Almost done!

The bodice is basically done! I made the cuffs yesterday, which are velvet with canvas inside, with more of the velvet ribbon trim around the top of the cuff. They did make the sleeves a bit tight at the bottom because yikes that is thick. But I think/hope it will still work. And I set the sleeves into the armseyes. Picture here. I hope to try on the whole bodice either tonight or tomorrow so that I can make sure it's all good. If it is, then all that needs to happen with it is that I need to tack down the inside edge of the cuff and stitch on some lace to the ends, which I'll do backstage tomorrow night. 

Then tomorrow I will add more bustle tapes and make the sash. My plan is to take one long piece (or multiple pieces sewn together, really) of the silk, flatline it with the supima, put all the velvet ribbon on, and then hem the edges by hand, and tack it on to the skirt. I'll do the hemming backstage, but the tacking will have to be on the form. 

Honestly, other than the chemisette, which I still haven't checked if I have fabric for, I think I will finish this whole dress by Saturday night, if not earlier. Then it's on to the Tissot bustle and all the pleats. That is, assuming I have enough velvet ribbon left...

Sewing Update

Whoops, I haven't posted since last week, and I actually did a fair amount since then!

I gave up editing that hair tutorial video I was talking about last time. I'll reshoot it at some point, but probably not till at least the end of this month. I did shoot, edit, and post a different video last week, though, which takes you on a tour of one of my two oldest pieces - an 1860s handsewn cotton dress

I've also worked quite a bit on the 1874 velvet dress. I had finished (or so I thought) sewing in the bustle tapes last week, but I wasn't getting the drape I wanted with them, so I took the back ones out, and will re-sew them, plus add a few others. I think I need to sew them in while it's actually hanging on the form. I solved the new draping problem while I was trying to figure out the path/drape of the sash piece that goes around the middle of the skirt. I mocked it up with some wide ribbon, and I think I like where it is now. I also decided it does need a crinolette. For now, I'm using my frankencrinolette (aka, my farthingale hoop with the hoops reduced, and the Jane short lobster bustle on top), but I think if I have time before CoCo, I will try making an actual crinolette. I doubt it will happen before VicFest, though, since that's only 1.5 months away, now. 

Both waistbands also now have hooks and eyes, and all the buttons and buttonholes are on the bodice (though I have to admit, some of those buttonholes are very not pretty. (ugh, velvet) 

I also cut out the sleeves and began their assembly. After flat-lining the silk taffeta with supima cotton, I sewed up the seam on the inside of the arm, then laid out my grid for the velvet ribbon. This wound up taking me way too long, because I was trying to make the ribbon lines match on the other seam. Despite the fact that I did baste that seam shut afterwards to make sure the lines lined up, I must have been a little off in my application of the ribbon, because while about 85-90% of the ribbon lines up, there are a few that don't. Oh well. Anyway, once I put all the ribbon on, I did that seam back up, and they are now ready for cuffs and to be set into the armseyes. 

I determined (with the help of the hivemind) that the best course of action for the neckline piece is to do a separate chemisette. I still have to figure out if I have any fabric light enough. (I'm kind of guessing I don't.) And I have to actually make the skirt sash piece, which will be out of the silk (probably backed with some of the supima) with the velvet ribbon on top. And figure out how to attach it to the skirt, of course. I'm thinking just tacking it every few inches or so. 

Before I make the ballgown bodice for this dress, I'm going to make my Tissot-style day dress, because I really want that finished for VicFest. If I don't finish the ballgown bodice, I can always re-wear my natural form bustle gown for the ball. 

Pictures of all this progress, as usual, on my instagram!

Oh, and in theatre news, we opened my current show this weekend (a day late, since there was a power outage at the theatre on opening night), and I've now been cast in two dream roles for my next two shows! So I'm all set for theatre through the end of June, but luckily, I don't start rehearsals till mid-March, which means I have 1.5 months of sewing time in the evenings. :)

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Sewing is progressing slowly. The overskirt hem is completely sewn, and I've started to sew on the bustle tapes - I think I'm about 1/3 of the way done with those, so I just need to finish them and put the hooks and eyes at the waist, and the overskirt will be done. The underskirt hem is done except for about 20", and then that needs the hooks and eyes at the waist, too. The bodice darts have been refitted, the front edges have been marked/pressed and are ready for buttons and buttonholes, and the sleeve mockup has been fitted.

I probably won't be able to actually work on the sleeve until Friday, since we have tech this week, so all I can do is hand-sewing. Though I also have to make sure my house is really clean on Friday, because my current roommate moves out Friday and my new roommate moves in Sat, so it needs to look nice. I'd also love to shoot another youtube video Friday. I shot and edited one last Friday, but the editor keeps exporting it out of synch. I even went back and started from scratch with the editor yesterday, and it's still out of synch. I downloaded video editing software onto my computer last night, so tonight at rehearsal I'm going to try editing it that way instead, and maybe it will work. If not, I guess I'm either posting the out of synch one, or reshooting entirely, which I would rather not have to do. I feel like I've wasted sooo much time on this stupid 13 minute hairstyle tutorial! It should not be this hard. Also, now I've already failed at having a video every week, which may have been unrealistic anyway. Oh well.

Anyway, besides the video editing, I will probably finish all my hand-sewing by the end of tomorrow night's rehearsal, unfortunately. So I'm not sure what I'll wind up doing on Thursday night! I have soooo much downtime backstage that it's ridiculous. Luckily, I just found out that I got a lead role (and one of my dream roles) for my next show, so I'll have much more to do, and I'm super excited about it! I'm not supposed to announce the particulars yet, but I'll share when I can. 

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I'm really glad I had that extra hour of time to work on Tuesday night, because it turns out I really needed it! That said, I did manage to get the underskirt hem all pressed and pinned in place last night, so it's 100% ready for handsewing. The overskirt hem is kind of pressed and pinned. Like, I pressed the actual hem fold, but I need to turn in the raw edges and press and pin those, and then it will be ready to go. But since I doubt that I can even finish stitching the one hem at rehearsal tonight, and since the remaining pressing on the overskirt should take less than 15 mins, I'm sure I'll have that ready to stitch for Saturday's rehearsal.

And hopefully tomorrow after my gig, I can fix the bodice darts and fit/cut out/make-up/attach the sleeves, since then I'll pretty much just have hand-finishing left on the bodice. 

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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.