Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ren Fair and Pirate Fair 2011

Well, the two festivals I've mentioned previously have come and gone. I did, in fact, complete one outfit to wear (and a slight variation so that it wasn't identical for both). The basic outfit was the skirt, the blouse, and the bodice. The Pirate Festival got a hitched-up overskirt and the Renaissance Faire got a white apron.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What have I been doing?

Well, the blog isn't abandoned, as much as it seems like it. I've had a change of career and it took a lot of my attention for quite some time. On top of that, in the last several months I've lost a lot of weight, which makes it rather heartbreaking to spend a lot of time on a costume if the end result is that it won't fit you in a month. Case in point below: my Arwen Evenstar dress.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Making a Spontaneous Flower Hair Wreath

Okay, today I ran across the holy grail of picturesque costuming skills: the ability to wander into a field and create a hair wreath from just the flowers you can pick there.

As puts it:

So there’s always that scene in medieval movies where the heroine is seen romping around a field with a wreath of real live flowers on her head, and maybe there’s someone shown doing some totally random bit of jiggery-pokery that effortlessly causes flowers to form into a neat little chain...

It's brilliant. I'm going to go divest a field of some daisies now.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

More Ren Faire Bodice

Okay, so yesterday morning I had a mockup and nothing else. I hadn't even finished tracing the pattern with all the changes from the mockup.

Now I have...this!

All I have left to do is cut down a couple of the bones, make the bias binding, and finish the edges!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Ren Fair Bodice Mockup

Okay, it's been awhile since I've posted. Which, unfortunately, means it's been awhile since I've done any sewing. This is unfortunate because the Ren Faire, which I mentioned in an earlier post, is in a week. I may have been a bit hopeful in thinking I'd make two different types of corsets for the two faires this summer, and I've decided to just do the underbust with straps as I have already sketched out. I've made a basic underbust before at a workshop, and I don't really have all the time I need to figure out fitting a totally new project.

The straps were the new part, so I figured it would be an easy thing to just trace the various pieces of the corset I already had, then add some straps. Yeah, not so easy. It's a lot harder than I thought to get the accurate tracing of what is essentially a 3-dimensional construct. I couldn't get the pieces to lie flat no matter what I did, so I ended up needing to make certain adjustments to the mockup.

The straps were not nearly as bad (although if my husband hadn't been so helpful with positioning them it would have been nigh-impossible. I'm very lucky he's willing to help me fit things).

My original corset had a front busk and a back lacing. This one is more of a boned bodice, and it will have just a front lacing. That required some alterations to the pattern as well, including making a shaped back seam.

Nonetheless, after all that finicky stuff, I had a mockup:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I've made mention of my wench costume before. It's yet another costume I made some years ago that I can no longer wear.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Costume Festivals!

Okay, so I recently became aware that Milton is host to both the Pirate Festival and a Renaissance Festival every summer. I knew about the Pirate Festival and got to attend a little bit of it last year, which was really cool, but I didn't realize there was also second costume-recommended festival as well.

Also, Casa Loma has one, and that would just be absolutely fantastic -- to wander around the castle grounds and gardens while it's been made into a faire.

So that's really all the excuse I need to justify another couple of costumes. And the nice thing is, they can all use the same basic costume, with different elements being changed up as I wish. Given that they're all outdoors in the summer, I'd want to make up cotton or linen pieces, so I think I'd go with the basic wench setup -- a blouse and a skirt with some sort of an overskirt or apron, and then a bodice or a corset overtop. I did used to have a nice little wench costume, but none of the components of it were made of natural materials as I was only going to be wearing it at Halloween, and it's also about 4 sizes to small for me now.

I've sketched out my basic idea for the pirate fest - nothing overly creative here. Probably identical to what everyone else will be wearing, but I don't care. We all need a basic set of peasant or wench clothes in our closets. What I'm not sure of is the colour combination:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Regency Double Period Project

I just got an email today about the double period project put on by Your Wardrobe Unlock'd / Foundations Revealed. Prior to this I've been aware of it and idly thought about those that participated and the dedication that they show to be a part of it -- it's a lot of research, cost, and work. Beyond that, I'd never thought I'd be tempted to actually participate. But...I read the email which detailed this coming year's challenge, which is to create an outfit reflecting or inspired by either the 1812 or 1912 fashions. I then googled the two years and realized that I really love the empire/regency dresses of the early nineteenth century. Those would be the high waistline, puffled sleeves, flowing white muslin embroidered underdresses with an overdress in a contrasting colour and pearl-accented necklines and whatnot. So, while I'm not sure if I'll be taking part in the contest or not...I'm tempted. Tempted enough to set up a new tag for the contest and start planning for it. I may not actually ever enter the contest, but if I do, I'll have some dress-diary entries to support it. If I don't, then I'll have yet another cool costume finished or on its way to being finished.

So, to keep handy my research so far:

By 1811 in Britain, influence of the Middle Ages, termed Gothic crept into dress styles debasing the pure classical lines. The bodice gained more shaping and could be panelled. It was not cut as tight and narrow as in the first decade of the century, so it made the shoulder line broader and the dress more comfortable to wear.

From Romance Reader at Heart:
For evening gowns, bodices were low cut in either a square or a V in front. Shoulder straps were uncommon, with the bodice tightly fitting the figure and trimmed with puffing. Colored velvet bodices were often worn over white satin and muslin. Short slashed bishop sleeves were in, but trains were out for this period, unless the woman was in full dress. Accents of buttons on sleeves and mother-of-pearl clasps were used for added adornment.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tudor Gown

Well, I suppose I should explain the yards and yards of ruffles. They're being sewn onto a farthingale/hoop-skirt to allow me to cheat a bit and kind of make it a petticoat without the need for another layer. We'll see how it goes.

The farthingale is going under a costume I've got on the go (although I haven't actually cut the dress fabrics yet -- I'm waiting on finishing the farthingale). I'm going to make the Tudor dress that Simplicity drafted:

And oddly, I ended up going with similar colours even though my original hope was to do a sapphire or a dark green gown. I'm not going with velveteen, though. My main fabric is a taffeta that shines burgundy or nearly black depending on what angle you see it at:

Monday, February 28, 2011

Some Old Costumes

Well, in going through my pictures of past costumes, most of them end up disappointing me. While I was quite delighted with them at the time, they're well below the level of fitting, finishing, and embellishing that I would insist on today. Which of course is fine -- we are talking about patterns I made 10 or more years ago. So rather than giving them each their own post, I'll lump a couple together at a time.

I called the first one here my Evenstar dress. Now, I believe I conceptualized this costume well before the Lord of the Rings movies came out (I was always a huge Tolkien fan) so I'm a little amused at some of the similarities in styles compared to the costumes for Arwen Evenstar in the movie. (I should note that I've since created another Evenstar dress, specifically based on the movie costumes, but I'll give that one its own post. I need to get some proper pictures of it anyway.)

Anyway, the dress was basically me just following the McCall's pattern 3010 (making it a whole size smaller, because good lord, McCalls patterns were huge at the time. Maybe they still are, but I no longer use them at all because of too many bad fitting experiences when I was younger).

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ruffler Foot

Okay, today's project is to turn this:

into this:

It doesn't seem like a lot, but I've got something like 25 yards of this stuff, and to do that by hand would be a headache at the very least. Not to worry, though, because at the last Creativ Festival (I'll need to write an entry about that sometime) I bought myself a ruffler foot!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Puffy, pink, and pretty!

Okay, so one of the major projects in the back of my mind is the pink masquerade dress from the Phantom of the Opera movie.

It's huge, and pink, and lacy. For the most part, I generally don't wear huge, pink, and lacy - I was all about pink when I was small, and then I ended up getting what I wished for which was a room entirely made of pink: pink carpet, walls, pale pink ceiling and window trim, pink bedding, pink vanity,pink-stained desk. I got over pink at that point.

But this dress -- it would make me so happy that it's something I would probably secretly wear to do housework. You know, if it wasn't big enough to make going through doorways nigh-impossible.


The first bunch of costumes that I made I didn't take any pictures of until they were done. Looking back, I wish I had, as there's always a new lesson to take from each project, and in every case there are tiny little painstaking details that no one ever sees in the finished project, but that I just had to do because I can't do things halfway. Nonetheless, I have my finished pictures and I can detail the things I remember about them.

My gypsy costume didn't really have a lot of sewing to it -- in fact the only piece that I sewed was the blouse, and that was already made up for my wench costume. I did actually sew myself into the top whenever I wore it though -- it had a tendency to ride up over my shoulders otherwise. So I wore a strapless bra and tacked it in four places to the bra when I needed to get ready.