Jun 23, 2017

Taking a Break

As much as I hate to do it, I'm going to be taking a break from blogging for the summer. I likely won't be posting much on my Instagram either during this time.

But why, you might ask? Well, between my part time job and my internship (which starts tonight - yay!) I'll be working full time, and on top of that I have some health issues I'm dealing with. Lately I've also been feeling the need to get off the internet (social media in particular) and focus on my sewing skills on a more technical level without the distraction of everything on internet-land.

I really enjoy blogging, but it's just another thing I have to keep up with and as I mentioned above, I'm gonna be pretty busy. That's not to say I won't be posting at all during this time. If I have the time and feel like it I'll still post here and there, but it probably won't be very regular.

I'm planning on returning to my regular blogging in September, which will be after my crazy summer is over and I'll actually have the time to dedicate to blogging again.

Until then, have a great summer everyone!

Jun 22, 2017

1930's Aviatrix | Costume Photo's

Paine Field Aviation Day
May 20th, 2017

Earlier this year I posted some of my inspiration of women's aviation wear from the early 20th century. Since then I've put together a 1930's Aviatrix ensemble consisting of a pair of jodhpurs, leather flight helmet, and knee high lace up boots, which I premiered at Paine Field Aviation Day in May. This outfit was really popular and it was so comfortable. 

Usually this event has terrible weather. It's always rainy, windy and freezing, so I was excited to finally have an outfit I could wear that would be warm and still fit the era. However, this was the first time I think in the history of this event that it was actually warm. Go figure. But this outfit was still surprisingly comfortable, even in the warm weather.

The event itself was fun, as usual, and it was a great day of volunteering and hanging out. At the end of the day I was able to get some pictures with one of the biplanes. The sun was really bright, so I'm squinting in most of the pictures, but they still turned out pretty nice.

I had a lot of people tell me I looked like Amelia Earhart throughout the day. As I walked by parents would point to me and tell their kids "look, there's Amelia Earhart, the first female pilot!" She wasn't the first, but she's one of the most famous. It was fun being Amelia for a day though.

Details about this costume:
  • The jodhpurs/pants - made by me using Butterick pattern B6340. This pattern fit right out of the bag (which never happens), but it was a beast to put together. The instructions were so confusing and it has a lot of pieces and pockets. The mockup nearly drove me insane.
  • The helmet and goggles - these are authentic British issued from WWII that I found at a local antique store. It was a great find and it even came with a picture and name of the man who originally owned them.
  • The jacket - this is a modern jacket I found in a lucky stop at my local Goodwill.
  • The boots - the boots are modern, purchased from Amazon and I love them!
  • The rest of the items are modern pieces I either found at local stores or purchased from ThredUp. I was very specific in the modern pieces I used because I wanted to make sure they looked authentic. The piece I was most specific with was the sweater though. It was a little challenging to find something with the right knitted pattern and neckline that fit the vintage look I needed.
My plan is to replace most if not all of the modern pieces with authentic vintage pieces as I'm able to find them. But for now I'm happy with what I have.

Hangin' with Grumpy, the B-25 Bomber.
Not the greatest photo, but it's the only one I have without the helmet on.

I'm so proud of my hair. I set it in foam curlers the night before and that morning when I was trying to style it I just couldn't get it to look good, so I put in in a low ponytail and tucked it up underneath to create a faux-bob and it actually worked. It looked pretty good, if I do say so myself, and I got a ton of compliments on it.

Jun 19, 2017

Making an 18th Century Inspired Dress Part 4 | Making the Petticoat/Skirt

Today I'm wrapping up my Making Of posts for my 18th Century Inspired Dress, talking about how I made the petticoat/skirt. In the 18th century skirts were usually separate from the bodice and were referred to as petticoats, or "outer petticoats".

The petticoat is made from 2 large rectangular pieces of fabric, approximately 50 inches wide each for a total circumference of approximately 100 inches. Once my pieces were cut I stitched the sides together with a 5/8 inch seam allowance, leaving the top 8 inches open for the side openings. 

I folded the edges of the opening over once, then again to hide the raw edges, pressed, then hand stitched to hem the opening.

After this I pleated the skirt (which unfortunately I don't have any photo's of at this stage). I originally wanted to do cartridge pleats on the skirt but when I did a quick test I found that I didn't have enough fabric and I ended up with my backup plan of knife pleats.

Next, the waistband. The waistband is created from two separate rectangular pieces. The shorter piece is for the front and the longer is for the back.

Folding the waistband in half lengthwise I pressed, then opened it up and folded the top edge under half an inch. This is for after I attached it to the skirt and to hid the raw edges of the waistband later.

I also folded and pressed the ends in by half an inch.

Opening the waistband, I placed it right sides together to the skirt and machine stitched.

I then folded the waistband over, covering the raw edges of the skirt with the folded edge of the waistband and hand stitched it closed. You'll notice that the edge of the waistband is longer on this part of the skirt. It's like this on the front waistband, but the waistband for the back sits flush with the width of the skirt. This is because I opted to go for a button closure, which isn't historically accurate from anything I've seen. I chose to do this because I liked the look and since I wasn't going for complete historical accuracy.

After attaching the back waistband the same way, I machine stitched button holes on the front waistband and stitched a couple of vintage mother of pearl buttons onto the back. And voila! The waistband was done.

Lastly I had to hem the skirt. Because of the bum pad worn under the petticoats the straight edge of the skirt was higher in the back (right). I had to cut the skirt so it was even all the way around before hemming, which I did by hand.

And that's it! I still haven't gotten any photo's of this dress worn, but hopefully I will soon.
If you haven't already, be sure to read:
Part 1 - Drafting the Bodice
Part 2 - Making the Bodice
Part 3 - Making the Stomacher

Jun 12, 2017

June Updates

It feels like I haven't posted in forever. I've had a lot of things going on in my life recently that unfortunately have been keeping me from doing much sewing and I've been procrastinating on writing up blog posts because, frankly, I've just been too tired and lazy to get it done.

So finally, I'm writing something up. Today's post is going to be a catch up post so I can share a few things that have been going on, some costume related, some not so much. Here we go...

Last month was Aviation Day and I premiered my 1930's aviatrix outfit. I want to do an official post about it soon, but for now here's a few details.

While I'm really with how this looks, most of the pieces are modern clothing items. The helmet and goggles are authentic WWII British, which I found at a local antique store. I made the jodhpurs myself, but the rest is all modern. I plan on replacing these with authentic pieces as I find them, but for now they fit the part.

This was a really fun and really comfortable outfit to wear and people responded really well to it. Most people thought I was dressed up as Amelia Earhart, however it's not intended to be anyone in particular but rather to represent all women pilots (known as Aviatrix at the time) from the era.

May the Fourth came and went, and I'm still not close to done with P19. I got most of the bodice embroidery done, but I got tired of all the embroidery and had to put it down. It's sitting in my UFO pile, but I want to get back to it soon.

I didn't end up having any special Star Wars day party like I usually try to do, but I did celebrate by watching a few of the movies with my siblings. We had a bit of a thunderstorm that night which made it an interesting night.

I landed my first Costume Design Internship! I'm interning for the Village Theatre's Summer Stock production of Beauty and the Beast and I'm so excited! I'll be meeting with the cast and crew at the end of this month and production goes through August.

Not costume related, but I got my wisdom teeth pulled. I was pretty much incapacitated for 4 days, but I'm back to normal now.

Well, that's about it. I'm planning on getting back to my regular blogging routine and should have the last post about the Grey Gown up soon.

May 15, 2017

Making an 18th Century Inspired Dress Part 3 | Making the Stomacher

Today I'm continuing my Making of Post's for my 18th Century Inspired Dress with the stomacher.

Okay, so some of you may be wondering what a stomacher is. A stomacher is a V shaped bodice piece made of decorative fabric worn over the chest and stomach, most common between the 16th-18th centuries. Bodices that were open in the center front would often have a stomacher, which would be pinned into the bodice or dress. This was a style usually incorporated into more elegant dresses worn by the higher class.

For my dress, I contemplated a couple of different options: criss-cross lacing, spiral lacing, a plain stomacher, an embroidered stomacher. I wasn't able to decided until after I re-watched one of my costume films, Ever After (if you haven't see this film yet, you should really go watch it. It's wonderful!) and was inspired by the stomacher-like piece in Danielle's blue "Monastery" dress.

I really liked the gathered fabric on it and the rounded shape, though I knew my own would be straight on the top.

Onto the actual making! I drafted the pattern using a pattern from Patterns of Fashion as a guideline, but making sure it would fit the length and width of my bodice. In the end, here's what my pattern looked like.

The next step was to cut out my fabrics. I used a duck canvas for the base layer to give it some strength, and cut two pieces of my pattern from that, which I then basted together around the bottom and side edges.

I stitched my boning channels between the two layers. For boning I just used plastic zip ties because they're cheap, easy to cut, and happened to be scraps from other projects.  You can see my boning channel pattern below. Nothing fancy, but still sturdy.

Next it was time to prepare my fashion fabric. I've had this cotton with a light print on it in my stash for forever. You can't really see the pattern in the pictures, but it's a delicate cream cotton.

I took a large rectangle piece, I didn't measure so I don't have measurements but it was about twice as long as the width of my stomacher. I stitched 3 rows of gathering stitches parallel over the entire piece.

Which I then gathered and pinned to my stomacher. I trimmed away a bit of the excess on the bottom half, because there was a bit too much fabric, before I basted it in place.

Around the bottom edge I ended up rounding it a bit when I stitched the top layer down, which I then trimmed to cut away the excess fabric.

Next I cut out a single piece from my pattern of a plain cotton, which would be for the lining. I pinned it to the other piece, right sides together, and stitched along the edges, leaving a bit open on the top edge to flip it around and put the boning in.

Before flipping it all right side out, I clipped the corners and the curved edges so it would lay flat.

All that was left after that was to insert the boning and hand stitch the top closed with an invisible slip stitch.

All done!

And that's that! The stomacher itself gets pinned into the bodice with straight pins to hold it all in place.

If you haven't already, be sure to read:
Part 1 - Drafting the Bodice
Part 2 - Making the Bodice

Apr 24, 2017

Making an 18th Century Inspired Dress Part 2 | Making the Bodice

Today I'll be talking about how I constructed the bodice of my 18th Century Inspired Dress. If you missed part one where I showed how I drafted the pattern, you can read it here.

With my pattern drafted, I cut out my pattern pieces from my fashion fabric and lining. My fashion fabric was a wonderful gray linen and for my lining I just used bleached muslin.

Fun fact: the linen fabric I used was actually from two curtain panels that I bought from Goodwill for $10. Second hand stores are a great place to look for cheap fabric if you know what to look for.

My notions consisted of 1 inch single fold bias tape and a couple of pieces of spiral steel boning. I usually use plastic boning/zip ties, but I had a couple pieces of spiral steel laying around from an old corset I took apart and they were the perfect length.

On my muslin lining I traced where I wanted my boning channels along the center front and stitched the bias tape on to create the boning channels. Below is what it looks like on the wrong side and the right side.

Then I stitched all my bodice pieces together out of both the muslin lining and my fashion fabric pieces. Once they were all stitched I ironed the seams flat.

Then, with right sides of both my lining and outer pieces together, I stitched with a 1/2" seam allowance along all of the outer edges, leaving a small opening (about 5") in the bottom of the center back so I could turn the bodice right side out.

After it was stitched I trimmed the corners and clipped the curved edges.

Once the garment was turned right side, out I folded the edges of the opening in the center back in by 1/2" and used an invisible whip stitch to close the opening.

The finished back edge.

Next, it was onto the sleeves! I also cut the sleeves out of both the fashion fabric and muslin for the lining. The first thing I did was sew them each separately along the seam line with right sides together. Then, placing right sleeve lining inside of the right sleeve with right sides together, I stitched along the cuff and turned it right side out.

After a quick iron, I top stitched by hand around the edge of the cuff.

I seem to have forgotten to take photo's of it, but the sleeves each have a small dart just above the elbow that helps shape the sleeve. If you want to know more about that you can read my post about my 1770's Polonaise which used the same sleeve pattern.

After this, I pleated the sleeves towards the back and set the sleeves into the bodice by hand.

At this point, I put the jacket on Trisha (below) for a quick look at how it was looking. I decided that the front needed to be top stitched, but other than that it was looking good.

I'm still happy with how it turned out, but there's a few things I wish I had done differently, like:
  • Pulled the side seam further back so it was visible in the back.
  • added more boning or flat lined with a stiff fabric.

And that's it for today's post. I'll be posting about making the skirt next week.