Wednesday, September 29, 2010


The past few days it has been just too hot to do anything.  When I get home from work, it is still in the high 90s which means it is over 100 in my little house.  YIKES!

I tried to sew on Monday, and the sweat was pouring off of me at the machine.  Not a good sewing experience.  So all I have done is take the ruffles off the sleeves of the 1870 dress and the pink removed.  One yellow ruffle has been re-gathered. 

That's all I could manage.  I did not want to sweat all over my fabric.  There is another 1870 event this weekend and I would like to convert the Rainbow Sherbet dress into a Lemon-Lime Sherbet dress.  Will it be possible in this heat? 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Final 1870 Sherbet Dress Thoughts

I do not love it.  I do not think the pinks work. 

I was able to wear it with no wardrobe malfunction so that was good.  But, I think I will need to make changes to it so that I can wear it again. 

I really think the pinks are all wrong.  So, first thing is to take those pink ruffles off.  Since time will not be at a premium, I will be able to add the olive green ribbon onto the dress.  I really need to change it up….I like the yellow….I like the striped fabric…..there has to be a way to make this work.  But not today or tomorrow.  With no deadlines, maybe I can come up with an idea. 

Any suggestions?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hooking the Eye or What Closure Do You Desire

I wanted to use buttons to close the bodice.  Ha…that wasn’t happening because of time constraints.  Even if I used the machine to make the buttonholes, I was looking at a couple of hours minimum to complete this task.  If I went with hook and eye tape, maybe an hour to complete.  Sold… had to be hook and eyetape.  Turns out I only had one section of hook and eye tape in the house which wasn’t being used and the tape was a nasty grey color.  Ugh….I bought this for a grey silk bodice but didn’t like it so didn’t use it.  Turned out to be the right call because this was some funky hook and eye tape.

But since beggars cant be choosers and the dreaded deadline fast approaches, the icky grey hook and eye tape it was.  The only other option is to steal from another bodice and the only one that was long enough looked like it was sewn on to survive a nuclear war, that thing was not coming off easy.

Now, hook and eye tape should be easy to put on.  Sew the hook tape on the edge and the eye tape about 3/4 in from the edge matching up the first hook and eye so that all the rest fall into place.  Easy peasy.  NOPE NOT THIS TIME.  Murphy’s law or whatever….The hook tape went on quickly.  Next while matching up the eyes, it looks good and I start sewing checking as I went along.  I am almost done and I notice that the eyes are no longer matching the hook placement….again WTF??? These tapes were purchased together and were meant to go together….so why was this not working? 

No time to figure it out…seriously, it is less than 5 hours until I have to be at the event and I have food to make, a shower to take and oh I don’t know drive to the event.  As I stare at the tape, I decide I will take little tucks on the eye tape until it matches again.  I had to do this on 2 consecutive eyes and then everything fell into line again…weird.  But it worked.  No time to sew on the fake buttons….but whatever, at least my bodice will close so I wont be flashing the world.

In the past, I have had some issues of the flap of the bodice flipping open and I was sure with all the weirdness with this hook and eye tape I would experience the same problem.  Not so!  Color me surprised, the hook and eye tape, for all its problems, worked perfectly with no flapping issues.  

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Boning the Bodice

This 1870’s bodice is not just pieces sewn together.  There is some major construction that goes on.  First of all the “fashion” fabric is underlined.  I underlined the striped fabric with a white linen.  These two layers are sewn together.  In addition, there is also a lining to the striped fabric.  I used a heavy muslin as the lining fabric. 

Before the lining can be sewn to the bodice, the boning must be sewn in.  I chose to hand sew the boning into the bodice because it is quicker than using a machine.  With a zipper foot, this can be done on the machine but I find that I make too many mistakes with the machine and can finish the sewing in one go if I do it by hand. 

What type of boning am I using:  well it is a mixture of spiral bones and straight metal bones.  No plastic boning or cable ties in this bodice.  This also increases the weight of the bodice substantially, not just for wearing but also when finishing up the sewing.  Boning goes on all the seams and the darts for a total of 10 bones onto the striped fabric only.  The bones are then encased inside the bodice.
Next is to sew the lining to the bodice.  This can be tricky with the neckline ruffle.  You need to be sure to pin securely and insure that the ruffle is tucked in for a nice line.  I ran into a major problem with this step.  The lining was about 2 inches less in width than the striped fabric on one side!!!!!!!!  WTF???????

Blech….it took some finagling with darts and side seams to get the pieces to match.  This through me for a loop because it has never happened before.  Also, being on a tight deadline does not help.   Can you say panic???

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rainbow Sherbet

It’s the colors.  Even though not correct, this outfit is reminding me of Rainbow Sherbet.  The colors, except for that raspberry color, are not accurate and nevertheless, I think of Rainbow Sherbet.

The ruffles on the sleeve turned out exactly as I envisioned them.  Yet, I do not love the way the ruffles turned out.  Something seems off.  It is too heavy.  Maybe it is because the yellow is muted by the pinks beneath it.  I can’t put my finger on what is bothering.

The ruffles are also now on the skirt.  Whew….that sucked.  I do recommend the string method of gathering.  For me it is the quickest.  With a cording foot you zip along.  Also, the actual gathering is much quicker as well.  I think I may need to spread out the ruffles a little more.  Still, I am not loving this.

I picked up 2 greens and 2 pinks to coordinate with the stripes.  The stripes are 2 shades of green, the 2 shades of pink you see on the ruffles, the yellow and a neutral beige.  When I looked at the striped fabric, the raspberry pink always stood out the most and the olive green.  I decided not to use the olive green because the fabric, while an exact match, is thicker…less gauze like, than the other fabrics.  The same with the lighter green.  The pinks and the yellow are the same weight fabrics so I thought they would look better.

Now, I don’t like it.  The pinks receded and the greens are standing out.  I think that may be because the ruffle around the neck has none of the pinks in it….so the bodice becomes predominately yellow, green and the beige.

What to do?  I think I may have to change this up after I wear it.  Have to wear it to the event first, there is no time to change it now! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Frilly Girly Ruffles

So…what to do with the neckline?  This is 1870’s so it needs some trim. 

My first thought is the ribbon work that has consumed some of my free time.  I was able to make continuous yards of this ribbon design by buying an entire spool of green grosgrain ribbon.  Much more economical than the small spools one gets at JoAnne’s.  My plan is to add this ribbon to the skirt to tie the green in the bodice to the yellow skirt.

But I wasn’t thrilled.  So I started playing around with a ruffle around the neck.  I had seen this technique done on other dresses from this period and eventually decided to go this way.

One of the reasons for going this route is that I know I want ruffles on the sleeves; so this should tie in with those ruffles to make it more homogenous.  I can place the ribbon on the sleeve where the ruffle meets the end of the sleeve.  I am thinking about Dark pink, khaki and yellow ruffles on the sleeves again to tie in the colors in the stripes on the bodice.

The only problem, while I consider myself a girly girl, I have always stayed away from ruffles!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Do Not Adjust Your Computer or How NOT to Match Stripes

Apparently, I am very bad at matching stripes.  Granted these were uneven stripes.  All of my attempts were just off.  Some pieces of the bodice were cut more than once until I just decided to forget it.  I spent hours and hours trying to match the stripes.  I do realize the curved seams did not assist in the matching process but seriously it was bad.

It was bugging me but I did not have enough time to find new fabric.  So what to do?  Well, I made some piping for the obvious seams to kind of distract from the mis-matched stripes.  It was the only idea I could come up with.  I can’t even say it works.  But it is nice piping! I did not make corded piping, just flat piping.  Maybe the cording would have helped even more.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Toile-ing Away

So much to do in RL but I have been plugging along sewing.  When last you heard from this intrepid sewist, she had grand plans for a Victorian day dress.  Those grand plans are moving along.

Using mostly the Truly Victorian patterns as a base because I have to change things up with everything I do.  The Fantail skirt is completed.  This is a TNT pattern for me since I have used it numerous times for ball gowns.  The skirt is done except for hemming and trim.  As you can see, I have padded out one of my dress forms hoping this will assist given the time crunch and because I hate wearing a corset.

I have also, finally, prepared a toile of the bodice.  I changed my mind a number of times about the bodice: what I wanted and what it would look like.  Last night I tried the toile on and with some modifications I think it will work.  Interestingly, I thought I would need to make it larger but the reality was it needed to go smaller through the back and waist. I was surprised.

So, I have retraced my pattern with those changes and cut out 2 more versions.  Due to time restraints, I have to move forward with this ASAP so no more fitting.  I have yet to cut my “fashion” fabric.  Just the underlining and lining are cut. 

Whew….that tired me to even think about.  The lining has also now been serged.  Gosh I love my serger!