Friday, October 29, 2010


Pics! This is what I wore to the office today. Of course, it was originally meant as a Steampunk outfit... it turned into a riding outfit missing a hat ;-)... for now!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fitting the bodice

If you've read my previous post, you'll know I was dealing with fitting issues and waiting for Richard to get home and pin the bodice on me.

What I found out: it was too long in front, but the back seemed to be the right length and the darts seemed to end in the right place. I guess it was just made for BIG boobs, and mine weren't sufficient to fit it ;-) Richard pinned along the shoulder seam evenly, a good 1/2 inch pinch, so I removed a full inch from the shoulder seam, but only at the front (and that was after removing an inch in overall length before I even got started!). Since this meant the front was now one inch higher, I had to redraw the neck opening (one inch lower). The front piece now being one inch shorter, I needed to also shorten the front lapel.

Alterations to the front and lapel pieces
We also pinched the side back seam slightly, since it was gapping at the back.

Side back seam, with extra removed
Fits much better now, doesn't it?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More progress

I worked a lot on this project this week, and I was finally able to start sewing today! The skirt is done except for buttons and hem. No pics because, well, when it's not being worn, it looks rather like a big pile of fabric.

The day started with a big scare. As I was lining up the skirt pieces for flatlining, I had a sudden feeling that I had cut the thing on the wrong side. See, this skirt is meant to cover the legs of a side-saddle rider, so it's long on one side. Normally, you climb the horse from the left (the horse being on your right), so both your legs are on the left side of the horse; which means that the skirt is longer on the right side, so it covers both your legs gracefully as you're riding. But since it's asymmetric, it has to be cut all from the same side of the fabric so the longer part is on your right. For a moment there, I thought I'd cut my fabric on the wrong side! Phew, I'm glad it wasn't the case :-)

My big victory of the day: I fixed my sewing machine! A while ago, I must have screwed the small screw on crooked, because it seems I stripped it. It still worked for the regular foot, but my double-feed foot is thicker so it wouldn't hold that, and I really needed it for this project. I went to the repair store a couple of days ago but even with the machine model, they couldn't be sure which screw to give me, so they told me to come back with my screw. Well, the store is far and I needed it today, so I asked Richard if he thought I might find a similar screw in a hardware store. He answered maybe, but you'd have better luck in an electronics store. So... I dug out the bag of various screws I inherited when I was having problems with my motherboard; I found a screw that is identical in every way, except for the head. I thought it would be too big, but... look at that picture! It's just fine! (And much, much better quality than the original too!) (It's the big screw on the right, holding the white plastic part onto the vertical shaft.)

Let me introduce you to my double-feed foot.

So, I was able to do a decent amount of sewing without swearing too much ;-)

The bodice pieces were all cut and waiting for me. On top is my fashion fabric (wool); middle is the lining (cotton/poly percale); and bottom is flatlining (cotton denim) to give more body to the fashion fabric.

I assembled it and had the very good idea to check fit carefully before I was done. Even though I removed a standard (for me) one inch in length before I even started thinking about cutting my fabric, it's still a good 1/2 inch too big in the shoulders, and, as usual, the back of the armhole gaps. There's nothing wrong with the pattern; my body is simply made that way.

The waist fits really well :

The shoulders and armscye, in the back, need some adjustments. Thankfully, Richard is extremely good at pinning on a live body.

Tomorrow, well... I'll see how I feel after taiko... but I'll try to finish assembling the bodice! If I can finish my own costume before the weekend, maybe I'll have time to make something for Richard after all!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I hate cutting, I hate cutting, I hate cutting!

I know I said it before, but I hate cutting. Blergh!

For the record, I'm cutting the pieces for the riding skirt. But since the pieces are so wide, there's nowhere else to do it but on the floor in the middle of the living room, after having moved all the furniture to the side. And then I went and stepped into my pins container and sent it flying all over the floor because I was trying to watch the Steampunk Castle episode at the same time. (Thank God for magnets!)

Taken from the middle of the stairs; say hello to giant piece. This fabric is extra-wide, so it really doesn't look as impressive as it was in reality; in fact this pattern pieces is something like 54 inches wide!
Got three of the six annoyingly large pieces done; after that, I can move back to the dining room table.

But, even when I don't have to do it on my knees, I still hate cutting ;-)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Corset done... what's next?

I seriously lost momentum. I was hoping to do Steampunk at Halloween but I got invited to... a Gothic banquet... So I'll dig out what I wore two years ago (pics here).

That leaves work. But it's not the same... Making a totally incredible costume to go to work where I'll be the only one dressed up anyway is... well... not like dressing up for a Halloween party!

In any case, I've kept pushing forward with the riding outfit. I don't know if it'll be finished in time, with only three weeks to go, but I'll try.

Here are the latest pics!

The corset, ready to cut:

The pieces, cut and the lining assembled to check the fit:

Then, the finished corset. Please note, it will be tied in the back, not around and to the front. This was just for trying it on without fiddling with the ties.

One thing I have discovered. I have absolutely no squish. They tell you that you should expect a 2-4 inch of squish. *I* squish about *one* inch. They tell you to keep a 2-inch gap in the back, but... well a 2-inch gap on a 25-inch waist looks really wide... So, the corset is a little too small, especially around the waist. The hips are just fine though, probably because the pattern isn't assuming any squish at all down there. Next one, I'll make a little bigger. And shorter too!

That being said, I still think it looks pretty nice :-)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New projects - Halloween soon!

This is a project I've had for a very long time. It's not meant to be historical, just to be great! I'm starting from Truly Victorian patterns. I'm going from this overskirt and bodice combination:

I've found some pretty cool fabric. I swore I wouldn't do red because it's been overdone already, but, you guessed it, the fabric I found is red. I've also found a nice patterned black.So, the question is, should I put the black over the red, or the red over the black? My thinking was this: If I do black over red, then I can wear the red underskirt alone, and maybe I have enough red fabric left to make a second, lower bodice (think ball gown), and maybe I've got enough black left to cheat and borrow the vest basque from the early bustle period.

If I do black under, then... well I guess it ends up being pretty much the same. I can wear the black gown alone with a lower bodice, and maybe I've got enough red to make... well... I can't see myself making a vest basque from the red fabric.

So I guess it comes to this: I think the red would make an absolutely fantastic waterfall overskirt; and I think the black would make a couple of nice bodices.

How weird would it be to have a bodice matching the skirt instead of the overskirt?

Verdict is this: I need to change my bodice choice.

So, in red, I can make this: 

And, in black, I can make one of these two:

I really think I need to do the first bodice I wanted to do all in black lace to get the effect I want; that and a layered under skirt with no flouncy overlay. Maybe like this.

Or simply like the one on this page:

No colour or fluff. That'll be for another time!

I said I was going to talk about Halloween, didn't I? Well, the project above, or rather, the original project, the one I just said I will have to do all in black, was supposed to be my Halloween costume this year. I had it all figured out, including a supplier for the contact lenses I was to wear. But... Richard has said the magic word Steampunk, so I can't let it pass.

Tomorrow, I will be ordering the riding habit skirt and bodice...see, I already have the fabric for it, and it just happens to be tan...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

After-event pictures!

Some pictures now...

Another picture of the akunoya, a little wet from the rain. It has actually held up much better than I expected.

Clothes I made for Richard with Reconstructing History's Elizabethan Sea Dogs pattern... (ignore the man in fundoshi - I didn't make those). He still needs proper shoes, a hat, maybe a ruff and, if he's going to be Portuguese, a capelet. But it's a decent start.

My own clothes (missing waraji, and might benefit from arm and leg guards when it gets cold)

I have to show you my friends from Lotus no Chi too!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Projects coming together - finally

Remember the akunoya? Well, our friend didn't have all the pieces to put his carport together, so we had to buy another one. But it was half-price, and our friend's sides and top fit on our new cheaper carport. So, it's all good!

Here Richard is starting to paint the designs on the sides...

Here is one of the designs all painted, drying.

I made him two chemises, here's the second one I put together (slightly better than the first).

I REALLY wanted to make waraji sandals, but I won't have time. So, I bought zori instead. I think they look Japanese enough :-) I bought them from at Collection du Japon (where we are also taking Japanese language classes, with Uchiyama-sensei).

Here is what the akunoya shell looks like while I'm working on it. Ugh!

And we bought our bowls and plates. We found them at a Japanese/Korean Dollar Store/Grocery on Décarie just South of Sherbrooke (here, in fact).

We also bought a bed - frame + air mattress. Big problem. The mattress leaks. I'm SO glad we tested this beforehand! We're going to get a new, different one, tomorrow.

And, finally... here is the akunoya in all its glory!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sweing, sewing, sewing...

I've been sewing like crazy these last few weeks. Clothes for me, clothes for Richard, and an akunoya...

No time to describe it... but some pictures!

And, below, are pieces of the akunoya, all cut to length (all that was left at that point was rip to the right width and assemble).

And, below, one new costume! Not perfect, there wasn't any time for that. Next one will be much better ;-) Ah, I made the sleeves removable so he can wear it at fantasy events in the summer!

That's it for today!