Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Costume College, here I come!

Today I am packing and trying to finish up the last bits and pieces of my never-ending gala gown for Costume College.  I just wanted to remind everybody that we are having the Curtain-Along meetup at 11:00 on Saturday around the outside lounge/pool area.  I've seen several of the outfits that people will be wearing to the meetup, and it's going to be pretty spectacular!

I am SO looking forward to meeting some new friends and catching up with old friends, so if you are going to be there and you spot me anytime during the weekend, please come say hi!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

18th c. boy's shirt and Indienne waistcoat

I took a little break from Costume College sewing last week to whip up some new clothes for my boy to wear to a Bastille Day brunch.  First, I made him a little Indienne print waistcoat that would work for  both my Curtain-Along project and the Historical Sew Fortnightly "Eastern Influence" challenge.   I used a Mill Farm Pattern for his waistcoat, and I thought the pattern made up quite nicely and was definitely worth the very reasonable price that I paid for it.  My biggest complaint was that you have to pick one size for the patterns, and since I bought this one 2 years ago, I had to size it up on my own to fit him now.  Multi-sized patterns are definitely a plus when working with kids clothes!  

My inspiration for this garment came from this adorable boy's waistcoat from the Winterthur Museum.  The front is made from a scrap of my Waverly curtains, and the front lining and the back are made from tan cotton duck.  I also used a bit of striped light-weight linen for the lining in the back because I like the idea of using mix-and-match scraps for period linings.   I was incredibly lazy and machine sewed and bag-lined the waistcoat instead of using period construction techniques, but it still looks pretty much the same and it saved me a good bit of time.

I also needed to make him an 18th c. shirt, which I am going to count for the HSF "White" challenge.  I used the instructions in that same Mill Farm pattern to get me started, although I think I messed something up because the neckline and sleeves are less gathered than I expected them to be.  I also had some trouble figuring out how to do the gussets and finish the seams.  I am very much a visual learner, and unfortunately, the Mill Farm patterns are quite sparing with their illustrations.   I referenced several other sites online to help me wrap my head around it, and I think it all came together okay in the end.  I really liked this article by the Northwest Territory Alliance and found their instructions very helpful, even though I didn't follow them exactly.

I made the shirt out of a lightweight linen/cotton blend, and while I used my machine on some parts, I finished everything by hand.  I was also excited to be able to use some of my tiny 1920's mother-of-peal shirt buttons from the collar and cuffs.  As a finishing touch, I hemmed a triangle of gingham fabric and made a neckerchief to tie around his collar.  All of the materials for the waistcoat, neckerchief, and shirt came from my stash.

This outfit is still a work-in-progress, and I hope to make him some drop-front trousers and a jacket sometime this fall.  I also made his shirt and waistcoat bigger than necessary, so maybe they will last for a few wearings.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Remnant challenge wiggle dress

I've really enjoyed participating in the Historical Sew Fortnightly this year, but I hate that it limits my time for retro sewing.  I'm trying to sneak in a few quick and easy retro projects every once in a while to give myself a break and a dash of something different.  It might mean that a HSF challenge doesn't get finished on time (like my Pretty Pretty Princess dress, which I'm horribly behind on), but giving myself some time away from the HSF stuff is helping me keep my sanity, and that's a good thing too.  :)

So when one of my favorite local fabric stores, Fabrique, recently announced that they were going to do another remnant challenge, I snatched up a small piece of midnight blue linen and decided to make myself a 50's wiggle dress.  The whole dress was made with less that 1 and 1/8 yard of fabric, which I am really proud of.  Laying out the pieces to make the best use of the fabric was almost like doing a big jigsaw puzzle, and it was SO satisfying when I finally figured out that I could make it work.

The pattern is cloned from a vintage dress that I bought a few years ago for a few bucks.  The sewing thread was completely rotted on the dress, so it literally fell apart on my body when I tried it on.  I took the whole thing apart and thought I would re-sew it, but when I noticed that there were a lot of moth-holes and stains on it too,  I decided to just use the pieces to create a copy of the original.  And as a fun bonus, I was able to wear this dress as a visual aide for a class that I taught this past weekend about cloning historical garments.

The original dress has some really cool seam-lines, including a shelf bust and an odd little panel over the belly that connects to the skirt.  I wanted to bring these elements out as a more obvious design feature, so I added a lighter blue wool piping to all the seams.  I think it ended up looking really modern and almost futuristic because of the unusual construction.  I mean seriously - horizontal pleats across the ribcage?  Where the heck did that come from?  But even though this dress is a bit strange, I think it's a fun combination of retro without looking old-fashioned.