RSS Feed

Category Archives: Other Clothes

A Giraffe Dress and Elephant PJs Using Fabrics from Tanzania

Earlier this year my friend Kim visited Tanzania and brought me back some great African fabric as a special gift.

I used this vibrant giraffe print to make myself a long dress for summer. It’s opaque enough that I was able to skip a lining, making it a perfect cotton dress for warmer weather.img_0713

I cut it out a few months ago but only recently finished because I got distracted by the Tudor kirtle.img_0714

I think it looks like the giraffes are having a chat and perhaps giving a little side-eye.img_0715

I used Vogue 8789 for the pattern, and just extended the length of the skirt to use up the width of the fabric. (You may recognize the bodice as being the same shape as my Black Swan 1950s  Ball Gown). The dress used 3 meters of fabric.img_0716

The other fabric I received from Kim was a kanga. (You can read about them and how they are used on KangaUSA). This elephant kanga is printed with the phrase “Wanyama ndiyo urithi wetu tuwatunza,” which is Swahili for “Animals are our inheritance, we should protect them.”IMG_9037.JPG

Because of the shape of the fabric and the way the print is formatted I had to think about how to cut the fabric, but realized that pajama bottoms are a great way to use a rectangular print.img_9038

The pattern is Butterick 6837, which I’ve used a number of times in the past to make PJs for myself and my family. If you have a serger and put in an elastic waistband you can make PJ pants in about an hour with enough practice.IMG_9040.JPG

I was able to use up the kanga with very little fabric wasted. Because of my height I had to piece a little fabric at the top to make it long enough, but a shorter person could skip this step. This project was so quick it was my first sewing project right after attending Costume College in August, when I wanted something easy.

I’m still working on my last project of 2016, but Happy New Year!

An Evening at the Moulin Rouge

Recently I went to a Moulin Rouge-themed event hosted by the GBACG. It took place at Michaan’s Theater in Alameda, a gorgeous Art Deco-style venue. There were talented performers, a chef making crepes, absinthe-tasting, dancing, beautiful decorations, and a lot of fun in a festive atmosphere.

I originally planned to wear my Gibson Girl dress, but it needed some alterations, and the weather was rainy, so I wore a traditional Indian salwar kameez and shawl with golden embroidery and matching jewelry. (Just like my last post I am wearing black and gold in front of a red curtain, plus the same shoes!)

image

I bought the outfit several years ago to wear to an Indian wedding that took place in a temple with a strict dress code. I was a little nervous about wearing it out of context, but after a discussion with a Desi friend and her mom who assured me that it would not be offensive for me to wear the ensemble as formal wear in a respectful way, I went ahead and I’m glad I did! I purchased golden bangles and a jewelry set from Amazon.

There was a live band (Lee Presson and the Nails) that was full of energy!image

There were cancan dancers!image

Les Ballets Russe, a comedic dance troupe, performed as well.image

Artists drew portraits of attendees.image

There was also a fan dance and some singing, but I didn’t get pictures of all the performances because the venue had multiple areas to explore.

At the event there were some amazing decorations, like this heavily bejeweled elephant, which the organizer decorated by hand!image

I didn’t get a good picture because it was dark outside but there was also a lighted windmill standing in for the famous red windmill of the Moulin Rouge. I am looking forward to the next GBACG event. Lynne, the event coordinator, always thinks of every detail!

O-T-Tea Party 2016

Last week I went to the 2nd annual O-T-Tea Party in San Francisco. (The name is a reference to OTT, meaning over-the-top). The attendees were instructed to build opulent, imaginative, and or themed outfits using Japanese lolita fashion as a base.img_9740

I didn’t have time to make a new outfit from scratch, so I recycled an old dress I made years ago and jazzed up my coordinate with accessories and new embellishments. I wore the dress over a satin blouse with balloon sleeves and put on satin gloves with pearls and cutouts in the fabric. I carried a black velvet clutch purse with gold embroidery and had a golden rhinestone brooch at my waist. img_9704

I made my dress using a very soft and plushy black cotton velvet, screenprinted with gold. The crown motifs are accented with golden bows made of vintage jacquard ribbon and faux pearl and golden buttons I had in my stash.img_9751

I also wore a golden tiara with faux pearls (from Amazon) and a gold and black lace neck ruff from Aliexpress. These items were purchased new, but otherwise I already had a lot of things in my closet to complete my outfit!img_9755

I finished my outfit with Miss L Fire Vistas, which I previously wore with my 1920s outfit.img_9757

The event took place at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, where we had delicious food, a vendor room, and many generous raffle prizes.

We were all given these pretty acrylic brooches with a number that was used for voting in the outfit contest.img_9749

Here are some group photos taken by the Lens Collective!lens-collective-1lens-collective-4lens-collective-2lens-collective-3

McCall’s 9900 Vintage Skirt Pattern

Happy first day of autumn! It’s the perfect time to build up a collection of wool skirts.

I used the last bit of fabric left over from my Victorian bathing suit to make a simple A-line skirt using McCall’s 9900, a vintage 1954 pattern.img_9587

The cutting took longer than the sewing because I only had about 1.5 yards instead of the recommended 2, and I had to very carefully line up the pieces and introduce some additional seams in order to match the stripes. To give it a bit more flare when wearing it I’ll probably use a petticoat or maybe add some horsehair to the hem later.img_9589

It’s not quite perfect, but was still satisfying!img_9592

The skirt closure has a side zipper and a button.img_9597

It was a nice easy pattern and I will definitely use this again!img_9588

img_9598

Lady Tremaine’s Bodice (Mockup Process)

This past week I started the mockup process for making Lady Tremaine’s bodice. Since the sequined fabric is very precious and I won’t have time to make another special order for it before Costume College I definitely wanted to take my time with the patterning.

I am using the Vintage Pattern Lending Library Ladies’ Basque pattern. I picked it because it had the shape I wanted, but cutting out the pattern pieces made me realize it had many more seams than I wanted. (Less seams = less trouble when dealing with sequins, and more screen-accurate).

IMG_5749

My goal was to eliminate the center front seam, the two side back seams, and change the four front darts into two. I can do this because I’m not very curvy, I don’t plan to wear this with a corset, and it is a fantasy costume. If this was meant to be a properly fitted historical costume bodice worn over a corset, I would not recommend removing seams.

I started by tracing the paper pattern pieces without modification onto some fabric leftover with another fabric. It was navy blue and I used a silver pen so it ended up looking like architectural plans.

IMG_8347

Mockup #1 was not sewn together; it was placed on the dress form to determine general fit, and I was able to see that there was too much fabric in the front. IMG_8350

To make adjustments I turned the mockup inside out, and then started pinching out extra fabric and pinning. I also made one giant dart out of the two darts on each side. When satisfied with the general fit I made more notes directly on the fabric with the pen, then disassembled the pieces for my pattern.IMG_8356IMG_8359

The final pattern pieces:IMG_8362

I then made mockup #2, which is wrinkly because I was too lazy to iron the fabric beforehand. =)IMG_8367IMG_8368

Then finally I cut out my sequined fabric! The sequins are on a sheer georgette, so I had to flat-line it with satin so that any raw seams tucked under would not show. The edges were serged because the satin was fraying and the sequins were falling off.IMG_8383

A note about sequins: The “right” way to sew sequined fabric is to unpick the sequins next to your seam allowance to avoid a bulky seam, or having some of the sequins be punctured or bent by your sewing machine needle. I skipped this step for several reasons: 1) I am working with very small sequins which will hide much better in the seam than large ones. 2) I am hand-sewing the bodice pieces together so that I can feel any resistance in my needle that I wouldn’t be able to tell by machine. 3) I am lazy and short on time to unpick so many tiny sequins and sew them back on.

Here is the current bodice. I still need to add sleeves, trim the neckline and bottom, add closures, and start the scary process of flocking!IMG_8413

 

1940s Star Trek TNG (Film Noir Costumes)

Last Saturday was the 1940s PEERS Ball, and my “crew” and I wore our 1940s Star Trek mashup outfits! (From left to right: Riker, Data, Troi, Red Shirt, Dixon Hill, Wesley, Dr. Crusher, and Geordi).IMG_8018

I was very worried that I couldn’t get the hair right, but with some tips from friends, a lot of foam curlers, and the magic setting lotion Lottabody I felt fabulous!IMG_8058

My hair was so fluffy you can’t see the vintage Bakelite dome earrings I’m wearing. They are mustard-colored and match the ring.IMG_8010IMG_8011

Here we are all so serious! IMG_8021

I had enough leftover fabric to give to Breanna so we could match! Her use of silver netting for Geordi’s visor was so clever!IMG_8038

Dr. Crusher made a dress and a coat!IMG_7997

Although Wesley was not so impressed by Mom.IMG_8029

Troi and sexy Riker got a little frisky!IMG_8055

Riker had to do the signature weird chair leaping!IMG_8067

And every away mission needs a Red Shirt!IMG_7993

All the ladies in our group made their own dresses from vintage or altered patterns. We had a wonderful time and I definitely want to wear my outfit again to Costume College!

See the rest of the photos on my Flickr account.

You can read about how I made my dress: Part 1, 2, 3.

1940s Star Trek Dress (Part 3) Finished

My 1940s style Star Trek dress is finished!  I am looking forward to wearing it to a 1940s party this weekend. (I will post pictures of the event next week).IMG_7949To summarize, the dress is made from 2 layers of rayon challis. The neckline is piped and has several gold buttons for “pips.” IMG_7939

I modified the Dahlia blouse pattern from Wearing History. I added in the extra seams in the front and back to create color-blocking and drafted the skirt myself.IMG_7944

The front is gathered at the shoulders with a puffed sleeve head.IMG_7945

The elbow is gathered, like many 1940s dresses, and the sleeves are extra long.IMG_7946

There is a curved seam where the bodice meets the skirt.IMG_7951

The rayon makes for a very nice, drapey dress. It is very form-fitting, especially around the hips. I’m afraid the construction shows off every bump and lump so proper vintage undergarments are required: a Rago girdle and a slip.IMG_7952

The dress closes on the side with a side-lapped zipper, hand-stitched in. (Originally I used invisible zippers, but this is more accurate to the time period).

I actually thought I completed it a few weeks ago, but when I put it on I wasn’t completely pleased with the way it hung, so I redid it – twice. Originally I made this as a 2-piece outfit, with a somewhat A-line skirt. I decided to change to a pencil skirt, which I felt would work better with the top. Also, I converted the outfit to a one piece, thinking the skirt would weigh down the bodice and keep the edges from flipping up. This meant I had to completely dismantle and recut the skirt, and remove 2 zippers.

Originally I prick-stitched the bodice to the skirt, which made the peplum front stand out, but the back looked a little odd. I took the dress and zipper apart again, and stitched everything together. There’s still little things I’m not 100% happy about, but overall I am very pleased with how it came together!

Final cost $87.93:

  • From Fabric.com: 3 yards black rayon challis, 2 yards mustard rayon challis, 1 spool black thread ($41.10 including tax and free shipping)
  • From Wearing History: a digital pattern bought on sale (I highly recommend you pay to get a paper pattern instead; I bought mine digitally because I needed it right away, but the paper ones are worth it!)
  • From the stash: gold buttons and zipper
  • From Thinkgeek: TNG communicator pin ($19.99 plus $6.95 shipping)
  • From Amazon: TNG phaser ($10.89 plus free Prime shipping)

I especially pleased with the communicator. It’s a quality reproduction that is on a strong magnet so I won’t get pin holes in my dress. The communicator is now available on Amazon (affiliate link) so if you have Prime you can even save on the shipping:

star-trek-the-next-generation-communicator-badge_670

I bought a TNG phaser just because it was fun and cheap. (It makes noise!): IMG_7953

I purchased some incredible Miss L Fire shoes, but sadly they are a bit big for me. I might see if I can get some inserts that won’t show in the peep toe, but for now I’ll have to wear plain black pumps with the dress.

misslfire-lanai-black-1-250x250

I also own these Capezios, which are very comfortable dance shoes, so they might be better for the event I have in mind this weekend anyway.

411ZhApLeSL._SY395_

Read Parts 1 and 2.

Next step is to figure out how to do hair and make-up, which are not things I excel at. Wish me luck!