Saturday, May 14, 2011

Massive level of lust!

Yesterday, American Duchess posted about rehabbing a store display dummy.  (Go look, you’ll want one too!!)

And yeah, my sewing room won’t be complete until I do the same!  (Don’t tell Bertha…..)

Her finished product:  (Doesn’t it just look PERFECT?!)


If I were to do the same, I would certainly do some alterations to the mannequin arms; one of my fitting banes is my plump upper arms, and how nice it would be to have something that at least approximates them!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Oh. My. Gosh.

I spent the afternoon visiting and generally being silly with Johanne; who showed me what could quite possibly be the most epic vigil location ever.  Ever.  Seriously.
Here is the website, but doesn’t have any good pics, but nothing compares to actually seeing it.  It is the most adorable thing I’ve seen, and I really, really want it. 
I mean, come on, it has stained glass and a steeple.  Yeah.  Must have!
I’ve contacted them for pricing, so hopefully it isn’t cost-prohibitive!

p.s.  It’s built on a trailer bed, and is movable.  There are panels that cover the wheels, and it ends up looking just like a cute little wooden house.  >.<

Wedding Dress

My client didn’t like some elements of the dress, so it’s back to square one.  Thankfully, I can salvage the skirt (I hope), and the bodice takes relatively little fabric, so I am hoping I can get it done without forking out any more money for fabric.

Wish me luck!

Queens Cloak take 2

Another little girl in my moms 3rd grade class chose to be “Queen for a Day” for her reward, so here are more pictures!


Blogger, y u no work?!

As I'm sure those of you who use Blogger are aware, there have been some outages and/or post deletions. I'm really hoping my giant grundle of posts I've done over the last few days come back!

Also, For some reason, my cartoon I had scheduled to post this coming Monday is already viewable,, enjoy the early sneak peek!

Wedding Dress Bodice

Ok, it’s been a long day, but the bodice is constructed!  (Hooray!)

The bodice has a gathered sheer overlay, and I absolutely hated gathering anything until I learned the cord trick!

For the easiest gathering you’ve ever done in your life, zig-zag stitch over a thin cord; then zip!  pull the cord and evenly distribute the gathers.  Easy-peasy!  I don’t mind gathering as much now, it’s so easy.  Just be sure not to catch the cord!  (Even if you do snag the cord, you can unpick the stitch and is usually OK)


Here’s the chiffon overlay pinned at the seams and center to the lining, before the gathers…..


Not very sexy, right?  Oh but wait!  here’s the gathers pinned in place….looking better, no?  (alas, Bertha is about 3 sizes to big for this teeny dress, so her bewbies don’t match up to the bust curve, and makes it look kinda funny……also, my panniers are still on there…..I need to show them to you guys eventually!)


After all that, I zig-zagged the edge, being careful not to catch the cord.  I set the pleats with basting stitches about an inch away from the edge. 

This is super importante – if you don’t don’t this step, gathers can be pulled out of place when sewing seams.  This is another “a-ha” trick that I finally learned after years of hating pleats!


After that, I pulled the cord out.  (I caught it a couple of times and had to snip a thread or two – no biggie!)  Then, I constructed the lining and sewed the top edge (inserting the straps first).  I pressed up the seam allowance and stitched to the lining side, clipping the seam allowances close.


And here is the fruits of my sporadic labor – a nearly completed bodice!  Ugh, I should re-take the picture instead of constantly apologizing for them, but yeah, the straps aren’t tensioned evenly….the bodice isn’t actually baggy on one side!  (If I remember, tomorrow I’ll re-take the pic……)


Here’s a view of the side…..My favorite pic thus far!  Mmm….makes me want a chemise dress with all sheer gathers!  (Oddly enough, the original inspiration for this design has a distinctly chemise gown flair with ruffles around the neckline!  Huh, I had never thought of that until now!)


And only for posterities sake, here’s the back.  Poor Bertha needs to go on a diet!  (Actually, the gal this is for is positively tiny!)

Oh, also of note, because I will only have ONE fitting with her, I’m leaving the shoulder straps unconnected to the back, so I can adjust as needed and hand-sew them in place after a fitting.


I think I can get this finished (other than hem and final fitting) in 1-2 more sessions of hardcore sewing. 

That is if I can keep of the computer long enough………

Wedding Dress update, and another tip

If you’re working on fabric (like silk) that tends to suck down into the throat plate of your sewing machine when starting a seam, start sewing on a firmer fabric, then without cutting the thread, run onto the fabric to be seamed.


Also, I’m really wishing I had one of these pairs of scissors right now.  (No, my sewing gadgetry collection is not complete, despite any evidence to the contrary!)


As you can see in my first picture, I’m seaming some pretty squirrely silk chiffon (I hates you my precioussssss).  I’m going to be French seaming at least the very topmost layer (why yes, I hate it so much, I’m going to sew on it TWICE).  Anyway, so, why the applique scissors are helpful is when it comes to trimming seam allowances.  I usually cut the seam allowances before pressing, but with applique scissors, you can press over the seam allowance, and use the leaf-shaped applique scissors to neatly snip close to the seam without fear.  Awesome, right?!  If I had a pair, I’d show you what I’m talking about. 

A lot of blabbing to say, yeah, one can never have too many specialty tools!

But what you really want to know about is how I’m coming along on the dress, right? 

I’ve sent pictures to the client, and I’m hoping she likes where I’m going with it.  The bodice is ending up a bit higher than on the original inspiration picture, but that may not actually be a bad thing.

Another thing I need to find out from her is about the lining….the chiffon is pretty dang sheer – and I’d like to at least 3/4 line.  I can’t tell, but that may also be deviating from the original, but since I only have a couple of small photos to go from, it is hard to tell.

Onto the pictures!  (The pictures themselves are actually quite nice today, however, my excuses now have to do with the skirt….its only roughly pinned in place, and will be gathered properly when the time comes!)

I’m nearly at my stopping point for today since there is relatively little I can do until I hear back from my client, but that’s probably a good thing, I’m really beat!  Besides, it’s quickly coming up to zipper time, and I’ll need ALL my strength for that…..I hate zippers infinitely more than gathering…………

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More dress stuff….

There are so many comments recently about the dress for Barons War that it would take a load of time I don’t have right now to answer them all, and it’s mostly all the same info.  But please know, I read and appreciate every comment!
I’ve decided on red for the ceremony dress.  (I very much appreciate everyone’s offers of fabric assistance!)  I have a ton of that fabric, and as it is in my stash, I obviously already like it!  I need to get the wedding dress busted out, then I can start on MY dress.  (p.s.  I’ll be posting about the wedding dress commission over the next few days)
Because I love purple, I will be doing a purple Turkoid (what I’m calling the Turkish coat worn by Venetian women in a state of undress)  I’ll be doing silk taffeta, hopefully beaded and/or embroidered/couched all to hell (Holly, Jaquelinne…….you both offered hand work help, I’m hoping that includes beading!)  I’ll be making a simple kirtle to wear underneath for some support, and I have a person in mind to ask for assistance in a camacia.

……I’m feeling really weird that the most help I EVER received on an outfit is for this!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Last of the NOLA purchases

I stumbled upon a great shop in Jackson Square that sold all manner of lace tidbits (and smelled wonderfully of roses, by the way….when I opened my package, they were still scented!) – I ended up buying 11 yards of antique hand made cream (Battenberg??) lace – total cost…….drumroll please……..$9.87 (on clearance)


I also purchased 5 yards of white antique handmade (Flanders??) lace, at $3.67 a yard.  Quite a steal, I say!




U Jelly?


Monday, May 9, 2011

Inter-dimensional pin portal–no wonder I can never find my pins!


pin vortex

Dress….closing in on the final design

(And by “final” I actually mean “I’ve got it figured out enough that I can start working on it and have some sense of direction”)

I found this picture just today on Kat’s lovely site.  I’m sure I’ve seen it on there before, but today it really caught my eye.  (Jaquelinne….remember how you were bemoaning the creases in your veil?!)

Anyway, this is The One.  I love her!  The cutwork is awesome, her veil and hair are amazing, and she has shoulder treatments!  (Something quite lacking in the other portraits with cutwork sleeves)


I can’t quite tell what is going on with the front of the bodice….is that something there scallopy at the top?  Is there some sort of muted detail on the front that is lost in the reproduction?  I haven’t quite decided how plain to make the bodice, but I’m thinking that if I do anything, it will be something like the applied cutwork bands on this one:


I’m going to add a train, well, because I wanna.  And also, I’m going to be adding some sort of sparkly, pretty partlet.  The good part is, I don’t have to decide right away, none of these partlets should interfere with the design of the dress.

Partlet Options

“Queens Cloak”

Here is the “Queens Cloak” I made for my moms’ classroom this past Sunday in action; the little girl apparently loved it!

Fabric addiction


fabric addiction


I think that I may have actually made a decision…….cut worked sleeves with side-back lacing bodice.

A lot of these styles are on the more plain side, so I’m hoping to jazz it all up with a super sparkly partlet and ouches on the shoulder treatments.

Next decision to make:


I’m still on my “must-be-from-my-stash” kick, which somewhat limits my options, but I still have too many to choose from.  Once again, I need opinions!  ;)  Right now, only fabric options B and D are changing…..basically need to decide if I’m going to do a red or a purple palette!

Fabric Option A:  from left to right – (And of course, the usual caveat; pictures = terrible, much prettier in real life, etc., etc.)

A:  Black velvet for Hubby’s coat

B:  Red changeable (with black) silk taffeta for Hubby’s doublet

C:  Gold brocade for my petticoat

D:  Deep red/burgundy velvet for my gown

E:  Green and gold brocade for some sort of loose gown or Turkish coat – exact style TBD


Fabric Option B:  from left to right -

A:  Black velvet for Hubby’s coat

B:  Purple silk taffeta for Hubby’s doublet  (Other Noelle, fear not, this is a different piece of fabric than our project!!!)

C:  Gold brocade for my petticoat

D:  Deep plum velvet for my gown

E:  Green and gold brocade for some sort of loose gown or Turkish coat – exact style TBD


I’m a nerd and am going to do a pro/con list*!

Red Fabric Combo



I’ve wanted to put red into my wardrobe for a while, and it is a beautiful red! Not so much “my” colors.  I love it, but it’s not something generally associated with me.
Very Italian color palette Pretty common colors
Would looks smashing with gold jewelry There have been other gowns (of a different style) recently done with very similar fabric).  Perhaps not a con, but something to think about, I suppose.


Purple Fabric Combo



It’s purple!  That counts for at least three spaces…. Not as much velvet fabric, may not be able to do train.
Very much “my” colors Very heavy weight velvet (not quite upholstery, but certainly a lot heavier than your average velvet)
Did I mention it was purple? I used this fabric quite recently in another gown



*Backfired!  I was hoping that by writing this out, I could come to some sort of conclusion, but now I’m more indecisive than ever.  Boo.  I want to start CUTTING!

My crazy friends…..

During all the sewing and patterning madness yesterday, my good friend Astrid decided that my wig heads needed some “oomph”.
Yeah, um……something happened!

Interesting portraits from NOLA

I particularly love the homely lady in pink and white – what a contrast of countenance and clothing!

The mother in blue holding the baby is an adorable duo….I adore the way the baby clothes mimic its mothers’ in trim detail.  Too adorable!

Also of specific note is the woman in silver satin….the detail on her bodice is pretty amazing!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hubby’s Outfit

I don’t have to think at all what I want to do for my hubby’s outfit!

The pop of color from the doublet in the first portrait, with the hat from the second.  Tres nom! 


Also,  I’m thinking about doing a separate vigil outfit – something comfy for the summer, and a bit fun and different!  If there isn’t time, I won’t be terribly disappointed, but it sure would be fun to be able to pull off!


Dress quandary

I’m trying to figure out what style of dress I’m going to do!  I’m not a terribly ‘flashy’ person, so I don’t want to do anything terribly out of character, but I do want it to be pretty dang awesome.

I’ve narrowed it down to four basic ‘styles’ – the four following embody these styles the best, I think.  (Though details will be edited as I see fit….)

Let me know what you think in the comments, I’m completely paralyzed by choice!!!

Option A:  There is a lot of good information on this gown, it has a train, and I’ve probably had enough people volunteer their services that getting the couching done would actually be in the realm of possibility.  (And because the couching is applied, I can send it out in chunks to different people!)


Option B:  I’ve been wanting to make this dress for a while; I just love, love, love the partlet!


Option C:  This is one of the clearer pictures of the ruffley lace shoulder treatment style.  I’d probably do some sort of standing collar for this style as well.  Lace, lace and moar lace!


Option D:  Cutwork sleeves…..specifically red velvet cutwork sleeves!  Nom, right?!


Projects from today

A few days ago, my mom asked me if I would make a “queens cloak”.  I wasn’t quite sure what she was after, but I think we ended up with a fairly regal looking miniature (costume) cloak for her 3rd grade class.

This morning, my mother and I spent Mothers Day morning sewing and chatting….it was very fun to have her involved in a project and generally hanging out.

I’ll post some pictures of a child wearing it as soon as I get some!

It’s made of red velvet, and I talked my mom into doing faux ermine with some hand spun black yarn.  I think it ended up quite cute!  (And ends up looking far less ‘Santa Claus’….)

Down the road, we may end up adding some gold trim or another band of ermine around the hem, but since she needed it for Monday morning, this is as far as we got, and I think it turned out quite well!

Also, my good friend Jaquelinne came over for some patterning.  She left with a side-back lacing bodice (my new favorite thing in the entire world, by the way!).  I don’t have any pictures of the fitting process, but it went smoothly.


On a slightly related note, I’m not terribly good about documenting all the fitting and sewing I end up with and/or for others, but that is something that I’m going to try to get better at, since it’s about 75% of what I spend my time doing!