torstai 29. joulukuuta 2011

1911 Corset Sew Along

Decided to participate with the Bridges on the Body 1911 Corset Sew Along!
Hoping to achieve two things: A new corset from era I've never made a historical corset of, and to blog more regularly with work-in-progress photos.

Why now? Well, 2012 marks the 100th Anniversary of the maiden voyage (and sinking, but let's not be that melancholy) of the Titanic.

That is also the 100th Anniversary of the year my current residence was built, and I'm already picturing a photoshoot in front of our Art Nouveau fire place...

Yes, I'm planning on making the whole outfit. We'll see. I despise the images on period fashion magazines with their malformed bodies, but worn by a real person, there were some pretty ones in Upstairs, Downstairs that would even work as a "modern" wear.

keskiviikko 14. joulukuuta 2011

Nguyen Minh Tuan's Glow In the Dark Condom Dress

Have to share this, ingenious and strangely pretty:

see more Dating Fails

maanantai 26. syyskuuta 2011

Halloween inspiration

Last year, I was a French aristocrat after gallows. Before that, Corpse Bride.
This year, I haven't really decided yet. Vampires have suffered such inflation these past years (when did elegant gothic vampires turn into high school drama queens?) that I don't feel like dressing up as one.

However, I have meters of dark red taffeta, and half made victorian underbust in wine red fake suede. Also, couldn't resist purchasing this gorgeus long red wig...
My first idea was Phoenix from X-Men 3. Long jacket might even have use afterwards, but I kind of despise the idea of getting a pair of red leggings... Don't know if anyone would even recognice, and those who do might ridicule small and plump figure trying to go for tall and skinny look.

Now, another redhead in a red dress, Sabine from Moulin Rouge. Though I'd really need to make a drastically shorter version of the gown to safely move around in a nightclub.
I would say Moulin Rouge is a bit gothic movie, at least in the imagenary. More than the umm teenage "gothic" or "vampire" series I've tried to give a chance but couldn't.
The one and only new gothic/horror series I truly adore is Supernatural, but unfortunately that one's quite poor for costumers as the main characters wear thrift store style...
Mina's red Dress from Dracula, lovely front, too much huzzle in the back for my taste. This is my kind of vampire, charming but mean, vampires should stay as the villains we love, not as protagonists we hate.
Anna's red ballgown from Van Helsing, the front is silly, but I prefer the back of this gown over Sabine's or Mina's. Such lovely pleats.

I'm such a bad cosplayer for never really wanting to make anything exactly as in films, but to pick an inspiration from here and there and mix them up. Though, as far as designer's rights goes, wouldn't it be copyright infrigiment to replicate movie dresses?

keskiviikko 7. syyskuuta 2011

Recap of hectic month

For the last month, despite working two totally un-related for sewing jobs, I've sewn:
* commission Renaissance corset
* commission Regency -style gown
* Modding the ill-fitted clothes provided from work

My lack of camera and hatred for being on computer don't mix too well with blogging... Hoping to get my old cameraphone to work to get pictures (it has really good camera, but it doesn't receive or make calls... and for some ridiculous reason, you can't use the camera without having the sim-card inside :P)

Now, I'm going to sew something for Halloween - even though I'm unaware if there will be any festivies for it. I've got a bunch of bloody-red taffeta, and I'm thinking
* Phoenix (X-Men 3) inspired attire
* wild west wench
* just something wicked, there's too many plain vampires out there for halloween, so I'd like to make it something different...

perjantai 22. heinäkuuta 2011

Navy Style Pin up Attire

Used up the quality wool I had in the closet, as well as the anchor buttons and buckram I had :P
9 hours for the jacket (because I had made the pattern before) And 5-6 hours for the skirt, made from scratch.
Wholly relied on my skills in pattern making and drafting, made without fitting them before finishing and the fit is perfect - even with getting the darts right without fitting (my hips being 40cm bigger than waist so the darts are not exactly as the ones suggested for regular bodies) .

Should start taking pride in my work instead of putting myself down all the time.

Made to order, available at etsy:

sunnuntai 17. heinäkuuta 2011


Well, finally "got rid of" of the cotton curtain I once found at the second hand store. Made a lovely dress, don't know if it's more 19th century style though than 18th century.
Stomacher made earlier.

maanantai 13. kesäkuuta 2011


Watercolour painting is one of my old hobbies. Here's most recent ones; two sketches after Jacques-Louis David... M. and Mme. Lavoisier.

Marie Antoinette, After Vigee LeBrun

Madame Pompadour, original painter wasn't mentioned in the source

lauantai 11. kesäkuuta 2011

Quick work vest

Needed a black vest for the next day, had no money to go out and buy one, so what am I to do but to make one?

Lucky me, for being such a hoarder... I had black diagonal wool, dark lining "silk", adhesive backing and the buttons at home!
It still needs to be pressed better, and I did forgot the pockets in the rush of the making :-O
but I now have a well fitting pattern, to make another one (with pockets) when I have the money to buy more fabric, presumably more washable and modern than wool.

Next, I might have to make a banquet jacket... the company making them has sizing that does not fit me at all :/ making one myself won't save any money, but the stress will be less to make one from scratch than to try to alter an already made piece :P

maanantai 6. kesäkuuta 2011

Sewing machine trouble

Sewing machine died.
Now, it was the cheapest there was three-four years ago, a horrible piece of plastic, and in no means meant for extreme sewing like what I've used it to.

It's been acting for quite some time, the toothing was already flattened making straight lines frustrating to sew as you have to feed the fabric yourself to the machine (imagine all those bone channels)
Last week it ceased to sew zig-zag. Then I opened up part of the machine, cleaned and oiled it and it started doing zig-zag again - if you were sewing slowly...

Now, I will try last time to open up it, tear up every single part I can, clean and oil and fix and hope it starts working again for some while.

Meanwhile, I want to finish my Marie Antoinette inspired cloak, so I am lucky to have a roommate who has a sewing machine :) It's an old, cheap one too so I really hope not to finish it off as well :P

perjantai 27. toukokuuta 2011

Leopard underbust corset

Leopard print& pink sateen.

Modern underbust corset for my sister, hope she likes it and that it fits (and that she lets me take a picture, unsquishable dummy does not do justice to corsets) We both love animal prints :)

torstai 26. toukokuuta 2011


Photobucket I've found my inner needlecrafter... This is the latest one, made yesterday in about 5 hours. Embroidered stomacher. Used up all the green thread ends, but the use of different shades is quite appealing. Wish I would have had more shades of blue, I only had deep blue and turquoise :P

Photobucket This pocket I embroidered over a year ago... desing by me and used what ever stitches came to mind

This was a stomacher to my Pineapple costume, at 18th century masked ball last fall... I wish to write a journal about that, it must be my favorite costume :) Desing by me, this took maybe 16 hours for some of the threads were really thin...

Pet-en l'air

More pictures of the latest pet-en l'air. The full costume is found at etsy

I was stupid enough to try to construct the lining with more modern way, resulting in less than perfectly neat lining and need to ask less for it... next time I'll take the time to be more period, but also the price will add up.

lauantai 21. toukokuuta 2011

Pet-en l'air - French Robe

anyone know how to rotate pictures in blogger?
Still need to make the stomacher, add trims and iron some more. It is the same fabric that my first one, only different colour.

Will be on sale after finishing. Also, if I find a matching teal/blue fabric for the under skirt, I'll make that, but the pink is quite pretty too, matching the pink in the roses.

sunnuntai 8. toukokuuta 2011

Royal Navy Undress Coat

A project that's been in my mind since... umm... 2006? When I first saw Hornblower movies and became even more enthusiasted by the royal navy (before that it was more of modern navy thanks to JAG and Hot shots... no I mean top gun xD)

The uniforms are just adorable! IMO the 1795-1812 are the most appealing, but anything from the jacobeans to modern ones work for me ;D
Anyway, was bored, so this is how the uniform drafted from my size block looks in 1/4 scale... So, now I have the pattern ready if one day I'll have the money to get supplies :)

AND if you like to see awesome photos from the real coat of this style, once worn by Horatio Nelson himself:

Pocket Hoops

Today I made pocket hoops.

Pink Ruffled Pocket Hoops by ~rum-inspector on deviantART

Well, I had a pair before, but they were from the yard sale of the city theater, and as of theater costume they are ridiculously big and the sateen material have gone a little bad for all the wear...

These took 2 hours to make, pattern adjusted from Norah Waugh's Corsets&Crinolines, for my "wires" were of fixed size.

perjantai 6. toukokuuta 2011

Mock up of next project

why yes, dummy has breast implants... I'm afraid she'd need butt implant as well
I have a lot of fabric with stripes and flowers and thought about making a robe a'la francaice, but the print is more like what you would see in "Cranford" - sort of more 1830-60s than 1760s. I might not have any use for it, but perhaps when it's finished someone re-enacting US civil war or costuming Gone With the Wind might want it...
...but as you see first I'll need a victorian corset... should be interesting.

Mid 18th Century Stays - 16 hours of hard work

I did this mostly because I wanted to know exactly how time consuming it is, and for the hopes of helping to pay the rent on time.

Before, I've just done stays etc, and as the time spans from maybe an hour of sewing every week or so it's been hard to estimate. I also always forget to take work-in-progress photos.
My teachers did very strongly try to advise me to take them, when I only got in my project portfolio one photo of the fabric, and the next photo is the final garment :P Yea, wish sewing was so easy, from fabric magically turned into garment...

16 hours, for regular mid 18th century stays, with no alterations or extra research.
Here's details on where all the time went!


- decorative over layer fabric, polyester 0,45m
- adhesive backing for over layer 0,45m
- middle layer, cotton 0,45m
- under layer, cotton/polyester 0,45m
- sewing thread
- Paper for patterns, 3x A3
- boning, 52 sturdy cable ties
- bias-cut tape, 1,88m
- multiple cups of coffee
(- piece of my finger)

Cost of my supplies (made my own bias tape; the inner layers fabric was a bargain because of slight mis-coloring) 0,45x19,90; 0,45x5,90; 0,45x2,00; 0,45x2,00; 52x0,10; 2.30 for thread
= 20,91

Cost of supplies if new, I don't know how much coutil is in finland, but from online store it was 20dollars/yard - so I suppose 20€ for a meter might be about it.
= 38,25 ... unless silk outer layer is used, 45€~55€


Research not counted as I've done these stays before, but it's usually counted in hours of searching the web, libraries, consulting fellow costumers etc. and also the running in fabric stores isn't counted either - which could also take hours

- Patterns 30min - I just copied most of them from old stays, only had to pattern the shoulder strap

- Ironing& cutting (ironing done during sewing is counted on sewing time; fabrics had already been washed/shrunked so that didn't add up time)
1½ hours

(my iron is reliable relic from the seventies...)

- Machine Sewing 4 hours

- Boning 1h 15min

- Hand Sewing 6½ hours

- Eyelets 2h 10min

Complete time: 15h 55min

I find it hard to ask money for my work, I am always putting myself down and never feeling that I or my works are good enough. I just sold most my old rococo gowns for button money.

Even for counting the same hourly wage as a waitress, this would be 192€+supplies, but sister very strongly noted that though waiting is hard work as well, the required expertee and dedication to this kind of work is in whole another league that should not be paid under 20€/h (which is what truck drivers of few years experience get... figure that)
so I'm shyly counting 20€ hourly fee, 320€ + supplies

("regular" seamstress work like mending and curtain sewing seems to be 20-30€/h, Bridal/atelier seamstresses it is hardly ever under 60€/h)


Oh, and the hazards of profession, I also lost a piece of my finger during the bone cutting... Would have needed a few stitches, but I don't have money to spend on emergency room fees... I'll just deal with the scars.

keskiviikko 4. toukokuuta 2011


Oh gosh I suck at blogging! I started this one to keep track on sewing projects back in 2009.
Since then, I've finished dozens and dozens of works and started even more. And documented nothing :P

I'm always too keen on doing that I forgot to take pictures or make notes... (or to eat or be social) So it might seem that I just leap from nothing to a finished product.

I am making an 18th century stays at the moment, and because I wanted to know how much time it really takes this time I've actually taken pictures and marked down every minute. That record will follow as I'm hoping to finish the stays today :)

I also hope to present old works every now and then - if I'm not too distracted by the new projects.