Thursday, August 4, 2011

Drool Worthy Shoes....

So I know this girl who sells shoes....The pretty kind....With baubles....I betcha you've heard of these Fabulous Feet Candy, and if you haven't...WHAT ROCK HAVE YOU BEEN UNDER?!?!?!?!!?


Seriously You should visit Lauren at American Duchess, and get your mitts on these gorgeous kicks before the pre-sale ends in 6 days....  Thats's right!  You only have 6 more days to order the Devonshires and the regular width Georgianas.


These babies are ALL leather masterpieces, with a well balanced, custom carved heel.  Your tootsies will thank you for it!

"The Devonshires are a leather 18th century shoe based on museum examples from the 1760s through 1780s.  They're made of top-grade dyable leather, with a beautiful, smooth Italian leather sole for dancing, and are hard-wearing, water- and mud-proof, for even the toughest of outdoor re-enactments."  (

I know my pair already ordered.....

Green With Envy....

Well maybe not envy, but I was definitely seeing green as I was making my current gown.  I finished it weeks ago and have since worn it to two events....but I just realized I haven't shown you.  

I ordered 5 yards of this wonderful 5.3 oz green linen from, and it was super awesome to work with....It softened up and washed beautifully in the washing machine.  I draped the pattern on Mrs. Squishypants, and decided to go with the "a l'anglais" style back, as it was new and I had never done it before.  I am getting better at sleeves too, The muslin worked awesome with three little pleats at the sleeve head, but as I was fitting the actual sleeves I had to combine the three into two and fiddle with them a bit....Still at least it wasn't hours of remakes and fiddling!

I used hooks and thread eyes for the front closure and they work but I am not too happy with the result....if I'm not laced tight enough, they pull and you can see them.  To me it ruins the clean lines of the front of the dress, but since I haven't mastered the "pinning of oneself" into a gown yet, it will have to do. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

New stuff soon...I promise!

I have been remise in posting lately....I'm sorry....although once I get organized I have a ton of things to post about....

Hang in a little while longer.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Red Rover, Red Rover, Bring Your Stays over....

So I am ALMOST done the stays for Mrs. S.  They are made from 3 layers, 2 cotton canvas and 1 is a rough textured red silk.  The binding is a faux suede that I had  purchased at a fabric store in Vancouver BC many years ago.  I bought it because it was literally identical to real suede but much easier to sew through.  The channels are machine sewn as I don't have the patience or the ambition to do it by hand.  I'm not that hard core!  LOL.  I used German  Plastic Whalebone, cutting and sanding each end so that it had less of a chance to poke through the fabric.  I also used metal grommets which I'll cover in thread to make them look period.  I just have to finish up the binding and put in a lining. 

Now that is one gorgeous figure! 

The bowed shaped front of the 1780's

Friday, June 24, 2011

Raspberries Anyone?!?!

So I've also been working on two bridesmaids dresses for my sister in law Miss Maggie for her upcoming wedding in August.  They aren't completely finished yet, just needing the zipper, a hem, and the skirt part of the lining. 

The fabric is silk dupioni from  I absolutely love his silks.  They are such a nice quality and weight for a fabulous price.  He has great lead time in shipping and fanatastic customer service.   I probably sound like a walking billboard, but I just can't rave about his stuff enough.

Here is one of them....Stay tuned for dress # 2

Busy Beaver....

So I've been insanely busy the past few months, both with sewing and with everyday life.  The hubby lost his job, so I was a mad scramble to find a new one and to put the hous eon the market so we weren't paying for two mortgages.  Yesterday he signed the last of the paper work and the house is officially sold! 


He is currently on his way across Canada with the last of our possesions from the old house.  Its been almost 6 weeks since I've seen him last and boy do I need a break.  Being a single mom is hard!  I'm so thank full that I don't have to work and look after the kiddos....Big Kudos to those that do! 

I have been working on a few different things over the past 6 weeks: modern bridesmaids dresses for the fabulous Miss A, breeches for the boys, shirts for the boys, a brunswick for Miss Mary, Stays and a muslin for Mrs. S, and a camp dress for myself as all I have is the pink polonaise, which is completely unsuited to camp life! 

I finished it with time to spare....2 weeks till the Liverpool event.  2 Weeks!!!!  I never get my own things finished with that much time to spare.....LOL!

Here are pics of the lovely camp dress....

I had to polonaise this one as I cut it very short.  I forgot to cut out the sleeves so I had to take enough off the hem to do so....Stupid rookie mistake!  lol.  Its also closed with hook and eyes and there is a little rippling at the bottom where the point is, that is really irritating to me.  Its made out of Linen and lined in linen.....Enjoy!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Poiret

I have Finally figured out what I am gonna do with some fabric I have been hanging onto for the past 9 years or so.  Its a beautiful soft heathered blue wool flannel.

I'm gonna make a coat based on Paul Poiret's cocoon coat.  I'm hoping it's also gonna be for a contest I would like to enter on Foundations Revealed.  The contest is their Double Period Project and this year its either 1812 or 1912.  I love the early teens fashion as it moves into the flappers of the 20's.  The fashion is so loose and free and has an opulence about it that you just don't see now a days.

I simply ADORE the yellow version!

Paul Poiret was a leader in the world of fashion and trendsetting back then.  He was one of the few who chucked the petticoats and corsets and opted to drape and form the fabric to natural form.  One of the designs he created was something called the cocoon coat.  He used one piece of fabric and draped it on the mannequin to create folds that hugged under the bum and the upper thigh and billowing out in the body of the coat.  This style had his famous Hobble skirt design.

I love this idea and have been busy researching online, trying to find as many photographs of this type of coat that I could find. Both his own work and the work of others as well as fashion illustrations of the the time.  Its definitely a challenge for me, creating the look you see in the illustrations, while using one piece of fabric.  I've gotten a pretty good shape so far on my draping experiments, but I'm still not altogether happy with the result.  I have questions....

And that was where I left off a few weeks  I did however order Poiret: The King of Fashion book and it arrived.  Its such a fabulous book.  It's hard but I was finally able to see the seaming on the coat he created for his wife.

I now just have to decide if I want to be faithful to Poiret's design or use it as a jumping off point and create something based on the silhouette but with my own style.   There are so many yummy fashion plates and Extant garments for wonderful inspiration!

Decisions, Decisions....

Good thing I have till next year to have it completed!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tick tick off the list...

It feels like I have so much work to do before July happens....I started making a list and sorta got over whelmed....

Oh My....

3 boys shirts  2 boys shirts
3 boys breeches
1 baby bonnet
1 baby gown, *1/2 done
1 baby chemise
1 chemise
1 set of stays, * 2/3 done
1 robe a l'anglais
1 round gown
3 boys waistcoats
1 petticoat
2 bedgowns
1 neckerchief, *2/3 done
1 grad dress
2 bridesmaids dresses, *pattern drafted
various zippers and alterations along the way

In two months.....Well I have till the middle of July for the Bridesmaids dresses.

Am I gonna rock it and get it all done?!?!??


I hope so...Its not like its alot of things to sew.....really!  Plus take care of kids and probably teach a few classes, *fingers crossed.

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG......bring on the crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll post some pics soon, although shifts and shirts aren't exactly the funnest thing to sew.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Hat of Prettyness

I finally finished it....the Hat of Prettyness..... I love it!  I made it to match the polonaise, using some of the leftover peachy pink linen for the hat bag.   Now I have something to wear while strolling along the lane in the bright sun.  I hope to find some more feathers, maybe an ostrich feather or two. 

I found the straw hat at Micheals.  It was a basic farmer hat and I cut the top off and reshaped it by soaking it in water and pinning and weighing it down with cans to get the shape I wanted.  I used cotton lace around the brim, which I tea stained so it was off white.  The puffs I made from a strip of silk gauze I had.  The flowers, feathers, and bird are dollar store finds (I also used them in my hair here)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Busy Busy Busy....

Honestly I'm still here!  I've been super busy during the past few weeks.  First the hubby was home, and then he left and we all got sick.  I finally feel back to normal after 7 days and I have been busy.  I draped and draped and draped the Poiret coat, did a mock up of a new corset pattern, and have been working away at Sam's 1780's stays.  I almost have one half of them done.  I just finished binding around the tabs with some faux suede I found years ago.

This was a quick shot while I was back in the sewing room cutting out more binding.  I found a wonderful tutorial on binding the edges of stays Here done by Cathy Hay from Your Wardrobe Unlock'd.  Its gotta be the best tutorial I've seen.  I've also found that binding the tabs without the boning in the channels makes the job a little bit easier as you can bend the stays around and crumple them with your hands as you work.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Steampunked Alice

So I've been wanting to create a bustlette for the Alice dress and was inspired by this one on the blue dress in the movie The Secret of Moonacre.

I Love how the hoops are exposed and you can see the cage.  I was looking for more inspiration pictures and happened across this extant bustle....

Which I think was the inspiration for the MoonAcre movie costumes.  I can't wait to start on this! 

Modesty is NOT one of my Qualities!

I have been busy these past few weeks.  The Man Finally came home, I had the opportunity to save a life (metaphorically speaking), and have been sleeping!  LOL.

I talked to a lady, we'll call her Mrs. R a few months ago about fixing her bridesmaids dress.  About 2 weeks ago I got a frantic call from her wondering if I could help her.  Of course I could.  Brad was coming home, I would be able to sew without interuption, so I told her to drop by and I'd see what we were up against.

When Mrs. R arrived she was very unsure if I could fix it.  Little did she know "I can fix anything"  (I really am modest!  lol) and that is exactly what I proceeded to do.  Over the next week we had a few fittings and the dress was taking shape.  I basically ripped it apart and reconstructed it from the ground up.  She had also purchased a couple extra of the matching shawls that came with dress.  They were slightly off in color, but really you only noticed it if you were a perfectionist like me.  Oh how I agonized over the color match, until THe Man told me to leave it alone, I've done the best I could.

Mrs. R was ecstatic when she tried on her dress fro the final fitting and was amazed how comfortable it was.  She didn't mind the color shading and I don't think would have noticed it had I not pointed it out.  She Left with a smile on her face.

Mrs. R has to have been my favorite client to work with to date!  She was easy to talk to, had fun stories and was generally a happy cheery person every single time she came to visit.  I LOVE working with people like that! 

Thank you Mrs. R!

I have one more modern dress to fix.....the pretty pink confection of ruffles and sequins.....before I can get back to the 18thc century although I have been side tracked an am planning a Victorian/Steampunk/Alice in Wonderland Confection, I might just abandon the 18th century for that....LOL.



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Adventures in Breeches....The Finale.

The Breeches are done!

The Man looks great in them too!  I have a few alterations to make to the pattern.  The opening on the sides of the fall front gape a bit, so I need to shorten that. and take out about a cm in the center front so it doesn't bag and it lays flat.

I also have to work out the sequence of construction better.  There were a few issues while sewing that I want to address for the next pair.  Its pretty good for a finished muslin.  I did do two other muslins first and then decided I need to to have a finished one.  These are made out of linen and are completely machine stitched.  I will hand stitch the next pair on all the elements that require top stitching.

Has the right amount of baggy him the illusion of perkyness...LOL!
A little baggy in the  CF.  Gonna take out about 1.5 cm and it should lay flat.
I think I need to shorten the width of the band so it hits the back of the knee and you can see the curve of the calf.
The placket opening is a bit too long.  Although you can't see it in this picture.
The gusset needs to be a bit bigger and the waistband needs to be longer.  I want him to be able to gain weight and still be able to wear these.  He tends to get heavier in the winter than in the summer, so I need the extra wiggle room.

They are missing buttons, which I don't have.  I looked through my HUGE button jar and the only thing I have alot of are plastic ones.  I wasn't really feeling up to cutting out a ton of circles and doing fabric covered buttons. 

I also tried to keep the bum as fitted as I could and still allow unrestricted movement.  I think it's baggy enough to give the look of 18th century breeches without the excess saggy diaper look.

I think once I have the pattern perfect then I will try to make a pair out of Chamois leather.  Buckskin breeches would look yummy on him!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Men's Frock Coat De-Mistified.

I had a realization this morning!  It was like an atom bomb went off in my head in regards to patterning a Men's 18th century frock coat.  I've been looking at diagrams of patterns inline for weeks now, trying to figure out the easiest (and admittedly laziest) way of drafting a men's jacket.  I do have the background in pattern drafting and can do it from measurements and the formulas, but I have been stalling, hoping I could find something easier.

This morning I realized how easy it actually is.  This Diagram gives me everything I need to know to draft up a man's frock coat.  Its been staring me in the face for weeks now!  Sometimes I can be so dense!

If you understand the very first lessons in pattern drafting then you can pattern this in no time.  All the measurements needed are on the diagram. 

Basically you start with a vertical line which is the length of your garment.  Here the front of the coat is 116 cm long.  The measurements start at 0, and draw a perpendicular line out from there.  This is the top of the shoulder.  The next line down is 6 cm from the top, square out from there, this is the center front neck point.  You continue to square off your lines from the vertical line, measuring down using the numbers provided in  centimeters.  Use your french curve to draw your shaping.

At this point it is all just theory.  I could be completely way of base.  BUT....This is exactly the same way you start the draft on modern day tops pattern.  I think the only thing I need to work out is the measurements and translate them in to a size.  I am gonna do a copy of this pattern  and see if I have to do any changes in order for it to fit The MAN. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Adventures in Breeches

After I finished my polonaise, and The MAN and I attended a soiree to celebrate Robbie Burns, I asked him if he wanted to join the world of re enactment.  He agreed and told me that before I was allowed to man any more girly clothes, I had to make him a proper set of clothes.

Super excited that The Man wants to play dress up with me, I started right away on a pair of breeches.  For inspiration I found these, which were originally made from buckskin.  I love the how the fall front comes from the side seam, the decorative stitching,  and overall esthetics of the front fall shaping.

I made up the pattern and had to wait 6 weeks for the hubby to be back home.   He agreed to let me take pictures of him, under the orders that I chopped him off at the waist. Mission accomplished!  The overall design in almost perfect.  I a few alterations to make.  Mainly they are too big, too long, and the seat needs more fabric to allow for more movement in the legs now that I have them pinned tighter.

I pinned one leg on the inseam and you can see that the one side is wrinkling on his upper thigh near the junk.  I like the hang of the leg that is not pinned. 

After they were pinned there wasn't much room in the seat, and although he has a cute bum, it's not period accurate.  I was hoping to make a compromise between the ubersaggy bottomed period version and the modern version of the pant.  I'll be reshaping the seat and adding more volume to get the right look.
Gonna have to shorten them
He was pretty concerned with what i was writing on his bum....Alteration notations of course!  Like I would do anything otherwise, (wink, wink)

Overall I think they worked out pretty good for the first muslin.  I have a few changes, but nothing major.  After I make a basic version for his first set of clothes, I plan to make a pair out of a nice soft chamois leather.  I'm so excited to be finally moving forward on his clothing, but not before I fix a few zippers, a grad dress and a bridesmaids dress, which are all due next week.



Monday, March 7, 2011

Stew Pot Sunday: Vegetable Curry

Well I made a Vegetable Curry from my Company's Coming Slow Cooker cook book.  It was a FAIL!  It had some really good ingredients in it, stuff that I normal use in my Indian curries, but some how it had a wierd smell and tasted bland.  The funny thing was that 3 out of the 4 kids ate it with no complaints, which I thought was weird.  I won't post the recipe, and I won't be making a curry in a crock anytime soon.  I will have to stick with the traditional version that my great friend Mrs. Gray, who is originally from Fiji, taught me.

The one thing that did turn out is my Roti....Its so simple and easy to make, once you get the hang of it.   I remeber being over at Mr.s G's the first few times when she had invited us over for lunch.  The wonderful smells she could create. 

I was in HEAVEN!

Soon after I asked if she could teach me how and thus began my training.  I remember watching her roll roti out and being so quick and then handing me the rolling pin and me trying to do it to.  I ended up with misshapen ones while her's were always round and perfect.  With practice I've gotten pretty fast.

I want to leave you with a recipe for Roti, but it's kinda hard to do as its all by feel, but I'll give it my best shot.


2 cups flour
about 1 cup very warm water, use more or less depending on the dough.
vegetable oil
salt to taste

I start with the flour in the bowl, add my salt, and slowly add the water until the dough starts to come together, then I add a splash of oil and work it into the dough.  Make sure you don't add to much water as you don't want the dough to be sticky.  If you've ever made bread or pizza dough you want that soft pliable consistency.  The dough won't be smooth after you've kneaded for a bit, BUT let it rest in a bowl covered for about 10 minutes and it will get a smooth texture.  Divide into about 10 balls, and roll out using flour till very thin.  Meanwhile heat up a dry pan. 

Depending on the stove, you may have a high temp or a med temp or something in between.  I use 5 on my electric stove, Mrs. Gray uses hi on her gas stove.  Its all relative.  You just need a temp that you can easily cook and roll the roti at the same time, without the ones in the pan burning.

Place the roti in the pan and cook until you see the dough changes color and gets dimply, flip, and cook the other side. It will start to puff up, flip again and turn it with you spatula till it gets golden brown spots.  Transfer to  a tea towel and brush one side with melted butter, cover with the towel. 

By the time you are done cooking them, the rest of the roti should be soft and yummy!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Capes Are NOT Just For Batman.

I am in LOVE.

It took me a few dates, But I am In love!

With Frenchy's.  Its a ubercool Thrift store, that is actually selective as to what gets put in the bins.  My last visit I found a DNKY jacket.

DONNA KAREN!  With this sage green lining and cream and brown herringbone wool.  unfortunately it was too big on my and I had to put it back.  Sad face!

Why is this Uberexciting to me?  Well because I've always thought about using my fashion design background and creating something sustainable.  Don't get me wrong I LOVE LOVE LOVE yards and yards of fabric, with its clean untouched surface waiting for me to make it into something exotic and beautiful, but for the past 5 years have lived in places that are the black hole of fabric lovers.  I've had to become creative and think outside the box in order to find my fabrics.  I've always admired the designers who take already made garments and turn them into something fun and unique, but in order to do that one has to have a readily available supply of second hand garments.  Which until now has been next to impossible.

Now I have Frenchy's!

I've since learned (and this was a major DUH moment) that sheets work fabulous for muslins and at 2 bucks a pop, thats ALOT of fabric. 

On my recent trip I found a 100% worsted wool charcoal grey pleated skirt.  It was calf length and  gathered into a waist band in the back and huge box pleats in the front.  LOTS of fabric.  I have been thinking that when I create my Reenacting clothing that I don't really put a whole lot of thought into the accessories and one of those accessories I over look is the cape.  I thought this skirt would be perfect for a cape! 

BUT it couldn't be just a plain old boring cape, I had to make it fun. And modern.  So I could wear it all the time.

I decided I was gonna base the look off of my friends cape at Sewaholic, her's is from a groovy 60's vintage pattern.  I wanted the seams to go down over the bust and have an opening for my arms to come out of.  In the back I wanted it pleated like a Watteau Gown from the 18th century.  The best of both worlds.  Something I could wear with my historic clothing and my modern stuff.

Back with the pleats.  Its inside out.

Front, inside out

The shoulder, inside out.  I had already sewn the shoulder seam but it didn't lay properly so I had to take it out and baste it in so it layed better .  You can see the back had to come up quite a bit.
I draped the skirt on Mrs. Squishypants and formed the pattern.  The back of the skirt became the front of the cape, and the front of the skirt became the back. 

Needs a final press.

I love how the pleats face towards the CB, creating a fan with the folds.

The funnest thing about this cape!  The bias bound seam allowances in a funky ink and yellow flower patterned cotton.

I opted for a mandarin collar and I bias bound the seam allowances in a fun pink and yellow cotton that used to be a girls sundress in it's previous life.  I hand sewed bar tacks at the top of each pleat and the opening in the princess seams for the hands.  I also did a spaced back stitch along the center front and the collar to hold it in place.  The hem was a herringbone hem stitch.  It will be closed with hook and hand sewn eyes for now until I find a wonderful cloak clasp. 

I love the finishing details.
It just MAKES the cape.