my crazy life

Archive for the tag “patterns”

Truly Victorian Ballgown Bodice

Mock-up for my ballgown bodice.

I am making a ballgown for a masquerade put on by my friend on the 13th of October and I thought It would be a great opportunity to try out Truly Victorian’s patterns as I’ve heard wonderful things about them.  I am so so glad I did! Excluding a bit of adjustment on the shoulder seam, the pattern fits perfectly! I have NEVER had a pattern fit like that without adjustments. It doesn’t fit my dressform as well as it fits myself, I need to use American Duchess’s wonderful idea of making her a bit more endowed, might do that today actually.


Boning taped in with duct-tape.

I just taped the boning in to the mock-up and even as is, it’s a really good fit. I used Store House 24″ heavy duty cable ties sold at Harbor Freight and they are fantastic! So much better than the silly plastic boning sold at fabric stores.


I feel really productive this weekend, I’ve almost completely finished the underdress for Merida and my ballgown is nearly complete!


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!


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?



Steampunk bustle skirt: Finished


So I finally finished the bustle skirt I’ve been working on. I don’t have the time or materials to make a *real* bustle but I made a psuedo bustle out of several yards of tulle. The seams are all finished with French seams since this fabric is lighter than the usual taffeta I work with. I used the pattern made by Cation Designs. Pattern and post found here. Though I did add more panels than she did. The hem was handsewn as I didn’t like the look of a machined hem.  (That alone took me neatly six hours.) But I’m quite happy with it. I do need to make a petticoat and a dust ruffle so the train doesn’t get dirty.

ETA: all of this steampunk madness is for the upcoming Salt City Steamfest at the end of July.

Sneak peek!

I’m crazy busy with a whole bunch of steampunk assorted costumes, for the upcoming convention, but here’s a sneak peak of one of the outfits.

Yes, I know it’s terribly blurry, but it’s nearly 11 pm here, and I was to eager to get this up. Better pictures when it’s assembled.

It’s not sewn together yet, as I was going to do that tomorrow, but as far as it goes right now, I’m rather happy with it. Also, the fact that I got the fabric for about 4.50 a yard was nice as well.

Favorite part of sewing

You know what? I just realized my favorite part of sewing is pretty ridiculous but I go out of my way to make sure I do a little bit of it in each project. Facings. Yeah… facings. I hate hemming, and I hate finishing seams, but for some reason, putting a facing on a skirt is the best part of a project… How weird is that…. Yeah….

In any case, I didn’t get much progress done while camping, but I’m still working on it.

Pictures to come later.



Because I’m such a hobbit, this is how I manage to sew:

Alternatively titled: Mainstream patterns never fit, and I’m so desperate, I’ll alter girls’ patterns to fit.

I posted about the brocade zouave shrug on Thursday and promised to show how I altered an 1863 girls’ pattern to fit me. Well, real life got a head of me and now it’s Sunday and I’m barely starting this post. Ah well!

I bought this pattern to make a dress for my little sister. Can be found at

So the pattern looks like this, for a child’s jacket:

It’s actually pretty small, more so in the front than the back.


And here’s my modifications to make it hobbit sized:

As you can see, I lengthened it a bit and also made it wider in the shoulders and under the armscye

Also, you get to see my totally ghetto way of patterning. we’ve had this wrapping paper for years, and I hate it, so  the best way to get rid of it is to use it for pattern paper. (It’s also cause I’m a total cheapskate) So basically, I just enlarged it to fit my shoulder dimensions and length, pretty easy. I’m sure you could do it via computer, but it was just as easy to do it manually. I lengthened the front more than the back, just to deal with the boob factor, but overall it turned out very nice.

Also, my ghetto way of patterning sleeves, as commercial patterns are always wrong in some way

Yeah… that is an old sleeve from a shirt I wore years ago. The thing is, it fits with no modifications needed, so it’s my magical sleeve draft for everything.


So there you  go, you know my magical secret! By the point, I’ve given up on commercial patterns, it’s easier to fight my way through drafting my own pattern than to mess with altering a commercial pattern.

Cropped Zouave Shrug

So, remember the pointy boob darts from hell? Well, I decided to stop fighting them and just pres on. And look what I’ve got now:

Bad lighting, as it’s dusk right now, so no natural light…


  • 1.5 yards of a floral brocade
  • adapted from an original 1863 girls zouave jacket, sleeves are self-drafted
  • Took about 7 hours, due to fiddling with the toile

Tomorrow I’ll show how I adapted the girls pattern to fit in a mini tutorial of sorts.




Amazon women.

Apparently I must either be freakishly short or the lady who first modeled this pattern was at least seven feet tall…


Dress pattern.

I’m five foot nothing, and the woman who would fit into this must be an Amazon woman or something. 

Plus you get a sneak peek at the kilted skirt, but that’s for a later post.

New projects

I’ve mentioned I like the steampunk style yes? Well I do. It combines my love of Victorian styles and the creative almost dystopian future I enjoy reading about. Also it’s an easy way to incorporate my own personal style into the everyday clothes I wear without appearing to costumey since I can add little steampunk details into the shirts or accessories I wear.

Anyway… I’ve been given the opportunity to sew a steampunk style skirt for a wonderful photographer/model here in Utah. I’m friends with her on Facebook and have admired her style for quite a while.

Skirt inspiration

The skirt seems easy enough, and she wants it in black so I’m hoping to find a nice crisp taffeta or similar fabric with a nice crisp body. I’ve been stewing over this all last night, I even dreamed about it, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I have two different options for making this:

  • I can use the basic tiered ruffle skirt that’s very easy to do. A waistband, the first tier double the waist measurement, second tier 2.3-3 times the waist measurement and then at least 3-4 times the waist measurement for the last tier since it’s significantly more ruffled than the others.
  • Or I can do a basic circle skirt pattern and then ruffle the tiers to fit the pattern. This would solve the fullness issue while still having a certain amount of shape and drape to the skirt.

So I’m going to ruminate on that a bit more, but I’m really excited to be doing this. And I hope it turns out well.


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