Monday, July 30, 2018

Epic UFO Clean.

The back room at our house functions as both an office for my husband and the storage facility for all our crap; nik-naks and collectibles, books, old trophies, my now diminished costume collection and of cause all the sewing stuff and stash mountain.

We have been trying to consolidate the mass of hoarding that the room contains and will periodically bring out a box or two and clean through it slowly culling what we have.  Among these now lives the UFO box.

To be honest I don't even know why half finished projects are called UFO's or why some of my costumes (looking at you Elizabethan) are technically still UFO (Looking at you hems) but sufficed to say there is a lot of unfinished work.  Even to the point that sometimes in these clean outs I just decide that I don't want to ever finish that project and put it in the bin.  So I think as I work though being more precise of my work and finalising things to a higher standard that I need to also clear out this bucket.

Probably the next job I have is the Hem of the underskirt on my Elizabethan as mentioned above and hopefully refitting the shoulders (they fitted when first done but as the stuffed shoulder rolls were added the weight became to much).  I also think it may be worthwhile getting a carriage pleat going on the back of the dress but then there is the issue of me not knowing how to carriage pleat lol.  The fun bit about all this is that I have worn the dress about 5 times in its existence even with these issues.

I have a fully cut out black velveteen Victorian frock coat for my husband.  Again a decade old project that dates back to the great Victorian nightmare.  I have a dress with some embroidery done on the belt and yoke but sleeves still to be added and more embroidery to finish.  This dress predates even the Victorian stuff and I no longer play the character in the game that it relates to but should get it done regardless.

A 50's dress that was begun about 6 years ago minimum for a friend of mine sits requiring sleeves, hem and yoke.  A dress finished but with a broken zip, shorts without a waistband, you name it I have it half done and waiting for my interest.

I could put together a list but sometimes its just fun finding them occasionally and realising they may come in handy.

Take for example the petticoat TV170.  I cut the pieces and had them all overlocked in the Victorian nightmare and never got any further.  Originally one of my friends was going to wear it but with all the other stuff I was making it sat unfinished.  I pulled it out about 5 years later and added the lace trim to the bottom ruffle.  Then again it sat for years until this month I looked at the Victorian I had made for high tea and thought a petticoat would really help this.  Last night it reached its final hurrah.

Who knows whats up next once I finish this Victorian but I am sure it will be fun :)

Beatles dress - update

A good day is the day you fit back into a dress you made and loved. 

It was about a year ago now, when I played Candy in a production of one flew over the cuckoos nest.  So my psychedelic Beatles dress was prime.  And as I ended up in my underwear so was diet and exercise.

Don't believe it would look this good now but finally a picture of me in the dress as it was intended for you all to enjoy

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Victorian Christmas in July

A year ago (as it turns out to the day) I suggested to some friends that we go to the Carrington Hotel in Katoomba in July dressed in Victorian for high tea.  

I chose the The Carrington, which originally opened in 1883  because it retains that old world charm.  Every year they decorate a tree and put all the trimmings out in July and year round they do a well-priced and tasty high tea.  You can visit the dining room or ballroom for the high tea (depending where they are serving) the reception area, two lounges, library, billiards and office, all decorated in period charm.

I set the wheels in motion with a tentative early july date in September for the Historical Picnic Society, and whilst the numbers on the day were low (just the three of us) a good time was had by all. Personally I think we made several patrons day as they oohed and ahhed at us walking through to take photos at various hotel locations.  One group who all drove vintage triumphs even asked for our photos.

So this being about sewing you can see how the idea linked into my plans for a full Victorian outfit last year.  Let’s just say I was a bit behind on this one.  Not that I haven’t been sewing just that instead of working on this plan I have made multiple kids outfits (post to come) a costume for stage and a new dress.  On top of all this it is really really hard to sew with a two year old who loves to help.  Last night I was pinned in the leg three times as he “helped” me with some hand sewing.

Anyway in true Hef fashion despite a year lead time I created my entire outfit in under a week.  Planning and tracing took about 3 days and then I made the entire thing in one night (bustle not included).  There are further plans to complete this work to a much much higher standard as per the original plan but this is the shell in which I start.

I have continued to add and improve on this which will require another post once done

The outfit

This took about a day from start to finish including all the ruffles being done by hand.  Yes I know I bought a ruffle foot but damned be to the gods if I can work out how to use it.  This included tracing, cutting and all finishes. I think there is a couple of changes I would like to make to it but all in all it works and is a solid piece.

The wires are a size Medium.  I am not.  I was once and who knows maybe I will be again one day but it is not this day.  However because of the wire size and the plan to wear a corset I made the medium anyway.  For this reason the case isn’t quite as wide as my hips, or at least I assume it isn’t as wide as it should be which gives a smaller silhouette than it should.  Given that I am not THAT worried about historical accuracy I don’t think this is a big problem.

Things that I am missing include the bottom ruffle (not enough fabric left, due to indiscriminate cutting) what I may do is just do a less ruffled bottom ruffle to finish it.  I am also thinking I may add some lace to the bottom of each ruffle just to add some interest.

Unfortunately, my bustle had a wardrobe malfunction internally on the day.  The ties that control the bottom wire decided they would rather not exist than deal with the strain of my butt and the stitching on one side came undone.  Consequently the bustle doesn’t sit quite right in the photos but we make do.  The issue has been repaired and seems to be holding much more strongly now.  I assume this strain to be based on that size issue previously discussed.

The fabric is a quilting cotton that I picked up in spotlight a year ago specifically for the skin up Victorian project so technically it was stash fabric.  I picked it because it is of neutral shading but has this pretty white print on it that is barely noticeable.  I thought it was both pretty and likely to hide under any colour skirt I should choose.

I tossed and turned over this or the wash overskirt with the fabric choices.  I would have preferred the more Austere 1887 outfit but concern over yardage lead me back to the polonaise.  Sadly once all was said and done I probably could have done the wash but oh well that will just need to be a project for another day.  I had two different fabric choices, one was a light blue stripe with white underskirt and the second (which I went with) was the brocade and green satin.  

The biggest benefit of the polonaise is that having made it twice before (once as per the previous post and then again as a stage costume) I knew that I could throw it together quite quickly, and as previously mentioned anything worth doing is worth doing last minute.

The Brocade I got for a steal about 3 months ago. 50% off the already marked down price at spotlight brought it down to $5/m.  The Green Duchess has been in the stash for years, since 2012 to be exact.  I remember it was like $2/m at Cabramatta and I wasn’t going to get any for me then a friend I was with bought me 4m as a present for helping her make a costume.  For cheap fabric its actually pretty nice to touch and has a lot of body.  I was concerned that they didn’t go together but after a quick facebook survey I ended up reassured.  In the end I went with this over the light blue and white because I felt that the stripes could work well as a regency where this was less versatile, and who can turn up a red/green combo for Christmas in July.

As noted the polonaise was made in a single night and the underskirt the following morning before we left.  As such I can’t say that on this wearing the finishes were, well finished.  All my internals were open and lining unsealed, there was no boning in the polonaise, the ties in the bustle bit were tacked in bias binding.  I added the snap front closure in the morning.  Luckily you can’t really see any of the rush in the wear but let’s say the slightly too small corset was knee in back tight just to allow the snaps to stay snapped.

After being totally jealous of the finishes on Marion’s Beautiful taffeta extravaganza I have decided not to let sleeping dogs lie and begun the process of finishing the internals and closing off seams, upgrading and more thoughtfully placing the bustle ties and considering closure options.  Do I go buttons or hooks and eyes…. So hard to decide.  Anyway I will repost with the updated, finished and fully tizzed up version once complete.

The underskirt is very simple, three front gores and two back pieces gathered onto a waist band.  I do think maybe this skirt has a little too much fullness for the outfit and I MAY decide to take out some of the a line in the front gores at least, however these shots only have the bustle underneath and perhaps with a finished petticoat the skirt will hold itself better.  

Made in a matter of hours from trace to wear, there is a few things I want to change on this.  Firstly the waistband is too big.  I mean it is the right size for me without a corset but can’t be tightened to the corseted waist measurement.  I am thinking of removing the ties and adding a button/buttons to allow for both sizes to be utilised.

Secondly it is very plain, I have plans to add a pleated ruffle around the bottom just to dress it up more to the Victorian over-dressed standards.  I have enough fabric left for it.  I also may pink the internal seams.  Full sealing isn’t necessary as it won’t be a high wash item.

Missing items
TV105 – all in one underwear.  This is about 80% done now so its on the to do pile
TV170 – Petticoat, that has been hanging around about a decade now unfinished.  Movement has happened and it will be finished in the next few weeks for the finalised.  Fun Fact  I lost the waistband so now will need to buy just a smidge of yellow poplin to be able to finalise.

Monday, July 23, 2018

New Projects

well this really is just a post for me so I won’t be particularly verbose.

I have renewed my love of costume. It’s taken a lot longer to get my costume done than I had originally thought but I hear kids will do that to you.

Anyway I haven’t skin up completed but I have almost finished underwear. A completed bustle. And a polonaise and basic skirt. It’s been worn but work continues   I will do a more full post on Victorian for you all in the next week or so.

This post is really to get some more plans written down.

1. Victorian
2. Fix Elizabethan
3. Regency that fits inc half stays.
4. Tudor
5. Robe de anglaise
6. Robe de Francois
7. Pre civil war cage
8. Medieval

I will edit this list with further ideas and plans as I go.