Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wedding Clothes - Dan's Outfit

Shirt: White cotton from stash.  Pattern: Kannik's Korner man's shirt 1790-1830.

Trousers: Camel coloured wool from some store in the fashion district, New York--so, from stash.  Pattern:  Drafted from the standard trousers pattern in R.I. Davis' Men's Garments 1830-1900.  These pants are technically later than the 1810 date we were mostly going for, but Dan wanted long pants instead of breeches, and as he was willing to go Regency for the wedding I was willing to sew him long pants.

Vest: Maroon silk taffeta from Britex Fabrics; lining: black cotton from same.  Pattern: Kannik's Korner man's waistoats 1790-1815.

Frock coat: Charcoal worsted wool from Britex Fabrics.  Pattern: Drafted from Double-breasted Dress Coat pattern in R.I. Davis' Men's Garments 1830-1900.  Again, this pattern was later than our target date, so I merged the front, side panel, and skirt to bring the date back.

Cravat: White cotton from an old pillow case.  (Sewn the night before the wedding.)

Once Dan's vest was done his whole "look"
really came together.  (The binder clip closure
would eventually be replaced with buttons.)

Dan's first coat mock-up.

After his second mock-up I finally felt ready to cut out his
fabric.  I had just enough to self line the front.

All together and conversing with our pastor before the ceremony.

The back view.  I was extremely impressed with
how his coat turned out.

Wedding Clothes - Spencer

Pattern: La Mode Bagatelle, with alterations to the sleeves and collar and cuff influence from Nancy Bradfield's Costume in Detail page 108.
Fabric: Dove Grey wool from Britex Fabrics in SF.  Lining: Blue cotton from Spotlight Fabrics in Aus.  Trim on cuffs: Vintage silk ribbon from Britex.

My spencer mock-up went together so easily.
Though I did take out a couple inches in the
sleeve, which you can kinda see in the photo.

Back view.  I love the little Peter Pan collar.

I changed the front darts to gathers.  I found it softened the
spencer a little.

Day of.  With my two standing up peeps.
Note the blue trim on the sleeves.

Back view.  I really love that collar.

Wedding Clothes - Dress

Pattern: La Mode Bagatelle, but with significant alterations to the sleeves, and bodice detailing from Nancy Bradfield's Costume in Detail page 91-92.
Fabric: Swiss cotton from some shop in the fabric district in New York, bought a couple years ago.  I LOVE that when I chose to make my wedding dress I just used fabric from my stash.

I started with a bodice mock-up over my stays and chemise.

I then cut out and sewed my bodice.

Discovered the sleeve pattern was not
a good one...so made mock-up sleeves.

The sleeve pattern was entirely too large.

I took out about two inches from the centre of
the sleeve, and took out a lot of excess from the
sleeve cap.

Once the sleeves were figured out, the rest came
together without any issues.  This is my test of
the pleated trim at the base of the dress.

I ultimately decided it poofed out the bottom too
much, and chose to save it for a later project.

On the day!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Photo update - Dan's Regency Outfit

Completed trousers and vest--though try not
to notice the binder clip holding the vest closed,
he still needs some buttons.

Coat mock-up #1.  The actual coat will be
charcoal grey.

The back skirt (tails) axis was off, it was hanging
too far towards the back, so I'll alter the pattern and
hopefully this will be fixed on the next mock up.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lists, and Dan's Vest

I've started making lots of lists.  I've been feeling overwhelmed lately with how much needs to get done before the wedding (now less than two months away) and before I leave for home (5 weeks away today).  I can't seem to actually accomplish anything on the lists, but I can create them...I'm not thinking about how that bodes for the long term.

So last week I finally created a sewing list of all the things needing to be finished (and started) preferably within the next 5 weeks.  For Dan and I, there are 11 items that I am creating, and I was rather alarmed that only 1 of them is actually completed.  Granted, all but his frock coat and my bonnet are started, and a couple of my items only need hooks and eyes added, but that leaves 7 items that still need from a few hours to a few days worth of work done.  This is me not panicking.

In slightly better news, Dan's vest is "completed".  It still needs buttonholes and buttons, but the thread I'll be using to stitch the buttonholes (fancy-schmancy Japanese silk twist) I've only found in the US, so those will have to wait.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out, though it took a bit longer than I wanted due to my re-doing the entire thing once I was about 3/4 through.  (Due to a miscalculation on my part and an assumption on the pattern's part, the pockets became side pockets instead of front pockets.  Thankfully I had enough fabric left over, but now the remote possibility of matching ties for his standing up people is nixed.)  I meant to take a photo of a very dashing and dapper Dan in his ensemble, but he was back out of it before I remembered, so you'll just have to wait.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One Year Australian Anniversary

On Monday Dan and I celebrated our one year Australian anniversary!

We went out to dinner at a really awesome Irish pub, which was a much better experience than a year ago.

We flew into Perth on a Sunday, and met with the woman who had the keys to our short-term apartment about 3pm.  She gave us directions to the one grocery store in the area (which was downtown Perth) that was open on Sunday, and told us we shouldn't wait too long to go, because they closed early.  Again, this was downtown Perth, and I was really alarmed that ALL grocery stores weren't open on Sundays.

But we got some groceries, and walked over to Kings Park to have a peak at this wonderful place we had read so much about.  By this time it was about 5:30, and it was getting dark, but we wandered in anyway.  We wandered over to what I now know was the Botanical Garden section, and felt more relaxed than I had all day, when we hear this really loud noise.  I had no idea what it was, but it was clearly some animal that sounded kinda like a monkey.  There were lots of oo-oo's and ah-ah-ah's, but fairly high pitched and LOUD.  And suddenly the peaceful (mostly dark, now) park wasn't so peaceful anymore.  I remember thinking that maybe we had found some animal enclosure, or that perhaps there were wild monkeys in the park, and we were in their territory.  Either way, we decided to head back to the safety of our studio apartment, where we watched Australian Election coverage and tried not to fall asleep at 7pm.

I found out much later that the monkey sound is actually the Kookaburra bird, but the sound they make continues to amaze me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sneak Peak - Dan's Vest

In a couple weeks, those will become a vest!

I'm using the Kannik's Korner pattern for single-breasted waistcoats, and am so far finding it a bit unrealistic.  Kannik's Korner patterns are all incredibly historically accurate to the point of some things seeming absurd to my more modern sensibilities.  They're the only pattern company I have ever used that assume you're going to hand sew your garment,* and some important steps should be done quite differently if you're going to be machine sewing.  So today I spent most of my time figuring out how I needed to alter some of the pattern pieces, and which of the directions I should and shouldn't follow.

Now that the garment construction should be a lot easier, I expect this to come together quite quickly--at least once I complete the welt pockets, but that'll probably be another post.

*Hand-sewing an entire garment is an awesome task, and you feel really accomplished after you're done, but that's just not in the cards for this.

Oh, and you can post comments again!  Blogger didn't fix the problem, but I found a way around it--so sorry in advance for the pop-up window.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

sewing progress - Dan's pants

Dan's pants are "done"!

They would be done, minus the air quotes, but if I get time later, I want to change the placket.  It's white cotton currently, the part that the buttonholes are on, and sometimes it peeks out, especially when Dan is sitting.  So I do eventually want to change that.  But that's added to the things-to-do-if-I-have-time-when-everything-else-is-at-least-"done" list.  It's growing.

I would show you Dan in his pants and shirt, but, well, he looks a bit funny at the moment.  (Period pants sit SO much higher than modern ones) I'm hoping once I make his vest he'll revert to that dashing man I know is in there.

As for my outfit/costume/wedding dress what-have-you, it's also "done".  Or at least almost.  I still haven't hemmed my dress, or added the trimmings to my dress or spencer, but they'll get there.

I am quite pleased about my progress, I still have a few days left in this month which means I'm technically ahead of schedule...though not if you consider the above-mentioned list.  But I'm not.  August is for vest making, and I'm hoping to gain up to a week on that project, all to add time onto my September month for coat making.  And then it's October and I go home to see all of you!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fabric Dyeing

Today I dyed fabric for the first time.  The color came out evenly, so that was a success, but the two pieces of cotton fabric that I dyed turned out really different.

The two pieces on the left were dyed today.  The rit dye color I used was basic red, one of them turned out really pinkish, and the other one is really bright orangy.  The fabric on the right is a piece of fabric I've had since Calvin, and I've been casually looking for fabric to go with it ever since.  Finally I decided to dye my own, as I'm pretty sure that's how the piece on the right came to be.

These will stay in my stash for now, but eventually they'll make for some interesting PJ's.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Spencer mock-up

I'm almost finished with my spencer mock-up, and it's so darn cute that I had to take photos--before I took it all apart.  I'm wearing it over my petticoat, because it doesn't look this good over my green dress.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I spent much of my day (more time than I'd like to admit) pleating a ribbon that's going to go just above the hem of my dress.  The ribbon is sheer vintage silk, woven with extremely light green threads that really only read as green in the edges, which are picot.  It's from Britex, and it's one of the ribbons I bought because I could finally justify the cost--I hear a wedding's worth it.  I'm pretty sure my embellishments will be costing more than the fabric did, but that's part of the fun.

The original plan was to have a narrow pink ribbon run down the center of the green (mostly to hide any stitches).

Amazingly, I was on board with the pink idea, but now I'm not sure.  I'm afraid it'll cut me off at the ankles.  So now I'm wondering if I should use my dress fabric to make a narrow strip of green to do the same.  But maybe that blends too much.

Thoughts?  Click on the photos for larger images.

fig tree?

I discovered that we have (what I think is) a fig tree in our backyard.

Previously I'd thought of it as the really ugly vine that has grown over the top of the roof, out over the car park and partly blocks the neighbor's window.  But as I was giving it a trim today, I noticed some small green fruit things, so I picked one and cut it open.  It sure looks like an un-ripe fig.

But my hesitation is this.  I thought figs were supposed to ripen at the beginning of fall.  We just hit winter.  And a co-worker brought in figs from her garden about two months ago, so why am I just seeing mine now?  I'm sure my tree is just a late bloomer or something, but I really don't want it to be a fig tree for two reasons.  One, I don't actually like figs.  I LOVE dried figs, but fresh ones are really slimy.  Two, the entire vine/tree thing has grown out of the back garden and now mostly sits on top of the back garden awning and up to the roof.  I have no idea how I'm going to get at most of the figs; I'm afraid I'll end up with rotting fruit just sitting on the (flat) awning.  Lovely. 

But still, the statement--We have a fig tree, in our back yard--is kinda cool.

What do you think?
And if any of you have recipe ideas, feel free to share.

Blogger issues

Most of you have probably read notes like this one on other blogs you follow, but Blogger has been having commenting issues lately.  Sometimes when you try to comment you enter a loop of Blogger asking you to verify your identity.  Sometimes it seems to have worked, but the comment never shows up.

Testing it myself today, I couldn't get it to work on Internet Explorer, but the newest version of Firefox worked just fine (at least the post is there a few minutes later).  I don't have Chrome, so I couldn't check that one...

So I guess if you want to comment on any post, hope for good luck, or just send me an email.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Making string

Awhile ago I went on a search for string.  I wanted cotton or linen fibers, preferably white, about 1/8" diameter.  It's just string, but I couldn't find what I wanted.  (I miss Britex sometimes.) This was to go inside the binding around the neckline of my corset, to act as a drawstring, so I wasn't really willing to compromise on what I wanted.  But I remembered a type of friendship bracelet that I made eons ago at camp, a squarish-column shape with Vs running down the four sides, and made by holding five loops on your fingers and passing them through one another. (that's the best way I can describe it anyway)

I started with a test, to see how long the loops needed to be to achieve the final length I wanted, and to make sure I still remembered how to make the friendship bracelet/string.  On my test, for which I used DMC embroidery floss, I determined that I only lose about 1" every 10", so to make 72" long string, I needed 80" long loops.  The project didn't actually take too long, only two evenings of TV watching.  The most annoying part was the start, keeping 5 pieces of 160" untangled was quite a feat.  For the actual string, I used DMC Cotton Pearle, size 12, so the diameter was smaller than with the embroidery floss.  It works exceptionally well, and I'd definitely do it again.

My test,
you can see the Vs better with the colors.

Making the string. The other end was looped around my toe. 
I had to tie up the excess because 80" was way too long to
handle in one go.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Vacation Day 6

We took a really long meandering drive home.  When planning this vacation, I discovered a working windmill, and of course wanted to go, even though it was completely out of our way.  It was a really disappointing experience.  The gift shop (to buy the spelt flour they made on the premises of course) wasn't open weekdays, and we needed four people to get a tour of the place.  Also, I was really ready to go home.  Also also the flies were bad and it was ridiculously windy--though that's probably why they built the windmill there.  But the scenery on the drive home was worth it all.  We drove through the Stirling Ranges, the closest thing WA has to mountains (I think).

Most of our drive home looked like this.  I loved the red
dirt along the road.

Vacation Day 5

This was our one full day along the southern coast, and we made the most of it.  We went to the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk first--one of the places everyone told us we had to go.  The views were amazing, and you really were up in the canopies of the trees.  The walk is basically a series of platforms, with bridges suspended in between. 

Up in the treetops

That's a very tiny me in the middle of the bridge.

We then travelled to see Elephant Rocks, which was by far the most beautiful spot we saw on vacation.  We even debated about staying there all day, or about returning the next day before we drove home.  I think we'll be going back south before we leave Aus, if only to spend more time here.  It was basically a little tiny cove, which was really hard to get to, surrounded by giant, rather flat rocks--thus the name. The water was incredibly blue, and the waves were crashing on the rocks...it was a perfect ocean experience.  We left our shoes on the beach (which we almost lost when a very large wave covered the entire beach--they were only saved by a good samaritan who put them up in the bushes) and went exploring on the rocks. 

Elephant Rocks Cove

Ready to go exploring

All along the trail down to the cove one side of the path was
completely burned, while the other was fine.  It looked like a
fresh burn, so I'm guessing this was from one of the many
fires this summer.

Eventually we left Elephant Rocks and headed to Conspicuous Cliffs (we still aren't sure why they're called that).  This was really only the second time we had large amounts of space to ourselves.  We had a lot of fun wandering the beach, half-heartedly trying not to get too wet.  The sky had clouded over by this point, but we left before the rain hit.  Then we wandered the town looking for somewhere to eat, in the rain, in really wet pants.  We were completely ready to go back to our decidedly rustic farmstay and turn on the heater.

I have the goal of taking feet shots in all the
world oceans.

Dan getting soaked.

Joy.  I really like oceans.

Oh, while we were waiting for a restaurant to open for dinner we were wandering the local grocery store and found these.

Yuck!  And also--who would eat these!?

Vacation Day 3 and 4

Day 3 was Easter Sunday, so we stayed around Nannup, and relaxed at the B&B, but we did go for a scenic drive.  My photos don't do it any justice, but the area around Nannup is really beautiful.  Lots of rolling hills and grazing cattle.  Everything was so green compared to Perth.

Day 4 was also a lot of driving, and it was the only day it rained.  We made our way south to Walpole, stopping at various places along the way.  Beedelup Falls, which, because it was the end of summer, was more like a trickle. 

There's supposed to be water rushing down.

In several of the national parks, look-out trees were established to watch for fires.  Planes do this job now, and several of the trees are available for the public to climb, so we went to one of them.  Dan and I used the excuse that it was raining to not climb too high, though we were backed by lots of signs saying not to climb in wet or windy conditions.  This particular tree was 70 meters tall, and there were a few people who were up on the top platform when we got there.  We both climbed a little way up; there's a net around the outside of the climbing pegs, but there isn't a net underneath.  And the pegs are spaced really wide apart.  Going up isn't bad, but backing down is awful.  Your eyes are trying to focus both on the narrow peg and the open space between--the ground however far down.  So your eyes go a bit funny. 

There was a platform about 40m up, and then
one at the top.

Having a go.

Vacation Day 2

V-day 2 was considerably fuller than day 1.  We started by heading down to the south-west tip of Australia, Cape Leeuwin.  This is where the Southern Ocean and the Indian Ocean meet.  (Side note: Neither Dan or I remembered learning about the Southern Ocean in school.  It seems to be the same as the Antarctic Ocean, just by a different name.  Even Google Maps has it labelled the Southern Ocean, and I'm guessing that's different if you're in the states.)  But back to oceans meeting.  It's not as impressive as you might think.  No waves crashing into one another; you just look left, and the ocean seems to be moving in one direction, and you look right, and it's possibly moving in a different direction.

South west WA has some amazing caves, that are tourist hotspots, so of course we had to join in.  We toured Jewel Cave, and it lived up to the hype.  It was amazing the myriad of shapes that can form when dripping water leaves behind mineral deposits.  This particular cave is known for it's straw stalagtites, which are really long, narrow tubes--literally the diameter of a straw.  The longest one we got to see was about 15ft long.

We ended our day with a trip to Hamelin Bay, wandered the beach and got absolutely pummeled by wind and sand.

Two oceans meeting, with us standing right in front of it.

There was a pirate cow at Cape Leeuwin, I'm not sure why.

The lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin, from further along
the Southern coast.

Straw Stalagmites

Jewel Cave

The Organ in Jewel Cave

Calcite shaped like brains...or cauliflower

I really like this shot of Dan

And one of me, also at Hamelin Bay