Tag Archives: sewing

The Countdown to Costume College

3 Jul

When I was a kid I always loved advent calendars. Each December my grandma would give my brother and I those little cardboard ones with the chocolates inside. I loved hunting for the correct date, the sound of the cardboard and plastic as I opened it and the shaped chocolate hidden inside. Each day that went by came with a treat. The passing of time, as we eagerly awaited Christmas, was exciting, something to look forward to. Oh how things change when you reach adulthood.

Time is ticking away. The count down to Costume College is flying by. Much like Christmas, as a child, I am very eager to get to the end. But oi vay do I have so much to do. I have been working diligently whenever I can. I’m actually pretty proud of my focus and dedication. No (ok almost no) procrastination in this camp! However my main issue has been not enough time. Life events, big and small, keep getting in the way.

Slytherian bustle back

Slytherian bustle back

Each week I get 2 days to myself to sew, clean house and do anything else I can’t do with my toddler around. 16 hours a week of badly needed quiet and solitude. It’s amazing how desperate you become for silence when you have a little kid around all the time. I end up with about 12 -14 hours of actual sewing time. Some days I get so much done in those precious hours. Other days I have just started when it’s time to stop. Over the past month I have also lost a few days to other projects. We are new home owners and predictably have a long list of house projects. One week it was new floors. The next new bookcases and deep cleaning away the dust from the floors. The next week a no school day for my son.  I’ve lost 5 days of sewing time in the past month. No wonder I feel so behind.

Slytherian side bustle

Slytherian side bustle

I have managed a lot of progress however. At night I have been hand sewing my Regency era stays. On sewing room days I have been working on my Slytherian bustle dress. Its coming along beautifully. Underskirt and over skirt need hand sewing only. The bodice is together save sleeves and I am currently working on trim (a mix of machine and hand sewing). I did make a goal this year of hand sewing as much as I could and I stuck to it however if has greatly increased the time needed for finishing work.

For the underskirt I used my grand bustle skirt pattern I developed last year and altered it to fit tightly over the bustle frame. I dont have enough fabric for a flowing skirt and wanted a more tailored look all around. Attached to that are 2 rows of box pleated ruffles. The over skirt is based on the Truly Victorian 1886 Asymmetrical Drape (TV382) with some alterations. I put a cut in the center back and pulled up edges to create a mini butterfly look.

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Slytherian Bodice Front

For the bodice I used my bodice pattern from the Frolicking costume with some additions. I found an image of the Ageless Patterns 1887 Corsage Vest and loved the lines. I try not to copy peoples work as much as possible but I knew if I bought the pattern it would not help me more than if I just made it myself. So after a quick mock up I moved on to the bodice. To my frustration I discovered I do not have enough fabric for the bodice and the sleeves. So right now the sleeves are on hold while I brainstorm some alternatives.

Slytherian Bodice Back

Slytherian Bodice Back

Shortly I will need to make some other decisions. The Slytherian bustle has a number of hours left but I believe I will have enough time to complete another ensemble before Costume College. Not a huge one but something. I would like to do a non Victorian project but what?!? On my list of goals is a full Regency ensemble but do I have enough time? I still have a lot of work on the stays and would need to do the chemise, petticoats and gown plus accessories. I had intended to do an open robe so that is a 2 part gown. What to do? Whatever the decision I know I have to use stash fabric. I do have that pewter silk which I am thinking is right for a Georgian gown but would need to research and design it. I have also recently been lured by Renaissance designs especially German. Something about the bright wool dresses and bust line is interesting. But I have NO experience in that era. I also love Elizabethan but that is a lot of details. What to do?!? I have to make the decision soon.

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Sewing room tour

16 Jun

First off this is a test to see how bad the formatting is when I use the mobile app. Bear with me.

I LOVE  seeing pictures of people’s studios. It has always fascinated me how people work and the materials they use. All the trinkets, supplies, inspiration images and yes mess. So many artist I speak to are embarrassed by their messy studios but really those are the best ones.

On the flip side I am also a surprisingly organized person. I like to call my style organized chaos. Everything has a place but it’s not always in its place. I am always looking for creative organization ideas and how to cram as much stuff as possible into a small space.

Givin that I love to peek at other people’s studios I thought it only fair I share mine. Let the photo tour begin!

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This is the print that greets you as you walk in. I got it a couple years ago at SEAF. I couldn’t pass it up!

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Next we have my pattern storage. Up top are hand drafted or highly altered patterns. Below we have commercial patterns. There are vintage ones mixed in. Some day (after CoCo) I will organize these a little better.

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Next up we have the ironing area. For Christmas I got a gravity feed semi – industrial iron. Behind the iron is the costume closet. Its full and messy and thus not part of the tour.

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To the left of the iron is the ironing acessories. Not very exciting. Above that however is a nice fashion plate I picked up a few months ago.

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This is my sewing table. Organized chaos. It is surprisingly functional and big.

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This is my primary machine, Mary Ann. I name my machines after their previous owners. I absolutely LOVE my machine! It’s consistant, heavy and easy to use. Some day I will cut the table so the machine sits flush. Right now that is my only complaint – it’s too high.

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This is the over flow messy corner. It’s a pile of fabric to sort, papers to sort and the only place my grand bustle can live when I need it handy but not on my dress form. So there is a bit of necessary chaos.

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No sewing room is complete without a media center of sorts. I watch a lot of Star Trek and Harry Potter here. Under the computer is a treedle machine. I have yet to use it due to a broken belt but I am sure I will need to in the next year. You also can see my project boards. I just got them so they are under used at the moment. The idea is to have my sketches, research and to do lists easily visable.

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Next we have my main work space – the cutting table. This corner is where I sit to draw, draft, cut and do some hand sewing. This area also houses a lot of trim, notions and tools.

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I love my little wooden drawers! Here you can see my rulers, manuals and empty pattern envelopes next the main tool drawer.

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Big cutting table!

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An interesting completely useless piece – a silver bowl given to my great aunt from her local Gilbert and Sullivan Society. She was their costumer for many years.

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My favorite part of the sewing room – half decoration, half storage. Sometimes i just stand in front of it staring.

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It’s amazing how much stuff I’ve crammed on here.

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Lastly behind the door is a little hanging storage for projects in process or mending.

So that’s it. It’s a good sized room but of course like most sewing rooms completely over flowing.