Thursday, 28 March 2013

the Robson Coat from Sewaholic patterns

Yesterday I ordered the Robson trench coat pattern from the aussie site Sew Squirrel, who have them in stock.  It's what I'd look for in a trench, that is some shaping & not a tubular volume. I need to show I have a waist or I look like a sack of potatoes with a chest.  I may leave off the flaps, depending on what fabric I use from stash. The fabric recommendations are "Light to medium weight woven fabrics such as cotton twill or canvas, cotton nylon blends, gabardine."

 I love that it's from a pattern range designed for 5'3"-5'4" tall pear shapes, because although I have the acreage up front, my back & shoulders are narrow in comparison to my hips.  It's just that my bust balances it out overall.  Due to the shaping this takes quite a bit of yardage, 4.3m of 150cm wide. I've got some fabrics that may work, although truth be told I'm very unlikely to get this made this winter, as by the time I've recovered from my op it'll be winter and I really need winter work clothes as I have a coat that's worked so far. Yes it needs replacing, but it should last 1 more winter when I don't have enough tops for work. I'm playing a smarter game & prioritising my sewing plans.

a week of summer in autumn

The past week or so we've had better weather than we had in our cold & wet summer, it's been over 30C (86F) and *humid*.  So when I've got home & turned the fan on, I didn't get cool enough to start steam pressing almost 4m of curtaining. Not even with the fan on!

So even though it's been only around 6C warmer than usual it's the humidity that sucked badly.  It's going to be cooler over the easter weekend, thankfully. I can't measure & stitch the heading tape on until I get them pressed, so I'm going to give it a red hot go to finish & hang them.

I'm also going to spend a day clearing up all the messy spots that are heading to hoarder level, including my armchair.  That stuff might just get boxed up & put in the storeroom until I have the energy to deal with it.  On Monday night I put all the uncut fabrics that were upstairs into a tub & stored it downstairs, and they filled a 50litre one! (13 US gallons).  That's just crazy of me to have brought that much up, considering my productivity is so slow at the moment.  I also took down my giant ziplock bag of hobbit sewing. At least that's all together for when I can tackle it (which might be for Supanova in June).

I'm not going to fill the weekend with doing things, as I had a migraine yesterday. I love that sumatriptan stops the headache, but not that it turns my brain to mush.  I had to go home as I wasn't making any sense at work, and I slept the afternoon away.
My long weekend is going to be used to get my home back to company-ready (not show home level) and get the new curtains up, with a couple of recovery days to recharge my batteries.

Friday, 22 March 2013

2 years & a bit ago, I flash mobbed

yes, not my usual post but a little bit of history for me.  I studied music at school, and loved singing in the choir.  It's something I've come to miss a lot, and once I retire I'll join an amateur choir as I'll have time for another interest.

So just over 2 years ago friend asked if i was interested in joining a one-off flash mob choir for some celebrations at The Rocks. There were quite a few music stages up & down the street for Australia Day. 

So I downloaded the rehearsal m3 track for soprano, and the word sheet (not scored) and went to the big rehearsal. 

The known choir was on stage and we were seeded into the crowd to join in.

I'd embed the video from youtube into this post, but blogger doesn't seem to want to find it. {grrrr}

Here's a link instead:  "Bury me deep in love" at The Rocks in January 2011.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

a glut of unfinished projects (AKA UFOs)

There's a reason I'm not going to start anything else until after my surgery ... my brain might just fry with UFO overload.   I never used to have anything unfinished, but sadly I've become overwhelmed with projects in various stages from cut out to almost finished.

I was about to start looping around self-pity & resignation that I'm not going to get the SfV dress made by the end of this month.  I've got a better perspective today, and I've decided that I'm also not going to cut it out until spring comes around again. If I'm not going to finish it this autumn, then I'm not going to cut yet another UFO out. I'll sew up the bodice toile,  and have it ready for fitting in spring. I may even lose a couple more kg between now & then.

The list below doesn't even include the 2 cotton shirts (1 pink, 1 blue) that have been cut out since forever & that I'm going to pay to have finished.  On Saturday I got more interfacing for the collar & facing, and once I've cut that out, then I can send them on their way interstate. If I'd been smarter & put the interfacing I already have in the box labelled "interfacing" then I wouldn't have had to buy more.  Nor does the list include the 1939 dress that I started this month for Sewing for Victory, cos technically the fabric isn't cut out, only the mockup bodice has been cut out.

What I need to do is start clearing some of this list.  Starting with non costume stuff, if only because I have a real need for most of them, vs a want for the costume stuff.  One of my interstate friends will be with me for a couple of days late in April and she's going to help me fit a couple of corsets & stays. So the 1917 austerity corset will get mocked up, and I'll also get her help to fit the 1885 (?) corset from Salen's book (the exotic one) and 1780s-ish stays from Blanche Payne's History of Fashion. They're front lacing over a stomacher, as well as back lacing.  Need new georgian stays as my pink ones are loose even when laced closed both front & back,

Non costume
- replacement cotton sheers for my main room - cut out
- replacement curtains for my main room, with block out lining - cut out
- flannelette nightie - cut out
- teal knit top - half sewn
- aqua knit top - cut out
- paisley self drafted pattern - 50% sewn
- Decades of Style 1930s matinee blouse - 80% sewn
- blue linen/rayon herringbone 1930s skirt - half cut out
- apron - binding to be added
- Go Petunia's T - cut out

- striped pocket hoops - 80% sewn
- pink white stripe regency saque hat - half sewn
- regency bibfront cotton day dress - 25% sewn
- blue (with tiny black diamond) open robe - half sewn
- regency stays - daffodown dilly pattern, cut out
- regency stays - mantua maker pattern for  faerie_mistress. cut out
- regency stays - Missouri Historical Society, cut out
- 1850s ruffled petticoat - needs levelling & waistband. therefore needs cage crinoline.
- cage crinoline – bag & vertical straps sewn, needs steels & waistband
- stripe lobster tail cage bustle - sewn, needs canes/steels inserted & waistband
- red bustle dress - part cut out
- 1917 austerity corset - toile cut out

Pop Culture
- Hobbit, skirts cut out
- Idris - skirt cut out

Sunday, 17 March 2013

street hawkers - georgian or regency style

I've been looking for sketches etc of street hawkers and working class - or lower order - people so that I can have a better idea of what to make as a bum boater.

Here's a couple of blog links

Spitalfieldslife posts
-  Thomas Rowlandson's Lower Orders  and more Rowlandson's lower orders - these are quite fascinating
-  Pictures of Real Life for Children 1819 in which the milk maid seems to be wearing a regency short gown.
- William Marshall Craig's Itinerant Traders 1804 part 1  b&w
William Marshall Craig's Itinerant Traders 1804 part 2 ...mackerel and potato sellers plus other women..

I'm going to look at short gowns, and maybe a slightly shorter skirt on the bodiced underdress, seemingly the lower orders had ankles to show.  Thinking that the streets weren't like today and hems muddy quickly and some mud stains are hard to remove, it makes sense to be slightly shorter for working women.  Also not as full as some of my other dresses which at 3m (approx 3yds 1 foot) may be an extravagance I couldn't afford ... unless I sold lots profitable veg & booze.

I'm also searching for suitable bottles/jugs for my wares.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

pragmatically not starting any new projects

I've another 2 months to wait until my gallbladder surgery, and I'm trying to accept my limitations as it has severely impacted my life.

I'm being a bit fatalistic about not expecting to get anything finished, nor much progress on anything until afterwards.  {shrugs} it is what it is.  And I've got enough part started projects that I don't want to start any more.

What I can do is plot & scheme for when I bounce back.   Sydney Supanova is 21-23 June, which I'm anticipating to be a month after surgery, hopefully time to make a costume out of stash.  I've a hankering for a Catelyn Stark (Game of Thrones) so I have started trawling for pics ... hard to find any of the skirt section of her dress ... not her dark green coat but the V-neck, panelled dress underneath.  The bodice front has 4 panels on each side, and I'm guessing the back is the same, ie 16 panels on the dress.  I may simply dye the 2 pieces of pale blue linen I have in my stash. 

Winterfest is the following weekend, and I'll wear my regency kit as I'll be with my napoleonic re-enactment group.

Mid July is the Redcoats & Convicts day at Hyde Park Barracks, so I may finish my open robe for that.  Or a more downmarket ensemble as I'm with sailors.   As I'm not actually portraying a sailor I need a role that allows me to be hanging around with Nelson's sailors.  So after perusing the 1811 Dictionary of Vulgar Tongue I'm going to be a bum boater.  Which sounds hideous, but in fact is:

  "BUM BOAT. A boat attending ships to retail greens,
     drams, &c. commonly rowed by a woman; a kind of
     floating chandler's shop"
I love my greens, and a dram or two so it's a great match personally.

Further away, end of September is a subscription ball to celebrate the 1813 crossing of the Blue Mountains ...  it really was a trip to the unknown for them. They thought there was a huge inland sea ... unlike the reality of huge amounts of desert in the middle of the continent.  So I'm going to look for 1813 ball gowns for some inspiration for a new ballgown.

Monday, 11 March 2013

silk ribbon arrives

I have one less reason to procrastinate over the lounging robe, as today the silk ribbon arrived from the states.

Even better, it's a great colour match. Not perfect, but 99.5% ideal.  It ooks better in real life than in the photo so you'll just have to take my word for it.

I wonder how long it will take me ... but I'll have it for next summer!

not much to report

My only sewing progress is that the bodice mockup is cut out of leftover yardage. So that's something, but I don't even have a picture of that.

Still to do on the mockup are tailor tacks, and then assembling it.  Hmmm, it's a mockup, I could just mark the fabric with a pen.  That idea makes me happy.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

paper for pattern copying & alterations

Up until now I've been using unwaxed sandwich paper (on a roll from the supermarket) to copy patterns & do alterations.  But that means using the sticky tape far too often as once the FBA is done I need to sticky some on. Also sleeves, cos I've always had beefy biceps since way before I was overweight.

Ages ago - I think it was Jenni (Historically Dressed) who mentioned using IKEA's kiddy craft paper roll for patterning and it's taken me a very long time to get myself to IKEA and buy a roll of MÃ¥la paper and I also baggsed the roll holder. Even though my cutting/patterning table is covered in stuff and unusable at the moment it won't remain that way.

So for AU$7.99 and AU$14.99 I'm really happy.  The paper is 47cm (18.5") wide and 30m (32.8y) long and I can see through it enough to trace over but not so heavy that it's tricky to fold up.

I had also considered getting a roll of architects tracing paper, as that comes in varying widths. But, yes there is a but, it's usually much more expensive.  Using my google-fu I did find an 18" wide x 50yard roll at Jovian, for only $27.60 plus delivery. They also have the same paper in yellow.  So if I decide in the future to change to the longer roll of tracing paper, well it will still fit on the paper holder.

So what's lead to my rather waffling post:  I used the paper roll for the first time today to alter the bodice front of my 1939 Simplicity pattern and it was *wonderful* to not need to sticky tape paper wide enough!