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I was released early from rehearsal last night, so I arrived home by about 9:15pm and decided to get a jump start on creating more hand-sewing (especially since, as I figured, I ran out of hand-sewing to do at rehearsal by 8pm). 

I tried everything on, pinned up half the hem of the underskirt, then put the overskirt on, pinned up half the hem of that, and pinned it in place where I want bustle tapes to be. Naturally, putting on the overskirt made the underskirt too long again, so I re-pinned that hem. Then I put the bodice on, and realized that while the neckline and hem seemed to work, the darts were way off. They a) went about 1-1.5" over the bust point, and b) probably because of that, took out too much fabric through the bust, so the bust was way too small. The unfortunate thing is that I have a feeling there may be some scarring in the velvet where the stitching was. I really hope it's not too bad. By the time I did all that, it was already about 10:30 (aka, past my bedtime), so refitting the bust darts will have to wait. 

But at the very least, tonight I can pin the whole hem of both skirts in place, so that I can start hand-sewing that at rehearsal tomorrow night. I was originally going to do a facing instead of a folded over hem, but I have a fair amount of length to fold over, so I think I may just go that route. Also, it's easier. 

Sewing and another Youtube video

I still haven't tried on the sleeve that I mocked up last week. I've been trying instead to make sure I have a ton of hand-sewing to do at rehearsal, though unfortunately, I think I will probably run out of that tonight. Over the weekend, I finished putting all the velvet ribbon on my underskirt, redid the waistbands/pleating of both underskirt and overskirt, bound the neckline and hem of the bodice, put velvet ribbon around the neckline (which I somehow managed to do by machine), and am now nearing the end of putting the velvet ribbon around the hem (which I am doing by hand, because it would not cooperate). And I made a baby dress for a co-worker who is about to go on maternity leave. 

I'm worried the bodice is not going to work. I think part of that is paranoia because I didn't try on the bodice before binding it, which is what I always do, but I didn't have time because I wanted the hand-sewing to do. I mean, the mockup worked fine, but I'm still paranoid. 

I don't have rehearsal tomorrow night, so after zumba, I plan to try on everything. At the least, I want to mark the hem of the underskirt, because then I can hem that during rehearsals. Ideally, I would love to mark the closures on the bodice as well, and to fit the sleeve, and to mark the overskirt hem, but I know I won't be able to do all that in one evening. I should have a little additional machine sewing time on Friday, though I do have a gig mid-day, and I plan to film another youtube video as I get ready, since I want to do a vintage hairstyle tutorial this week. (Kill two birds and all that.) But then from this Sat-next Thurs, the only sewing I will probably be able to accomplish will be by hand because it's tech week and we have super long rehearsals over the weekend.  

Oh, and I did film and edit another youtube video on Friday. Here's the link if you haven't seen it yet. I've decided I will do another, more in depth one in the next few weeks about the process on the velvet dress in particular. 

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On Tuesday, between work and rehearsal, I took 15 mins and sewed together my sleeve pattern to test it, even though I had made notes on it previously about what needed changing (but I apparently never made a new sleeve pattern that included those changes, or if I did, I can't find it). And yeah, the sleeve head is way too tight/small for my shoulder, so I am going to have to do a full mockup. 

Honestly, I really want to do a one-piece sleeve because the pattern matching on the velvet ribbon is going to be next to impossible with two seams, but I can't really find any evidence of a long-sleeve one piece sleeve anywhere in the Victorian era, so two-piece it is. 

Anyway, since I now have to do a full mockup, plus fitting it (preferably with my corset on), and then make the actual sleeve, and put the velvet ribbon on it, and do the cuffs, and set it, and all that, I've come to the conclusion that that will be a project for tomorrow, when I have the whole day to sew. But since I want to be able to do hand-sewing at rehearsal tonight, I'm going to bind the neckline and hem of the bodice when I get home from work, so that I can stitch down the binding while I'm bored for 2.5 hrs at rehearsal (have I mentioned that I have almost nothing to do in this show)?

Ideally, by Saturday morning's rehearsal, I will also be able to do my skirt hem or something like that. Except of course that I would have a ton more velvet ribbon to lay down by then... So, maybe not. Maybe I'll bring headphones and spend Saturday's rehearsal editing the youtube video I plan to shoot tomorrow. 

Oh, and yesterday I made the skirt for my etsy order after work and zumba. My alterations commission has no rush on it, so I think that's going to wait for a bit. 

Velvet bustle update & Youtube stuff

Unfortunately, the aforementioned snow days did not happen. We got like, maybe an inch? Probably not even that much. Not enough to keep me from going to work, in any case. 

So while sewing has happened, I'm nowhere near as far as I wanted to be. I cut out/assembled/fit my bodice mockup over the weekend, and in doing so, I also tried on my skirts. I decided that the most appropriate undergarments shape for this would be my lobster-tail bustle, large bum pad on top of that, then quilted petti, then the ruffled organdy petticoat that I made for the crinolette. The crinolette was just giving too early a silhouette for 1874. Unfortunately, I pleated my skirts to the waistband for the crinolette shape. So now I need to go back and undo the waistbands, and repleat them with more of the fabric in the back and less on the sides. 

Anyway, I made all the tweaks I needed to to the mockup, and it will work for the flat-lining. I decided that with a couple of other small neckline tweaks, the exact pattern would work for the evening bodice and the Tissot bustle bodice as well, so when I took the mockup apart, I cut out the twill flat-lining for both of those bodices, as well as the velvet for the day bodice. The day bodice has been assembled, but it's nowhere near the hand-finishing stage. Next up will be sleeves, and then I can start to think about finishing. Pictures of the progress are on my instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ladyrebeccafashions/

Of course, I'm probably farther behind because I worked a lot more on the ribbon on the underskirt. I applied one full roll (20 yds) of ribbon to the skirt, and it's starting to look halfway decent already! Honestly, I want to do more of this, because it's mindless and nice, but really, I have to get the bodice to the hand-sewing stage asap, so that needs to come first. Tonight's rehearsal, alas, will have to be sans hand-sewing. And I also got a fairly simple alterations job and an etsy skirt order, both of which need to come first, too. 

Oh, and one of the other things I did this weekend was that I made my first youtube video. It's pretty quick and dirty, because I know nothing about editing (for those of you who do things like this, what programs do you use to edit?). I decided a tour of my sewing room would be easiest. Anyway, if you haven't seen it through FB or instagram yet, here's the link: www.youtube.com/watch

I'd love to try to shoot another one on Friday, and have been trying to come up with topics. Right now the two I've been thinking of are either to examine one or more of my extant pieces, or to go through my process for copying a dress from an image (whether that's a portrait, fashion plate, extant dress, or a Disney princess). Any thoughts?


Sewingy stuff

I think I briefly mentioned in my goals post that I started the burgundy velvet 1874 gown! The overskirt needs a hem and for bustle tapes to be added (or whatever I'm using to bustle it). The underskirt is fully assembled, but is now getting all the velvet ribbon trim added to it. I ordered 60 yds of 3/8" wide velvet ribbon from Amazon, which arrived yesterday. It's not as close of a match as the velvet ribbon I had previously purchased, and a little narrower than I had wanted, but beggars can't be choosers. I'm hoping I estimated correctly, and that 60 yds will be enough, but if not, it seems to be readily available on Amazon, so I think I'll be okay. 

So far I have 5 or 6 strips of ribbon sewn down onto the underskirt. I'm sure I'm going way higher on the skirt than I need to go, but whatever. Basically, the underskirt is poly taffeta, with silk taffeta flatlined over the bottom 25" of the skirt, so that everywhere the overskirt shows up will show the silk with the velvet ribbon (even though it probably won't be pulled up more than 20"). 

I also tweaked my go-to Victorian bodice pattern a bit for the right hem and necklines (hopefully, anyway), and I started cutting out the mockup for that. This weekend, I have to clean my house, do interviews for a new potential roommate, and do an ushering training session for the theatre that gets all the touring productions, but the rest of the time, I hope to spend sewing. By Monday, I would really love to have the bodice to a point where it needs hand-sewing, because I think I am called to rehearsals most nights next week, and I have almost nothing to do in this show, so I know it's going to be a lot of sitting around, and I want it to be productive sitting.

We also have snow in the forecast all next week, so who knows - everything could just be cancelled anyway, and I'll be stuck at home with lots of sewing time! That would be nice. :)

2020 Sewing Goals

Amazingly enough, I accomplished all but one of my 2019 sewing goals. Naturally, that's the Daniel Deronda riding habit that has been on my list for I don't even know how long at this point. I would still really like to make it, and I do still have the fabric for it, but it's not in my immediate priorities list at the moment. 

So anyway, these are my current goals, which really only stretch through Costume College:

1) The white and burgundy velvet dress. I'm currently working on this one. The overskirt is done except for a hem and bustle tapes. The underskirt needs the velvet ribbon, which I had to reorder since I purchased about 40 yards too little (yeah, you heard me), and a hem. I started tweaking my bodice pattern last night, and hope to cut out a mockup of it tonight. I am also going to make an evening bodice for this, which may turn into my CoCo gala gown. 

2) 1830s Disney Villains Group for CoCo. I'm doing Governor Ratcliffe, and I already have my fabric and a Percy plush. I won't be working on it until after the Victorian Festival in March, though. 

3) If I finish the velvet dress in plenty of time before VicFest, I'm going to do a light blue cotton Tissot-style bustle dress, definitely a day bodice, but possibly an evening bodice, too, if I have enough fabric. If I don't have time before VicFest for this, then I may actually try to squeak the riding habit in there instead, since I don't have to spend all the trimming time on that. 

4) If I finish all that in time plenty of time before CoCo, and if the stays that I won fit me well/are comfortable (I think those are coming to me soon), then I would like to make the 18th c working class outfit I had originally planned for 2018 or 19 and then shelved. I know for certain if I have to build new stays, then there is not time for this, but if not, then maybe. Though since I haven't made an 18th c bodice since like 2014, I feel like I'm going to have to relearn how to do everything. 

And yeah, that's it. I don't want to stress myself out with anything, and I hope to be in two more shows (besides the one I'm in) before CoCo, plus I should be focusing on growing my singing business, so I don't want my plans to be too ambitious. In fact, if all I can get done is the velvet dress and the 1830s dress, I think I will be pretty content. 

2019 Year in Review

I feel like (compared to past years) I have sewn very little this year, especially when it comes to historical pieces. I have also (at least since CoCo) posted very little on here, since the sewing and the posting tend to go hand in hand. It's also frustrating that I don't have an easy way to post pictures to here, so any pics in this wrap-up are just going to be links to instagram.

I worked on the first couple of projects all sort of at the same time, but I think the first finished one was my plaid 1880s bustle dress, and the trimmed bonnet to match:
www.instagram.com/p/B6iy6_Gg5IX/

The second was a multipart project -- The Fairy Godmother bustle, which had a skirt with a day bodice and an evening bodice, and also included a new petticoat and re-trimming an old hat. 
www.instagram.com/p/B6lat3kA8IH/ - day bodice (this combo is, I think, my favorite historical costume at the moment)
www.instagram.com/p/BvmbUdXAHM3/ - evening bodice
www.instagram.com/p/BtalqksABqN/ - petticoat

This hardly counts, but I made a new stomacher for my 18th c court gown:
www.instagram.com/p/Bu2v2v5gBth/

Not sewing, but costume-related: I built a large walk-in closet in my garage! I honestly can't remember how I was fitting things in before I made this closet. And apparently I never posted pics of it to instagram, so the only pic to share comes from this post: theladyrebecca.dreamwidth.org/294624.html. But now I keep all of my cotton or poly projects in garment bags out in this closet, and the wools and silks are inside. 

Star Wars flight suit commission. I don't think I have pics of that. 

www.instagram.com/p/ByzE2wsgivc/ - 18th c style skirt commission (with provided fabric).

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0c881ugtSA/ - Natural form gala gown, plus chemise, reticule, and bib to go with it

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0eWhN-gAIj/ - 1840s dress, version one. This included adding a tier to my ruffled "Victorian child" petticoat, and curling four human hair hairpieces. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0Iay_ngqfi/ - Trimmed and shaped a straw hat out to make up into a teens-era hat

www.instagram.com/p/B2VsFD8AYcL/ - Elsa base bodice commission

www.instagram.com/p/B18BFwugcDy/ - Rocky Horror bodice commission

www.instagram.com/p/B2tH5vBAP7W/ - BB8 baby dress commission

www.instagram.com/p/B5Mq_IUAdvd/ - Rapunzel Dapper Dirndlbound

www.instagram.com/p/B5BWSEnAfgJ/ - Dole Whip ears and skirt (which I apparently need to share better pictures of, if I have them)


www.instagram.com/p/B4UJSregXH3/ - Ariel. Though to be fair, all I did was the sleeves, plus styling the wig.

www.instagram.com/p/B4WxkdyAsWg/ - Altering/repairing/practically remaking the Queen of Hearts dress, plus re-styling my 18th c wig and making the card collar


www.instagram.com/p/B4jdGg3gHqH/ - Sleeves for the 1840s dress

www.instagram.com/p/B41eB7lg8-0/ - Light up fireworks skirt

www.instagram.com/p/B43jdqoghbl/ - Harry Potter skirt

Commission of alterations for the Silverbells carolers, which luckily turned out to be much easier/less than I had feared. 

www.instagram.com/p/B5pKpxKguZY/ - Victorian Christmas outfit commission

www.instagram.com/p/B56-_pdgJar/ - Christmas skirt

www.instagram.com/p/B6ZwfacAwWk/ - Pelerine/fixing the sleeves on my 1840s dress

A Star Wars bow tie for my dad for Christmas (which I guess I didn't share a pic of)

I know looking at that as a list, it seems long, but a fair amount of it is either commissions, very small projects like modern skirts, or alterations/accessories to projects. I'd love to have more actual full historical projects this year, but that is for another post. 

Christmas Sewing

Last Monday, I finished my Christmas skirt. I've already worn it twice, and I'm looking forward to wearing it a couple more times before Christmas. Enchant, which is a giant Christmas lights maze they've set up inside the baseball stadium downtown, was lovely, and we received a ton of compliments on our nice vintagey looks. 

I had my last caroling gig last Wednesday, and then Thursday and Friday nights, I saw two different Christmas shows at a couple theatres I've worked with. Saturday, I hosted a super fun Disney/Tacky Sweater Christmas party, and we decorated gingerbread cookies, had a seran wrap ball, and did a white elephant gift exchange. 

Sunday was our 1830s Christmas Tea. I went to Christmas Tea at the Secret Garden Tearoom last year, and it was so lovely that I knew I wanted to do a costumed Christmas tea this year. They've upped the prices a bit, unfortunately, but it was still delicious, and very lovely. We took a few pictures outside afterwards, but about half the party had to leave fairly quickly, so we didn't take too many. 

I also had the first rehearsal for my next show on Sun night. I have one more rehearsal for that tomorrow, but then it's breaking for Christmas. 

Last night, I opened up the seams on the lower sleeves I had added to my 1840s dress before the cemetery event the first weekend of Nov. They had been waaay too tight, so I put in a little gusset of sorts, which tapered out to nothing a few inches above the wrist, and where it met the upper sleeve. It's an addition of about 1" across around the elbow, and amazingly, it still feels a little bit on the tight side. But it's close enough that I'm fine with keeping it as is.

I'm wearing this dress to the SF Dickens Faire on Sunday, since it's fairly easy to pack (no hoops, no giant bonnet). I'm hoping to maybe make a small matching pelerine before I go, but I can't find an easy pattern/diagram online. I can tell they are fairly shaped in the shoulders - anyone know where I can find a pattern? I'm basically looking to make something quite close to the one in this fashion plate:  www.pinterest.com/pin/279293614379881176/

Yesterday, I also made my dad his Christmas present. Since I highly doubt he'll read this, I figure I can share what it is. He loves bow ties, so I decided to make him a Star Wars print bow tie, which has R2D2 and BB8 on it. 

I figure, when I get back from CA after Christmas, I will either a) have the Frozen commission, or b) be able to work on the velvet gown. I'm really hoping for b. 

Need your theories on a fashion plate.

I was feeling exhausted most of the weekend, so didn't wind up doing much sewing. We had four caroling gigs from Thurs-Sat, I ushered a show yesterday, and I finished decorating my house on Friday (video of the decorations is on instagram). 

I didn't start my big project yet, because I want to make a quick Christmas skirt first. I picked up the fabric at the same time I bought the commission stuff a couple weeks ago, but as I was cutting it out yesterday, I realized I had forgotten to buy a zipper. So after I cut out and serged all the pieces yesterday, I ran out to Joanns on my way to the grocery store. But naturally, once I got home, there was no more sewing time left between that and the show last night. That said, I should have it all put together tonight, which is good, since I want to wear it when we go to Enchant tomorrow. (They've taken the baseball stadium and turned it into a giant light maze, so it's very instagrammy or something like that.)

But then, assuming I'm not starting the Frozen commission right away, I'm starting on my velvet gown. The thing is, I've stared at this fashion plate a ton, and I can't quite figure out what is going on with her skirt (or skirts?). Click here for the image. Is that band actually running diagonally across her skirt, tucking up only one side of the skirt? Or is it really a horizontal band, and they've just pulled her skirt up on one side? Or is her torso somehow turned completely to the side, and the pulled up part is actually the back of the skirt? I would love to hear any ideas/theories!

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I realize I haven't posted in nearly a month. I did have the Disney trip in there, but otherwise, I'm not really sure how that happened. 

Anyway, Disney World was amazing, though I think I'm too old to do the all-day with too little sleep for 7 days straight thing anymore, so I'm going to have to keep that in mind the next time I go. I am slowly posting pictures on facebook - so far I have days one through three available, so please feel free to look at them over there (esp since I think all of you are friends on facebook anyway). All of my outfits went over very well, especially the light-up fireworks skirt and Rapunzel. 

Since getting back a couple weeks ago, I had a super quick commission that I did basically over Thanksgiving weekend, but that's it so far. I'm hoping that I'll have at least a few days before my next commission winds up starting that I can maybe get a little start on my 1860s velvet dress that I've been longing to start all fall. I had wanted to have it done in time to visit the Dickens Fair in CA for the final day, but that's definitely not going to happen, since this will be a complicated dress and that's in two weeks. Oh well - I'll have it done by the Victorian Festival. 

So all that to say, hopefully I'll come back to posting more, as I sew more on non-rush commission items. We'll see...