Sunday, November 28, 2010

Road Trip!

I had a road trip this weekend...I did, I did! 

Unfortunately it wasn't a fun road trip.  It meant that I had to drop off my oh so fabulous husband at the airport so he could go back to his not so fabulous job in the frozen arctic tundra.  BLECH!!!    I miss him already and it's only been a few days.  On the plus side, to visit....wait for it.....AN HONEST TO GOODNESS REAL LIFE FABRIC STORE!!!!


LOL.  It was beautiful!  I nearly had a tear in my eye.  After 5 long years of living so far away from a fabric store I have one relatively close by.  I was in heaven.  I only wish I could have enjoyed it for much much longer.  Alas I could not.  We, and I mean 4 very small boys, had just traveled 3 hours to the city, so they had pent up energy and were going CRAZY!  This is not exactly the ideal way to visit a fabric store.  I managed to quickly get a couple of zippers for alterations (another BLECH), a package of pins, and a meter and a half of batiste cotton.  While my kids complained about how boring it was and layed about and wiggled on the floor or screamed from my arms. 

I'm planning on going the near future...without the monsters.  Being in that store was such a horrible tease.  I need to spend hours drooling over the fabulous fabrics.  I just hope I'm not disappointed.  I'm finding lately that my expectations have gone through the roof and am finding it hard to be completely satisfied...

"what do you mean you don't have linen?"

"oh its a summer fabric so we put it away in the winter"

What about those people who want to purchase linen in the me for example.  Hmmmmmm.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Eyelets, eyelets and more eyelets.

Alas, dear readers I have been remiss in doing much sewing on my stays.  I have however started the hand bound eyelets and a few problems have popped up.  One, I forgot I was gonna line the stays before I started the eyelets, (really how could I forget, DOH moment), and 2 Well I guess it was only one problem BUT in my defense it felt like a BIG one!  LOL! only 40 or so left to do.
Front side

Back side....a little bit messy but that's unavoidable.
I also acquired some beautiful light weight linen from a new friend of mine....Lets call her "The Partner in Crime", PIC for short.  She had it in a huge stash of fabric which I was drooling over.  I plan on making it into a chemise for under the stays.  I also found a pretty cotton lace that I will use to edge the neckline and the sleeve hems.  I think it can pass for a needle lace. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thar be Petticoats Glore.

Okay well not that many petticoats but one at least.  I had a wonderful day of sewing yesterday and made a cotton petticoat since I was unable to work on the stays.  It turned out perfect.  It was an exercise in winging it!  LOL. I used sources from Jessamyn's Regency Costuming Page for the measurements and Koshka the Cat for the technique.  Thank you Ladies!


Box pleat in the center front and Knife pleats towards the side

I was originally going to make a chemise but after washing the cotton organdy and pressing it, I realized that the stiffness of the fabric was not sue to the sizing, but due to the weave.  So, unfortunately it is not gonna work.  It will however work great for the bottom flounce on the petticoat, so that is my agenda for the day.  As well as, putting the rest of the channels in the stays, boning it, and sewing the grommets by hand.  I won't be doing the binding until I have done a final fitting.  No sense in doing it all and then finding out they don't fit.  Although at this point i think I can live if they don't fit perfectly....we'll see!

I will also make a new bumroll, as the one I made for my Bustle dress won't work, it's extends to far out the back and doesn't wrap around the hips.  I may or may not make Pocket hoops.  I'm still not sure if the polonaise requires them.  Around the 1780's Panniers went out of style for day time dress, but were still used for court functions.  Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

18th c Stays

So I've done lots and lots of research into the making of a set of 18th c stays and although the concept of them seems really easy, the execution is not.  I'm on the 4th set and getting frustrated.  I'm frustrated cuz I can make a modern day corset that fits the body beautifully, but am having difficulty achieving the silhouette of the 18th c.  Hopefully with a completely new pattern and new boning it should work out. 

I can't show you the beginning of the 1st and 2nd set of stays since I started making them about 6 months ago and have since gotten rid of them.  They were mock ups anyways just to see about fit.  I finally thought that after the 2nd mock up that I had the fit right.  I was getting so frustrated and then DH pointed out a small detail as to why i was getting a cylindrical shape instead of the conical shape I wanted.  So I altered the pattern to his suggestions.  Sometimes someone who has very little knowledge of sewing, but a very analytical mind can see the flaws you don't, which is why I ask him for he;p sometimes.  :D  I was so excited!  I had found a solution and as soon as we were somewhat settled in in NS I dug out my pattern and fabric and got to work.

Unfortunately the excitement was short lived and when I put on my almost finished stays, they still gave me a cylindrical shape.  AAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!  So irritated that all that time was spent on sewing a completely useless set of stays I thought I would start fresh.

These are the 3rd pair and as you can see the shape it would create is the wrong one.

So I started searching again and came across Fushia's 18th c Dress Project blog and she had a link to a free stays pattern through Ralph Pink's Site, which the link didn't work for here or me so she had another link Which takes you back to the Ralph Pink site but somehow works.  Just download the file and there yah go.  5 free patterns.

So since I had no printer to print out the pattern I did however have stabilizer for embroidery which can be used as a sort of tracing paper.  So I enlarged the pattern in Adobe on the computer and traced it.  Genius I know!  lol.

This pattern is considerably different that the one I drafted.  I thought I was somehow cheating by using a pattern I hadn't drafted, but I can see where I went wrong in my previous attempts.  Besides It doesn't matter how you got there as long as you achieve your goal in the end, (with in reason)  lol.  So I swallowed my conscience and continued.

 And this is the result so far....I ran outta boning so I am waiting for new stuff to arrive.  Hopefully *fingers crossed, this new set will fit.

And I can get on with the fun stuff of making the polonaise.  Although I still have a new bumroll, a chemise, and a couple of petticoats to make first.  After all you can't have a proper fitting garment unless you have the foundation first.

Just a Note:  I admire the other wonderful women who have made 18th c clothing and have the determination to do it all or mostly by hand. I however am impatient and am not a big fan of hand sewing, so I will endeavor to sew as much of the dress by machine as I can...Just saying.  ;)  lol

Monday, November 8, 2010

THE Wedding.

A week or so ago we went back to BC for a wedding.  Boy was that fun! Can you hear the sarcasm?  Well the wedding itself was fun, the bride and groom sure threw one heck of a party!  It was the events leading up to the wedding that were crazy!

We had been in the new house for about a month when we had to go back to BC.  It was an expensive trip that honestly we could have done without, but since we gave our word we made it happen.   There's no doubt we could have used the 4000 elsewhere, but we had made commitments, Willow had asked me to make her wedding cake and DH was a groomsman in the bridal party.

So Since DH was working in The Fort, we got to drive to Qtown, whereas I had the pleasure of flying with all for boys across the country, TWICE!  Boy was that a challenge.  Its amazing how many people think you are a super hero for doing that and while I appreciate the sentiment, it's still a very irritating venture.  One that had to be done whether it was alone or with help.

The Kids were so excited to fly...their first time on a plane, (and their last with me for a very long time, lol).  Security in the airport was a gong show.  I thought going through security by myself was crazy....try travelling with kids.  They search and test everything!   Like I, a mother travelling with 4 children, is gonna highjack the plane and crash it....I have enough to contend with without adding to the pile.

The Baby ended up getting an ear infection from the trip and even though he was sick he was a pretty easy traveller.  I on the other hand lost a boarding pass after going through security and left my wallet on a plane.  Thankfully it was the last one and they managed to find it and put it in lost an found for me.  I swear I'd loose my head if it wasn't attached.  I'm forever loosing things and was very glad I didn't leave a kid behind somewhere. lol

We arrived safe and sound in Qtown, and thats when the pre wedding craziness started.  It took me 3 days to make the cake and it was pretty ambitious.  I thought for sure I would get to visit with the DH, since I hadn't seen him in a while, but alas, cake had to come first.  To the disappointment of both of us, (to top it of I was having that girly thing we have every month, LIKE COME ON!!! lol)  The first day we made a run to Prince to get some cake supplies, 200 bucks later, we arrive back to moms an I started the roses all hand mae and all edible.  It took me two days to make 20 roses.  Then here was the cake, the icing, the edible hand painted lace, then putting it all together.  THEN I found out that it all had to be done by the 30th, when I had originally been told the wedding was on the 31st.  So frustrating.  But the cake turned out fabulous an I assume everyone enjoyed it.

I sorta left before they did the cake cutting....I couldn't bear to see it cut into and boy was I glad I didn't stay!  You know the part when the bride and groom feed each other cake and someone ends up smooshing it into the others face....well this turned into an all out food fight.  WITH THE CAKE!!!!  That I spent 3 days FREAKING MAKING!!!!  I was not impressed.  But of course I had to laugh and smile and say thats funny BLAH BLAH FREAKING BLAH, all the while I wanna cry.  All that work demolished!  I'm pretty sure nobody ate the cake and if I knew it was gonna be like that I would not have spent all that time making sure it was edible and pretty.  I felt like it was a complete waste of my time, the 4 grand it took to fly us there and a slap in the face.  I will never waste my time and energy in stressing out over something like that again.  I can understand having to cut the cake and eat's inevitable, BUT A food fight!  COME ON!!!!

Finally!  Its feels to good to let that out.  It's been pent up inside since the wedding.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Start of Something Fabulous!

Well we are finally moved into our new house...sans most of the furniture, so we are sitting on an air mattress that deflates constantly.  But we do have beds and a dining room table and chairs soooo i do have an area to sew. Even if its somewhat makeshift.

I have been think into the throes of remodeling, stripping wallpaper, patching holes, and painting and even though that is an on going process, I am feeling the need to sew for some fun.  Yup thats me, adding yet another thing to do onto my big list...LOL!

Before we moved, I wanted to make a 1890's bustle dress, just to see if I could do it.  Along the way it has changed into a 1770's or so polonaise.  I am almost finished sewing the bustle crinoline which can be modified based on the different shapes of the bustle. Since we lived in a place with no fabric stores and little access to sewing supplies I had to improvise and found that plastic zip ties are the best alternative to boning.  You can get lengths of 1 to 4 feet at 1/4 inch wide in packages of 10 for only about 6 bucks at the hardware store.  Fabulous and economical alternative.

I have also started on a ruffled petticoat to go over the crinoline because ti drives me absolutely insane when I see someone else's costume and you can see the bones of the crinoline showing through.  To me that is tacky and ugly.  You spent all that time making a beautiful re-creation dress and didn't make a petticoat to hide the bones.  Why? So  I am making one out of cotton sheeting, (remember lack of fabric stores), and its turning out fabulous.  It gives my bustle a soft feel to it. 

I have also finally  drafted and after multiple fittings and muslin mock ups have made the stays for the polonaise.  I just have to make it to the fabric store and pick out my lining fabric.  I was going to be using a cotton but have since changed my mind and am gonna be using a vintage cream colored duchess satin silk that I had leftover from an obi I took apart.

My goal is to have this completed by the summertime 2011 and I'm hoping that by blogging the progress you guys will keep me on track and working at it.  I will gather my supplies and start taking pictures of what I have already done and post them in the next few days.