Saturday, June 2, 2012

Red Swiss waist!

Over Memorial day weekend we decided to go to Greenfield Village and got all dressed up for it. Saw a few sewing academy ladies (It's so interesting to see some of those creations in PERSON!!!) and I wore my red Swiss body/waist for the first time. Even though temperatures were in the high 90s I actually was quite comfortable in my lovely big skirt and nice sheer cotton bodice. I could seriously feel the breeze, and from the waist up was wearing lighter clothing than most of the modern stuff I wear in the summer time!
The skirt is a lovely wool/silk blend that I got for an absolutely WONderful price, the Swiss body is a black/red shantung with very little in the way of slubs, leftover from a modern (well, ok, repro 1950s) dress, and the bodice is white cotton dotted swiss with a muslin half-high lining. Patterns are mine own! The skirt is made with double box pleats (basically a box pleat on top of another box pleat) and the back is gauged. I made the back of the swiss waist pointed which I think I might change because the point is not curved enough and sits on top of the skirt, bending it out from the body. Not really pretty... The Swiss waist is lined in twill with some plastic boning, self-fabric trim with hand sewn eyelets and a black satin ribbon (VERY thin) as the ties. The bodice has a half-high lining which is not attached to the outer layer. It's short-sleeved with cotton lace on the neck and the sleeves. It's darted to fit. The outer layer is gathered in the back and front at the waist and attached to a waistband, the closure is hook and eyes.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mauve wool gown

It's been a while since I've posted last, but I hope to remedy that in the next several months. I have a few sewing projects lined up and I'm starting to have time worked out to do them again. One thing I would really like to work on is how LONG it takes me to do something. I've recently discovered the joys of handsewing things, which is good because the piece of clothing is less bulky and more workable, but bad because it takes a lot longer, and I didn't have that much time in the first place. However, handsewing makes things a lot more portable. I would like to make it so I can do quality work (up to MY standards) in a 24 hour period without breaking my fingers or my back. :D Sounds simple, right? Those of you who sew know it's not so much. Those of you who don't probably have an idea! One of the biggest things I've decided to do is make the same dress over and over. I have a pretty good imagination when it comes to making the same design six or seven different ways and I don't get tired of a thing easily. I just hope I find other people who agree with me to buy the gorgeous stuff! :D Here is my current project, and I didn't get around to bringing in the camera until well into it. My grandmother asked me to talk a bit about wedding gowns of the American Civil War era to her Quester's group which was doing a report on wedding gowns of the eras. It was short notice to get a dress done and she knew it, so told me IF I had anything suitable to wear it, if I would. I didn't...though I had been planning this dress last year when she asked me if I could do this for a much larger scale wedding show they had been planning to do this past January. I'd also been planning a bonnet, and hoping to buy a bonnet veil, but I didn't have time for either. So of course I couldn't just give the talk. And usually four weeks is more than enough for me to make a dress in, but this time we were working on two different houses and I've had a lot more responsibilities given to me since last year. I wanted to do a double point in the front (thought this was called a postillion bodice, but it turns out it's not. I don't really know the proper name for it IS) and double box pleats, and lots of these faceted glass buttons down the front. The sleeves again have the silk pleating on the inside, and I am currently playing with decorations.
This is my current model, though I might change it. Obviously the decorations would continue on BOTH sides of the gown! I do like asymmetry, but not to that extent. ETA: More trim ideas!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Making a rosette

Here is a tutorial of a rosette. It started out the same rosette as the one I made for my purple silk belt, only because I didn't measure (VERY BAD GIRL) it was large and I made all the layers the same size. I will (hopefully) be making the belt to accompany it shortly, only I keep running into unexpected time shortages and my sewing has suffered. :D However, silk belts are great things to do by hand, and I hope to bring it on one of the unexpected trips! If I do I'll be sure to bring the camera. In the meantime, the technique works for all sizes of rosettes, and is pretty malleable so you can make lots of variations.

I started out with a strip of silk (this is actually dupioni, though it is very crisp and thin and has relatively few slubs) about 3 inches wide (forgot to measure before I started...sorry guys...) and about 40 inches long. I am using the selvage edge for the inner workings, which is either smart or cheating depending how you look at it. I usually like to rip the strips so that it's perfectly straight, however I couldn't this time because I was using scraps and didn't want to piece, so my longest edge was parallel with the warp, not the weft...and let me tell you, I found it impossible to tear along the warp. Which, if you look up the diagram like I just did, becomes quite obviously impossible.
I started fringing it by smoothing the warp threads away from the weft with my thumb. I find it most useful to do it that way (between thumb and forefinger) because the weft doesn't tangle that way. If you try to simply pull out threads individually from the end they end up pulling all the cross threads into a ponytail, and you have to patiently sort things out again.

Then I trimmed the fringe. Use the sharpest pair of scissor you own, because it's like cutting hair! Very slippery. If you rip the silk you won't need to do this because it will be straight, but I cut the strip and it wasn't quite straight. If you cut it straight you can also forget this step. :D

Then I marked with tailor's chalk on the half inch (Next time I will do it on the 1/4, because 1/2 was too wide in the end) I like the chalk because it does rub out, and is easy to see on most fabrics. I also have phobias about markers and fabric, even if the marker washes out!!! Also, tailor's chalk is, I believe, more authentic. :D

Pinch the first two marks together

I put two stitches in almost the same spot, through the fold created by pinching the two marks together

Continue on with taking the next two marks and pinching together, putting the two stitches into the fold. It will start to curl, and the shorter the distance between marks, the more it will curl.

Turn the very end under twice and fasten with stitches.

Crimp the selvage edge in an extra pleat until the end of the strip forms a half-circle; sew a few holding stitches into the new pleat, holding it in place. Repeat, completing the circle. Bring your next length of pleated silk around behind the beginning of your first circle, stitching at intervals to keep things together. Continue around in a circle until all of the silk strip is used up. After completing the first circle you shouldn't need to add extra pleats

Secure the end, add a button in the middle, and your rosette is completed!