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Monthly Archives: May 2015

Downton Abbey Edwardian Maid Dress (Part 1)

My next project is an Edwardian maid dress, inspired by Downton Abbey. I plan to use a recently released pattern (Butterick B6229).

IMG_4411 IMG_4413I couldn’t find a lightweight wool I liked so I ordered some black Kaufman Kona cotton from Fabric.com. My order came with this cute sticker on it!

IMG_4410I ended up with an extra half yard for free! I also bough white cotton broadcloth for the apron. It was a very bright white, so I ended up tea-dyeing it, then washing it in Oxiclean to get rid of the excess color. It still appears white, but no longer looks so stark next to the antique laces I am using. The fabric on the right is my broacloth, next to some pure white fabric voile for comparison. IMG_4420I purchased a group of 20s and 30s lace trims from Etsy, that I will be using on the apron bodice, the maid’s cap, and the collar and cuffs of the dress. If there is enough I might use it on the hem of the apron, since I really dislike doing pintucks.IMG_4380 IMG_4381 IMG_4382 IMG_4383 IMG_4385I hope this will be a very comfortable day time outfit for Costume College!

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18th Century Half-Boned Stays (Part 5): How to Do Eyelets

My old wrist injury is acting up, so I have to take a little break from hand-sewing, but since I have a few of the eyelets done, I thought this would be a good time to show how I do them.

This is not necessarily the historically correct way, but the method I find to be sturdy and aesthetically pleasing.

Punching a hole through the fabric weakens it, so I use an awl to poke a small hole, which I widen with a pointed chopstick. I then insert an eyelet through the widened hole, and then use a table-top eyelet/grommet press to set it in place. Finally, I sew over the eyelet with a button hole stitch to make it pretty.

The picture below, from right to left shows:

  1. Mark the hole with a pencil.
  2. Poke the hole with an awl.
  3. Widen the hole with a chopstick.
  4. Insert the eyelet from the wrong side (explained below).
  5. The eyelet set in by the eyelet press.IMG_4422

The eyelet is inserted from the lining side, with the flange remaining inside the stays. This results in the outside having a smaller surface area for you to wrap with thread. (If you are making a corset where the metal eyelets will show, you will insert the eyelet in the opposite direction, from the fashion fabric side).

Here is a view from the other side. From left to right you have the widened hole, the eyelet inserted, and the eyelet after being pressed. (There is some puckering in my fabric because I sewed the channels a little too tight for the double reed boning).

IMG_4424I use a Homepro eyelet setter with a size 6 die. It is quite heavy, and very easy to use. I have trouble applying enough pressure with hand-held eyelet pliers, and find using a hammer awkward, so this is a handy thing to have.

IMG_4426Use a tight blanket stitch over the eyelet to give it a finished appearance. You can use embroidery thread, or sewing thread. I used the latter, folding over a length of thread before threading the needle, resulting in a cluster of 4 threads each time. You can also just cast over with your thread, which is faster than using a blanket stitch, but I prefer the look of the latter.

IMG_4450See parts 1 and 2 and 3 and 4.

18th Century Half-Boned Stays (Part 4)

This is a quick post to show I haven’t forgotten about the stays!

I finished altering the channel placement in the tabs and put in the boning. I had to redo the linen lining because the stays “shrank” once the boning was completed.

It is hard to get a good picture right now because the stays won’t lie flat anymore due to the curved fabric pieces and boning.

IMG_4414The lining is sewn in with some large stitches to hold it in place while I do the binding. IMG_4418I have some vintage rayon petersham to use as binding. It coordinates with the blue thread I used to stitch the channels. I plan to find some blue cord for lacing to make everything match!

IMG_4419See parts 1 and 2 and 3.

GBACG A League of Their Own Picnic

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Last Saturday the AAGPBL Kenosha Comets (and players from a few other teams) had a “reunion” picnic in Cordonices Park in Berkeley, CA.

IMG_4213Most of us had the costumes we made for Costume College 2014, but we had a few new recruits. We also played a few innings of T-ball with everyone at the picnic, including the kids and people dressed in 50s dresses and heels!

IMG_4238 IMG_4240 IMG_4241 IMG_4249

Emily can do the splits!IMG_4266Kim is like an advertisement for Coke!

IMG_4272Since the last wearing I hemmed my dress and shorts a few inches shorter to match the other girls, and got a new belt. I also picked up a lot of dust on my shoes from playing ball!IMG_4260IMG_4274 IMG_4276 IMG_4278We also had a bake-off contest, with lots of delicious treats. IMG_4222

Here are the winners celebrating.IMG_4235

We also had lots of other non-dessert food, including this delicious sandwich loaf!

IMG_4209I hope this picnic becomes a yearly event!

pic by Lynne Taylor(Partial team photo by Lynne Taylor)

You can see the rest of my album here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vivien_misc/sets/72157652398946625/

Costume College Plans and Sewing To-Do List

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Here we are in May, and I still have a long list of costumes to make. So far this year I’ve completed a Game of Thrones King’s Landing dress, an Oberyn Martell costume, my Chemise a la Reine and some accessories.  I have outfits planned for Costume College, and just for fun.

Onward!

1. I need to finish my silk stays which have been put aside a few times in favor of other projects.

2. My chemise dress needs a new white petticoat. The ones I wore with it recently were ivory, which work well with the whole ensemble, but if I want to wear the cotton chemise dress by itself I need a white petticoat.

3. For one of the days at Costume College I plan to wear a Downton Abbey Edwardian maid outfit. (It will be nice and comfortable to attend class in it!) I have the vintage laces needed for the apron and cap, but need to purchase the black dress fabric.perso_ph_gwen

4.  Another outfit planned for CoCo is a Victorian bathing suit, which I will wear for the Thursday night pool party. I have the pattern and fabric (a striped wool blend), but I need lining and trim.

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5. Just for fun, and to learn some new skills and work with new materials, I am planning to make Lady Tremaine’s outfit from the new Cinderella movie. Isn’t it so fun? I have been doing some research (for a future post!) and am in the process of accumulating fabrics for the dress. I don’t have a deadline for this outfit because I anticipate it will take a lot of work.

Lady_Tremaine_with_her_daughters

6. I recently acquired some lovely historical reproduction printed cotton fabric and plan to use it for an 1840s fan-front dress.

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7. The 1850s silk plaid dress from last year still needs a belt and silk undersleeves.

It’s an ambitious list; let’s see how much of it gets done for 2015!