Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Big Step Forward

Huzzah! I've completed a major piece of my outfit.

I already explained in a previous post about the construction of the gamurra bodice. All I have to add is that it now fastens up the sides with brass colored lacing rings and homemade yellow lucet cord.

I also hit a snag when I was attaching the skirt to the bodice back. Though it wasn't yet taking much weight, the seam where the bodice was pieced started to come apart. The most sensible remedy in my mind was to reinforce the seams with a whipstitched line of heavy duty thread. It's not the prettiest, but it does the job and it will be covered by the overgown.

The skirt back was gathered with 3cm deep cartridge pleats. Meanwhile, the front is mostly flat with the edges drawn up in shallow cartridge pleats.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Steam and Serenity

About two years ago, I made an outfit that I could wear to a multitude of geek events. I settled on steampunk, as it's nice and versatile, and turned to early Victorian designs for inspiration. The inspiration dress I spotted via Idlewild Illustree, who introduced me to a dress housed by the Kyoto Costume Institute. I lifted the buttons, pleated front, and sleeve treatment from the dresses. My difference is using an opaque fabric and brown highlights, plus a slightly different skirt treatment.

The bodice is interlined in organdy and lined in an old sheet. The shirt has a flat front and is cartridge pleated in the back. It also has a wide facing of the same old sheet.

I like my steampunk to be subtle, so instead of the cliche of goggles and gears, I used metallic trim. I got bronze colored fabric that I used to make piping, bias strips and button covers. The bodice is edged in the piping, as is all the seams in the back. Bias strips became the focus of the sleeve decoration. As a final touch, I bought a bronze colored flower pin and fastened it to the center top of the dress.

In the name of being thorough, I made some early Victorian underwear to go with  the clothes. The short of it is that the corded petticoat and the corset were really labor intensive, and in the end I found out that I can lace the corset edge to edge and still slouch in it. Grr.

There's one thing that vexes me about this dress. The back fits me horribly. I quickly realized that this was because, despite many careful fitting sessions, it was fitted over a crappy corset. I know that this can be easily remedied by taking apart refitting the bodice. Since this would mean almost completely dismantling the dress and sewing it back together, I'm in no hurry to do this.

Fortunately, this is more of a science fiction/fantasy piece, so it doesn't have to be molded on like a proper Victorian gown.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Powerful Geekery

I get distracted. A lot. My latest diversion is making and decorating a handkerchief. Part of the reason is that it is simple and makes a great canvas for embellishment. After some looking around, I decided to use a motif from a coif that I screen captured from Christie's website around May 2010. Alas, I did not write the date or provenance to the coif, so I can't tell you more than that. Silly me.

More importantly, I chose to make a handkerchief so that once IRCC is over I can convert it into pretty clothes for my dolls. Power recycling!

Once again this is cut from a piece of my liene, and a portion of the piece I cut from is stained. I carefully sorted through the floss in my stash to determine which of the colors I wanted was best at distracting from the stain. The circles are outlined in stem stitch, and the arrow parts are backstitched highlighted with French knots.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Under Here

I made myself a pair of drawers. Though I doubt this color is terribly period for late 1400 Florence, it's hard to argue with how well black can hide stains.

Construction is quite rectangular. Two rectangles make up each leg, and they join at the top to cover my hips. It's partially pleated and topped with a drawstring waistband, pulled in with a ribbon from my stash. On the bottom are two slips that I embroidered this past winter and spring.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Multitasking Apron

There's not much to say here. I grabbed a piece of pre embroidered fabric from my stash, hemmed it, and added ribbon ties. Nice and simple, and it would have been completed much faster if I hadn't been distracted with other pieces. I was thinking of adding needlelace to the edges, then just the bottom hem, but I decided against it in favor of devoting energy to other pieces

 The best part is, I can use it for IRCC and my on-hold Sleepy Hollow getup.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Super Handy Lucet

With a gown that laces up the sides, I need some strong cord. In the name of attempting period methods, I'm making lucet cord. Back in college, a dear friend of mine took it up after seeing some people in the SCA trying it. I wanted to follow the leader, but a brief online search for lucets revealed prices I found painful.

Fast forward to about a year and a half ago, and I saw an article (I don't remember where) on lucets and lucet cord, and how to make your own tool for cheap. So I cut out three layers of cardboard in the proper shape and glued the together. Due to the way I tug on the string, the thing puckered fast and didn't last long. Hence, I went to the alternate cheap way to make cord detailed in that article. With this tool, I can take in anywhere, I get great control, and the tool is an awesome multitasker.

Now With a Top

With the mockup squared away, my biggest enemy was my propensity for getting distracted. I did give myself a self-imposed deadline for cutting out the bodice, and I went through with it. The back pieces got one layer of linen, but the front got two layers, quilted together for strength and bust support. Then came the moderate depopulation of my pincushion pinning the outer fabric to the lining so I could hem each piece individually.

I did hit a minor setback with cutting out the outer fabric, cutting the bottom bits a little two short. Thankfully, this was nothing that a bit of piecing couldn't fix. It had the added benefit of utilizing scraps that otherwise would have ended up in my "good only for stuffing" bag.

Hemming came much faster than I expected, with the bodice getting done in a day. The back pieces were done in less than a week, stitched as I was commuting. Joining the back bits together was took a day, on the ride to work and back.

I would like to say that I am displeased with the outer fabric. It is not the material's fault, it was advertised horribly. The cloth was allegedly pure wool, but it shows shiny streaks even on a middling section. At the very least, it is wool with a considerable amount of petroleum based fiber mixed in. Sigh. I would have preferred the store be more honest.

I have a time limit for IRCC, and I don't yet have a single piece completed, so naturally I needed to take another detour and use time that could have gone to finishing stuff. I got an itch to do something that would qualify as additional handwork under the rules of the competition, without adding another garment or accessory to my planned list. Trim felt like a good solution, so after rummaging around my mother's old yarn stash, I found some thin yarn that I felt was adequately subtle for my liking, and I made a line of chain crochet long enough to make a double row of trim. Tammy Dupris mentions something similar being done in period, but I have no definite proof of this being done in the time I place I chose for my outfit, so I place it in a grey area of documentability.

What matters is that I have another point of visual interest that didn't take ages to do, and cost me nothing to create.