMAG0668

To do this, you’ll want to iron your pattern pieces so there are no wrinkles and puckers.  Then, identify the plastic side of the freezer paper – this is pretty easy, one side is smooth and shiny, the other side is matte and has regular paper ‘tooth’.  Lay the freezer paper shiny side up, and place the pattern on the freezer paper (face up).  Iron with a medium-hot iron (no steam), and the pattern will stick to the paper and will last much, much, MUCH longer than the tissue paper alone.IMAG0667

Be warned, this is permanent, so be really careful about ironing the pattern to the freezer paper; any wrinkles or puckers will be there forever!

3.  Appliqué – This tip is actually printed right on the freezer paper package – and works a charm.  I’ve used this technique for a cross appliqué on hubby’s tunic, a banner, and various and sundry other pieces – it’s great!IMAG0681IMAG0676IMAG0678IMAG0679

4.  Stencil – This is another tip from the good folks at Reynolds!  Basically it’s the opposite of the applique technique; the area to be stenciled is cut out, and the remainder of the paper is ironed to the surface to be stenciled.  I have fantasies of doing a set of tees with custom stencils.  So far, it’s been a fantasy, but hopefully this tip post will motivate me to actually do it!


5.  Stabilization – This one I’ve made up!  (But after some googling just now, I’m not the only one who has thought of it!

Thankfully, I’ve only had to use this technique a few times, but it’s a life saver!  (I used it recently on my little nieces dress – the netting overlay was giving me fits when trying to cut fiddly little girl bodices!)

When working with slippery fabrics (chiffon, organza, netting, etc.), trace the pattern onto a piece of freezer paper.  Lay out the fabric smoothly and make sure that grain lines are at right angles.  Iron the freezer paper (with drawn pattern) to the fabric & cut.  Depending on what you’re doing with the piece, sometimes you can keep the paper on until finished sewing and rip off the paper afterwards.  (This doesn’t work if you’re gathering, surging or doing french seams, btw.  Ask me how I know….)

Does anyone else have any great tips for uses of freezer paper?  I’d love to know!