Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's a Dress! Or Finally Finished

Semester ends! Yay! And I catch the sewing bug. But with money tied up in Christmas Gifts, I must dive into the UPB or Unfinished Project Box. We all have one, they're usually that box tucked away in the sewing room of things no one wants to see, where a couple tweaks and maybe an hour and there'd be a finished project.


This is my first colonial dress. I made the stays, shift and pockets a few years back. As with the small bumroll and the three petticoats underneath. (Said petticoats and bumroll are used for everything requiring petticoats.) There are pictures of the underthings, somewhere. And I know I need new stays. The ones I'm wearing are from when I first started sewing and not really comfortable. (had yet to learn of tabs. OMG! I love tabs.) Pretty much they're boring white with blue thread. I'm debating new ones with an actual pattern and possible that goregous curtain fabric......

So here is the dress (excuse the cell phone):
It is a very pretty quilter's cotton I found in Joann's. The pattern looks very colonial to me, but I cannot swear to accuracy. I'm a costumer not a historian, Jim! (Sorry, couldn't resist). The back is quartered and the front fastens down the front with pins, which are currently pulling because I'm not laced right. (My assistant was over the river, literally) The pattern is a combination of the Simplicty pirate gown and historical stuff I found/looked at online. I drafted it from the information myself! I doubt it's together historically acurate but alas. Partially machine partially by hand.

You can see the pattern of the fabric well here and how full I got my skirts. Plus the shape provided by the stays.

The yellow skirt is not the right one for this gown. I made a very full, teal petticoat that looks gorgeous under the gown and adds even more fullness. But it and I are not on speaking terms (long story.) So I am using possibly the first skirt I made. It too is of quilter's cotton and has a matching blouse and corset to go with it. (technically it belongs to the Padme outfit...)

The neck-kerchief is not the right one. I have one somewhere but I don't know where. So its a muslin square. And a little bit of self fabric trim is not on yet. I ran out of fabric. But there are sleeve flounces that had to be removed to adjust the sleeves. Hey! There's a hem and a closure, to me that means finished!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 7, 2012

It's because of the 'Birds, I swear!

At the heart of it, I blame the Angry Birds, after them comes Disney. And exactly for what praytell do I blame them? Why for the "Sew Star Wars" Bug, I've been obsesively playing the Angry Birds Star Wars game on my phone. It really is a fun one and the Leia Bird's power is awesome. Couple that with the news Disney plans three more Star Wars movies, has sent my sewing bug all a twitter.

I love the costumes out of both trilogies. Personally I favor the original trilogy for story but the new for costume. I mean have you seen some of the costumes? I'm particularly partial to Padme's costumes. Her Picnic Dress was one of the first I made.

Alas this is not my version. Mine was made when I was 16 and of a pretty yellow quilter's cotton. I didn't have the shawl or the headpiece. But the piece de resistance in my opinion was my corset. My very first corset, which I painted the embroidered design on to. I will have pics as soon as I remember to take any. The blouse is currently in pieces, I wanted to redo it. And I do have new ribbons.

However! This time it is not the picnic dress that is in my mind. Although if I finish the blouse redo, I may wear it to Faire. Ha! No this time it is Padme's battle dress from the end of Attack of the Clones. I have spent much time debating how to do the cloak, and spandex is cake for me to work with. (cough Catwoman cough).

I also admit fascination for Princess Leia's white dress in Star Wars A New Hope and also for Arwen's Chase outfit in the Fellowship of the Ring but I fear that is to another post.

All I have to say is any of us who sew Star Wars or at least based on many of the movies are truly in debt to Maggie ( She is truly awesome to have compiled all the great pics from numerous movies. I do not know how she does it. So check out for Star Wars costumes and for many other movies. We will not discuss how many times I have been there to drool over costumes.

Cheers All!

PS: If you want, I can put the links in proper reference format, but it'll be MLA regardless of how pissy that makes my professor.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Late Night Thoughts and Shoes

Today was a catch up day. Tradtionally I hate them, but more often they're necessary. I was able to watch the midseason finale of Once. OMG! How am I supposed to wait a month for new episodes? Guess that means we focus on Hook's costume. Meow.

Also I now have a sewing apprentice so to speak. Lover wishes to learn sewing and I wish to have help fitting garments. Two birds, one stone. Though it could lead to intersting times. At least I get lucky that he likes to dress up. Plus there's talk of a weapons collection. Ooo swords. Some day I'd love that to extend into actual reenacting. Perhaps it's just because of the tent.

Also, it must be mentioned, American Duchess has a pre-order on a new shoe design! I'm in love with her red colonial shoes. I have yet to talk myself into spending the money. I can be very thrifty. Still one must mention the new shoes! Victorian boots, not my favorite time persay, but one of my fantasy characters exist there.

One day, I'll actually get to be more than a poor grad student. Then I could have pretty red shoes for Abigail and button boots for Holly and Anna. Plus Marian could wear silk. And yes, That probably made little sense to many but I've been in the Southern Comfort and my voice is practically gone. Plus it's late.Dreamland awaits.

Fare Thee Well

PS: All Hail the American Duchess and her beautiful Shoes!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pirates! Pirates! Pirates!

Okays so it's probably a little crazy to start planning for next year's RenFaire now (and yes I do go to those, I happen to love the one by me) but when inspiration strikes, there is often little choice. And man, do I have inspiration.

Every Sunday we watch ABC's Once Upon a Time. It's a really cool show and has awesome characters and amazing costumes for a tv show. It's like SyFy's Merlin costume wise but with a Tudor/Elizabethan/Victorian edge. Anyways, the costumes are awesome. Google it for awesome pics. But alas, I digress. This season there is Captain Killian Jones, better known as Captain Hook. Yes Captain Hook is now on Once. But not this Hook:

This Hook:
I know, totally drool worthy. Any who, there was already discussion of pirates for next years RenFaire, last year. And with Hook's arrival on Once, what better character to do? (and I mean costume ;) ) So I went through pics and managed to figure out Hook's wardrobe and the absolutely gorgeous coat he has. On a random note, does anyone else notice how he keeps getting tied up every time he appears? Not that I'm complaining  just saying....

So we have our dashing captain  Lover is already all for it. (squeals and runs around cheering). Now we need my attire. I looked through Milah, Hook's love interest - we think - from the episode "The Crocodile". I liked the idea of her attire but I didn't want to recreate it exactly. So after much digging, I came up with this:
Merlina the Pirate

Just ignore the writing on it. I take notes on my sketches. And yes that is a sketch and the extent of my art skills, although I can sometimes do landscapes....

I intend to make the doublet shell out of this lovely tooled faux leather with a green-blue lining. the doublet lining will also be the same as the outer fabric of the corset. Blouse will be a crinkly cotton. Skirt likely similar to the lining. and this time the pants will have a little stretch or I will cut them properly and there will be NO lacing down the sides.

Now I just need to get the fabric, pattern and everything. Fun. At least I have my favorite corset pattern!

Cheers and Happy Sunday/Once Day!

PS: Links beneath the pictures will relocate you to the location they were taken. I admit I could formally cite them in APA or MLA format, but I just finished the massive bibliography and I don't feel like it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ha Ha! Not Dead!

Ha Ha! I am not dead! It's just been a rough month and a half or so. I was sick then I thought I was better then there was Superstorm Sandy and no power, then I was sick again, then there were papers, and now there is Thanksgiving and a quasi break.

To sum up, I never really got to dress up for Halloween. Being sick combined with no power doesn't make for a working sewing machine. And yes I did sew by hand for a little while but I had to tear most of that out then next day in the daylight. Clearly I'm not used to candles. I remain in awe of those of you who can do full garments completely by hand. I am almost done with Moira, the maid from the first season of American Horror Story, alas Countess Dracula is still in pieces.

However! I did make aprons! And there are pictures!

The aprons have pockets and are reversable. It's common knowledge in my family if you dress up you will get stains. So aprons are very important at family gatherings. (The amount of stains are directly proportionate to the amount of people present, the importance of the holiday, and the newness of the outfit) These aprons are made out of printed cotton fabric from Joann's. They have grosigrain ribbon ties. (not visible)

So I wish all a Happy Thanksgiving and leave you with a picture of my purrfect pumpkin pie. It helped break the baking curse I was under.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October Sewing/Halloween/Here we go again

So October brings much: colder weather, lovely colors in the trees, fresh apple cider, and Halloween. Which subtly translates into frantic sewing. Woohoo. As I recall in recent memory, I was stitching the ears on Catwoman's cowl like ten minutes before a party one year. (Typical, one would think I'd learn...)

This year's problem is not cat ears. Nope, it's indecisiveness. I have two costumes ideas, one is mostly finished, the other partially finished. The first is Countess Dracula/Queen of Darkness. I have a couple issues with this one that make me unhappy. Probably stuff easily fixed with some quality time with a seam ripper. (more on that later.) The other is a historically inspired interpertation of Princess Jasmine in Disney's Aladdin. (Which I mentioned earlier.)

This is Countess Dracula/Queen of Darkness:

This consists of a trained black "velvet" skirt, a black "velvet" bodice with light boning and back lacing. The slightly puffy sleeves are attached to the bodice with the black chiffon drape below. The cape is black tulle (but with a nicer drape) with silver details (moons and stars). As is the collar. The cape and collar are removable and the skirt and bodice are separate. The Skirt is from my Phantom costume.

As mentioned before there a couple issues to this costume. There's something funky with the skirt. It never hangs quite right and I'm torn between redoing the waist band/pleating or getting a couple yards of black satin to make a full skirt to match the sleeves. In addition, I think the bodice needs a little trim of some kind, it seems very plain to me. Plus, it needs a new corset/chemise to make it all sit right, and some skirt support. I already have a fun Halloween fabric for the corset. I just can't decide on the skirts. And I do have a lovely corset pattern, which is kind of my go to for any corset. It just rocks and fits so well:

If anyone knows anything about pleating Victorian Natural or bustle skirts, links or advice would be greatly apprcieated. I believe that's what this skirt is supposed to be. Maybe it needs a better petticoat. I've no idea. Victorian is not my strong point. But damn can I make a corset.

This  is my corset base pattern, I use it to draft every corset I make. Or at least as the basis when playing with patterns. I've also used it to draft bodices and such. It's awesome. It started as the corset from Simplicity 5834, and went from there. In its latest incarnation it was the corset from my Maid Marian garb. 

The other costume, Princess Yasmin, is partially finished. I have the harem pants and the blouse, I just need to figure out the coat and get up the guts to cut out the fancy fabric as well as hem the veil.

The whole reason for this is to enter a costume contest in my area. And I really want to enter. But in addition to all this, I also have a couple sachets to make to put lavender in. (We have cloth moth issues and a cat who is usually a mighty hunter but is scared of these things...) Obviously they are in purple fabrics.

I also have my friend's Supergirl cape and possibly advisement on another costume. As well as an apron for my grandmother's birthday. And here I thought I'd stop this massive sewing run. I never learn....


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Princess Yasmin's Hat

So it started with a bored day at work and I gave into research. That resesrch led to plots for a historically accurate version of one of my favorite Disney Princesses, Princess Jasmine. This is my version, which takes its influence from Turkish and Persian fashion. The plan included a blouse, harem pants, a coat and a hat with veils. And I know they have proper names but I'm on my phone and don't feel like looking them up.

In cleaning up the sewing room I found the hat form I bought last year. It was originally a 1950s costume hat. So tonight I covered it with some of the purple satin for the sash and a bit of teal bias tape for the edge. Then I added the stone in the center for her jeweled headband. 

The first picture shows the purple satin anf the bias. The second shows the inside. And the third shows the jewel. I just have to add on the veil and it's done. Which leaves the coat that scares me. It was expesive fabric. 

Night All! 

PS The black, red, teal, and purple in the first two pictures is the very first thing I knit. It's a lovely shawl. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Robin Hood! (A well dressed pain in the Sheriff's tuckus)

Here we go! The promised post on Lover's garb from faire.
We jokingly call this "The Prom Shot"

Anyway...Lover has a shirt of light weight muslin, a doublet of the same fabric as my garb and pants of a brown fabric. I am particularly proud of this one because I did the doublet and shirt by hand, completely! Made me feel very Marian. For me that's a big deal, I never hand sew.

The hat was redone between the two days we went. And the boot covers were fitted over the shoes. Which you can see in the next pics.
Same Bridge and Everything!

Personally I love that shot. Very dashing. You can also just see the pouch. Lover made it himself. And he stitched one of the belt loops on the pants. (See I give credit where credit is due.) This shot also shows the redone hat.

And one more shot from the archery contest between Robin and Marian. We can always say Robin let Marian win....

And there we have it! A dashing Robin Hood. Rumor has it next year is pirates.....hmm...such potential.

Cheers and Good night!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Marian, Outlaw or How I Lost My Mind Stitching Eyelets

Before I begin this, I must explain. Maid Marian is one of my favorite characters of all time. And Robin Hood was an early crush. I grew up watching the Disney Robin Hood. Then watched all the other Robin Hood Stories (Prince of Thieves, BBC's, the Adventures of Robin Hood). To me, Marian was never the way I viewed her. So I wrote my own version. It's a wish of mine to get it published one day. Which brings us back to the costumes.

My friends and I wanted to go to the Renaissance Faire in our area back in 2010. It was then I designed an epic Tudor/Elizabethan/Fantasy gown based off one out of Elizabeth with Cate Blanchett. (Which calculated out would have been upwards of $300, it was made of historically accurate fabric and such. Just don't ask....) That crashed and burned and the topic was revisited in 2011 after I had written parts of my Marian novel. We decided to give life to the characters and thus this doodle was born, (forgive poor art skills), heavily influenced by BBC's Robin Hood from 2006 I think and the movie Your Highness

After much plotting, and several trips to the fabric store, I had my fabric and a redesign. (All my friends were wearing skirts, I wanted one too.) I had my garb. Keep in mind there are about 90 eyelets on the pants alone, and another 24 on the sleeve cuffs. As well as another 18 on the corset. I used metal eyelets and covered everyone with thread. After sewing 80% of the garb by hand because Edy, my 1930s sewing machine, decided she was not working. Oh and that Hurrican Irene kept me out of the sewing room for four days. After that, I had this.

My Lady Marian Fitzwalter, Outlaw

The skirt and pouch were made the night before after a frantic trip to the fabric store and a lucky shot at matching fabric. I made the sleeves so they roll up and I can wear my leather bracers. Despite the corset, this is one of my absolute favorite costumes. I've worn it three times to Faire and I never want to take it off. It feels like Marian, or at least the Marian I created in my mind.

In the first shooting picture you can see the eyelets. The second to last one is with Lover. His garb is another post and the last one is one of my absolute favorite pictures of all time.

So there you have it. Inspiration from a fox and an unfinished novel.

Long Live Robin Hood! And a pox on the phoney king of England!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Festive Attyre: A Curtain Along

I am so not a stranger to curtain based sewing. Might have something to do with that dress out of Gone With the Wind, it's one of my favorites. My first historically accurate (okay as close as possibly) attire was made from curtains. As well as my sister's Elizabeth Swan gold gown. So when I saw this on Festive Attyre, I just had to! (Squeels with glee)

You can learn more about it here:

But I'm so in. I saw the curtains in Lowe's the other day and they just screamed "Make me into a gown!". I wanted to check on the accuracy but now I see this, clearly I'm good. Plus I need attire for my dream trip to Colonial Williamsburg for Under the Redcoat. Running around in colonial dress for a couple days? Heaven! Added bonus, I get to make a vest (not the term, blanking too late to thing) oh wait! Waist coat for Lover out of the black version.

Here is the white curtain:
This pic is from the Amazon listing.

Now I just need this week's check and Yay!


The Snow Queen or a Medieval Gown

First, GASP! A post the very next day. I'm surprised with myself. On a side note I am also freezing. Thank God for wool and fleece. Anyways....

So we continue with my sewing projects. I'm not currently working on anything right now so I can play catch up. Hehehe

This is Costume #2! As well as the first item I made with a pattern I drafted myself. It is a simple medieval gown with side gores and one in the center back cut longer to train out. The head piece started as a traditional Russian hat and kinda when from there. (Ignore the make up, it was for Halloween.)

So the design is historical, sorta, and under the veil my hair is sewn with ribbon into a bun!

I have reused this pattern since for the Maid Marian/Elf Princess/GWTW Curtain Gown. But alas 'tis another post. And looking at these I now remember how much fun that was.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Oopsy and First Dress

So there is a lesson in this. DO NOT START A BLOG DURING SEMESTER. Most would find this quite obvious. But let's not discuss that.

So I am still alive. Sewing three full sets of garb for the RenFaire does not help. But that's another story and hopefully will have pictures. (as soon as I break the encription on my flashdrive)

I want to start this blog at the beginning so I am going to post what I have made from the very beginning which brings us to First Dress. (And pictures)

This is First Dress

I made this in 2005 if I remember correctly. I used a McCall's pattern that has since gone out of print and I'm completely blanking on the number. Yes there are princess seams and a zipper (my first!). I know better now. The dress originally had full sleeves over the narrow ones. I still have them, somewhere. It is made of a quilter's cotton, I think. For the fact it is my very first sewing piece, I still love it. The white peaking out is my newest medieval chemise.

Next shall be a brief comment on the "cape" that goes with First Dress and the cape that goes with my name.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Greetings From Merlin

So this is it, I will finally keep up with a blog. (Oh look a flying pig....) This one is all about the sewing projects, mostly historical, some fantasy and some modern. The sewing is in my blood so we will see how it goes.

Wish me luck!