But the dresses are so nice…

Ever watched a show or movie that you really didn’t like because you like the costumes?  I’m Netflixing one now that really is not to my taste.  The Lizzie Borden Chronicles.  Basically, she is a sociopath.  The question is not “will she kill someone?” It is “how many per episode?”  Some movies or shows try to make the killing easier to take either by having the killer be second to the hero of the show or by having the killer only kill bad people.  Not this show.  She kills anyone, good or bad, whoever gets in her way and she gets away with it.  Not to my liking.  But the dresses…  There are 3 I really want to copy!

The first dress you see Lizzie Borden in:

80d663ed5426534508564a01576bb06bOh how I love it! The piping is fabulous!

One of the dresses I like was worn by her sister.  I’m afraid the photo is another one of those phone picture of a computer screen…(any one know how to get screen shots of Netflix that are not blank?)


It is hard to see but it is a pale grey with wide lace and a huge belt buckle.  Yum.

The final one is worn by the hotel owners wife.  I have the perfect material for these.  Left overs from my 1845 Atessa dress and some black linen-like material for the skirt.  IMG_20170429_164458459

So many plans/dreams, so little time.

HSF 2017 Challenge 2 Remake Reuse Refashion

February’s challenge is done.  It is two months late but worth it!

The Challenge: 2 Remake Reuse Refashion

Material: Battenberg lace table cloth


Pattern: TVE41  Plain Blousewaist


Year: 1903

Notions: Bias tape, buttons, hooks and eyes


How historically accurate is it? The pattern is good (thank you Truly Victorian for your dedicated work).  Linen was used as was Battenberg lace (though the lace was added after the shirt was assembled).  It is a vintage or older table cloth so the weave might be more accurate than a modern linen, but I am only guessing.  The color is good.  My buttons are plastic which is not ideal-possible but not common.  It is intended for day wear for my persona (upper middle class middle aged woman).  I think the silhouette is good.  Biggest problem is the corset-not the shirt itself. I give it about 85%.


Hours to complete:  Not bad, once I got going.  I’d say about 30.

First worn: Not yet

Total cost: $15 for the table cloth, $5 for the buttons.

I’ve juggled around my projects and gave myself an easy one to work on next weekend.  That should get April’s challenge off my dance card.  Stay tuned.


Doing well on my sewing goal for the weekend

I love it when a plan comes together.  I worked on my Edwardian tablecloth shirt most of Saturday afternoon.  The sewing saints were smiling on me and the sleeves went in with not one stitch needing to be undone!IMG_20170422_204724

I am very pleased with how well they are hanging!IMG_20170422_162614201

The collar looks pretty good I think.  I do wonder how it will fare with my double chin.  Even starched to cardboard consistency, it may succumb to the pressure.


I pinned up the back to see how it looks.  The pattern matching went well.


It seems a bit on the snug side. There will be gapes.  Hmmm.


I think I will put buttons every inch rather than every 2 inches like the pattern suggests.  That may help.  If not, I will put some hooks in between.  Hubby with his clumsy man hands will love helping me with that!

The buttons, button holes and optional hooks are all that is left.  I have it in my mind that I want little pearl buttons.  The stash doesn’t have those.  I may have to do some Sunday shopping to get some.  The button holes have to wait until I know the size of the buttons or those would be done by now as well.

The new corsets are here! The new corsets are here!

I found a corset sale where two corsets plus shipping and exchange cost less than one normally does. This first one is a bit big in the bust area but not any worse than I’ve had before.

I have been wanting white ones for some time as they are what was more commonly worn and I needed a new one because one of the bones in my old one seems to have broken and it digs and scratches unbearably.

This second one seems to fit better in the bust area.  I have to try wearing this one with the bolero from my 1861 dress.  That didn’t fit the bust properly and one theory I had was the corset didn’t fit the bust properly either and with a tighter corset, it might be fine.

The fate of the old broken corset?  Possibly I will buy a bone and fix it but more likely (now that I have two new ones) it will be hacked up and the usable bits will be used in an Edwardian corset on my to do list.  I hope I can buy just one bone.  If not I may have to try zip ties.

I made myself “work” this Easter weekend

I’ve been dragging my behind on all my projects.  Last month’s HSF project is late.  The previous month was late.  This month’s will be too.  I think next year, I will create my own UFO project challenge and skip HSF-it isn’t inspiring me to get crap done any more. Perhaps it is because, with a huge wardrobe of costumes, I now no longer NEED to get things done or face costume events in the same dress.  I have something for everything.  Or may be I will create a challenge where the goal is to finish a really elaborate dress in stages (eg do beetle wing embroidery on the left sleeve in May, the right in June.)

Anyway, this past Easter weekend, I tore myself away from my latest binge of the Sims game and got some work done on my table cloth becomes shirtwaist project.

I got the skirt part attached.  It is the part that gets tucked into the real skirt.  I didn’t have enough table cloth for that so I just used a cotton broad cloth.  It shouldn’t be visible so it doesn’t matter.IMG_20170417_150214785

The next step was to finish the opening on the back.  This involved an extra step or two as the lace created huge sections where there would be nothing to attach buttons and button holes.IMG_20170417_142604760

The pattern piece for the back has lines that show you where the folding under is to be done to create the strong finished edge.  I made a pattern piece the same length and width of these lines and used it to cut out long rectangle strips from the table cloth. I sewed those onto the wrong side of each back piece.


Wrong side of back piece.


Correct side of back piece.

Basically, what I did was flat line the portion that needs to be folded over. Then I continued as instructed.  Once all the folding and sewing was done, the lining and frayed cut lace is hidden and there is enough strong material to support buttons and button holes.


This is the wrong side of the back piece all tidied up and strengthened.

Next step was to get the collar attached.IMG_20170417_155225064_HDR

It will have optional collar attachments but is pretty enough to stand alone.

I also got the sleeves sewn and reinforced and the cuffs made.  Next step is figure out which sleeve and which cuff is left and right then attach the cuffs and the sleeves to the correct spot (hopefully only doing that once per sleeve).  Then I need to make the optional collar, hand stitch the inner seams of the collar and cuffs down, make the button holes and sew on the buttons.  If the sleeves don’t get me, I could have it done next weekend.  (Fingers crossed).

Happy Easter

I hope your holiday was a pleasant time, and for those of us who enjoy the Easter Monday off of work as well, I wish you a good rest.

I haven’t been doing much.  Either cooking, eating, or playing Sims.  But I did so some knitting and watching Netflix.  I’m really into Dickensian these days.  Nice costumes…the hats are the BEST.  p03cgmrr

For those of you who don’t know, Dickensian takes various characters from Dickens novels and puts them all together in one town and lets them interact.  It is much like the concept of Once Upon a Time, which puts various fairy tale characters and lets them interact.  The trick is, the characters still have to remain true to what happens to them in their repective stories.  I recommend it highly.

So pleased with my nerdy self!

I sometimes like to play the computer game Sims.  When the kids were little, it was bordering on an obsession.  In fact one of the reasons we now have 5 computers in a 4 person house is everyone got tired of me hogging the one and only computer to play Sims.

Things are a bit different now.  I’m not what you’d call an aficionado.  I haven’t run out and bought the latest version.  I still play Sims 3.  And these days, with Netflix in my life I go 6 months or more without playing and then I have a couple of weeks where I take it up again.

I’ve taken it up again.  I should be in the basement finishing my Edwardian shirtwaist but instead I am playing Sims.  But I simply must share this nerdy thing I did.  I built a Sims version of Dalnavert House Museum.  (Sorry for the wonky phone photos of a computer screen.  I couldn’t convince my computer to print screen properly).IMG_20170413_092902171_HDR

Okay, it isn’t exact.  I’m a bit limited by items available in my game.  Perhaps with a few more expansion packs I can get that roof right.SAM_2871

After I finished the house I made a “mini me”.  Then I used a cheat and made myself rich and then I bought the house and moved it!  Isn’t that great!  I can live “the dream” at least in the Sims world.  Which is why I like Sims.  Here is a world I actually do control.

Here is “mini me” in the dining room having cereal.


Here I am walking around the study. And then reading a book at Hugh John’s desk!

And now I’m in the lady’s sun room.


Some of the floor plan in the servants area is off.  I obviously didn’t have an actual floor plan to work with but, hey, it’s just the servants wing after all.





A night on the town

Shirley and I launched our costuming season last night by attending a musical evening at our/my favorite house museum, Dalnavert House.

The featured band was Simpson’s Folly.


Shirley and I dressed up in some 1890’s ensembles in honor of the house’s age.IMG_20170408_200811727

I don’t know why my hair looks so “slept in” in that photo!  Isn’t the cane Shirley is carrying fabulous!  She says the vendor she bought hers from has an elephant one!  I think I need that!

Simpson’s folly had a quiz question about a young private that came to Manitoba in the 1870’s to deal with the upstart Riel.  He later became a premier in Manitoba…who was it? Shirley thought it was the builder of Dalnavert House, Hugh John McDonald.  She was too shy to answer the quiz in case she was wrong.


I was fairly sure she wasn’t.  I remembered hearing that he had been involved with the fight against Riel but couldn’t remember much about his political past.  I took a chance that Shirley had remembered that part correctly and answered for her.  (When it comes to talking I don’t have much fear of looking the fool.  I think I actually need a bit more fear.)


We won a CD from the band!  Nice launch to our costuming season!


UFO finished!

It must be nearly 2 years ago that I bought my little Spin Well spinning wheel.  I spun up some wool fairly quickly but got hung up on the plying.  I couldn’t figure out how to get my wheel to take up the wool onto the bobbin once it was plied.  Basically, I had to ply a strip of it and stop the wheel and turn the bobbin by hand.  I got hung up by the frustration.  (I tried looking on line.  Every video and blog spoke about different makes and models of wheels that had parts and doodads that my wheel does not.  I can’t find any reference to parts that my wheel is missing.) Anyway, if you are interested, here is a link to the posts about the wheel and my drama trying to get it to work.

Anyway, I finally knuckled down and finished that ball of wool.  It is thick and lumpy (which makes it very fashionable, by the way) but I am proud of it.IMG_20170404_095115310

It knit up quickly.IMG_20170405_083517651

I was hoping for a scarf but realistically, I knew it wasn’t very likely.  So I went with neck or ear warmer.

Wow!  Those photos really showcase the wrinkles and turkey waddle!  I probably need to start adding filters to my photographs!

What to do with that sari fabric?


I bought the sari fabric with the plan of making it into a beach cover up.  But the reality of that idea was more horrible than I thought.  It came off looking more like a slutty negligée which is not the look I was going for on a public beach.  And I really don’t have the body for that kind of look any way.  (Not that I am fat shaming myself.  I believe beauty comes in all sizes.  One just needs to accentuate ones assets and down play the flaws.  We all have them…even supermodels. The sari beach cover up did the opposite!)

But the fabric is too pretty to let go to waste.  So the next plan is some sort of Edwardian evening gown.  My costuming bud Lottie, has pinned a picture on Pinterest that might have elements that work.


The sleeves would use up fabric and make it shorter but I have seen dresses with the fancy bead work ending higher up.  Like this dress for example.


Anyone know where you can get a pattern for this?  Anyone know where I can find the time to actually make this?