Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Goodies!

I just got some amazing fabrics from I ordered them, thinking that they wouldn't come until next week, but here they are!
Taken from my instagram
The fabric on the left is this stunning metallic border print. I am so in love with it. It will become a skirt! The three on the right are scrummy rayon challis (xxx)  The black will become a skirt that may go up in my etsy as a made to order item. The gingham and dot will probably become tops after my surgery.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate! I hope your Christmas (or just a regular Friday) was wonderful!

I got a lovely new dressform! It's actually my size, and it's so much prettier than my adjustable one!
Her name is Phoebe. Bought from here in size 18/20. I'm currently a bit bigger than her, but I am scheduled for a breast reduction and a bit of lipo in January, so it's all good.
Isn't she so beautiful?
I also got my very first serger! I don't have a picture of it because I haven't been able to set it up yet, as I'm currently bunking with my mom. I got the Brother 1634D. I'm very excited, well excited and scared, to use it.
As my Christmas present to myself, I've bought a gorgeous vintage cream and green floral taffeta that is dying to become a 1950s dress, and I have some very exciting fabric on the way from


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Indie Pattern Suggestions

Does anyone have any Indie Pattern suggestions for me? I usually make my own patterns, but there are things I don't feel skilled enough to pattern (and also too lazy). I'm mostly looking for tops, sweaters, and tights/leggings. It would be preferable if the patterns went into plus sizes, but I can usually deal with xl/18ish. Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

HSM: Sewing Secrets

I've been taking a bit of a hiatus from HSM, not on purpose, but life happened. Part of my halloween costume somewhat went along with October's challenge, though! I hope to get back in the groove soon.

Excuse the awkward face and the weird bodice lacing
The secret!

The Facts:

The Challenge: Sewing Secrets
Fabric: Poly (probably) damask, cotton duck for interlining, tan cotton for lining, checked cotton for secret armhole facing, poly satin for piping
Pattern: My own!
Year: Vaguely 16th/18th century
Notions: Heavy duty cable ties for boning, cotton yarn for piping, beading lace, poly satin ribbon
How historically accurate is it? Not very. The bodice is a very stylized version of stays
Hours to complete: lots and lots
First worn: Halloween!
Total cost: I think everything was in the stash, so none at this time, but I'd guess $15-$20

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Purple Paisley Dress!

I actually finished this dress and got pictures a couple of weeks ago, but I never got around to writing up a blog post. But here it is! (Sorry for the headless pictures again, I can't seem to control both my face and body at the same time for a picture.)

(Sorry for the long line of pictures! I had them arranged nicely, but apparently they wanted to go all wonky,)
It's made from the same basic pattern as my floral border print dress, but I adapted it to have a cross-over neckline. 
This dress is made of 3 yards of 36" wide vintage cotton with a woven self stripe and a purple paisley print. I'm so in love with this fabric. Not only is it beautiful, but it was lovely to work with. I just barely got my dress out of the yardage, but I did it! The bodice is lined with white cotton twill, and the skirt is lined with cotton gauze. The dress closes with a hand-sewn zipper on the left side. I even put a patch pocket for my phone!
I'm very happy with this dress! It probably cost me less than $10, because the paisley was gifted to me. 
I've got a couple more dresses on the to-do list! They'll most likely end up being 1950s-esque fit and flare silhouettes, because that's my favourite style right now. And I've made a pattern for a wrap skirt to wear to ballet class, which I'm going to make up in purple chiffon. I've also been wanting to try my hand at making some tights/leggings, some cropped cardigans, and maybe a coat for winter. (I'm dreaming of a sunshine yellow or aqua full-skirted coat in wool, a cardigan in every colour, and comfy, non-itchy tights!)

xx, Kate

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Etsy shop!

I now have an Etsy shop! (x)
Not much in it at the moment, but I am finishing up a costume that I'll be listing soon!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Halloween 2015 Costume

This year I'm going to be Belle! Specifically, Broadway Village Belle. The costume is in progress!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Christine Daae Hair Tutorial

Gina Beck, West End
Sarah Brightman, West End

Harriet Jones, West End
Elizabeth Loyocano, Vegas or Broadway

 Christine Daae's brown curly wig is iconic. There are many different variations, but I'm just going to do a basic overview.

  1. Decide if you want to heat-set your curls or wet-set them. I personally do the rag-curl method, because even though I have naturally curly hair, it won't hold a heat-set curl. (I also try not to use much heat on my hair to prevent damage.) I usually use 10-12 rags because I have very long and fairly thick hair. You can use a small curling iron or small hot rollers if that's easier for you and your hair. (Be sure to use a heat protectant if you use heat!)
  2. Curl your hair. Duh. It helps to make all your curls curl toward the back. I separate my hair into 10-12 sections. You may need more or less, depending on your hair. I sleep in the rag-curls. (Cue my mother calling me Medusa.) You want fairly tight ringlets. You might want to add a cream/mousse/etc to prevent frizz.
  3. Take out your rags, then carefully separate your curls. I usually separate them into about 3, depending on how thick. If you find your curls wanting to frizz up, twist them to smooth them. Just a warning, rag curling will dramatically reduce the length of your hair at first. My hair goes down to my hips, and was reduced to armpit length. The curls do "drop" a bit eventually. Mine end up about waist length.
  4. If you didn't part your hair in the middle before, do so now. Make another part from ear to ear and separate the front from the back.
  5.  Christine (and the other ballet girls) usually has (have) a slight (or not so slight) Minnie Mouse effect at the front, so tease the front a bit. Loosely twist the front sections back and pin. It might take a few tries to get the twist right for your hair. Keep trying until you like how it looks. Try to pin inside of the twist so the pins don't show. It's a little tricky at first.
  6. If you have bangs, you might be able to make the forehead curls work for you. Sometimes my "baby hairs" will cooperate, but I usually don't stress over the forehead curls. 
I hope this was helpful! I can do a video if anyone is interested! 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

1950s Inspired Floral Lawn Dress

Finally a finished project! I finished it in late August, but haven't been able to get a picture of it until recently. This is probably my most-worn dress. It's so comfy! 
It's made of vintage cotton lawn that was gifted to me. The bodice is flatlined and fully lined in basic white cotton, and the skirt is lined with white cotton gauze (such a good skirt lining! Super soft and almost like a built in petticoat.) Side zip and hook/eye closure.
The bodice pattern is one I draped a while ago for a failed dress attempt (mostly bad fabric choice, most quilting cottons are not good for apparel), and I adapted it to fit my design. The band sleeve pattern is one I drafted for the same failed dress (it looks so much better in unlined cotton lawn than in a self-lined quilting cotton!)  The skirt is literally just a rectangle. I think the skirt circumference is a bit above 100", and the skirt lining is 2 panels of about 48".

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Tsk Tsk

I've been such a bad blogger, I'm so sorry! I have been sewing though, even if its not as much as I'd like. Most of my projects have been modern ones, for every day wear. My wardrobe is desperately in need of revamping, and treating myself to some pretty new clothes (almost) always helps with my depression.
I've finally ordered fabric to make some early 19th cent. stays. I'd started on some over the summer, but they just weren't coming out right, so I'm counting those as practice!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

HSM July: Accessorize- 1830s Plaid Belt

I've been wanting to make a belt to match my plaid dress since I actually made the dress, and it finally happened! I meant to post about this when I actually finished the belt last week, but I've been so busy with tech week and the show. Better late than never. (Also please ignore how bad the dress looks. It is definitely getting remade for September's challenge.)

 The belt is made of the dress silk whip stitched to a base of cotton duck. It should probably have been buckram or something, but I didn't have any, and couldn't get to anywhere that sold it. The 'buckle' was a lucky clearance find at Hobby Lobby (I bought it for around $1.50, and I actually found another one and got that one too). It's actually supposed to be a fancy jar label, but I took off the paper backing and glued some gold-coloured copper wire to the back to make it into a slide-type buckle.

The Challenge: Accessorize
Fabric: A bit of brown/blue plaid shantung silk and a bit of tan cotton duck
Year: I was shooting for 1830s, but I think the method could at least work for different decades.
Notions: Fancy jar label, gold-coloured copper wire, glue
How Historically Accurate is It?: Tolerably, I think? Fabrics could be better, though.
Hours to Complete: So many. I obsessed about making the stitches perfectly even.
First Worn: Not yet!
Total Cost: Probably less than $5 for the amount of materials I actually used.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

HSM: June: Out of Your Comfort Zone

Finished, except for the hem, which was done after the picture was taken.
I made a 1940s dress for my best friend Abigail! It was definitely a challenge for me and out of my comfort zone because I'd never done "vintage" sewing, but I really enjoyed making it! I'll try to get a picture of her wearing it and edit it in this post.

Challenge: June- Out of Your Comfort Zone
Fabric: 2 or 3 yards of blue and white gingham, probably a poly/cotton blend (originally bought for a Dorothy Gale costume that never happened).
Pattern: Sensibility 1940s "Swing" Dress
Year: The pattern says 1942!
Notions: Cotton thread, snaps, blue ricrac
How historically accurate is it? I'd say mostly. Good pattern, but I'm not sure about the fabric and the ricrac.
Hours to complete: I have no idea. Not that long though.
First worn: Not yet!
Total Cost: About $10 for the pattern, maybe $1-$2 for the amount of snaps I used, and the fabric, ricrac, and thread were in my stash. Total cost was about $20-$25, including stash materials.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A lovely painting

"English School, Circa 1830, Portrait of a lady in a black dress"
Isn't this painting beautiful? The girl is stunning, and I adore her dress. I'm sorely tempted to recreate it. I'm thinking black wool with black silk taffeta bertha trimming and belt. I've been wanting a black wool 1830s dress for a while, and I've even picked out fabric for it. 
I've even tried out her hairstyle, and it actually works with my long, thick, stubborn hair. I do resemble her a bit, or at least that's what a friend told me.

HSM May: Practicality: Pieced Linen Apron

I graduated at the end of April (yay!), so I've finally had time to sew again. I've been working on some more accurate 1830s stays (with embroidery, because I can't just do something simple). I'll hopefully finish them and post about them soon! I wasn't going to do the HSM challenge this month, but I changed my mind when I remembered that I'd picked up some linen at Goodwill a while back. I didn't have enough time to make a full ensemble, so I decided I could make an apron after reading through The Workwoman's Guide (such a valuable resource!). 
The apron is 40" wide by about 33" long, and the waistband/tie is about a nail (2 1/4") wide. This is very close to the dimensions in The Workwoman's Guide, accounting for the fabric I had. The body is made of 5 pieces, and the waistband is made of 3 pieces, because my linen was in kind of weirdly shaped pieces when I bought it.

This picture doesn't really display the apron properly, but I didn't think it would look right on my silk dress.

You can see the piecing more clearly here.

My small prick stitches in the hem. Its rather hard taking a picture of white-on-white detail, especially with just a crappy iPhone. 

The Challenge: Practicality 
Fabric: About 1.5 yards of off-white linen
Pattern: None, I used the diagrams and instructions in The Workwoman's Guide
Year: I was shooting for 1830s, but it could probably work for multiple periods
Notions: Cotton thread
How historically accurate is it?  I'd say about 90%. The fabric is close, and it was entirely hand sewn with period techniques, though it should probably have been sewn with linen thread. 
Hours to complete: Probably 5-7? I'm rubbish at keeping track of time.
First worn: Just around the house, to show my family.
Total cost: Probably $1-$2. I don't remember how much I paid for the linen, but it wasn't much. The thread was already in my stash, but I probably only used less than $0.50 worth.

Friday, March 6, 2015

(Very Belated) HSM January: Foundations: 1830s Petticoat

I promise I did finish this challenge before it was due, but my computer decided to stop charging. I've finally gotten a new one (which is pink and very cute!), so I'm writing up my post now.

Over my corded petticoat and one other petticoat.

The Challenge: Foundations
Fabric: 4 yards of white cotton from stash, about $3.50/yard originally
Pattern: none
Year: I'm aiming for 1830-ish, but I think it's plausible for 1830-1860
Notions: White cotton thread  and white button from stash
How historically accurate is it?: For 1830, I'd say about 85%. The materials are perfectly plausible, and it's handsewn except for the hem.
Hours to complete: Probably 8-10. I did a lot of the handsewing in the car, so I'm not exactly sure. It also took a while to iron the hem.
First worn: Not yet, except for a prance around the house.
Total cost: About $15, although everything was from my stash

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fabric Find

About a week ago, I went to a local(ish) Walmart that wasn't the one I usually go to, and they happened to still sell fabric. I happened upon some lovely historical-looking cotton in the clearance section, marked down to $2/yard! It was about $3/yard at regular price, which is still a good find. After waiting a long while for someone to help me (the store was rather busy that day), I went home with almost 8 yards of fabulous fabric for less than $15. I asked for 7 yards at the counter, but there was about 7 yards and 29 inches on the bolt. The lady gave the 29 inches to me for free.
My fabric, with measuring tape for scale
I plan on making an 1830s dress with it. I fell in love with this dress and knew I wanted to make it. If I find a more similar fabric to the original, I may use the green for an 1820s dress, because it kind of reminds me of Fantine's green dress in Les Mis. But first, I want to make some accurate stays!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Hannibal Slavegirl Collar, Star Princess Stars, and Degas 2.0 Progress

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while. Life gets in the way.
I have an incredible love for the costumes in Phantom of the Opera, so naturally I want to make replicas of all of them. My weight isn't stable right now because of wacky hormones, so I can't really make tons of costumes for myself right now, but I can make them for other people and embellishments for my future ones.
My Hannibal Slavegirl Collar, on top of my 1830s dress

European Hannibal Slavegirl (UK)
My collar was imspired by the European versions, especially the Hamburg ones. It was made of 20 flower appliques, from about a yard of a trim purchased from Etsy. The center of the appliques had a cluster of cheap-looking gold beads, and I didn't like them, so I cut them off. I replaced them with some red and green gems and gold seed and bugle beads. This will eventually be put on the Slavegirl bodice, made of red and green velvet with gold trims. This bodice is also worn under the Dressing Gown, which I will make someday soon (I even have a lovely silk and some laces for it).

Another of my favourite of Christine's costumes is the Star Princess.
Obviously, I'm not making the actual costume yet, but I've been stocking up on beads, gems, and metal stars. I've beaded 15 out of the 21 stars for the skirt so far. The plan is having 7 rows of 4 stars each (the bottom-most star isn't beaded. I could do 10 rows of 4 stars because I have 40 stars, but I need to save stars for the bodice, mask, and tiara. My best friend Abigail and my grandma both bought me some stars- totalling to 20, but I pried them apart to make 20 stars with a blue gem and 20 plain stars. I glued silver/clear star gems on the plain ones. The fourth star is just like the middle, but without the beads.

 One of my favourite non-Christine costumes is the Degas. It is worn by Meg Giry and the other balle girls. The costume is based on Degas' La Petit Danseuse De 14 Ans. I've made this costume before, but was never happy with it, so I'm trying again. So far, I've made the bodice pattern and cut out the cotton denim/twill (I don't remember which) lining.
Kara Klein, Broadway
Bodice lining (Guest appearance from Slavegirl Collar)