Friday, June 29, 2012

More fabric = more events

So I got talked into going to labyrinth of Jareth this weekend with our friends. They are coming down to LA just for the event and staying with us so it was hard to say no :) and I always have fun with them! 

So another event meant more sewing and as labyrinth is a fantasy event, I actually didn't have anything to wear! My friend is going in a Turkish themed costume from a previous event and Michael is going to wear his Indian army kit complete with turban, so to stay with the theme they have I am making a little Turkish ish costume using a combination of gypsy patterns.

So it was off to Lincoln fabrics and this is what I came away with: 

The diamond is my favorite! I totally fell in love with it and it was super expensive, almost $50 a yard!!! So I am using it for little accents and details and only purchased a half yard.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Black and white bustle gown

The dress I wore last Sunday to the picnic was one I had made last summer for a fashion show. The theme of the fashion show was Victorian fashion in art. I love Tissot's work and knew that I wanted to do one of his. I chose the painting "A ball on shipboard" and chose the white and black dress that is the main focus of the painting.

The simplicity of the dress in both decoration and style is what made it so attractive to me. 

I made my dress out of white cotton. The under skirt is plain white cotton but for some contrast I chose a triple pin tuck white cotton for the bodice and apron. The lace is white with white work embroidery and I ran the black ribbon through for the black detail as in the painting.  

I used Truly Victorian patterns; the vest basque bodice, parlor skirt and bustled apron over skirt.  For my undergarments to achieve the right shape I used a modern crinoline under a short bustle, made using the laughing moon pattern (#112 - hoops and bustles). 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Los Encinos Victorian Picnic

Sunday was a Victorian picnic at the Los Encinos state historical park. The park is small but lovely, with a nice sized grassy area in the shade. The park is an early Californian homestead complete with an intact adobe structure you can tour, the main house and the blacksmiths shop. It also has a little man made pond full of ducks, geese and turtles you can feed.

We joined friends in a picnic celebration of June birthdays, complete with cake :)

Our friend Paul was kind enough to let me borrow his dogs for a photo as we matched that day ;) his sweet boston terriers are named Boris and Nicolai.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mens 18th century waistcoat

Since I have men's wear on my mind lately I can talk a little about the waistcoat I made for Michael for the pirate fair. I used the kannik korner 18th century waist coat pattern. Michael chose the pattern cause of the variety of options it offered. We went with the high button turn back collar option, using a very nice cream doe skin wool. 

To start with the pattern is written for constructing the garment by hand. Which I appreciate for the historically accurate crowd which I am sometimes a member of but when I want to make it quick, is a total pain in the ass to decipher. 

Second this was my first attempt at welt pockets which have always scared me. The welt pockets, a la hand sewing directions, shortly had me in tears. But with a little talking off the ledge from Michael, my readers digest sewing book and a glass of wine I was actually able to make them!! It was actually no to bad once I had them figured oh :)

The vest had to be lengthened about 3 inches to account for Michael's torso but that didn't affect the fit at all and it came together very nicely :) I would make it again now that I know what I am doing and I really do like their patterns as they are very detailed and historically accurate. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Victorian trousers - or fun with new sewing accessories

Michael wants a new Victorian sack suit . . . in plaid wool of all things :) though it's very correct for early Victorian, it is also pretty loud by modern sensibilities. But that's neither here nor there. What is however is that I have started on the suit, it will likely get constructed piece by piece over the next few months. The pants were the first piece, and I made them on Saturday for a picnic we attended on Sunday. Pants are always time consuming and of course I was rushing to finish Sunday morning, but they were not difficult and they look great, if I do say so myself ;) 

But that wasn't the fun part, the fun part was the button holes!! . . . Haha okay that needs a little back story to explain, so I do about 90% of my sewing on a vintage 1930s singer 201 machine. It is the love of my life ;) so smooth and super heavy duty I haven't found a project it can't handle yet, just as long as all I do is sew a straight seam.

Well these pants have a button fly and I didn't have my newer machine on hand to make the button holes and I was staring desolately at the fly contemplating hand sewing them, when Michael remembered that his mother has a similar model machine, the featherlight, and that all the foot attachments are interchangeable, and she has a button hole foot! Now I had heard of such a thing but never seen one and had no idea how it would work since the needle only goes straight up and down and has a time little round hole in the base. Where as my newer machine has a wide oval in the base and the needle can move side to side to create a zig zag or button hole.

We ran out to his parents house and picked up her machine with all it's attachments (just in case), she so rarely uses it now and was glad that we had a use for it. Like the good daughter of an engineer I sat down and read the instructions front to back before starting ;) the attachment goes on the machine like a little alien or bug  clamping on the the pressed foot, you set the size and style of button into the machine, clamp the fabric down under this alien, sink the needle and let the machine go. 

And the machine moves the fabric side to side rather then the needle going side to side! It was brilliant :) and it made clean little button holes, infact because she had all the extra button hole options I was able to make keyhole button holes!!! 

Something I always thought had to be done by hand, and it's a little detail that always helps to make a piece look of an older era. So now I have new toy to play with :) oh and Michael got new pants ;)

Friday, June 22, 2012

18th century straw hat

One of my favorite parts of my 18th century costume wash hat! It's a style I love, with the low crown and wide brim turned up in the back. I made mine using one of the blanks from JAS Townsend, and though I don't I made it period correct, I was super happy with how easily I modified and embellished it.

The first thing I did was cut down the width, which was excessive even in comparison to my hair ;) I did this slowly and carefully, by using a razor blade to cut away the stitching keeping the rows together and working around the circle till I had reduced the circumference to a more reasonable measure. Then I just used E6000 glue to hold the raw edge down and from fraying, dries clear and adheres to just about everything really well.

Next I set the back curve up of the brim. This took a little fussing to get the right amount of curve, not too much and not too little ;) to hold the curve I used twist ties!! I know a terrible cheat, but by chance I had in those tan colored twist ties and pushed one through the brim near the middle and another closer to the crown and just twisted them together to hold the curve up. This was actually nifty as it was adjustable :)

Then just the ribbon band around the crown with ties to hold the hat on behind my hair and a little bow and cockade ish decoration to hide the twist ties :)

The whole thing had almost no sewing, just a bit for the ribbons. And it was fun to put together and even more fun to wear :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Nor Cal Pirate Fair

Or as I am found of calling it: the hysterical fair, not a historical fair :) though our little group was doing our very best to be accurate to the mid to late 18th century, everybody else was there to dress like a pirate and have way too much fun!

And way too much fun it was! I had an absolute blast!! It's a very small little fair with about two dozen vendors and about a half dozen re enactors groups, a couple of stages for entertainment and some kids rides. The location was nice and grassy and right on the water but the view was fairly ugly as we were surrounded by an old industrial shipping yard, but you mostly forgot about it with all the tents up and the whole place packed with people. Lots of customers made an effort to dress up to some degree and many of the participants dressed as pirates did a great job, you could really see that people had fun putting together their outfits :)

And I was most certainly was one of those people that had fun with my outfit, and it came together so nicely too. I wore the yellow matalaise petticoat under the blue striped polonaise all over my period undergarments, so it had that iconic shape. Oh and the hair, it was perfect and people loved it!

My big straw hat I made myself and Michael made the parasol for me (details to come on both in later posts). That giant hat and my fichu were real life savers when it came to avoiding getting sun burnt, though nothing could help with 100 degree heat on Saturday :(

Michael wore his Napoleonic uniform. He wore the jacket open with the lapels buttoned back and his tricorn instead of the bicorn. And he wore knee breeches with tall boots rather then the long grey trousers. All of which combined to make the uniform look earlier. 

The group we participate with puts on "the government house". Which is the home of governor Woodes Rogers who has come to the islands of the Bahamas to clear out the pirates either by offering the kings pardon to the pirates or capturing them with the military. The kids love the pardons, and they line up to sign the pardon and swear the oath, then they get to take a feather pen or a fake gold piece. The women all got together and set and served a period appropriate lunch each day and then sat around in the shade either chatting or hand sewing, I worked on my embroidered pockets :)

Great little fun event!! And I made some wonderful new friends :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yes I am still alive

The last 7 days have been crazy! So much sewing, traveling and so little sleep. But I survived, although the heat we had to deal with on Saturday at the pirate fair almost killed us, it hit 100! 

Pictures have started showing up and I am almost done documenting the last of my 18th century sewing. So starting tomorrow you will start to get all the good details and pictures. And then moving right into the Victorian picnic stuff.

Here's a little peak at some of the fine gentlemen from this past weekend :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tea staining cotton

Since I decided I didn't like the fichu I had purchased, I ran out and bought a handkerchief weight white cotton to make my own out of but because it's a pure white it looked very odd against the cream stripes in the dress and the cream lace on the cuffs. So an attempt at tea staining had to be made.

I did some Internet research, lots of talk about water temp, duration and tea type. But because I'm me, I decided to just try and wing it ;) so while making dinner last night I tea dyed my cotton.

I had purchased extra fabric so I only dyed half, in case I messed up the first time around and I cut myself a little six inch square test piece to start with. 

Because I was aiming for a pretty light color, all my reading had suggested herbal tea over black tea, and since I was winging it of course there was no camomile tea in the house so I had to settle for ginger tea :) I chose my largest pot and mostly filled it ( like I said just winging it, no measuring) and added four tea bags and brought the whole thing up to a good simmer. When I figured the water looked dark enough to have an impact on the fabric, I pulled out the tea bags and threw in the test swatch. I stirred it frequently and checked it often. At about ten minutes I decided it was a good color and pulled the swatch out and rinsed it clear.

At that point I dumped my pre wet fabric into the still simmering pot and repeated what I had done for the swatch. After ten minutes I pulled it out and rinsed it clear. I saved the pot of dye just in case I needed to try it again :) though I didn't have too, better to be safe then sorry.

The fabric went into the dryer. And voila! 

It dried a bit darker then i would have liked but i am going to send it through the wash and see if that lightens it a little, if not I'm not too concerned as its a very shear fabric anyways :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A New Wig!

I picked up my new wig last night! I'm super excited, I think it looks great and am so looking forward to wearing it with the whole outfit this weekend :)

I purchased the wig from Tracy Lynn at The Historical Hairdresser,, I have gotten a number of things from her in the past and am always happy with her work.

Pardon the very bad pictures, I just thru it on my in the living room after work and snapped a few quick shots so I could share it with you :)

it makes my forehead look gigantic ;p

All the curls and rolls in the back are so fabulous though and I like that its a pomp with out being too tall, this will sit great under my straw hat.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Warning: Project creep ahead

Yes my current project that I had gone into the weekend thinking I was ahead of schedule on has now expanded to encompass more things. 

I am now making an 18th century waistcoat for Michael and making a fichu. I had actually purchased a silk fichu from JAS Townsend but i am not at all happy with it, it just doesn't have the look i want for a fichu so now i have to go out and make one. 

Not to mention that after the 18th century event next weekend i will be making michael new trousers and waistcoat for a Victorian picnic we have the following weekend. Thank heavens I was already planning on wearing something from archives and not bothering to make anything new :)

We went to my favorite fabric store Saturday morning, Lincoln fabrics is like the garment district in one giant warehouse. They carry a little bit of everything including a lot of stuff you can't find most places like handkerchief weight cotton or unprinted chintz for lining. Michael found a fabulous brown wool plaid with light colored window panes for the Victorian stuff and I picked up the handkerchief cotton for my fichu. 

The weekend was productive though, I finished the yellow petticoat and my polonaise is mostly done just have to sew the hooks and eyes on the front of it. But I'll share more about that later in the week. Also coming this week is my new 18th century wig that I had ordered custom made from a friend, I am so excited for that one!!! And Michael is almost done making an 18th century style walking parasol for me. 
I do have to brag a little and say that it's so great to have a handy boyfriend with power tools and wood working skills :)!