The Perfect Fabric

June 30, 2011 at 1:02 am (Dress Diaries, General, General costuming) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Okay, okay, I admit it.

It’s this whole ‘find the perfect fabric’ that’s got my costuming panties in a bunch. I thought I found it but the print was way too small to look good so I let it sit on my ‘search results’ page, only for me to glance at it and wish that they had a larger print version. I searched and searched and came up with another canidate but alas it’s damn near $13 per yard. This is supposed to be a cheap project to hold me over until I can get to the historical nitty gritty of my Duchess costume.

So my frustrating search continues to find the perfect printed cotton voile. It’s almost as if those making voile have collaborated to make their product in only three categories: solid coloured, funky outdated 80s prints, and florals best suited for a nightie. Or maybe four categories, the fourth one being outrageously expensive but exquisite prints.

This is really typical of me. And it’s borderline shameful how many ‘sit downs’ I have to have with myself over this. I might as well just get a solid colour and call it a day instead of spending more hours than I want to in front of my computer trying to find The Perfect Fabric.

It’s gotten to the point where I’ve been sitting on my ass for just about three hours now, simply contemplating if I should make this kimono or not because nothing is really ‘popping’ out at me. But I know I’m too in love with this romantic vision I have in my head. I know that I can make it a reality with the proper lighting and scenery. It’s just the question of will anyone ever have a printed cotton voile for under $6 that I will fall in love with and happily sew up? One with a big enough print in a colour that strikes me and screams ‘Rose would be jealous!!’?

I’ve been trying to avoid ebay for my fabric needs since it’s always pricey. That and I’ve been doing really well in managing my obsession with auctions. But I need to cover my all my bases. Maybe that’s where The Perfect Fabric is lurking.

Besides the fabric issue I’ve battling with a decision to either make an Edwardian corset from the early 1900s or just wear the modern underbust I have lurking in my attic somewhere…

Decisions. Decisions.


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Wool Soap?!

June 29, 2011 at 1:04 am (Tutorials) (, , , , , , , , , , )

That’s right.

It’s completely possible. And you can make it for cheap, especially if you have scraps of wool laying about like I do. All you need is:

  • A bar of soap of your choosing
  • Wool batting or roving of your colour choice
  • Hot water
  • Dish soap
  • A shock tank a.k.a a container filled with cold water
  • A nylon knee high stocking

Bars of soap run anywhere from $2 a bar to $0.65,or  less if you buy a pack of three or more; roving and wool batting can be bought online in just about any colour, it can be found in 1 oz or 3 oz packages at craft stores; and nylon knee highs can be found 2 pairs for a $1 at some places.


  1. Take your bar of soap out of it’s package [duh] and then use your roving or wool batting to wrap around your bar of soap. There’s no real specific technique to this, especially if you use batting. It can get tricky to cover the rounded edges with the long strips of roving, especially if it’s thin.
  2. Once your bar of soap is covered evenly in wool, place it all the way into the toe of the knee high stocking. Making a knot to keep it snug inside.
  3. Have your hot water [NOT BOILING! It should be hot enough for you withstand.] ready along with your ‘shock tank’. Now place just a little bit of dish soap on either side to get it started. Once the wool is thoroughly saturated and you start rubbing the bar of soap will provide the neccessary suds.
  4. Now dip the wool covered soap into the hot water, submerge it even to get it completely wet.
  5. Start rubbing. Gently at first as to not disturb the wool too much. Once suds appear and you can feel the wool start to cling rub a bit more vigorously. More suds will appear and those will be from your soap.
  6. Keep rubbing. While you rub make sure to dip the wool covered soap into the hot water and occassionally into the cold water to ‘shock’ the fibers into shrinking and knitting together even faster.
  7. Keep rubbing.
  8. Keep rubbing and applying firm pressure.
  9. Keep rubbing until you can see bits of wool coming through the nylon. At this point you can untie the knot – or just cut it if it’s really tight – and pull out the wool bar of soap. It’ll be tricky since the wool fibers will be firmly attached to the nylon. But not so firmly that you won’t be able to get it off with a little elbow grease.
  10. Test to see if it’s completely felted. You can do this by attempting to pull the wool away from the bar of soap. If the fibers give way and form a ‘tent’ you have some more rubbing to do. If the fibers are putting up a fight and staying close to the soap you are just about done!
  11. Keep rubbing, without the nylon stocking, for a few minutes for good measure or until the wool won’t budge from the soap.
  12. Wash off excess suds and you’re done!

Your bar of soap will have shrunk a bit but not by a lot. Blot it with a towel and let it dry. It should only take a day, at most, to completely dry.

The Cool Stuff:

You’re probably thinking: ‘All that work for something that sounds gross?’

Yeah, okay, I admit it, it does sound a little…off. But it is a lot better than using a wash cloth! Wash cloths are usually made of cotton that when wet attracts mildew, germs, and other icky things. Not to mention you tend to lose them, forget to take them with you into the shower, forget to take them with you when traveling etc. etc.  And the grossest thing about it is that if your wash cloth is ‘infected’ with a mildew borne germ you could be toting it around with you and leaving that germ everywhere.

Wool on the other hand is nature’s anti-microbial and anti-fungal fiber. It wards away all the bad stuff and leaves you feeling clean and gently exfoliated. It’s safe on sensitive skin and areas such as the face. Not to mention it comes in a very cool colours, blends, and effects! And when was the last time you saw a wash cloth that was tie dye, if ever?

Hm, this project also eliminates the need for those portable plastic soap dishes that collect gross soap water if left in the shower for too long…

Do it! You won’t regret it!

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Not Too Brief Explanations Pt. 1

June 26, 2011 at 2:28 am (General costuming, Updates) (, , , , )

So I lied. Again.

And this time I’m actually really sorry.

The fact of the matter is, I ran out of time to post. My bed time was swiftly approaching and by the time I published my update post I was at T-minus 6 and a half hours before my alarm went off. Patting myself on the back for doing such a great job on managing my time has become rather redundant lately so no need to comment about it.

Anyways on to the explanation of projects:

Wool Redingote

[On indefinite hold]

There are so many pieces to this project that at the moment it would be impossible to manage them in the small space that I have been alloted. It is not a small project by any means but I’m working on it a little at a time. While on a four day vacation to my boyfriend’s home town I drew up a few patterns and decided that I didn’t like them and I would start over but examine the patterns I had chosen to draw from – ‘Man’s Suit’, La Couturiere Parisienne; ‘The Jacket of a Riding Habit’ and ‘A Caraco Jacket’, Patterns of Fashion 1 Janet Arnold –  closer than before. And that is where I have practically stopped. I’ve become frustrated with it and just  the thought of having to make up toiles and fit it gives me a headache. I feel as though I’m developing Edgar Allen Poe syndrome, driven to an almost brilliant madness because of lack of space and time. Any minute now I’ll be comparing the thundering thoughts of my projects to the violently beating heart of someone about to get attacked and stuffed beneath floorboards…

Steam Warrior:

[on indefinite hold]

This project is all about resourcefulness. Or at least trying to convey resourcefulness and a deep connection to the earth all at the same time. Sort of like the young girl in the music video for Fever Ray’s ‘When I Grow Up’. [Just an FYI, it sounds nothing like the song with the same name ‘sung’ by a group of strippers. So if you’re into that you will probably be dissappointed.] There are leaf elements in the bust part of the bodice as well as the ‘body wrap’ portion. In one of the posts prior to this there is a picture of my sketch to help clarify what I’m talking about. There is a mimicked grass skirt with a feather overlay to give it a bit of glamour [?]. And the odd matrix of spandex? Well that’s just for aesthetic reasons as well as to make my belly seem not as naked. I’ve considered wearing an underbust corset to solve that issue as well.

As for the headress…well…

I loved beading it until I got to finally to filling in the shapes. I was having the worst of times trying to fill it all in. Nothing looked right. I wanted it to look as though they had been sprinkled on like glitter on glue, not lined up in neat little rows. I did, however, find that stitching on beads one by one into a sort of embroidery peyote stitch was working out just fine but it took literally forever. That and it would have meant that all my time outlining would have been wasted. There was no way it would have looked right within the beaded outlines. Thankfully, the very entertaining beading guru that is TSummerlee saved my life by posting a few videos on Iroquois raised beadwork. I gave this Iroquois technique a go, once she figured it out and posted a mini tutorial, and I’m in love with the amount of dimension and character it demands. Much better than relying solely on the different cuts, finishes, and variety of beads I’ll be using to create  a bit of drama.  I will have to order more beads for this though as it eats them up like no one’s business! So, once I have the funds I’ll splurge on a big bag of them just to have them ready to go for when I move and have room to sprawl out and really work at it.

Sample shape worked in 11/0 seed beads from Joanns; Darice brand aka worse then Czech seed beads in terms of uniformity.


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Life, Why Dost Thou Do This To Me?!

June 24, 2011 at 1:28 am (Updates) (, , , )

I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I don’t think you realize how sorry I really am.

See I distinctly remember telling you all, however many of you, that I would be updating later on that night. And I meant to. I really did but somehow when life throws you a banana peel, a blog you hardly kept up anyway falls by the way side.

So as with everything else going on at the moment, except for work of course, most of my major projects have been halted. Mainly because of renovations the house in which I live now looks like a hoarder’s special on Dr. Phil or Oprah. But maybe not as bad? At any rate the point is that the space I use for creating has become a space used for ‘temporary’ storage. And I have to say that I’m feeling a bit stopped up creativity wise. It’s like getting one of those head colds that just makes your head feel like an oversized, solid cast iron cannon ball. 

The good news?

I’m moving.

All the ideas that have been bursting from my ears will have a place to form themselves and become a reality, not just a thought I can hardly convey to other people. So tonight before I go to bed, I will try my best to explain [in a million words or less] where I am with my three major projects:

  1. Wool Redingote – Inspired by ‘The Duchess’
  2. Steam Warrior – An experiment in sewing technique
  3. The Kimono That Sank – Inspired by ‘Titanic’ and Jenny La Fleur’s costume.

I really need to get better names for these projects. ‘Steam Warrior’ sounds hokey to me,  ‘Wool Redingote’ seems too literal for my taste, and ‘The Kimono That Sank’ is foreboding if not some form of foreshadowing despite how ‘clever’ it is. To be completely honest, none of these projects will be getting off the ground any time within the next month or two if not more.

Planning to move is stressful and the closer it gets to my deadline the more stressed I become. It’s in times like these where my creativity really blossoms but in the wrong aspect of my life. Most days I wish I could work on my costumes but I know that I would get bored and plan my move some more just for a change of pace. And it would be enjoyable to finangle [my fancy way of saying ‘to figure out financially’] all the costs of movers, plane tickets, living spaces, etc. etc. The reverse is also very true. It’s worse now than it has ever been and I know it’s because I haven’t been able to really put my hands on anything other than a keyboard for the past few months.

Hm, now I have no excuse to feed you guys, other than the ‘my life is so incredibly boring it would dry my blog up like a dead tumbleweed’ line, as to why I haven’t/don’t update my blog as often as I should.

Story of my life.

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