Photo shoot

This is my third attempt.  For some reason my post on this photo shoot get chunks deleted or covered by bars of color and previous posts get distorted.  It all goes back to normal when I delete the post.  I’m going to try again only I will make 4 separate posts…1 for each photo.

Last Saturday a friend and I went to the Urban Gallery of my city’s main museum.  The Urban Gallery is a mock up of a turn of the century city.  I wish I could post pictures of my friend’s outfit but I have not asked permission.  Her outfit was complete where as mine was simply wearable.  She is also a more experienced seamstress so her outfit simply oozes quality.  Mine says “newbee”.  My goal is to get as good as her!

 My favorite double chin!

My favorite photo…no double chin!

Got my dress form up!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post I got a steal of a deal on a dress form yesturday…the added bonus being that over half of that price was covered by a gift.  Oh happy day!  This morning I set her up.  To follow the fashion of one of my favorite bloggers,, I have named my dress form.  She is a True Form dress form, my blog last name is Victorian and my favorite patterns are Truly Victorian.  With all these inputs I came up with “Trudy Victorian”.

I set Trudy up in my bedroom.  I set all her dials and put a spare corset on her and I think she is good to go (but I think I will need to add some padding in the tummy area as Trudy doesn’t seem to squish out the bottom of her corset the way I do.) 

Trudy in all her glory!

Then I threw on the dress I have been working on…and glory be…I can walk around to the back and see that I can possibly take in the back a bit.  I can see that I can move the hooks and eyes over so it hangs better in the front and the hooks wont show as much!

Trudy all dressed up

 After some puttering I started to get ready for work.  (Drat work!  You get in the way of my hobbies!)  Being in work mode, I stopped thinking about what I had been doing for the last 2 hours and focused on what I had to do.  Twice I walked by my bedroom door and jumped because some stranger was in my room.  Duh. I decided she would have to go in my walk in closet when I got home from work.  Either that or I get rubber sheets for the bed because waking up and finding a headless woman standing at the foot of the bed can’t have good results!

Being the kind soul I am, I decided to call the hubby and warn him that Trudy was there lest she startle him too and she gets drop kicked out the bedroom window.  Guess what he did.  Moved Trudy so that the minute I opened the garage door I would be staring down Trudy’s headless neck!  Yes, I jumped!  That was a good joke!

1895 Walking suit-accessories

Momma bought herself a Christmas present!  I’ve needed a dress form and today is the day I got lucky!  I found one that was over 50% off and I was going to be able to pay for over half of the sale price using some Christmas money I got from my in-laws.  With my math skills I figure I got a dress form for less than 25% the usual cost.  Sweet.  I can hardly wait to get it together in put a dress on it!

Anyway, today my goal was to talk about my accessories for my walking outfit.  The undies and shoes were the same ones I got to wear with an 1880s dress I had a friend make for me.  I got a pair of fabric gloves at a thrift store.  I’d love to find a pair of kid leather gloves that would fit on my fat fingers! 

I already shared a photo of my chatelaine made from my grandma’s sewing machine key and findings from a local craft store.  I used that same store to find a cameo to add to my jabot.

faux cameo

 I made a reticule from scraps of fabric and ribbon and I added some hand knit lace to the edge.


 The core of my hat is the wire that originally was found in the hair catcher I used to use when I was cutting my kid’s hair.  I re-covered that wire with left overs from my outfit and added all kinds of crazy do dads to it.  I’m still feeling that by Victorian standards it is understated.

My understated hat?

 The parasol was a bit of a trick.  I couldn’t make one but finding one that didn’t look like an umbrella was tough.  Then I found a lacy parasol in a bridal shop.  Now we were talking.  Except that I knew that a parasol was mainly used to keep the sun off of pristine white skin.  The lace, though pretty was not going to be that effective.  I suppose a woman may have felt her hat would do that and that the parasol was just for effect but I just couldn’t get over the sun shining through.  So I took more scrap material and lined the inside of my umbrella.  A close look at the inside will lead to gasps of horror from good sewers but it solved my problem and was not going to be noticeable at a glance.  I also added lace to the edge to make the parasol look bigger.

Full outfit, parasol open. The picture was taken at the historical site Captain Kennedy’s House.

That black dangly bit in front of my skirt was the tie I put inside my jacket to make the ripples hang better.  I forgot to tie it.  Sigh.  Most excellent photo shoot spoiled!

Full outfit, parasol closed.

 This picture would be perfect except for the jacket tie showing, the sleeve stuck into the glove and my “Gibson Girl” hair doo that is falling apart.  Let us not forget the wrinkles. Oh well.  I guess I need to wear it again with all these things fixed!  I think I need a lady’s maid to keep me together!

Night all.  Tomorrow’s post is either about my photo shoot in my 2nd attempt at reproduction or my new dress form. 

1895 walking suit-jacket

What a day!  The family is on its way here for our Christmas party so I missed church to scrape a layer of dirt off of the place, bake a cake and get some sewing done.  After my outing yesterday, I had some patching to do.  I stepped on my petticoat and ripped it and my friend stepped on my train and ripped the hook off of my skirt.  Needless to say, those had to be fixed before I could put them away.  (The petticoat will need to be washed to get the foot print off of it.)  Then a wearing of the skirt unearthed a problem…the bum pad pushed the placket open exposing my petticoat to the world-egads!  So before putting the skirt away, I quickly sewed in a couple of ribbons so I could tie it shut.  And since I had that ribbon out, I decided to sew on a tie for my bum pad so I wouldn’t have to pin it to my petticoat any more.  Not a bad bit of sewing. 

Now on with my saga of the walking suit.

The jacket was my next job and I must confess to being nervous about that.  I had never done anything like it and wasn’t sure I could pull it off.  I used Truly Victorian’s Ripple Jacket.  (I love Truly Victorian…their instructions are idiot proof without taking away creativity.)  I had plenty of material left over from the skirt to make the jacket.

This is my inspiration piece.  It was this piece that convinced me to buy the striped linen.

1895 cotton jacket Metropolitan Museum

And this is my end result.  (You also get a better view of my hand knit lace on the jabot.)

My replica

 On the whole I am happy with the jacket…for a first try.  It was comfortable to wear…but drat that wrinkling.  I was worried that the largest size for the front pieces was not going to encompass my “generous endowments” so I added an inch to the whole front edge.  This made the lapel freakishly big.  If I do it again I will still add that inch but not add it to the lapel edge.  I think I’d also stuff the top of the sleeve with some tool so it would stand up better.

Also on the plus side, I managed to get the stripes to meet up symmetrically on the back.  I wish I could say it was done with skill but in fact it was pure accident.  On the minus side those dang ripples on the back of the jacket would hang perfectly when sitting on the back of a chair but did funky things when on me.  I was able to fix it somewhat by adding a ribbon to the inside of the jacket along the low back.  When I remember to tie said ribbon, it pulls the jacket in tighter to me and makes the ripples hang better-not perfectly but better.  This is where having a dress form would have been helpful. 

I did learn a few things from this jacket.  I had the same problem with the sleeves…not getting all of the gathered layers under the machine needle left gaps that needed hand sewing.  (But I didn’t have to put them together over and over again!) I think next time I will take the extra time to baste the devil out of them thar sleeve holes!  I also learned that piping is darn near impossible to put in without a zipper foot so I went out and bought one of those.  I learned that I’m doing something wrong when I cut out my material (probably not pinning enough) because some edges stick out past the pattern when cut and laid out flat and some edges are hiding under the pattern piece.  This makes matching and sewing seam edges tricky.  Any experienced sewers out there know what I’m doing wrong?  (I really want someone to tell me I don’t need to put 8 pins for every inch of pattern edge…I’m lazy at heart.)  I’m starting to think I need to draw the pattern piece onto the fabric and cut out each piece individually.  That will be a pain if the material has a pattern I am hoping to match!  I doubt that is authentic technique as well.

Tomorrow is accessories day.

1895 walking outfit…skirt.

Well, I got my outfit for today done on time!  Yeeeehaaa!  I’m excited to post the photos but in the interest of keeping you from getting all confused I’ll save that for a later day and plod on with my walking outfit.  The next item I made was the skirt using Truly Victorian’s Ripple Skirt pattern.  I found some linen on sale at my local fabric store and used that.  Being a fairly simple skirt, it went together easily.  I decided to start with the skirt because it was easier than the jacket and once it was done I would have something I could wear in public.

Here is a photo of the inspiration skirt.

1895 linen skirt Metropolitan Museum

 My skirt doesn’t have the little pleats and the material has some stripes in it.

My skirt and shirt waist with lacey jabot.

The one aggravation with this material is it wrinkles too easily! 

As you may recall from an earlier post, I made a chatelaine to pin to the skirt with the key being from the sewing machine I was stupid enough to sell.

my chatelaine

 Tomorrow I will post about the jacket.

1895 walking outfit

I’ve been madly hand sewing the bodice of my dress that I need tomorrow afternoon (yikes!) It’s late now and I’m feeling blog uninspired.  Really, I just want to go to bed so I can get up early tomorrow and get back at it!  But, since I committed to a posting a day unless myself or a loved one is near death I’m going to get something off if it kills me!  Eventually, I want to share about the all the bits and pieces of my first outfit since I resurrected this mad hobby.  Mentally, I am not prepared to post photos of myself in the under things of this outfit so I’ll just tell you I found a silk camasol at a thrift store that I use as a chemise. I have a petticoat that was made by a friend for an outfit that was 1880’s inspired.  My bloomers are made out of a pair of matching pillowcases that had nice lace on them and the corset was bought on-line.  One day I’d like to make more accurate “dainties” but since no one sees them I find it hard to get excited about them.

The first thing I made was the shirt waist using a Truly Victorian Pattern.  The odd thing about this pattern is I made the lining part of the shirt and tried it on.  The fit was wonderful! (I always have trouble with button down shirts gaping at the girls or hanging like a sack at the waist.  This lining fit perfectly and I thought that I could make a modern shirt that fit me using the lining of this Victorian pattern.  I haven’t done it yet but one day….  Anyway, I sewed up the shirt with the greatest struggle being the sleeves.  I had parts inside out, and backwards and mismatched.  This involved 2 stitches being ripped for every 3 I put in…arg!  Finally, I got it all together only to have trouble with getting all of the gathered material around the arm hole into the needle.  I had to hand stitch plenty of holes shut.  But, in spite of that I figured it looked pretty good.  I knit the lace that I added to the jabot and I’m pretty proud of that!

The shirt waist with the jabot removed.

I took this photo as a reflection in the mirror of my antique dresser.  I used it as a profile picture on Facebook and was told it was creepy!  Humph!  Anyway, tomorrow is another day and tonight is needing some quality shut-eye!

The fabulous lady who…

The fabulous lady who taught me to sew on an antique sewing machine also taught me how to crochet.  She taught me about faith and she taught me that seniors are a wealth of history just waiting to be shared.  She taught me fresh peas taste better than canned peas and that cream rises to the top.  She taught me how to knit.  (Granted, she taught me in a way that looks different than the way anyone else knits…to the point that I fear teaching others but the end product still looks the same.)  She taught me the joy of garage sales and thrift shops.  Basically, the things I enjoy most and hold dearest to my heart are the things I directly or indirectly learned from her.  She died Christmas morning, 2 1/2 weeks after I turned 40 and I still miss that lady.

Grandma and I

Still a costuming blog…

So, I have not made any further progress on my dress that I need done by Saturday.  In fact I took a step backwards!  I fished the dickey part out of the dryer this morning.  Why do I need to wash a costume I haven’t even worn yet?  Because I was sewing on the hook and eye when I discovered my scissors were not handy for cutting the threads .  Instead of getting up off my butt to get them I bit the threads.  All well and good IF YOU ARE NOT WEARING LIPSTICK!  I noticed my gaff and instead of getting up to get the scissors I decided I would be more careful on the other side.  Yeah, well…I got lipstick on both sides and had to wash the dang thing.  This was the part when I found my step back.  One of the layers wasn’t completely caught in the seam and came loose. Sigh.  So instead of posting of my incredible dress progress while holding down a day job I will post a picture of my youngest son dressed for Comic Con.

Costume inspiration on lower left hand side.

His character is from some video game.  Heaven help me, but I can’t remember what game.  The helmet was last years Christmas present on which he glued horns that he molded from clay.  The neck thing, shoulder pads, sword and shin guards were taken from a store-bought knight’s costume.  He bought shoes at a second-hand store and spray painted them silver.  My husband has a friend who does graphics at his job and has a high-end printer so he made the shield on to plastic.  Young Son attached the handle (which is a dresser drawer pull).  I found a pair of leather work gloves at a garage sale and I dyed (and dyed and dyed again) them to get them less grey and more beige.  And I whipped up the tunic using cotton broadcloth and bias tape.  This proves two things…a family that works together can achieve great things (?) and that the nut doesn’t fall to fall from the tree.  Young Son definitely comes from my nerdy genetic pool 🙂

This is a Victorian Costume Blog after all….

I’ve been thinking that if I want a blog that mainly focuses on costumes I should talk about costumes.  Today, in the midst of the madness that is called Christmas, I took time during my lunch break to work on my 3rd 1800’s costume (sewing on buttons).  It is to be a 1895 dinner gown and it needs to be wearable by next Saturday.  One of my co-workers and I had intended to go to a museum (originally a house built in 1895) to take pictures of each other while it was all decorated for Christmas.  There was a glitch in that plan as the house/museum allows you to take all the pictures of the house you want but if you want pictures of yourself in the house it costs $100 an hour!  Hmmmm.  We made some rapid plan changes and we intend to do the same thing at the larger Museum of Man and Nature’s display of a turn of the century city.  The bonus is I have two free tickets because of a volunteer job I did.  (Note to self…that story is blog worthy.)

I found the inspiration picture below at the Metropolitan Museum web site.  If you have never been there you must check it out!  Paradise!

The fabric I am using is a huge piece of mauve/silver that I found at a charity thrift store for $14 with the solid pieces being a mauve fabric I found at Fabricland. 

Me reveling in my fabric find

I have no hot clue what the fiber content is in the patterned material (no label) so I decided not to worry about the fiber content in the other fabric and focus on the best color match.  I’m not thrilled with my final choice but it was the best one by far. I’m betting I will lose points in the authenticity department as likely there will be synthetic fibers in these but cheap is cheap and if it achieves the look I’m going for-yeah me!  I’m not entering a contest after all.

For patterns I am using the Truly Victorian 1892 Umbrella Skirt with Train (TV298) for the skirt and Truly Victorian 1896 Plain Bodice (TV493) for the bodice.  The pattern’s neck line is wrong so I had to alter that as well as widen the collar/lapel thingy (which likely wont be attached before next Saturday).  For the neck piece, I figured it was likely a dickey type arrangement and I just hacked and sewed materials I found in the remnant bin at Fabricland until I got something that looked right…worked first try amazingly enough.  So the dickey is done.  The skirt is done.  The bodice needs a few more buttons, hooks and eyes, the lapel thingy needs to be recut, sewn and attached and I am debating about the belt like detail on the front bottom/edge.  I’ll be happy if I get the buttons, hooks and eyes on by next Saturday.  I also want to make a dainty head-piece before Saturday. Ultimately, I’d like to make a hand bag and cape for it as well.  Those will have to wait for another day I’m afraid.

My Fur Baby

I have 2 grown boys (20 and 18) who still live at home but who have let me know that cuddling with mom is creapy.  They will tolerate a quick hug when I haven’t seen them in days but no sitting next to mom on the couch.  So I have my fur baby, Ginger, for that.  Ginger is a poodle/bichon cross that I adopted from friends who were no longer able to keep her.  She is a little gaffer but she thinks she is mighty!  Today I took her to the groomers for her Christmas hair cut.  She is just so cute I have to share!

Sorry about the slightly blurry picture. I won the camera two days ago at my staff Christmas party and I haven’t completely figured it all out.  I’m sure it would have focused better if my finger hadn’t been in the way.  That is a finger on the right…not someone’s tush.