Monday, August 31, 2009

Oops! and Ruffle Frustrations

In my last post I mentioned I had 28 yards of bias strips to gather up for the five rows of ruffles on the 1875 Lizzy skirt. Well... That was only the length of the striped fabric! I had another 20 of the solid blue color!

So, I actually had 48 yards (yes - forty-eight) of bias strips to run through my ruffler foot then pin and sew to the skirt base. (When all was said and done, I have enough pleated ruffle strips left that I don't have to cut and hem more for the bodice hem ruffle and perhaps even the sleeve ruffles. Yippie!)

Speaking of my ruffler foot - AAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!

So I took my machine in for a cleaning since it'd last seen a tech in, like, 2002. (I have a Viking so it's self-oiling but it does need to be cleaned every once in a while - you would think I'd pay attention to that. duh) Well, I've not had a problem, although the black case where I plug in my cords had a crack right through it and the handle doesn't sit properly anymore. But I didn't think that my special Viking ruffler foot would cause a problem.


Something was amiss as I started running my kazillion yards through the foot. About every, oh, 10 inches or so the needle thread would shred and break. Like it was getting caught when it was moving around the bobbin. I was so confused and frustrated. What would have taken about an hour was nearly 2 and a half to finish the strips. I had to go super slow and the thread would still break.

Apparently the needle was hitting the feeder on the foot. It dulled my needle like nothing else which didn't help the problem as I continued to feed my fabric through. Hopefully that'll not happen again and it'll play nice next time.


But it got done and here is the skirt with the glorious, sheer bias ruffles:


It did end up taking a few evenings and several hours (albeit watching Firefly episodes) to scallop pink both edges of each bias strip. With no sewn hem, the ruffles stay light and airy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sewing, Sewing - 1875 Striped Summer Gown

My! I seem to be moving quickly through projects in the last two months.

So.... I present my latest "insane" costume: an 1875 blue striped, sheer summer gown. The debut will be at the HCA 1870s Picnic on September 20th at the Banning House Museum in the LA area.

Being that most of my costume ideas start from fashion plates or extant garments, this project is no exception.


This is Plate 12 from Full-Color Victorian Fashions: 1870-1893 by JoAnne Olian. I've admired it for some time as it's girl-y and light. The perfect thing for a "Buccaneer" afternoon frolic over the lawns playing croquet and partaking of fresh delicacies.


My fabric is a 1/16" blue stripe on white sheer cotton I snatched up for $2/yd along with a cornflower blue thin cotton (also $2/yd) for the alternating ruffles, apron binding, back sash and sleeve ruffle accents.

28 yards of bias strips for 5 rows of skirt ruffles. It took two days to cut them all out and another two evenings to piece them and press under the top edge.
I will be pinking the hem (No way I'm narrow hemming that amount of bias!) then running each strip thru my ruffler foot. (Remember this is a one-month project, so must cut corners.)


My support structure is a lobster tail bustle as the Truly Victorian basic bustle didn't give me that tapered, 1875-going-into-the-natural-form look. The TV petticoat (an OLD piece from years ago) is next followed by a pad ('cause I need it) then the ruffled petticoat I used under the 1876 Evening Gown.


Here are the skirt panels sewn and pinned to my dressform. The apron is sewn except for the bias hem trim and it's also pinned on. The sides will be pleated then tacked onto the center back panel. The placket opening is in the center back.

The bodice is my 1879 orange/purple bodice that is such a good fit that the pattern will be used as the base with the hem flared and pleated to fit over the bustle and follow the fashion plate.

Now, to name this airy thing. I usually make up basic, descriptive monikers for my costumes but this one needs a name. Nancy or Annabelle or Grace. hmm.....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

1780s Caraco & Quilted Petticoat

The finished outfit of my 1780s Caraco and Quilted Petticoat:

And the back view:

I simply threw this on my dressform for the photos and did not put the bum roll on first. I made up the roll from Jean Hunnisett's book but lengthened it a bit first for my larger hip circumference.

Although, this being my first 18th C. ensemble, I think I might prefer more of a large bustle-type pillow pad instead. I LOVE 1870s bustles so am used to the larger behind. However with the bum roll, it increased the width of my hips and made me feel fat. I wonder if that would be different in side hoops or panniers as they greatly extend the sides more so than the bum roll?


I used JP Ryan's Caraco pattern made from a 100% cotton duvet from Ikea. I have enough fabric left over to make a matching petticoat. The caraco skirt can also be polonaised up (the correct verb - thank you Val!) which I think will look adorable with the matching petticoat.

Here is the box pleated trim with braid on top. I pleated the fabric strip then ran it through my machine with a basting stitch. I hand tacked the braid on top while simultaneously sewing it to the neckline.


The inside of the center front:

The entire caraco is lined in white linen. The front is simply turned back, a bone added (I used 1/4" metal stays) and hook & eye sets sewn on for closing.

The quilted petticoat is made from a bed quilt from Target. It has one side seam that I flat felled to make the petticoat reversible. The other side I slit down for the pocket access as well as getting in and out of it. The front and back are separate: the back ties in front then the front covers the knot to tie in back. (The photo below is of the back. You can see the front ties knotted at center back.)


I box pleated the centers then put in large knife pleats to take up the remainder of the panel to fit the waistband. (For convenience, I used the 2" wide grosgrain ribbon that came wrapped around the quilt from the store for the waistband.)

I'm quite happy with the results of my first project "older" than Regency styles. I find that I am really attracted to the 1780s but can't wait to make a Robe a la Francaise gown. Hmmm.... I have that gown already in mind. Anyone see The Slipper & The Rose? :-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

So What Happened? (CoCo 09)

To appease those of you who have been wondering about the adventures of Costume College 2009, here is the event through my changeable blue/green eyes.

THURSDAY: Arrived in mid-afternoon. Unloaded two vehicles with about 6.17 tons of STUFF. (Strangely no sewing machines were included.) Hung out at Info/Check-In to help set up. Sewed last two eyelets in my pink stays straps.





Dressed some funky, beat up mannequins in my 1876 Gown and my husband’s Regency ensemble.












Talked with lots of new and old people. Rolled hair in tight sponge curlers. Can you believe bed before midnight??


FRIDAY: Ratted and sprayed and ratted and sprayed some more to get my own hair into Hedgehog City – circa 1788. Remind me again about why they liked a long straight ponytail hanging from under the cotton ball head cover…



Wore my new 18th C. Caraco and Quilted Petticoat – This outfit brought to you by department stores. Answered questions from the Info Desk. Stuck a kazillion labels on cards for the Random Wheel of Knowledge.




Taught another terrific 19th C. Corded Petticoat class. The room overflowed into the hall with over 30 people again!
Learned about Stays & the Body from Lynn Sorge-English. So... our hunches were right about them not knowing what they were doing.


Quick to the Marketplace for early shopping with Sara. I’m a sucker for navy Regency bonnets. Anyone with me?

20 minute dinner at the hotel

restaurant.









Welcome Ceremony -
which seemed lacking due to Freshman Orientation being held earlier in the day.

More shopping. A quick shower and change – Only 10 minutes to brush out all those rats and tangles! Guess it helps having fine, straight hair.

Time to Panic!


I had a few less people panicking with me this year. But met a lovely mother and daughter from Canada who were finishing the daughter's teal bustle skirt hem. And Laura who loves Elizabethan so much she repurposed her old army uniforms – complete with glowing reflective tape.
(Don’t tell anyone we stayed REALLY late.)

SATURDAY: Curl setting lotion is the bomb! Wore my newly finished 1844 Dress. (Only two years late.) I need a bigger bum pad.

Figured out how to drape a Francaise gown.
Maegen – any time is fine with me to get together and drape our new gowns. (Another project added to the list.)

More shopping.

Did I say I’m a sucker for blue Regency bonnets?


Talked and chatted with so many people every time I visited the Marketplace. Delightful.

Enjoyed Sally Queen and Mela’s Hollywood class. Ooh, we need a whole class focusing on one film and the historical and not-so-historical costuming parts.

Back in the tiny room again to teach about the quickest way to make a Victorian Corset.


Despite the overflow into the hallway and the late hour, I saw nearly everyone find some tip or technique to take home.

Collapse in the room – no wait, need to dress for the Gala. No time! Curled hair, hooked and looped dresses together. Flounced about the room. Rushed to dinner. Danced to a great selection of music. Admired the general “prettiness” of the entire ballroom. Gushed at the marvelous beauties. How did the night go so quickly?


SUNDAY: No Undies but comfy jeans and top. Sally’s class on 18th C. Dress Down Friday Jackets. Inspirational. Can I have them for modern Friday work wear?

Back to Marketplace where I chatted with yet MORE people. (And I wondered why I hadn’t succeeded in completing my shopping list yet.)

Hauled a huge purple bin up to the Hospitality Suite to teach people about the inside of 19th C. clothing. "So that’s how they did that!"


Ok, REALLY have to get my shopping done now – last chance. Then my Hand Embroidery Class where we were all tired out but had fun twirling thread around a needle and pulling through.

CGW Annual Meeting – under 2 hours! You have no idea how excited we were (unless, of course, you yourself were at the 2006 historic SIX hour meeting.) Casey for Director of All Future Elections!

Dinner at Millie’s. Laughed until we cried - several times – I think exhaustion and Wrackspurts had taken over at that point. Chatted about next year. (Helps having the new Dean and CGW VP, Programming Chair and Registrar, not to mention other Committee Heads, with you at the table.)

(I don't really know how Becky was still able to take pictures at this point.)


Back to the hotel where we packed, stayed up way too late discussing plans and changes for next year, then crashed into bed. zzzzz.....


My apologies for not getting up off the sofa sooner and letting you read about the goings on. When you're a teacher, attendee, and committee head, that one long weekend takes it all from you. Now, two weeks later and I'm back to the sewing room. hehe

Monday, August 10, 2009

New 18th C. Forum

For those who branch out in your historical sewing from our favorites of Regency through Victorian, a new forum discussing 18th Century sewing has just arrived on the web.

Take a look here at Madame Berg's new Historical Sewing forum.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Costume College Photos posted


Still recovering from the busyness of Costume College and all the work leading up to last weekend. Until I can post a more detailed report, take a look at the C&C Flickr Photostream to see a sampling of what wandered in the halls and classrooms.


It was a fantastic conference and one of the best in my ten years attending. Thanks Maegen for being Dean and hosting this memorable College.