Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Jane Austen's birthday celebration

I am terribly late at writing up my most recent costumed event, life has just been getting the better of me recently.  I was also hoping to get the time to take pictures of each layer, but that has not happened yet.  However, I did want to share some photos and talk at least a bit about my accessories. 

The local JASNA group held a birthday celebration for Jane Austen in a lovely venue.  We started with a short lecture about houses Jane herself would have known and how they might relate to her novels.  After the lecture, we had a lovely lunch and then retired to the library for dessert and tea.  During the tea time, the lovely lady pictured with me below held her raffle for a regency dress made by her.  It was her generosity in hosting this raffle with ticket purchases throughout the past year that allowed the JASNA group to use this lovely site.

Here is a picture of just me that shows the bottom edge of the my new sheer dress and shoes.  I am wearing a regency chemise, my new regency stays (which I love!), a bodiced petticoat, the sheer white dress and my green open robe.  The white sheer dress has pale blue and yellow embroidery up the front, which did not show in the pictures but matches the shoes.  The long sleeves and the gold fringe at the bottom is inspired by the portrait of Marie Pauline Bonaparte by Robert Lefevre
 shown here.  I just loved the look of the long sleeves under a short sleeved dress.  I do plan on making the over dress but the sheer dress gave me such fits I had to pull something else out of my closet to wear over the sheer dress.  So the green open robe is a "this old thing" addition.
I do plan to do a write up of my new regency stays and of the sheer dress, but at present I don't have good enough photos.  However, one of the lovely ladies, Nancy Haseman, who is actually very good at photos took some lovely images of me at the event.  I have her permission to share the images below.  She also has some amazing images of the event and of the other ladies in regency dress on her website Captured Memories NM if you scroll down to the 2014 JASNA birthday for Jane. 

First off an image of me sitting.  This image is why I love my regency stays, they help me keep the correct posture no matter what I am doing!

Here is a good image of my shoes and stockings.  These shoes are the Highbury regency slippers from American Duchess.  They are dyeable satin slippers and they have hidden ribbon loops so you can add lacing ribbons to your shoes.  On their instructions for dying these shoes they state to use a dye several shades darker but I thought it would be good to see how much darker.  I used dye number 2011 (also from American Duchess) which should have been royal blue.  They came out much much lighter.  However, they match the embroidery on the sheer dress and my jewelry almost perfectly so I was happy.  I just though others who were looking for a specific color might want to know how different the colors came out. 
My hairstyle was inspired by the lovely tutorial by Taylor at Dames a la Mode.  Taylor did an amazing job, she looks just like the portrait in my opinion! However my hair has less texture than Taylor's and the extra wraps around the bun were sliding like mad.  So I added a second braid and placed this around the whole bun to give me something to pin the heck out of.  Surprisingly, this all worked and my hair stayed in place all day.  Here is an image of the back of my hair and green dress.  You can see that the green dress used to close in the back before I turned it into an open robe! 

Finally, here is an image of my hair from the side and a good shot of the jewelry.  The necklace and earring were made by Taylor of Dames a la Mode.  Taylor runs an etsy shop with the same name damesalamode.  She is amazing to work with!  This set was a custom order with a deadline and Taylor communicated clearly with me every step of the way.  I love my jewelry and loved working with Taylor!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lace mini hats

I have been working on the embroidery and on new Regency stays and I am finding they are both taking so long.  I really wanted a quick project as a pick me up that I could finish in 1-2 days.  I decided to make a mini top hat using the free standing lace machine embroidery patterns from Urban Threads . My embroidery machine is so very old that it requires constant babysitting while stitching but this was perfect as I could work on my hand embroidery while my machine stitched away.  For those who have never done this sort of thing before, there are great tutorials on Urban Threads, but I have included some pictures here anyway.  The only major change I do from the basic tutorials is that I find I need to double layer the water soluble interfacing or it completely falls apart with my machine. I have made 2 of these little hats.  The teal colored one is a mini tricorn and the brown is a mini top pat.  You can see here the stitched pieces with the top of the hat still stuck in the water soluble stabilizer. 
After the embroidery is done,  I cut away as much of the stabilizer as possible and then dissolved the remaining stabilizer in really hot water.  This takes forever, and the stabilizer feels like sticky glue on your pieces if you don't get all of it out.  After the stabilizer was gone and the pieces were dry, I just stitch the pieces together.  The Urban Threads tutorial suggests using your machine, I am worried I will just break a ton of needles so I always hand stitch the pieces together.  Below is the finished base for the blue tricorn hat without any decoration.

Here is the brown top hat with decoration added.



I actually made this top hat for my Tentacle Kitty plush to wear at Conventions with me, although I may wear it myself at times.  So here is Tentacle Kitty with her new hat.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Embroidery finally done!

I have finally finished the embroidery for my husband's pouch.  I actually tracked my time on this project and it took 29 hours to complete the embroidery.  Now to make a pouch and cording to put the embroidery on!  I still can't stand stem stitch but after this much practice, I find split stitch rather enjoyable.  Of course this project used silk floss so that may be part of why I found it so enjoyable. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cording regency stays and finished stays

I finished the cording on the regency stays. I thought I would share some pictures of the method I used to cord the stays.  The cotton cording I used is pretty thick and I needed to widen the needle hole before I could pull the cotton cording into the channel.  I used my corset maker's awl to widen the hole and looped the cotton cording through doubled up regular thread and a blunt needle.  Here is the basic set up:

Monday, November 3, 2014

Viking under dress

The local SCA group is running a unique activity through their newcomer's group. The Midwinter celebration and the upcoming Coronation are both Viking themed, so the newcomer's group is hosting weekly meetings to learn various skills to help everyone (both new and long term members) make full outfits.  So far we have had: basic sewing, Viking men's garb, Vikings women's garb, pattern drafting, construction days, Viking treasure necklaces and lampwork beads.  We are going to have more construction days and nalbinding at least.  I volunteered to teach basic embroidery and Viking wire weaving, so maybe these classes as well.  I am usually a late period girl, but it is so much fun to meet up each week and work on something that I am jumping on the band wagon! Since the Baronial colors are black and gold with a little bit of white I used these colors to make my new dress.  Also, I had this linen and the threads in my stash.

When I construct early time period SCA stuff, I usually iron the seam allowance out and then use a simple running stitch in a contrasting color to stitch down the seam allowance. Some of the others people in the group have suggested chain stitch, so I am trying chain stitch.  I really like the way this is looking, but it is so much slower than running stitch and requires so much thread! Here is the first piece with the seam treatment.

I have also worked on the neck opening.  I hand stitched the hem on the neckline and did a quick stitched tack bar down at the bottom of the keyhole (see the little black bar about half a centimeter from the keyhole).  I find that this tack bar prevents tearing down the front of the shirt, tunic or dress. I then did some herringbone stitch around the neckline.  The stitch closest to the neck opening is simple herringbone.  Then I wanted to do some decorative interlace to add some more interest.  I have had a few people ask me how I do this stitch so I am going to try and explain it here.  First I do two sets of running stitch, keep the stitches parallel and the same number in both the outer and inner rows. 

Once the running stitch is completed, I start a second color.  I knot this color on the back of the embroidery and then bring it to the front of the embroidery under one of the running stitches.  The yellow thread is laced through the running stitch entirely on the surface of the dress.  You could use just about any pattern you want, but I like this simple one.

Once completed it looks like this.  Look carefully down at the bottom of the keyhole, notice the mistake?  I did not have the same number of stitches in my outer and inner rows.....I had to get a bit creative, but I think it still looks ok. 

One question I have gotten is if you can wash this kind of embroidery and the answer at least for me is yes.  This red tunic has been washed in the washing machine (but never put in the dryer) probably 20 times in the past 8 years since it was made.  Other than the red silk fading and dying some of the embroidery, the stitching still looks good.  I also like the color contrast of the green with the yellow for the surface interlacing stitch, there is much more contrast so both colors still show up.   The white I was using with the yellow gets a bit lost against the yellow on the black dress.  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Cooking for Halloween

I know this is not costuming, but I love to bake a little something each Halloween.  This year it was tentacular cupcakes.  I have never played with any sort of fondant, but have always wanted to try the marshmallow fondant recipes I see online.  I made a quick batch following a recipe online (Homemade marshmallow fondant) which was pretty easy, although my husband did accuse me of killing the Stay Puft marshmallow man when doing all the kneading. I dyed the fondant with gel baking dyes and made some quick tentacles.  The cupcakes are mountain dew flavored.  One thing to note, marshmallow fondant does not seem to dry very hard, the tentacles are more like the consistency of gummy treats but still very yummy!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Regency stays

I have been working on a pair of Regency stays.  I wanted the stays to be long since I have a fuller figure that is really not conducive to the stays confined only to the bust. I also wanted the stays to be comfortable.  I ran across some amazing research by Sabine about short stays ('Short Stays' Studies) and thought these would be a perfect fit.  Short stays have very little boning while still providing the correct shape.   Sabine provides all the necessary information to make several different types of short stays.  I used her information and quickly whipped up a set using Figure C with full cup coverage. I boned only the center front and the center back to support the lacing. The stays were amazingly comfortable and surprisingly curvy. However, the curves did not show at all under my dress and gave me the correct shape even when sitting!  I am sorry I did not take a picture of my stays prior to starting the alterations (I was rushing to finish them before an event and then plain forgot after).  Thankfully others have gone before me and provided wonderful pictures of the unaltered stays.  Of course Sabine has pictures as well, but also have a look at the lovely work of Abigael of My Darling Dear and the Regency who is posted several times about her version of the stays (J.S. Bernhardt Stays, c. 1810-11Part 2, Part 3) and the always inspirational Before the Automobile who also made a lovely set of these stays (Shift and Stays for 1810). The pair I made looks very like those made by these two wonderful ladies.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the short stays were great, until I had to drive. After one wearing I determined I was going to have to add more support to be able to use these stays for my figure with my modern lifestyle.  I added more boning to each side to support the sides and added cording.  There is not a specific issue I hoped to solve with the cording, I have just always wanted to try it. Originally these stays were 2 layers in all areas except the gussets, so I could simply sew boning and cording channels. To add the cording, I used an awl to poke a hole into the channel and a needle and thread to lead the cotton cording through.  Here are a couple of pictures of the almost corded stays, I promise this time I will get pictures when I next try them on!

In this photo, the right side had had the boning and the cording added. I have just started the left side.

Here is a close up of the left side, where you can see the area with stitching but no cording added yet.

Embroidered pouch continued

I have been working on the embroidered pouch for my husband and am actually starting to enjoy the split stitch.  So far I have added all the red, green and yellow.  The remaining space will be filled in with blue. I have also been keeping track of the amount of time this project takes (I usually don't bother to do this).  Below shows how far I have gotten in 15 hours.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A bit of embroidery and Regency plans

I am working on some costuming right now, unfortunately none of it is ready to be photographed yet.  Specifically, I am working on fixing up my stays for Regency styles and hopefully a new Regency outfit.  I love my stays, they are based on Sabine's amazing post on short stays Short Stays Studies. The stays went together really well, were really comfortable and looked great under my dress, until I had to drive in them.  Unfortunately while driving the sides tried to roll which caused the boning in the center front to dig in really really badly and the back to bow horribly.  The stays are so comfortable if you can sit up like a lady and so uncomfortable when driving.  I am the only driver in my household and very few of the locations I get to place dress up in have a space to change so I usually have to drive in my costumes.  I know short stays were supposed to be very minimally boned, but I just can't manage this with my modern driving way of life.  So I am adding cording and a bit more boning to try and rescue the stays since they were so comfortable and looked so good under my dress.  I will post more when I get a bit further.

In the mean time, I am actually working on some embroidery.  My husband needs a new pouch for his SCA garb, so I figured this is a great opportunity to practice some stitches I am rather incompetent at. I need practice in stem stitch and split stitch.  For some reason split stitch completely confounds me, but I figure practice makes perfect.  I outlined everything with stem stitch and I am filling in everything with split stitch.  Here is a shot of the completed outline and the start of the fill work. The ground fabric is a thin linen scrap I had laying around and the threads are all silk. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Shoe lust

I love the new shoes by American Duchess.  I have several pairs from them already and they are all so wonderful and comfortable. However, the type of dress up I do most often is Renaissance and these shoes would fit right in.....  I already have a pair of the Renaissance heels (two pairs in fact as I needed both red and black).  I covet a pair of the oiled brown new Virginia Shoe.  I could not find a way to add a photo here but the link below goes to the beautiful new shoe.  They also have a buff colored leather one.

Virginia Shoe

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Teacup Hat take 2

Remember my last attempt at the Teacup hat?  Lots of fun but way too big for most things.  I decided to make a smaller one as a fascinator rather than a full huge hat.  I used the same pattern as my last teacup hat but I am going to include a bit more how to in this post.  First I traced all of the pattern pieces onto heavy duty one side fusible interfacing.  I made 2 copies of everything but the handle piece in the fusible interfacing.  I cut out the interfacing and fused it to the fashion fabric and lining fabric.  Then I cut the fabric.
Next i stitched the straight edge of the saucer pieces and the darts and side seams on the cup pieces.  I then stitched the lining to the fashion fabric right sides together, clipped the seams and turned the pieces right side out.  I did this for the saucer along the inner edge, the saucer bottom (the larger circle) and the cup bottom (the smaller circle).  I whip stitched the opening shut on the saucer bottom and cup bottom.  I did not machine sew the cup fashion fabric and lining together as it would be too difficult.  So I hand turned the bottom and whip stitched to fashion and lining together. 
I then stitched the saucer bottom and the cup bottom to the cup and saucer pieces by hand.  The outer edge of the saucer and the upper edge of the cup were cut with no seam allowance, since I decided to edge the cup and saucer with bias tape.  Over the bias tape I added silver trim and also trimmed the handle piece.
For decoration, I added a keyhole piece and key intended for scrapbooking, a ton of hot fix crystals and a small spoon that I got from the jewelry department of a local craft store.  Here is a picture of the finished teacup fascinator and the monster teacup hat I made previously for size.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Giant Teacup Hat

This hat was not supposed to be giant.....but I thought the original pattern would be too small and I apparently enlarged the pattern a bit too much.  I may remake it smaller at some point. 

I love teacup hats and wanted to make one of my own.  I figured it would make a perfect small project and would give me a cute hat for steampunk tea parties.  The pattern I used was a free instructable Quilted Mad Tea Party Set for a quilted tea set.  I figured the teacup would work well as a hat and someday I may even make a teapot hat!  I did make the teacup bigger and probably too big, see the picture below as the hat is as tall as my head!  The only other change was I stiffened both the lining and the fashion fabric with fusible interfacing to help it hold up to being worn rather than just sitting on a table.  The hat is kept on my head by 3 hair clips and seems to stay pretty well, even though my hair is fairly slick.

Victorian Picnic

The Steampunk Vampire dress is made such that the steampunk bits are all added as accessories.  I did this so I would also be able to wear the dress as a regular Victorian dress.  I had the opportunity to wear the remade dress to a Victorian Tea hosted by a local tearoom.....I just needed to get the remade dress to a wearable state!  Thankfully, I had made this dress before so it went together pretty quickly.  For the most part I remade the dress exactly as it was before.  There were 2 big exceptions, one planned and one not so planned. 

The planned one was to make a Balayeuse.  Basically this is a removable dust ruffle for a skirt.  I got the idea from an article on Your Wardrobe Unlockd, which is a fun costume e-zine which I am a member of (Making a Balayeuse).  If you are not a member the e-zine allows the authors to put their articles on their own site after some period of time and the same article is available on the author's blog (Yesterdays Thimble).  I thought a dust ruffle would be a great idea for this skirt since half the stripes are white and that means they show dirt!  Anyway, I did not follow the article since this skirt is an odd shape, I used the skirt pattern as a guide and made a Balayeuse out of cotton muslin.  In the pictures, I have it just pinned to the inside while I figure out the correct height, you can see it poking out the skirts in some of the pictures.  I want it to be a bit longer to protect the skirt but not show too much since it is very plain.  Once I get it properly adjusted, then I will make button holes on the Balayeuse and button the Balayeuse to the skirt. 

The non-planned change was the addition of a pleated ruffle around the bottom of the skirt.  I finished cutting everything out and realized I had fabric left over.  I had a really hard time estimating fabric since the pattern calls for 45 or 60 inch wide and the original was 45 wide, but the new fabric was 110 inches wide.  I used all the remaining fabric to make a box pleated ruffle for the bottom of the skirt.  Ok, so enough talk time for some pictures! 

Some notes: I did not manage to finish my new hat, so the hat I am wearing will be replaced in the future!  The beautiful fan I am carrying was made by The Treasures Of Dawn and the stockings and shoes were from American Duchess.  I love how comfortable the Victorian Button Boots are!  The other very lovely dress was made by a good friend of mine, I love how her red and green dress came out and I especially love her hat!


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Resin filled bezels for the steampunk nametags

I am pretty much a newbie when it comes to resin.  I have made a few resin steampunk jewels and buttons using molds but I have never used bezels before.  However, I have been reading a resin crafting blog Resin Crafts and decided to use what I have learned and try bezels.  I wanted them to be a bit complex, so I designed a quick graphic that would be the background. 
I simply printed these out from my printer.  After that, I cut them out and sealed them in Modge Podge 3 times and let them dry overnight.  The sealing 3 times is something I learned from the Resin Crafts blog.  Once dry, I sealed them into the back of the bezels using Modge Podge and let them dry.  I then glued in rhinestones in some of the bezels and let them dry. 
After the rhinestones, I mixed up a batch of the Jewelry Resin and then freaked out about bubbles!  This resin bubbled so much and I was so worried that the bubbles would ruin my project.  However, this resin apparently has very good bubble release and after standing 1 minute there were no bubbles left.   Must remember to wait a little bit before the hysterics.  After the bubbles were gone, I poured resin into each bezel.  Once the resin was in, I added watch parts to each bezel to make them unique.  The watch parts were so light the floated on the resin and I had to use a straight pin to sink the parts.  This caused a few small bubbles, but I managed to get rid of most of them with the same straight pin.  The resin then cured for 24 hours and here they are! 

One observation, look at the colored dots in the bezels, these are the rhinestones.  The rhinestones look more like little mirrors or sequins if you put them under the resin, this surprised me, but I am still happy with the result. 

These were so much fun!  I still have a lot to learn, but I am loving resin!  These bezels were also perfect as they have loops top and bottom so each person can add a personal touch to their badge. 

Steampunk nametags

The major distraction to working on the Black and White Victorian dress has been making steampunk name tags.  In a week, our local steampunk crew is helping out at a local convention called Bubonicon.  We are hosting a panel on steampunk focusing on the influence of non-English culture.  A meet and greet with Cherie Priest, a guest of honor, which I am so excited about.  A kids craft workshop to make goggles and a 2 hour block in the Consuite.  I felt we should have name tags that identify our members as part of the Albuquerque Steampunk Society (ABQSS), so myself a friend are making badges.  We are all using character names rather than our real names for the badges.

The badges are leather.  We first stamped ABQSS and the character names into the leather.  We also used a few steampunk leather stamps for decoration.  Most of the stamps worked pretty well with the leather just moist.  However, the propeller stamp was more detailed that the gear stamps and we found we need to wrap the leather in a wet cloth sealed in a plastic bag for 30 minutes to get a good impression.  To make life easy, we just wrapped all the badges for 30 minutes since we did not completely plan out what we wanted stamped on each badge ahead of time.  Here are the badges just stamped.

We let leather dry overnight.  We then stained the leather with a brown stain to make the details show up a bit more.  We let the stained leather dry overnight.  Once the leather stain was dry, we buffed the badges with a soft cloth. 

Once the badges were dry it was finally decoration time!   We added grommets to the top of each badge for handing cords and to the bottom of each badge for hanging resin filled bezels I made and individual touches.  We also added gears, crystals and other bits to make each badge unique.  Here are a few of them so far! 

Black and White Victorian Remake waterfall drapes

I am continuing to work on the Black and White Victorian.  Mostly I am still sewing all the panels for the skirt together.  I have also washed the corset and the rear skirt drape red silk in synthropol to attempt to remove any remaining excess dye.  After removing the excess dye I remade the rear skirt drape.  I am still very unsure that I have removed all the excess dye, so I am going to attach the drapes to the finished skirt with hook and eyes so they are removable in case I ever need to wash the skirt again.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Black and White Bustled Victorian Remake

A friend has invited me to a Victorian picnic!  I am so excited, however, the only Victorian I have finished is made of heavy velvet and will be way too hot for a outdoor, summer picnic in New Mexico.  So I decided this is a perfect opportunity to redo my favorite Victorian dress ever.  I made a Victorian dress and steampunk accents for a Steampunk Vampire outfit.  I loved this dress!  Unfortunately, after only a few pictures and one wearing of a couple of hours, the dress was ruined.  I was so very angry that I have refused to remake this dress as I get angry whenever I think about it.   However, I am going to remake this dress for the picnic and a new hat as well!  

Here is the surviving bodice and the ruined skirt.  The new fabric has wider stripes and is a slightly different black, so I am going to have to redo the whole dress.  However, I am probably going to save the bodice, remove the trim and maybe alter it so I can wear it with a different skirt.

If anyone is interested in pictures/blog of the original dress it can be found at my old blog
http://dalbeth.livejournal.com/     The tag is steampunk vampire for those who might be interested. 

The first big step is remaking the skirt, as I did the first time, I will be using the Truly Victorian pattern for the 1875 Parisian trained skirt.  I learned from experience the last time that this lovely printed cotton behaves epically badly in the front aprons.  Last time, I figured this out after the skirt was constructed and spent hours trying to stitch stay tapes to the undersides of the aprons with it hung from my curtain rod.  This was most uncomfortable, so I am adding tapes before I put the skirt together this time. 

Here is the top apron.  This is a pretty narrow apron, so I did only one tape.   I used cotton twill tape for this.  I have no idea of tapes likes this were ever used on the front aprons in period but I figured it is at least a plausible solution.  I hand stitched the tapes.  

On the bottom apron I stitched 2 tapes rather than 1.  This apron is narrow enough for 1 tape, but with the tape in the top apron and the vertical strips having both aprons with center tapes gives a very strong and structured vertical line.  I wanted this to look more organic than so structured.