Tuesday, May 12, 2015

It's time for Big Fun!

Yay to waking up at 8 am with an urge to sew!  The last of my current slew of sewing projects was thanks to Love and Lights Productions, which this spring put on Heathers: The Musical.  It was fucking awesome!  Dan was Ram Sweeny and I did a bit of costume alterations and worked the back stage for the four showings.

I wish I would have gotten a better picture of the skirt -_-  I got home at 2:30 am after the friday shows and couldn't stop dreaming of Lydia Deetz's uniform, so obviously I woke up at 8, drove to JoAnn's, struck out, went to Walmart, struck out, and came home to 2.7 yards of a fabric in the correct pattern, but wrong texture.  Whatevs, I'm in the back, I can fake it.

In about four hours, I ironed and sewed down all of the pleats painstakingly matching up all the black lines, got my hair waffled, threw on some falsies, and was ready to roll!  Too bad my hair had absolutely no intention of staying teased (not that it has ever given me that choice EVER).

I love these guys.  This october will be the traditional Rocky Horror Show, followed next spring by American Idiot.  Definitely fun times!

PS: Lipstick is MUFE, and I LOVE IT.

Aethelmeark Coronation 1560's Venetian gown

Dani somehow managed to sucker me back in to formally participating in the SCA and going to Nithgaard meetings and shit where she was teaching how to sew Venetian gowns and needed some assistance.  Dani also suckered me in to joining Pinterest.  So, after about three months of obsession and several long nights indoctrinating me in Game Of Thrones, we made dresses for Coronation.

This portrait was my main inspiration, and what really got me jonesing for punched sleeves.

Just like my Curious Purse, this gown was a Proof of Concept.  In 1560, they would have used a felted wool that had been lightly backed with wax to better keep it from fraying when it was punched.  I was lucky to find a synthetic fabric at Surplus City in a perfect black/rust crossweave.

First I made the bodice with a layer of canvas duck and another of a cheaper and thicker canvas I'd been storing for about eight Pennsics.  I sewed channels for boning and then added the decorative fabric which was hand stitched in place.

I bought ten yards of boning and failed miserably trying to cut it with regular snips. Luckily a hefty pair was $12 at Lowes and I'll probably end up using them for a lot more things in the future.

I made sure I got a very sharp point in the back of my bodice, and that all the channels were properly closed so the bones didn't escape.

In theory, the front should be able to come completely closed at the bottom and have a five inch gap at the top.  This looked well and dandy on the floor, but I did not like this proportion once I put it on.  I should have brought the top in a couple of inches for a more vertical line.  Meh, it's not the end of the world.

Next came a shitload of cartridge pleating.  It was remarkably simple and faster than it probably should have.  After reinforcing the pleats, I attached the top front edge to the bottom of the bodice.  This could have been great, but it definitely needed some help to stick out.  Either the stiff band that everybody tells you to add but you are still going to be too lazy to do, or a bum roll.

Then, came the sleeves.  I took full advantage of this being synthetic and used a pyrograph to cut through the fabric and melt the edge so it wouldn't fray.

Like I said, this was a proof of concept.  After everything was cut out, I had to sew this to a fake chemissette sleeve for it to hold its shape.  It is then that I realized that the beautifully intricate pattern was going to be a little bitch and curl away from my arm at every possible chance.  So I proceeded to tack down every other tab. Meh, whatevs.  I also didn't like visually how open the design was (which was originally what I thought I wanted).

Three strands of pearls and a $2 hair extension later, I was ready to roll.  Mind you, I had to wrap my braid around my head so it didn't get caught in the seat belt.

Too bad I didn't get a picture of the extra long braid encased in "pearls".  It was glorious.

PS: Hand sewing is bad for you.  I left a very significant hole in my finger from several continuous months of projects (not that I'm complaining that I'm finally sewing again!).

Jane Austen (not) Con (but Annual Society Festival)

I am a sucker for cons.  So when my friend Meredith asked me to Jane Austen Con (despite me never having read any of her books), I said yes! So, much to the complaints of my cat, Meredith and GilgaDave came over to my house for two weekends while we sewed and watched All Of The Movies.

We used Sense and Sensibility's Regency era patterns, which were pretty well done and easy to follow.  Mer is very much not a seamstress, and the most difficult part for her was probably taping together all the print outs.  Though I probably cheated a bit and just plowed through everything.  And she has a fantastic tutorial.

Again, I was able to take full advantage of Surplus City's amazingly cheap fabric!  Which is very necessary, because there are too many layers.

Chemise from the Underpinnings packet.  We didn't have time to ALSO make stays, so we cheated with a balconet bra.

A second under dress who's name, for the life of me, I can't remember. My best guess is petticoat.  This is the third of the white layers that I made and I greatly preferred the lines in these gathers.
(Edit: yes, it is a bodiced petticoat)

Long sleeved Regency gown, lined.  The cotton fabric has really cute white flowers on a slightly sheerer white base.

Pelisse.  Yes, this fabric is synthetic, but it was $2/yard!  I got it in a fantastic steel blue and should have gotten it in dusty purple when I saw it in january, but they were sold out by the time we decided to go ahead with this project.

I had some fantastic rusty red microsuede for a spencer, but we ran out of time.  Mer ended up taking everything home to hem and button herself and trim with lace and embroidery and EVERYTHING!  I had also managed to cut out a gown for myself in a lovely dusty pink I had in my stash since about five Pennsics ago, but that fell to the side for me to make on my own time.

So we're in the process of closing up shop and reevaluating my schedule (and deciding whether I wanted to miss a derby game or not), when I understand that this is, in fact, not just "Jane Austen Con", but the Jane Austen Society of North America, Pittsburgh Region's Annual Festival, with a door cost of $90 plus $25 for the ball.  Seeing as how I have never read any of her novels (though I did grow quite fond of the movies and mini series), I decided it best I bow out.  

I also didn't yet have a job, which I finally have one now! And it even has to do with all of my degrees!  Too bad I'm currently employed through a temp agency that is probably skimming way too much out of what the company pays me (which would still not be what I should be getting if I axed the middle man).  But, at least I've finally been employed for the past ten weeks and it even looks like they have no intention of firing me.