madamemodiste: (me 18th c.)
2011-07-10 05:52 pm
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Bastille Day sewing

So here in Philly we celebrate Bastille Day at a big block party outside of Eastern State Penitentiary with champagne in the streets and a storming of the prison where our own Marie Antoinette throws down Tastykakes (local pastry co) exclaiming, "Let them eat Kake!"

It's fun! See? )

So it's usually 100 degrees on Bastille Day, so I decided to make a new cotton polonaise. Stealing a great idea from [ profile] bauhausfrau, I bought two packages of Shabby Chic white voile embroidered curtains at Target and made a skirt. Yay! So here it is:

This was my first experience leveling a skirt from the waist. I found it hard and I won't jump to do it again :) Without the advice of Ms. Amy J, I doubt I would have finished it (she advised I find an object that is the same height from the floor that I want the skirt to be (I used a cracker box), wrap a piece of twill tape around the waist, adjust the fullness evenly, and begin adjusting the hem from the top until the embroidered hem hits the top of the box all the way around)

The bodice will be a black and ivory stripe with pink and green floral ticking. I've had all this fabric in the Stash for several years and I'm so happy to finally get to this project. I hope I finish in time!!

So far today I've only cut out the fashion fabric and lining of the bodice and overskirt.
madamemodiste: (Default)
2011-07-02 10:38 am
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Madeline dress

Whoa...I never shared the Madeline dress I talked about this past winter/spring! I wore it to Costume Con 29 and SPWF.

I haven't gotten any great photos of me wearing the dress, but I promise the back is huuuuge.

Here it is when it was almost done. I love it!

madamemodiste: (Default)
2011-04-05 09:34 am

My first Victorian corset

Well, I finally did it! I made a single layer Victorian corset.

I'm taking a pattern and drafting class at Temple University. Hey, I might as well take advantage of the costume/theatre department and learn sewing skills while I get my degree. Where else can I learn from professionals twice a week and have access to amazing tools and supplies? It's like Project Runway in there!

Anyway, our latest project was to draft and build a corset from scratch. We could pick any era we wanted from the 1500s to the 1950s. I went with 1890s. I picked a pattern I liked from Robert Doyle's Waisted Efforts: an 1892 corset with hip gores. I chose a fancy white coutil for my fabric.

First I had to grid out the pattern because it wasn't printed on a grid. I measured the corset pattern front and back length and measured my own front and back length. When I scaled up the pattern, it had to match my measurements, not the ones on the original, which is too small. With the help of my classmates who have taken math classes much more recently than I have, we figured out the grid so the pattern would draft up closer to my measurements. No, I couldn't repeat that process again if you put a gun to my head.

Once the grid was figured out, I grabbed real life grid paper and started drawing. By hand I drew out each piece in life size, cut them out, transferred them to muslin (with a generous 1 inch seam allowance), cut out the muslin, sewed them together, cut spiral steel, taped them to the places I wanted boning with masking tape, basted on pre-made boned lacing panels, and tried it on.

From there, my professor marked where I needed changes. The bust and hips were too big and the curve from my rib cage to my bust needed to be sharper. It was also longer than I felt was comfortable, so we marked where I wanted the bottom hem to sit (so I could sit without getting poked in the no-no place).

I went back to my paper pattern and, using the "slash and spread" method (or in my case, "slash and squish"), made changes to the pattern pieces that needed them and trued up my edges.

Then I transferred my new pattern to the coutil, sewed them up, put on the boning channels using boning tape, set the busk, altered the previous boning to fit and tipped the bones, made and sewed on self fabric bias binding (by hand inside and outside), and hammered on nearly 3 dozen size 00 two piece grommets. At this point my hands were throbbing!!

and here she is! Of course she fits me better than my dress form, so ignore the fit.

see more here )
madamemodiste: (Default)
2011-03-29 04:48 pm
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Visiting Dress update

Both school work and a nasty cold prevented me from getting much done on this dress. I did get the underskirt made and nearly done. I made both sets of pleats, but I haven't sewn the lower set down yet (it's pinned in place).

It's very bright in my sewing room today, so the color looks a little bit washed out.

see another view here )

I had to do the pleats without my Perfect Pleater because I've come to realize it's bowed. I didn't realize until I tried to make pleats with a stripe in it. Immediately I could tell that the pleats weren't straight, and it matters when there is a stripe. Oh well. It wasn't so bad. I listened to Anthony Trollope's The Duke's Children while I pinned and pressed. The white ribbon I secured with double stick fusable iron-on tape before I pleated. There was no way I was sewing down a ribbon (would have required upper and lower edges, which already have decorative "pick stitching") to that much material. Yup, call me the lazy seamstress!
madamemodiste: (Default)
2011-03-14 10:52 pm

May's striped visiting gown

I've been sewing up a storm, but they are secret projects for the Steampunk World's Fair, so I can't reveal them until May. Anyway, The Croc dress and the Madeline dress are just about finished. I found myself with Judy over at Jomar yesterday and came across a lovely black cotton with white stripes for only $2/yd. I picked up 7 yards and looked through my "striped dress" photos to see if any spoke to me. This one did:

From The Age of Innocence, this is a gown May wears on two occasions while "visiting."

another view )

Since I wanted to make the underskirt out of plain black cotton to save the striped fabric, and I was out of plain black cotton, I started on the overskirt. Here it is shown over an old petticoat that has seen better days.

click here to see my progress )
madamemodiste: (Default)
2011-01-17 09:23 am
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Croc dress progress

Over the weekend I spent a little time on the Croc dress. With the help of a group of friends going to the Steampunk World's Fair, I finally decided on a bodice design. The SPWF is at the end of May, and it might be hot. Since my fabric is all polyester due to my sad, little budget, I don't want long sleeves and a bodice buttoned up to the neck. I needed a design with 3/4 sleeves and an open neckline.

I did interline the bodice (made of the croc fabric) in a sturdy black and white cotton toile. Fun!

So over the weekend I cut out the fashion fabric and interlining, serged the two together, and sewed all the pieces together. Next- boning!
madamemodiste: (Default)
2011-01-15 06:30 pm

Croc dress progress

Some time in the middle of last week I finished most of the skirt. Still need to line the bottom of the tabs and buy red fringe. (Joann's got red bias tape back in stock. yay!)

Today I decided on a design for the bodice and cut the pieces out. That's about it for today since I have to get ready to go out to dinner soon.


In other sewing news, I got sick of the Croc dress and decided to work on a few other things. I made a natural form era over skirt for sale so I could buy trims and such, and sold it to a friend. I also started work on that Period Impressions 1809 spencer pattern. Making it out of a really pretty midnight blue velvet. My measurements were closest to the 28" waist size run, so I cut that one out. Opps. Way, way too big. Does Period Impressions include too much ease like Butterick does?? Since it wasn't a "Big 3" pattern, I assumed it would finish in the measurements stated, but it was much bigger. So I had to take the whole thing apart. Need to trim each piece to a more reasonable size and try again. But I'll get back to that another time.

Can't believe school starts up again in a week. My Winter Break was much too short!
madamemodiste: (Default)
2011-01-03 10:02 am
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Red Croc

I finished the 40" long pleated front piece last week. Took two evenings and a morning. Again, I did it by hand using pins and a ruler, so it took longer. Then I pinned everything onto the mannequin to see how it was looking and I was happy, but still not sure how to proceed. After considering, I've decided to make a separate underskirt and then put the second layer over that, but all on one waistband.

I still need red piping and have come to the conclusion, after trying to dye some white cotton piping unsuccessfully, that I need to make it. You all knew that, I know. Just took me a week to come to the same conclusion. I think I'll pull the cording out of the white cotton piping and get started.
madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-12-21 09:33 am

Hello!! Long time, no post, eh?

I've missed talking to you guys about sewing projects! My semester became so overwhelming that I couldn't sew a thing after October.

But now I'm BACK!! Yay!

I have a few projects I hope to complete over Winter Break.

I'm making a version of this Pingat dress from the Kyoto book:

But I'm using some crazy fabric I found at Jomar: red satin embossed with a crocodile pattern. I'm using that where ever you see the floral fabric on the Pingat dress. Then I have a faux silk dupioni in a matching red for the rest of the dress. I'm still looking for a good red fringe. I plan to skip the plaid bow at the neckline ;)

The color is a bit off here, but you get the idea.

Another thing I think I'm going to tackle first is a black velvet ballgown bodice for a late 1880s style gown. Sort of like the bodice on the left (but in black).

madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-10-24 09:01 am
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Regency open robe progress

So I ended up choosing a faux black silk dupioni for the open robe. On an aside, I also ended up ordering the Period Impressions 1809 spencer jacket pattern. A miracle might happen and I might be able to whip it out the week before the event. You never know.

OK, so!! I had meant to add sleeves and do the Marianne front tab, but I put on the audio book of Sense and Sensibility, and before I knew it, the whole bodice was together complete with lining. The lining went on in such a crazy and new way (to me), that I didn't realize I was finishing all the edges before the sleeves and front tabs went on. It's too late for the sleeves, but I can still open up the CF and put in the front tab if I feel like it.

Also, I wish I would have thought of this in the beginning, but I should have used the back of the S&S pattern for the robe bodice. The Butterick version uses darts instead of having a separate side piece, which is obviously not period correct. But like I said, I was just trying to whip this out fast and wasn't thinking. Try not to stare horrified at my modern construction!

No photos yet because right now it just looks like some 1970's vest on a Regency dress.

So today I need to do the hem, do the front tabs, put the skirt on the bodice, and it's done.
madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-10-22 08:39 am
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Regency dress progress

Well, after over a year, I have picked up the Regency dress project again. Here is where it is now. It just needs a skirt and sleeve hem and it's done.
If memory serves, I think I used a combination of patterns from Sense and Sensibility as I wanted a flatter front on the skirt and the drawstring top, but I forget the details.

I hate how square the shoulders look on the dress form. Man, I hope it doesn't look like that on me!

madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-10-11 09:54 pm

(in the voice of John Malkovich as Valmont) Success!!

Yesterday I got the cartridge pleating done - successfully. Then today I got the cartridge pleated overskirt sewn to the waistband of the underskirt - successfully. Ugh, finally I got something right!


So next is sewing down the bodice and sleeve trim, hem the sleeves, hem the skirts, and it's done.

madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-10-10 10:42 am

A photo of progress!

As I'm a lazy, non-period accurate costumer, I was happy to take some advice regarding cartridge pleating the overskirt on my Elizabethan. Decorator's pleating tape! It doesn't give as clean a result as hand cartridge pleating, but I have a feeling it saved me some time (which I have very little left to finish this thing). So here's a shot of the dress in it's current state. I'm still fiddling with the trim.

The overskirt obviously isn't sewn to the underskirt yet, but it's an idea of how things will look in the end.
madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-10-05 09:22 am

Elizabethan progress

I want to apologize for the lack of progress photos. By the time I take photos, upload them to the computer, adjust the size and color, then upload them to the server so I can post them online...a half hour has gone by. These days I need every minute I can get! time I plant to make something large in velvet, please point to this series of posts, and say, "For the love of sewing, Kat, don't do it!" I just don't have a knack for working with the stuff.

In Which I Botch It All Up:

OK, so last we left off I had gotten the sleeves made and set. Good. Next...overskirt! So I cut all this out weeks ago, so I pull the pieces back out and get to work. Oh -I may or may not have posted about how I somehow cut the front pieces so the nap was not going in the same direction for both? Yeah, I had to cut a new right front piece. OK, done. So now I have to sew this small triangle piece to the front at the lower CB to make it a square. Not sure why they don't have you cut it that way to begin with, but that's a complaint for another day. So I put them in, and the next step is to sew the fronts to the backs. Except I forgot about the back pieces. Like...*poof* I stupidly sewed the two fronts together. I didn't realize until I got to the cartridge pleating instructions and it said to cut a piece of gingham 122" long. 122"?? My overskirt isn't 122"! Then I vaguely remembered cutting out two large pieces of velvet 48 3/4" x 43 1/4" several weeks ago...then the image of me going, "Wow, look at this large piece of velvet. What's this doing here? Huh, well, I'll use it to cut out the sleeve poufs!" Then I cut two left poufs instead of a right and a left and had to cut another one. Yeah, I accidentally used one of the back panels to do the sleeve poufs.


So I cut new back panels and TRY to get them so the nap matches the front pieces, but I was only successful on the right side. At this point, I don't care anymore and go to bed.

Next: cartridge pleating *OR* In Which Kat Loses Her Mind
madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-07-14 03:32 pm
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madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-05-08 09:51 am
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Things and stuff

I've been super busy with many things. School, friends, and prepping for the Steampunk World's Fair. School is going well. One more exam this coming Tuesday and I'm finished!

A few weeks ago I attended [ profile] bauhausfrau's going away 18th c tea party. There seemed to be more champagne than tea, but it was an unforgettable weekend.

Here's my set of photos (with several taken from the flickr accounts of other attendees!)

Bauhausfrau also got a short video of the moment I invented "jampagne". See, we'd run out of pink champagne, and someone had brought delicious home made strawberry jam. I looked at my glass of champagne and looked at the jam and an idea was born! And yes, it was delicious! Someone else did come up with the name "jampagne", though. Who was it that named the new cocktail?

Since then I've been writing papers, studying, and doing a little sewing.

Here is the fabric layout for the bustle walking dress I'm making for the steampunk world's fair

So if you're going and you see a dress in this combination of fabrics, it's me!

Speaking of which, I have to get back to working on it. It's almost done!
madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-03-27 09:24 am
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Pleats and ruffles

I got two rows of pleats and two rows of double ruffles onto the gown. I made the pleats and the ruffles were pre-purchased trim. Then I put satin bias tape over the join of the pleats/ruffles.

Progress photos:

making the pleats with Beth's antique pleater. I used 22 yards of 60" fabric. The pleats are 5" wide.

More this way... )
madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-03-22 08:17 am
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sewing date

I have been sewing, I swear! But the things I'm making are for an event in May and I don't want to give it all away, so no piccies. Booo hisss, I know. I want to report that I made the bloomers from the Simplicity 2777 - view D - and they turned out SO CUTE!! I love that they have a flat waistband in front so you don't feel like a walking balloon. I loved them so much I wore them all day. Must make more for summertime everyday wear.

Today I'm working on the 1874 black day dress I posted about a bit ago. I'm calling it my "Lost Souls" dress because it's huge and black trimmed with black with absolutely no relief. So today I'm going over to Beth's in Delaware to make pleats. This gown requires like 12 rows of pleats and I know that making two for a scanty little natural form era gown drives me crazy. I'm having an eye tick at the thought of making twelve for the huge circumference of an early bustle gown with a train. Beth swears we can make 'em quick with her antique pleater tool, and such a task is always less painful to do with a friend. So hopefully we'll get a few rows of pleats knocked out today.

OK, have to get dressed and haul my serger and sewing machines to the car. Everyone have a nice day!
madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-02-25 04:09 pm

1874 black day gown

This is a gown that's been on my "to do" list for forever, but I never had enough black taffeta sitting around at one time to do it. The other day I got 16 yards of a good crisp medium weight black taffeta for $1/yd at Jomar. I knew it was time!!

I am using the TV 208 view A, and it has an option for a pocket in the side seam. I decided it would be awesome to have a pocket, so since the TV pocket instructions were scanty, I looked it up. Here was a great set of instructions for a visual learner such as myself. Dude, I did it!! I made a pocket! I feel like some grade school kid who just learned how to tell time or something lol!

In other news, I seem to have temporarily abandoned the black velvet coat bodice because I dread putting button holes through all that velvet O_O

OMG, I just realized I never shared the "finished" photos of the ballgown I recently made

click here to see the photos )
madamemodiste: (Default)
2010-02-07 02:01 pm
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new underskirt

Yesterday evening I made an underskirt from the TV 225 Fantail skirt. Today I put on trim! Here it is:

I had to lighten the photos to show detail, but it's jet black.

Wanna see more? )