Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Where is everyone?

Vicky of Another Sewing Scientist had the brilliant idea of putting together a map of where everyone is based.   This way, you can find other sewers in your general area (or nifty people to meet/recommend cool fabric stores when you travel)    People of Philly or Baltimore (I'm in both cities quite often)  we can meet! Eat tasty things!  Admire each other!  

copied from Vicky, here's how to participate:

Open this link to get to Map the Sewintists   
Click on the red Edit button on the left
Click on the blue pin on the upper left of the map
Click on your location to drop the pin
A box will open that will allow you to add your name or blog URL in rich text 
Save et voilĂ ! 

**********update from users:  it appears that you cannot pin if you are using a mobile device / tablet; also, you may need to use Firefox since other browsers may not work; finally, you must be signed into your google account.  If worse comes to worst and you can't pin after trying all this, just comment below with your location and info you want to include, and I'll pin you! 

I would strongly advise people to only pin their general location or closest city, since we don`t want creepers peeping in our windows while we sew in our unders, do we?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

We have a winner!

So - it went like this:

"Kel, pick a number between 0 and 5"
"no -- between 0 and 5.  As in 1, 2, 3,4"

And thus began an argument on closed vs. open sets and how best to express such things.   Anyhow, eventually we got back to the numbers, and after declaring me insane, he went with 2 and I gave him some context.  

Checking back with the original post, this makes Amanda our winner!   Well done.  Skill and Valour.  (Also, convenient for me, as she is the only one of the entrants I know in real life, which means a hefty savings on postage half-way around the world.)   Sadly, she does not blog, so I'll have to get pictures up here at some point.

In actual sewing news:
-The lining of my coat is more than half-way done (no, I haven't forgotten about it - I just haven't gotten around to taking pictures.  Winter and whatnot.)  (I vote for summer.  Also temperatures above freezing)
-I have another pair of jeans cut out and about a quarter put together (again, no pictures, yes, lame)

INSTEAD, I offer you Fashion It So - a glorious blog about the fashions of Star Trek: The Next Generation. For context, I was Captain Picard in fourth grade.  Not Halloween - fourth grade.  Every day at recess. Somehow this became the cool thing and even the kids who didn't watch played along (They were aliens and more or less caused mayhem.)



Monday, February 11, 2013

Historical Sew-Fortnightly - Under-it-All

For this fortnight's venture into the frothy-costumy-underbelly of my soul, we have Tudor undergarments.  Specifically a bumroll and pair of bodies (corset, stays, same thing, period name)   (fun fact: hoopskirts were farthingales.  Also, spelling was optional)

The bumroll - which is about to get hardly any attention at all - is made from scraps of cotton, cut in the shape of a crescent moon, stuffed with batting and tied onto my waist with grosgrain ribbon.   While the materials aren't period, the shape and purpose is.  It was used to exaggerate the hips to make the waist look small by comparison.   Rich women wore them with farthingales, for that extra oomph, which the poorer folk had to make due with regular padded hips.

The Tudors were all about the double-conical silhouette (think hour glass - but not the curvy kind - actual stacked cones.) which is achieved by flattening the bust and expanding the hips.

Corsets at the time (despite not yet being called corsets) didn't actually constrict the waist.  They flattened out the front and more or less just held everything else in place.

marking boning channels....
I used the pattern generator and fully boned tabs option from Elizabethan Costuming to create this pattern.   I had to make slight modifications -- the top back came out too far and would have overlapped, so I removed a triangular chuck from each side to even it out.

I'm also starting to think I'm short waisted, as the tabs hit me a little too low.  However, all this can be fixed in the next version!  (yes, there shall be MORE)

I got really good at this by the end....

This iteration was made of a dark blue linen dress I made a few years ago and loathed.   It was one of those rush and hurry jobs for an event and it came out terribly.  Every so often I'd poke at it, but it finally came time to put it out of its misery.

For boning, I used heavy duty zip ties, cut to length and filed down to be lovely and round, least they poke holes in my stays.  (I can't even use a consistent term...)

 I also went a bit rouge when it came to lacing -- stays (see! consistent ) of the period would have had sewn eyelets, metal grommets still being rather far in the future.   However, those would have taken approximately six thousand years and the button holer and I are still not on friendly terms.

I also went with standard (now) cris-cross lacing.  Turns out the Tudors, wacky bunch that the are,  would have used one strand, going back and forth like a zig-zag (or hand-sewing....) however this does tend to make the ends un-even and is nearly impossible to get into without help.

The Challenge: #3 –Under it All

Fabric:  pair-of-bodies: linen,  bumroll: cotton
Pattern:  pair-of-bodies: Elizabethan Custom Corset Generator, bumroll: self-drafted
Year:  circa 1550
Notions:  pair-of-bodies: heavy-duty zip-ties, grommets, rope.
bumroll: grograin ribbon
How historically accurate is it? the shapes and patterns behind both items are actually pretty accurate.  Other than the linen, my materials and construction methods were quite modern)
Hours to complete: pair-of-bodies: on the order of 12 hours (a lot of that was spent filing stays)
bumroll: maybe 30 minutes
First worn: not yet worn outside my house
Total cost: free - I made it from scraps left over from other things

Saturday, February 9, 2013

2nd Blogoversary + Give away

Wasn't really paying attention to the date, and then I saw that Oona had missed her blogoversary  and realized it was about time for mine too.   Turns out we're both February 8th - go figure.    Clearly it was an auspicious day.

Anyhow - I've decided to do a give away, and to try to make it more interesting than the last, aborted, attempt there are options!   If you win, you get to pick your favorite, and this is open to everyone everywhere.   Just leave a comment and I'll pick someone next Saturday, on the 16th.

 Our first option is this undated number that appears to be from the 70s - it includes a tunic, jacket (basically a shorter version of the tunic, but with long sleeves) and pants and is a single size:  38 bust / 40 hip.  It has a snazzy front opening zipper and patch pockets that double as belt loops.

Next up, is this dress from 1967 with interesting side diagonal darts (look closely at the green and beige versions), optional pockets built in over the hip dart and a raised collar.  It comes in a bust-34.  (Although the envelope is ripped, the pattern is fine.)

And the final option is a modern infinity dress - McCall's standard sizing 6-14 and uncut.

Anyhow, should any of these strike your fancy, let me know by Feb 16th.  I'll do a drawing soon after and the winner can pick which one she (or he) would like.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Action Jeans!

kick! kick! kick!

Snazzy new jeans - with real high kick action!  So yes, depending on fit and amount of stretch, this can be done in normal jeans -- I find it does eventually tear a hole in the crotch - which ideally won't be happening to these, thanks to the glories of a crotch gusset!

the gusset in question

Turns out such things are fairly standard on high quality men's workpants - when stretching and moving and whatnot are important.  Like armpit gussets, they reduce the strain on the surrounding pieces of fabric, and add crossgrain stretch and motion.   To draft one, just take a chunk out of the front and back of the crotch (more from the back, so it doesn't show)

The gusset itself should be cut on the fold, thus eliminating the mid-crotch part of the seam.    Remove the green parts from the front and back and attach them to each other to become el gussetto.  (Don't forget seam allowances - esp flat-felling seam allowances)

And the best part, is you can't see the gusset during normal wear, being all tucked away and invisible (granted, if you start doing cart-wheels and what not, which is kind of the point of the whole thing, then, yes, it will probably show)

[short rant about the impossibility of properly photographing dark fabric without a professional lighting set up in the evenings in winter - you know how it goes]

Sunday, February 3, 2013


.....what base creature would make the cover out of polyester? 

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