Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Busy Holiday Season & A New Year

Long time, no see...

(new glasses)

I have no real excuse for being an absentee blogger for the past two and a half months.  It's truly been a busy holiday season, with weekends full of hosting family and friends, ballet performances, and vacations.  In all of the glory, I haven't had the time, nor the creative inclination to do much more than read a book during any down time I've had.

(our Christmas tree)

(a cat in our tree)

With the coming of the new year, I'm hoping to simplify, and if I'm honest, blogging won't be a priority.  Sewing goals will be minimal in 2014.  I would like to finish the Jane Austen Quilt that my Mother-in-Law started a few years ago.  I also plan on finishing the Rev War area Jacket that I started in October.  Other than that...I'm unsure...I'll let life be life this year, and roll with it.

(our table dressed for Christmas tea with the ladies)

(laughter, love and food amongst friends)
I'll sign off this year with pictures taken over the past couple of months...a collage of my busy world. 

(my little Nutcracker star)

(Victorian Christmas ornaments)
 (Bodega Bay, CA)

 (a kitschy cafe based on the Hitchock cult film "The Birds.")

 (church where "The Birds" was filmed)

 (school house in "The Birds")

 (Sonoma Beach, CA)

 (wind-blown Jane)

 I hope you had a merry holiday season, and I wish you a bright new year.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #19: Wood, Metal, Bone: 1770's Stays

Well, well, well...better late than never, right?  For the HSF Challenge #19 I chose to reproduce the 18th century stays in the "Costume Close-Up" book by Linda Baumgarten.

 (Pre-lining shot)

 (Post-lining...it is pieced at the side seams and at the straps, tacked around the edges so that it can be removed and replaced when soiled.)

  Unfortunately, because I hand stitched everything, they took me twice as long to finish as I thought they would...a month and a half, to be exact. Row after row after row of channels stitched...and my fingers are not thanking me after binding the seams and edges in leather. Ouch!

There are a few differences between my stays and the stays in the "Costume Close-Up."  I used reed instead of baleen(for obvious reasons) to fill the channels, I lined the inside of the tabs with linen instead of leather, and I added straps to mine, because I'm way to busty to go without support (for this, I was inspired by the stays on Diary of a Mantua Maker's Blog.)

 I'm feeling very Revolutionary after making these stays...especially with the current government issues.  I'm listening to the Les Miserable soundtrack as I write this blog post (I know, not OUR revolution, nor the proper era for the stays, but the soundtrack is inspiring none-the-less.)  I feel like I could be one of the "little people" that rises up and shakes a fist at the big wigs that can't get along and make decisions in the Capital. 

"Do you hear the people sing
Singing the song of angry men
 It is the music of the people who will not be slaves again
 When the beating of your heart 
Echos the beating of the drums 
There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes."
"And little people know
When little people fight
We may look easy pickings but we got some bite
 So never kick a dog because he's just a pup
 we'll fight like twenty armies
And we won't give up "

Just the Facts

The Challenge: Wood, Metal, Bone: 1770's Stays

Fabric: Linen for all three layers of fabric.

Pattern: Drafted, but based on the one in "Costume Close-Up"
Year: 1770's

Notions: Linen thread, cotton embroidery floss, cotton tape, reed boning, and leather (cars shammy) for binding the seams and edges.

How historically accurate is it?: I would say 100%.  Hand stitched, appropriate materials and construction.

Hours to complete: ???? Too many?

First worn: Not worn yet, but hoping to wear it in a couple of weeks.

Total cost: ? Everything was from my stash except for the leather, which cost about $11.00.  Of course, I bought the items in my stash at some point didn't I...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #18: Re-make, Re-use, Re-Fashion: Another 18th c. Petticoat

I missed the HSF Challenge #17...I realllllly wanted to do it...had it all planned out and everything...early 1930's style silk robe, made out of vintage 30's silk...sigh...but school and home life have been much to crazy right now.   Oh, well, another project, for another day.

But, I did manage to squeeze out an entry for the HSF Challenge #18: Re-make, Re-use, Re-fashion.  
However, it's nothing even remotely exciting as a 1930's silk robe.  I'm sorry to say, it's yet ANOTHER 18th century petticoat.  Sorry.

I actually made this petticoat out of another petticoat of a different era.  Remember when I attempted to try my hand at mid-19th-century clothing?  Well, I've long since decided the Civil War era just isn't for me.  

So, I took apart one of the 19th century cotton petticoats, and used only about half the fabric to create this 18th century petticoat.  Most likely, a working class petticoat of this era would have been linen, not cotton.  But, it's what I had, and it won't be seen under the brown petticoat.

I did hand sew the petticoat, and I used this tutorial from A Fashionable Frolick.  Even though a petticoat is plain, and not very exciting, it is one step closer to my first Revolutionary War era outfit. 

Sneak peak time!

Again, please excuse the late Victorian era corset pictured under the petticoat...it's a stand in until this little baby is finished!

Just the Facts:

The Challenge: Re-make, Re-use, Re-fashion: Made an18th century petticoat out of a mid 19th century petticoat.

Fabric: Cotton

Pattern: Drafted by me, but I used a tutorial.


Notions: Linen thread, cotton tape.

How historically accurate is it? It's hand sewn, correct construction, but it's made of cotton, not linen.

First worn: Not yet.

Total cost: Free, made out of an old petticoat.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly: Challenge #16: Separates: Late 18th Century Petticoat

I missed challenge #15, but was able to make it in time for the HSF Challenge #16: Separates. The school year has started up again, and life is once again full of hustle and bustle (not the historic fashion kind of bustle, unfortunately.)  For challenge #16, I'm branching out into an era in which I have only done a little research...18th century(non-Georgian).  I believe the Snowshill Quilted Jacket is the only thing Pre-Georgian 18th century that I've ever made.  

This time, I am going to attempt an entire 18th century, Revolutionary War era ensemble, from the inside out.  For this challenge, I decided to make a petticoat.  I already have a shift. Stays will be made up soon...(projected for challenge #19!)  In the mean time, I'm using my Victorian Corset.  I know, I know, it doesn't have the same shape.  But, I will only need it to make the petticoats.  So, please excuse the anachronism!   

Here's the bum roll.  Made of linen, and stuffed with torn strips of linen.

The outer petticoat is made with brown linen.  I'm going for a more working class outfit.  Since this is my first real expedition into this area, I want to practice on something that isn't going to cost much.  Everything I'm making will be made with stash material.  I'm soooooo sorry for those of you who were hoping for lots of ruching, silk, etc.  Not this time.

Plain petticoats aren't that exciting, so I'll end by just saying that I followed this Tutorial from A Fashionable Frolick. A simple and easy separate.

Just the Facts
The Challenge: Separates: 18th century Outer Petticoat

Fabric: Linen

Pattern: Drafted, but followed a tutorial.

Year: 1770's

Notions: Linen Thread, Cotton Tape.

How historically accurate is it? Other than the cotton tape, which probably would have been linen, everything else is accurate. Hand sewn, appropriate materials and construction.

First worn: Not Yet.

Total cost: Stash material...I don't remember the cost of the linen.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Dancing with Napoleon...

...Dynamite (not Bonaparte.)

Just for Laughs.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Meet our new Kittens!

Meet 5 month old Sabina, and 11 week old Owen! Both are black and long haired, but Sabina has a white diamond on her chest, and Owen has charcoal grey tips on the fur on his cheeks and belly.

We've wanted another cat for a long time, but with our older cat, Zimu, other adult cats just haven't worked out, she's cranky and they fight her. Our vet recommended we get a pair of kittens. Kittens are less territorial and set in their ways, and two will keep each other entertained and not bother her. So far, Zimu has been a bit grumpy and hisses when the kittens get too close, but for the most part, all has been well. The kittens just stay out of her way and play with each other. They've become best mates.

The local Humane Society had a kitten/cat adoption sale last week...only $5 per feline! It was the perfect time for us to find these little ones. We spent 4 hours at the animal shelter, playing with kittens, trying to find the ones that played well with each other, and bonded well with us. Jane picked out the little boy Owen (and named him), and then we found the little girl, and Carson suggested the name Sabina (I liked it and thought it fit her perfectly). We didn't initially want black cats, let alone two of them, but their personalities won us over.

Sabina is a curious little girl, although a little shy at first. She's claimed me as her human, and begs quite often to be held. Owen is possibly one of the most complacent, docile cats I've ever seen. I think he might have a bit of the Rag Doll cat in him. He's sweet, purrs almost all the time, and is floppy (if that makes any sense) and relaxed always. Jane carries him around like a doll everywhere, and he is content letting her.
We are in love with our new babies!

I've shot a short video of them...please excuse the silly music, it was either that, or the sound of a cartoon in the background. Jane thought the music sounded like cats singing, so that's what we went with!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly: Challenge #14: Eastern Infulence and The Jane Austen Festival

The Dreamstress hosts Challenge #14 of the Historical Sew Fortnightly Event: Eastern Influence.  My take on this was to make an early 1800's, Regency style Sari Gown, out of a vintage sari that I bought at last year's Jane Austen Festival, and to wear the gown to this year's Jane Austen Festival.  Every year, the festival is hosted by the Louisville chapter of JASNA. and it's splendid!

"Sari" gown, inspiration #1.

  Of course, the word EMPIRE, in empire gown, stems from what some would call the height of England's Empire, or control over most of the world.

"Sari" gown, inspiration #2.

Not only were spices and exotic foods being brought back from India during the Empire era, but so were textiles and jewelry.

"Sari" gown, inspiration #3.

The sari's brought back home to England were made into gorgeous gowns, shawls, and capes.

This stole, made from what I'm assuming is sari fabric, is from The National Trust Collection.

Portrait of Mrs. Harrison Gray Otis (Sally), by Edward Malbone, 1804.

For my gown, I used a vintage, green sari, with an elaborate dark blue and gold floral border, and with flecks of silver thread dotted throughout.  The design was drafted by me, and was an amalgamation of a few different gowns, but the portrait above was what truly inspired me.

The gown is done in a crossover style, and I used a pair of 1920's blue "sapphire" and "diamond" (not real) shoe clips to decorate the gathered part of the bodice, just as the portrait above does.

Portrait of Madame Thérèse Vestris - 1803, Le Brun.

This portrait influenced how I finished off the sleeves, and how I wore my chemisette at the festival this year (although my chemisette sleeves were a bit of a disaster, wonky and sliding all over the place around my arm - you will see in the photos from the festival.)

I purchased these silver buttons at Burnley and Trowbridge, and used only two, because my gathered sleeve wasn't as wide as the one in the portrait.

A close up of the shoe clip.  You can also see here the dots of silver thread shot through the silk.

Portrait of Madame Visconti, by Gérard François Pascal Simon, 1810.

The above gown also has similar sleeves, but the deep v-shaped back of the bodice inspired the back of my gown.

I hand sewed all of my gown, and put tucks in the back of the bodice.  It's a shame I can't see this when I wear the gown, because it's my favorite part!  The funny thing is, the back is where I had the most problems when I wore the gown this past weekend.  The fabric stretched a bit in the heat and humidity (and probably because of my sweat!)  You can see where it is warped and buckled a bit.  The right side annoyingly slipped off my shoulder over and over again the entire day.  I think the solution will be to pull in the right back panel, so that it is tighter across my back.

The family portrait, taken at this year's Jane Austen Festival.  Me wearing my new Sari Gown.  
(More festival pictures below.)

Just the Facts:

The Challenge: Eastern Influence, early 1800's Sari Gown

Fabric: Vintage silk sari.

Pattern: Draped by me.

Year: circa 1800-1810

Notions: Silk thread, 4 silver buttons, two identical shoe clips or pins, and a pin to hold together the front crossover bodice.

How historically accurate is it? I would say 100%...fabric, style, techniques, hand sewn, etc.

First worn: At the Louisville Jane Austen Festival last weekend.

Total cost:  Fabric was from my stash, but was bought last year for $50...plus notions (shoe clips bought a couple of years ago)...about $75 total.

~~~~~~~~~~~~More Festival Pictures Below~~~~~~~~~~~~

The crew: Laura, Carson, Jane, Me, Natalie and Polly.

(Notice my wonky sleevil!)

A few more fabulous shots of the festival...including some people that captured my eye, as well as Laura's.  Laura was our own personal paparazzi.  I didn't bring my camera, so all of the shots below are thanks to her!

*Bingley's Teas - YUM!*

*The VEIL!!!!!!*

*There were many more handsome, dashing, Regency attired gentlemen at this year's festival than I've seen in the past.*

*The GORGEOUS interior of Locust Grove.*

*May we have Sedan Chairs in real life, please?*