Monday, December 22, 2014

Purple Coat

After years and years and several changes of plans, purple coat is finished, being worn and generally bopping about town.

It is made of a purpley-rainbow bucle wool, purple bemberg lining and lightweight cotton batting as interlining.   (two layers in the hood and torso, one in the sleeves and skirt)  

I've had it nearly finished for a couple of years now - languishing in my closet waiting for me to figure out the closure and the trim.    However, after my regular wool coat started to seriously fall to pieces, I dug through the stash and found a roll of navy piping that worked.  (This also lead to the self-fabric buttons getting switched for big navy ones.  More pop - and made the pipping make sense.)

The pattern is my own design - a massive franken-beast with a fair bit of redrafting.  It has zippered side pockets, zippered sleeves (a relic from when I wore arm braces daily and needed to be able to get in an adjust them without taking off the whole coat.)  (Happily, its been a while and I rarely bother carrying them around anymore.... Actually I'm not even sure where they are right now.   ::heart swells with joy and wonder::   This coat spans years and sagas and stories -- and this one has come out really well. )   (Seriously - we're talking serious glee over here right now.)   

 frolic frolic frolic frolic

 The giant hood sometimes blows off in the breeze and the skirt part flies open, letting my lovely warm air escape - but the torso is warm and the coat is fun to wear, so right now its my feeling-fancy coat, and I love it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Miniature Muslin for VPLL 5941

My coat is done - but the weather is not cooperating - lots of rain, wind and clouds (good coat weather - lousy time for photography) so pictures will come eventually - but for now - on to the next!

VPLL 5941

We've been invited to a Great Gatsby themed new year's eve party - so clearly, I needed a new dress.  I decided to go with the  Fishtail Evening Gown from (I think) 1928.   Its a reprint of a vintage pattern with original instructions (or lack thereof) and a modern tutorial.    The tutorial is somewhat better, but still pretty confusing.   I couldn't even make a muslin, since I still couldn't tell how the skirt came together - so I decided to do a miniature version to save fabric while I sorted it out.

I promise, this is the front
I know it doesn't look like anything much - not the least because the scraps I used were fairly sturdy cotton - but it allowed me to sort out how the seams come together.   There are a couple on the side hip that never get mentioned that are massively confusing when laying out the pattern and much easier to see when one is actually manipulating the fabric.   

100% the back
 The back is pretty tricky, as sewing it together involves flipping it wrong side, right side, wrong side, right side, fold, tuck and sew.   However, with some time, it comes together fairly well (yes, I know the cotton doesn't look like anything but  wad of handkerchiefs - but just go with it.  This was an illuminating learning experience and I highly recommend it to anyone trying to figure out this pattern.)

skirt, under the back flare
 For anyone who is unfamiliar, the vintage pattern lending library is (for my purposes at least) a store carrying direct reproductions of original patterns, going from 1850 to 1959.   From what I understand, actual members can borrow patterns, but I don't do enough vintage for it to make sense to join - however, it is a lovely resource to have available.  (I've been mooning over this pattern for years and finally had a reason to get it.)

Monday, December 1, 2014

sweater! sweater! sweater! sweater!

Look Ma!  No hands!

 I finished my sweater (my first sweater!!) right before Thanksgiving dinner.    It ended up a lot more floppy than intended, but I wore it anyway, and have done so several times since then, despite it being completely unseasonable and not nearly warm enough.   For it is my sweater and I hath knitted it.  

All hail the twisty cables that have been my trusty companions for a little over a year.   

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

in which I make good choices.

I'm probably about five hours from finishing both the sweater and the coat.   I *need* the coat, and yet I keep puttering away at the sweater.

Better pictures in that happy day when sunlight comes again.   Also pictures of all the stuff I've been making, but not blogging, due to lack of convenient garden for photography.   Must work on that....

Sunday, November 9, 2014

fancy fabrics

snazzy indigo ikat

Turns out there is a source for handwoven ikats (and quite a lot of other stuff that is wildly out of my price range) in town.   (Both wonderful and dangerous)  Yesterday, Mom and I went and checked it out - everything was gorgeous and for the most part, wildly out of my price range.      However, thanks to Mom the enabler, I have three and a half yards of a stunning indigo ikat that is going to become a sundress sometime very very soon, so that it can sit in my closet and mock me as long as possible.

purple cotton woven
There were also little end cuts, and I got myself a yard of this purple to turn into a shirt - I found last summer that my one woven/fitted tank top got the most use and was worn the moment it got out of the laundry, so me thinks I shall make several more.

The lady who runs this business has an online presence, and you can find her at Mekong River Textiles.  (I did not get paid, nor did I get a discount, I just think this is nifty stuff.)  Besides just being super snazzy fabrics, she works with local collectives to provide economic opportunities for local women other than prostitution.  Seems pretty win-win to me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Cometh


Had I found this slightly sooner, I could have copied her dress.....    live and learn.    

Anyhow - We're going monochrome, Greg is the jealous villain and I am the winsome young lass tied to the railroad tracks.    Everything we're wearing is going to be black, white or a shade of gray.    

The shots I have of my costume are all hideously unflattering and not going on the internet.    My outfit is a white eyelet overdress and a pale gray under dress with puffed sleeves.   The patterns are all being pulled an modified from modern stuff (I'll put in specific names when I have nice pictures to show what manner of crazy I pulled.)  

Greg's costume is rather more straightforward - and required a frock coat and vest.  (I may have decided he was going to wear a white shirt and black pants from his closet)   We used Simplicity 2895  - and when I say 'we' I actually mean it.   He chose all the fabrics used, helped cut out the patterns and the fabrics, did almost all the serging and a little of the actual pinning and sewing.    He was also coming up with plans for all the things he plans to make in the future.   I fully expect him to start doing his own projects over the next few months.

Other than the inevitable removing-four-inches-from-either-side that comes with anything for Greg - the coat was a pretty good fit right from the envelope.    It needed a little tuck behind the shoulder, but was otherwise good to go.  

the other main part of his outfit is going to be a gray paisley vest for some much needed gradation in this otherwise all black outfit.   Mine was having the same problem - except all white. I'm hoping the underdress (still but a twinkle in my eye) will sort things out.  (Also make the whole thing a little less ventilated...)  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sewing Evangelism!

 I've gotten him hooked on clothes that fit!   We're starting with Halloween, but this guy is going to be doing all his own stuff soon enough.    (He now has is own pin cushion and fancy scissors and is currently eyeing his grandmother's sewing machine.) (AAAAAAAAAAaaand he is getting into fabrics and what sort is suitable for what garments, which makes him a lot of fun to take fabric shopping with me.)   (insert glee here)

Monday, October 13, 2014

punk rock grammy

 A couple of months ago my grandmother was complaining about people patting her on the shoulder everywhere she goes.   So, I bought her spikes.

friendly spikes - rounded points to inspire fear, rather than draw blood

I showed up with them this weekend, and in mere minutes, pointy, pointy spikes were all over her favorite sweater.  For the rest of the post, please, marvel at how pointy they are.

I also taught her how to 'rock on', which eventually lead to a discussion of anarchy and various other symbols.    The sweater remains anarchy -free.

One way or the other - I like to think the days of people patting her on the shoulder are over.  Because this is a lady who says 'hell no!' to the dementia of other people who can't seem to remember to keep their hands to themselves

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Slip-covering the cats' chair

 Umteen thousand years ago, a relative of mine worked at a fancy furniture store and several very nice pieces entered the family.    Over the generations, they have been abused, by children and pets alike, and a rather battered arm chair, with good bones, has come to rest in my apartment.     It still has its original covers, but has spent the last 30ish years with a pink corduroy cover that I've never really liked.
fort cat-beast
Until I took the pictures for this post, I didn't realize just how much time the cats had taken to spending sitting in it.   So.... I guess it is now mentally tagged as theirs (although I reserve the right to nudge them aside and lounge there myself, as it is really very comfortable.)   

scissors for scale

In my continuing adventures in stash-busting, I chose a thick purple denim-ish woven that has been kicking its heels up for years --- and it was just barely enough.   The scraps above are all that I had left after cutting the pieces out.

slicing and chopping to get it all in the fabric available...

As the original slip cover never quite fit correctly (sorry Mom)  - I decided to start from scratch - and measured every part of the chair, added some ease, and cut out the shapes and just started pinning them in place
She knows it sets her fur off nicely

I've been working my way along the seams, pulling them tight, pinning everything in place, and sewing them down.

Pudgo here likes to pull out pins.  

 To get around flipping and whatnot, as I had the right side out when I pinned everything to the chair, I'm doing french seams on everything.   After marking where I want the final seam to go, I've been marking 5/8" up, sewing that as my inner, trimming, flipping and generally frenchifying the slip cover as I go.


As it stands, I have the main body and each arm put together.   I still need to add the sides and pull it all in, so it looks neat and tight, rather than the floppy mess currently acting as the focal point of my living room days before my housewarming this weekend.   So, no pressure.  Not like basically everyone I know is going to come over and ask me if I made it. Nope.  Not at all.

it looks so much better in person
T-4 days until the ravening hoard arrives and the chair must be finished....

Monday, September 8, 2014

RennFesting Stashbusting Costume of ..Getting There.....

Since moving, I've been forced to go through my stash, and have realized just how much fabric I have - despite some downsizing during the move.    As such, I've put myself on an all-fabric-fast-all-the-time diet (with the exception of halloween and presents for other people) until I work through a good hunk of things. (And have space to physically store more yardage....)

Anyhow - following my own rules, I made this costume entirely out of fabric I already had.   (Notions are new - but realistically, I can hoard them in a much smaller space, so it works out.)

didn't notice how squished the straps got....   hello interfacing.  you and I will become friends.

The corset/bodice/stays/pair-of-bodies/whatever-your-favorite-term is my own pattern and not at all historically accurate.   I just wanted something reasonably comfy that would be fun to wear and look the part.

It is constructed of three layers - brocade, denim and gaberdine, with channels sewn through all three layers and stiffened with poly boning.  As such, everything is quite firm - and as the pattern was traced off my body - pretty darn comfy for something of this sort.    My only complaint is that is is slightly too large and provides insufficient bust support.    I plan to take the front panel in an inch or so on each side, which will let me loosen up the laces all the way around.   (This is really just an aesthetics thing - all though the 7 sets of lacing is to allow me to adjust the fit as needed should my body change shape.)   (I want this one to last.)

The shirt is a big rectangle, with two other rectangle sewn on as sleeves and a neckline cut out.   I ended up sewing the gathers into the neckline 'cause I felt like it.

The skirt is a regular half-circle skirt.   Not really wide enough for the era - but not out of place in this one either.  I used my own half-circle skirt tutorial, cause I'm kind of a bum like that and didn't remember the equations.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Renn Fest Prep

It's that time of year again - I usually try and pretend I'm doing something sort of historically accurate - but this year, nothing doing.    This year, I'm screwing around.

The nonsense started with a masking tape double.  I didn't feel like fitting a corset properly, so I popped on a trashbag and made Greg run around me a zillion times and did the fitting the lazy way.

After I'd been extricated, I drew the shape I wanted, front and back,  cut them out (and folded down the bust to get the right, flat, "historical" shape, and blamo!   Corset pattern.   The boning will take up just enough space, so that with the lacing it will be skin tight, but not actually compressive.  

As of writing, the shirt is also finished (no pictures yet) and the skirt is in progress.   One of the pattern weights was very helpfully holding it down for me.

(Oddly enough, she is the 'helpful' one.   Goshu likes to pull the pins out...)
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