Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Closer to Completion 1870's Polonaise

Little by little as I have had the time I have been chipping away at this little project. It is finally taking shape. I managed to wrestle my camera away form my son for long enough to get a couple of shots of the progress.
Side view with the one sleeve attached
Front view. Still wants for buttons. 

Meanwhile I have other events approaching as well that each have their own costume needs. I am extremely grateful that I actually completed my Irish gown back in June so for the Faire this weekend I do not have any last minute sewing for my out fit. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Polonaise Is Moving Forward

My Polonaise gown has been living on my dress dummy silently mocking me. It is sewn together, fits me perfectly, just missing sleeves and trim. I would not have believed that trim would be such a problem, and yet as I have stared at this piece for several weeks, I have not been inspired at all to complete it. So I have gone through pages and pages of illustrations and photos from the 1870's waiting for something to jump out at me. And here it is finally day before yesterday this fashion plate spoke to me.

I am just going to do a simple navy blue box pleated trim. I spent so much time trying to find the "right" lace or the "right"tassels or the "right" ribbons. But I am going to just let the trim be simple so the lovely plaid shows through. I will use hooks and eyes to close and false navy blue buttons down to my waist and allow the sides to hang open at the hips much like the gown on the right. I will also add a bit more trim to the bottom of my skirt to tie them together.
So a lot of boring cutting, sewing and pleating for the weekend. On the bright side, I really need to practice my box pleats.
On another note, my eldest son has borrowed my camera for his yearbook class and so now I have to track it down so I can take pictures of my progress. Ah the joys of motherhood.

Next I need a really awesome hat....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back from Costume College

I am a terrible blogger. It's been two weeks since Costume College and have not posted anything.
I also have a few more projects and updates I've been chipping away at that I have not
posted anything about. I have a little time today so I am playing catch up. So here's the scoop from Costume College.

Steam punk was the theme of the weekend which meant they would have a track specifically for Steam Punk classes. I like Steam Punk, however there were other classes that I was more interested in and my two roomies were all about the Steam Punk so I figured I could always pick their brains.

I did not get many pictures. Unfortunately... Which was my mistake. I did take several from the fashion exhibit which I am happy to share.

I learned a lot while at Costume College, not just about the sewing and such but about how to go in the future and get the most out of it. For example:

Lesson 1 - When I signed up and received my catalog I chose 4 limited classes because I wanted to feel as if I was walking away with something. In the future I will probably only choose one limited class and then attend as many of the shorter classes I can that interest me.

Lesson  2 - Take my camera everywhere and have others take pictures of me as well.

Lesson 3 - Pack more costumes than I think I will need. I really only packed a couple of things, I figured that I would wear street clothes most of the time. *Wrong* Costume College provides such a great opportunity to be able to wear my various things "just because". I had been worried that I didn't really have a lot of "Steam Punk" garb, however the majority of the costumers there were actually wearing 18th Century garb.

I am still so thrilled that I went. I learned some tricks and tips and saw so many gorgeous costumes from all different eras. Total win! I will be there next year!

So without further ado, here are some of the very few pictures that I actually had on my camera from the event.

Steam Punk display at the beginning of the exhibit. Surprising how much can be done with a toy gun and some paint.

Nice and cheery bonnet.

I just loved this bustle gown.

And the equally awesome back.

Lovely Kimono. I have several friends who wish to include Asian inspired fashion into their Steam Punk persona's.

Gorgeous example of a bustle gown made from Saris. She said three Saris died for this gown. I think it was well worth it.

I did bring my 1950's style dress and so when we had lunch at a 50's style diner, had to get the photo opp.

I wore my 1870's bustle gown skirt with my brown paisley corset and hijacked Robert's coat I made him last year to the Gala. I ended up forgetting my bustle so I had to use a folded up towel. The down side to that is that is squished me all weird and I ended up needing to leave fairly early in the evening because it ended up rather painful.

I still had a terrific time though, dinner was great, the company was great, just all around worth it. I would recommend the trip to anyone who enjoys costuming on any level.

Dessert and it tasted as good as it looked.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Lei From Laurie

Last weekend I helped to throw a baby shower for the lovely and talented Laurie. And as a gift she brought me a Lei from her trip to Hawaii. I have always wanted one of these. I have no idea why but it's kind of been on my list of cool gifts to receive. I am kind of full of fail in that I have never been to Hawaii even though two of my sisters have lived there for extended amounts of time. I keep meaning to plan a trip but work and kids and life just seem to go in different directions. Perhaps now that the husband is done with school and life is settling down a bit we can actually plan a real vacation.
I realized upon receiving the Lei that it wasn't exactly going to last. Which kind of made me sad. I thought about ways to dry it, but then realized that then it would be another fragile memento that would end up being kept out of reach of cats and kids. So I decided to take a few photos of it. The cool thing is it matches a linen I had bought the weekend before that I am thinking of making a dress out of. A modern dress... can't quite think of a way to pull off anything remotely historical out of the fabric.
So here is a beautiful Lei and some fun fabric for a future project.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A new life for a gown from my past

As my polonaise has been slowly taking shape one question has been at the back of my mind. What will I wear it with. Strangely the colors and texture are not as easy to find complimentary fabric as I would have thought. While wandering through the fabric store gazing at anything blue, yellow, or off white I was tickled by the memory of a gown from years ago that was light blue and navy blue. I had decided to trim in navy blue anyway so I pulled out the old gown when I got home.

This was a natural form gown made about 10 years ago using all Truly Victorian patterns.
If you look closely at the bodice you will notice that some of the buttons have been replaced with little flowers. This was an emergency fix after the dress was hit by a truck. Luckily no one was in it at the time.
You see years ago I ran a children's birthday party business. We planned and threw tea parties, princess parties, pirate parties, fairy parties, you get the idea. This was one of the tea gowns that my partner Wendy made for me.
Well it happened that we had a booth set up at a baby fair. And we had the gown on a dress form as part of our display. Upon leaving the gown went into a trunk with our money, candy, and paperwork. As we were driving away people kept honking at us. Then we hear a thunk as we pulled onto one of the busier intersections in Sacramento. To our horror we discovered that we had left the trunk on the top of her car and it was now sitting in the middle of the road and people were swerving to avoid it. We pulled over just in time to see a very large truck hit the trunk and my gown attach itself to the front of the truck and keep going.
We were able to salvage the bodice except for the buttons that had popped off at impact and the underskirt. The over skirt was found 4 miles down the road covered in grease.

So this gown was put in first a bag, then a box and kind of forgotten about. Until now.
 Close up you can see more of the grease on the over skirt.

Right now I only have a use for the underskirt, I have always loved this dress because it was my first attempt at making an actual historical gown. Not that we knew enough about fabrics and such but still it looked great and felt wonderful to wear.

But now I have a decent underskirt to go with the Polonaise that I have been working on. I don't think I can bring myself to tear the bodice apart. I may reuse the lace from the over skirt though.

I can not help but be in love with this plaid.

Things pinned together to get an idea of how it's going to look. The fabric has a nice life to it. I haven't even put ties in it to get the bustle to take shape, this is just over my bustle.
So this is where we are. The project is coming together nicely I am extremely happy with how it's looking.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Polonaise Progress and Stumbles

For the 4th of July I had a 3 day weekend, which is a wondrous thing and with my job almost never happens. This meant a ton of time for sewing. This realization hit me and I went into a sewing fever. I jumped right in to pinning the mock up for my polonaise... and something didn't seem right. Then it hit me, I hadn't bothered laying out the part of the pattern for the actual back of the skirt because it's not something that I would need to alter.
So I had just enough fabric without the back skirt and there was no way I would have enough with it. So I sat with my piece of fabric laid out on the living room floor turning pieces this way and that way trying to figure out a way to solve the puzzle.
I ended up deciding to shorten the entire thing by about 10 inches and I will have to be clever with the sleeves, but I managed to cut out the body of the polonaise.
Then I carefully cut the canvas to interline it with. Then sewed the back together.

Ta Daaaa
oops left my ginger beer in the background...
Just for the record I am not trying to match the plaids.
(I still have flashbacks from the stripes on my day bodice.)
Then it hit me... trim? Oh right, I forgot to get trim, you can't have anything Victorian without some form of frilly something...
So... Had to go to the fabric store. The fabric store is a very dangerous place for me to go, and because it was the 4th of July weekend, EVERYTHING was on sale.
I walked away with 3 new patterns, and four new fabrics. After staring at trims until they literally closed the store on me. I decided that I will do a thin maybe one inch thick navy blue rouching as my main trim. So I bought the fabric and made my way home.

Here's a closer shot of the bottom of the back, it's wrinkled because it's just pinned at this point to my dress form. I am hoping that the navy blue will pop just enough with the other colors.
So now I have a ton of rouching to make which effectively put the interesting parts of this project on hold temporarily. So I started and finished another fun project over the weekend. Another post coming soon.

In the meantime here are a couple of polonaise pictures that I am in love with.

I'm not exactly sure where I found this picture. I spent a lot of time online looking for ideas for my Polonaise and I just found this one pretty adorable.

This second one came from the FIDM Blog
On the blog there are some amazing detail shots of this one.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Costume ADD hits again

I pulled out everything to start on Harley Quinn this weekend and I really meant to start on it. But as I pulled the red silk out I saw there in the back looking all abandoned, my blue and yellow plaid I had bought for a polonaise project. I had bought the very last of the fabric and really did not know if I would have a enough for a polonaise or if I would end up being short, so it has sat on it's spool waiting for me to have the time and energy to take it out and lay the pattern to see if it would be workable. Well since I had a friend over doing sewing stuff anyway I figured what's a couple of moments to lay a pattern just to see. Well it fit perfectly, just enough plaid.

The steampunk group here in Sac is getting together with the GBCS which is ran by Lauren at http://www.americanduchess.blogspot.com/ for a train ride excursion to Virginia City in September and I am thinking the Polonaise may be the perfect train riding outfit.

Here is the basic pattern I will be working with, I have it drawn and cut in plastic and on my dummy now. So this week perhaps I will get the toille done and go from there. I still intend to work on Harley Quinn, I just seem to do better when I have more than one thing to focus on at a time. Hopefully more updates to follow.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Steampunk Harley Quinn

Ten years ago I had the idea of being Harley Quinn from Batman for Halloween. It was a joint adventure with my close friend at the time who really loved Poison Ivy. Instead we went to Gaskels that year as a fox and a peacock.
A couple of years later I actually went out and bought a nice Harley Quinn suit. I learned that dancing in full latex... not so fun and very hot! Alas I have no pictures of that event from over 5 years ago. But I have never fully gotten over my desire to go all out ballgown with the Harley Quinn character.
Now that I am involved with Steampunk I feel like she would fit perfectly.

Here is the comic Harley Quinn

Now, I am not a comic book geek. I think I read about 25 or so comic books as a preteen because I thought Wonder Woman was very cool and I enjoyed the references to the Greek mythology. My husband and the majority of our friends however are big comic book geeks. My husband loves the Joker and so it works out fairly well. So for my other non comic book readers: Harley Quinn is the girlfriend of the Joker. She was his psychiatrist in the asylum and fell for him and became a villain in her own right. She also had a friendship with Poison Ivy.
For Halloween we have a group together to go for Steampunk Batman Villains. So since I have not been feeling creative at all, I figure it is time to pull out the red and black silk and begin my Autumn event outfit. That way if I do get tired of it, I can move on and still have time for completion.

So my ideas for this ensemble is going to start with a corset type bodice half red half black. Probably going to use the Laughing Moon Pattern that I used for my other Steampunk corset.

Next I am thinking of a ringmaster styled coat with the tails.

I am going to use this pattern as a base only without the false vest front. Just black and red

A bustle over skirt.

Just the over skirt. This is from Truly Victorian and it is such a fun over skirt, I used it for my 1870's ball gown. I do love their patterns in general. I am thinking the over skirt will be red, lined and trimmed in black, then on the sashes and along the hem use the black diamonds.

And for finishing touches boots, one red one black and of course gloves. Have to think about what to use as a head piece and I need a nice black mask.
That's what I have so far, I have a feeling this one will change and grow as I go.

Monday, June 14, 2010

16th Century Irish

Once upon a time I played nobility at Renaissance Faires. I could not even imagine the very thought of not being a noble. I took several years off and now have been actively going to Ren faires again for 2 full years. In that time I met up with an old friend who is a member of Saint Patrick's Irish group and was invited to guest with them last Valhalla. I went ahead mostly because my hubby begged me because he is absolutely in love with Irish culture and plays an Irish Gleeman at faire. I fell in love with the group and made many good friends. So for this Valhalla I made myself an Irish style gown.

This is me in my Irish with Daniel who is wearing the Ionar I made for him a couple of months ago.

16th century Irish is an interesting time period to sew from because there is almost no information available.
So I took what little I could find and extrapolated a bit. You can not tell from the picture, but this is a split front gown. There will be a saffron colored petticoat and a new leine in the near future.
The gown was extremely comfortable and I loved being bright red.

Here are most of the St. Patrick girls with our hair braided, with Laurie from Daze of Laur and a couple of the guys.

Closer shot of my bodice and proof that Laurie and I are two different people. Aren't we cute both in red? We resemble each other enough that when I first started going to Faires again people often mistook me for her. If you ever need something completely amazing made then Laurie is the one to go to! Not only is she one of the most talented seamstresses I have ever been fortunate enough to meet, she is also one of the absolute sweetest people in the world.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Steampunk Picnic 2010

Just returned from the first Sacramento Steampunk Picnic. I had actually thought about skipping it due to an incredibly bad few days, however my friend Clint was kind enough to come to my house and encourage me to attend. So here are some pics of my Steampunk outfit as it is now. I don't have any gadgets yet, and the outfit is quite organic and I expect it to change and to add bits and pieces as we go.

1870's underskirt and overdrape, white blouse, with paisley corset.
And a riding hat I picked up at Dicken's Fair years ago that I plan to decorate.
My friend Katia and I in the park.

Haha got Clint to be in a picture with me.

You can see a little bit of the back draping in this one. I really need to pose for some back views, maybe next time....

Now on to complete my Irish gown in time for Valhala next weekend. Here is a sneak peak of the bodice.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Dreaded "In Progress Box"

So last week I had two deadlines I was working on feverishly, one was a new Ionar for my friend Daniel and one was a new corset and outfit for a Steampunk Ball. I have learned over time that if I get to the point on a deadline for myself that I am just not going to make, then I don't stress over it. I just don't have the energy to stay up until 3:30am the night before a dance rushing to finish garb that I will end up having to redo because of the rushing process. After all I have 2 kids, 6 horses, a full time job, a handful of various other creatures, and a husband who all depend on me to retain some small amount of sanity. So I made the decision after one of those such nights that I would remain calm in my sewing endeavors and if it looks as if I will not have a finished outfit in time, then I will keep sewing but also start looking for alternatives.So I diligently worked on Daniel's Ionar, hand sewing the little details and was happy to hand it over to his glowing review last Wends. I will be posting pictures this upcoming week. He is currently wearing it at Southern Faire right now.

As I was working on the Ionar it seemed fate was working against me on my corset project. First none of my drawer of steel boning was the right length. So I decided to get some plastic boning. First store was out, second store only had 4 yards left. I ended up only having enough to bone one side. So here is a pic of how far I got.
I need to go out and get more boning and then bind it, I am going to use some brown velvet for the binding because I have it in my stash and I think the brown will look nice.
So now it is officially in my "In Progress" box.
I also ended up working late that night anyway and did not get to go to the Steampunk Ball. Which was frustrating, but the reality for weeknight events for me.
On another note I have a Renaissance Faire this upcoming weekend that I need to have something to wear to. So I have decided that this is a great reason to finish my Florentine Gown. It just needs sleeves, which are already cut out, the net or partlet, and if I have the time, a matching caul and new chemise. So I am hoping to finish the sleeves today.

Picture of the Dreaded "In Progress" box.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Feels good to be sewing again.

We recently moved into a new house and so my sewing sat on the back burner waiting for space to open up and things to calm down. We have finally gotten mostly settled in and about %80 unpacked. I even spent an evening organizing my fabric and actually labeling the plastic containers that the fabric lives in so I know where various things are. My new sewing area is still a work in progress, however I have a lovely bay window with a seat. I'm having to use the dining room table for a cutting table, but I'm finding that works rather well as long as I clean up my mess afterwards.

I am currently working on two projects, my steampunk corset and a new ionar for my friend Daniel.
I have a couple of other things I am also working on but these two have the immediate deadlines.

Progress on Steampunk corset:

Pieces cut. I used the Laughing Moon Dore Corset Pattern because I really like how it looks and it's comfortable.

Khestral my sewing nemesis.

Busk inserted and basic seams all sewn. Shiny shiny fabric

Corset Challenge #1 a drawer full of boning and none of it is the correct size. I am weighing a few options including fining my cutters and cutting boning from the roll I have, using plastic boning, or driving myself the 10 miles to Sac Dry Goods and spending the money on new boning...

Project Two: Ionar for Daniel. Daniel had a very specific vision for a nice Ionar and so I have employed my long dormant hand work skills for this piece.

Very cute on my female dress dummy...

 I have been working on an Ionar for my friend Ash as well, however 4 layers of coatweight wool did not make my sewing machine happy. I have gone out and bought heavier duty needles and am going to give my trusty Singer another go at it. If it fails then I plan to drive to San Jose and beg the use of my friend Laurie's industrial monster. Which has the added benefit of getting to spend a day with Laurie.

And here is my first finished piece since the move. I have always wanted an apron and this fabric really seemed to want to be an apron. So Ta da!

More updates to follow since I now have a sewing area, and my computer area. Happy projecting everyone.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Steampunk Musings

I have recently begun hanging out with the local Steampunk Group in Sacramento. I have to say the people are just wonderful and welcoming. I have never done Steampunk before although I have seen some amazing costuming done with a Steampunk flair. This led me to a great deal of thinking about what Steampunk meant to me and how I would like to portray it. I have decided that since I do so much with historical Victorian that I am going to base my Steampunk around that. Since it's by far more about the fashion than the gadgets for me personally.

April 29th there is a Steampunk Ball here in Sacramento and so I am working on my first Steampunk outfit for it. Here are some pics of the kernal of an idea.

What I have here is the underskirt for my 1870's ball gown. Still needs the ruffle and rouching on the bottom. Robert's 18th century Pirate coat. And I will be making a corset out of some lovely fabric that my friend Maricica gave me for my birthday for that purpose. I have a riding hat that I never got around to actually decorating, a pile of peacock feathers for the hat, and a gold cord on the shoulder. I also will most likely have a black silk sash where I will be hanging my replica Derringer. I may find a way to lift the skirt up as well to show off red petticotes.
Everything is a bit wrinkled since I just kind of pulled it out of various boxes and threw it together. But I think it will be a fun little project. My goal is to create various Steampunk looks by using pieces that when put together differently are outfits that I could where to more historically focused events.
First step will be to make the new Corset.  Updates will follow, only 2 weeks to pull this off.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Costume Lust

I am utterly in love with this gown. Just thought I would share...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2009 costume wins

Since I reentered the costuming world summer of 2008 it has been a whirlwind of activity. First I had to come to terms with the fact that none of my garb from 8 years ago fit me any longer. My 24 inch waist is a thing of the past and I am ok with that. Next I needed to get my sewing skills up to par since I hadn't even looked at a sewing machine in 8 years either, and I only dabbled a bit to begin with. This year in particular has been one of a phenomenal amount of personal growth. It started with me working a cruddy job that had crazy hours and made me want to commit violent acts. Now I have a decent paying job that I actually enjoy. It makes a huge difference. I started a lot of projects in 09 and only actually finished a handful. My new years resolution is to complete my unfinished projects and not start anymore new ones until then. There is only one major 2010 costume project on my agenda and that is my Harley Quinn Steampunk Masquerade ball gown, slated to be worn for fall of 2010 with Maricica's steampunk Poison Ivy, and our signifigant other's Batman Villian steampunk ensembles. I am extremely excited about this project and am using it to bribe myself to finish my other projects.
So competed in 2009:

1860's Day Gown (ballgown bodice pending)

Robert's 18th century outfit (I will need to get some better pics before he completely grows out of it)

Tudor chemise

Tudor Peticote

Tudor Kirtle (plan to add a few jewels)

Tudor Overgown (undersleeves just missing jewels)

Revamp of my Blue Italian gown.

Italian Bonnet
No good piture of the finished bonnet, since the gown I made it to go with is not completed.

Doublet and skirt for Ivanna on the vaulting team.
(that is actually my Italian Bonnet she is wearing)

Also completed outfits for the rest of the vaulting team for Ren Faires.

That's my son wearing his pants, doublet, and shirt that I made for their historical performances.

Pillbox Hat

Basic Victorian Corset
(no good pics, just a simple laughing moon white corset)

Mom's DiscCon costume. I guess you have to be a Terry Pratchett fan to get it. But it won an award much to my suprise. There is a long explanation that goes with this one...

Wow looking at the list, I guess I have been more productive than I had thought. I think I will do a different entry for in progress projects.