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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Victorian Menswear

This should be the last catch-up post. I didn't state early, mid, or late Victorian because menswear has often changed much more slowly than ladies' wear--at least for the last two centuries or so--so Jon and I tend to cheat even more with his clothing than we do with mine. I use some of my clothing to portray two decades or so, dressing it up differently to change the style, but we use some of Jon's clothing to span the entire Victorian period (64 years).

I made this Inverness for Jon over a year ago. I didn't use a proper pattern. I just modified (rather drastically) the pattern I drew up for one of Jon's medieval surcotes, adding a collar and circular cape as well as changing the general shape of the body. I actually wish I had drafted the pattern more carefully, but we were being Victorian Christmas carolers in Utah, so Jon really needed it for warmth. That created a greater rush.

The outer layer is just a black twill, but we lined it with Welsh wool that we inherited from Jon's grandmother. There is one layer of it in the main body of the Inverness and two layers in the cape. An Inverness does not actually have sleeves, so the cape provides the warmth to the arms. The black sleeves you see are the jacket underneath--in this case, a tailcoat. The lining doesn't lay perfectly, but overall, I'm rather pleased with it, especially for such a rush job.

This is Jon with the Inverness removed, just so you can see the overall evening outfit. This is what he typically wears for dancing.

I made this double-breasted waistcoat for Jon for evening wear by just modifying a regular vest pattern. The pockets are all real, even though the pattern just had false plackets. I used a fabric-covered button kit to make the buttons and an embroidered satin that I already had on hand.

I had to take the back in to get the fit right. I had already completed it with the fit a little loose, but I opened up the lining and took it in.


The pocket watch is neither of our work, but I think it's beautiful, and I wanted to give mention to the Etsy shop I bought it from: Art Inspired Gifts. It's a beautiful watch, and we expected it to be just your standard watch with a battery, but it winds up. That's not what everyone would want, but we both liked that better.
This is Jon's daytime waistcoat. It's single-breasted, and also made with fabric I already had on hand and fabric-covered buttons. This was a home decor fabric, which was a bit thick for making fabric-covered buttons, so some of them required glue. This one also has real pockets because false plackets are stupid.

Isn't he handsome?







This vest also had to be taken in at the back after completion.


The trousers with this day outfit are the Ludlow Trousers from Gentleman's Emporium. I don't remember if we payed the normal price, or if we caught a sale, but they were worth it either way. They come with a 36" inseam, so we had to hem them up--that was to be expected--but the fit of the seat was a bit loose too, so we have taken that in as well.

The next months will be consumed with Halloween sewing. I'm pretty excited about the costumes I have planned for that. Stay tuned for more.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Late Victorian Ladies' Wear

I know I have already posted about my red Late Victorian gown a few times, but I have embellished it some more, and it's possibly still not done. Without further ado, pictures:





As you see, I added black lace and black bead trim to the edges of the bodice and the skirt hem. Overall, I like it much better this way, but I'm not completely sure how I feel about the lace at the neckline. I think I want to either take it off and sew it back on so that less of it shows (effectively making it narrower), or leave it on, but make it so that it angles out instead of slightly inward as it does now. I think I prefer the second option, but I'm not sure how to accomplish it. Part of the reason I want to change it is because I made the choker below specifically for this dress, but with the lace added, it doesn't show as well as planned. I am definitely open to opinions.

I don't need to say much about my day outfit of the same time period, but I have only included pictures of the skirt in the context of steampunk costumes, and this shows it with a corset under the blouse so that the waistband lays more correctly. I should have pressed it before taking these pictures, but I hate ironing.



I want to make a polonaise--probably green--to go over this, but I have other things to do first. Next post will be on some of Jon's clothes, and then on to new work.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Still Catching Up

Jon and I finally had some time together during daylight so we could actually take good pictures, as opposed to the terribly-lit ones you'd get inside my apartment at night. We took a ton, though, so I will probably break them up into a few posts so that I won't run out of material too quickly. I have plans for some more sewing, but I never know how long it will take me to finish it, as you should know if you've been reading my blog.

Today, I'll start with my new corset. It is made off the same pattern I made for my black one (by duct-taping myself into a t-shirt, cutting it off, and then drawing on lines where extant corsets I've seen have seams, then translating that into pattern pieces), but we bought a busk this time. I'd share the link, but it seems to have changed, so I don't know for sure if I have found the same company again. I do remember that I got a great deal by buying a pack of 5 for about $30. Do I really need 5 corsets? Probably not, but who cares? They'll be pretty.

Because I had a normal busk this time, the little posts are squeezed between the weave of the fabric as they should be instead of any holes being cut. The other side of the busk is also put in correctly this time, and there are three layers of fabric--white duck cloth (for strength because I already had it) closest to my body, white muslin next to create the boning channels and protect the third fabric, white satin. I was using scraps, so that's the real reason for the alternating between the embroidered satin and the plain. I like the way it looks, though.

The boning, which of course you can't see, is still made from lumber ties (giant zip ties) from Home Depot. I cut it to length with a utility knife and rounded off the ends, so they wouldn't be too snaggy.

I highly recommend using actual grommets, not eyelets, for corsets as they are stronger, and they have smooth edges, so they don't snag the fabric as you push them through. They look nicer too.

This corset is intended to be all white so that it can be worn under white Victorian blouses without showing, but the day that I finished it (and needed to wear it right away), I didn't have any white corset lacing or ribbon. I did have blue, and as I was not wearing white that day, it didn't matter. I still intend to replace the blue ribbon, but it has not become urgent yet, and that's what's most likely to get me to do it.

I'm also considering taking this apart a little to add boning to the back. I don't know why I thought I could get away with leaving the bones out of the center back, but I shouldn't have. It's not the worst mistake I've ever made. It still creates a good shape under my Victorian clothing, but as you see, it puckers a bit. The question is, can I add boning channels without messing it up? I don't know yet.

And since I know I've mentioned it and never actually written about it, I will include Jon's steampunk Batman costume. It was included in my last post, but last Halloween, he only wore a simplified version of the costume, leaving off most of the accessories he wore the previous Halloween, and I didn't take detailed photos before.

The pants a are just a regular pair of black slacks Jon already had, and the boots are Harley boots. We found the leather tool belt at Harbor Freight. We found the lock on his tool belt at a Renaissance Festival or something like that, and I believe we inherited the old flashlight from his grandpa. The grappling hook came from a military surplus store. Ideally, this will get more fake gadgets, but as we are always making new costumes, we may or may not get back to that.

When we went looking for a black button-up shirt, we got lucky and found a decent looking one at Walmart. I removed the part of the collar that folds down, then stitched the remaining edge closed, giving the shirt a band collar. I made the bib piece out of some black twill we already had and stitched close to the edge in grey thread for the visual effect. Jon cut the bat symbol out of lightweight leather and riveted it to the bib, then I made the buttonholes and sewed the buttons on the shirt.


The mask was not made for this costume. Jon actually made it (very quickly, I might add) for a masquerade we attended a few years previously, but everyone kept saying it looked like a Batman mask, so it was actually part of the inspiration for this costume.


The throwing knife sheaths and vambraces were made for the TLC Trio Skyfall video--the throwing knife sheaths for the rooks, and the vambraces for the white knights. We kept all of the pieces that didn't belong to anyone else because we figured they'd come in handy at some point. Obviously, they have.

I think he looks rather dashing, don't you?

Next up, Victorian menswear.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I'm Back

Hopefully this won't be the only post for the next year. I've made some new things and done some work on some things you've already seen. This post isn't going to include a lot of explanations, especially about the processes involved, but I'll include some. Mostly, this will be pictures of the things I have pictures for. And I'll work on taking more pictures to post soon to show you some of the things I haven't already documented.

A pirate costume I made for my niece.
I know you've already seen the pioneer costume, but here's me with multiple petticoats instead of the hoops.
I didn't make this. It's a beautiful gift from my beautiful sister Cathy. I want to wear it with my Elizabethan gown as well as my late Victorian, but I haven't had anywhere to wear it yet.
I can't remember if I posted this. These were our quick and easy (and cheap) dental-assisting-appropriate costumes.
Remember this dress? I made it back in 2013. Well this last Halloween (2014), I embellished it some more.
This was our brilliant plan for getting the lace to stand up at the neckline--we hung my dummy upside-down from the shower curtain rod and applied stiffener. It worked pretty well.
The "handing candy out to trick-or-treaters" costumes from 2013--me as the Tooth Fairy and Jon as an old-timey newspaper man.
Halloween 2014--our costumes for our party. Here's Anna actually in her pirate costume and me in my late Victorian gown and a choker I made.
Same party. Here's Jon as steampunk Batman. I realize you can't see it super well, but this is all I've got.
I included this mainly to show the feathers in my hair.
Halloween 2014--church party. Jon as a pirate, and you can see some super cute Ninja Turtles in the background.
Same party. This is a better picture of me as the Tooth Fairy. I have since reprised the role for my current dental office.
Same party. Anna's Mad Hatter costume. I helped her put it together.
Sideview of the hat.
Halloween 2014--work costumes. Jon as Robin Hood, and me as an anime cat girl. People didn't get my costume, but I rocked it anyway.
So part of the reason I haven't been blogging is because life just hasn't been working out the way we planned. We love North Carolina, but since moving here, I lost the job we moved for, and we both got jobs at Chick-fil-A. That's far from where we wanted to be at this point in our lives, but we've worked with great people and been able to make ends meet. But working in food service definitely posed a challenge for our costume endeavors. Jon wore his uniform pants with the top half of his Robin Hood costume. He works in the kitchen, so the vambraces kept his sleeves out of everyone's food, and he left his arrows out of the quiver. Obviously, he left the bow at home. This is one of his more washable costumes and has no bulky sleeves or anything, hence the choice.

I work out front, but I still needed good mobility and the ability to get dirty, ruling out most of my costumes. My pirate costume would have worked, but I had already worn it for "Talk Like a Pirate Day," which isn't that long before Halloween, and I really wanted to wear something different. So most of this is from my wardrobe, including the wig, but I found the stripey tights at Target and the sequined cat ears at Claire's. It was a fun costume.

That's it for now. I need to get some pictures taken in my late Victorian gown with all the lace and beads added. I wore it to teach vintage dance at a daddy-daughter dance, but I didn't end up getting my picture taken. And maybe I'll make Jon put on his steampunk Batman costume again, so that we can take better pictures of that as well. I have also made/finished a few more things that need to be photographed so that I can show you.

p.s. Sorry the pictures are in an odd order. I just found and uploaded all the pictures and was planning to change the order afterward like I usually do. Unfortunately, it's not letting me do that this time, and I really don't want to delete them and re-add them one-by-one in a better order.

p.p.s. I'm working in a dental office again, and I'm very open to suggestions for this year's work Halloween costume.