Sunday, July 27, 2014

In the Mail

Friends, I'm sorry I haven't been posting. I promise I've been sewing, sometimes. If I was half this busy last year, it's no wonder I didn't get anything done and was frantically sewing before the con. I sometimes forget that summer is festival season, and I had the unparalleled delight of seeing Wicked again (if you have a chance to see Laurel Harris in this role, take it! Jump on it like it's running away! She is my favourite Elphaba so far and her rendition of Defying Gravity brought me to tears!). I've been camping and belly dancing and eating my way through the city the last several weeks. Next weekend my sister is getting married and I'm busy sewing up my costume for the con the week after. Phew!

I've got many little projects on the go, and nothing really to show for it. And tonight, I've discovered that the gnomes have hidden the broadcloth I need for a lining that was in my hand not more than four days ago. So, instead I thought I'd show you a couple of items I got in the mail :)

Back in March, Asa of Fashion Through History held a giveaway to celebrate her 100th follower. If you are not reading her blog, you should be! She is so very talented! I entered on a lark, and much to my surprise and delight I was chosen as the winner. The prize was a pair of hand-sewn 18th century mitts in an accent colour of my choice. I received them a few weeks later, but have only just now gotten around to posting about it. At the time, Asa expressed the hope that they would still be useful to me since it was springtime, and as it happened, winter lasted another month past it! I still haven't had a chance to wear them, but I am very much looking forward to doing so in the fall. Thank you so much Asa!

The delightful envelope that appeared in my mailbox.

So pretty!

Worn for photos.

Top folded down.


Close-up of stitching.

Next up, I have been admiring American Duchess shoes for some time, and just never seemed to have all the ducks in a row whenever I decided that this was the day I was going to order. And not to put too fine a point on it, while footwear is one thing I am willing to spend money on because I can't make it myself, I was still reluctant to spend close to $200 on a pair of shoes that are, to some part of my mind, costume shoes. Still, I kept an eye on the page in hopes of a sale, and finally decided in June that at the next opportunity, I would buy a pair of shoes.

Luckily for me, I was able to jump in on the Bastille Day sale just a couple of weeks ago. The shoes shipped the same day, and I received them just 6 business days later, a bit of a feat from Nevada to somewhat-northern Canada! Good job postal service :)

And, WOW. I'd heard nothing but good things about these shoes, and I am absolutely delighted that they live up to their reputation! For some reason I had pictured the leather being stiff and thick, more like the Victorian-esque granny boots I bought in Virginia City, and it's not. It's soft and supple. I was a little concerned about the width, as I usually have to buy wide-width shoes, but it's not a problem at all. I could probably even go down a half-size as they're a bit roomy in the toe. There is a bit of tightness when I wore modern socks, but it was not over where my foot is wide, but rather over the top of the arch. And it's not even an uncomfortable feeling, just more of a sensation. I also had some misgivings about the heel height, as I have a pair of modern shoes that are slightly higher and are uncomfortably tall after an hour or so, but they are barely taller than the lifts I have to wear in my regular shoes. Really, I can't say enough good things about these shoes! Being as I got them in a sale, I also got some buckles, and wish I had invested in some silk stockings too! And much to my surprise, I found a couple extra goodies in the box too.

As soon as I am able, I will definitely be buying another pair of shoes!


More squee!!

The buckles are surprisingly large. I couldn't figure out a way to show them on the latchets without actually putting them on.

The free gifts that I found underneath the shoes :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

HSF '14: #12: Shape and Support: Spanish Farthingale

Oh, dear friends, you have no idea how happy I am to post this :D Are you ready for another saga of procrastination? Let's back up a few years...

2008: I wanted to make an Elizabethan outfit. I got... partway. I was, of course, sewing under a deadline, and then, with a few weeks before the event, my dear friend Mew called me about a travel opportunity that I could NOT pass up. I spent the entire time happily planning our trip instead of sewing, and did not even come close to finishing it. (Then our trip didn't happen, and it sucked big time, but that's not a tale for this blog.)

2011: I had quit my job and and spent roughly 6 weeks unemployed. I'd decided that if I wasn't working, I should be sewing. I sewed a lot that winter! Then, mid-late February, I was working on an another Elizabethan outfit, more "casual" than the one I'd started, and I distinctly remember trying to cut bias strips on my mum's freezer while I stayed with her for a day since she was recovering from surgery. I wanted to do a continuous strip and couldn't get them to line up, so I gave up. Both pieces languished.

2014: I've been wanting to get this thing done forever. I have Plans. Then I got "talked" into a group cosplay, where the character I was told to cosplay has a distinctly Elizabethan silhouette. And #12 was coming up. Perfect opportunity, or PERFECT opportunity?

Well, like all my plans, and all of my projects that sit for a long time, the pieces got separated. I couldn't find either one. I was seriously considering just starting over, but then I wanted to use the Simplicity underthings pattern, which I KNOW I have, but it's gone AWOL. I also have the Margo Anderson pattern, but I didn't want to dig it out and trace it off... (Can you see a theme?). But then, while digging in a box for the potential pattern, I found the original base. No sign (still) of the fabric I was making the bias strips out of, but no matter. The base was the important part.

For some reason, when I'd started this, I had the Margo Anderson pattern available. I have NO IDEA what possessed me to try and draft my own, especially when I was reading Margo's instructions and it was based on the same pattern I was using anyway. Sigh. I do like to complicate my own projects... So I made myself some new bias tape, figured out where I would potentially need a hem, so that I could turn up the bottom and apply the bias tape, all before closing up the side seam. Initially I'd left only one side open, and in the end, I opened up the other side seam to apply the waistband more like 18th century petticoats. It just seems more practical than a fixed waistband.

And then... it sat for a few more weeks. I finished applying the bias tape around the same time the challenge was "due", and then I just needed to get my butt to a hardware store so I could pick out my chosen hooping material: flexible plumbing tubing.

I got two rolls of tubing (50ft total) and some copper connecters, and then sat down to put the tubing in the channels. The tubing was great, flexible and easily cut with scissors. It took no time at all to insert it. I still have to close up the channels, but I couldn't resist throwing all the layers onto my mannequin!

Farthingale with Simplicity bumroll...

Taffeta petticoat...



It looks so awesome! I'm so happy!

The Challenge: #12: Shape and Support
Fabric: poly-cotton broadcloth (pretty sure)
Pattern: sort-of drafted by me, based on Alcega's diagrams
Year: 1580s...?
Notions: Thread, self-made bias tape, plumbing tubing, copper connectors
How historically accurate is it? In shape only.
Hours to complete: 4-5? Not including making the bias tape.
First worn: Not yet.
Total cost: $21 CDN, all for the tubing and connectors. Fabrics were all given to me :)

Side view

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...