Thursday, November 3, 2016

TBT: Sewing with Pets

I have pets. Specifically dogs. More specifically, my bag of bones (a.k.a. Skinny, Skeletor, Pretty Girl, Crazy Whippet) that I typically refer to on the web as Daisy the Dog.
Last post she made it into my write up because she found her way into the office/sewing space. Normally I don't let her in to help minimize pet hair in the projects, but every so often she sneaks in.

While digging through my multitude of cell phone pictures recently, I found this fun gem.
Yes, that's a dog tail peeking from under the skirt.
When I lived in my apartment, I didn't have much room for a sewing area, much less a lot of room period. I was working on my calico bluebud dress and needed to put it on so I could make some self-adjustments. Daisy refused to move from the room (the largest since I had to accommodate an 1850s crinoline). No amount of coaxing could get her to move, so I adapted instead and stepped over her, crinoline and all.

Surprisingly, she did not move. I stood there for probably 10 minutes taking measurements and marking things, and still she did nothing. The incident would probably have been unmemorable, except I had her tail sticking out from under the dress and crinoline the entire time.

Hope you at least get a good laugh from this one! Happy sewing with your pets!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Heirloom Acquisitions - Buttons and 1920 Wedding Dress

Ugh I've been horrible this fall about staying up to date! August we had vacation, September saw us trying to start wedding planning, and October has just managed to fly by. After September, we did some number crunching for the wedding and my sewing habit is going to have to go through some budget cutbacks for a few months. Womp-womp :(

So yes, still not a whole lot of sewing happening - both in general and for my 1890s suit dress - but I have other fun things to show off!

For starters, my Aunt Dianne was recently going through stuff at her house and bequeathed to me a family button box!
There's some really interesting buttons in here that go all the way back to the turn of the 1900s probably, based on what I was told and what I found in the box (an old stogie box) as well. These were a few of my favorite finds:
Glass buttons, buttons on a card, iridescent glass/jet with animal claws, and someone's leather thimble.

Now the really spectacular part of this post started with a phone call from my Grandma Siegfried. They were also going through stuff at their house and found a box with a wedding dress in it (I need to get names again for who it belonged to), probably from around the 1920s. From what she described, it had been picked apart after being worn and there were just pieces of dress in the box. She wanted to know if I might be interested though because I could possibly use the pieces in other projects. I told her to send it along and I would take a look at it.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Going Gaga for Gertie

Oh I did the most horrible thing this summer! It started way back when I needed more fabric for my Hawaiian pleated skirt made during my retro binge. The local Joann's closest to me was sold out so we traveled down to another location that had the fabric. Lo and behold! This Joann's had WAAAY more apparel fabric than my local one, including the Gertie Collection.

I knew nothing about Gretchen Hirsch (the designer) apart from I loved all the fabrics (think border prints, bright tropicals, and quirky retro designs) and after leafing through the accompanying patterns, found them to be pretty easy for putting together.

Several sales, endless coupons, and multiple trips later, I accumulated this:
My horrible math skills tell me there is about 41 yards of material in here.

And this doesn't include ALL the patterns. Just ones I wanted.
Retro is quickly becoming a quick part of my everyday life because it's a fun way to jazz up my black wardrobe for work, and it's super comfy because in all honesty, I could live in skirts and dresses.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Young Girl's Crinoline Cage

Another year, another birthday, and another addition to Lexie's history wardrobe. Currently she has a calico dress, apron and bonnet, and some underthings. In the spirit of making a complete set of proper undergarments, I pulled Butterick B5901 back out to start working on the hoop skirt.
Butterick B5901
Everything went together well enough by following the directions. I made one alteration to the waistband - instead of fitted, it has a drawstring ribbon so that it is more adjustable. Easy enough to do with 1" grosgrain ribbon. I even got to do some stash busting as well.
This gathered trim came from a petticoat (My very first, horribly made one) that I tore apart a couple years ago. There just enough for the hem and it was a great way to re-purpose some materials that I had.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Further 1890s Suit Research

As I plan my vacation and do some small side projects, I'm continuing to look through some reference materials and dig through my stash for supplies that I already have.

To start, I dug up some fabrics that I already had. The first is a length of green-grey wool that I had bought down in the LA Fashion District during a visit home to Southern California in spring 2015. When I bought the fabric, I had already had this project in mind so I made sure to get several yards. I'm opting for the TV291 Walking Skirt, as that's what fits with the outfit in mind.
The fabric photos lighter than what it actually looks like.
I also have this cotton eyelet fabric that I chanced across at Joann's fabric a while ago. I already have TV491 Blouse Waist, but I may opt for TV494 Shirtwaist instead since I'm looking for a more casual appearance.
The eyelet is super lightweight and has small embroidered lines through it.
 Speaking of blousewaists and shirtwaists...

Monday, June 27, 2016

An 1890s Walking Dress

Sooo after forever, I've decided to start working on a new Victorian dress project. What I have in mind is something that has been on the eventual to-do list for a while - just a simple 1890s walking outfit. I've been wanting an outfit like this for its simplicity and ease of not having to worry about things like trains/long hems, ruffles, etc.

What I'm looking to put together is a simple shirtwaist with a flared skirt. I may make a fitted vest to go over top of the shirtwaist and - pending that I have enough material - maybe even do a false shirtwaist to go under a jacket. We'll see.

In the meantime, here's some of the photos I've been poking through to get the creative juices flowing.
1890s dress via Pinterest
1899 Wedding Dress from V&A

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Few Quick Updates

Ugh, I have been so lazy in keeping up to date on my posts these last couple of months.

Part of the problem is I haven't had a hardcore costume project to keep my mind focused for a while. I've been mostly doing quick sewing projects since the start of the year that don't warrant too much research of time for putting together. I'm planning to make some changes to that (more on that in a couple of posts).

Part of my distraction lies in that I've been starting to make plans for August for traveling, and my wedding next year. Yep, I'm engaged now!This happened back at the end of April, but due to aforementioned laziness, I'm just now mentioning it.
I have to show off my ring though because Kerry proved just how well he knows me by picking a vintage ring. We know it's about 100 years old, but that is about it since it has no maker's marks and came with no provenance. I absolutely love it though and the gentleman who gave it to me!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

1960s Repro Work Blouse

So another addition to the "things I've made but haven't gotten around to posting yet." This piece also stems forth from my recent binge shopping trip for vintage patterns. The pattern I used for this project was Simplicity's Jiffy 1364, a reproduction from the 1960s.
Simplicity Jiffy 1364
I opted for View B, since I wanted something comfortable for summer. For the fabric, I opted for black and white polka dot charmeuse purchased from Denver Fabrics, since I wanted to be able to wear it work with one of my retro skirts. I reviewed the pattern and it was fairly simple in terms of execution. The real challenge came in the material I selected. I have never worked with charmeuse before, but figured this was a good pattern to test it out on since it would be easy to put together.
It definitely proved to be a little tricky since the material is very slippery and silky. I've worked with dupioni and shantung silks before, but those are a little stiffer. Perhaps the hardest part was sewing two bust darts along the bias of the material. It took a lot of pins to make sure nothing moved while I put the darts in.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Measure Thrice and Cut Twice

So a couple months ago I went on a 1950s bender and bought a bunch of vintage and vintage-inspired patterns. The first project I decided to work on was a Hawaiian print, pleated skirt.
McCall's M6706 Pleated Skirt
I have not used McCall's before so I did a lot of measuring before hand to pick out the size that would work best for me, since nothing ever runs true to the given measurements it seems.

So I picked my size and starting  putting everything together. The first problem I ran into before I could even cut out my pattern pieces though is my fabric was too narrow for the pieces.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Regency Shift

Sooo...back in February I was looking for something to work on and while going through my fabrics, found some yardage of combed cotton lawn I had ordered during the fall. I had ordered it from Dharma Trading Co. with the intent of using it for some Edwardian underpinnings. Then I put together my Regency drop front dress.

While I do have a Regency shift already, I was the first one I made from cotton/poly broadcloth and the entire thing is machine sewn. As a result, it is very bulky, not breathable, and very stiff. The neckline is also cut very high and sometimes peeks out from my dresses. 

Originally I had used Sense & Sensibility's Regency Underthings Pattern, but I opted for the Laughing Moon Ladies' Regency and Romantic Era Corset, which includes pattern pieces for a shift.

LM #115
As I cut out pattern and fabric pieces, everything is pretty much the same in that there is a large front and back piece, shoulder piece, sleeve piece, and underarm gusset. I did some research into the LM pattern though and one of the things I noticed were a lot of people had issues with the back running a little high. To see how the shift would work out, I made a "half" mock-up of just the upper portion to check for for fit and any additional alterations that might be needed.

Just like the reviews, the back did run high. To help adjust this, I added 2" to the back of the shoulder strap pieces, and lowered the top edge the same amount to accommodate the change.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Sewing Space Improvements

So while I have been diligently working on a couple sewing projects and my cross stitch, I went on a week long hiatus of not really doing a whole lot. My sewing space sits in the same room as the office, and because it doesn't get a whole lot of use (outside of my sewing), it also has the propensity for being a huge dumping ground of things that myself and the beau (Kerry) would really not deal with at the immediate moment.

In the spirit of spring cleaning though, we go into the room to clean, purge, and just go through things. Part of the the mess includes a lot of stuff that I never got around to going through when I moved over a year and a half ago. While going through everything, I found this gem of a photo from when I was probably in the 10th or 11th grade (2004-2005). So here's a Throwback Thursday on Friday.
It's from a Girl Scout workshop that had something to do with local heritage or history (I don't remember, there's too much dust on that portion of the brain). But as you can see, I had a very early introduction to corsets. I have a vague recollection of being laced into it and going, "Cool! So this is what these things feel like!"

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spring Time Swing Time Fever

Over the winter holidays, I got bit really hard by the retro bug. Last October I had made my spider web flare skirt. We had a mild winter in northeast Ohio so we've already had several bouts of warm temps (meaning 55-65 degrees F). As a result, I've had warmer weather clothing on my mind for a while already. With no upcoming historical events to attend as of now, I'm deciding to go outside of my comfort zone and work on some - recently - historical clothing. Not to mention I'll be able to wear it on a more day-to-day basis (Crinoline hoop skirts are fun, but they're a b!tch to wear around town regularly and while driving). Plus there's the added fun of doing research about it.

I had bought Vintage Vogue pattern V8788 a loong time ago, but have never had an idea of what fabric I wanted to use for it. Recently I discovered a love of cotton poplin and shirting fabrics because they're super lightweight and still have a nice dressy look even though they're completely natural. Wanting be able to wear it into work (We have a black and white only clothing policy), I found this pretty floral poplin from Denver Fabrics.
Then I went and saw the movie Brooklyn with Saoirse Ronan close to awards season, and that retro bug became a full blown infection. As I sat in the theatre trying to ignore the packed audience around me, I fell in love first with the story of Eilis as she immigrates from Ireland to Brooklyn, New Work, during the early 1950s, then with all of the outfits that she wears (And if you haven't seen the film yet, do!).

Friday, March 4, 2016

Better Late Than Never

So for the last week of February, I had a week off from work. While I had all sorts of plans for sewing projects for my days when I was sitting around the house, that sort of ended up going out the window once I sat down in my sewing area. I had more chore projects stacking up and small projects that I had put together.

I opted for the project pile since it would help to clear up some space for me. To start, a couple throw pillows that went with the curtains in the bedroom. Not my idea of anything exciting, but they were done in a couple hours. In addition, my friend Sarah had a baby recently so I was putting together some fun stuff for her.

In the process of cleaning through the project pile though, I did finish this small wedding sampler (also for Sarah) that was originally promised to her shortly after her wedding. As you can see from the picture, it's been a while.

With one cross stitch project being finished, that means I can have another in progress! Because these can sometimes be very time consuming, I try not to have more than two going at a single time. My next one is Charlotte from Mirabilia patterns.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fashion Victims review

The Bata Shoe Museum opened an exhibit a while ago entitled Fashion Victims: The Pleasures & Perils of Dress in the 19th Century. Along with the exhibit, a book was released, Fashion Victims: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present by Alison Matthews Davis.
At the immediate time, I probably won't be able to get up to the exhibit, located in Toronto, and it ends June 2016. But the companion book was available through my library so I put in order

Thursday, February 4, 2016

House Sewing and a Flapper Frock

Gadzooks! Where did January go? So I have been doing some sewing, but it's been off the "house work" pile. I don't obtain this pile too often, because housework = chores = stuff I try to put off. In this case, it was curtain hemming. Always a "fun" task in my book.
Curtains. Yay. Fun. Totally not exciting.
So on to the real fun stuff now. I don't know why I didn't put this up sooner.

In November last fall, I awoke on Black Friday and started perusing the online sales. And I don't mean the Macy's or Best Buy sales. Instead I head over to some of my favorite costume and boutique sites. In this case, Unique Vintage. 

Unique Vintage is well known for vintage style wear, but I've been stalking this site for a few years for their beaded flapper dresses. I've been wanting one since I first found this site about 3 years ago. On Black Friday, they do a huge sale and it's the best time to grab one of these because they normally go for about $100-$300 each (prices vary according to style, popularity, if it's on clearance, etc.). With some help from my sister, I selected this beaded beauty.
Teal beaded dress by Unique Vintage

Thursday, January 14, 2016

2015 Year in Review

My year review is coming up a little late, but normal work keeps me occupied like always. Despite health issues during the springtime and a full-time work schedule, I got a number of small projects done a couple of big ones as well.

At the start of the year I finished two cross stitch projects that had been in progress for a VERY long time:
Mermaid of the South Seas
The Kiss

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Young Girl's Historical Underthings

Another post-holiday gift posting. In October, I started on a set of matched underthings for Lexie, the beau's younger sister. She had already received a dress and accessories, so I figured it was about time to outfit her with some proper underpinnings.

I did attempt to do some research for the project, but finding extant examples of undergarments for children is a hard thing to come by. The only things I found was this underdress from The Met.
Petticoat 1838 - The Met
It matched the pattern I had in my stash from Butterick - B5901 Girl's drawers, underskirt, and hoop skirt. While the style matches, there is no particular date attached to the pattern, so it definitely makes it usable across a broad date spectrum.
Butterick B5901
After obtaining my measurements, I started work on the pattern according to the instructions. The drawers were super easy to put together and match many of the patterns I've put together for full scale women's drawers. They have the split crotch seam, waist ties, and pin tucks along the eyelet lace at the bottom of the pantalettes.

Christmas Reticules

This is one of my heavily delayed posts due the content containing Christmas goodies. For my friends, this year I decided to make some reticule hand bags for everyone. I used two patterns for my bases - Butterick 3485 and B4411, both out of print.
They are both very easy to follow and I made only slight alterations to some of the bags. Because of this, there aren't too many detail constructions. Each bag is listed below with the pattern and materials used.
*          *          *

Pattern: Butterick B4411 View A
Modifications: No major modifications outside of deviating from the instructions on how embellishments were sewn on
Fabric: Red and black silk dupioni, heavy duty interfacing
Notions: Black woven trim for the edges and front decoration, braided black trim for the bag handles, black poly satin ribbon, plastic canvas, matching thread