Thursday, 28 April 2016

1790s Black and Gold Turban

Here is a project I managed to finish in a couple of days. It was very fun and relaxing, all except for how sore my hands are now from hand-sewing! In all, I'm pretty happy with my results despite the base being rather flimsy due to all the weight of the fabric. So much, that I wish turbans were in fashion today! I've been wearing it around the house and probably terrified the cleaner when I ran around the corner and bumped into her wearing it, haha!
It was very quick and fairly easy due to instructions and blog posts on the web - I used Frolicking Frocks' post as inspiration - so I'm very pleased. Initially, I thought it would have to be a project I put off until my open robe was done.

Firstly I cut a circle 14 inches in diameter as Natalie suggests, and gathered it to a piece of bias I made (from a thick ribbon ironed like a piece of bias binding), the size of the circumference of my head. This made a shower-cap type of hat style, which became the base for wrapping and draping the other fabrics over the top, and also leaves a circle of fabric at the top so that it looks more like a turban.
I twisted my black ribbon with the spotted taffeta quite tightly and coiled it around the base, pinning and (I have to admit) glue-gunning as I went. I tacked it in places and glued it in others, where there was too much fabric to baste down.
Then I wrapped a piece of corded trim around between the coils of the turban, slipped feathers between a gap in the turban, and stitched little pearls over the places where the tacking was visible.
Lastly, I stitched the other side of the bias by hand to the inside of the hat.

Friday, 22 April 2016

1790s Open Robe Costume Update: Part 1

Literally as soon as I got back from Florida I started planning and making this! It's a very exciting project that will go with my 1790s chemise en robe and a turban, and is completely different to anything I've done before. For one thing, I've made my own pattern, and therefore I don't have any directions to follow other than the things that pop up in my head. I'm so used to working with patterns that this has been quite a challenge for me (a fun challenge).

I used the pattern that I made last time, pinned, cut, and sewed together all of the bodice pieces. Then I added darts to where they were needed, under the arms. I forgot to photograph this stage, but I made a long, flowing piece that went from the middle back of the bodice to the floor, getting gradually wider as it reaches the floor. I did this by using a measuring tape as a guide, after I pinned the back bodice to the fabric.

After the bodice was sewn together, I used my muslin as a lining and sewed it in completely by hand, using whip stitches. This took a couple of days and a lot of patience, as usually I don't like hand-sewing and will do anything to get round it.
This project actually took a lot of hand-sewing, including in adjusting the lining to fit properly (the muslin armscyes were different shapes and therefore I had to do a lot of fiddling and patching to get them looking halfway decent), sewing the armscyes, sewing the bodice to the skirt, and doing the lining.

Today I was fiddling with the armholes to get them to behave, but only succeeded in doing one and couldn't face anymore hand-sewing. So I moved on to the skirt.
I gathered two pieces of the material by hand (ugh) and placed the bodice over the right side of the gathering, with the lining side against the right side. Then I backstitched the bodice in place - which was very difficult for my hands - seeing as I would be placing trim over it, strengthening the area and making it look prettier.

That's all for now, though I may go back to it tonight if I can deal with the armholes and the other side of the skirt.

The bodice before I attached half of the skirt.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Idle Hands

Idle hands make work for the devil, or so I heard a woman in JoAnn's Fabrics say, talking about me, when told that I like to make costumes. It's true though! If I didn't have fabrics, sewing projects, drawings and books to write to distract me, I have no idea what I'd be doing now - I'm not one to cause trouble or get into mischief, but I do suffer from health problems and Aspergers, things which I need to be distracted from. And without these distractions I'd be in a very dark place. Instead of going out partying, or hanging out with friends, I prefer to spend my time sewing with my grandmother - that may make me a bit weird, but I have a passion for sewing and get restless and bored when there are no projects on the go.

I'm currently on a trip to Florida, and while I can't do any sewing here (my hand-sewing needle snapped on the first day, and who could manage to smuggle their sewing machine in? haha), I did pick up some gorgeous fabrics.

I got; some gold taffeta with black embroidered spots and some black ribbon for my 1790s open robe, three yards of teal spotted chiffon for a 1920s one-hour dress, and some brown suiting fabric with a thin teal stripe for a future Victorian child's dress.
These colours usually go way out of my comfort zone, as with my oddities and obsessions, I usually end up picking the same colours for everything (pink, lilac, blue, white and black). But the gold, teal and brown are really different for me, so I'm pleased that I'll get some really unique pieces out of this shopping trip!
I also spotted some other fabrics that I really wanted, such as some linen; I couldn't decide between acidic green (nicer than I make it sound), burnt orange, or lavender. Maybe I'll go back and get one of the colours if I still have some money left - I have my mind set on an 18th Century linen round gown, possibly in the aforementioned orange.