jennylafleur: (1799)

Despite all my personal drama leading up to it, I had a nice time at the Pumpkin Tea on Saturday. It's amazing what good friends, lively conversation, fun food and a new frock will do for a girl. :> Pictures can be found here:
My pictures
Loren's pictures
Isabella's pictures


I'm still not quite sure how it happened but my new linen dress turned out wonderfully. I'm in shock about it really.


It was a close thing though. Dispite being up until 2am the night before, I woke up Saturday morning without sleeves. By the time I got to them Friday night it was way too late to be cutting fabric and/or sewing sleeves. So I got everything else I could do done and went bed. I finished the last stitch at 12:15 (the tea started at 1pm).

Thanks to my parents, who are made of win and awesome, helping with fittings (Mom) and sandwich making (Dad) I got to the tea right on time and not nearly as stressed as I should have been. :> My family is the best!


As much as I loved my dress, I was possibly more excited about my underpinnings. After years of cheating with modern slips, Victorian petticoats, etc - I was wearing proper Regency under things! A Regency shift, a high-waisted linen petticoat and of course my new stays. *sigh* I really should be less lazy about underpinnings, I love the feeling of wearing the proper ones so.


Speaking of my stays - I'm super pleased with my new pair! They were really comfy and the way they shape my bust is SO much nicer than the original pair. They were even more comfortable to drive in than my old ones - yay! I had another party after the tea, a non-costume event this time, but since my friends didn't care what I was wearing and my outfit was so comfy I didn't bother to change until I got home late that evening!

*sigh* I love Regency.
jennylafleur: (1800)
My stays are finished - yay! It's really amazing how much faster binding goes when no tabs are involved! Pics tomorrow...

Also tried my dress bodice on. It's a little on the snug side. Shoot. The orginial is a tad big and thanks to my few tweaks this one is a tad snug. I just can't win! Also the sleeves are a little off. I'm trying to decide if I care enough to rip them out and move them over. They look and feel okay. No one would know they were wrong, except you guys of course since I just told you. :> Maybe I'll leave them to last and see how the frock and Spencer go this week.

home again

Nov. 8th, 2009 02:40 pm
jennylafleur: (1799)
I got back from the farm yesterday morning. I had a fabulous time (as always!) and managed to get a good chunk of sewing done too. My dress is in good shape, just need to sew the skirt to the bodice, hem it and sew on some hooks and eyes.

Real life and a migraine hit me up-side the head after I got home but I did manage to unpack and get the bottom of my stays bound. Yay! I love not dealing with tabs! I have another headache today so I think I'll leave the Spencer alone for now and work on finishing up the stays and dress. They require less brain wattage.
jennylafleur: (pp)
Greetings from the farm! Last night's sewing session was fun, despite some fitting issues. It is so much easier to have fitting issues with a sewing buddy in the room though! :> Loren and I were both working on Spencers, both using the same pattern no less - when does that happen?!

I tried on my new Regency stays for the first time. Thats when I discovered that I'd put the shoulder straps on backwards. That will teach me to forget to mark notches on my patterns! The other issue with the stays is that some how I made the bust gussests too big. They stick out at the top in an annoying way. It's a really tiny amount of fabric that is doing it though so it's not really worth taking the gussets out and redoing the whole thing so I'm going to cheat and just run some gathering stitches at the bust. I was originaly going to run a drawstring in the top binding (which is reasonably period) but on further reflection it's just the bust that needs help and that is the easier way to go. If I hate it I can always redo the gussets later.

The fitting of the Spencer toile went about as well. *makes face* For everything I like about the pattern there is something I don't like. *sigh* Loren helped me fix the major fitting problems but it's going to need major work to get it close to my inspirations. So now I'm trying to decide if I want to comprimise and make it up as is so I have a Spencer by next week or if I should go to the hassle of changing half dozen things so it looks like what I had in my head. I'm still pondering.

checking in

Nov. 4th, 2009 10:12 am
jennylafleur: (georgian)
How can it be over a week and be a new month since I last posted?! It's really scary how fast the days are flying by! I feel like I'll blink and suddenly Christmas will be over and I'll be trying to remember to put 2010 on my checks. *sigh*

I haven't been up to much on the sewing front, thanks to real life rearing it's ugly head. I finished the bonnet commission, despite it fighting me every frickin inch of the way. Some projects are just like that. *gives bonnet the evil eye*

[livejournal.com profile] sadievale's Pumpkin Tea is next weekend so it's time to turn my attention back to my Regency wardrobe. I finished the eyelets on my corset. Now I'm off to sew on the shoulder straps, give it a quick try-on to make sure the length is good and I can start binding it. Then it's on to the fun stuff. :>
jennylafleur: (regency)

I got half the eyelets done on my Regency stays last night. Keeping in mind [livejournal.com profile] koshka_the_cat's example, I was trying not to be so anal-retentive about my eyelets this time. They didn't come out as crappy as [livejournal.com profile] koshka_the_cat's but I tried, I really did. Perfectionisim is a hard rap to beat! :>

Not too shabby, 12 eyelets in 4 hours. What's that about 20 minutes an eyelet? That was with little breaks to rest my eyes/wrists and thaw out my numbed brain too.
jennylafleur: (funny)
What is it about handsewing eyelets that is so incredibly mind-numbing?
jennylafleur: (naughty)
Still sickly, without a voice and almost out of Klondike bars. I'm on antibiotics now though so hopefully I'll be on the mend soon. I hoping for very soon as I'm tired of feeling too crappy to do anything but veg, it's getting beyond boring.

So what does sickness, boredom, an internet connection and missing CosCol equal? The retail therapy of buying silk taffeta online. *looks contrite* It was a really good deal but really I shouldn't have, since I'm supposed to be saving up from my trip to CA in Oct. Dude, I don't even have a specific project in mind for it. *looks very contrite* So right now I'm feeling guilty, will feel justified when I see everyone's goodies from the LA district tomorrow, will feel glee when it arrives, will be back to guilty when I try to find a place to put in on my already busting shelves and will feel SO grateful when that perfect project comes along. The stash... it is a sickness. A vicious circle of sickness.

Hello my name is Jenny-Rose and my stash is getting out of control. *whimpers*

In happier news I got something done today! I finished Loren's hat (sans trimming) *yay!* and unpicked the back panels of my stays. Maybe tomorrow I will feel up to cutting out new backs... One day at a time, right?
jennylafleur: (friend)
I am sick. With a head cold this time. Woke up yesterday morning with a sore throat, no voice and a fever. Feeling slightly better today, although the throat is actually less happy. Yay for ice water and Klondike bars.

The timing is pretty crappy as this weekend is CosCol so instead of staying busy, which had been my plan to keep my mind off it, I have nothing to do but watch TV, refresh the friend's list and think about what I'd be doing if I were in LA right now. *sigh* I know that not going to CosCol this year was totally the right decision but I still miss it dreadfully. More than I thought I would honestly. So many thanks to all of you who are updating your LJs with posts and pics of CosCol fun... it's nice to live vicariously through them. Surprisingly it's easier knowing exactly what fun one is missing rather than just trying to imagine it. :P

I almost had some energy this afternoon so i pulled out my 1804 stays with the intention of working on some eyelets. I got as far as moving my bin o' sewing notions to the TV, washing my hands and transferring the steel boning from the old stays to the new, when I discovered that the boning in the back piece is slightly too long for the new stays. *gives stays a dirty look* So I can either order some new bones or simply recut/resew the back piece, making it 3/8" longer. Not a huge bit deal in the grand scheme of life but it totally killed any inclination I had to be productive for the day. Oh well.
jennylafleur: (moi costume)

Continuing our series with More Than You Wanted to Know About Cording with Hemp...


Actually I didn't take as many pics of this process because I basically followed my own tutorial.


I did discover a few tricks though; one is using the correct tool. This handy awl was the only tool I ended up needing to open & close the holes. It turned out to be just the right size and super efficient to use, which was nice. I got my awl from Jas Townsend & Son but I know other vendors also carry this same awl.


Another trick I learned was you can use your awl to easy the hemp into the hole. Slide your hemp up to the hole opening. Insert awl into the hole, making sure to keep on top of your hemp. Ease the hemp into the hole while pulling the awl out. It's a bit tricky and you need to go slowly to maintain the right amount of tension but it did enable me to use pieces of hemp that I would never have been able to get in otherwise.


Otherwise the cording was pretty straightforward. I used twill as my "lining" this time, as opposed to the quilting muslin I used last time. I was a little concerned that the holes would be difficult to create or the weave would not allow me to close the holes afterwards. I shouldn't have worried - it worked just fine!


Once all the hemp was in, I trimmed the bottom of the stays a bit and ran a basting stitch to hold all the cording in place. Once nice thing about hemp is that you can sew right through it, using a large needle of course. :> I'm going to wait to trim/baste the top until I can try it on but that will have to wait until I can get some eyelets worked. *sigh*
jennylafleur: (1800)

More than you wanted to know about sewing cording channels...


The first channel I tackled was for the bone that sits above the hip gore in the center of the side seam. For stability and to better shape the bust I decided to go with a ½" steel bone here. I used bone casing, because of the seam. I first finished off the end with tiny zig-zag stitches then carefully centering it on the seam stitched it in place.


I continued the stitch (¼" away from the seam) all the way to the bottom of the stays. It finished it from the front and stitched down that pesky seam allowed I kept out by mistake.


Next I turned my attention to the front panel. First I took a clear ruler and drew a line (in washable pencil) about ¼" below the bust gussets. I stitched along that line, and then using my presser foot as a guide (I found the width of my zipper foot was the perfect size for my hemp cording!) I stitched 3 more rows, creating 3 cording channels. I then again took my clear ruler and marked a line ½" below my last stitching line. I then stitched 4 rows, creating 3 cording channels. And so on until I reached the top of my hip gussets.


This worked out nicely as I didn't have to spend hours marking every row and by stopping and marking the occasional line I kept myself straight. The whole thing came out remarkably even and straight!


Once I reached the hip gussets I started stitching vertical channels, filling in all the space between the front busk and the hip gussets again using my presser foot as my guide.


Next came the endless knotting, which took about twice as long as the actual stitching! While I was stitching I generally put in one or two stitches over the line as a safety measure, so after picking those out (so the stitching lined up with either the side seam or the last row of horizontal stitching), I pulled all the threads to the back and began tying them in knots.
Once that was done I took a needle and running it right along the stitching tucked the ends under the fabric.


It's a time consuming thing to do but the result is so pretty! *squee*


For the boning on the side panel I used my old stays as reference to draw on stitching lines with my trusty clear ruler and washable pencil. One boning channel went near the side/front seam and two channels went in the center-ish of the panel. I then stitched those up. For the bones on either side of the side/back seam I simply used my clear presser foot, which gave just the right size for the steel boning I wanted to use there. On the back panel I used a mixture of presser feet and pencil markings to create the combination of channels for the steel boning, hemp cording and eyelets along the center back.


I then soaked my stays in warm water for about 15 minutes to remove the pencil marks. I rolled the stays in a towel to remove the excess water then hung them up to air dry over night. The next morning I used a steam iron to take out the wrinkles and I was ready to insert the cording.
jennylafleur: (1799)

*sigh* I'm back to feeling blah. I guess I'm not totally over last week's ick. Man - I was feeling good at Loren's farm this weekend too... must have been the company! I was obviously having too much fun to not feel good. Maybe I just overdid it - I was utterly exhausted from the long drive when I got home Sunday. So I've been taking it easy for the last few days in hopes that I can shake whatever this is and feel 100%. I haven't felt like doing much of anything else so I've been working on costuming things in a very CADD manor. With lots of naps. :>


All the cording is done on my stays - yay! It seemed less difficult/time consuming than I remembered, which was nice, but it was fiddly and ripped up my hands a bit, not so nice. I'm just glad it's finished. I have lots of step-by step progress pics of the stays but I'll save those for another post.


While I was at Loren's I worked on my Poe bonnet a bit. I decided that the neck flounce thing (does it have a name?) was too bulky after all. So I took it apart, cut out 2.5" from the center, put it back in and stitched it on the bonnet. Much better! I then sewed on the ribbon ties, ignoring the pattern directions and simply placing them where they seemed to hold the bonnet on my head best. I played around with bonnet trimmings but am feeling uninspired so far. I think I'm going to set it aside for now and wait for my bonnet trimming muse to appear. I don't need it until January anyway so I can wait patiently. :P


Oh I must introduce my newest toy - Hettie! My dear friend Tina made this hat/wig stand for me as a thank you for my help with her Civil War bonnet. Isn't she sweet?! It really does make things like hat trimming and wig styling so much easier when the Styrofoam head it not moving around on you. Think of how much simpler my life would have been making that turban last year! Why "Hettie"? I don't know. It seemed rude to call it an "it" since she did have a head and Hettie seemed the right name when I was pondering.


In true CADD I started on another hat this week, this time a S&S style capote to go with my new 1800 day dress (more on that later). I'm using the pattern from Mela's Costume College class, going for an Eleanor style hat. I'm not being too literal with my inspriation so of course I had to modify the pattern - I can never leave well enough alone not even with Mela!


I'm using buckram from the stash, since I don't have any straw to work with. I don't know how period correct it is to make this style without straw but I'm going to do it anyway. I think its okay... This time the buckram is of the single layer variety. Because I felt it was a little lightweight for the way I abuse my hats, I cut two layers, spray basted them together and used them as a single layer afterwards. (Temp basting spray = love!). I machine zig-zagged 18gauge wire to both edges of the brim and that is as far as I got. I'm trying to decide how big I want to make the mushroom cap part and if I want to line the brim in flannel or not. I'm thinking not at this point based on my covering fabrics and a desire to not have a thick brim.


My next act of CADD was to start work on a covered 18th century flat hat for [livejournal.com profile] bauhausfrau. It's my half of a barter/trade we have going at the moment. *wink* Even though I'm in absolutely no rush for my item, I am in the mood to work on a covered flat hat so I figured I should go for it while the mood is upon me.

I used a craft store straw hat, that ironically I got in a costumer's give away at Loren's last year, taking it apart and refashioning it into the correct size and shape. I then pleated & pinned to get the brim fabric all pinned on and ready for stitching. I don't have thread to match so I had to stop there until I can run to Jo-Anns. I have step-by-step pics of this project too but I'm going to wait until it's finished to post them. 'Cause I'm mean like that.
jennylafleur: (regency)
All the channels sewn, all the pesky little threads tied off! *whew* It was the tying of the threads that took f-o-r-e-v-e-r - what a pain. But it's done so now on to cording with hemp. After I go to Lowe's to buy a new awl that is. [livejournal.com profile] sadievale got nifty one there that I’ve already tried to steal without success. :> So I’m off to do the honorable thing and purchase my own.
I do have progress pics but they will have to wait until later...
jennylafleur: (1800)

Considering I didn't work on them for very long I sure got a lot done on my stays yesterday! I'm pretty jazzed with how quickly they are going together - much faster than the first time around. :>


I started with the bust gussets. Taking my "fashion fabric" (a pale chartreuse cotton sateen left over from a Tea gown) I cut along my markings then folded back the fabric and pressed with a steam iron.


I then took the bust gussets and after basting them together (wrong sides together) with my handy basting spray, I marked the seam allowances on them with a washable pencil. I had to pull out my old stays to figure out what the seam allowance was! Apparently I added ½" which seems a little excessive to me now. I would probably make it more like 3/8" next time.


Then starting with the straight side of the gusset, I carefully pinned the gusset to the sateen front, using the blue pencil markings as my guide. Fudging where needed of course. After everything was pinned in nicely, I used the machine to top stitch the gussets in place, stitching as close to the edge as possible and using a small stitch length. I then snipped off the excess point at the bottom of the gusset and trimmed down the sides as needed.


I then took the lining (a white cotton twill) and repeated the process of cutting along my markings, folding back the fabric and pressing with a steam iron. I then laid the lining on top of the sateen (wrong sides together) and after spray basting the bottom of the piece together I carefully lined up the gusset openings, this time using the stitching line as my guide. Once that was all pinned into place I whip-stitched the lining in place along the gores and spray basted the rest.

To stabilize the piece a bit (the spray basting is temporary after all!), I stitched the channel for the busk down the center of the front. After some experimenting (and some ripped out stitches!) I figured out the size channel I needed for my cording and ran two cording channels alongside the busk as well.


I then turned my attention to the hip gussets. The first one was easy, just like the bust gussets. The one that is inserted into the seam though took me a little pondering. Looking at my old stays I don't have the faintest idea how I inserted it last time. So no help there. After a bit of Think-Think-Think, I decided that the easiest thing to do would be to sew the seam together, leaving space for the hip gusset un-stitched. After stitching I ironed the seam allowances open and again using my markings as a guide pinned the gusset in.


After I stitched the gusset in I realized I should have only included the sateen layers in my seam, so I could finish the seams off by folding over the lining and whip stitching down. I did it for the side piece but not the front. Lame! I didn't feel like ripping out all that stitching though so I left it. Like with the lining of the front I spray basted the area around the gusset, then pinned the lining in place and whip stitched it down by hand. So I have half a seam showing there which bugs me a little but not enough to redo that hip gusset!


I then attached the back piece, seams showing and ironed toward the back. That I did on purpose knowing from experience that if I need to address fitting issues in the future (like weight loss *crosses fingers*) that easiest thing is the remove the back piece and either trim or replace it. I did that at least once on my old stays, one of the reasons they lastest so long! I'll whipstitch that seam down eventually.


So here are my stays as they sit this morning. On to the endless channels ...
jennylafleur: (Default)
I LOVE temporary basting spray - my prrrreeecccious!!!
jennylafleur: (pp)
I'm feeling much better today - yay! My summer cold seems to have been of the 48 hour variety which makes for a nice change. My more recent ailments have been of the 6 week variety! I do have another headache today though, which I'm not excited about.

So after some frustrations when I started work on my 1804 stays yesterday, I walked away, took a nap and life didn't seem so bad when I went back to it later in the day. I think I just needed that nap!

I decided life was too short to get so whigged out over a pair stays so I calmly took my filed pattern and the old pair of stays and did my best to reconcile them. Close enough I say! I even cut out the pieces from my fabric... I have lots left over if I made a horrible mistake but really I think it will be okay.

I'm now off to start constructing the stays. I'm eager to get the channel sewing behind me - it's so boring! Besides I think I have a cunning plan for a new Regency day dress that I can't work on until the stays are re-made... *wink*
jennylafleur: (mood)
Dangit, dangit, DANGIT!! Why are these things always so complicated?

I'm working on my new 1804 stays (my old pair having given out at Costume Con) and having a hard time reconciling the pattern in my files with the finished result of my old stays. I LOVE my old stays - they have served me well in fit, comfort and look - so I don't want to deviate from the old pair at all. Just remake them.

Thing is I've tweaked the stays several times over the years, trimming things here & there and even re-making the back panels at one point when they got too big. Did I transfer those changes to my master pattern? No. Did I take good notes of the changes? No. Is this pattern I have in my file even the finial master pattern? I'm beginning to wonder.

Add to that the fact that I made these stays 6 years ago, before I got into good habits of note taking, master pattern tracing and that it was my first use of a scaled pattern and I had NO idea what I was doing... it's amazing the stays came out so well and lasted so long really. Trying to go back 6 years and figure out my own assumptions and sewing methods (since I didn't write them down) is a logistical nightmare.

I do have the old stays to reference but that almost makes it harder. Thanks to gussets and trying to factor in the stretch of the fabric in 6 years... it's making my head hurt. I have a summer cold right now so that probably won't take much but still... Why does this have to be so dang hard!

*wimpers*
jennylafleur: (Default)
I am quite tantalizing close to finishing the binding on my blue 18th century stays, only about two inches to go. I've been working on them off and on (as the wrists allow) for a week now and I'm SO ready for them to be done! They do look good though. For once in my life I don't have a deadline to finish them by (having worn them to CosCon sans binding) so I decided to revel in tiny stitches and take my time. Part of me is regretting that decision as I'm totally over working on the project but the other part sees my fine needlework and *squees* inside.

I do have progress pics but have mis-laid the USB cord so I can't get them off my camera. Moo.

So what is on the agenda in the coming months? Sadly I am not going to make it to Costume College this year, *weeps*, so after CosCon I've been feeling a little rudderless in the sea of costuming possibilities. I have lots of half-finished projects laying around that need attention but honestly most of them I don't care a fig about at the moment. Since I don't really have costume deadlines and events until the fall I've decided to work on only what I feel a burning desire to work on this summer. Should be fun really.

Top of the agenda are the Charles II dress, new Regency stays (mine "broke" at CosCon) and finishing the Pimpernel revamp. That list should keep me busy if not completely out of trouble for a little while anyway... :P

Oh yes and my other project this week has been updating my website (as the wrists allow). All the diaries and event albums should be updated now. Man was I behind!

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