Thursday, May 26, 2016

White Shift for Historical Costumes

I am still working on rebuilding my sewing muscles. It's hard because I have neck and hand issues and sewing is pretty hard on both. I have to limit myself to 30 minute sessions which is pretty frustrating because of how slow projects progress.

BUT I did finish something new this week!

I have been wanting to construct a proper set of undergarments for some historical costumes. Primarily I want to do dresses from the 1500's and 1700's, so I'm creating undergarments that will work for both periods. They're not exactly the same, (I'll need different hoopskirts), but I am fairly certain I can make the same shift and set of stays work for both. When we moved, I had a sheer curtain I no longer needed that I could then utilize for a shift, so I put that project into action!

 It's not precisely historically accurate - I wanted functional and pretty. Hand embroidery was out, but I have my embroidery machine so I could still do some sweet details.

The sheer fabric frayed like crazy, so there were a lot of french seams.

Also, for once my rolled hem foot actually worked! It's really best on straight seams, and the light fabric worked well.

The most difficult part of the shift was gauging the neckline. I didn't want it to show under the overdresses, and the Tudor period had wide necklines so that meant I needed to leave the shift neckline pretty large. I have very narrow shoulders so the shift probably is going to need to be pinned in place or it's going to slip down. Bleh.

It looks how I wanted it to, which is quite gratifying! However, the lace neckline is a little harsh on my delicate fibro-sensitive skin, so ultimately I may have to nix it - or insert a soft underborder. (which, if I made it extend beyond the shift, might help solve the large neckline issue. We'll see.

It took me about 5 separate days of short sewing sessions, but I did finish it (for now) which feels quite good!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Belle's Blue Cloak

Right now I am coming to the acceptance that I may not be able to do costume commissions again. Which is destressing but still sad. And I'm trying to figure out how to manage the half-finished commissions I currently have sitting in my sewing room. As we unpack I get closer to the point where I can make inroads in some of them.

For instance, I finally finished off this Belle Blue cloak, for which my customer has been waiting FAR TOO LONG. And I mainly supervised this project, my contractors did the heavy work! (overseeing contractors is still pretty stressful when I'm trying to manage my fibro). It turned out great, though!

My client and I looked and looked, but were unable to match the fabric used for this cloak in "Once Upon a Time." We discussed a variety of options, but finally settled on this brocade as being the closest. It was, unfortunately an eBay listing that is no longer available, but here is the link in case it helps any interested folks track it down elsewhere.

I don't have construction photos for this project, but it was created the exact same way as the Red cloaks (process photos here). 

We WERE however able to purchase a clasp identical to the one from the show, and it is still for sale here (as of 5/20/2016).

 (and yeah, I've lost a ton of weight, as you can see even just in these pictures of my face. :( )

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


After a month in the new house, I decided to see if I could manage to start and complete a simple project. My muscles are pretty much non-existant after nine months of being sick, and stress really screws everything up, so I decided to just try a low-frustration low-risk personal project to start building myself up to the point where I can finish my contracted commissions.

I had a lovely blue floral cotton with a gorgeous drape in my stash. I decided to make a simple sundress out of it.

I went for a very basic bodice. It was thick enough not to line, which was great and make it so much simpler (and cooler!) I ended up spending one day just fussing with the bodice fit, so I was really glad that I didn't have to adjust a lining layer as well.

(I lost a LOT of weight over the past year - almost 40lbs. The clothes that fit me now are all at least four or five years old, so it's really nice to have something new in my wardrobe that FITS).

I used binding on the neck and armholes, turning it towards the inside to create as little bulk as possible. It turned out quite nice!

Of course, I then I had to find an occasion to wear the dress - and I found two in the same week! I also found that my pink Eileen Fisher sweater I inherited from my grandmother works perfectly with it!

It was so wonderful to feel well enough to make AND wear my own creation, and feel like I looked great in it. I'm still struggling health-wise, but this was a pretty big event. Now waiting to see if I continue to improve, or if I suffer any set-backs with the changing seasons.