Wednesday, March 31, 2010

White Queen Post #4

It is a slow and painful process. Whoever decided that it was a good idea to have decoration on the front of a set of stays is an idiot. My fingers are sore from pushing the needle through at funny angles so that I only catch the outer layer with my stitches. I haven't bled on it yet, but I've came close. I am making progress, it's just at a very slow rate. I JUST WANT IT TO BE DONE ALREADY!

Monday, March 29, 2010

White Queen Post #3

It was one very busy weekend that I spent. I had Friday off, so I managed to make a start on my White Queen costume. As it currently stands, the only things I have ready are petticoats and boots to wear. I will need a little more that this, so I decided that it would be prudent to start with the bodice (probably the most complex part of the whole costume.

After the fail that was my first attempt where I tried to make a bodice that fit exactly over the top of my Georgian stays, I had a bit of a re-think. And instead I am building the bodice around a new set of stays. (I'm starting to get good at Georgian stays now). Thankfully though, these ones have no tabs to be bound as it is stylised into the shape of the character bodice. So far the base of my bodice is complete and I am up to decorating it. I will go into more detail about the construction of the bodice when I have finished.

The one thing that I did manage to get done, was the quilted petticoat that I will be wearing underneath my existing Georgian petticoats. It is very very simply constructed. I purchased quilted calico and a piece of cotton to make them. They are made in the same way as my outer petticoats with two side plackets and the two separate waistbands, the back tying in front and the front tying in back. I had considered making the petticoat complete, but thought it would create less problems in the lining was not stitched on at the hem. Instead I basically made two petticoats on the same band, that are tacked together at the placket. It was pretty quick to whip up and they are giving me a great rounded shape for my skirts.

Now back to that bodice...

Friday, March 26, 2010

JAFA Progress entry #17

And as an update that I have not been completely lazy this week (I have kinda been caught up trying to get my Sims through University), I have made a little progress on my remaining JAFA items. I finnished my first fan. Last year around November, I purchased a whole box of plain paper fans with the intention of painting a couple to match my dresses. While resting my fingers from the hand sewing needle, I got stuck into painting one. It's very simple, but I think I need to do a little more research on what constitutes an historically accurate fan, or something that is appropriate at least.

And in another bust of energy, I got stuck into styling my Georigan wig. Last you saw was that it was rolled up in curlers. I let it dry for a few days and then let it down. Somewhat to my surprise it was very curly, though I think this is in most part due to me using hairspray as well as water to set the curls. I then attacked it with my tail comb and some more hairspray. I backcombed the topmost curls to get a good wad of height in there first, and the started pinning it back. I ended up chopping out quite a bit of hair but that was not really unexpected considering the beginning length of the wig. So after styling, I popped the hat on top... (excuse the PJs).

White Queen Post #2

I am slowly making a start on my White Queen costume, including rolling up the wig so that it will curl. But yesterday morning, my white boots arrived. I will be wearing these for the costume, but they are leather and historically appropriate so I will be able to wear them with my Victorian costumes in the future. I am very pleased with my purchase. :D

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

White Queen Post #1

After a quick trip up to Lincraft at lunch time today, I am on my way to starting my White Queen costume. So far, I have two base petticoats (my georgian ones) and the false rump that I will be wearing. I started working on the quilted petticoat on the weekend and it all it requires now is a hem.

My first attempt at the bodice was not at all successful in that it was way too short and not stylised enough for my liking. So I went back to the drawing board and started again. Instead of makeing a bodice that sits over my current georgian stays, I will be makeing the outer bodice onto a new set of stays. Time consuming I know, but they will not have tabs which takes the longest time to bind. The biggest advantage is that the stays themselves will be stylised and I won't have to worry about the outer bodice slipping and the orange silk stays underneath being seen.

I have also had to re-think my undershirt as the first attempt also failed. (I was having am awful day. On top of the stomach bug I had, nothing I was sewing was going my way). It's not that much of a step back, it will actually be simpler as I will make the base shirt and then just cut the neckline while I am wearing it so I don't have to worry about drafting up a pattern.

Adding to the list of failures, the wig that I purchased (not cheap either) was the wrong colour. I need something that is platinum blonde, almost white, and while that is what it was called on the internet and the photos showed a very white blonde, I got stuck with yellow blonde. Not only is it too yellow, it really does not suit me so I can't use it anyway. In revolt, I went hunting through my wig stash and dug out my plain white one. It is going to have a trim and styling to hopefully get it into an acceptable shape.

On the other hand, I stopped by Diva on my way back to the office and managed to pick up the last of the jewelery pieces that I need. I got a necklace of fake pearls for $5 that I intend to chop up and use to decorate the bodice. And I picked up a couple of sparkly diamante bracelets that I can pull apart and turn into the necklace. They are just about perfect for what I wanted, and since they are on an elastic, they are simple to dismantle.

Now I just need to get cracking on it all and stop getting sidetracked by computer games *shakes fist at the sims*.

Monday, March 22, 2010

JAFA Progress entry #16

And another one is done. I am so overtly happy. I now only have one more ensemble to put together. I finished this one yesterday afternoon, but was so buggered that I didn't get around to posting about it. The dress is based on one of the ones that is worn in the movie "The Duchess". It is done at an early 1790s dress. It features the same style of back as the earlier Georgian dresses but it ends at the waist. where the skirts are gathered on. The front is made as a drawstring at both the neckline and the waist. It then has a silk waist sash tied around the middle. I will be wearing this with my Georgian undergarments - ie, stays, false rump and 2 petticoats. Believe me when I say it gives a nice shape. I am pleased with how it turned out, especially since I was butchering a pattern that for an era that I have never made before.

This dress adds the green colour to my rainbow wardrobe of gowns for JAFA. So far I have pink, blue, white and teal, yellow, purple and now green and brown. The next dress is actually cream and orange. Very autumn colours.

On another note. I sat down last night for about 5 hours and started on the styling of my Georgian wig. I attached my mannequin head to a stand so that it could perch easily. Then I put the wig I am styling on top and started curling it. Because this is a synthetic wig, I can't use heat to give the curl so I have to rely purely on setting the curl in place. I did this by first wetting the hair with a spray of water and the dousing it in hairspray and the rolling it up and pinning it in place. The wig I am using is my super long one that I wore with my Dogma God costume. The costume doesn't fit me anymore and I don't have certain parts of it, so I was happy to give new life to the wig and revamp it. The first step was brushing it out. Because it was a curly wig, I was unable to brush it in the past because the curl would come out, so it ended up being quite a bit of a knotty mess. At the moment the wig is sitting in the sewing room drying out. I know it won't take days to dry, but I would rather be safe than sorry, so I thought I will leave it until the weekend before I attempt to style it. Here's hoping it works.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dad's 55th Birthday Gift

Wow, for once a post about something other than JAFA. Still regency though. I thought that I would share the few pieces that I made up for my Dad for his birthday earlier this year.

Firstly, I made him a brand new regency vest and jacket. The vest is made from the laughing moon mens suit pattern, and the beautiful fabric I found on ebay (and some leftover silk dupion for the collar). I was so proud of myself for going to the extra effort to make up this pattern. In the past I have simply used a modern vest pattern with a couple of adjustments. The thing about the historical pattern is that the shoulder seams are set back, it has a straight bottom and the pockets in the front are actually real and usable.

The next piece I put together was a tailed coat. I picked up the fabric (fake cashmere) at spotlight on a sale rack at the end of winter. I knew that it would be perfect for a jacket. Not only would it be warm, but it looks amazing made up. It took a little longer than some of the other jackets I have put together because the seams end up being very thick, and I am paranoid about getting the pile running all the same way. (I once made a pair of corduroy pants where the pile on the front went down, but went up on the back. They looked funny and felt so weird to touch). I only just took these photos today as I finally put the button holes and buttons on for him (he had to try it on so that I could get them in the correct place). And I am happy with my gold metal buttons, they actually work rather well.

Finally the last thing that I made for his birthday is this adorable cross stitch kit. Orchids - my Dad takes pride in growing them. Kitty - he is a cat person. Perfect gift. I was just pleased to get everything done in time.

And thus you now know the reason I am so far behind on my own projects for JAFA and supanova. While getting two of my dresses completed in the week of leave I took in January, I spent most of my time hurriedly sewing in secret to get Dad's birthday present done. I really am going to have to stop making gifts for my family. It really is too much stress.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

JAFA Progress entry #15

I have slowly been getting bits and pieces of my last two JAFA gowns together. The only thing I have completed today is the hat that will be worn with the day gown. Keep in mind that the gown is late Georgian.

I started with a low crown flat brim hat that I shipped in from America (found it on ebay of all places). It sat in my sewing room for a few weeks before I finally decided that Friday was the day I would tackle re-shaping it. I pinned it to my mannequin head in the shape that I wanted it and soaked it with water (I filled an old squirty bottle). To my astonishment it actually worked, and I am very pleased with the shape. It really was that simple to shape the hat.

I then made the band and bow out of the leftover silk for the dress sash and attached that to the hat with a few quick stitches. A bit of attention with the hot glue gun (yes I know, not historically accurate) and I was done with the decorating. Now that the hat is done, I really need to get stuck into getting the gown done as well. Stupid hand sewing is going to be very time consuming though - there is so much of it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

JAFA Progress entry #14

It's been a productive weekend already. I am really striving to make headway on my late georgian gowns. The first step after getting the stays, pockets and false rump made up, was to make inways into the petticoats. I decided to go with two. You can't see the underneath one in the photo, but it is white. The outer petticoat is made of what was left of my $2/metre 150cm wide cotton. It's actually a bit fuller at the back than the other one, and the idea is that it will slightly show through the white voile skirt to give it a creamy cast.

Now that the petticoats are done, it is onto the dresses themselves.

JAFA Progress entry #13

Finally some more substantial progress to show. My ballgown is complete. Just another part photo for you lot, but I can tell you about it. It is made of white silk dupion and lemon yellow crinkle chiffon. It draws up slightly under the bust in the front, and then laces in the back with my lovely hand sewn eyelets. I am supremely pleased that this one is now complete, it means that I can finally make more progress on my late georgian gowns as I can set up my mannequin with the correct undergarments.

Only two more gowns to go.... *one very happy costumer*

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

JAFA Progress entry #12

Okay, so it's not really a progress report per se, but it does have to do with JAFA. I have been hunting for historically appropriate shoes for regency that I am able to dance in. Most of the current ballet flat shoes are appropriate, but they tend to fall off my feet when I dance. And then today I went to Wittner. I got these most perfect lace up flat shoes. They don't really look like much, but they are exactly what I was after, and they are leather too, so they should last for quite some time. It would have been great it they had some lightly coloured ones, but it was either black or white with polka dots.

Now I just need to find some form of footwear that works for my Georgian outfits. It may come down to me wearing my 1940s style shoes as they at least have the correct heel shape and height. I foresee some internet shoe hunting tonight.

Monday, March 8, 2010

JAFA Progress entry #11

I know it's not much but I finnished one of my reticules. I intended to be making all my matching reticules as the very last of my projects as I can do without them. But this one I actually did want to get done. It is of a different style and quite a bit bigger than my regular reticules. But the reason I did this was so that I would have something that would look slightly period correct to store my camera accessories in when I am in costume, ie flash, second lens.

It is made from some white dupion silk that I had left over and lined with white cotton voile. It is supposed to be very simple and plain so that it will go with anything. But at least that is one less thing that I have to worry about now that it's done.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

JAFA Progress entry #10

After a sewing day at kasmith1970 today, I have made more progress on my next JAFA project. Namely, my blue silk bonnet to match my blue silk spencer. I decided to go with something very simple so as to carry the colour through but not to detract from the prettiness and focus that I want the spencer to be. I used one of the timely tresses patterns to work this one up, and to carry through the embroidery, I added a little on each side. It's the only decoration on the bonnet in fact. I also decided after trying it on that I like how it sits without ties, so I am not going to add any of them either.

Now onto getting my ballgown done.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

JAFA Progress entry #9

And to continue with the productivity, I have completed my blue silk regency spencer. I made this to wear over my blue check cotton gown. Since the gown was so plain and simple, I wanted something pretty to wear with it, and then I found the blue silk. And to top it off, I saw the cross over design of the spencer on a BBC production and decided that I wanted to make something similar.

It took a little fiddling with the pattern to join the two back pieces and then design the curve of the back. I am really happy with how it turned out, and look forward to wearing it with the dress. I even took the needle to it and did a little ribbon embroidery on the front and sleeves, but that will have to wait until I wear the thing. Next project is the matching bonnet.

JAFA Progress entry #8

After a week of feeling like death warmed up, I have finally made a little progress on more of my JAFA sewing. I have made two pairs of late regency drawers. Since I was not quite with it when I started sewing these on Sunday afternoon, they only just got finnished today. Originally these were going to be made at the very last minute as I don't really need them per se, but would like them. They were always a project that would get made if I had time, but since I didn't want to stuff up something else that I was working on, I decided to go with these as they are pretty mindless to sew.

Both pairs are made with a white sheeting cotton as the top half and a nice cotton voile at the bottom. Apparently this was common practice to use a nicer fabric on the bottom to save on money. It worked for me, because I had very little voile left over after cutting out a heap of chemises and a skirt. One pair is pure white with a pretty embroidered cotton lace on the hem. The other pair has a thinner lace on the bottom but with a blue check cotton bias sewn on (left over from my blue day gown).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

JAFA Progress entry #7

Now that I am back from Japan, it is time to get a move on with my dresses for JAFA. And on that note, I finnished my next regency day gown on the weekend. It is a blue check tartan, drawstring gown with 3/4 sleeves. It's very simple but I decided to add pleating at the back instead of gathering. I like how it worked out, but the whole idea of the simple gown is that it will have a matching spencer (which I am currently working on) and a bonnet. The spencer is pretty detailed, so that it is the main focus of the ensemble. But here is a sneak peek at the gown.

I am glad that I am making progress on everything, and now I only have a few bits and pieces of accessories to make (last minute if I have time), and 3 more full dresses to go. Not to mention that I need to get a move on making my White Queen costume for Supanova, but that is another project entirely.