Monday, January 26, 2009

Planning Weekend

This weekend Sara, me and our guys met in San Diego for a Cloak & Corset planning meeting.

After hours of discussions, a few ice cream shakes (Corvette Diner Rocks!) and several rounds of cards (Rook and Hand & Foot), we have created a variety of upcoming eZine articles (free to members as always!), a handful of new eBooklets, one eBook, and lots more goodie information to help you in your historical sewing.

  • Members, watch for a survey in February that comes with a Free Gift for telling us what you need to know about making historical clothes.

Of course you don't have to wait until next month to ask us sewing questions - Tell us now, so we can show you how.

On Saturday, we visited Ocean Beach in Point Loma. While on the pier we recorded a brief video for the website. Here are a couple of photos from the day.

The tide coming in:

Tide pools at low tide:

Planning the video script:

And the best burgers in San Diego - Hodads:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January's Project

Finished: The new sergeant stripes onto my husband's Civil War jacket.

Next: An early 1860s paletot (jacket) for my upcoming Civil War event at Knott's Berry Farm. It can get chilly in the evenings and I want a period outerwear garment to keep warm in besides my lovely 12 foot paisley wool shawl. Nice, but I want a travel-appropriate garment.

In the photo, clockwise from top left: 1863 Godey's jackets, an early 1870s paletot from The Gilded Age (Putnam Co. Museum), my sketched design with pagoda sleeves, fringe and cording put on in a Greek pattern, and a 1861 full-length paletot from RL Shep's book Civil War Ladies.

I found a lovely grey wool suiting at JoAnn's for 30% off. I then wandered over to the trim aisle. (I know, you're probably thinking "Why is she doing that? Their selection leaves much to be desired for historical trim. True, but I didn't want to spend time shopping online, I didn't know what I was looking for, and I had coupons to use.)

I found a gorgeous rayon (ok, it's close to silk!) fringe that looks more period than the basic poly fringe they've carried for years. I had to decide on the great plum or royal blue. The decision was made when I found a nice rattail cord in the same blue. The blue trim will also coordinate with more of my dresses (not that that's important but the blue was just stunningly Victorian against the grey wool and my character has the means to purchase it, even during war times).

I spent a few hours last night tracing out my Widow's dress bodice, drafting it larger for a coat pattern and extending it for an approx. 27" back length. I still need to draft the pagoda sleeve then the muslin can be sewn and fitted over my dress on my dressform. I will be using the information in Ch. 28 - Waist Tapes from the eBook to keep the back fitted.

Stay tuned for more progress updates as this jacket will be finished in the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Piano Lesson = Sewing Time

How much can you accomplish while your husband is busy giving a 1/2 hour piano lesson?

Let's see:

  • Repair the 1/2" on the torn skirt opening seam on Widow's Dress

  • Repair the small tears (3) on fancy drawers

  • Repair the rip on petticoat waistband

  • Remove 9" bones in side seam of navy bodice and replace with 7" bones so they won't poke me behind the armpit causing deep bruising

Wow! So much accomplished when you put your mind to it.

And yesterday I hung my new thread rack that holds 120 spools. I cleaned out my cutting table drawer and sorted the spools by color. Yea for organization! 'Course not ALL my thread fit on it, but it's so much easier to see what colors I have.

I'm now sewing the new sergeant stripes onto my husband's Civil War jacket while planning the design for a new paletot. I found a practical and authentic gray wool and gorgeous royal blue rayon fringe and rattail for trim. This new project is for our first Civil War event at Fort Knott's Feb. 14th and 15th.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Are you: Just Starting Out or An Advanced Costumer?

My thought of the day:
Of those who have purchased my eBook: Modern Sewing Techniques for Historical Clothing Construction - are they beginners into this world of playing dress up? Are they advanced costumers looking for that one trick or two to cut down the time they spend on a step?

Why haven't some of my fellow-costuming friends picked up a copy? (you know who you are) Do they think the eBook is too simple or beginner-oriented? Should it be?

How does one bridge the gap between those who don't know a chemise from a chemisette to my friends who think they know it all about historical costuming but secretly still search for the way to make hand eyelets easy and FAST?

How can I reach both sides?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hedgehog Handworks January 2009 Sale

Hey all – I received this email on Friday from Joady at Hedgehog Handworks and I just had to share.
She’s put her whole store on sale thru January! Be sure to stock up on her discontinued supplies as well as the new costume books.

Thanks to Joady for this terrific sale! I know I’m going shopping.

From: Joady <>
Sent: Friday, January 2, 2009 1:51:36 PM
Subject: Hedgehog Handworks January 2009 Sale

Customer Care: 1-888-670-6040



Good and Bad

We have made the decision to discontinue corset bones, busks, corset coutil, bone casing, grommets, hoop wire. etc. When in-stock supplies are exhausted, that's it!

Our current selection of needlework fibers, fabrics, real metal threads, tools and other supplies will be expanded.

Books on costume, textiles, needlework, and the odd subject that catches our fancy will, of course, continue to be carried. New books on all subjects will be added to the site soon!

And for the best news -

15% Off Everything in the Store!

Everything in the store is on sale for 15% off the regular price for the entire month of January.

Start saving now!

Gift Certificates

In a quandary about what to buy for your favorite stitcher or seamstress, or don't know what to put on your own wish list?

Gift Certificates are a handy solution to both problems. It's easy to do directly through the site.

Purchase a Gift Certificate now.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What's On The Cutting Table for 2009

I have an 11-year daily journal that has a page for goals for each year. Each December/January I start listing new goals of General Things (lose 20 lbs., buy new car, etc.), Books to Read (Little Women, Harry Potter 7 (again), North and South (Gaskell), The Duchess biography, etc.), Business/Work goals, and Sewing Projects.

While I know I'll be focusing on some 18th C. pieces, other time periods keep calling to me as well (such as my Civil War reenacting wardrobe and Regency that I love at any time).

So far on the list for 2009 is:

  • 90" Hoop for my new widow's dress.

I'm using the Laughing Moon Hoops & Bustles pattern, view A but without the top two hoop rows. My current main hoop is 115", but I want a smaller one to stick with the poorer situation of my character. I'll reserve my 115" and 125" hoops for my Elizabeth character.

        • 18th C. Stays with reed boning

        I already have a lovely cream brocade corset from the JP Ryan pattern (although it still needs 6 hand eyelets to be completely finished). However, I heavily boned it with the usual flat metal bones. This sucker is heavy! My bullet-proof vest. No wonder I haven't finished the eyelets.

        Well, I want to make a lighter weight one. Reed is period appropriate and the best way to achieve a more delicate set of stays.

        I'm now torn as to what pattern to begin working from: making the JP Ryan Strapless Stays again or the Mantua Maker's 18th C. Stays.

        Anyone use the Mantua Maker pattern before? I've made up her Victorian and Regency corsets and the size I used was a bit small to my measurements. Of course I'll mock up the pattern first, though not sure what I want to start with.

        Any opinions/ideas out there??

        Of course I could branch out and try the Reconstructing History 1740s - 1790s Stays (never have used her patterns)

        or even take the time to draft out of Corsets & Crinolines. (I sigh at that idea.)

        • 1780s Caraco & Petticoat

        I watched The Duchess last night (Yea! for DVDs!) and liked Georgiana's white caraco (with long tail/peplum) and matching petticoat in the scene where she gives up Eliza. My sheet set from Ikea would be perfect for this costume. Although as I study more 18th C. I do believe anything from the 1780s and early 1790s would be a great addition to my costume closet. There's so much I want to make!

        I have simply loved this JP Ryan Jacket pattern for years. So I see not just a matching caraco and petticoat but a few other jacket and petticoat ensembles in my future.

        • 1850s Blue Silk Bonnet

        I started this Miller's Millinery pattern over a year ago and it's still not finished - although I did make good progress on it last August. It just needs to get finished.

        These 4 are "officially" on the list. Of course I will get sidetracked - my attention pulled in other directions - and miscellaneous work will pop up onto the cutting table, both expected and not.

        And there are still the small repairs from my last post of the two petticoats, drawers and widow's dress seam to fix.

        Now that the holidays are over I can concentrate on getting these little things off my table and my time onto larger projects. Oh! and mustn't forget my hubby's new sergeant's stripes onto his Civil War jacket as he was recently promoted from corporal. His (and my) first event of the season is on Valentine's weekend so I should do it NOW and not delay until two days before. (How many of us know that procrastination??)

        As I think of more garments I want to sew, you'll see them posted here - along with their progress. And please let me know your opinion on what corset pattern I should work from because that will be one of the first garments I attack.

        Happy 2009 to All and Happy Sewing on your own chosen projects!