Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Steampunk Expedition III: Mystery at the Museum (and Mummy Huntress Costume)


SCARF: White Cotton Gauze, Simplicity 2581
HAT: French Pith Helmet, Village Hat Shop
CORSET: Truly Victorian's Edwardian Corset Pattern TVE01
CAMISOLE: White Cotton Poplin, based on Edwardian Corset Covers
BOOTS: Victorian costume boots, (apparently discontinued/nonexistent)
BANDOLIERS & CATRIDGES: Black Poly & Wide Elastic, Glass Vials
AETHERAY GUN: Spray-painted squirt gun with mounted glass vial top (interchangeable vials)
BELT: Combed Cotton, Brass Grommets, Buckle
TROWEL: Marshalltown, Home Depot
MACHETE: Cheapo from Walmart, wrapped handle and sheath cover in faux leather
GLOVES: Crochet, by Zoia on etsy



Mummy Huntress, Cowgirl Adventurer, Steampunk Ghostbusters (with detector and proton pack), Lord-Adventurer, Lady Archaeologist (equipped with Trowel)



 Okay, if I had the energy, I would also write up the Mystery at the Museum, pseudo-clue style, life-size board game I made up for the party, but alas... I'm lazy. Maybe for a later post.


(Some cheating on my part with store bought comestibles)

Chocolate Chip Scones
Choclate Raspberry Pound Cakes
(Frozen/Purchased) Cream Puffs
(Frozen/Purchased) Spinach Puffs
Checkerboard Sandwiches
Roast Beef (French Dip Crockpot Recipe)
Vermont Crackers
Stuffed Dates
Clotted Cream
Raspberry Preserves
Other Additives (Rum, Whiskey, Sortilege)



Sloppy/Cheap Petit Fours = Hershey's Chocolate Raspberry Pound Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting

I made the cake batter to directions, only without reserving part of the preserves to spread over top.   Also, I divided the batter in half, into two 13x9x2 pans. Line the bottoms with parchment or freezer paper, and loosen/remove cakes from pans after cooling for about ten minutes. Cool completely.

My Frosting Experiment 

-8oz Cream Cheese
-1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter
-Approximately 1 cup Confectioner's Sugar
-Raspberry Extract
-Red Food Color

1. Cream butter and cream cheese together.
2. Add sugar and blend, about half a cup at a time until sweetened to taste, keeping the texture smooth but thick (you want it to be able to paste your cake layers together).
3. Add about a teaspoon of vanilla extract (to taste).
4. If desired, add a drop or two of raspberry extract (to taste).
5. Add red food coloring for pink effect. 
6. Blend thoroughly until smooth. 
7. Spread frosting on top of one sheet cake. Place other cake on top. Refrigerate until frosting is firmly set. Cut cake horizontally and vertically into squares.
8. Serve at Tea!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Edwardian Corset (Truly Victorian TVE01)

Edwardian Corset with Victorian Undergarments

Truly Victorian Pattern TVE01
PATTERN: Truly Victorian 1903 Edwardian Corset

 I decided to go more Edwardian with my newest Steampunk outfit, and since I was due for a new corset (my good Victorian overbust one is a little worn out), I figured why not try out the 'pigeon breasted' style? (Also, I always like to try new things, rather than making the same old thing constantly.)

I did a mock-up, which was necessary but also felt like a waste of time, since it didn't seem to need any adjustments. However, after trying the finished product on with the boning finally in, I realized it was too long (cut into my upper thighs when sitting). I did opt for the longest variation of the sizing, since they said the longer the better. These photos are of before I made the adjustment, trimming 1/2 inch off the bottom, shuffling some of the spring steel stays about (for proper lengths in the proper places) and then sewing on new binding. Not a difficult fix.

Spot Broche Single Layer Corset
Since the dot broche (pink on cream) corset fabric, spring steel boning, busks, eyelets, and cording totaled up to a rather hefty cost for a DIY project (I now understand why corset-makers charge $300 for a single piece), I used trim I already had, and bias tape for the boning channels and to finish all of the seams (since it's a single layer corset).

Pigeon-Breasted Silhouette
As for the Edwardian 'Pigeon Breasted' silhouette... The corset cinches at the waist but flares out in the front so as not to compress the ribcage, or even touch it really, for that matter. This pattern comes with the hip pad (basically the same function as the bustle pad used beneath Victorian corsets) and two different bust pads (inner and outer). Unfortunately, there are no directions on how these pads are to be used/stuffed into the corset. I took to using the 'inner bust pads'  as support lower in the corset to fill in the gap between the corset and my rib cage. I didn't like how the 'outer bust pads' worked, trying them several different ways, so I searched the internet for some info on Edwardian corset padding, and found this nifty blog by Lauren, Wearing History. I believe I have stumbled upon it before, as she creates some very awesome retro and historical pieces. She created an alternative 'bust improver' to go with her gorgeous Truly Victorian Edwardian Corset, based on some period pieces. She also has created a pattern. If I was a good fellow artisan, I would've purchased said downloadable pattern in support. But I just winged my own version instead.

'Bust Improver' Padding with Lace for Edwardian Corset

I have to say, as ridiculously busty as it looks on me (see photo), it looks five times worse on my dress form, which apparently is only a 'B' cup and not as broad of shoulder. Also, doesn't look quite right in these photos, because lacking any Edwardian undergarments, I just adorned Victorian chemise and bloomers.

This corset will go beneath an Edwardian-style Camisole/Corset Cover, paired with a Riding Skirt (which is still under construction...), Pith Helmet with scarf, and some accessories.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

New Swimwear & 'Cover Up'

Not sure, why, but wanted some swimwear, primarily to wear in the summer beneath this 'cover up'. Honestly, the blue eyelet tunic-thing is among my repertoire of 'around the house' dresses, and I just where it over my underwear. But that's not 'out in the world' appropriate, for obvious reasons, so some little spandex shorts seemed like a good idea... and why not just go that one extra step, make a bikini/brief bottom lining out of leftover nude swimwear fabric, and it functions as swimsuit bottoms, too. The top was an experiment with the new Simplicity pattern... but I should've just went with my own design for a retro halter-ish top. The straps were too long, even thought I fusible interfaced the spandex to prevent stretching, and the shape isn't conducive to larger cup sizes, in my opinion (breasts sitting awkwardly/uncomfortably low).

This tunic (I think that's actually the most appropriate term) is made from blue cotton eyelet I got on sale, using Butterick 4685, only extending the length to mid-thigh. And since my elastic was MIA (ended up ordering more... possibly because I used it all and didn't remember), it has button holes in the center front and drawstrings out of ribbon instead. Trimmed with a strip of floral lace.


 Top is Simplicity 1426, only cut smaller in certain places to allow for stretch of spandex material. This is variation B, only with the straps pinned together at the nape of the neck, since they were too long. Bottoms are loosely based on my new favourite pant pattern Butterick 5895, a high-waisted retro pant, again cut differently to compensate for stretchy fabric.

Do any of you other seamstress or fashion bloggers ever get a weird picture when you're setting your camera timer up to take about a hundred shots just to get one that perfectly captures your outfit? Or is it just me who is so incredibly unphotogenic that it takes fifty to a hundred photos to get just a few good ones? Anyway, here's one for you...

I look like a body-builder woman. The camera must have captured the exact moment all my muscles were tensed, for some reason. It's a little creepy and mannish, is it not? Consider the contrast with how soft and sort of pudgy I look in the previous photo. Goes to show that photos only capture a person in a single instant of time, not the whole of them.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Retro Denim Pants (Butterick 5895)


High-waisted, extremely fitted, a retro 'patterns by Gertie', Butterick 5895

I've now made two pretty faithful productions of these retro pants, as well as a full length tuxedo pant variation, and a couple pairs of stretchy spandex shorts.

  If using less stretchy fabric, such as denim with minimal spandex content, consider your calf size! Very, very tight around my poor calves, but once I manage to pull them up past that level, and fold up the bottoms around my knees, we're golden... until I have to very carefully, painfully manipulate them back down over my calves to get them off... should have paid more attention to the hem width. 

But SO cute!