Build of 2019: Georgie’s Aces

I didn’t get a ton of sewing done in 2019. I made a handful of vintage dresses and a couple of regency things. I had hoped for a return to Victorian and further progress on the 18th Century but that wasn’t possible last year. Despite this, I did sew one epic build in 2019. This was my #1 sew of the year and one of the top of the decade.

Presenting Captains M. Washington and A. Adams, decorated pilots of The Continental Air Force, veterans of the Battle of LaGuardia.

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“The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown,” he said. “Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rocket’s red glare, it had nothing but victory.”

–President Donald J. Trump, July 4th, 2019

Once I heard about this gaff, that was it! I spoke with my main costuming cohort, Megan Maude. We had to bring The Continental Air Force to life for DragonCon.

We built our uniforms in less than eight weeks. That included us being both out of town separately for about two weeks. It was all our research, prep, shopping, patterning and sewing. That seems like a long time, but it isn’t, especially when you have never made anything quite like this before. Also, it is difficult when you are making a uniform, that needs to be consistent, across two different bodies, with two different shapes.

The first thing we realized is that we had different ideas of what the uniforms should be, partially because we had different ideas of what Continental Army uniforms looked like. Uniforms were not standardized during the Revolutionary War. We settled on a basic style & color scheme that we thought most people would recognize as Rev. war. Then we set to figuring out how to mash that uniform with a Top Gun-esque flight suit. We also wanted to look vaguely attractive to boot.

We ended up using bottom of a Simplicity costume pattern and the top of a vintage dress pattern (we each used a pattern that fit us) to make our jumpsuits. We made a full mockup, fit it, then cut it apart to do the color blocking elements. This was quite scary because if we messed up at this stage we would not have a working mockup and also we had very limited fabric to work with.

Luckily, we got it right.

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After that, it was details. We added two zippered, functional pockets. We wore the unofficial flag of George Washington, patch of Hipster George, the Beaver flag of New York and the Don’t Tread on Me uterus.

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Our flying logo was by Savannah Alexandra, based on our design.

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I even tried to powder my hair, but I started with colored powder versus white so it was kind of a disaster.

It’s hard to tell but I’m wearing red, white and blue eyeshadow. My husband especially liked the aviator shades saying that “looking like a total prick” was a great accessory for these costumes.

We wore our uniforms Friday night at Dragoncon 2019.

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We got lots of compliments although I’m not sure if people “got” our flight suits or not. While they might not have made all the connections and references in person, the internet was sure hip to it. While entertaining as hell to wear, we also able to make a sly comment about the shambling, incoherent and paranoid state of our current administration. We also threw a little feminist spin on it too.

Are these flight suits going to change the world or change minds? Probably not. But did we make America just a little bit greater? Hell yeah.

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2019 = Good Riddance!

The end of this year is very close and I am holding the door open ready to kick it out. While there were some nice things that happened in 2019, for me, and it seems several others, there were stresses, setbacks and life and death events. Additionally no one around me seemed to be able to catch a break. My husband faced several business obstacles and the global political situation continues to be “challenging”.

I knew part of this year would be stressful yet exciting as we wound down our whole house renovation. As part of this we had to move out of our rental home and back in. Of course, the renovation was not complete when it should have been so there was a period of limbo while we lived through the final bits of the process. We also dealt this the seemingly inevitable arguments with the contractor about what was and wasn’t done properly or at all. In the end, we do have a beautiful home we are throughly enjoying but wow, what a process.

In the middle of all of this my mother-in-law fell, breaking her hip and all 12 ribs on one side. She has recovered but this was a very scary and deadly event.

I totaled my car.

My beloved pup Uno was hospitalized for 3 days and almost died from a freak illness. He did make a full recovery though.

I got shingles which knocked me down for 4 weeks and caused me to cancel a long planned trip to visit friends in England.

My uncle died suddenly, less than a week after my mom and I had driven down to Ft. Lauderdale to visit with him. He was always very supportive and encouraging of me and after my mom, he was my closest relative. While he always lived far from me, he was present with calls and gifts. Additionally, his paintings have hung on my walls since I moved into my first apartment. My mom and I are his sole heirs so we have the daunting task of finalizing his estate and condo. This will be a task that will take up a good portion of 2020.

Interspersed with calamity were some more fun events. I attended three historic weekends: Treaty of Ghent, Jane Austen Fest and a private Edwardian weekend in Washington DC. I travelled to Dallas, San Francisco, Washington DC, Paris, Ft. Lauderdale, Disneyworld and Chicagoland. I got some sewing done although not as much as I hoped. Christmas was lovely. I survived.

I have some great things planned for 2020. I am hosting two embroidery workshops from Romantic Recollections. I’m attending Treaty of Ghent for the 2nd time. I hope to reschedule my cancelled trip to London for March. In June I travel to Paris with my best friend to attend Fetes Galantes at Versailles and the historic weekend at Vaux le Vicomte. And after that, well I hope nothing exciting in a bad way happens, although we all know the 2020 election will happen no matter what.

My biggest hope for 2020 is that is the tragedies of 2019 can be contained and laid to rest and that I and those I know and love can find peace and calm in 2020. Some better health wouldn’t hurt either. Shingles are the worst.

Love to you all.

Treaty of Ghent Weekend

As mentioned in my 2019 goals post, I was an attendee of the 1st annual Treaty of Ghent Celebration. This event is held at Historic Camden, SC and was patterned after an actual event that supposedly took place to celebrate the end of the War of 1812 (hence the name). The date in question would have been 1815 so I geared my wardrobe towards the later part of the Regency.

A dress from Laughing Moon #138 was my new wardrobe debut this weekend. I used a lovely indigo blue and white window pane cotton from my stash. I made the dress with removable gathered sleeves to give the dress more utility. I didn’t make much of a fuss at pattern matching but I got some very lovely lines anyway. Having sewn this pattern before it was a relatively fast make. I just pinned the back for this event but I may eventually make more permanent fastenings. I made the cape too, but it was almost too warm to wear it.

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I commissioned a new “winter” friendly hat with matching reticle from Shocking Bad Hats.

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The weekend featured talks and shopping during the day. Evening entertainments included a house party with games and port tasting and a ball that ended with a Grand Illumination (canon fire and fireworks).

A really fantastic high tea was also on offer.

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I’ve never attended such a historically immersive event in the United States. It was really fun to be in rooms of the era, doing the historical things with people who were committed to dress the part. Also, this wasn’t billed as a reenactment so no issues with my pink hair or fancy nails. Win!

Plans are already afoot for 2020 and I, and all of my company are excited to attend again. The fact that this event is a manageable 3 and 1/2 hour drive from us is also great.

Some more photos!

My company at the Friday night party

IMG_2929Port and Madeira Wine TastingIMG_2904IMG_2902Losing at the Baccarat TableIMG_2919Gathering for TeaIMG_2934Posing during the BallIMG_3001Gathering to watch the IlluminationIMG_2996And that pretty much sums it up!IMG_2985

 

2019 — goals and aspirations

We’re almost at the end of January so it’s time to post this year’s sewing goals and aspirations. I took a bit of time to figure this out because I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to focus on or realistically how much time I’m going to have, especially in the first part of the year, to focus on sewing.

We are entering the last stages of a whole house renovation. Including the gut of our garage into a beautiful, fully conditioned studio, we have been under some level on construction for almost three years now. Luckily and thankfully, we were able to move out and live elsewhere for the last part. My stress level has been so much lower and my sanity has been mostly intact because of this. Hooray! Because of this, fairly soon I will need to put sewing temporarily aside and concentrate on putting the house back together. As it will sort of be like moving into a brand new house I’m very excited and anxious for this! While I have ambitious goals for 2019, I’m looking at it more like a wish list than a to do list. I’ll just have to see what is accomplished.

I don’t have a lot of events already planned in 2019 so there is not much on this list that is pressing. I do have a bucket list goal of attending Fetes Galantes at Versailles so prep for that figures into 2019. Anyway, I’ll explain more below…

More Regency:

I’m attending the 1st staging of The Treaty of Ghent Celebration and Grand Illumination in Camden, SC next weekend. As this is February in the south, the weather could go all sorts of ways. I’ve already made a historicalish cloak in case of chill but it looks, at the moment, like the weather will be fairly mild. Better to be prepared than not! The cloak is made from red stash wool with a blue / gray herribone print flannel lining. Technically it is fully reversible. I had not planned on adding any trim but when I cut the pattern out (Simplicity 5794), I accidentally cut the grain line marking, not the front! I fixed it but had to cover it up. I found the chenille and gimp trim for $1 a yard and it looks great. Happyish accident?image1image2

I’m also making a new version of Laughing Moon #138 for this event.

I will most likely be attending Jane Austen Festival in July so I’d like a new ballgown for that. This was on the docket last year but did not happen. I’ve since acquired even more potential ballgown fabric so 2019 is a must. I should also consider making another chemise and bodiced petticoat (or one of those suspender type petticoats).

1870s Polanaise ensemble:

I am long overdue to make a new 1870-1880 day dress / evening dress. I claimed this dress from Daniel Deronda for a group at Costume College. I bought the orange silk for the polonaise in the LA fabric district right after the event and I just found something for the skirt. Since I have everything and I committed myself, this will be my next historical project after I finish my Regency stuff for Treaty of Ghent (unless something comes up!)

 

18th Century / Robe a l’Anglais:

In prep for a potential trip to Fetes Galantes in 2020, I need to make a serviceable Robe a l’Anglais. Essentially, I want to make a wearable test dress so my eventual Fetes Galantes gown is not my first. I have a lot of the underpinnings already from 18th Century Strawberry Shortcake. I also have the fabric for this, again purchased in the LA fabric district. In the 18th Century vein, I wouldn’t mind revising the JP Ryan jacket pattern that I used for Strawberry Shortcake. It needs some fitting tweaks. I also think it would be pretty easy to knock out an actual historic look with that pattern.

1860s dress with evening and day bodices:

This guy has been hanging around for a while now. I still don’t have an elliptical hoop. My new plan is to make one myself using Laughing Moon #112. I just feel like I have to get this done somehow. The evening bodice is halfway complete!

Laughing Moon #117, not sure which view:

I bought this pattern and want to sew it. I bought some bright orchid purple poly taffeta with matching bright loud checked poly taffeta when I was in India. I think it would be insane and perfect for this.

Edwardian Suffragette Suit:

I was thinking this Butterick pattern and the kelly green cotton / linen blend I’ve had in my stash for a while.

Figure out vintage style pants / jeans:

This is another holdover. It became slightly less pressing when I found these jeans from Collectif (I bought two pairs) but I want to have a good fitting slacks pattern in my arsenal.

Sew more knits:

I’m hoping at some point this year to purchase a cover stitch machine. I’m pretty set on this Janome. It gets good reviews and is at a price point I’m willing to pay. This would help immensely with my knit fabric experiments.

Reorganize and purge my costume closet:

This isn’t a sewing goal per se but it needs to happen. I have a wonderful and very large cedar lined closet for all my costumes, antiques and kimono. I need to get stuff properly cleaned and hung up, go through everything and make sure I want all the stuff that is in there. I did get rid of some gowns a couple of years ago but it’s time to do it again. Also, I am sure I have way too many “project” accessories and hats. Several things got thrown in the closet when I had to clear my house for the current renovation, so it’s time. This does not include going through the fabric stash. That happened fairly recently. It could stand to happen again but I can basically find everything so it’s a lot less pressing.

Everthing else:

In addition to these things, there is what I call my regular sewing — vintage inspired dresses and outfits, including one off themed dresses and the odd cosplays. These items aren’t goals but they are sewing I’m sure I’ll be doing along the way.

Like 2018, and considering that I know I will be very busy with my house, I feel like this is a very ambitious (maybe doable?) list for 2019. I’ll just need to see how it goes and what gets thrown my way!

Wish me luck!

What I made – 2018

While I did not make a huge dent in my sewing goals I did manage to sew some stuff.

Here’s what I made in 2018:

Wax cotton with Simplicity 2506 from 1958IMG_8304

A mod take in scuba of New Look 6889

Harness by ApaticoIMG_8998

Tana Lawn Robe with Simplicity 8510 from 1969IMG_9287

Late Regency “Kermit” dress from Laughing Moon #138.

Hat by Shocking Bad HatsIMG_9674

Fairy Headress by Diamante QueenIMG_9760

Lace Guimpe from Laughing Moon #104. Everything else made in 2017.fullsizeoutput_3e52

Remade bodice for Stars & Stripes ballgown / Zip Tie headdressIMG_9851IMG_9837

18th Century Strawberry Shortcake: Jacket from JP Ryan, Skirt, Apron, KerchchiefIMG_9879IMG_9902

Dress to match my Irregular Choice shoes – Simplicity 1427from 1955IMG_1161

Spencer from stash scraps – Laughing Moon #129

Hat by Shocking Bad HatsIMG_2430

Midnight blue “witch” dress with spiderweb and bat lace overlay. Pattern mashup. IMG_1344IMG_1282

Pink & Red Christmas dress with vintage trim. Made from a vintage pattern mashup.IMG_2481IMG_2543

Edwardian Corset Cover from Truly Victorian finally completedIMG_9561

Costume College Bargain Basement dress from Vintage Mail Order patternIMG_8426

Wax Cotton Maxidress – Simplicity 9562 from 1981IMG_9468

I also knit this dirty hippie hat!IMG_1446

It’s 2019! How did I do on my 2018 sewing goals?

Happy New Year!

New Year’s is not my favorite holiday exactly, but I do like laying around with the hubs and dogs and thinking about what transpired and what lies ahead.

I made a big post about my sewing goals for 2018 so I thought before I post about my goals for 2019 I should see how I actually ended up doing.

Generally speaking, I feel like 2018 was not a particularly productive year for sewing. Everything seemed rushed and last minute. I had a lot of real life interruptions, the biggest being my major house renovation finally beginning, so it’s not surprising that sewing took a back seat.

Anyway.

Here are my 2018 goals and what I managed to do with them.

Late 1860s Ball Gown and Day Bodice — I still don’t have a hoop so nothing happened on this one. My next step is to try to make the elliptical hoop from the Laughing Moon pattern. I feel like I can’t let this dress / era beat me but man, it’s been annoying so far.

Early Bustle Era Day Dress — Nope

18th Century Riding Habit — I did not make this either but I did manage to make my first 18th century outfit.

More Regency —  I made one new dress and a spencer

1910s Ball / Evening Gown — I did the mockup but stalled out on actually making the gown. I couldn’t figure out exactly how I wanted it to look. I ended up making a guimpe and (sort of) fixing the hem on my existing 1910 skirt. I need to revisit this era.

Figure out how to make myself a pair of jeans — Nope

Actually typing that out bums me out a bit that I didn’t manage more. Honestly, 2018 was a heavily mixed year for me so it’s not surprising that the mix is reflected here.

Fabric Fear Overcome! aka The Tana Lawn Robe

Most people I know who sew or craft have some variation of fabric fear — the dread of messing up some rare, expensive, precious, irreplaceable fabric or craft material — either by making a mistake when working with it, or by making it into something substandard or dumb. This fear often contributes to stash accumulation as we add but refuse to actually sew the unicorn fabric.

I have my own herd of fabric unicorns and many of those take the form of Liberty Tana Lawn. Most of my Tana Lawn was given to me by my husband and because of this, it’s some of the most precious (and expensive) fabric I own. But recently, I conquered my fears and actually cut and sewed some of it! I also happen to be pleased with the result.

I’ve made Simplicity 8510 from 1969 twice before. (Previous versions here and here) I really love this robe in flannel but it’s useless in Atlanta heat. I had a fair quantity of the Mauvey print in Tana Lawn. Since I knew that I liked this pattern, and it turned out well, I decided a Liberty lawn version would be wonderful and luscious for summer and easy to pack for travel.

It was very scary making those cuts and actually, I found the lawn a little tougher to sew than expected due to its light hand. I definitely had a bit of learning curve with it so I am glad I wasn’t attempting something that wasn’t guaranteed success. Having already blogged about this pattern, there’s not much else to really cover so here’s the final product!

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Oh, well I lied. There is one construction thing to cover. I used much smaller buttons than the pattern called for so I also used many more of them. I think the smaller buttons messed up my buttonhole placement. The buttonholes are too far from the edge in my opinion. I also sort of remember not liking that the last time I made this robe so now there is a note on the pattern to disregard the placement. Other than that, I’m thrilled with this. It’s such a lovely garment that I’d consider making another one. I also have a nice sized piece of the Mauvey left that could possibly be used for a blouse test run.

I put this robe on as soon as it was complete and I’ve been wearing it so much I’ve already pulled some of the stitches out of the pocket edge — whoops. I even tried to get this guy to love the robe but it probably isn’t as snuggly as the flannel version. Oh well!

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