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My Muse Creations
The crazy world of a fabric artisan
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6th-Nov-2010 11:19 pm - Just a quick note...
self portrait
to say, yes, I'm still here! Sorry for the not posting, but I've been rather busy with the lead up to Armageddon and also with tafe work. I'm trying to limit my internet time so I can try to be more productive. It's kinda working! I've tried to catch up on my friend's list, but it's going to be a bit of a slow process! Sorry if I haven't been commenting, but I have been reading plenty!

I hope to have some time this weekend to sit down and write some updates. I have 3 new costumes to share with you all (plus 1 old one that I finally got better photographs of!) so that will probably be the first post(s). I've also got Tafe work to share, mostly millinery in progress but also some production costumes. I'm really REALLY inspired by vintage at the moment and have lots of ideas for outfits that I really need to note down, so expect a bit of a longish post about that soon too!

I've been doing lots of thinking and preparation for next year. I currently have two possible career paths, though both take me to Sydney next year (and one possibly further afield!). It's absolutely terrifying, but also very exciting, so I'm trying to focus on the positive. Either one is a dream come true for me!

What else...

Well, I've had lots of health worries lately, but that's a whole other post! And I think that's about it for the moment! I'll check in very soon though, I promise!
29th-Sep-2010 03:05 pm - White Diana gown
Wonder Woman
Sorry I haven't been online for a while, I'm almost out of net and it doesn't reset until the 5th, so I've had to ration my net time very carefully. I've got a few photo posts to do, but that will have to wait for a week or so.

In the meantime, I had a HUGE brainwave recently about one of my upcoming costumes and I just had to share it here!

It's one of two new costumes I'm making for Melbourne Armageddon, Wonder Woman's white gown from the 'Real Power of the DC Universe' poster. I've posted this before, but here's my reference pic:

This gown presents quite a challenge for me since I don't quite have the same figure! I was originally going to make a corset for the base, to give me the right support and shape for the dress, but with such an extreme plunging front, I didn't think the corset would really work. Plus it seemed to make the whole thing so much more difficult than it really needed to be, which completely put me off. I was so frustrated with trying to make it work that I very nearly pulled out altogether!

However, I had a bit of an idea, thanks to my work on the recent dance show at Tafe. It's a little unconventional, but it will allow me to stay true to the design, whilst still giving me support, shape AND hopefully make sure there's no costume malfunctions ;)

I'm going to make a leotard as the base, with the plunging front V neckline and a low scooped back. I've already got white cotton lycra in my stash, which I'll use double. I'll be able to sew bra cups (and possibly extra padding :P) in between the two layers of lycra, plus I want to sew a little pocket into the lining to hold my chicken fillets, and possibly look at sewing in some underwire. My thinking is that the tension created by the leotard will help secure everything in place at the front.

I'll then attach the skirt to the leotard first, then drape the front sections and secure them in place. I will be attaching the front pieces along all the edges of the leotard, plus tack it in place over the skirt edge, so it will look like a whole gown. I might also tack some of the drapey bits in place, but I'd like to keep the illusion that the front pieces are falling naturally, rather than being sewn into place.

I've decided to make the back draped section (which you can see at her sides) as one piece, rather than two separate drapes. It almost looks to me like a cape (YES WW wears a cape!), so I'm going to make it as a half circle with the centre draped into a cowl.

The majority of the dress is being made from a while microcrepe, though I may need to add a lining to the skirt. I'm using a double georgette for the back drape part, firstly so it's lighter and won't pull too much, and secondly just to add some interest and texture. I might also use the georgette as an overlay on the skirt, instead of adding a lining, but I'll have to see how it looks first.

I'm so excited about making this gown again, now that I've had this idea, so I'm very glad about that! It makes the whole process so much easier and I'm feeling more confident about being able to pull the whole look off. Fortunately all the fabric I'm using is from my stash, so the only things I need to buy are the accessories - shoes, hairpiece, tiara, circlet and earrings. And I'll need to make a new set of bracers, but I already have the silver contact for that. Oh and I plan to wear dancers tights and some shaping underwear too, to help with the whole look.

Please let me know what you think!

I shall post about my other costume once my net resets too :)
6th-Sep-2010 07:37 pm - What's next?
self portrait
Now that the Ball is over, I can focus on other things like....

We're gearing up for our next round of shows, so things are getting very crazy! Most of the class is working on Sweeny Todd, which looks to be freaking AWESOME! The costumes look amazing so far and on Friday I got to help with the breaking down of the 'beggar woman' dress. It was such a beautiful dress (gorgeous printed cotton) that it was really sad to be ripping into it with the grater, but it was also kinda fun! Though I felt sorry for the girl who made it! We used a grater on the hem to thoroughly shred it to pieces (she left it unhemmed) and sandpaper over the rest of the seams and the bodice. The designer was then going to take it down to scenic art and use some spray dyes to add dirt and age stains to it. YAY!

However, I'm not actually on the crew for Sweeny, I'm working on the dance show, which is called 'Uberbunk'. It's based on Andy Warhol and 'The Factory' and features some famous faces like Elvis, Edie Sedgwick and of course, Marilyn! Well, to be specific... THREE MARILYN's! Yup, THREE! Most of the stuff we've been making for the show is altering store bought clothes, but we've made the 3 iconic white Marilyn dresses from scratch. I made the 3 leotards which were used as a base (very simple halterneck leotard pattern), and then the 3 of us crewing the show each got one to take to the finished piece. We period pleated the fabric for the bodice (wet fabric, get two ppl to pleat it, twist it, nuke it for a min in microwave, then leave to dry over the weekend) and sent the skirts off to a professional to be sunray pleated. It all has to be hand tacked into place on a dummy, then stretched whilst sewn with a zigzag stretch stitch on the machine. The girls look absolutely amazing in them, and their dance number is fabulous! The dress I worked on is for the main Marilyn (she's Marilyn for the whole show), the other two are only worn during the Marilyn number. And here's a peak at my dress:
We put them on the male dance mannequin as his waist is much larger, so it made it easier to tack the skirt in place. I had to do some fixing of the bodice though, as the boobs were lopsided after we put in the padding! ooops! You can also see in the background, one of the other dresses in progress. It looks MUCH better on the dancer it's made for!

I only have one costume to make for Melbgeddon, as I spent way too much on my ballgown... ooops! But it's actually ok, because it means I will have to re-wear costumes :P At the moment I'm wearing my Classic Wonder Woman on the Sat, for which I'd like to finally make new bracers and I'll be buying a wig. Sunday I'm thinking of wearing my Sleeping Beauty costume, as I actually haven't worn her to a con yet and I really LOVE wearing her! I could wear Zatanna, but I wore her twice last year, so that's kind of boring, though I will have a new proper top-hat! I could also finally make my Rose Tyler costume, as that requires very little in the way of purchases and is very simple to make, but I'd have to find me a Doctor!

So the one new costume is for the 'Real Women of the DC Universe' group that we're doing. We'll be the first group to ever have ever single member, so it's pretty exciting! I am of course doing Wonder Woman and was absolutely Ecstatic when I discovered Adam Hughes had done a new artwork of her:
It shows so many more details of her costume, so yay! (I wish I'd known about this as I would have thrown money at ANYONE to get me a copy of this from SDCC.... *sigh*) I already have fabric in my stash for this: a microcrepe for the main dress and a double georgette for the back drapes. This is the main reason I want to make new bracers for my classic costume, as I'll be wearing them for this too. Well, that, and my old ones suck! I'm going to be making a special corset as a base for the dress, to give me the proper shape and support, so I'll have to get started working on that pretty soon. Once the corset base is done, I can drape the bodice and back drape, and then work out how flared I can make the skirt with what is left over (or actually, I might make the skirt first as I want a nice flared a-line, not the horribly unflattering straight thing in the picture). I also need to find a pair of appropriate shoes (I want gold heeled gladiators), appropriate jewellery, and work out the hair. If I decide to keep my hair black, I'll just need a hairpiece, but if I go a different colour, I'll need an entire wig. Hmmm... We'll see! I'm pretty excited about this now, especially with this new gorgeous artwork to work from! yay!

And erm... that's about it for the moment... I was going to write all bout my vintage inspiration but it was turning into such a long thing that I decided I'd leave it for a separate entry. YAY!
6th-Sep-2010 06:23 pm - Ballgown Revealed!
Victorian Bustle
As it got closer to the ball, I had to stop posting updates so I could focus on actually getting all my sewing done. But in the end, I got it finished in time to wear to the ball! With a little help from my Fairy Godmother (aka sewaddicted) and The White Queen (aka Hairstyling extraordinare poisoned_kitty) of course! These wonderful ladies helped me get dreassed and ready, and I really couldn't have done it without them, so THANK YOU my dears! I'm ever so pleased with how it all looks, though of course there's always things that need fixing!

I didn't end up entering the competition as I'd originally wanted to spend the Sat with my friends from interstate. Then by the time I'd decided, 'hey maybe I should enter anyway' it was too late to get my forms in. I was asked SO many times by people, including the Guild Prez, why I didn't enter! I'm really wishing I had now (even the Prez said she would have made an exception for me :P). Oh well... I did end up winning a Hall Award for my gown, which I'm ever so thankful for! I've had some major confidence issues this year because of my poor health, so to have so many positive comments, oohs and aahs and finally, the hall award, it really was exactly what I needed to let me know I've still go it! :D

Now, lets see some photos!


I felt like Cinderella at the BallCollapse )

So there you have it! That's my ballgown, all done! There are a few alterations, mostly to the bodice, which I will leave until I'm ready to wear it again. I'm in the process of losing weight, so I can see myself needing to pull the whole thing apart eventually! The very bottom petticoat still needs some lace around the hem (might also put some on the bustle too); the calico petticoat needs more frill (I only had enough for the back/train section); and the shot taffeta underskirt needs all of it's frill! Oh and the pearled trim on the box pleated trim. Um... I think that's about it. So a few things to add, but they're all cut out, just need to be pleated and sewn on really. I'm still very happy with the result and can't wait to wear my bustle again! Hopefully with the day bodice!
24th-Aug-2010 01:51 am - Possibly my most productive day yet!
Victorian Bustle
Possibly :P

I allowed myself a bit of a sleep in this morning, managing to be at Tafe around 11ish. I had my teacher take my measurements in my corset, then I traced off the bodice pattern I needed and set about making my toile. The bodice fit surprisingly well, with only a couple alterations require, most of which are purely aesthetic. The only fitting alteration was to the side/side back & side back/back pieces which were too tight around the hip. I'll be sloping this line out to add about 2.5cm (1 inch) by the hem at each of these intersections. Other than that, the fit was perfect! As an aesthetic choice, I will be making the bottom of the bodice curved, rather than pointed, to mimic the curves in the overskirts. I'm also going to lengthen the back tail by approx 10cm (4 inch) at the centre back, and have this curve gently from the sides. The added length will also help to hide the pleating on the overskirts, though I'm still thinking of adding tails to the back.

After Tafe, I headed to Spotlight to pick up the last of my supplies: 2m lining fabric for the overskirt frills; 2m poplin for the petticoat frills; 1m organza for making roses; 2m calico for petticoat frills; 11m 25mm wide bias binding for the skirt hems; 6 sets of hook and bars for the skirt closures; Gold Wire and matching green thread for roses; a couple packs of jewellery bits & bobs to use with the pearls for a necklace. Unfortunately Spotlight didn't have the right shade of lining fabric, and Lincraft was closed by the time I got there, so I'll have to pick that up on Wed, and just do what I can with what I have. I was hoping it would be too expensive a trip, as this gown has already cost twice what I had intended to spend, but little things have a way of adding up! Fortunately I had a voucher for Spotlight, spend $100 and get $40 off! yay! I was just under the required $60, so figured for an extra $10, I could get $40 of stuff free. The voucher allowed me to stock up on a few essential things I've been needing to buy for my toolkit, but hadn't been a necessity: Extra packs of universal, microtex (Super sharp, highly recommended for sewing silks & sheers!) and finally a twin needle; glass head pins; a second thread organiser; and some stuffing. Yay for stocking up on essentials, not so yay for things costing more than intended. But that's the way things go I suppose. Unfortunately, this does mean no second new costume for Melbgeddon. I'll still be making White Diana, as I have all the fabric and just need to buy accessories, wig & hairpieces, but I won't be making Snow White this year. I still need to buy other fabric, and possibly a wig, so unless I can get what I need on sale in the next month, it's a no. Oh well, I've got lots of pretty dresses to re-wear (Aurora perhaps, or I could get Rose made finally!).

Then it was home to sew! First I tore my lining fabric into strips for the frills, sewed them together, ironed them in half and the sewed the strip into pleats. I free handed the pleats as I was sewing them, so they're not perfect, but the look find to me! It's amazing how long those frills take to make! I've sewn all the individual panel pieces of the overskirt together, now the outer and lining can be sewn together with the frill sandwiched in the middle. I'll start with the back one, as it's the most involved with all the extra pleating, and I'd rather have it finished first. Once that is done, I'll see if I have enough to put together the front apron overskirt, but I'm not confident I will, so this may have to wait until Wed.

But things still seem to be on task, tomorrow I'll finish what I can of the overskirt, and then get to work on the bodice. The toile was pretty straightforward and relatively quick to sew together, so if I don't procrastinate too much, I should actually get it complete, or almost complete tomorrow. Hooray! If I end up ahead of my schedule, I'll start on the skirt hems.

But for now, it's off to bed!
22nd-Aug-2010 11:53 pm - YAY! Actual ballgown progress!
Victorian Bustle
I finally feel well enough to actually do stuff, yay! Still not completely recovered, but hopefully should be by the time the ball comes around! So, what have I been up to?

On Sat, I decided it was time to try everything on, to see how it was all looking. I was so incredibly happy with how it all looked. I honestly didn't think it would look as good as it does! I felt like an absolute princess wearing it all, it's just so beautiful, and that's only the underskirts! I did discover that the shot taffeta underskirt does need to be worn as a petticoat under the sating skirt as it gives a bit more oomph and volume at the back. Seeing how wonderful it all looked so far, and how amazing it was to wear, really gave me the motivation to get back to working on it.

On Sat night, I started playing around with the draping of the overskirt. I got a little frustrated as I just couldn't get it to work, so I called it a day, and then got back to it today. It took me quite a few hours of playing around, but I finally worked it out! It's actually not an oval (as I thought last week), but a giant rectangle, with the train section shaped like the skirts. I have to admit, I procrastinated a bit before cutting my good fabric, but I finally did it, then draped it on my Makeshift Form (a pillow sitting on top of my fan :P) to be sure.
Overskirt pinned to my makeshift formCollapse )

So I got the embroidered taffeta overskirts cut out - both the front and back. The lining fabric wasn't quite as wide as the taffeta, so I had to add a pieced section into the very centre back. I've used bleached calico and white poplin as lining for the front apron and upper back overskirt sections to conserve lining fabric for the frills. I'm hoping the white lining won't make a hugely noticeable difference in colour, but we'll see. When decided what to use for the pleated frills around the edges of the overskirt, I was very happy with how well the lining fabric I'd bought matched all the other fabrics I was using. I worked out I need approximately 5m all up for the frills, and I have 4m left, so I need to buy more tomorrow. I'm going to buy an extra 2m, as I'm thinking of putting a smaller pleated frill around the edge of the bodice, and probably also around the 'tails'.

Today I also bought the glass pearls, which should arrive mid week. After much deliberation, I decided to just stick with the cream pearls, as I thought adding too many other colours might detract from the design (less is more!). I'm not exactly certain where I want to use them yet, but they'll mostly be used on the bodice, and if I have time, scattered over the skirts. Hopefully I'll have time later in the week to play around with different ideas for them. I've also got my eye on a pair of nice elbow length, ivory gloves. The only other supplies I need right now are the extra 2m of pink poplin for the petticoat frill and approximately 10-12m of premade bias tape for the skirt hems. I decided to go the same route as my Aurora skirt and use the bias tape and fusible hemming tape on for the hems. They will all be hidden by their respective frills, but I think it's going to be the quickest and neatest option for me right now. I'm also contemplating using wire or piping cord in the back trains of the skirts to help them keep their shape, but we'll see how that goes.

My current plan of attack:
- I'm going to take my skirts/petticoats/bustle into Tafe so I can get my teacher to help me fit my bodice. First I'll get her to take my measurements whilst in my corset, then I can cut out the toile, sew it together, and do a fitting whilst wearing the skirts. I need to be wearing them as I need to make sure the bodice tail sits nicely on the skirts. I won't have the overskirt done, but hopefully that won't make a huge difference.
- Whilst I have access to the big cutting tables, I'd also like to get the frills cut out for the shot taffeta underskirt, and get the tapes pinned in for that. It has a slightly longer train than the satin skirt so it will need the tapes to keep it from being visible.
- Buy any extra materials and notions
- Cut, sew & pleat frill for overskirt
- Start sewing overskirt together

Tuesday (last full day before ball, eeep!)
- Finish sewing overskirt together
- Cut bodice & start sewing together (Ideally, I'd like to get the bodice completed entirely today, but I'm trying to be realistic :P I'll need to take the bodice into Tafe if I plan to do buttonholes too, so the earlier it's finished, the better!)

- Finish Bodice
- Sew, pleat & attach satin skirt frill

- Sew, Pleat & attach Taffeta Frill
- Sew, pleat & attach pink petticoat frill

- Decorations, beading, flowers etc
- Evening bag
- Basically, anything that's left over to do!

I plan to spend Saturday with my interstate friends, so I need to have everything finished by Friday. Last year I was still sewing just before I was picked up, and it was just too stressful. I'd rather have a fun day catching up with friends I don't often get to see, than stressing over last minute sewing. Well, that's the plan anyway!

At this point, I don't think I'll get the chiffon overskirt done. I'm a little disappointed, but I don't think it's omission will be too detrimental to the overall look of the gown. The only thing I'm a little worried about is that the satin skirt appears to have a few stains on it (not sure if they were there when I bought the fabric, or have appeared whilst I've been transporting it to tafe and back home) which I hadn't worried too much about because it would have been covered by the chiffon. I'll have to see how obvious they are once the overskirt is complete. I could possibly get a plain chiffon overskirt done, but I don't think I would have time to fiddle around with all the ruching. Another option would be to use the chiffon as frills sewn directly onto the satin skirt. I could have them almost mimic the ruching by sewing them on in a 'flounced' pattern, rather than sewing them straight. Oooh with pearls at the point of each flounce? Hmmm bears thinking about for sure!

Anyway, again, we'll see how this list pans out. I'm still pretty confident I'll get it all finished, I just may not have it as extravagantly decorated as I had originally planned. But it will be wearable, and I will look like a princess! :D YAY!
21st-Aug-2010 12:10 am - Quick progress update...
Victorian Bustle
Which is... nothing :(

I'd almost recovered from my previous 3-4 week cold #1 when I started to feel cold #2 coming on. It didn't seem to be all that bad at first, just a sore throat and occasional sniffle, so I thought I must have dodged the bullet with that one. Apparently not. Wed night my sinuses were all blocked up and painful, and by Thurs morning, I couldn't get out of bed. I had the most horrible pain from my blocked sinuses (headaches and photosensitivity), plus a runny nose and nausea. I called in sick for tafe and spent the day in bed. Woke up today not feeling too much better, though my sinuses had cleared, I've now got a hacking cough. So another day in bed! It's so frustrating to spend two days in bed doing nothing, but I guess I wouldn't have gotten much done anyway since I should have been at tafe, so I'm trying not to feel guilty about it.

I think I've finally come to a decision about a few of the little things though, as I've had lots of time to think! I found a cheaper source for the larger cream and pale pink pearls, so I'm buying those tomorrow. Just trying to decide if I want to get some of the smaller cream and pale pink pearls for extra decoration. I'm thinking I might use the pale pink lining fabric I bought for the frills around the overskirt, as it actually matches pretty well, though I've got to double check in the daylight. Otherwise I might have to look at getting some cream fabric instead. I've also found a pair of long, vintage satin gloves in a 'peachy-golden'colour that look like they might be a good enough match. They're only $8, including postage, so if they don't match it's not a huge outlay. There's one other pair of ivory long gloves, but the auction doesn't finish til Tues so that would be a last minute thing. Otherwise I do have an ivory pair of short gloves and I can ask some friends if they have longer ones I could borrow. Or I might just have to go without.

The plan tomorrow is to get this darned overskirt cut out, finally! Once that's done, I should know how much of the lining fabric I have left, so I can cut out and sew the frills if there's enough (which there should be). I'm really hoping the lining fabric will be appropriate as I can't sew the overskirts together until I decide on that frill fabric. I've also got to decide if I want to add lace, but I can experiment with that. I'm sure I've got some ivory tulle in my stash also, which I'd like to sew into the top half of the overskirt to help it maintain shape. Otherwise I'll have to pick some up before I sew it all together. I won't do it for the ball, but for the Day version, I'd like to be able to bustle the back of the overskirt with tapes. Sun or Mon I'll focus on the bodice; cutting out a toile, fitting it (not sure if I'll have help with this) and then cutting out the good one. I've been putting the bodice off, but I have to tackle it soon or I'll run out of time!

I also found a fantastic tutorial on making silk roses, which I'm hoping to experiment with this week. It doesn't look terribly difficult and would be a much cheaper option for trimming my gown. I have some fabrics to experiment with in my stash, plus the ones I'm using in the actual dress, so hopefully I can come up with something! I've spent far too much on this gown already!
18th-Aug-2010 11:57 pm - Ballgown updates...
Victorian Bustle
So today was a complete bust! I decided I'd quickly get the frill for my second petticoat done before moving onto the overskirts, as I was still thinking about the maths involved with that and frills are easy, right? YEah... right....

So I fold my skirt in half, measure the hem, multiply this by 2.5 to get the length I need for my frill. Then divide it by the width of my fabric to work out how many strips I need. Cut my strips, sew them all together, hem both edges, sew lace around the bottom and gather the top edges ready to put onto the skirt. This ended up taking me most of the day as I had a bit of a play with my laces to see which would work best. So then I start to gather the frill and pink it onto the bottom of the petticoat, only it doesn't seem to be gathering very much considering it should be 2.5 times the HEM (the frill is 40cm wide, so where it's being pinned is a lot smaller distance). So I got a quarter of it pinned on, after much frustration trying to work out how to do it best, especially as I don't have a dressform. Then it hit me, the reason why it wasn't gathered very much? I forgot that I had the skirt folded in HALF so I should have DOUBLED my original hem measurement! ARGH! I could have sworn I did, but I didn't. *cries*

So actually my frill should have been about 15m long, instead of the 6m it currently is. I can still use most of what I've done, I just need to cut another 6 strips, hem them and join them onto the current frill. Unfortunately, it does mean I need another couple metres of fabric, and I'm going to have to unpick the lace I've already sewn on as I have less than a metre remaining, so no where near enough! I'm so sad because it was looking so fantastic! I only have one other lace with enough yardage for the frill, but it's a nylon one, so I'm not sure I'm keen on using it on a cotton petticoat. We'll see.

So there is a waste of a day, and I'm really upset with myself as a)Today was a 'student free day' as such, and I only have Sat/Mon/Tues remaining (plus evenings) and b)Cold #2 is getting worse, which means I'm getting sicker. GRRRR

Still To-Do:
- Draft, cut, sew, trim overskirt
- Toile and sew bodice
- Hem and ruffle underskirt
- Draft, cut, sew ruched chiffon underskirt
- Hem and frill for petticoat #2
- Accessories

I'm still certain I'll get it all done, it just means my time for decorating and trimming the dress will be much less. Still deciding what trims I want, and I found a few other flower options, but they're just as expensive as the previous one, for less (large and small roses though, which are nicer). I'll need to decide and order them by Friday, and hope they all arrive in time! Eeep...
17th-Aug-2010 11:48 pm - More Bustle Ideas: Decorations...
Victorian Bustle
I'm thinking lots about decoration ideas for my bustle dress. I've recently bought a couple laces off Ebay and I'm looking at buying some different flowers and some pearls online as well. I'll need to order them soon if I want to have them here in time to attach to the dress. So I need to make some decisions.

These are the trims I already have in my stash. I'm leaning towards the ivory and pearls, and not the white as I believe this will tone in well with all the fabrics.
- I'd like to use the ivory lace in the centre (with the pairs of holes) as the trim along the top part of the frill on the shot taffeta underskirt, as I have a satin ribbon that matches to thread through the holes.
- I'm not sure where to use the pearl trim, but I have heaps of it, so I know I want to use it somewhere!
- I'm thinking I could perhaps use the floral lace on top of the fabric that I use for the pleated trim on the overskirt. If I end up using the embroidered taffeta as this frill, using the lace over the top may help to differentiate it from the rest of the overskirt. Or using it on a plain fabric (I may end up with enough pale pink lining fabric) may help disguise the colour difference.
- I think the looped trim is a bit too white to use in the ensemble.

To keep in the pearly theme, I'm looking at buying some coloured pearls to sew onto trims and possibly even scatter over the fabric in various places. I found some very reasonably priced pearls in Pale Pink, Pale Green (Which looks like it may match the leaves), and Natural Cream which would match the laces. This particular store has those in 8mm, 6mm and 4mm, and I've found another store with pale pink, ivory and cream pearl beads (acrylic rather than glass) in various sizes and quantities. I'd like to buy a variety of sizes and colours to give me a bit of choice. I also might use these as buttons, if I decide to have the buttons visible.

There's also flowers used as decoration on the dress in the illustration - around the neckline, on the side of the overskirts and also in the hair. I had wanted to use some velvet roses, but most of the ones I've seen online are rather expensive. Though there's a few options I've found on Ebay that I'm considering. There's these Soft Pink Velvet Roses, which also come in Ivory. These look to be more suitable for the side of the overskirts than the bodice, due to size. But I'm also not sure that they're flat enough for use in decoration. There's also these Ivory Pearl Flowers which are smaller, which would make them ideal for decoration around the bodice and also for use in my hair. Though it's a rather huge quantity and kind of expensive, after everything I've already spent of fabric and other trims.

My other option is to make my own flowers using matching fabric, but I'm not really sure I have time, nor am I really confident I can make my own. There's also a couple floral shops here in Adelaide I can check out too, see if they have some affordable flowers.

So there's my thoughts at the moment. If I'm going to order the pearls, I'll need to do it fairly soon to allow time for them to arrive and for me to actually sew them on.

I also need to think about accessories, for which I'd love advice! I'm thinking the main accessories I'll need are: Gloves, jewellery, shoes and bag. I have a pair of wrist length ivory gloves, but I'm not sure if that length will work, or if they should be longer? For jewellery, I'm thinking some pearl studs (already have), some kind of necklace (pearl choker perhaps, or a velvet ribbon choker with pearl cameo? Though perhaps I could have that for my day dress), or a pearl bracelet. For shoes, I have black or pink heels, though I suppose it's not important since they won't really be seen. They'll need to be comfy, and be able to be worn with white socks, so I'm leaning towards the black. I might make some decorations for the shoes with some flowers and pearls. As for the bag, I would like to make that from some extra pieces of fabric, but I'm wondering what the best design would be to go with? Does anyone have examples they can point me towards? Oh and I'd like to get a nice fan too :D

So there's my thinking, I need to make up my mind in the next day or two so I can order everything!
Victorian Bustle
I originally tried to drape the overskirts of my dress with a length of fabric, and had a kinda thing happening. But then I asked my teacher her opinion, and she was able to work out a much easier way to do it (which I would never have thought of, and it's probably much closer to period accurate!). We ended up doing a mini version, which I have taken lots of photos of to demonstrate how I'm going about it. I figured by posting lots of pictures, it might be of use to others.

As a refresher, here is the Inspiration Dress:

The front section will be made using TV 208 Trained skirt ensemble, View B. In this pattern, it's supposed to be attached into the skirt seam, but I'm just going to let it sit loose. I had thought about using View A front apron, as this meets at the CB, but I didn't think this was really necessary as the back skirts will overlap the front at the sides. They'll both be attached to the same waistband. I'll wait and see how it looks on the mannequin, but I may add in a fake trim to simulate the second, higher overskirt. I think this is actually meant to be part of the bodice, but I would make it a fake trim if I add that in.

Now for the back section:
Tutorial Thingy here with LOTS of photos!Collapse )

The Embroidered taffeta is the outer fabric for the overskirts, and I have some lining fabric for the lining. It's a pale pink, which kind of matched, but not perfectly, so I'd prefer not to show it if possible. I'm considering also adding some tulle between the two layers to help add a bit of body to the overskirt. I had also thought that I might add tapes to the overskirt as well, so that I can bustle it when wearing the day bodice, for a bit of a different look (the day underskirt is being bustled too).

I also need to decide what trims I want to use, as I plan to bag out the overskirt, so they'll need to be sandwiched into the seams. I bought some 10mm satin ribbon for use around the very edges, as illustrated (I had hoped to find a matching velvet ribbon for this, but I could not find one that matched well enough, or one that was within my price range!). I really like the pleated frill in the illustration as well, but I'm not sure what fabric to use for this. I could use the embroidered taffeta, but I'm not sure it will look as effective as a plain fabric. I can't use either of the underskirt fabrics (the satin or the taffeta), as they do not match each other, and I need to be able to mix and match this overskirt with both underskirts. It's almost impossible to find a matching or even complimentary pink, and I think a green (to match the leaves) might not match with the two underskirt fabrics. I'm leaning towards a cream/ivory/white, depending on what other trims I use.
17th-Aug-2010 07:29 pm - More Bustley Progress!
Victorian Bustle
The frilled back petticoat ended up taking me a day and a half to sew together, WAY longer than I had thought! There was so much detail that went into it, but it was SO worth it because it looks amazing! I took it all into Tafe today, and took some photos of each piece on the mannequin. I didn't take photos of the Shot Taffeta underskirt as I do need to fix the waistband on that. I played around with the back section on the mannequin and worked out how I want it to sit. I need to cut some tulle and lining to sit in the upper back section of this skirt, to help maintain the bustling at the back. I'm still trying to work out how I'm going to work the tapes in the back too. Though since this is going to be an underskirt for the day dress only, I'm not too fussed about getting it finished for the ball. (As an aside, I'm thinking of setting myself a deadline of a month after the ball to have the day bodice and underskirts finished, otherwise I might not get it done :P).

Pretty Victorian Things!Collapse )

So that's my progress so far. Oh and I need to sew hook and bars onto all of these pieces too, as I've been using safety pins thus far and I want a nice finished look at the end. I still have quite a bit to do, but I'm pretty happy with my progress so far! I have tomorrow off Tafe, so I plan to get the overskirts cut out and sewn together, and finish off all the frills and whatnot of all the above. That will leave my bodice to be toiled and completed, plus any trimming. Oh and accessories. It's getting close to crunch time, with only a week and a half remaining!

I'm writing a separate entry for the overskirt progress, as I've taken lots of photos as a kinda tutorial thingy.
15th-Aug-2010 08:05 pm - More Ballgown Progress
Victorian Bustle
I made a decision on the petticoat situation! After having another look at this amazing Lady's Early Bustle Underwear (which I discovered last year whilst researching for my talk on Bustles), I decided to heck with it, I'll make TWO petticoats! So I got those cut out today at my Tafe's Open Day - Access to large tables for cutting, access to washing machine/dryer for prewashing fabric, access to a mannequin, Free heating, AND a $10 lunch voucher? Hells yeah!!

The first petticoat is the TV early bustle pattern, with 5 small frills edged with lace along the upper back section, and probably one wide frill extending from the seam between the back piece and the tucked flounce to the floor. It's made from bleached calico, with white cotton lace, and will be a standard petticoat I can wear with all bustle outfits. For the second petticoat I used the same TV skirt pattern as the underskirts, and will add a wide frill around the bottom edge. This should help smooth out the line of the skirts and help add some oomph as well. I ended up using some washed calico for the base of this one as I didn't have enough pale pink poplin for the base AND the frill. So I'll use the pale pink cotton for the frill and edge it with some cream lace to match the calico. I plan to get those sewn up tonight so tomorrow I can drape my overskirts at tafe.

I also got to see how the skirts I made yesterday fitted over the bustle on a mannequin. I'm pretty happy with them, except that I realised I stuffed up both waistbands, so I'm going to have to unpick them and fix them both up. Oh well, that's what happens when I do things late at night!
Progress pics of skirtsCollapse )

I think that's about it for the moment, so I'm off to sew these petticoats up!
14th-Aug-2010 12:57 pm - Some petticoat questions...
Victorian Bustle
In my last post I mentioned I was having some trouble deciding about petticoats. I have 3 different ones that I am trying to choose between, or I could do a combination of them.

3 Pretty PetticoatsCollapse )
The first is from the Harpers Bazaar book, and is also what I'm using as inspiration for my shot taffeta underskirt. Both my underskirts will have trains (the taffeta one is longer than the ballgown one, but will be bustled which should shorten it), so I wasn't sure if I would be best to make my petticoat with a train, or have it level all the way around. I will be wearing this petticoat with both ballgown and day ensembles.

The second is from the Jean Hunnisett book, 'Period Costumes for the Stage and Screen'. I liked this one because my bustle doesn't have the frilled overlay, so I will need something to cover the bones. I was originally going to make the frilled overlay detachable, but never got around to it. I figured if I made this frilled back petticoat, then I would have to worry with the overlay. Or I could make a shorter frilled back petticoat (to the floor, and I have a ton of bleached calico now) and have a longer, trained petticoat.

The third is the Truly Victorian petticoat pattern for Early Bustle period. I had thought I could add frills to the upper back section of this pattern, to make a floor length petticoat that would cover the boning at the back of the bustle and help the skirts sit out properly.

So my choices seem to be:
- Make the TV petti from the bleached calico, with frills along the top back section, and then make a longer trained petticoat in my pale pink cotton.
- Make the detachable frilled overlay for my bustle, and make a petticoat from my pale pink cotton (probably using the TV pattern, perhaps with a slight train?)

Any thoughts on this?

Thought I'd just add a pic I took of the layout of my delustered satin underskirt.
As you can see, I had to cut two panels in one direction, and the other two in the opposite direction, in order to fit it all in. Then there's that long section to the left that I can use for a small frill. Hoping this won't show too much of a difference, but we'll see when I start sewing it together.
13th-Aug-2010 11:29 pm - Victorian Ballgown: Final design!
Victorian Bustle
Thank you everyone for all your helpful comments on my previous Ballgown post! After lots of thinking, and some sudden inspiration from my stash, I have made my final decisions!

For more details, click here :DCollapse )

My current timeline:
- Today (Fri 13/08) I cut out the base satin & taffeta underskirts (minus frills)
- Sat 14/08 Sew base skirts together. Hem. Attach to waistband (adjust hem from top according to my books). Cut out petticoat and sew. Maybe cut out frills...
- Sun 15/08 Drape overskirts on foundation skirts/petticoats (At my tafe open day). Determine size of frills and cut, hem, pleat, and sew onto skirts. Possibly cut out overskirt.
- Mon 16/08 Do any finishing still required on petticoats and underskirts. Cut out and sew overskirts together.
- Tues 17/08/Wed 18/08/Thurs 19/08 Cut out toile for bodice and fit (I'll probably need help with this, so I might have to bring it into Tafe Wed to get help, in which case, I'll work on trimmings for the skirt and whatnot, or maybe cut out the chemise/drawers?).
- Fri 20/Sat 21/Sun 22 Make bodice proper.
- Mon 23-Fri 27 Work on trimmings, finishings, accessories, etc. I might even be finished early enough to make a vintage dress for the fair the day after the ball.
- Sat 28 ACG BALL!!!

This is just a bit of a rough plan, but I'm not exactly sure how long things will take to put together, so I'm not necessarily strict with this plan. I have Mon/Tues off now, so yay! But if there's no huge disasters, I think I should have enough time to get everything I want done without any late night sewing sessions! I'm recovering from the second cold in a row (hadn't even fully recovered from the previous one) so I'll be making sure I have early night and rest as much as possible. I think the most difficult thing is going to be the bodice, and making sure I get a good fit from it, so we'll see how that goes. But I'm pretty optimistic about getting it all done. I've promised myself that I will NOT be staying up late, and I WILL have the who ensemble FINISHED in it's entirety by Friday evening. Last year I spent most of Sat doing last minute sewing, plus rehearsal for the costume parade, and it just sucked all the fun out of it. This year I want it all finished, so I can spend some quality time on Sat with my interstate friends. Sunday is the vintage fair, so I'd love to have a new outfit for that, but it's not going to be a disaster if I don't. Main thing is spending time with people I hardly get to see! :D AND FUN!!

I'm so excited by my gown, and I really hope it ends up looking as good as it does in my head!
Victorian Bustle
After a very successful trip to Lincraft today, I've settled on the fabrics for my ballgown. I've also picked out a few possible trims and a few possible patterns. I would really love some feedback about my choices to help me make my final decisions! This is really only my second full Victorian ensemble, so I'm still really unsure of what I'm doing.

Fabric and Trim IdeasCollapse )

Inspirational Images and Pattern IdeasCollapse )
I know that's a lot to get through, but I really appreciate any feedback people might have, particularly in terms of pattern selection! Thanks for looking!
4th-Aug-2010 10:23 pm - Costumes for 2010
self portrait
Continuing on with the unorthodox costume posting, I thought I'd post up my plans for the rest of the year!

2010 costume plans under here!Collapse )

And I think that's about it. If I get any others done, I'll be very happy, but those are the costumes I want to have done to feel good about this year :P As you can see, I'm really trying to use my stash as much as possible! Hooray for being thrifty!
4th-Aug-2010 12:22 am - Costumes of the Financial Year 09/10
self portrait
Ok, this might seem like a WEIRD way to post this, but I realised I never did a 'Costumes of 2009' post, and I've done a few this year, so hell... why not!

The last costume round-up post I did was 18th July 2009 'The Year So Far', where I posted photos of the first 6 months of 2009, plus posted about my plans for the rest of 2009. So.... here's the rest of 2009, plus the few things I've done in 2010!

Costumes of Financial year 09/10Collapse )

So there you have it. An exciting adventure through the last year of costuming with Abi. Hope you enjoy my somewhat unorthodox approach to posting :P And I really REALLY hope to be able to go back to regular posting of progress, so I don't have to do such massive update posts! Sorry bout that!
3rd-Aug-2010 11:17 pm - Aust. Costumer's Guild Ball
Victorian Bustle
I was all set to apologise for not updating as regularly as I would like, but then I realised that I'm about to post about pretty much the only costume I've done this year (I've put together a few things, but they've been very quick... I'll get to them eventually!). Which is kind of sad really... But oh well...

So the Australian Costumer's Guild annual ball is coming up on the 28th of August. I still need to buy my ticket, but I have finally decided what I'm going to make. Well kind of :P

I was very inspired by the recent wedding of ainead, where the bridal party were resplendent in gorgeous Victorian bustle gowns. It made me realise that whilst I had finally made a bustle last year, I only had the one skirt (worn with a bought jacket) and my only other Victorian gown is natural form. As my favourite costuming period (vintage doesn't count as I wear that everyday ;P) I decided I simply HAD to change that. So I'm going to make a bustle ballgown for the ball, though I will also make a matching day bodice/jacket at a later date.

I'm still searching through my fabric stash, but the first fabric that came to mind was a mid-pink embroidered taffeta that I picked up a few years ago on my first visit to Adelaide. It was on the sale table for $8pm, but I inquired about buying the whole bolt, and paid $30 for the lot. I don't think I've ever actually measured properly, but as I was taking it off the bolt I measured about 10m (from nose to finger tips), so there's probably about 11 or 12m.
I had originally earmarked this fabric for an 18thC saque gown, but I'm likely to get more use out of a Victorian ensemble. Plus I'm hoping if I'm really good with my cutting, I might still have enough left over for something 18thC (Anglaise perhaps? a Caraco at the very least).

I haven't yet found a definitive inspirational source (photo/fashion plate) and I haven't decided exactly which patterns to use, though I need to do that soon so I can buy/borrow patterns in time. My current thinking is to use a complimentary pink (perhaps darker) or green for the underskirt. I have the Grand Parlour Skirt and the Trained Skirt Ensemble in my pattern collection already for this purpose. More than likely the latter, skirt B, without the overskirt attached (which I used for my black linen riding outfit skirt). It will definitely have a wide pleated (or ruffled...depending how crazy I am!) frill around the bottom, probably with lace and or ribbon trimmings. I would then use the taffeta for the overskirt and bodice. I don't currently have an evening bodice, so I'm thinking either the Ballgown Basque Bodice or the 1860's Ballgown Bodice. I know the second one is for crinoline dresses, but it does say it is intended for up to 1876, which includes early bustle. I really quite like this one and I think the shape would be quite flattering for me too. But I'm certainly open for suggestions!

For decorations, I have plenty of ivory, white or cream lace to choose from in my stash. I also thought about using fake flowers and leaves. I'll definitely be using these in my hair, which will have to be curled and pinned up as it's still rather short.

I do also have some red and green tartan taffeta that I picked up on my recent trip to Brisbane.
Photobucket Photobucket
Pictured is the 5m of taffeta, Approx 2m of white cotton velveteen and a green velvet skirt which I thought would all work well together. There's also some tartan trim that matches pretty well (it's bias binding but has what I assume is an iron on adhesive strip on the back). I love these all together, but I'm thinking the tartan is more suited to a day dress than en evening gown. When I first saw the taffeta, I had visions of a Christmas bustle ensemble, using the velvet as accents in the bodice, and a darker green or a red for the underskirt. Of course, the main problem with that is that Christmas here is in the middle of Summer and I can't imagine anything worse than taffeta and velvet! Oh well... perhaps Christmas in July? It's definitely being put aside for a bustle gown, but I just don't think it's going to work for the ballgown.

Oh and I also have a ton (ie 8m :P) of candy pink delustered satin in my stash. Enough for an underskirt and bodice, but probably not enough for the entire thing. Sadly it doesn't match the taffeta (the taffeta is more of a warm pink), but I could use it if I found something for the overskirt and bodice.

So there's my current thinking. I have a couple other possibilities in the back of my mind, so I'll see if I can pull those out tomorrow to photograph and put up here so I can make a decision. But I'm certainly leaning heavily towards the embroidered taffeta. Though it will mean buying some fabric for the underskirt, and I have a very VERY limited budget for that... So I'm really trying to make this whole thing from stash fabric only. Will have to do more searching...

Oh and underwear!

I may have to make a new chemise that will work with the bodice (depending which one I use), and if I'm doing that (and trimming it to match) then I may as well make a new pair of drawers. I've already given my old corset away as it no longer fitted, and unfortunately haven't had a change to make a new one. Last time I just wore my Silk Spectre corset as it gives me the best shape and is the most comfortable. I do have a spare busk, but I'm not sure I really have the time to fit and make a new corset. Plus I'm planning to lose weight over the next couple of months, and I'd hate to spend lots of time on a new one only to not fit it. I can whip up my favourite pattern (simplicity 5006) in a couple of days though, and it wouldn't be difficult to add a busk... But it wouldn't be a proper Victorian one. Though it's what I'd be wearing anyway... So um yeah... not sure about all that...

My bustle just needs the frilled back part, which I had put off making originally as I had run out of the lace. But now I have quite a few to choose from, so I can go ahead and make that. I had decided not to attach it as the pattern says, but instead make it detachable, with either buttons or hooks and eyes to attach it to the bustle. And then of course I'll need petticoats, at least one, possibly two? But I have the pattern for those, and I have some bleached calico, though I think I might make matching ones from poplin.

And now I think that's it, unless I've forgotten anything? Please feel free to leave me feedback, or even better, some evening gown inspiration! I've looked through my early bustle folder of inspiration and it's very much lacking in ballgown ideas. So feel free to help inspire me! I think I'll be borrowing out a few books from the library tomorrow, to help with the inspiration!
6th-Jun-2010 11:11 pm - Sewing Patterns = Sewing Mojo?
self portrait
I was informed by a friend that was having a 3 day 99c sale on all McCall's patterns! I had a bit of a browse around, and came across a few that had me inspired, so I decided to go ahead and order a few of them. The postage ended up costing double what the patterns cost, but all up I got 5 patterns for just over $20, which makes them $4 each! That's still less than what they would cost over here (even on sale!) so I'm very happy with that! There were plenty more I could have bought, but I tried to keep my restraint and stick with ones I was likely to use almost immediately (which given our current weather were mostly Winter ones as I'm desperate for some warm clothes!)

What patterns did I get?

- McCalls 5923 A stunning but simple princess seamed sheath dress. I absolutely love dresses that make clever use of tartans and stripes to create interesting patterns, which is why I fell in love with this particular pattern. Though I'm thinking when I make it up, I'll eliminate the front empire waist band, cutting the pieces as one, since I prefer to wear my dresses belted at the waist. I bought some gorgeous red and black wool blend tartan whilst working at Tessuti which immediately sprung to mind when I saw this! I originally had a New Look pattern earmarked for it, but this is infinitely better! I'm hoping I have enough though, as the pattern requires 2m and I think I might only have 1.5m. As a test, I'll make it up in the pink and brown tartan I bought years ago! I plan for this to be worn over a long sleeved shirt for winter.

- McCalls 5974 A simple dress made especially for knit fabrics, either either a round neckline or crossover with a faux wrap. I've got a few knits put aside (again from Tessuti) that I had originally bought to go with a Vogue pattern but I wasn't too impressed with the first version I made so I thought I'd give this pattern a go. I'll buy some cheaper knit first, for a test run, as the two knits I have are absolutely gorgeous and I want to make sure I'll wear the dresses plenty! I'm loving the idea of a 3/4 length sleeve too!

- McCalls 5874 Another simple sheath dress, this one features an interesting shaped yoke, which can be further embellished. I seem to have a thing at the moment for simple sheaths with some kind of interesting design feature! I was really attracted to this dress which had a very 60's feel, even though that's usually not my thing. I love the idea of a fabulous cotton print matched with a plain cotton for contrast (I'm imagining it both ways - print for the yoke detail would be a great way to use a small amount of printed fabric, or perhaps a silk?). It's just such a striking dress, I can't wait to give it a try. Though I have to admit, I think this will more be a spring/summer dress... oops!

- McCalls 5525 A classic double breasted trench with various length and collar variations. Ever since I first saw this pattern, I've been coveting that yellow version! I love the collar, the length and of course, the colour! I've seen this made up with a 3/4 sleeve for spring, and I'm definitely liking that idea. I've already got a big wool overcoat for winter, but I don't have any in between jackets, so I liked the idea of this! I'll have to keep my eye open for some suitable yellow fabric to make this up for Spring!

- McCalls 5936 A princess seamed jacket with two sleeve lengths and a charming flared peplum. This jacket is my holy grail of jackets, I swear! As a lover of vintage, I have for the longest time been looking for a jacket with this exact peplum! I even started drafting one last year in my pattern drafting class. But now all my jacket prayers have been answered in the form of 5936! I have a lot of jacket patterns in my stash that I have been dying to try, but I promise you that as soon as this one arrives, I'll be cutting it out straight away! It's such a classic cut, and I can just imagine it paired with a pencil skirt and narrow belt *sigh* Yup, I have big plans for this baby!

So those were my purchases, and I cannot wait til they arrive! I'm hoping they'll help break my sewers block! But there were also a few patterns that provided some interested inspiration for me, even if I didn't buy them!

I was really taken with McCalls 5929, though I realised that I already have similar shirt patterns to which I can apply ruffles for a similar effect. Now I just need to find a smallish cotton tartan! I do love how they've paired this with jeans (and I HATE jeans!) but I would pair mine with a pencil skirt or those 40's sailor pants I'm still in the middle of drafting :P

The freezing vintage girl in me was enamoured by McCalls 5764, though I felt it would be a little too much, even for me! I really do need to have very obvious waist definition, even in my jackets, so this just wouldn't do anything for my figure. But I do think it's wonderful!

I was intrigued by McCalls 5717, particularly the jacket in the photo: blue and grey plaid coat with a ruffle! It's a really interesting way to girlify a jacket, and something I would mind trying! However, I'm just not quite sure I could pull it off, particularly as I tend towards flared jackets, and this really needs a straighter jacket to work effectively. But it's an interesting idea for sure!

Finally, I almost bought McCalls 5759, but then I discovered the peplum jacket, which was just perfect! I liked the shaped hem of this jacket and the asymmetrical closure, but I have to admit I wasn't crazy about the big collar, and I thought the back was pretty boring compared with the detailed front view. Oh well!

Anywho, so I just thought I'd share my pattern finding with you all, hopefully sharing some inspiration too! Oh and the sale still has another 2 days, so if there's any McCall's patterns you've been wanting, now is a good time to buy them!
24th-Mar-2010 12:07 am - JAFA ticket for sale!
self portrait
I just realised I hadn't posted this here!

As I am unable to attend the Jane Austen Festival due to my health, I am looking to sell my ticket. It is a full weekend ticket, covering all the events from Thursday evening through to Sunday evening. I am booked into quite a few booked out workshops too, so those would be transferred onto the person who buys this ticket! All the details of the weekend can be found here:

I paid $200 for my ticket, which was the early bird price. The actual price of the weekend is $250 and the entire weekend is now sold out! I am willing to take reasonable offers for my ticket, as I hate to see it go to waste!

So please contact me if you're interested, or if you know of anyone who may be interested in going. I need to sell this soon!
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