Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's Finally Here!


Jennifer and I are so excited to announce "The Modern Sewing Techniques for Historical Clothing Construction" eBook has finally arrived!

This eBook is full of information and pictures that will propel your historical clothing construction sewing skills (what a mouthful!).

There are over 250 pages and more than 170 pictures to guide you through all your sewing endeavors and equip you with the knowledge you need to take your sewing to the next level.

We get to the inside of garments to teach. That means you see the garments from the inside out to see exactly how it was made.

This is the perfect manual to refer to again and again on how to make your next historical garment look professional and closer to that Master Dressmaker state.

Click here for more details or to buy this eBook.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Update & Museum Website

Hi all!

I'm busy, busy with Costume College next week. Stay tuned for reports and lots of great sewing information!

And next Thursday, July 31st the eBook, Modern Sewing Techniques for Historical Clothing Construction, will be released.

Cloak & Corset members watch your email box for your special discount on this full-packed product that will save you time and money by learning the BEST ways to make historical clothing - by using modern methods.

Now for a great website: The Kent State University Museum! This site has awesome photos of some of the pieces in their collection as well as a great museum store packed with good resource books.

Look at the Collection link and search in the Dictionary of Costume for beautiful photos of extant (existing) garments.

I especially enjoyed reading about 18th Century silk textiles and the museum's Paisley Shawl exhibit.

Enjoy visiting this fabulous museum site! Someday I will actually visit the museum in person.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Visit to the Dry-Cleaners


No, I was not showing off my accurately made undergarments. I was not trying to walk blindfolded. I was not even trying to play hide-and-seek with my friends....


I had pulled up my new 1876 fluffy white and pink skirt covering my body up to my neck to keep it all clean as I rolled into my friend's vehicle for the brief ride over to the dance hall.



Well, I had the terrible misfortune of somehow brushing the pink taffeta train against a car tire, smearing black road grime on it. Oh no! And I tried so hard to keep that from happening.


So, off I trotted to the dry-cleaners a couple weeks ago to see if they could do anything for the blemished silk. I convinced them that all I wanted was the dark stains out (or at least lessened), and that they did not have to torture themselves in pressing my gathered monster.


I picked up my skirt today - and the stains were gone! You have to look really hard to see where they were too.


I was quite nervous as to how the skirt would turn out. I did notice that the hand of the fabrics were definitely changed - something had been done to the skirt. And the organdy base of the overskirt was a bit softer. I'm really hoping my mentor, Michelle, is right about organdy in that it "pops back up" when it's ironed.


And the batiste, even without ironing, doesn't look much different than when I took it in. Yea! I think just a quick steam will set this thing all right again.


So case in point: if you must dry clean your historical clothes, ask that they DO NOT PRESS them. One, it will save you money. Two, you made the clothes and therefore know how to press and iron them the way they should be.


But beware: Last year I took in my husband's Civil War sack coat for its once-a-year cleaning. I specifically said not to press, but alas - it came back pressed as a modern-day dinner jacket with a lapel. Hmmm.... The coat is flat front and buttons up to the neck with four center front buttons. How or why they pressed lapels into it I will never understand.


So remember: Demand they DO NOT PRESS your historical costumes.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy Life Suggestions

What are your happy life suggestions?
Go here (with your speakers on) for inspirational thoughts then post a comment with your own.

Here are two:
Say a little prayer of thanks each day.
Be child-like and play dress-up once in a while.

Carpe Diem,
Jennifer :-)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Regency Frustrations


My new sage green Regency evening gown that I made for the Jane Austen Evening back in January did not last through the night unharmed.

No, it did not rip or fall apart.
My dress shield (to protect from perspiration) shifted and left the muslin lining and outer silk damp.

Well, I've never had a problem with sweat on silk. I just get it dry cleaned or hand wash it.

Unfortunately, it was not that simple.

That, my friends, is the result of a bad dye job. The fabric actually changed color, from green to blue.
I've never experienced THAT before. I tried rinsing in water but to no good results. The fabric had been changed. How weird is that??

I was told that dry cleaning would not make the color come back (or go away). It was a permanent change.

Sigh.....

Well, I pulled out what little fabric I had left and measured. I have EXACTLY enough to cut a new front/side piece and one sleeve. No more. And the new sleeve will have to be cut slightly off grain to fit. But I'm basically making a new bodice.

So this week is the challenge of ripping apart my beautiful and tight sewing work. It will be a challenge to put back together since all my seams are graded to tiny widths and some are clipped. Not to mention the fraying silk on the waistline seam.

So far, one sleeve is completely out, the lace off, the waist tape off, and the bias neck finishing half off.

The dress was such a good fit with my corded corset, and I really loved the design, so that is the reason I've added this additional work to my schedule.

Anyone for three versions of Pride & Prejudice to rip stitches by?