Saturday, January 29, 2011

Experimentation With Resin Jewelry

Some of my first 'successful' experiments with resin jewelry. How I could get a 1 to 1 ratio of resin to hardener wrong, I don't know, but some of my first batch were sticky. Maybe I mixed improperly. Anyway, these ones worked out rather well. The edges a little rough despite sanding. The resin is just so damn messy, I didn't feel like making up more just to finish/smooth the edges. However, I had done another batch after the ones in the mold were finished in order to 'dip' them in, for a glossy coating/finish...

I only had silver bails... looks odd on the 'steampunk' one with the bronze chain. 
I need to 'antique' it somehow.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Slight Detour (of fun!)

(view C, the large photo, is the one I'm going to use)
My aunt has requested/ordered a costume for Saranac Lake's Winter Carnival. The theme this year is 'Medieval'. I had some patterns on hand, out of which she liked a classic ren-faire wench style one :-) 

Fabrics for: Blouse, Vest, Overskirt, Skirt
 Thanks to my roommate/sewing buddy for helping me pick them out! Otherwise, I'd have been kicked out of the store at closing time... too many options or not enough, hard to say.

A 'Robin Hood' style hat was also requested for my uncle.

Actually quite excited about this one...for some reason. Okay, it's probably because it's costuming, and I picked shiny and textured fabrics. I like shiny.


I am severely tempted by this rather expensive silk damask for my corset...
With all of the work, not to mention the investment of spiral steel boning and a busk, I feel like I might as well go with the luxury fabric...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tinkerer's Frock Coat

UP FOR SALE! by Benevolent Bart's Barely-Used Bazaar

Tinkerer's Frock Coat
Excellent condition. Recently recovered from a respectable corpse-er... gear monkey whose sudden departure can benefit you!

Many pockets for tools.

Detachable hood and sleeves for those messy jobs that find you elbow deep in machinery.

A handy item to have for male and female tinkerers alike! (modeled by new woman gear monkey)


Finally finished this bad boy.... seems like forever since I started it! Sort of wanted to scream in the middle there. Not so difficult, the actual construction, just the procrastination got burdensome :-) Two kinds of green/olive twill, chocolate lining, about 72 grommets, lace up/detachable sleeves and hood, faux alligator hide belts, brass clips, cargo pockets, fake grease stains, 'wear' and 'repairs', patched elbow....


Saturday, January 22, 2011

HOO! wants an Owl Apron?! ME!

Non-seasonal Apron: CHECK!
(Simplicity Retro Apron Pattern 2592) 

The straps were a bit too short, I think, it doesn't sit at my waist. I should've thought of this, since I'm busty, it gets pulled up in the front and the fit is affected (aka I look frumpier).

 I sadly used up all the ribbon trimming the apron skirt and pocket, so the bib received decorative scalloped stitching, owl and apple appliques instead.

Friday, January 21, 2011

THE VICTORIAN DRESS PROJECT: Part III (Underpinings Patterns & Fabric)

Simplicity 2890: The Museum Curator Collection

Chemise in white stripe batiste. I've used this pattern before, and it seemed rather apt in comparison to tradition drafts I'd seen on the web and elsewhere.I am hoping the drawers are equally satisfactory. However, I tend to have to hem things a bunch so not precisely shirt where they should fall. Below the knee, no? Also in the white-on-white stripe batiste...
 CORSET: Butterick 4254D

Already have cut out the mock-up. Reviews have stated a.) that this pattern runs true to size, so one should make a couple sizes smaller. Sensible, since corsets are meant to be made at least 2 inches smaller than actually waist size, and b.) this corset tends to run short in the torso. I am a bit short in the torso (not to the point where I've altered patterns, however), so hopefully the mock-up will inform me of this factor as well.

Also, this pattern only sates that one needs a 'corset busk' as part of the notions, not a specific length one. Suppose it makes sense, if the majority of people have needed to lengthen said corset. After length has been determined, then busk can be ordered. 

Besides this, fabrics and spiral steel boning have already been acquired. White canvas, white linen for lining. I ordered a taupe on white damask. However, when I received it today, imagine my surprise to discover that it was SPARKLY! This was not mentioned in the product much for authentic. If it were brass/gold/coppery rather than silvery glitter, then I would just brand it 'steampunk and be happy... However, now I am considering finding an alternative for the corset fabric. I wanted a white/light colour in case I opted for a sheer/light-colored dress.

THE VICTORIAN DRESS PROJECT: Part II (Pattern Consideration)

The dresses I am considering making (from the authentic pattern draft collections of Kristina Harris-books mentioned previously)...

          Fall 1890

I like this piece for several reasons. Primarily, the 'girdle' pleated underbust portion of the bodice adds quite a bit of interest. And I've done pleats, but never horizontally as part of a bodice... (the buckle used as a decorative front closure could prove a severe problem in acquiring, however)

I think part of the appeal, however is the design work of the fabric in this sketch. And that is something I simply would never find, no matter how long I searched. Although, it would allow for the opportunity for some hand embroidery if I opted for a solid silk taffeta. And I do indeed enjoy embroidery (and have the time on my hour-plus bus commute to and from work).

This is not a 'street costume' per say. However, if I am hosting tea for my birthday, perhaps it would be more appropriate...

  Fall 1890 

I like the lines in this piece. The texture of the bolero and underskirt, however, do not. I would probably use a smoother fabric that was still visually interesting/textured. Or leave it as a straight silk to contrast the bodice, waist and drapes... Hmm...would depend on the fabric I could find, I guess. Either way, some potential in this piece...

This would be more of what I was originally thinking, as well... a 'street costume' or 'day'/'walking' dress for outings. 

    Spring 1891

Classic skirts, shirtwaist and modest sleeves (not to the leg-of-mutton phase). But what appeals to me most about this particular piece is that the jacket is double-breasted... Don't know why, but my weakness for jackets is especially susceptible to this fashion trend/trait.

Not sure how I feel about the 'pocket lap' however. I think it would be lacking in character without them, however.

This would not be a good costume for summer wear, since the jacket would necessitate a heavier fabric choice...

   Spring 1891 

This is just so very classic late Victorian. Simple, modest, with almost an Old West feel to it. Gorgeous lines, drapery. Very elegant while being conservative. 

A traditional, shirred shirtwaist, full draped skirts, cute jacket. 

I'm liking this one.

   Spring 1894

Very Late Victorian, with iconic leg-of-mutton sleeves, shirtwaist with yokes, and standard full skirts.

Not sure I'm ready for those sleeves...

I'm short but not petite, with a large top/shoulder/ribcage and 'slender' in the hip. I feel like I would get lost in this (my top does not need to be shown to be further out of proportion...

But if I had the guts/figure, this would make a beautiful, classic costume.

   Winter 1890-91

Austere at first glance, but the simplicity of this piece shifts focus to the beautiful lines of the fitted jacket, the soft drape of the skirt. The main appeal of this piece would be the emphasis on that classic silhouette. 

I believe the more plain pieces also appeal to me because of my obsession interest in the steampunk aesthetic (elaborate in tech, but simple in its often military-inspired base pieces).

Again, to do the jacket properly, will probably render this far to stifling for the summer heat (hopefully, in which this dress will be employed around my birthday-and Nikola Tesla's)!

            RIDING HABIT
               Spring 1891 

What can I say? LOVE LOVE LOVE this piece!!

Again, might be the utilitarian aspect of it. Could be also, without all the frills, the emphasis resides on construction and fit of the piece. Something that appeals to my seamstress side. It's far more difficult to put together a beautifully executed piece that shows of technique and skill without a bunch of lace and ruffles hiding your mistakes/possibly crooked topstitching, etc.

The front drape... also very cool.

It might possibly be that the lady in the sketch is wearing a top hat...

 Winter 1890-91

Also had to mention this piece, which had I easily found some appealing coat-weight wool whilst browsing fabric sites the other day, would've been more than just my recent obsession.

Perhaps, because it's been so cold. And this full length wrap-coat with fur trim looks just so, so warm.

And that it would've looked absolutely gorgeous against the pristine white snow might also have been a factor.

Green Stripey Fabric of Awesomeness: Waistcoat Sketch

Potential use for the delicious green stripe fabric...

Monday, January 17, 2011

My New Best Friend

I got my grommet setter last week...WOO! It works so much better than those cheap plier-like hand tools. I can't believe I didn't just cave and buy one sooner (and it came with 900s grommets and three different size dies!) 
I already had begun putting grommets in the Tinkerer's Frock Coat by hand (and with a plier-tool) in a different style grommet, so I was afraid I'd have to put the rest in by hand. But SCORE! The flange width doesn't matter. The dies are based on grommet size (inside diameter) and it didn't warp the wider flange grommets! So pleased with this toy!

Trip to Jo-Ann's: Epic Failure?

Green Stripe Fabric- drool!
So, pilgrimage to Jo-Ann Fabrics was a failure. More velvet was not acquired. They had every other colour in stock except the burgundy. :-( Alice Coat must be set aside for the time being.

However, some apron fabric was obtained, as well as unnecessary-but-gorgeous upholstery-weight green stripe fabric (50% off red tag WOO) that does all kinds of things to the imagination.

Rigaud, Little Dorrit (2008)

Tim Burton/Victorian/Steampunky imagery has already begun to stew in my brain. I'm feeling some sort of waistcoat... a le Rigaud in Little Dorrit...?

Back to working on the Tinkerer's Frock close, yet so bloody far from being done!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Alice Coat Pt. II (Setback)

I finally decided on a pattern/style to use, and began cutting my coat out, but sadly I am about 1/2 yard short of the necessary velvet. Hopefully, what they have at the fabric store matches. It probably won't be from the same batch, considering how long ago I bought this fabric-because I got it extremely on sale. Hence why I did not properly estimate yardage -I only had a vague idea what I wanted it for.

So yet again, this project has to be set aside...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Madame Chan Visits Victoria (finished product)

"When Chinese robber baroness Madame Chan, purported head of the Brass Lotus triad, was invited to visit upon the most powerful woman in the world, she had her dressmakers create a piece to honour Queen Victoria while manitaining her autonomy and pride of heritage." 
~ The East Gains Steam by Professor Brathwaite

This is a reconstruction of that piece.

Traditional style Asian jacket in olive and buttercream rayon, silk/rayon brocade. Addition of bustle in back, a nod to the high fashion trends of the late Victorian era.

Handmade frog closures in cream brocade contrast to match cuffs and bustle.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Alice Coat Pt. I

Not feeling this design/mock-up...
Obviously, the fit is for a man, too bulky/baggy in the shoulders and back, not flowy enough in the skirt portion to resemble the Alice Coat. I am considering patterns to alter or drafting. Suppose I was just being a lazyass, wanting to just use a pattern I had on hand without any work. But for how much velvet costs (even though mine was on sale), I guess I should put the effort in...

Friday, January 7, 2011

THE VICTORIAN DRESS PROJECT: Part I (the pattern books)

I got my pattern books yesterday! YAY! 

And just for the hell of it (or because I am a history/craft geek)...
Now I can choose a specific style dress...

Monday, January 3, 2011


Oh wait, that's a perpetual atmospheric condition in our apartment...

There's no before picture, but let's just say this is a vast improvement over sitting cross-legged on the floor and sewing with the machines on a metal folding chair and wobbly old piano bench...

My parents got me a table and chair set for Christmas, and it's already been taken over by sewing paraphernalia.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year, New Blog

Seems like an appropriate time to start a venture such as this, ie introducing yet another craft-oriented blog into the webiverse.

If there are so many, what's novel about mine? Nothing, really. Firstly, it simply seems a waste to lose all of the procedure and work involved in designing, crafting, and finishing pieces that border on artwork. Also, due to the mass-produced, on-the-rack nature of clothing items, the majority of people are completely unaware of the effort and time that goes into a handmade piece. Secondly, this has the potential to keep a bit more focused and on track by actually writing down my crafting thoughts and goals, rather than keeping them confined to my messy brain.

To that end,

Some Goals for 2011:

  • Alice Coat (to go with my dress -below- based on SyFy's Alice)

  • Madame Chan Meets Victoria Steampunk Tunic (already in progress)
  • Tinkerer's Frock Coat (only requires finishing touches)

  • Design Simpler Version of Tinkerer's Frock Coat
  • Butterick 4790 in Rockabilly Cherry Fabric (pattern image below)
  • Non-seasonal Kitchen Apron
  • Pajamas that were supposed to be a Christmas present for roommate (dinosaur flannel, of course!)
  • Project for Daily Commute by Bus (likely involving hand embroidery)
  • Halloween Costume of Elaborateness (specifics yet to be determined...)
  • Victorian Day Dress (to be completed by my birthday, as a birthday present to me-selfish, I know)
    • Underpinnings
    • Corset
    • Dress
    • gloves & parasol?
    • acquirement of granny boots (which I do not have the capability to make myself) 
Let the sewing begin...