Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Let The Costuming Resume!

After devoting most of December to handcrafted Christmas presents for my family, I'm back to my costuming. It's definitely crunch time: I have a ball, a workshop, and Costume Con to work on, so I'm planning to devout quite a bit of time to sewing from now until May.
Just so you can see what I've been up to in December, here are photos of my family with their 'magic quilts.' The pillows unfold into quilted blankets. Above, my mother-in-law got a 'Provencal' style in blue. Everyone got a personalized quilt based off their hobbies and personalities:My sister-in-law got a kitty print pillow.
Her Husband got a hockey themed pillow
And my father-in-law (the LGB train nut) got a train themed pillow.

Right now my main focus is finishing the binding on my 18th century corset. I worked on it over the Christmas holiday (you can see my dog Caly dutifully assisting me), and I've been working on it in the evenings in front of the TV.
I just finished binding the top of the corset this evening: Of course, it's the easiest. I dread all those tabs on the bottom of the corset.
For those of you who have never used leather to bind your corset, I have to say I highly recommend it. My glover needle cuts through the leather like butter, and the leather stretches and conforms to the shape of the corset a lot better than normal fabric binding. There's the added benefit of having leather protecting you from any protruding reed bones as well. After my old corset, having a strong layer of leather in between me and the reed ends will be a welcome change.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Boning and Binding and Costume College

For some reason, despite the fact that I have rotated these pictures with my photo viewer, blogger refused to upload them without rotating them back to their original position. Sorry in advance for any cricked necks that may result from this post.
So I have finished boning my 18th century Stays. The Silly Sisters came through for me, and recommended that I replace the flimsy ash reed that just wasn't working with oval reed. What a difference that made! I feel like they're really starting to look like the real thing.Next up is binding the edges. I have 15 yards of fine white goat leather. I was apprehensive about binding the stays in leather since I had never worked with leather before, but I'm amazed at how easy the leather is to work with. I'm using a 'glover' needle, or a leather needle, which I'm sure helps. It is specially made to pierce the leather more easily. The problem I'm encountering is with my thread. My instructions recommend using silk thread, but the silk keeps raveling and bunching while I'm using it. Any ideas? Should I be waxing the silk before I start using it? I also have some more modern 'thread conditioner' I picked up at my local fabric store.As you can see I haven't progressed very far yet - I've been distracted with Christmas projects and preparations (I know, I know, excuses, excused). Overall, I think it will look very nice though. I'm using a backstick on the exterior binding, and a slip stitch on the inside. Once all the edges are bound, the lining and straps will get sewn in.

In other news, I have really got to crank up the sewing rate because I found out last week that I got a membership to Costume College (long weekend at the end of July/start August)! That means my Charles II mistress project is DEFINITELY on. I'll want to finish triming my 18th century Robe Anglaise before Costume College.

My sewing calendar for the next few months: finish my 18th century stays in time for my next Williamsburg seminar in January. I'll also need to bring a finished riding habit shirt and skirt (they seem fairly straight forward, and I'm not hand stiching them!). Then, in February, Gatsby's tavern is hosting George Washington's birthday ball, at which point my Regency Ball gown will make its debut. I would like to have an over robe in red velvet and a matching turban to go with it in time. Then, it's time for my Costume Con single pattern project, my vampire costume, and my secret masquerade secret. Hmm...any chance I'll get all of this done?? It's rather ambitious, but I'll give it my best shot!