Monday, May 21, 2018

Outlander inspried dresses.

While the poor Eleanora de Toledo dress has been sitting around waiting for attention I have still been sewing. Inspired by the Outlander series and the local Highland Gathering and Quilt Run, I whipped up a dress and hat to wear.

I used the Simplicity patterns for the dress, which was easy to follow and didn't need any adjusting over the stays I had on hand. The amazing Jacobean style fabric for the underskirt and stomacher came from a local quilting shop in Mandurah called 'Sew Connected'. The hat started life as a $7 straw look sunhat in a discount store and was unpicked and restitched to suit the dress.

I wore it to the event and had a ball meeting people. So many people wanted the dress I ran a series of classes on how to make a similar dress at a local arts centre.

Eleanora de Toledo dress....yes its still going.....but getting closer

It has been a long time coming (over 2000 hours) but finally I have finished the black couching on the gold motifs on the skirt....levelling up and moving onto all of the gold couching on the black motifs. There is still a lot of work to do. There are 56 black motifs like the ones above my hand in the photo and they take about 15 minutes each. After that some more work on the large circular motifs before I can move onto the sleeves.

Monday, February 6, 2017

dusts off some cobwebs.....

Well it looks like I may have neglected my blog just a little bit....ok, just a lot. Lets try again shall we.

I am still working on the Toledo gown, and am now down to the last half dozen large gold pieces in terms of the couching, then a few of the smaller pieces and then its on to the gold on black couching. I can actually see that there is an end in sight. Aiming for the SCA Lochac May Crown event, which will be held near Perth, Western Australia. So if you want to see the dress finished and worn, this is the event (and Anealan/Abertridwr hospitality is famous).

Can't wait to start assembling the dress.

Monday, January 19, 2015

January Update

So, as promised, a new month a new blog post...with pictures even.

I am participating in the Historic Sew Monthly Challenge (  and the first challenge is Foundations, so I thought I would make an 1865 elliptical Cage Crinoline using the Truly Victorian pattern TV103. The pattern was super easy to transfer onto Vilene (to preserve the original pattern for future use) and construct and some 20 hours later ...voila, one lovely crinoline. Now I just need to finish a corset, some petticoats and a dress to wear over it. The dress will have to wait till the March challenge.

Over the Christmas break I also did some work to a couple of Disney princess costumes I am making for a costume group I am joining that does a lot of charity work, visits hospitals etc.

Snow white is progressing, but the skirt is just too full when compared to the original Disney version, so I have taken two panels off the back and am reshaping the skirt panels to give less fullness at the waist without loosing too much fullness at the hem.

There has also been progress on a tulle petticoat for under the Cinderella dress. 20m of silver bridal tulle in 9 layers.
I have also been making a cotton under dress similar to the 16c kirtles I wear under my Elizabethan clothing. It makes it so much easier to fit over bodices when you have a consistent shape underneath - does that make any sense? The bodice will be boned, probably with a mix of flat and spiral steel to give the support I am after. The skirt is in two layers cut in a full circle trimmed with a frill on each layer. I am hoping that this will help hold the over skirts out a bit more. Pictures of this one to come.
After fitting the under bodice, I will have to take in the blue Snow White bodice a little, between 1.5 and 2cm depending on seams. the shoulder seams will have to be dropped a little as well. 

And because it was coming up to a new year, I thought I should try a new dress pattern. This is the Vogue Badgley Mishka pattern V1374 and literally took me 4 hours to transfer pattern to Vilene and get to this stage (hems and binding left to do) it has a lovely cowl back and the fit is just amazing....did I mention 4 hours? At this point I threw it in the washing machine and left it to hang so any stretching can take place before I finish the hem....nope, still haven't finished it lol. But I did make a second version in blue jersey, knee length and I raised the back a little so I can wear it to work.

In an effort to be organised, I have also created a table of all of the projects and events I would like to either make or attend this year. The other thing I am doing is keeping a sewing diary to keep track of what I do or don't do on a daily basis, so I can get an idea of how much time things take and cost. Both are already starting to have benefits. I remembered what I have done so I could do a blog post and I have ordered some supplies for future projects, although this year I am going to try and work my way through some of my existing stash.

And lastly, one of the projects I finished off in November was a sad clown tutufor a lovely ballerina.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

What do you mean it's December already!

Well it seems like the year has flown by and I haven't posted anything since January....ooops. I have been busy doing all sorts of exciting sewing projects, moving house, working my daily 9-5 job and just watching the year scream on terribly sorry if you have been checking in regularly, because apparently I haven't.

New Years resolution. ..... Blog at least once a month.

I read a few blogs and find the, so useful and inspiring, I really should be sharing more of what I'm doing in return.

Some of the things I have been doing/learning this year, making tutus for a friends daughter and one for myself for a figure skating competition ( small, end of term class comp, don't expect to see me in the Olympics any time soon), learned stretch sewing for my figure skating costumes, a sixteenth century German dress and hat, remaking some Italian style dresses into Elizabethan ones I'll actually wear, and at the moment making some Disney princess dresses.

But if your worried you have missed the great unveiling of THE dress, yes the never ending Eleanora of Toledo gown, never's still not finished. I really must get stuck into that again. I'll get it set up on its frame again to finish the couching as soon as I sort out the new sewing room.

Next year really should be about finishing off some long term projects, making the Fairy Godmother's dress from the new Cinderella movie, a Melisandra dress for a Game of Thrones cosplay with friends and probably whatever else takes my fancy :) there will definatley be more ice skating costumes and tutus :)

So again, huge apologies to everyone who has been checking in. I'll try to write more next year. Till then (I may post some pics if this years projects later) stay safe and have a fabulously creative festive season x

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Well hello 2014

It seems the more I try to get done, the quicker the days run away. Oh well.....what have I been up too? Casting lots of buttons - 80 have been sent over to Laura for her Eleanora Dress and I have run out of metal so need to get into the city to get some more so I can cast the rest of mine.

Sartor, a Czechoslovakian company has just released a woven version of the Eleanora fabric. It is quite different to mine, but equally as beautiful, the photo doesn't do it justice. I had to buy some ... just to compare it. It wont be made into an Italian style dress though, I have something more Elizabethan in mind for it.

I don't often purchase fabric online, preferring to feel the weight and texture of fabrics rather than look at them online, however the two companies I have dealt with recently for online purchases have been fabulous and deserve a mention:
  • Sartor - the Eleanora and "Swans and Lions" fabrics. beautiful fabric and great customer service; and
  • Kutwell Fabric in Christchurch NZ. I came across some blue wool fabric via a photo on FB, contacted them Monday via email and fabric arrived on Friday. So easy to work with and beautiful fabric.
I have also been busy working on some pretty dresses for work and a few costuming projects that are going to evolve over the year, some 20's, 30's and 40's outfits, a proposal for an artist in residency program and more historical costuming just because I can. Now that I have a new laptop (my other one a most inconvenient time) I shall endeavour to be more diligent about posting updates.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Button success

Success. The buttons are casting nicely :) I have the quantity of metal just about right and the next step will be making more moulds so I can cast a few at a time. 

The basic process is as follows:
The mould is dusted with talk then warmed under a wheat bag while the metal is melted over a low gas flame. When the metal is melted nicely and really fluid I heat the lip of the mini fry pan crucible and quickly pour the molten metal into the mould, wait a minute or so and then lift the new button out. 

The consistency is pretty good, though if you look closely, no two are identical, which is kind of the point of hand crafted things. 

I will be undercoating them in a mat black paint, then spraying them in a nice gold paint and dry rushing with an antique gold to bring out the highlights. Then I'll attach button backs and pop them on the as yet unfinished sleeves :).