sewinginshambles

my crazy life

Labor Day Plans

Okay, Labor Day is tomorrow. And since it’s a day off from work and school, I’m going to get off my lazy rear and actually sew. Lots! I need to get a move on all the projects I’ve got piling up on me.

Sooo, first up: Commissions, I’ve got a couple and while they’re still on schedule, I’d really just like to get them finished right away.

Mock-up for a fantasy/steampunk Kurta

Mock-up for a fantasy/steampunk Kurta

Second: I really really really need to get a start on my Princess Merida dress. I was originally use medieval period sewing techniques and construction, but as October is rapidly rounding the corner, I shall be doing it in whatever way is fastest.

 

If I don’t at least make some kind of progress, someone needs to jump through my computer screen and kick me in the butt!

Fabric stash

So Joann fabrics had a really AWESOME coupon this last week. 60% off any cut of fabric. And if you were signed up for the mailing list, emails, coupon texts AND has the coupon app, they all came with one. That’s 4 coupons!

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3 yards of cream linen, 3 yards of grey silk, yard and a quarter kd peacock blue silk,  4 yards of cream striped satin and 3 yards of blue/green linen for my Merida costume.
How bout that huh? Total score! The silk, satin and part of linen will be a new steampunk costume. I can’t disclose what exactly because we’re keeping the event under wraps right now but you will find out soon enough!

I will have more posts on my research soon! 

An Apology

I must apologize for my absence here. Life had momentarily taken over and I found myself with less time to focus on sewing.

Luckily, due to the new school semester, I will have more research and sewing to share with you, as well as more posts. I am working on applying for an URCO grant from my university. Basically, it’s an undergraduate research grant that takes place over the course of a year.

Currently, I have two projects I’m considering for the grant:

  • To work with the university library in putting together an exhibit on the countless amazing medieval manuscripts we have in the special collection that no one ever sees. It would involve dissecting the process of making manuscripts and translating the equivalent into modern society. Basically “illuminating” the inherent “magic of the book.”
  • The second option is to document the process of taking a 2 dimensional image like a painting and translating it into physical reality. This would be most apparent with clothing, as it is something I’m comfortable with, yet it will still yield an element of challenge to it. The big emphasis would be on the recreation of the garments in a way that reflects the painting’s original garment but using what information we know from extant examples. I would probably create the clothing on a 1/2 scale as it will be easier to work with and allows for more interpretations to be made.

I haven’t exactly made a decision yet, as I would really like to do the costume concept for my senior thesis next year, but I will have to see if there is any way I could do it for both.

Also, I’ve had several commissions come in, so the moment the customers have them in hand, I will be posting pictures. . .  And rumor has it I shall be appearing as the White Rabbit in a steampunked Alice in Wonderland tea party sometime soon, so keep your eyes out for that.

Waldo has been found! Or in this case, early 16th century German painters.

I’m going to warn you now, this post is image heavy, almost to the point of simply spamming you with images. But, it’s more for my benefit, so I know which images I have and which I need to find more of.

I found more German painters, courtesy of Barbra from It’s About Time and from there, I simply did a quick Google search.

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I put the images in a slideshow, so this post isn’t ten miles long. But long story short, I found other German painters from around the same time painting the same kind of dresses as the Cranach painters!

Micro Vests in the Making

Remember my micro shrugs?

Lab coat Micro Shrug

Well, for the Salt City Steamfest, I made a sleeveless rendition for the director of the con, who also happens to be a dear friend of mine.

Reversible micro vest. 1/4 yard of both vintage sari silk and gold taffeta

It was a very huge hit, and I got several people asking whether I do commissions, so I figured I better whip a couple of these up and place them up for sale on my Etsy page. (Which, to my embarrassment, has been pretty much abandoned for several months due to lack of items to sell.)

They’re pretty easy to make and take so little fabric. Plus they’re a joy to make!

Current fabrics for micro vest in the making

It’s also a great way for me to use up scraps from previous projects like the fabrics above. I always buy more than what I think I’ll need just in case I goof up!

 

Where in the world are Saxon painters from the first part of the 16th Century?

So…. 16th century painters from Saxony. Besides the Cranach painters. Have you seen them? The interwebs haven’t. I checked.

I’m seriously at my wits end here. All I want is several other painters from the same provenance to collaborate the theory that the Cranach gown was not just a fictional gown made up by some crazy old painter guy. . . I may be bald by the end of the week, I’m gonna rip my hair out.

 

ETA: Barbra from It’s About Time just posted a lovely series of images on Bianca Maira Sforza.

What do you know, some of the gowns she wears look rather similar don’t you think?

 

Quick question/help?

Okay, so I apologise for not starting off with pictures of the Salt City Steamfest. I will be posting pictures however there won’t be very many, as I was working atregistration all weekend. I did host one panel on Victorian costuming with extant costumes and fashion plates. It went well and afterwards, I had one very sweet lady who asked me if I knew anything about Victorian mourning crepe. I don’t honestly know anything but I told her I would research it and then send her an email. So my question and plea for help from you my dear readers, is if you know anything about mourning crepe would you please comment here or direct me to credible sources that could possibly help.

Thanks!

Embroidered towel

So, in between my frantic bursts of costuming, I have done some embroidery of a small nature.

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Its just an old tea towel and some embroidery thread from Jo-Anns.  I did small flowers in each corner and an embroidered B not to mention a large circle in the middle.

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I made each corner a bit different. Since this turned out well, I will hopefully be embroidering the hem of the dress I’m making for my brother’s wedding.

Quick post!

Just a really quick post since I’m super busy with last minute projects for the steampunk convention happening this week. Salt City Steamfest  this Friday and Saturday in Salt Lake City Utah at the Red Lion Hotel. If you’re in Utah, you should come!
In any case, I’m super busy making last minute alterations and accessories for the convention. Currently I’ve got a ballgown with the blue and brown bustle skirt which is almost done. I just need to finish the bodice, a Scottish-ish steampunk outfit- literally thrown together with already existing items (I’ll post that later after the convention), and the fish corset outfit I finished in May.

I’ve also been working on a special thank you gift for the director of the Steamfest. She’s a dear friend and has put sooo much time and effort into creating a niche for those who love steampunk here in Utah. I will post up fabulous pictures of it later this week.
Sorry for a lack of pictures in this post, but I promise to make up for it with lots of pictures from the convention when I’m not helping with registration and panels and such. I’ll be so busy!

 

Cheers

Bustle Tutorial- Sort of

In a previous post, I showed a picture of the blue and brown bustle dress I’ve been working on. On my Facebook page, I had a couple friends ask how I managed to make it. Now I don’t profess to be an expert by any means, and there are millions of ways to drape a bustle, but this is how I did mine. (Coincidentally, it was easier to write this and make a second bustle than the first, 3o minutes versus about 9 hours of fussing)

So mini tutorial, ready set go!

Fabric, pins, scissors, measuring tape, thread, and of course your victim. Mine happens to be an American girl doll that was near my sewing table.

When I made the brown bustle, I used about 2 yards of 45 inch wide fabric. It is a synthetic taffeta, and since I didn’t want a hem weighing it down, I just singed the edges until they melted a bit. You can line your bustle if you would like, just bag line it or flat line it and finish the edges with bias tape, it’s all up to you really. For the doll’s bustle, I just took the dimensions of the brown bustle and shrunk them down using some questionable math techniques and ended up with a waist band of 2 inches by 12 inches and the bustle part of 14 inches by 20 inches. Disclaimer, I did not finish the edges on this bustle in the pictures, because I’m terribly lazy and this was just a mock-up to show how I made it.

So essentially two rectangles, super fancy I know. Also, forgive the super wrinkly fabric, this was just made from scraps

Mark the center back on the larger rectangle, and make tailor tacks or just mark about every three to five inches (I did about every eight-nine inches on the brown one. Again it’s up to you, depending on how many pleats you want and how deep you want them) I marked the measurements with an orange sharpie just to make sure it was clearly shown. I wouldn’t suggest it on your expensive fashion fabric.

Mark center back and where you want the bustle skirt to start on the waistband, I started mine near the sides, rather than in front.

Pleat the skirt onto the waistband, sew it together then flip the waistband down and slip stitch it together so there are no raw edges showing.

Yes my thread was green, just to make it easier to see what I was stitching to what. Now here’s the draping-ish part. With the first finger and thumb of your left hand, pinch the first mark you made on the skirt closest to the waistband.

Like so

With your first finger and thumb of your right hand, pinch the second mark you made on the skirt and bring together, transferring both pleats to your left hand so your right hand is free to grab the next pleat.

Continue this pattern with all of the markings, bring them all together and pin it while you prepare to stitch them together. Make sure you have each pleat lined up with the others, or you could skip a pleat without intending to while sewing.

I just whip stitched them together, but you could put loops on the inside of the skirt to allow the pleats to be pulled up or down.

Stitch that section to the center back of the waistband or you could attach a hook and eye to allow it to be pulled up or down.

Attach hooks and eyes to the waistband and you’re done!Well, what do you think? Are there any other inventive ways you’ve discovered to make a bustle without complicated instructions that make you want to scream?

 

Cheers!

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