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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Binding Stays and the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers

I have been a little quiet lately, but I have been busy doing sewing-related things! I went out of town recently for a wedding, and during the time on the plane and at the airport terminal I managed to do the binding on the top part of my 18th century stays (yes, I haven’t forgotten!) and start binding the tabs. I have also been thinking of questions and answers, as you will see below.

IMG_4757(The top part and the straps are fully bound, while the binding on the tabs looks much thicker because I haven’t sewn them down on the lining side).

Gina over at Beauty From Ashes has said “Tag, you’re it!” and given me the “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.”

The rules are

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
  2. Put the Award logo on your blog.
  3. Answer the ten questions sent to you.
  4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer
  5. Nominate ten blogs.

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Gina’s questions for me are:

1.  What do you watch/listen to while sewing?
I watch Netflix. When I can, I match up the film with the period I am sewing.

2.  What costume/outfit has filled you with them most sense of accomplishment and joy?
Every new thing I make is my new favorite, but I think my 1830s Romantics gown always gives other people the most joy, probably because until recently, the 1830s was not a particularly common era to encounter in costuming. Plus the hair is just fun and silly!

3.  What is your favorite fabric/trim/embellishment to work with when making an outfit?
I like cotton. Really. It’s what I used when I started sewing myself sun dresses, and it’s easy to work with. Taffeta is also very nice to sew, and a close second, but I really like how I know I can throw a cotton project into the washing machine later, and not worry about any lint, chalk, or pen marks I’ve made. I don’t have that many all-cotton outfits, but I really want to make more.

4.  Do you take a lunch/food break while sewing or sew right on through the hunger?
I snack. Constantly. I have a bookcase in my office at work that has an entire shelf dedicated to snacks. I carry food in my purse wherever I go.

5.  Would you rather read something Sci-Fi or a historical/classics novel?
It depends. I have gone through phases of reading historical novels, sci-fi, fairy tales, ghost stories, comic books, true crime, and more. Right now I mostly read cooking and decorating magazines, National Geographic, and scientific articles. I currently have 2 historical novels I’ve purchased but haven’t had time to read.

6.  When going out to eat at a restaurant, do you like to sit outside in the fresh air or inside the restaurant?
I am pale and burn easily so I sit wherever there is shade.

7.  What has been your most favorite historical place to visit?
It’s so hard to choose just one! I have had a great time at Hearst Castle, the gardens at Versailles, Westminster Abbey, and the Forbidden City in Beijing. I love traveling; I wish I had the time and money to do it more often.

8.  What fills you with awe and wonder when you gaze upon it and why?
My 18-month-old son. It’s quite possible I’m simply ignorant about what is normal childhood behavior since he’s my first child, but I’m constantly surprised by the things he does. “Wait, are babies supposed to be able to do that? Oh look! He’s 5 months old and knows how to fake cough to get attention. I didn’t know a 1 year old could operate a remote-controlled car! Did he just grab the kitchen counter at 17 months and try to do a chinup?”

9.  If you could take a time machine and visit a certain time, what era/eras would those be?
I want to visit the future, ride around in spaceships, and see different planets and stars.

10.  Do you prefer to go barefoot or shod on the cool summer grass?  Have you ever noticed that no matter how hot it is, that grass is always cool?
Shod. I’m afraid of stepping in dog poop. Since I’m always wearing shoes I don’t notice the temperature of the grass.

Now for my questions:

1. Why do you blog?

2. Do you have a favorite era to sew for? Or an era you wish you could sew for?

3. What do you do “in real life”? Is it a career where you get to use your creativity?

4. Do you prefer to work with patterned or solid fabric?

5. Would you rather have a chef or a maid?

6. Do you have a favorite place to get fabric and other supplies?

7. Are you carrying on a family tradition of sewing, or are you the odd duck in your clan?

8. If you could have a dinner party and invite 5 dead celebrities, who would they be?

9. Is Halloween or Christmas your preferred holiday, and why?

10. Have you found a place that sells a high quality faux silk taffeta? (Please share!!)

I am going to break the last rule a bit about nominating 10 people. Some people are shy about revealing information about themselves, and I don’t want them to feel obligated to answer my questions. Plus, a lot of the people I would have liked to nominate have already been nominated! So I am going to open this up to anyone who wants to play, and perhaps spark some discussion. There are great blogs out there I haven’t discovered, or people who don’t have the time to blog but might have something interesting to say in the comments.

Downton Abbey Edwardian Maid Dress (Part 2)

The apron for my Downton Abbey maid dress is finished! I made the bulk of it over the weekend, but decided to change the straps a little last night.

IMG_4572Although I am planning to use Butterick B6229 for the dress, I did not use a pattern for the apron. The Butterick pattern relies on ruffles and pintucks to add visual interest to the apron, but I wanted to use antique lace accents. You can see in the picture below that there is quite a lot of variation between the aprons on the show. There are different hem lengths, and different ways to arrange the lace on the upper part.

r-DOWNTON-large570I sewed 3 strips of insertion lace into a V shape, then placed another strip of lace across the top, to make the center of the apron top. I then used 2 long pieces of wide lace to finish off the sides.

IMG_4574The bottom of the apron is about 44 inches wide. (I used the width of the fabric I had, which happened to be the same width as the lace left over from the top part of the apron).  I added lace on the hem because it’s pretty, and to save me a few rows of pintucks! Pintucks aren’t difficult to do; I just avoid them because I’m a little OCD and it bugs me when they’re not perfectly straight and even.

IMG_4577Most of the aprons on Downton Abbey have plain, pintucked hems, but some have lace, like Ethel’s on the far right.

tumblr_m1hgaycfA01r9qe4yInstead of having two sets of ties (at the waist and upper back) I used one very long pair of ties. (They are about 2 inches wide, and 60 inches long, and probably too long). They come out of the shoulder lace, criss-cross on the back, go into loops sewn into the waistband, then tie at the waist. This way I only have one set of ties to worry about, and the straps across the back will hopefully stay more neatly arranged.

I wasn’t fond of the way the back looked in its first iteration . . .IMG_4579. . . so I pleated the lace where the straps meet, and I think it looks much better.

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See Part 1 here.