sewing

Treaty of Ghent – 2020 edition!

Last weekend was my first costuming event of 2020 and it’s a favorite. It was the 2nd running of the Treaty of Ghent weekend at Historic Camden, SC. This weekend is an immersive event (but not a reenactment) based on a celebration that probably occurred to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in 1814, which ended the War of 1812. The event includes an evening soiree, a marketplace, a high tea, day time talks, a tavern evening and a ball which ends with celebratory cannon fire. It’s a lovely event that all takes place on the grounds of Historic Camden, a revolutionary war site. The immersive and intimate quality of Treaty of Ghent has made it one of my favorite events to visit. It also is nice that it happens in the winter, which gives me a chance to have some variety in my Regency wardrobe.

I tend not to hold to the 1814 timeframe too tightly. Most other people don’t either so general Regency is on offer. This year I had hoped to make some new outfits for the event. Top on my list was a new ballgown. I have had a new Regency ball gown on my to sew list since at least Janefest 2018. Over the summer, as part of my birthday present, my awesome mom bought me some fantastic black silk embroidered with small gold rectangles. I had a couple of choices in my stash for a ballgown but I decided to make the black dress. I used trusty Laughing Moon #126 and trimmed my sleeve and skirt hems with a bargain trim I found to match. Version 2

Version 2

My hat was commissioned from Shocking Bad Hats and was based on this fashion plate.phillips0200-001

I was super thrilled with how this dress came out and I love how striking it is. I wore a mix of vintage necklaces and the world’s heaviest earring. Also titties.IMG_0104

My 2nd outfit was designed especially to go with my first ever hand knitted historical accessory! Late last year I was killing time in a yarn shop in Ft. Lauderdale, as you do, and I found a knitted sample of Simple Half Pi Shawl by Dawn Craig. The sample was in a bright variegated yarn but I thought that in a more muted shade it would be a very cute cold weather accessory for Regency wear.

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I knocked it out very quickly as it is a simple and forgiving pattern. I even wet blocked it (a first) to open up the lace pattern and make it lay nicely.

At Janefest 2019 I purchased two new hats, both pink, from Shocking Bad Hats and Timely Tresses. I had not worn either and I only owned one dress that really matched either. I decided I needed a new pink dress, even if I didn’t have time to sew it for Treaty of Ghent. Some bargain glazed looking pink cotton and black and cream trim appeared to me so the new dress was on the docket.

I decided to do something different and used Laughing Moon #130. I mocked this up a long time ago in totally inappropriate fabric so I was sort of just going for it when I made this without mocking it up again. I figured that my fit in the Laughing Moon patterns seems pretty consistent and if it was a mess, it wasn’t meant to be this time.

It turned out pretty damn well!

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The chemisette was made in a Costume College class. And that little shawlette, it really kept me warm! I had to get my fan out at one point. This outfit also was a great match to the Shocking Bad Hats beret I bought at Janefest 2019.

Personally I think this dress is super fussy to put on. There is a lot of pinning to be done and I really don’t think I could get dressed in this one by myself.

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I made a new reticle from Japanese indigo samples given to me by my Ikebana teacher. I lined it with fabric from the pink dress and the ribbon is stash.

For my final outfit, I rewore last year’s “new” dress from Janefest.

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I made a sleeveless spencer from Laughing Moon #129 out of a piece of vintage yellow velvet I got at an estate sale. As the velvet was upholstery weight, it was really too heavy for the task at hand but I wrestled into shape anyway. As it poured rain at the start of the weekend, I pinned up my train. I accessorized with a vintage pin, stone earrings from india and long winter gloves I purchased several years ago at a Paris department store. I was fairly toasty until the wind picked up. I got my cloak from the car eventually but not before some photos!IMG_0069.jpg

The hat is by Timely Tresses. It was not made to match this but it does perfectly.IMG_0036.jpg

This event has me revved up about Regency. I bought patterns from Fig Leaves and fabric from District 96 with new outfits in mind. I’m not sure when my next Regency event will be (I may not attend Janefest this summer) but I will be ready!

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

Secret Cinema and Sewing Experiments

On my latest trip to London I attended my first Secret Cinema, an immersive film experience. While it isn’t so secret anymore (they used to not tell you the movie until you arrived), it’s still a very fun, very detailed evening out. Essentially Secret Cinema creates an environment based on a film, gives its attendees “characters” and provides a sort of LARP lite immersion before you watch the event’s film. When I found out they would be screening Blade Runner, well, I was there.

I received my character brief and set to figuring out what exactly it meant and what I should wear.

 

Upon reading more about the Job Title: Professional Friend, it became clear to me that I was a “basic pleasure model” similar to the replicant Pris. So what would an overweight, middle aged sexbot wear, I wondered?

Originally, I was going to wear my black lace fetish dress but then I thought, “Why aren’t I making a new outfit like I do for every event? Don’t be cheap and lazy!” So I set out to figure something that would be kind of spacey and future but still wearable by me.

I decided to experiment and try something I’d never done, sew with scuba. I really stay away from unusual fabrics but my idea seemed simple enough and I had a backup plan (the fetish dress). I went out looking at my retail options but ultimately found my fabric online from Fashion Fabrics Club. I found a neoprene that is black on one side and white on the other. So I decided to do a kind of 60s space take by sewing a color blocked mini dress.

I chose the trusty New Look 6889 as my pattern. It has the lines I needed and it is very fast and easy. I read up on sewing scuba / neoprene, which seemed pretty straightforward and similar to sewing most knits (use a new ball point needle). What I did not realize is that scuba fabric and neoprene, while similar in look, are not the same. Scuba is a polyester double knit fashion fabric. Neoprene has a foam core between the layers of double knit. The fabric I bought had a very thin core but it was there. That core also can make neoprene more hot to wear.

The neoprene was very easy to sew but not forgiving. It shows stitch marks but they do basically come out. Like all knits you need to make sure that you don’t stretch while you sew. I was also concerned the neoprene might snag on my feed dogs but I didn’t have an issue.

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The dress on top of other things that hang out on my dress form.

Originally I was going to leave all my edges raw but I am bad at cutting a straight line so I turned everything over and did a narrow hem. I also originally planned on making the dress more like a checkerboard so the back was the reverse of the front. I cut out my pieces incorrectly so the left side was black and the right side was white — not what I intended but it worked just fine.

To accessorize, I purchased a pink holographic harness from Apatico. I got a ton of compliments on the harness at the event and one of the immersion actors even tried to barter it off me. I turned her down.

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Zhora and her raincoat

As part of the immersion we were are told repeatedly to bring umbrellas, raincoats and to wear flat shoes due to “LA’s persistent acid rain”. This is because they actually made it rain, repeatedly, inside the immersion. I really wanted a clear raincoat like Zhora’s but I couldn’t find one in my size. I figured I’d try to make that too.

Not really knowing what I was getting myself into, I decided to make a cape to avoid setting sleeves made out of vinyl. I already had a teflon presser foot. I bought heavy duty needles and set to work.

I was shocked how easy it was to sew the vinyl together. It did not get torn up by the feed dogs. I did have to be a little careful that the vinyl did not stick to the metal plate though. It started off really great! Then I started trying to topstitch my seams and it started going wrong. I put it on. The cape flared out in a really weird way. It could have been a cool effect but I wasn’t buying it. Between the topstitch issues, the weird fit and the fact that I was trying to do this at the 11th hour, I gave up. I bought a super cute white vinyl raincoat on Amazon (it’s in the 1st photo on the dress form) instead.

IMG_8983As it turned out, London had some freaky weather while I was visiting. The day of Secret Cinema it was almost 80 degrees! Londoners were dying and it definitely was not a day for a vinyl raincoat. I was both glad I didn’t suffer through trying to make the clear one and annoyed that it was too hot to wear my white one. One of my friends was cast as a private detective and bought a super cute trench coat to wear. It was too hot for that as well.

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I bought a light up clear umbrella when I arrived on the site and boy did I need it. They were not kidding about the acid rain! It “rained” about every 15 minutes and it was not a light sprinkling. There were food stalls surrounding the rainy area and you could eat noodles barely shaded from the rain just like Deckard did in the film. A couple of times I was caught without my umbrella up and my neoprene dress turned out to be the right choice because rather than being soaked the rain just rolled off! We also had drinks in The Snake Pit after being let in the backdoor by Zhora herself.

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I had a great time during my trip to 2019 Los Angeles. That’s next year! Wow.

My 2018 (intensive and long) list of sewing goals

It’s officially 2018. It’s been a bit of a start since our heat went out New Year’s Day and it’s been quite cold (below freezing) here in Atlanta! Being stuck in one room with space heaters or in the much more spacious and warm studio has had me seriously thinking about sewing goals. I feel like I really dropped the ball on historical last year. I’m in fairly dire need of new Victorian gowns for both day and evening. I had planned on making both — made neither! I also have a late 1860s gown started but not finished. And don’t forget piles of awesome fabrics waiting to be turned into several other gowns. I need to prioritize!

So, in no particular order, my top goals for 2018:

Late 1860s Ball Gown and Day Bodice — I have the bodice half done. I “threw in” my hoop in favor of commissioning Black Orchid Atelier to make one for me. I bought trim in LA last year that I think will work on the ball gown. I might have enough silk for a day bodice. I’m thinking I may try to turn my hoop fail into a circular hoop, just so I have one and so I at least save some of my effort. I just have so many icky feelings about wearing Civil War fashion.

Early Bustle Era Day Dress — I have a stash black and whitish sawtooth cotton to use for this. I just need to pick a final design and make it.

18th Century Riding Habit — I took Lynn McMasters’s fitting class at Costume College so this also is basically ready to go. I should probably mock it up once more before I use my fashion fabric, a kelly green linen / cotton blend that I originally bought to make a Slytherin themed 1890s suit. But as that fabric is not precious and replaceable, maybe I should just get to it instead?

More Regency —  I’m already slated to go to Jane Austen Fest so I want to make something new. I bought a beautiful sari in London to use for a ballgown. I got a fabulous blue and white striped gauze from my husband for Christmas that I’d like to use for something. I only have three meters so most likely it would be an open robe or a sleeveless overdress. I don’t know. I just don’t want to make another white gown to go underneath. I made a white dress last summer.

1910s Ball / Evening Gown — I have a different sari from London for this. I also have a paste rhinestone buckle, most likely from the 1980s, that I got at the Paris flea market as a focus. This dress will most likely be a little loud and more Hollywood than history but I think it will be fabulous. I tried starting the Laughing Moon pattern but didn’t get very far with the mockup. Not sure if I should revisit that or use a different pattern.

Figure out how to make myself a pair of jeans — this was on my list last year and didn’t happen. I need a pair of vintage / retro style jeans. I need to conquer pants, but I have fear.

Of course that list doesn’t include the Elvis and David Bowie themed dressed I had tentatively planned for Costume College. I don’t even know if I can stomach the cost or intensity of my Elvis idea. Nor does it include reviving my 1901 Mourning Ensemble or sewing anything else practical or vintage. Oh and there is also the time of real life too! I’m just not sure where to start exactly, since the only current deadlines I have are Janefest and Costume College. But if I just picked one, hunkered down and started, I feel like the priority list could be possible!

In the time it took to write this, my heat finally seems to be fixed! Another good sign!

Any suggestions? Make them in the comments!

 

2017 in Review

It’s the last day of the year so that means it’s time to recap my sewing adventures from 2017. I probably should have split this into more than one post. I didn’t realize exactly how much I actually managed to sew until I was well into compiling this recap. Some items don’t have photos nor did some end up getting a blog post (until this one).

All in all, 2017 was ok but I didn’t get as much done was I had hoped in terms of historical sewing. I had planned on making at least one new Victorian gown. Still, I had some great makes and I also now have a whole weekend’s worth of Regency. My 2018 to sew list is very long. We’ll just have to see how it goes!

Without further ado….2017….

I tried to get better at knits and made three shirts from the Montlake Tee from Straight Stitch Designs.img_2139img_2121

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The 3rd tee was a present for my mom

I made two shirts from Simplicity 3852 as Christmas presents for my uncle. I have a photo from the one I made as a late 2016 present (I sewed it in January 2017) but I don’t have a picture of the one I made on time for 2017. Even worse, my uncle was at my house on Christmas morning! How missed getting a photo I’ll never know!img_2154

A patriotic pantsuit from Simplicity 5556 circa 1973.img_2162

Two more versions of Simplicity 1577 from 1956.

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a UFO of black lace and pleather

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a Poison themed Housewitch dress

A groovy maxi dress from 70s era McCalls 5337.IMG_3928

A couple of bowties from a 1970s Kwik Sew patternIMG_725218235921_10154532898787337_567025972_o

Three different dresses / cosplays from McCalls 2276, an 80s does 20s pattern.

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A day dress for the jazz age lawn party

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A 20s themed Slytherin dress based on fan art

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A jazz age take on Birdperson from Rick and Morty

 

I made, but did not blog about, a titanic era day time outfit made from TVE 45 – 1911 Narrow Panel BlouseTVE 30 – Narrow Panel Skirt and a remade church lady hat. While I successfully wore this outfit to a Titanic themed escape room, and while we successfully escaped the sinking ship before the time was up, this outfit has issues. I need to revisit and potentially remake it. I didn’t have enough time to let the fabric settle before hemming so fixing that would be a big improvement at the very least.IMG_3999IMG_4004IMG_4005

A Flamingo dress from Simplicity 4478 from 1962.IMG_5488

New daytime sleeves to take my purple Regency dress to half mourning.IMG_5474

A brand new Regency dress ensemble, including dress, shawl, reticule and fixed turban.IMG_5915IMG_5522IMG_5536

A Regency / 18th Century chemise and 18th Century petticoat. My stays were made by the very talented Anthony Canney / House of Canney.IMG_5762

A music dress from Simplicity 1427, View 2 from 1955.IMG_7197

This year’s robe from Simplicity 8510 from 1969.IMG_2227IMG_2228

A “science” housedress from a 1960s nightgown pattern — I don’t have the pattern number handy!IMG_6400IMG_6401

Wizard Robes for my mom!IMG_7536IMG_7535

Skirts for friendsIMG_4557IMG_4559

I finally finished putting the finishing stitches on my Edwardian safari outfit. The majority of it was sewn and worn a few years ago but I never finished the jacket. I also wore another House of Canney creation — a proper S Curve Corset — for the 1st time.IMG_7044

I also remade my Mod Christmas Dress from 2016 into a mod Disney dress from Costume College.IMG_5774

Finally I made Christmas stockings for our new pup Ollivander and our first time Christmas visitor, my Uncle Ronnie. We had seven stockings on the rail this year! A Santa record!IMG_7789And that brings us to the end of 2017!

I wish you all the best and all the luck in 2018!

 

1980s McCalls into 1920s Garden Party

Ah the 1920s! Jazz Age Glamour! The Black Bottom! The Great Gatsby!

Fashions that look terrible on people with tits and ass.

Le Sigh.

In keeping with the 100 year rule (people get excited and nostalgic when things are about 100 years old), the decadent Jazz Age is back in style. I’m sure the impending doom that it seems like our county is hurtling towards is helping that Weimar Cabaret feeling. But for whatever reason, the 1920s and associated events are everywhere these days.

The 1920s is a decade I have never been super enthusiastic about costuming. The boyish flapper figure is really far from what I have. I’m much more about that hourglass. A couple of years ago I tried to make the One Hour Dress and that was a fugtastic fail. Despite my dislike of the era I was joining a bunch of friends at Dardenella’s Atlanta Gatsby Garden Party. I had to figure it out so I’d have something to wear.

This photo of my grandma with her grandma was my inspiration. This photo is probably from the later part of the 20s.

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As cute as my grandma was, and as cute as I bet that dress was, there’s sure something wonky going on with the fit. It’s not my grandma, it’s the style of the 20s.

Check her out just a few years later in the 30s:

Photo Mar 23, 1 08 00 AMAdorable! What a difference!

See what I was up against?

Looking at other photos from the 1920s, curvy and bigger people just looked frumpy. You needed to have tiny ankles and no discernable bust like these gals. Photo Apr 17, 12 01 55 AM

Photo Apr 17, 5 59 18 PM

But then again, Queen Latifah looked damn fabulous in the Bessie Smith biopic so being curvy and looking good in 1920s fashions could be done.

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I was doing my usual troll of eBay and Etsy for vintage half-sized patterns when this 1985 relic came up in my search.

Photo May 14, 12 32 16 AMMinus the hair and the shoulder pads, McCalls 2276 seemed pretty close to a 1920s dress.

The line art makes the 20s potential even clearer. The shoulder treatment is very similar to Decades of Style Isabella dress and the collar options also had potential. I decided to go with a short sleeved version of view C with a hip sash.

Photo May 14, 12 32 11 AM

My cotton fabrics were pretty cheap to begin with and then I bought them in a Joann’s mega sale at 50% off. Because of this (and because I ran myself out of time) I decided not to make a test and just sew on the fly. I wasn’t super invested in the the fabric or honestly the final dress so I wasn’t afraid of a fail. I dug around in my closet for an acceptable backup outfit just in case, so I was set either way.

With no darts and hardly any shaping I didn’t see any point of putting in the zipper. Since that left the back wider than the collar I probably should have made an adjustment but I didn’t. I took very small seam allowances on the facings to make up the difference. I took a smaller seam allowance from waist to hip on the side seam but otherwise did not adjust the sizing.

I had planned on doing the pleated skirt but since I was at the 11th hour I was feeling lazy so I got out my ruffler foot. I ruffled the three skirt panels and just figured I’d attach it and hope that it fit. When I tried the dress on I realized that the dropped waist was too low even for the 1920s and the overly full skirt was super 80s. I raised the waistline between three and four inches (I did it by eye), took out most of the 3rd skirt panel, and took about another 3 inches off the hem. I hand tacked the sash and added two vintage pink buttons as a detail.

Photo May 12, 2 05 43 AMPhoto May 12, 2 05 54 AM

I tried the dress on with my other accessories but no shapewear. A distinct lack of fug was detected. 1920s success!

With my parasol mended, bust flattening shapewear on and picnic packed we were off to the event. It was held on the grounds of The Wren’s Nest, the home of Joel Chandler Harris. We were able to take an interesting short tour of the house which was a real treat!

I didn’t take a ton of photos but I here are a few.

Photo May 13, 1 04 52 PMSunglasses – $16 Amazon Prime!

Photo May 13, 1 08 48 PMMy husband, left, is wearing a bowtie I made for him. Don’t you love his oyster belt buckle?

Photo May 13, 1 36 58 PM

Megan made the Decades of Style Isabella for the occasion and I just love Rob’s swami getup!

One of our party, Rebecca (Swami Rob’s wife), was named best dressed at the party. She won a gift certificate for any dress from the new opened Trashy Diva boutique. This pretty much made the event for me!

Photo May 13, 1 03 01 PMThe win was foretold!

Photo May 13, 1 13 09 PMPhoto May 13, 1 13 19 PMPhoto May 13, 1 14 09 PM

As is prone to happen in Atlanta, a much feared for thunderstorm popped up halfway through the afternoon causing a scramble and a soaking. That pretty much ended the event as they had no rain plan (poor planning in my opinion). We never got a group photo and I was soaked through before I got my own photos.

Photo May 13, 4 22 58 PMMy coordinating bracelet and brooch, possibly by Neiger, are of the era.

Photo May 13, 4 23 23 PM My faces are of the era too. Pure silent film overacting.

All’s Well That End’s Well?

Bow Tie Bonanza

815r7ax5JnL._SY550_I’ve been playing around with another 70s patterns. This time it’s Kwik Sew 352, Tie Variations. I’ve been been making bow ties. I wanted to make my husband a bow tie or two, specifically for him to wear to an upcoming Gatsby picnic. Due to the vintage of this pattern I was wondering what the finished look of the bow tie would be. Would it be like a 70s prom tie or something a bit more timeless?

IMG_4063My initial tie was a bit too wide so I’ve taken a greater seam allowance. Opting to top stitch was really a mistake. I was also kind of stumped on what stiffener to use. On the first attempt I used sew-in interfacing that ended up being too heavy and stiff. My second with no interfacing and starch was not stiff enough. I did a little googling around and found this helpful blog post which suggested lining with muslin. That seemed too do the trick! The third time was the charm.

Despite having sewn a bow tie, I didn’t know how to tie one. I looked around at several tutorials but they all seemed kind of confusing. I found one that after an extensive step by step how to rounded out the tutorial by declaring that if anything was confusing just to remember that the most common knot used for bow ties is the same as the one you use to tie a shoe. Really? So I went through all of that when all I needed to know was “tie in bow”? Fucking hell people. No wonder the clip on ones became popular.

18235921_10154532898787337_567025972_oWhen I posted my first attempt photo on Facebook, a friend from my Chicago days declared that he would be proud to wear said tie. So I sent him my 3rd, perfecting attempt. Looking dapper, Alan!

Patriotic Protest Pantsuit

Ever since I got into sewing with vintage patterns I’ve been fascinated with the tunic pantsuits that seemed to be a part of every casual wear pattern in the 70s. I was born in 1973 and while I don’t exactly remember these garments from my childhood, they can be found all over my family photos and media from my toddler years. img_6576I’ve had a plan to sew my own version just for kicks for at least a year and a half. I decided to use Simplicity 5556, also from 1973, after making two versions of the dress from that pattern. Somewhere along the line I acquired a huge and cheap piece of blue and white double knit perfect for this project. I just needed to get around to sewing it.

In the run up to the election I was tentatively swept up in “pantsuit fever”. Despited my dearest hopes, I had my misgivings on how the election would really go. I considered trying to sew the pantsuit in time for Election Day. It would have been a crush but I could have done it. A friend suggested that I could wait and have it ready for The Inauguration. Since I was worried how I would feel if I burned the oil and it all went pear shaped, I took her suggestion.

And, as we know all now, it most certainly went pear shaped.

As soon as the Women’s March was announced, I considered going to Washington DC. In the end, I stayed and marched in Atlanta with old and dear friends who happened to be in town for the American Library Association convention. This was the time to make my pantsuit.

Since I had used part of the pattern before I felt like I had a decent chance of success without a mockup. I was a little concerned about the fit of the pants though. I measured my rise versus that of the pattern. It seemed like it would work and the tunic would come to the tops of my thighs anyway.img_2159It went together pretty quickly but it was looking pretty blah. I decided it needed a little jazz so I used my newly learned double needle trick to topstitch the neckline, all the hems and the tie belt with red thread. img_2160The pattern suggested that you could add a crease to the pants. I thought this would help tailor my look. To really accentuate the crease, and make life easier after washing, I sewed the pleat in, also in red. The only real problem was that somehow I managed to get one leg an inch shorter than the other! I’m not really sure how that happened. Maybe I am out of alignment these days? I’ve never noticed this on any other garments though. How odd. I had to make do since I didn’t quite have the extra inch to spare on the shorter leg. See if you can guess which one it was!img_2163In the end I wore my pantsuit with my 1976 bicentennial liberty bell pimp chain and a button I received with an Etsy purchase the day before the march. It was tucked in with a vintage pattern purchase. The button had clearly seen better days and its original pinback had been replaced with a safety pin. It reads “I Support America”. When I found it in my package, I really did not know what spirit the button was sent in but I took at as an omen and wore it.img_2208The day of the march it poured. We had scary storms and thunder so intense it knocked pictures off my neighbors’ walls. The start of the march was pushed back by 30 minutes. I debated on wearing my pantsuit in the pouring rain. I certainly gave up on any effort with my hair. I pushed the meetup time with my friends back and somehow, we managed to avoid the worst of the rain. Then the rain stopped. It was gray but we were ready. The estimate was 60,000 people marching, many of whom had come in the worst of the weather to get there. I certainly don’t blame people for not being sure. The storms that morning were downright frightening. I can only image how many people we might have had on a bright sunny day.img_2162I think in some ways my bling, button and pantsuit kind of confused my fellow marchers. I didn’t have a pink pussy hat or a protest sign. I could see how my oddly aggressive groovy patriotic garb might not “read”. Even if it didn’t resonate for others, it reminded me of everything that was a new step forward in 1973, everyone who had fought before and how we have to keep fighting. It was also really comfortable. Never hurts to have a comfy outfit for a protest!

As great as the Women’s March was, it was only one event. The hard work of fighting for and keeping rights was and is on going and is done generally without regard to glamour. But if you can make it a little glamorous by marching with friends in a handmade double knit pantsuit, it’s just that much better.

2016 Sewing Roundup, Part 2: Modern, Historical and Costuming

NOTE — I just found this post languishing in drafts! I wonder what it was doing there or if I missed something? Either way, it’s beyond time to post it!

I’ve already detailed all of my vintage sewing in Part 1 so now here is the rest of what came off the stitch plate.

All of my sewing with vintage half sized patterns has continued to disenchant me with modern patterns. But I did use a few in 2016. One was a Burda for the kid’s jacket from vintage fabric that I already mentioned in Part 1. The others were….

Weekend Doris Dress by The Lazy Seamstress (coincidently I’m wearing the tunic and the same leggings from Walmart right now. I was mixed on this pattern but it is comfy.weekend doris selfie        Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline StudiosIMG_9547 A matching shirt for Uno from a tutorial by Mimi and TaraFullSizeRenderI also finished this UFO from 2015, another dress from New Look 6889 (a personal favorite pattern.cowgirl dress and fabric detailsOn the historical front, I didn’t get anywhere close to the 11+ dresses and garments on my 2016 to do wish list. That’s not really a surprise but I thought I might make at least one new Victorian gown. I finally made a chemise from Truly Victorian 102 to give me a complete set of Victorian underwear.chemise 2I also made a new TV 101 to replace my original. FullSizeRenderAfter that I switched gears and started sewing a Regency wardrobe. This was a new era for me and I felt really daunted by it.

First I made a day dress from Laughing Moon 126 and beretIMG_0494An evening dress from the same pattern using a vintage sari.IMG_0704And a bonnet hackimg_1200I played with making a new Victorian bodice but it didn’t come together. At least one new Victorian gown is on the decks for 2017. I’m over due to update that era in my wardrobe!

On the pure costuming front, I made wizard robes for my niece and nephew. That was a Christmas surprise!img_2051

A pretty good year I would say!