What Is That I Am Sensing? Oh No…No!

November 12, 2011 at 9:43 pm (General costuming, Updates) (, , , , , )

Not another one! Hide the costume books! Block Amazon! Ebay! Any site that could possibly lead to another….




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4.5 Whole Yards of Disapointment! Yay!

November 9, 2011 at 3:10 am (Dress Diaries, General costuming, Updates) (, , , , )

The fabric I ordered arrived today! [Triple bagged as usual.] And I’m thinking about returning at least half of my order!

I was so excited to finally get to see the fabric my camisole will be made out of as well as the fabric my corset -might- be made out of. It was all really really great until I got to what I thought was going to be the perfect fabric for the ‘windows’ in my robe sleeves as well as the back of my camisole.

I don’t know if there is anything worse than opening up something you expected to be so perfect only to find out it’s not.

Dumb me thought that the nylon chiffon tricot I bought months back was the same as the polyester organza that came with it. I don’t know how I made the mistake. The sticker was still on the piece of organza! Ugh…

The broadcloth I bought is much too thick, a lot thicker than any other ‘brand’ of broadcloth I’ve bought in the past, and the ivory cotton lawn is way too yellow to be considered a match!

Ivory Cotton Lawn – Off white broadcloth – White Eyelet”]And here is a close up of the wonderful eyelet fabric. [This is more to show off the scalloped edge than anything else.]

If there’s anything I’ve learned from this purchase it is that my vision of ivory is more of an off-white than anything and that  I really, really don’t care for the colour ivory.

Oh well…

Now I have to call them  up tomorrow to see if I can return all four and a half yards. This will be my first time returning something to Fabric. com so I’ll let you how that goes. They’ve been pretty good so far. My orders don’t take more than a week to get here, even when I ordered 10 yards on a gigantic roll, which is good when I’m really excited about the project I’m working on.

But other than those few things, the rest of the order is great. I’m really digging the wine-coloured poly/cotton twill I bought for the corset. I would have loved if they had the same colour in a 100% cotton version but this will do. I have to find a coordinating lining for it though which I’m sure will be colour-matching scheme from heck. Or I could just buy another yard and have a thicker ‘ribbon’ corset. Choices. Choices.

Off white broadcloth, white eyelet, Wine poly/cotton twill, ivory cotton lawn”]I won’t bore  you with ranting about the other things I got like a few spools of Coats and Clark thread to match my project and the cutest little flower buttons for the camisole. 

And the following are back up buttons that I bought at Walmart for $0.62 a piece. They’re probably a whole 1/4 inch larger than the flower buttons above.

Within the next couple of days I’ll post  a link to a haul video if I feel like breaking out the tripod for some non-shaky camera work.

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Official Euro Kimono Update #3? [#2?]

July 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm (Dress Diaries, Updates) (, , , , , , , )

Sorry it’s been such a hot minute since I last posted anything. I was working on a post on the side but to date it’s looking about 4 pages long. Talk about long-winded. But luckily for you I won’t be posting it. Basically I finished reinforcing the first set of pattern pieces. Why I wasted precious construction paper I don’t really know. I say waste because the pieces are double the size they’re supposed to be. For example the corset in the book is made of 2″ ribbon, the pattern pieces I drafted are approximately 4″ in width.

I reduced the patterns over the weekend after some trial and error that ate up nearly all of my gift wrap. I now have to go back and reinforce those. Thankfully they aren’t as big as the other pieces so no more shameless wasting of construction paper will occur.

I also did a dye test on the solid white cotton lawn using 1 exhausted tea bag. The main fabric’s background is a really creamy, eggshell colour. Granted it’s still white but the cotton lawn would have stood out noticeably. Lucky for me, the colour came out right on the first go! Now I just have to get more cotton lawn and try to achieve the same colour.

Left to Right; undyed cotton lawn, main fabric, tea dyed cotton lawn

My sewing machine is broken so I’ve been day dreaming for the most part about a new one and sewing up the long sweeping sleeves. So for the most part I’ve been handsewing, which is relaxing and very theraputic in it’s own right. I ended up sewing up several channels  on plain white muslin and trying out my hand at cording. I used this rather expensive hemp I got at joanns in a big ball. It worked out fine as you can see but it darkens the muslin obviously. In person anyway. It’s really sturdy and has a good weight to it. However I’m not too good at covering up my awl holes. They’re a bit…sparse. So when I do cord the ‘ribbon’ I’ll know to poke the holes on the underside so the right side is much nicer looking.

I went to go see if a cotton yarn would make any difference but I couldn’t find my needle or even my brand new pack of needles. I still can’t find it so I’ve been twiddling my thumbs for awhile thinking of all the things I could be doing. It’s killing me. No needles, no sewing machine. I also can’t find my rulers. I have several of them and they have all gone incognito. So that means I can’t even draft a pattern. I also can’t get measurements to draft my mudkip dress pattern because my tapes [yes, two seamstress tapes] have also gone missing. I’m either losing my mind or someone is trying their best to provoke me.


On another note! Before I lost my needles I beaded a sampler on my first attempt at a fabric window. I used white muslin, pink polyester chiffon something or other [it was a remnant at joanns], 6.0 seed beads [opaque white] and 8.0 seed beads [clear rainbowish ones]. The beads are Darice beads so basically they’re crappy knock off czech beads.

8.0 seed beads left; 6.0 seed beads right

I think I like the 8.0 seed beads better. They aren’t as chunky as the 6.0’s which give it a more ‘rustic’ appearance. This look is a bit more refined. I plan on using miyuki’s for the sake of uniformity. TSummerlee says Czech beads are best for bead embroidery but I beg to differ!  We shall see….

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Why So Chipper Ol’ Chap?

July 11, 2011 at 10:42 pm (General costuming, Updates) (, , , , , , , )

Despite the dissapointing weekend, a hustle and bustle sort of Monday, and a relatively stressful breeze through the MVA, I am happy as a Pooh bear in honey.

Why might you ask?

Because when I finally got out of the car – most of my afternoon had been spent in it – I spotted a package on the front porch. I could describe the heat of the day, the way the sun’s rays bouncing off the shipping label nearly blinded me, and how I struggled to carry it and two large cheese pizzas but I think I’ll spare you. Long, story short my fabric was in it. I was very surprised by the quick shipping. Another reason why I’m so happy.

The fabric is just as I expected it plus  a little more seeing as though I had no idea what 5 of the 6 fabrics would feel like in terms of texture and weight. I am very pleased. My vision is becoming a reality. The only thing is I have nowhere to cut my 56″ roll of fabric. >.<” But I’m happy and that’s all that really matters!

As for my weekend, I spent most of it cutting, marking, and glueing paper. Why? Because I’m an overachiever. Because replicating the graph in Jill Salen’s book was absolutely critical. Because it just needed to happen. And why am I blogging in this manner? Because the whole weekend while I was cutting, glueing, and marking I was also watching back to back Poirot movies. No one makes mystery movies much like that anymore. And to think people believe that Monk is the original. Ah, I wish I knew French to finish off this sentence in an upscale way.

But anyway, I have managed to finish off the corset pattern from the book but I have yet to start building a mockup. Why? Because I have to figure it out first. It’s really not as straight forward as most corsets. In fact, it’s d*mn near confusing. I’m going to have to research this and hopefully I don’t get sucked into the dark side of the internet. Because it happens. Searching something innocent, like balloons for example, can lead to something odd…I trust your curiousity isn’t as strong as mine.

Anyways…this is just a quick post. I’ll be posting a tutorial on how to make ‘windows’ in fabric as well as uploading a tutorial on the ‘pick’ stitch to youtube very soon. So be on the look out!

Now onward to find the perfect colour bead to embellish this kimono that is so far staying a float.

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Official Euro-Kimono Update #1

July 7, 2011 at 10:51 pm (Dress Diaries, Updates) (, , , , , , )

So yesterday definitly had to be the first day that things ran relatively smoothly and gave a sense that this project was destined to become a reality. The top of the pattern fit well but the muslin was refusing to drape at all but it’s probably because I cut everything on the straight. I’m going to probably experiment with cutting slightly on the bias to see if that makes any difference. I’ve never cut directly on the bias before but I have witnessed the sort of disaster it can turn into. So for now, the top of my kimono reminds me of a nurse’s scrub top.

The back with all the fruffy gathering didn’t end up as I had hoped. What I had planned was to sew down the back seam, finish the edge of the excess, gather it up and then flip the gathering over and stitch it to the straight edge. UnfortunatlyI forgot to add the clipped straight edge to my pattern and ended up with a small army of gathers pinched together and roughly handsewn onto the back of the top. It’s unsightly. More unsightly then the horrendous black thread bunched up along the seam. My sewing machine is on the fritz, not sure why. I think there is something wrong with the bobbin tension mechanism…

Also the gathering ended up being three inches too high. >.<” But that was a quick fix on the pattern.I’ll have to cut another mock up to test it out. I’m a fool when it comes to certain things. Sort of like how I wanted to have a petticoat but made all the pieces straight! No slanting  to even make room. Granted I think even with the straight lines the kimono will be so unfitted it will just have to make room. If that makes any sense…

But last night I bought my main fabric, all 10 yards of it, as well as several half yards of fabric canidates for the petticoat, cut outs, and neckband. I’m feeling really peeved that there aren’t any tutorials on fabric cut outs. The closest I’ve seen to what I want is a ‘lace window’ tutorial from Sew Beautiful Mag.  So maybe once I’ve done a few, learned from previous mistakes I’ll make my own video tutorial for those who are visual learners like I am. Maybe there’s a specific terminology that I’m missing…

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A Progressive Sunday

July 3, 2011 at 7:21 pm (Dress Diaries, Updates) (, , , )

Today has been a really positive journey so far. I’ve made plenty of progress on making my patterns. I had to revamp a few things and make final decisions on how I want it to look/drape. I always seem to make the mistake of thinking in excess. It’s the reason why I had to cut the front piece in half. The large bulk just didn’t look right and the shoulder to waist measurement was much larger than what I had intended. So I shrank everything down and decided that all I really needed was the top 26 and a half inches to see how well the pattern would fit. Granted there wouldn’t be the weight of the ‘skirt’ to make it drape like it normally would but this is just a test to see if my pattern making skills really do pwn Simplicity’s pattern-making software.

Later on today I’ll make a toile/mock up out of the muslin I purchased a bit ago at Joanns. The only thin I’m worried about is the shoulder seam and how far down my arm it goes. I’m afraid that it won’t go down far enough and I would have just made a vest for myself with a peplum back. Not that this will be a hard thing to fix. 

Anyways, here are a few pictures since my last few posts have been mainly text and wholly uninteresting because of it.

As you can see I could not get a clear shot of my pattern for the sheer fact that my cat thought that I had laid out a game made out of paper and nail polish bottles  for her. But you get the jyst right? The only reason why I used the nail polish bottles is because the pattern is made out of gift wrap that comes on a roll. It likes to curl up which creates shadows and doesn’t look to awesome on camera. They are my cheap alternative to fabric weights also.

Last night I was flipping through my fashion book by the Kyoto Costume Institute and came upon these pictures [p. 300 and 301]. I don’t really see a resemblence between this and my idea for the sleeves, do you?

Courtesy of the Kyoto Costume Institute; p. 301

courtesy of the Kyoto Costume Institute; p. 300

[Charles Frederick Worth evening dress c. 1894]

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July 3, 2011 at 12:24 am (Dress Diaries, General costuming, Updates) (, , , , , , )

Yes, I know. I -just- posted. And it was one hell of a post. Long, lengthy, confusing, a peek into my labrynth oriented mind. I hope you enjoyed. But the point of it all is that I had to post just one more time tonight since Dunkin’ Donuts 99 cent iced teas were getting my thinking juices going.

I’ve been sitting here pouting over my lack of fabric ideas. Or at least that I couldn’t use the patterns I had fallen in love with because they were too small. This entire time, since I thought of the kimono from the 1920s featured on Antiques Roadshow, I’ve been keeping myself to the guidlines of no small print, only something large and symbolic. Well in terms of how fabric these days go, it really slimmed my selection quite a bit. I found myself, no lie, twenty minutes ago sighing and thinking ‘I guess I’ll just get solid red’. Then it struck me.

I should do a google search.

The search ‘vintage kimonos’ reaffirmed what I thought. Then I tried ‘antique’ kimonos to see if changing the adjective would help. And boy did it. I landed myself on kimonos.co.uk and had my whole world turned on it’s head. My project world anyway. So I’m happy to announce that I will be buying some gorgeous cotton lawn before Monday since the red, white, and blue sale ends that day.

However I’m not sure if I should get red to deepen the kimono or white to brighten it. I’m leaning towards white because I feel it would look more ‘ethereal’ which is what I’m all about these days. [Floaty fabric, a fascination with sheer fabric, clouds, come on!] But I think red would look very stately, very lady-like. I’m tempted to even put a small ruffle along the collar to make it fit more era than one. It already does by the way I’ve added a petticoat to fill it out. The only thing, and I swear this is a real issue, is the corset and the amount of chest support I’ll have.

That is another post for another day.

Anyways, that’s my break through. I am successful. I am victorious. Google is the most brilliant thing ever thought up. And I feel like I’ll get a yard or two of both red and white to see which one I like best. I have an idea that red will win. Just an inkling.

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Oh What A Saturday…

July 2, 2011 at 11:05 pm (Dress Diaries, General costuming, Updates) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

CAUTION: If you dislike long blog posts, I am so sorry. There’s a lot of rambling here that I can break up into smaller posts. It’s the essence of my flow of conciousness.

After a few situations this morning I find myself in my local Dunkin’ Donuts doing what I do best: wasting time in order to get away.

This have gone crazy, as usual, in that little prison I’m supposed to call home. But enough of this and more of what I came here to post.

I’ve been driving myself crazy with this kimono project. I feel that it is within my grasp to get some serious preliminary work done with it during this extended holiday weekend. Already, last night I drew up the pattern pieces and drafted the sleeve pattern to be longer than the Simplicity pattern 4080 intended. It’s longer than the pattern by three inches but that’s enough to make it drift only inches away from from the floor. The original had sleeves that flowed effortlessly all the way to the ground. Very sweet, very romantic and probably more practical than I figure it to be. Me and floor length sleeves equals a very ungraceful face plant. If I do make the sleeves that long I can only hope that I’m walking on plush grass or moss to cushion the blow.

I’m trying to figure out the train that I want to add along the bottom. Should be easy, I know. I’m just debating on how long the train should be. I’m not going for a train of Mariah-Carey’s-royalty-defying proportions. [Yes, I -still- think Mariah Carey is a b*tch for outdoing Princess Diana.]  Just something appropriate and not fiddly. Something long enough that it will show when I walk but pool nicely when I stand still.

Also I’ve come upon a colour of preference, as if that is going to help with my fabric dilema, which is red. The colour of joy, happiness, and good luck. 

Here is a link to Jenny LaFleur’s kimono that gave me the inspiration to do this:


As you can tell I’m not copying it in anyway but using it as an inspiration as well as using her dress diary as a cautionary tale. I do like her ideas of two darts going up along the back to make it more fitted. This is only because I will be wearing a corset underneath circa 1900-1910. In the book of corsets [can’t think of the exact title right now] by Jill Salen, there is a wonderful Eratz corset made out of WW2 paper fabric. It’s beautiful in it’s coarseness and ‘pauper’ qualities. The only set back is that in the book it is dated 1914, but what’s four years?

The more I look at these Edwardian corsets the more I like them. However I am not a fan of the ‘juno’ breast that they aim to acheive. While the clothing made to fit this sort of figure is beautiful it is a tried and true frustrating stance to maintain. My spine hurts just thinking about it. I was hoping to make an overbust version but I don’t have any available patterns for that. I’m rather frugal in my approach to patterns. Aka I won’t buy any commerically made unless Joanns has them for the awesome sale of 5 for $5 or maybe the rare 5 for $10. And alas there are no commerical patterns for this variety of corset. For a style that’s relatively ‘recent’ and madly popular at the time you would think someone besides Nora Waugh has a pattern for it. I’m tempted to splurge and spend the $40-$60 sticker price for her book from the 1950s. I’ve heard that the patterns are a pain to resize and fit but that’s an assumption made up off of one review on Amazon. Hehe, I’m so fickle….

Things Going Badly:

  • Finding/choosing a suitable fabric. [ugh]
  • Finding the room to do it

Things Running Smoothly:

  • Pattern development
  • Idea Refinement
  • Idea Finalization [sorta]

The colour of the neckband and the beads will match. And as a lover of pleats and gathers, there will be a small portion of gathering along the mid back to help shape it. I hope. I’m also hoping that small bit of gathering will help the train flow nicely and pool like I want it to. I also have to figure out how I’m going to make this petticoat. And if I make this underbust corset I won’t have anything to support my chest and for a pseudo period costume I don’t think I’m going to wear a modern bra nor am I going to go without. [shudder] So maybe I’ll make combination underwear? Attach the petticoat to half of a camisole slip or make the petticoat and camisole seperate? Oh I don’t know.


It only came to mind when I decided to watch a few videos on heirloom sewing. Not sure why but I did and I sort of want to try it. Especially since I’ve only worked once with pintucks and at that time I didn’t know they were even pin tucks. I called them ‘flaps’ in a written ‘skirt diary’. But that was when I was really,and I mean really, big into Gothic Lolita and making my own Lolita clothes because, as some of you might know, GL clothing is expensive and only comes in sizes that fit up to a US size 10. 12 if you happen to be really lucky.

Meh, maybe I’ll attempt a cute jumper dress one of these days since I’m not totally out of that ‘oh gosh look how cute that Lolita is!!’ phase. I still have a bunny purse I bought off of Elliseven [LSeven, LS7, Ellis, or the chick with an R2D2 gif for her Hairextension board icon, whatever you call her]. Tiny but perfect for cons.

Hm. Cons, Lolita, an unfinished Mudkip costume…I feel a spark of genius coming on.

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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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