Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jane Austen Quilt: Constructing the Border

Here's a quick update on the Jane Austen Quilt I am supposed to be working on...

I cut all of the fabric I had collected into 1 1/2" wide strips (this includes 1/4" seam allowance.)  The strips vary in length, depending on the original size of the fabric.  But, most are around 24" long.

The border of the quilt is going to be 8" wide, and composed of 1" squares (the original quilt border was made of 1" diamonds...but I'm not that squares will do for me.)  So, I randomly select 8 strips at a time, and I sew them together.  I will repeat this process until all of the strips are used.  You can see 3 finished sections above. 

Next, I cut these sections across the width into 1 1/2" strips (this also includes seam allowance.)

This is what they will look like when cut out.

Once I cut all of these strips, I sew them together, creating this mottled look.  I'm obviously not that good, because the pieces don't line up very well.  I'm not letting that bother me....

Eventually, I will have a border long enough to go all the way around the quilt.  Here's a quick sample of what it will look like.  It took me nearly an hour just to get this much done. 

I'm going to be at this for quite some time...


Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Next Project: Decisions...Decisions

I'm brainstorming now...trying to decide what my next Regency era project will be.  I've decided to start with a new shift.  It will probably be a sleeveless one, because my current shift, when worn under my white gown, looks like I'm wearing a t-shirt underneath.  I'm also planning on making a new petticoat.  Both of these should be easy, quick and cheap projects. 

The hard part is trying to decide what I want to do with my new, blue, sheer, cotton/linen blend fabric that I bought at the 18th c. market fair a couple of weeks ago.  I have 5 yards.  Here are my ideas.  Will you help me decide?

Note: The source for all of these fashion plates is Dames a la Mode.


I saw this plate, and while I'm sure the gown is probably made of some sort of silk or fine lawn/voile, the color is nearly spot on.  1796 is about as early as I would go for a new Regency era gown.  Actually, I'm not even sure it qualifies as Regency...does it?  Maybe Georgian?  My knowledge of  British Royal history is foggy right now.  I'm on medicine for allergies...that's my excuse.  Anyhow...I love the open robe feel, the v-neck, how it closes in the front(easy on/off), and the lace/embroidered trim is gorgeous.  With the 3/4 length sleeves, my 5 yards would be stretched...but it can be done.  This is the only gown in this list of ideas to have longer sleeves.  I'm dreading the summer heat of next year already, and we aren't even through with Autumn yet.


Another early one...also the perfect color, but no sleeves.  I would wear this one over my white Tiden's Toj gown...which means another layer, even without sleeves.  There are not a lot of details on this fashion plate, and I'm left to wonder where the seems are, how it's gathered and closed in the front, etc.  But, it's pretty, none the it's on my list.


I don't really like the colors of the trim on this one, but I do like the idea of the trim.  I can't really tell what's going on with the front of the dress, and have the feeling that it's quite boring.  But, it's the right color, and has cute short sleeves.


A later look that really caught my eye, especially because it's one of those rare moments when we get to see the back of a dress.  It's not the right color, but my fabric would look equally as good, I think.  I like that it's sleeveless.  But, I'm thinking that I would have to make and wear a sleeved chemisette under it.  I really like the look of the sleeves in this plate, and if the chemisette was made of a light and sheer material, it wouldn't be too hot.


The last plate gave me a good idea for the back of a gown, and I kind of like the front on this one.  Again, a sort of chemisette with sleeves would need to be made and worn underneath.  The only question I have on this one... would my not so small bosom look right in a dress with such a narrow bodice?  hhhmmm...


Last, but certainly not least...this one is later, but I think it's rather elegant.  I like how the sheer, white sleeves could possibly be attached to the blue gown.  Also, the lace, or ruched detailing around the top of the bodice is so delicate and pretty.  I kind of like the veil too.

Well, that's all I've got.  Please chime in with suggestions, votes, vetos or ideas.   I would love to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Swing Dress #2

Ok...I just have to get this off my chest, even though it is totally unrelated to this post.  Chlorine really makes your hair very brittle.  Can you see the frizz?  Anyone have any tips for a swimmer on how to keep my hair from getting extremely dry?

So, back to what this post is really supposed to be second attempt at using the Sense and Sensibility swing dress pattern.  I had some gorgeous William Morris style fabric in my stash that I purchased about three years ago.  I love the arts and crafts movement, and this fabric is so beautiful, but I could never imagine what it should be used for.  Pillows?  Curtains?  Skirt?  Jacket?  Dress?

I finally decided on a dress, and I love the cut of the S&S swing dress on me.  I did alter the pattern a bit.  I used the pattern for the front bodice just as it was, but cut the waist band straight instead of curved.   I also shortened the back bodice, and added a similar waist band to that.  I shorted the sleeves quite a bit.  And finally, this is the most obvious alteration, I didn't use the skirt pattern at all.  Instead, I took two full widths of the fabric, sewed them together along the side seams, and gathered the panels at the top before stewing the skirt into the waist band.

This was the best back shot of the dress that I could get.  Sorry.  I was worried that the Morris style print would look a bit busy on any article of clothing, but I rather like it here.

The pattern's intent was a 1940's style dress, but I wanted my dress to look a little more 1950's.  Does it feel 50's to you?  I'm quite pleased with it.

I tried modernizing, or embellishing, or what-have-you with a cardigan and belt.  The dress accessorizes well, I think.  I do believe that the S&S swing dress pattern is probably one of my favorite pattern purchases.  I've loved using it both times, and the cut really flatters my figure without many (if any) sizing alterations needing to be done.

Well, one more stash busting project checked off the list. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Our Halloween Attire

I hope you had a fun filled Halloween!  Jane and I went with an underwater theme this year.  She was a little mermaid, and I a jellyfish.

Halloween day was a long one at school for Jane and I, so we didn't actually go Trick-or-Treating on Halloween night.  Instead, we stayed home and passed out candy...which, in my opinion is just as fun.  Not to despair though, over the past week, we had been to two other local "trunk-or-treat", Fall festival type events.  There was plenty of opportunity for candy and costume fun.

It's harder than you might think to catch a jellyfish in action!  My costume was an easy one.  I simply covered my paper parasol (the handle too) with sparkly, pink and white tool, and hung streamers of tool around the edges.  The fun part about the costume was being able to open and shut the parasol, so it appeared that the jellyfish was moving up and down through water.

I made Jane's costume too.  It's a simple halter top that Velcro's in the back, and I attached a strap to tie around the neck.  Then I cut out fabric in the shape of shells, stuffed them with fluff and quilted them onto the halter bodice.  Finally, I sewed on some fake pearls and painted on glitter.  For Jane's hair embelishments, I used teal colored duck-tape to attach plastic water-lily leaves and flowers to a headband, then draped a string of pearls around that.

I used a little girl's capri pants pattern from Simplicity for the basic shape and size of Jane's "fins."  But, a lot of improvising went on, and I added in different textures of aqua colored fabrics I had on hand, and a bit of sheer 'something' for the flippers at the bottom.  A little elastic in the waist completed the pants.

I asked Jane to show me how a real mermaid would pose, and this is what she did...

A natural-born Mermaid, if you ask me.