Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Gothic Raggedy Ann - Part 1

While most of my costume commissions fall in the fantasy realm, every now and then I get something pretty unique.

When my client e-mailed me this photo and asked for a price quote, I thought "huh, now that'll raise some eyebrows among my facebook friends!" but decided to give it a go anyhow.

This was my first project after the Queen Regina adventure, so I was intensely particular about setting up and measuring the dress form.

The bloomers were pretty simple, I just made a pattern based on a pair of my own shorts, adjusting for the client's measurements.

Serged everything...

Hemmed it up! (This was supposed to be a cost effective costume, so the serged hems only got folded over once.)

Added elastic and lace and hey presto!

Bloomers, With my lovely new garment tags!

Although the original photo involves polyester and shiny-ness, my client wanted this to be a very durable costume so we opted for cotton options (which I think is more in tune with Ann's style, anyhow!).

For the bodice I pretty much just draped the pattern.

Lots of eyelet lace everywhere!

Empire waisted blouse.

Sleeves, prior to elastic insertion.

Stitching the upper and lower bodice pieces together.

Although the bodice will be tucked in, I wanted to make sure it was long enough that my client wouldn't have to worry about it pulling out when she bent over. Also, the sleeves can be worn over the shoulders, or down on the arms.

Click here for Part 2!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Now that's a (blue knit) Dress!

I spend a lot of my time making very elaborate, structured, time-consuming costumes. Every once and a while, however, I wake up and want to make something comfy and easy for myself. Such a day was the one when I found myself with a hankering for a simple knit dress.

First I went online and looked for inspiration. I found this and thought it'd be a good jumping off point as a style guide. Then I raided my fabric stash for a large piece of comfortable and durable knit fabric.

I ended up with a sort of gray/blue piece that had been in my fabric boxes for years and had already yielded up one much loved skirt. Unfortunately, while there was more of it hidden away, the piece I could find made cutting the skirt a bit tricky. I came up with a workable design, however.

I used a knit top of similar stretch to create the bodice pattern. Actually it came out a little snug, so I opened the sides back up and inserted little strips under the armholes. It's not at all noticeable when I'm wearing it, but makes it fit a lot better.

It all came together really quickly. I made the whole dress in one session.

 All of the interior seams were sewn with a zig-zag stitch, but for the skirt and sleeve hems I needed something more professional looking. This was back when I had my complicated five thread serger and could do a coverstitch. Nowadays I would just use a twin needle on my regular machine. It'd look the same on the outside.

I was so happy with how it turned out! I actually constructed it over a year ago and have been wearing it quite regularly in cold weather ever since. It's comfy, cute and doesn't wrinkle with travel. I was so excited about it that I went out and got knit fabric for two more versions of it. One is cut out and the other is still... fabric. Haha. But anyhow...

Friday, December 26, 2014

Mrs. Santa's Workshop

 Here it is, the long promised post of everything I've been doing instead of sewing this month! I wasn't able to photograph every single gift I made, but here are most of them.

This was for my grandfather. I took a wooden cross, painted it, sanded it down, put a wash over it, embossed the letters on, and sealed it.

A tiny treasure box I made for my nephew. Same technique as cross.

Okay, I went a little overboard with embossing. This is a book I made for my writing partner.

Glitter. Everywhere. Technically this was a birthday present, not a Christmas gift, but it was made in the same batch so I'm sharing it anyhow.

As a companion piece to the box above, I used my embroidery machine to embellish a tote bag. I then jazzed it up with beadwork.

My sewing room is still a mess.

I think this is the gift I'm most excited about. Well, it's maybe tied with two others. But seriously, I had a lot of fun making this under the sea treasure box for my sister-in-law! I took a plain photo box from JoAnn's and used water colors to give it the shade and texture I wanted.

I used metallic scrapbooking embossing powder to create the shimmer in the crevices.

Many of the pieces on the box were from the fairy globes my friends made me for my wedding.

I was so excited that I still had some little shells and moss to add to the mix!

And then I lined the interior.

I used stamps and more embossing powder to decorate the sides.

...or maybe I'm more excited about these mittens?

I took this free children's mitten pattern from and adapted it to fit my sister's hands and aesthetics.

Needless to say, my sister, a huge Spiderman fan, was ecstatic.

Lastly I made up this rag bowl as a gift for my healthcare provider, who has given me so much this year, starting with getting me stable enough to walk down the aisle at my wedding!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Downton Abbey Costume Exhibit

Andrea shares her photos and thoughts of seeing the Downton Abbey costumes in person! Wow, what a cool display. I so wish I lived close enough to go, that would be so amazing! If you live in that area and happen to go and take photos, let me know your thoughts!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Thrift Store Treasures

There's been a lack of sewing over here due to my sewing room getting turned into Santa's Workshop and my job position getting switched to 'head present maker.' There will be plenty of fun stuff to look at after Christmas, but for now, I'm going to share some clothing that I found rather than made.

I love how the big sleeves balance my curves! One A for $4

Due to being healthy(ier) for several years now, I've actually gained rather than lost weight. This means that several staples of my wardrobe for the past seven years are suddenly too small. Thankfully a local thrift store chain was having a 50% off sale on all of their clothes, so I could go stock up on warm winter tops.

Apt. 9 for $4

My family always teases me about the number of skirts I own, but I do cycle through them and give away the ones I no longer wear. Thankfully, my husband quite likes skirts, and I appreciate the economy and comfort of them! Skirts, for instance, are more forgiving of weight changes than jeans!

AB Studio for $5
 Alas, my selection of holiday festive sweaters was the catagory with the biggest hit in the 'outgrown' pile. This long sweater should be a good replacement. It's a wee bit scratchy around the shoulders, but being short sleeved it shouldn't get too hot if I layer it with a tank.

American Eagle for $4
 This sweater was just a tad larger than what really fits me... but it is SO comfortable, I had to get it. Perfect for lounging on a cold day, and I can always roll up the sleeves/pair it with a belt/take in the sides.

Vanity for $2.50
Initially I wasn't sure about this one. However it is really hard for me to find dressier black layering pieces I can easily unzip/take off if I get too hot. (I'm not a fan of buttons so that rules out nearly all cardigans). This was cute and thin, and cheap.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cloaks and Horses and Beaches, oh my!

One of my favorite parts of being a costumer is seeing people get a chance to wear their dream costumes. Getting photos of said costumes in action is a surefire way to put a big smile on my face!

Two of my clients wore their cloaks as part of a fundraiser for American Heart Association and gave me permission to share these epic photos with you all!

Kristen says:

"It is an annual fundraiser at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Raising over 20 k annually.. We bring our personal horses - over 1.3k horses.

We ride 20 miles through Myrtle Beach proper on Saturday. It is usually the last week of October or the first week of November when this event takes place. 

Even if you do not ride, it is a sight to see.

We all ride for Loved ones we have lost or that have been saved from heart disease. Through the year we raise funds. My personal goal is 1k every year.

We wore the cloaks because they stand out. Along the twenty miles we stopped and let many different, random people ride our horses. 

Jennifer (in red) is experiencing her second time being on a horse."

I totally want to wear one of my red cloaks on a horse by the ocean. That is just so awesome, and so cool that something I made has such an adventurous life!

Thanks Kristen and Jennifer for sharing! You can learn more about the Beach Ride and donate here.