Wednesday, December 31, 2014

HSF '14 #23: Modern History: A Purple Princess Royal Scarf

What a whirlwind month it has been! I'll give you the shortened personal overview, and then get on with the textile adventures :)

Shortly after my second-last post, my car died. It was at least third-hand new-to-me, a 2005 Kia Rio. Manual shift, which I had to learn how to drive (I ended up loving it). I had it for just over two months. It ended up not being worth it to me to fix (a broken timing belt, which a good estimate was running $1400 to fix, assuming there wasn't a lot of damage. The belt was crucial to the engine's operation, and since it broke when I was doing 100km/hr [60mph], I wasn't hopeful at all that it could be repaired on the "low" end) and I decided not to hang onto it. I haven't heard about it since last week, so hopefully it has gone to the pick'n'pull lot to be happily salvaged for parts by someone else. Then, in a moment of what I'm still not sure was brilliance or madness, I bought a new car. Brand spankin' new, 44km on the odometer when I drove it off the lot, 2014 Kia Rio. It's only been 2.5 weeks but I'm pretty happy with it :)

And now, on to textiles!

Admittedly, I "borrowed" the idea for this HSF challenge from Quinn, who knitted a delightful scarf for the same challenge. I hadn't thought about the challenge in such a way, but there it was. Then, as I was blog-browsing, I saw that Katherine had started a Princess Royal scarf (look at those darling needles!), and I was struck with inspiration. I pulled out some needles (the longest straights that I had in a small gauge) and some stash yarn, and got to knitting.

I am a terribly slow knitter. I started it in early December, and finished it well after the challenge was over, on Christmas Eve morning.

But I gotta say, the pom-poms are my favourite part :) I wrapped yarn around my fingers 30 times or so, cut the loops, and then crocheted a tail to attach them too. They make me smile. Yay pom-poms!

The scarf would be absolutely useless in the way that I wear winter scarves in somewhat northern Canada-land (it would need to be much longer), but perfectly fine to keep one's neck warm if it's not too drafty.

The Challenge: #23 Modern History
Fabric: 100% Acrylic yarn
Pattern: Princess Royal's Scarf
Year: 1856
Notions: None.
How historically accurate is it?: Shape is, but modern everything-else.
Hours to complete: roughly 3 weeks...
First worn: Christmas
Total cost: Needles and yarns were both from my aunt's estate, so free-to-me. It would cost roughly $8 to buy new yarn, with lots leftover for another project.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: A Year in Review

I can hardly believe that 2014 is nearly over! It seems like just a few short weeks ago that it was beginning. When I started compiling this list, I forgot about half of what was on it. I did a lot more than I remembered! Let's get down to the review of What I Accomplished, shall we? :)

 photo IMG_4692_zps53c37325.jpg
Hooded Cape

 photo IMG_4699_zpsdbd4db00.jpg
Undergarments (petticoat and bum pad)

Muff Base (no picture)

18th century chemise

Ballgown Bodice

1930s (?) Dirndl (The pattern came up on a Facebook group and many commenters disputed the date of the pattern)

Whore-I-Mean-Handmaiden Game of Thrones gown
Photo by Fearless Photoworks

Black and green 1860s corset


Tabi socks

Chizuru cosplay (Hakuoki)

18th century cap

Regency Paisley Day gown

Regency guimpe/chemisette

Regency Spencer

Regency muslin ball gown
Our hostess and her husband :)
Photo by Danny Jones Photography

Regency Men's tailcoats (3)
Photo by Danny Jones Photography

Candy-stripe farthingale (side view)

Candy-stripe bustle

1870s bonnet

Cropped Peasant Blouse
Photo by Kazoo Productions

75% of a hand-sewn Curtain Along gown

+ a few toiles and items that are currently PHD's.

PHEW!! That was a lot of things! Here's looking forward to a wonderfully dressed 2015!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

HSF '13 #7: Accessorize

August 2, 2013

The seventh challenge, Accessorize, was due on April 8, so once again I am cheating OUTRAGEOUSLY and completing the challenge not only later than the due date, but not even planning it until well after the fact.

(You guys won't tell, right? Thanks :D You're the best!)

The same year I made the cream-coloured Victorian gown (2011), I also had the whim to make a hat. I'd used Truly Victorian's hat pattern, with plastic canvas and felt instead of buckram, as given in the Elizabethan patterns by Margo Anderson. The result was quite pleasing, even if I'd made a rather serious error in judgement and started making it the day before I wanted to wear it. I sat at my aunt's BBQ for several hours, hand-sewing a hat in three layers without a thimble. My dress the next day was largely pinned together, as I literally could not push a needle through fabric anymore to attach closures. I had to sew the last four buttons on my bodice in the car on the way to the event.

Photo by M. Gibbins

Last year I did not wear a hat. I regretted wearing the dress I'd made at all, as it was incredibly hot and humid (for Alberta) and I ended up taking off as many layers as I could, plunked myself into a shaded area, and just tried to survive the trip back. We declared one member of our group the "madam" and my sisters and I (all rather scantily dressed, for Victorian times) were her "ladies of the night".

Big Valley, 2012

This year, I wanted another hat. I'd lent my pattern to my mum, and the gnomes have wandered off with it. I'm also lending my bustle to my sister this year, so I'm doing more mid-period, non-bustled looks. Trying to find information on hats is somewhat daunting to this non-hat maker, so I did some digging and I found a pattern by Lynn McMasters I'd never seen before. I ended up ordering it off of eBay and after a very pleasant transaction, I received the pattern in today's mail :D

Since I had nothing else to do, I got out my trusty plastic canvas, 22g floral wire, and a roll of felt and set to work. By 11:30 pm, after approximately two and a half hours of work, I had the canavs cut, pieced, sewn, and wired together with yarn (why yarn? I found it before I found my upholstery thread). Tomorrow I will pad it, and then I will have to decide what fabric I want to cover it with.

September 15, 2014

I know I've said it before... but have you noticed a theme? How much I like to procrastinate and lack focus? That is one reason why I love the HSF, it gives me enough of a framework and a deadline that I can push myself to work within. Otherwise, I am FULL of ambitious plans and zero motivation to work on them, and then I end up sewing right before the event, deep into the wee hours.

I dubbed the bonnet Thing. When I posted a picture on Facebook, I titled it "I made a Thing!" Thing sat, wired and padded with felt, fashion fabric (black satin) cut out and the crown attached to the base. It just sat. Patiently. Waiting. Eventually I moved it onto a mannequin head, where it languished again.

I thought I wouldn't be able to go to this year's train trip, being as it was quite late in the year and coincided with a festival I'd agreed to perform in. I only found out 5 days before the trip that I would be able to go after all. Some hasty arrangements were made and a ticket was available for me. Fantastic! Luckily I had a dress I hadn't yet worn on the trip all ready, I wouldn't need to hastily make anything. Except for a bustle.

But I also really wanted a hat. I found Thing's fashion fabrics easily and pulled it off the mannequin head. I finished the bustle around 9:30pm or so, and sat down to work on the bonnet. I did need to put it on hold for the evening, and picked it up again in the morning and busted my fingers getting it finished. It needs different trimming, most of this is just pinned in place, but in the meantime, I am just THRILLED that the basic bonnet is finished!

The Challenge: #7 Accessorize
Fabric: polyester satin, polyester "silk"
Pattern: Lynn McMasters' Natural Form Bonnet (view A)
Year: 1870s
Notions: plastic canvas, felt, yard, tons of thread, some fake flowers and a length of ribbon
How historically accurate is it?: In shape only.
Hours to complete: Far far too many
First worn: September 13, 2014
Total cost: Probably close to $40. (Pattern for sure was $25, plastic canvas and wire were purchased for other hat projects, the satin was leftovers from another project, and the flowers had been used at my sister's wedding, but to buy all of those pieces would easily cost the other $15)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Belly Dance Journey

Hello friends! I have missed you :) I wrote most of this while taking a break from my novel writing partly because it was fighting with me, and partly because I have missed sewing and blogging so very much. I'm done writing now, and I'm happy to say I won NaNoWriMo again. I'll be back sewing very soon (as soon as I finished writing, I got a repeat plague from last year! Oh no!). I've mentioned my belly dancing in a few posts so I thought I would take this time to describe my belly dance journey.

I couldn't pinpoint a date when I first became interested in belly dance, but it was likely between 1995 and 2000. There's a good chance I saw it at an SCA event, though I can't be sure. For sure, in 2000, I attended my dad's company Christmas party with him, and it was held at a Greek restaurant and they had a belly dancer come into the room and dance for us. I was one of the people she pulled from the "audience" to dance (I was very bad at it, of course; my dad's boss was the other person pulled.)

I don't know who this lovely dancer is. Also, 20 year old me.

I spent many years thinking "Hmm, I should look into classes". I spent just as many years saying "I will call tomorrow." I have a serious issue with phones, and tomorrow always became "tomorrow", and I never did it. I saw dancers at SCA events and Greek restaurants (including a professional male belly dancer - oh, he was wonderful!), and still thought "I'll call tomorrow." I was going to dance at Isis, well-known in Edmonton as one of the best studios; actually, it was the only studio I knew of. But, I will call tomorrow.

In 2010, a couple of my friends started to dance. Ah, I wanted to join them! But, finances at the time were not conducive to doing so. I'll revisit the idea in the fall, maybe... Around this time, a bunch of my friends put together a group of us to do stuff. We always had a bunch of dresses in our closets, bought for this or that party or life event, worn once or twice and put away. Why not wear these dresses again and have tea parties? Wonderful idea! I only made it out to one party, but I met some new people, and it was a grand time.

You know how sometimes, it seems like life wants to shift yours drastically? 2012 was one of those years. I woke up on a Thursday morning in the middle of June to find out that a man was hit by a vehicle and died. I didn't know him, but the person who hit him did not stick around, and the biggest news in the city that day was the hunt for the vehicle and its owner.

I woke up the very next day, on Friday morning, to the news that three armored car guards had been shot and killed during their run the night before, with a fourth clinging to his life in hospital. What is the world coming to! Two nights in a row?! This doesn't happen in Edmonton.

It got worse. I was talking to my friend about it on Skype and she brought up that one of our friends worked for that company. She was unable to reach her, or any of her family members. It was hours before we got the news that our friend was one of the guards who had died.

The memorial "program" from the funeral. I cried when I pulled this out today.

It was almost two weeks before the funeral was held. The last time I had seen this group of friends together was at New Year's, and in just 6 months it felt like the world had been turned upside down. She passed away just two weeks before her birthday, and a mere 7 weeks after her marriage. Somehow it came up that I, and others, wanted a way to commemorate our friend's life. She was one of those people who made a room brighter just by being in it. We couldn't let her spark go out. One of our mutual friends introduced us to their belly dance teacher at the reception afterwards. "It's nice to meet you," we all said, "under the circumstances." Life had suddenly become too precious to waste another second on "I'll call tomorrow." We were going to start belly dancing, in her memory.

Three of us signed up for a trial, 4-week class in the summer. I at least had intended to take a full run of classes in the fall regardless, but was not opposed to the trial class just for funsies. It was really nice to see my friends for an hour each week for a month when I hadn't seen them for 6 months or more before the funeral. My Skype friend moved back to the city that summer and all four of us took a session together. It was one of the scariest, funnest things I've ever done. We all looked at each other when the topic of the recital came up. I normally have crippling stage fright, knees-shaking, voice shaking, when-will-it-be-over crippling stage fright. "I'll do it if you do it," we all said. So I did it. We all did it. And it was awesome.

It took a little bit longer to figure out where my dance journey was going to take me. I really liked dancing and I didn't want to stop, but I couldn't figure out why. WHY do I want to dance? I don't want to become a professional performer, even though I do recitals. I don't want to become a teacher, so what? I had always been taking classes with my friends, but the timing of getting from one end of the city to the other on public transit during winter in time for class was... an exercise in patience that I failed miserably (there was one memorable day when I would have ended up showing up at least 45 minutes late. I gave up and went home). It wasn't until I started taking level 2 classes on a different day than my friends that I figured it out.

I absolutely love to belly dance. And the only thing I need to get out of it, the only reason I need to do it, is that reason alone. It doesn't matter if I don't take it to a pro level, it doesn't matter if I decide to never perform in a recital again. I love to do it, and that is all I need out of it. And it has been wonderful. I still have a lot of things to learn; I have a lot of basic moves, and I have a lot of basic layering skills, but there is still SO MUCH I need and want to learn.

Taking belly dance classes was one of the best things I ever did for myself. My friends have stuck with it too, and I would happily dance with them every day of the week if I could.

Photo by Kazoo Productions
Kaleido Festival, September 2014

Even though I have a mental disconnect with photos of myself dancing, that the image doesn't reflect what I think I look like, I'm trying to get over that. I see photos of dancers of all shapes and sizes, and I never think anything negative about them the way that I have thought about myself. "Wow, look at her! So beautiful!" I say about them, but never about myself. But it's only in photographs. When I'm in the studio, watching myself practice, "wow, look at me! So beautiful!" I'm so proud of the things I've learned, of what I taught myself to do. My only regret is taking so long, and waiting until a day when it honestly felt like the world was falling apart, to do it.

I barely knew you, Shell, but I loved you anyway. Thank you.

Friday, October 10, 2014

HSF '14: 19: Inspiration

The theme for the 19th challenge of the year is Inspiration: "One of the best things about the HSF is seeing what everyone else creates, and using it to spark your own creativity. Be inspired by one of the challengers item from HSF ’13 or HSF challenges 1-18 to make your own fabulous item." (Facebook)

While I didn't intend to make this item for a challenge, it happens to fit in quite nicely. I am submitting my quickie-"Candy Stripe" bustle :D

Version 2

I started going through the Facebook albums for inspiration. There are so many amazing things that people have been making and posting, it's been such a pleasure to take part in the challenge, even if I have been quite rubbish at making and posting my own items. Even just to see what everyone comes up with, it's been a wonderful 1.75 years! (Almost 2 years already?!) September was, as I'm sure you're aware from my previous posts, a giant time-suck, and I got precisely nothing done on the challenges due that month. October is a very short month, and then in November I will be writing a novel, so if I manage to get any sewing done, it will have to be small. The rest of the year is not looking particularly hopeful for challenge completions.

Then, as I was going through the albums, I remembered some lovely pieces, and sought them out specifically. In particular, there was two from Asa:

Lobster bustle (Photoshoot)
Mini-lobster bustle

and one from Michelle L:

Star Trek Lobster bustle

And not specifically from an HSF participant, or even made in these past 2 years, but an inspiration nonetheless:

Katherine's lobster bustle

The night before the train excursion, I knew I needed a second bustle since I would need to lend one to my sister. I toyed with the idea of a pillow or pad, and eventually settled on making a mini-lobster. I'd wanted to make one for awhile, and also try out some of the leftover tubing from my farthingale to see how it would hold up.

Spoiler: it holds up very well!

I used the bustle frame base from Truly Victorian's Petticoat with Wire Bustle. In retrospect, I should have re-cut my pattern instead of using the one from 2006, but it served its purpose. I changed the boning pattern a bit to hopefully provide a bit more support over the top curve, but I don't think I planned it quite right. I get more of a "shelf butt", and I've just noticed as I went to photograph it that the top most bone kind of collapses in to sit more in line with the bone below it. Nothing a little pad wouldn't cure, if it truly bothered me. The only other problem I found was that with the lightness of the tubing, any time I sat down the bottom tubes would curl up into the bustle and I would have to fish them back down. I think this will be alleviated by having attached the ruffle. All in all, I was quite pleased with the final result. It provides a nice shape, is very light, and I barely noticed I was wearing it at all.

Version 1

Just under a month later, I added the ruffle and waist ties to finish it. I still want to add a lace-up panel in the back so that it lays flat when not in use, but I don't have enough grommets right now to do it justice. It will have to wait, and it's totally wearable in the meantime. :)

The Challenge: #19 Inspiration
Fabric: cotton sheeting?
Pattern: Base from Truly Victorian, with inspiration from American Duchess
Year: early 1870s
Notions: thread, plumbing tubing, bias tape
How historically accurate is it?: In shape, pretty good!
Hours to complete: 3
First worn: September 13, 2014
Total cost: around $5 (mostly for the tubing)

Love this silhouette :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Wrap-Up

Friends, please excuse the lack of professionalism on this post. I'm posting from my phone so I can show you a couple of pictures from the crazy amazing month I've had. I haven't felt like this since I stopped working in retail!

The train trip was such a delight, and my corset held up quite well to the vigours of a 4-hour train ride, roast beef and mashed potato and gravy meal, and shopping in town afterwards. Big Valley was established in the early part of the 20th century, or at least this jail dates from that time frame. 

I also managed to finish a bonnet! Nothing like a deadline to get a girl motivated :)

The day after the trip, I performed at a family festival with my belly dance studio. I was so nervous, and I definitely messed up more than once. Sometimes I have an odd disconnect with photographs of myself performing, because how I feel and think about myself doesn't match what I feel the camera shows. And yet I can look at photos of other dancers who don't have socially-accepted "perfect" bodies and I don't see those so-called "flaws" -- I see a beautiful woman who has taught her body to move and even without seeing her perform, I know she is a smart, capable, and stunning woman. So how come I can't connect that same idea to photographs of myself? 

That's a post for a different day, however, so please enjoy this photograph of me dancing. Despite my disconnect with photos, when I'm in the studio learning and practicing and watching myself move, I absolutely love how I look!

Photo by Kazoo Productions. 

The very next day after performing 4 times, I went to the registry office and tested for my drivers license. I've had my learner's for nigh on 100 years (which is code for 15 years, give or take) and once I moved to the city, I never saw the need to get it. I've always lived relatively close to work on decent bus routes. But more and more I was finding that being able to drive would open a lot more of the city to me. I was SO nervous. I think there was three of me, I was shaking so badly. But I passed the test, and last week I brought my first car home. It's parked since it's a manual transmission and I don't know how to drive a stick, plus I'm waiting for the chance to register it and get my own plate on it. But still, now I will be able to get around much more easily!

I really don't recommend three events like that in such a short span, especially if you're a worrywart like me. But there was no rest for the wicked, because then it was onto a wedding, and finishing up a gown and three frock coats for the Regency ball! 

I will do a full write-up in the near future, with as many photos as I can scrounge. My camera (meaning my phone) was stowed safely away for the night as technology was expressly forbidden in the ballroom ;) But we did take a few pictures beforehand. 

 Did I take a wedgie picture, and also talked some other ladies into taking one with me? You bet I did! I ended up wearing the paisley gown because the commissions took priority :) The ball was wonderful. Everyone looked so amazing. I can hardly wait for the one in February!

And of course, since having ONLY a ball to attend at the end of the month would be much too easy, we also had a local version of Comic Con to attend. I rewore a costume I made about a hundred years ago (this time: 18 years) that has held up very well over the years and was well-received by the people who recognized it. It will undergo a remake in the near future, however - the sleeves are much too short, and one sleeve has become faded from hanging in the closet for a number of years. Still, my choices that morning had been Victorian (even got my corset in, then decided nope!) or the whore-I-mean-handmaiden Game of a Thrones gown, but since it was just a handful of degrees above freezing and windy, I opted for more coverage. 

But first, let me take a selfie. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Mid-Month Post

Hello there friends! It's been awhile since my last post. I wish I could say I was a busy little bee working on projects, and while it wouldn't strictly be a lie, its not precisely the truth either.

My Yellow challenge was put aside and will remain so for another short (I hope) while. My Partner in Crime and I agreed to make some frock coats for the musicians at the Regency Ball in 2 weeks, and neither of us are tailors, nor have gentlemen that we regularly sew for. So that's been a bit of a learning curve!

I've also been working on a commission I took on for the ball. The customer requested a muslin gown, and since I knew that the muslin sold in stores is not the same kind of muslin historical uses made of it, I was searching all over for muslin made in India. I was having a heck of a time, until I found a pair of references. The first on the glossary, that muslin gauze is the specific term to search for, and the second that muslin made in India is virtually unchanged in the last 200 years (but I have lost that reference! If your blog is one that refers to that, please let me know so I can credit you!). So when I searched for that, I found what I was looking for almost immediately! Huzzah!! Then of course it was a waiting game for it to make its way halfway across the world to me, which it did in rather good time. I bought 10 yards, and I couldn't believe how light and airy it is. This dress will weigh practically nothing!

Guido and Simon Meowell model the muslin.

Then, I've been going to belly dance practices 2x a week for the last few weeks. The studio I dance at is showcasing the choreographies learned in the past year at a festival this weekend. One of the dances I knew, one I did not. I mostly had to teach it to myself, which was extra fun because it also included finger cymbals! But the support I got from my teacher and the other students has been just fantastic. I will have to write a post on why I find dance so important to my life in the near future :)

I thought I wouldn't be able to go on this year's train excursion, because I didn't know when I'd be dancing at the festival. Then it turned out that I could! So tonight I made up a mini quasi-lobster bustle for my sister, or possibly for myself. I hate to say this, but we've had snow already this month (and it was MUCH worse in the southern part of the province! They got some 12-13", we only got a light dusting that melted as soon as it hit the ground). So this event, which we usually attend in August, will possibly be the coolest weather we've ever had for it. I'm quite looking forward to not melting out of my gown and actually wearing mosre accessories than I usually go with. But Ireally  do need a hat.

Finally, I made a Facebook page for my blog. I wanted to move my in-progress photos and the like away from my personal page. So if you want to see what I'm up to and are on facebook, please feel free to follow it!

We shall chat aain soon, my friends. I hope to have good pictures from the train trip and some ballgown pictures soon!

Monday, September 1, 2014

HSF '14: #16 Terminology: "Guimpe"

Friends, I have a confession. I feel like I cheated a bit with this challenge. There, I said it. I cheated.

This was another challenge where I had lots of ideas - I could make jumps, or work on some stays, or make something out of one of the many types of cloth listed in the glossary. Then I thought, but what about specific terms that aren't listed but are definitely historical terms, like bustles, or a habit shirt? But no - the challenge is quite clear that the item must come from the glossary. Hmm. What to do?

Guimpe caught my eye. From the glossary: A short blouse to be worn under a jumper, or a fill for a low cut dress. Similar to a dickey or chemisette. And then I looked it up on Google. From Wikipedia: From the early nineteenth century onwards, the term guimpe also described a form of short under-blouse or chemisette which was worn under a pinafore or low cut dress to fill in the neckline and, if sleeved, cover the arms. (Though if you look up the source linked with the quote, it's greatly paraphrased. The magic of Wikipedia...)

Further from Google, if you search guimpe in images, there are a few chemisette-like items listed as guimpes, and it seems to be a French term as the blogs that have these items are French. And while many are very sheer, a few are not, and that is good enough for me :D

I whipped this up EXTREMELY quickly. It was about 2pm on the same day I was leaving town for my sister's wedding. I was expecting my friend to arrive at 4, and my dad shortly after. That should be enough time to quickly make a chemisette, I thought, and still have time to shower. I put my fabric and pattern out and ripped and snipped and serged and stitched. Yep, it's 95% machine sewn and finished. I wanted it to be able to wear it with my new paisley dress for the pictures! I didn't hem the ruffle because I figured I could sew it in the car. I ended up leaving it ripped until I decided on the item I wanted to make for this challenge. I quite liked the fuzzy edges and the soft look it had in the light. Then it was just a matter of rolling the hem down (after giving the edge a "trim") and stitching. Et voila!

My biggest lesson learned from this is PRESS YOUR FABRIC before you lay out or cut patterns! Even though I had this folded nicely in my fabric bin, the end I cut from was a little "crunchy", which I ignored because I was in a hurry. It ended up being quite crooked and one shoulder is a lot narrower than the other. I really love how this looks with the entire ensemble and I will definitely be making more :)

The Challenge: #16 Terminology
Fabric: 100% linen
Pattern: La Mode Bagatelle
Year: 1810s-ish
Notions: thread, a metre or so of cording
How historically accurate is it?: Rather debatable. Most of the guimpes a Google image search turned up were quite sheer. Thoroughly modern construction.
Hours to complete: 2
First worn: August 2
Total cost: $5, perhaps. The linen was about half a yard ($4), and the cording was perhaps $1.

Closes with a single pin.
Serged seam under the ruffle to leave a smooth edge at the neck.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

HSF '14: #15 The Great Outdoors: A Regency Spencer

I really like having the challenges posted well in advance, allowing for planning. And procrastinating. And changing my mind because I procrastinated too long. (Have you noticed a theme yet?)

Initially, I wanted to make a riding habit. But I'm not yet confident in my 18th century sewing to have tackled a habit without a pattern. I finally did make a mock-up, but the fit was just awful. I need to spend a lot more time on it, but I don't have a ton of motivation to do so right now.

Lucky for me, sometimes inspiration strikes early and then sits. Case in point: this spencer. I was taken with the idea some months ago: I simply HAD to make a blue cotton velveteen spencer. I HAD to. I found the mockup I'd made ages ago (roughly 3 years ago) and the fit was still good, so out came the pattern and the blue velveteen. In quite short order, I had a jacket. I'm not totally sold on the pale lining (but it's growing on me! A lot!), but I'd already put the sleeves in. Maybe some decorative braiding some such will help perk it up. And of course, I had it finished to the point of closures and sleeve hemming, and tossed it aside in favour of something else. (Carefully. My cat is mostly grey but his fur is banded with white and black too. It clings to and shows up on EVERYTHING.)

I really need to stop doing that.

But then it worked out that since I couldn't finish the habit without rushing, and a spencer would be worn outside, especially with long sleeves... Ta da! It got finished :) It did take a bit longer than I was hoping it to. I came home Friday with the intent to finish it that night, but instead I washed and stored a whole bunch of veggies pulled from a friend's garden (we both came home with about 6 shopping bags of produce, and there's tons more to be harvested :D) and then the next day I woke up with a plague and spent the whole day pretty much sleeping. But today I feel much better, and finished it.

I also ended up hand-stitching the outside seams in place. It was pretty much impossible to photograph (I tried) but the layers wanted to bag out and wouldn't lay flat. Perhaps a good pressing would have done the trick, but I've never had luck with pressing velveteen, even with a towel underneath to protect the pile. I didn't always manage to keep the pale thread from showing on the outside, but hopefully the pile of the velveteen will keep it hidden :) It lays MUCH flatter now.

The Challenge: #15 The Great Outdoors
Fabric: dark blue cotton velveteen
Pattern: Sense and Sensibility Spencer Jacket
Year: 1810s?
Notions: 4 buttons, thread
How historically accurate is it?: In shape only, most likely. Cotton velveteen might be OK, but polyester lining and plastic buttons sure aren't ;)
Hours to complete: I didn't keep track. 6 or so.
First worn: Not yet (too hot!)
Total cost: The velveteen and buttons were gifted to me, and I used maybe 1/2 metre of the cream faux-silk that I got for $2/m... so about $1.

Road to Costume College 2018

Gosh, where did the first half of the year go? (I know where, winter was unusually long and dark and cold, and it's effect lasted longer...