Sewing/Costuming Progress-March 2017

Hey There,

Just for a bit of a self reflection and a change of pace. I made a video. Its pretty much talking about all the projects since the beginning of the year. If the other blog posts were a bit TL;DR and you want to see some new projects, never before seen, have a watch:

Hope this was interesting to watch. Have a great week!

❤ Sarania

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HSF or Monthly #2-1920’s Headdress

And here we are again for another Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge. A bit late but better late than never. This fortnight’s challenge is to get something off the UFO pile. Just to finish off something that’s never really gotten finished. Perfect! I have just the thing. Last year, I made a Tiana cosplay (from Princess and the Frog) but I made her historically accurate. The movie is set in the 1920’s so of course there was beading, a rode de style and finger waves.

I have to say I wasn’t a fan of the 1920’s until I did this cosplay. Now I utterly adore it and can’t wait for the next project in this era. But for now, here is the project that is unfinished. I designed this cosplay with a 1920’s headdress referenced from the book The Mode in Hats and Headdress by R. Turner Wilcox. Unfortunately, I ran out of time before the Comic Con and just couldn’t finish it so I went without it. So the best opportunity is to do it right now. ( And stop letting it mock me on my unfinished sewing pile)

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Now you can see why it was taking me so long. I was hand beading different patterns into it. This small amount took me ages. But thank goodness for HSF because it made me push through to the end.

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I managed to get all the vines on. I was going for a leafy and flowery pattern to match Tiana’s look and the dress I made. I used the same fabric and the same beads as I did for the dress. The stitching is omnistitching that my sewing machine did. I was in such a hurry when I started making this last year that I couldn’t be bothered to design a beading patterns. So, hence the perfect stitches and beading over top. I made the beading relatively simple, until…

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I decided to add more detail to the beading. I could have been almost done but, come on, this was supposed to be from the 1920’s. My original beading was a bit too plan. Its all or nothing baby!

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Finally I had managed to bead it all, including the centerpiece. ( I will show you that in a minute). You can see a vines and flowers and leaves sort of vibe here, doesn’t hurt that it is all in green. I will say I was surprised when I lifted this and found a bit more weight on it. Woah. Beads may be tiny but together, they are quite the army.

Next it was time to sew on the beaded outer fabric to the buckram and wire base. Of course this was done by hand. Which was a welcome relief to the hand beading before. Then I sewed the lining to the back over the buckram.

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I added a touch more after the fact by sewing on a string of pearls to the top of the headdress. The top looked a little plain without it and it matched the next embellishment…

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Hanging pearls! I admit here I wasn’t sure how best to attached these pearls to the headdress. I ended up using hot glue (I know, I know! It was late and I was tired and frustrated with the pearls falling everywhere) But it worked out. Next time, I will sew the ends of the pearls to the buckram layer and the then sew the lining on top of that. But for this proof of concept, this worked out.

And now drum roll for the final result…

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TADA!! I love this so much. I felt like a vintage beauty. Here you can see I did finish the centerpiece and pearls are staying on quite well. But how it the headdress staying on your head, you may ask?

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Simple ribbon ties I hand sewed in the headdress before the lining. I had no idea if this headdress was supposed to be headband style or crown style so I designed it this way. The Wilcox book didn’t show the back to the headdress. I noticed in the book the women wore headdresses quite low on their heads. I wore this close to my eyebrows to mimic that look so its a good thing it can be adjusted. And now for what you have been waiting for, the wrap up and photo gallery.

The Challenge: #2 the UFO: Let’s get something off our UFO pile! Use this opportunity to finish off something that’s never quite gotten done, or stalled halfway through.

 The Project: 1920’s headdress from a historically accurate Princess and the Frog cosplay I didn’t finish last year.

Fabric and notions: Sparkle chiffon ($8 per yard), buckram ($8 per yard), wire (had it for ages), many different types of beads and pearls (bought on sale~$40), needle and thread

 Pattern: My own design inspired by The Mode in Hats and Headdress by R. Turner Wilcox.

 Year: 1920’s

 How historically accurate is it? Very I would say. The shape is there. The beading needed a bit more practice but it was pretty. Next time, I will draw out a pattern rather than using the omnistitches on my sewing machine which took off accuracy points.

 Hours to complete: ~25 hours ( most of this was beading)

Total cost: ~$48 (estimating so much here, I threw away the receipts >_<)

Overall, this was great to do. I love beading, it is relaxing. It does for me what adult coloring does for other people. Time to think or time to listen to many books and songs. I would love to do something like this again. So my next idea would be a whole new dress. (Oh the projects.) Okay, enough blabbing here is a bit of a gallery.

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❤ Sarania

Historical Sew Fortnightly or Monthly #1

Hey there,

It’s been a little while but I have my next HSF project done. This fortnight’s challenge was #1:Bi/Tri/Quadri/Quin/Sew/Septi/Octo/Nona/Centennial-Sew something from __13. So I chose to sew the Lucile Nightdress from 1913.

Nightdress Lucille made 1913 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

As I said in a previous post, I am going through the 2013 challenges which is why I went for 1913 rather than 1917. The night dress is made of silk georgette and chiffon and trimmed with machine lace.

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I started with going through my own stash to try and use what I have but sadly I had no silk georgette or chiffon. I don’t really use light weight fabrics often so this was going to be challenging. I opted to buy white chiffon and a kind of faux white silk that kind of resembled the silk georgette of the night dress (without the square pin tucks). The pink fabric is from my stash that I got many years ago from my best friend’s grandmother who was a seamstress. Its a kind of crepe satin. The light pink was perfect to recreate the bows on the dress. I also pulled some lace trim from my stash that I got from the fabric store. It was lightly gathered so I cut the gathers out so I could have a flat lace ribbon. I didn’t end up using the small bows or the crinoline to stiffen the bows.

I started by using some nylon tricot to drape the bodice shape. I planned to add extra inches all around to make the nightdress more loose and flowy but sadly I did not add enough inches when cutting so the dress is a bit more fitted than I would like.

I used the drape to cut out all the pieces of the bodice and the sleeve. I also cut two lengths of chiffon for the skirt part. Two big rectangles the width of the fabric didn’t need to be draped. And from here everything was sewn together quite unceremoniously.

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The nightdress top made sense to me how it was sewn together so I just did it. Looking back, I realize that sewing with chiffon is not as bad as you would think. I am usually not a fan of light weight fabrics because they are hard to work with but if you use the correct needle, take your time and go slow, it is really not that bad. And even seeing this small piece together made me all a flutter with how delicate and feminine it looked.

Here is the sleeve being constructed. A lot of the this dress had the lace between seems and parts of the garment. Which I can’t deny is just lovely. Chiffon, silk and lace have a beauty that is beyond compare , you just have to treat them well in order to get the look you want. The only thing I missed doing was I should have used french seams and narrow hems and flat felled seams instead of just doing right sides together and top stitching. Now there are a ton of raw edges on the inside and chiffon frays like crazy. Total rookie move. I will remember for next time.

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The bows came together very easily. A lot of straight seems, fold over and stitch and voila a bow. I love my handmade bows a lot better than the ribbon bows to be honest. A touch more work but worth it.

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And finally, complete! I love it. As I said before it is a bit too fitted at the bust but this is on my dress form that is sized to me when I am wearing a bra. Without a bra, this is the flowly dream I was hoping for. I won’t model that here for obvious reasons but here are more pictures of the dress.

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Sans bows.

Overall I adore this nightdress and will probably pick many a night to wear it…most likely in the hot summer.

And now for the challenge stats…

The Challenge: #1:Bi/Tri/Quadri/Quin/Sew/Septi/Octo/Nona/Centennial-Sew something from __13.

 The Project: 1913 Lucille NightDress

 Fabric: Chiffon ($5 per yard-used 3), Silk like Chiffon ($4 per yard-used 1), Pink silk crepe (from stash), Lace trim ($3.99 per roll-used 2)

 Pattern: My own drape

 Year: 1913

 Notions: Needle and thread

How historically accurate is it?: Pretty darn. I basically recreated the nightdress from the photo by V&A Museum. The only thing I didn’t have was silk georgette so that would knock off some historical accuracy points.

Hours to complete: 7 hours  (6hours of i\them was done in one day and that was sewing it together)

 First worn: 2/13/17 ( no photos as it shows A LOT)

 Total cost: $26.98

I am looking forward to feeling like an Edwardian lady retiring to her bedroom.

❤ Sarania

Historical Sew Fortnightly or Monthly #0 Part 2

Hey There,

It is week three of the new year and I have finally finished the first HSF project on my list: 18th century stays. Well…it was definitely a learning experience. I won’t hash out the first part of this project here so feel free to read it here.

For now, let’s get right to where it all went wrong. Well, not wrong, just not great.

I began by making my own bias tape and slashing the tabs into the stays. So far so good.

But it was when the bias tape had to go on the stays that things went a bit wibbly-wobbly.

I decided to go with the technique of machine sewing the bias tape to the right side and then fold it over and hand stitch the other side to the inside. And let me say it is very awkward to sew bias tape around many  curves on a full garment by machine. It would have been better if I hand sewed the whole thing rather than taking a shortcut with the sewing machine. The Butterick pattern said to sew it on like this. Well…actually no it didn’t.

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I was supposed to sandwich the edges of the stays between the bias tape and top stitch it…How was I supposed to do that by machine?! Truth is, I wasn’t. This all would have been so much easier if I did it by hand. The bias tape ended up being wonky when all was said and done.

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It was also at this point that I held the stays up to my body to see if they fit. And sadly, they do not really. They barely reached around my bust and waist. Also the top of the tabs did not sit at my waist as they were supposed to. The stays were too short for my torso. My girls kept spilling out when I tried to make the tabs sit at my waist. And by the way, the straps, could barley reach my shoulders. Fitting fail T_T.  I knew that these stays were a bust but I wanted to finish them anyway, just to complete the challenge.

dsc00096So I forwent the sew on eyelets and went for the the metal eyelets instead. Not historically accurate but it gets the job done. Which means, it was finally finished.

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Ah! But did I mention it doesn’t really fit? Okay, here’s what happened. I cut a size too big from the pattern envelope and when I realized my mistake I decided to alter the stays. Of course this being my first pair, I had no idea what I was doing. And to make matters worse, I altered it on a dress form that was too small for me at the time. I didn’t realize it was too small until two projects later.  So not only are the stays too small around the bust and waist, they are also too short for my torso. See how there is a kind of muffin top between the straps on the dress form? That would pretty much be where the apex of my bust would land and…yeah…lots of breast spillage.

As you can see from the back I at least got to practice my spiral lacing. I did not even bother using satin ribbon to tie the straps. I just used the left over bias tape.

So sadly, I won’t be able to use these stays for any of my 18th century dresses I want to make. But, you know, I learned a ton from this experience so I, in no way, feel like I wasted my time. I learned: how stays should be shaped and where they should sit on the body, how to bone stays, and a better construction process. I also got to get some good hand sewing practice in, which is just the first of many projects that will let me do that. It was wonderful to finally get to work on a project that I have been dying to work on. Seriously, I haven’t felt this way in a long while. And that is the point of this year, to work on what I want to work on even if it does not turn out amazing. Plus, I am planning to make another pair, prettier and more wearable than these. I already acquired all the materials. Though I may give myself a bit of a break from stays and work on other underpinnings. As for these blue stays go, who knows, maybe I can re-purpose them for a Rococo-Punk style since I still like the way they look. For now, they will be a completed project in HSF which will be relegated to the back of the closet. Which reminds me:

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The Challenge: #0 Starting Simple

The Project: Waist Stays (Finishing them from 2016)

Fabric: Cotton toile ($4 per yard), canvass ($10 per yard) and solid cotton ($4 per yard)

Pattern: Butterick B4254, Making History Collection

Year: 1730-1740?

Notions: 22 Metal Eyelets ($5.15+shipping for 100), 17 yards Plastic Bones($17 for 50 yards), 3 yards corset laces ($3 per yard)

How historically accurate is it? : The shape is correct for the period. Though metal eyelets would not be used in this time period nor would modern corset lacing. It should be sewn eyelets and ribbon or cord.

 Hours to complete: 10 hours-ish

 First worn: Never, doesn’t really fit. >_<

 Total cost: $32.

Overall, not a bad start for HSF. Just enough to get my feet wet. Time to start another project.

❤ Sarania

 

Historical Sew Fortnightly Or Monthly #0 Part 1

Hey There,

Time to start one of my requirements in my costume intensive work. I have decided to take on The Dreamstress’s Historical Sew Fortnightly 2013. Yes, 2013. She started this in 2013 and has kept going until now. All those challenges from previous years are on her blog as well as how the whole thing works. (Hence why I won’t hash that out here, go read her blog. Its quite lovely (http://thedreamstress.com/the-historical-sew-fortnightly/).

Since there are so many years and so many challenges, I decided to start from the very beginning, which is a very good place to start. I am also taking a few liberties with the rules. I am not going to do the challenges in order or try to make it by the set deadlines. So I just have to finish all the challenges by years end. Possible right? I hope so.

Anyway, on to the the first one I am doing. This is marked as challenge #0 Starting Simple. All I have to do is finish a project I started. This is easy.

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These are 18th century stays I have been working on kind of off and on. I started this last year in the summer as a kind of random project to get out of a sewing funk. As of now, they are not done. Since I want to make some 18th century dresses this year (go figure), these would be very helpful to have. I am not sure what shape they will give me since I did not cut them in the correct size and had to alter them a lot and the construction is kind of strange. I should also mention that this pattern is Butterick B4254 Making History collection. If this doesn’t turn out well, I will just draft my own set of stays with the help of one of the costume books I have. But I want to see this through to the end so I am going to finish them.

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Here you get to see that I put some boning in it and you get to see a better shot of the fabric. This is kind of a dream fabric of mine. I always wanted historical undergarments using this fabric and now I have about 4 yards in two different colors. Expect to see this fabric a lot.

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And you can see here that I used canvas as the base layer as the pattern told me to do. This works well but the sandwiching of the canvas between the lining and outer fabric and then sewing though the layers is quite awkward to sew. I am sure I will find other ways to construct stays that will work better but for now I press on.

Now as you can see as of this post this project isn’t finished and it has been two weeks since the new year. So already I failed to make the fortnightly mark, but keeping within the two weeks should come with practice (even though I am not trying to keep within that challenge requirement, I would not mind having 28 historical garments by the end of the year). So soon (very soon) I hope to show you the finished product.

❤ Sarania

Dragon Lady,Fantasy Costume Part 1

Hey There,

Here goes! The first full costume of the year. I am very much looking forward to this one. It is a fantastical idea that I came up with just based on a fabric I bought. I do love to work this way. I don’t usually think of a project and then buy the fabric for it. I am kind of backwards that way but it works well for me.

After I bought a heavily sequined fabric in the garment district on a pure “it’s pretty, I want it” impulse, I began having the idea of what I wanted to use it for. My dearest love and I kept bouncing ideas back and forth about it. I kept giving the fabric the name “dragon scales” and then poof…dragon lady! Not so much a stretch of originality but I love the idea so I am going to do it.

For the first time in a long time I went shopping for a specific project based on a concept I randomly came up with.

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The center fabric is the dragon scales and the reason you see some black and some red is that this fabric is kind of interactive. It almost has a kind of nap where if you run your hand one way it turns red and the other way turns black. Cool right?! Well, I had to compliment it with fabrics that were kind of similar. The red and black glitter on the left has a lovely ombre color effect going on. The dark red on the left has kind of two right sides. The prominent color is black but there are red wefts that go through it which makes it look red in certain lights and angles. The other right said does the inverse of that and the red is very shiny. There is a lovely black stretch satin and a black velvet on top that are going to be used to break up the red in the design a bit. Which now that I mention it…dsc00030

This is my design rendering of the Dragon Lady and I know what you are thinking. *This looks a lot like Elsa’s dress from Frozen.* I noticed this as well and it is driving me up a wall. So I had the idea to change the corset design which is what the drawing on the right corner is. But I still don’t think it will be enough. I may add a second slit on the other leg. I don’t know. I find it difficult to design sleek designs since they all look basically the same to me. I am hoping the fabric will speak a bit louder than the plain design. I still want to make this and I think in real life will look so much more interesting than on paper. Fingers crossed.

But to be honest, the drafting portion does not… look… that great.

I started with the top. For some reason I thought it was good to draft two garments on one dress form at once. On the left is the leotard-type top draped out. ( I should have used a stretch fabric to drape since I will be using a stretch fabric for the leotard but I used muslin…not very clever). On the right is the corset draped out. I am not that great at draping yet and I am making an effort this year to be much better at it. I made slashes and pinned them back together, I have darts in odd places and it all just looks a bit of a mess. But I am going to press on.

Next I draped the skirt (on top of the other drapes) and it also looked quite not great. The shape was what I wanted but in the wrong spot. The left picture shows that it is sitting on the side of the dress form. The shape that it has created I would much prefer it to be in the back.

So that’s what I did.

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I moved the skirt to the back and it is exactly the look I wanted. Though you can see that the seams are completely off, there are random pieces everywhere and there is no front now. So I ended up draping the front separately.

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I didn’t get a picture of the slit I cut in the skirt but there is one…or going to be one eventually. The overall shape of the dress I do love even with how much of a mess it looks in drape form. So I decided to press on and transfer the drape to paper.

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Here you can see the skirt in three pieces, the leotard in three pieces and the corset in six pieces. There are two pattern pieces I drew out to add to the patterns. I drew out a godet to go in the back of the skirt to create the shape I wanted and I kind of flat drafted a sleeve pattern for the leotard.

I am going to start cutting out fashion fabric for the pieces except for the corset pattern. I am going to cut a muslin mock-up of the corset just to make sure of the fit and design. Can’t be too meticulous with corsets.

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So that’s it for now. I will show the rest of the process of this dress soon. I am really looking forward to this and I hope you enjoyed reading so far.

❤ Sarania

 

Costume Intensive Year (Or Making the Effort)

Hey There,

It has been a while but we are not here to talk about that. Today is the start of a new year and I realized that the past year wasn’t as productive costume-wise as I wanted it to be. So this year that will change.

The goal of this year is to

Make The Effort

I am going to do my best to make the costumes I want to make, improve my skills and overall become the costumer I set out to be years ago.

Here is what I plan to do.

I have a binder which contains my costume intensive study. I came up with this kind of course as I was making a list of costumes I would like to make in the coming year which is also in the binder. I am going to document everything I do costume-wise in this binder in the hopes that I will keep myself accountable of my progress and skill building. Everything I work on during the year will be in this binder.

You can also see that there is The Historical Sew Fortnightly by the Dreamstress as well in there. I will be doing my best to following along with that as well and you will see the results on this blog as well. I will post about that soon.

I will also be documenting what I want to accomplish this year with this blog. I want to be able to look back on 2017 and say “Woah, I did a lot”. Unlike 2016 where I said “Man, I didn’t do enough.” I am very much looking forward to this year and all the work in front of me. I hope you will come along for the ride.

❤ Sarania