Sunday, March 20, 2011

Overall Status Update

So I had been spoiled by work being slow at my 'real' job. Now that the other embroiderer is on vacation, of course we got inundated with work, and I'm working long-ass days and have absolutely no energy to sew in the few hours I have of free time.

Still hoping to get my raincoat done. And I have to make a baby gift for my other cousin who is expecting.

This week is probably going to me more of the same as last week, so we'll see how badly I fail to meet my goals this month...

Sunday, March 13, 2011


So I don't even want to talk about this...I've never had such a rough time with a piece before. Should have been completely interfaced (note overall wrinkliness of velvet). Should've checked the hem against my dress length (probably should go back and let it out, but I am just so sick of this piece...not even sure if I can wear it at this point)...

Where lapel should sit

I am busty so the lapel falls to the side

Full Flare from Waist

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Waistcoat + Corset = Waistcorset

Today's project... better pictures will be forthcoming when I have access to daylight :-/ (Got to love winter)

Original Concept Sketch...

Sunday, March 6, 2011


   I take it back, the Dritz eyelets worked quite well. Just took a deal of time, using tailor's awl, cutting, fray-checking and installing each eyelet.

Next time I'll make a size 12, since this is only moderately-laced and the back is about to meet at the waist. I think the rule of thumb is at least a couple inches even with tight-lacers (which I am not).

I am glad I went with the gusset variation, since my breasts are a bit crushed in this, but hey, it gives you the cleavage (nicely hidden by the chemise). Not to be worn without under layer or over layer, for certain. 


Not only are their notions tremendously overpriced, but their selection is minimal, and their Dritz products align with no other tools or grommet/eyelet standards known to man.  They only had silver eyelets in a size supposedly the same as a #0 (1/4"), so I thought it was worth a try ($8 later). But of course, they don't work with a non-dritz size #0 (1/4) tool.

Needless, to say, if I want silver grommets, I'm going to have to order some (which I cannot find in the narrower flange width!!!) and my corset will sit unfinished, along with a bajillion other projects... *Addendum: I can place them with a small setter I have and hammer... this should be fun. And the downstairs neighbors are already complainers about the sewing machine running...*

I also bailed on using the lining fabric for the trim on my Alice Coat, since it was twisting and puckering like mad! Thusly, I decided a prepackaged blanket binding would be excellent, since it has more stretch/give and can smoothly round the corners on the lapel). However, there was no blanket binding in any color remotely close to what I need... no burgundy, maroon, wine, shades/tints of pink (like my lining fabric)...FAIL There was some regular double-fold 7/8" bias tape in Wine however, so I'll give it a go. I'm afraid it's just not going to lay flat like I want it to around the turns in the lapel... I'll have to just put a joint in, I guess (like I tried to do with the lining bias trim that was just an all around fail.

Brocades for Madame Chan Custom Order
Successfully, I did acquire the fabric for the custom order Madame Chan Jacket and thusly saved on the shipping...and got use a couple coupons. The first two were selected options... I saw the black-on-black medallion brocade, and thought it would be a brilliant accent if the customer decides to go with red as the main body of the jacket.

And I finally sucked it up and bought a bolt of muslin for mock-ups... now I have no excuse not to start drafting my Victorian dress.

Buttons were also acquired for my raincoat. :-)
 This is the fabric I had ordered (fancy laminated stuff).

Saturday, March 5, 2011


So, this would've been done today, except since my room mate/sewing buddy and I have a jo-ann trip planned for tomorrow, I'm holding out the hope that I might be able to acquire silver grommets/eyelets of the appropriate size (not very likely, but worth the try if I might be able to get the hardware on my corset to match).
Finished Corset, minus grommets & lacing, edges hand-bound (quilting method) in the silk
Naturally, I had stopped following the pattern instructions about two seconds into this project :-) They wanted one to use twill tape/ribbon/bias tape to make channels for the boning. This step would be done after putting the corset, lining and facing together. If I were to follow these instructions, I would be required to sew the ribbon to the inside/lining of the corset. This I do not like. You can pin as much as you like, but fabric (especially multi-layered fabric, with silk being one layer) will shift when you sew it. And since I'd be sewing from the inside of the corset, I'd be blind to what the outside look. Stitching can look smashingly straight on the side you're sewing but turn out completely wonky on the underside. Which in the case of this project would be the outside of the corset. I don't think so! Thusly, when I make corsets/waistcinches/etc with boning, I just sew from the outside/right side to form the channels (running them in the ditch -yes, I was taught to sew by a quilter) and parallel to them. Since this follows their placement for the ribbon channels, the give of the garment remains the same. And looks SO much better (in my OCD-driven opinion).
Sewing boning channels from outside of corset

Thursday, March 3, 2011


  • Finishing touches on Alice Coat? (I got briefly mad at it and had to set it aside... also waiting on appropriate buttons)
  • Chemise & Drawers (done and done!)
  • Complete Corset
  • Rain Coat (if I collect up all necessary supplies in time to make this month)
  • Decorate Umbrella & Boots (to match raincoat)
  • Custom Order for Madame Chan Jacket: Red & Black Variation *order has been postponed-can't say I'm disappointed for now I can work on other projects, if I had the time*
  • Choose Dress Pattern/Style for my Victorian dress (and start looking at fabrics)
  • Baby Gift 


Like the reviews of this pattern (Butterick 4254) had warned, it seemed a bit short in the torso (generally not a clothing issue I have, being of short to average height). Anyway, when compared to the simpler corset I had made before (which I like the length of), indeed it needed to be lengthened. I acquired a longer busk to accommodate this alteration in the beginning.  (SIDE NOTE: WHY COULDN'T I FIND A BUSK WITH ANYTHING BESIDES 'SILVER' STUDS & HOOKS?!!! MY GROMMETS ARE BRASS! THIS IS GOING TO BE ROUGH, BUT SINCE BUDGETARY ISSUES ARE NOW A CONCERN, I'M GOING TO HAVE TO LIVE WITH THE CLASHING HARDWARE)
Cut along mark on mock-up where I wanted to extend corset length

Redrafted pieces, lengthening necessary amount (1 1/2")

Corset status at end of day: lining and shell (pictured above) complete, yet to be put together

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

THE VICTORIAN DRESS PROJECT: PART V (Chemise & Drawers Completed)

I sewed up some of the underpinnings for my Victorian costume: Chemise & Drawers.  However, I have not chosen buttons/fasteners yet, so I could only get a photo of the Chemise (with a pin stuck through where the button will go-in the center front yoke).

I considered using the authentic pattern drafts in one of my Victorian pattern collections for the drawers, but from what I could tell, they were the precise same shape as the ones in Simplicity 2890, so it was not worth the time drafting the pieces for the same result.

The fabric I used is a (slightly textured) white-on-white stripe batiste (hence the slip I am wearing under the chemise).


"Look at my cute drawers!"     

Lace trim and tucks

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Smocked Hostess Apron

Got this cute little pattern as a part of a bunch of free vintage patterns... may have to make this one myself. Thought I'd share, since it's so cute!