Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!!!

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!!
To answer your questions about Poland and Halloween: no, Poland does not do anything Halloween related. A couple of the restaurants in town had a few pumpkins out and offered 'Halloween' special menus, but I didn't see any Halloween parties, etc. One of the Embassy compounds had a special trick or treating for the American kids. The American households decorated and let the kids come around for candy.
I decided to impose myself upon a nice family so I could dress up and hand out candy. I got pictures of all the costumes I made this year, including this great snap shot of Nadia and I!
I didn't make the black shawl I'm's actually a cute black cape that I got to wear for fall. When I pair it with a modern boot cut jean and leather boots, it's actually very modern and chic. But it turned into the perfect civil war paletot when paired with my day dress.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

3 Hour Leia Costume

This was supposed to be a nice, easy project that would keep me occupied for a few days, but several events beyond my control turned this into a last minute mad dash.

I decided I really wanted to make the costume out of a polyester double-ply fabric, which is what the original Leia costume was made out of (plus, it's cheap). Knowing I would have to scour fabric stores for weeks in Poland to find this, I decided to order it from 3 weeks ago. I only just received the fabric on Monday. Late Monday night I opened up my package and found only ONE yard of fabric, even though I'd ordered 4 yards.

Plan B: find Polish fabric store, and quickly.

Tuesday, I planned to go to a few stores open late after work, but I had a meeting that kept me out until 8:15. That left today, Wednesday, for everything. The costume had to be finished by Thursday so it could go home for the little girl to wear to school on Friday.
At this point I was panicking because I was in a time crunch. I knew I needed the fabric tonight if I had any prayer of finishing the costume, I was only going to have about 40 minutes at lunch to shop, find a store I could get to on foot, and hopefully luck out and find fabric that worked. Big Kudos to my Polish colleague who gave me several addresses, and Polish vocab words: the second store had what I needed!! phew! Thankfully Princess Leia wore a nice simple dress, and the Simplicity pattern was cut out and sew up in about 3 hours.

Happy Halloween, and may the Force be with you!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Indian Sari

While not technically a costume, and definitely not 'historical', I got out a sari project this weekend.

This all began after watching "Bride and Prejudice." If you haven't seen it, you really should. It's by the same director as "Bend it Like Beckham," and is another story about westerners encountering India. It's based of off Pride and Prejudice, and was great! I got a kick out of the Indian Ballywood-style dance/song scenes, including songs like "take them to love" and "thank you for getting this marriage into town."
Anyway, the Indian-themed weekend made me want to play dress-up, and I remembered that my dad had brought me back a sari from one of his trips, and it was buried at the bottom of my fabric box. I got it out, roll hemmed the raw edges (see below), and then learned to put it on.
I don't have a matching choli (top) or petticoat, but it was fun to get out and play with!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Day Dress - Dry Run

Ok, ok. The dress looks as if it's done, but there are a few more finishing details that need to be done before I can say it's done. Those things are: hem facing, hemming, collar, and tacking the skirt to the bodice (it prevents the waistband from peaking through where it shouldn't).

Take a look at the gorgeous belgian lace that Anna sent me and tell me - do you think it works for the collar, or is it too nice for this outfit???
Everything is looking pretty good, isn't it?!! I'll be happy to wear this around Gettysburg next time we visit, and I can pick up a matching bonnet. Poor Dave...just what he load hoops into the trunk of the car, and then upon arrival, walk around with his century-confused wife, while he's in jeans and a t-shirt).

So, here's what I did on Sunday and Monday:
I sewed up the sleeves. The sleeve puffs are gathered pieces of fabric that had to be hand-sewn to the sleeve, and then the sleeve was sewn into the bodice. The sleeve puffs took forever!! I managed to almost finish the skirt (with all those pleats) and pull the bodice together in the time it took me to do those silly sleeves!! They don't look that complicated, do they?
Next up was finishing the boning on the interior of the bodice, using single bias tape to finish the edges (I found some pink colored bias tape, hidden away). Then, I sewed in the hook and eye tape. That process had to be repeated a couple of times before I got the placement just right.

Finally, last night I covered some buttons and sewed them to the bodice. It's almost impossible to see, but here they are:Now where are some kids I can borrow so that me and dress can have an outting together?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Day Dress update

Every time there's a long weekend, I just can't resist the urge to spend it sewing with my favorite costumed dramas on in the background. I made a lot of progress today. I whip stitched the pleats of the skirt into the waist band, and then added the hooks and eyes. Since I can't hem the gown by myself, I can't say the skirt is actually finished yet. It will still need to have the hem facing sewn in as well. Check out the litte knife pleats!
Next, I moved on to assembling the bodice. I sewed the lining and gown fabric together (this is called flat lining), added the darts on each side, and sewed in some of the boning. It got a bit late, so I'll finish the boning and sleeves tomorrow. I hadn't realized that I'd run out of bias tape, so I'm stuck on finishing the edges of the gown. I think I'm impatient enough that I'll try and make my own bias tape tomorrow instead of waiting the two weeks it would take to order it.
I'll say it again: I love this pattern. Look at how nice the fit is!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Day Dress, Take Two

Happiness is a pattern that fits properly, and comes with good instructions!

For those of you who may not remember where I we last left this project, you can read about my frustrations here. I am now using a new-release Simplicity pattern, and so far it's working very smoothly. I already fitted the bodice muslin, and so far I haven't had to make any alterations. I do think the shoulders will probably have to be altered: look at where the edge of the bodice hits my arm. Although civil war shoulder seams were much wider then the actual shoulders, I think half way down the arm is pushing it. Believe it or not, I think the other evil pattern had a better cut at the shoulders. Oh well. The only perfect pattern is the one you draft for yourself, and since I don't know how to do that, the Simplicty pattern will have to work.

Instead of making up the bodice first (which is what I normally do), I decided to make the skirt so that I could fit the bodice over the hoops, petticoat, and skirt, to be extra sure of the fit.

I'm using a very simple cotton print fabric. The color shows up very nicely in this picture, where I was trying to show the knife pleats that I've been working on at the waist band of the skirt. I'm currently in the process of whip-stiching the pleats to the waist band. I'm using tiny stitches, so it might take a few movie sittings.