1. toukokuuta 2012

It's Vappu!!...and some sneak peeks before next Saturday

I've finished my corset cover, but I'll blog about it later. Right now I've got other things to do, before next Saturday, which is a special day for my sister!
Here are some sneak peeks:
My sister asked me to make this for her. 
And what I'm going to wear...
My Titanic sinking dress based on Sense & Sensibility pattern.  
American Duchess Pemberley shoes with some decoration.
I'm gonna wear my hair in a Titanic era style and I consider making some kind of hair decoration too.

Yesterday and today we were celebrating the May Day or Vappu as it's called in Finnish. We had the most perfect weather one could hope, warm and sunny. Since it's not uncommon to snow on Mayday, this vappu was a dream. In Finland vappu is kind of a general spring carnival, there's something for everybody. It is the day for students and academics as well as for workers. 
Go and check out pictures of vappu here. Yesterday we went to watch how Havis Amanda (a statue/fountain in Helsinki centre) got her student cap once again. Today we had picnic in Kaivopuisto park, and it was so full of people, like a sea of white caps. And of course one can't have vappu without sparkling wine!

14. huhtikuuta 2012

Ladies skirt with buttons, part 2

Here is my final post about Ladies skirt with buttons or Ladies scalloped edge skirt, as it is also known. (#E0200). See Ladies skirt with buttons, part 1 here. This is part of the 1912 Project by VPLL.

Fabric choices
I debated long weather I wanted this version to be just a mock-up or a real thing, but at the end I felt that the fabric and colour weren't right for a usable skirt. I'd rather make a new one from a nicer fabric. I used old sheet of cotton satin. It was soft, but maybe too thin for this kind of skirt. If I were to make an usable version of this, I'd use thicker or stiffer material like wool(blend) or maybe satin. I actually have a nice cotton/rayon fabric in my stash, which I might use. The instructions says silk or taffeta, which would be nice. Unfortunately one can't nowadays have an everyday dress made of silk :(

The patterns says 35"–36" waist (88–91 cm), I measured it and it was 88cm. Mine is ca. 71 cm (28") without a corset. The skirt has four gores, front, sides and back gore cut on fold.
(Edited:) My plan was to narrow each piece 1 cm, but it seems I took in 2 cm per pattern. The waist was a bit too tight when I tried the skirt on for the first time. I think the right amount would have been something between 1–2 cm.
I didn't finish the hem of my mock-up, but I was surprised how good the length was. I'm about 172 cm tall (5'8). Usually I need to add some length to garments I'm sewing, especially if I'm using historical patterns. But this skirts length was just perfect, there's just enough extra to make proper hemming.
If I were to make a real thing with this pattern, I would probably use it with some undergarments like corset and a proper petticoat. I think I wouldn't then make any alterations on patterns but do the required alterations when trying it on for the first time. That said, I think this pattern is pretty much my size as it is and I usually wear size 36 (European).

The mock-up fit perfectly already in first time I tried it on. I love the smooth line the lifted waist line gives. And it actually makes you look a bit like a fashion plate drawing from 1912 :)
Besides the confusion about the waist size, I didn't make any alterations on patterns. And if I needed to make the gores narrower or wider, I think I wouldn't add/reduce same amount on each piece. Instead I'd make the front piece a bit wider in relation to the side and the back piece. I think the scallops would be nicer a bit more on the side than where they are now. I think in the drawing the scallops seems to be more on the side.
I found the instructions a bit hard to follow. But that might be because English isn't my first language. Luckily, the skirt was easy enough to make without referring that much to the instructions. Pictures would help a lot. Maybe Janyce could use the best construction pictures of this Project to illustrate the final pattern instructions?

Skirts are almost always easy to construct. But I made things harder for myself. I always watch some film or tv series on my computer while pinning, pasting, hand-sewing etc. I tried to get as much of the skirt done as possible before sitting by my sewing machine. So I ended up sewing the scalloped edge last, which was a huge mistake.
It is doable, but it would have been a lot easier to first finish the scalloped edge and the sew the other seams.
I sewed the scallop seam to the left front seam first in a straight line and then along the scallops. If this was a finished garment, I'd probably sew one or both of those seams so that they wouldn't show to the right side. I don't like how the binding comes out. I might be that a satin binding is too sturdy with thin cotton or ironing might help. But I not leaving it there, I just used some bias I happened to have in my stash and I wouldn't use it if this would be an usable version. 

I would also continue the left side facing so that it would cover the first scallop too. I would use hooks and bars fastening and would put it in the peak of the scallop so it'd need a bit extra support.

Skill level
I consider myself an advanced sewer and I think this garment was easy to construct. With illustrated instructions I think anyone could sew this skirt.

Pattern rating
I love the lifted waistline and I'm definitely going to use this as a base pattern for other projects. I didn't like the scallops that much though. Maybe they would look better on some other fabric.

25. maaliskuuta 2012

1911 corset progress: the mock-up

I'm a bit behind in blogging about my corset progress. I took these pictures about a month ago.

I always use old cotton sheets for mock-ups. As I did this time too. I experimented with some new techniques which I learned from the sew along. That is, not pinning the patterns to fabric but instead using weights to keep them in place. I don't own any paper weights but I think I've once seen some other costume blogger use spoons and it worked very well. 
I had to alter the mock-up three or four times. I thought I'd carefully measured and altered the pattern accordingly to fit me, but the first mock-up turned out to be way too big. Especially around the hips, so the first thing I did was to recut the hip gores without any added width. Below is a picture from the second mock-up with the new hip gores. It is still quite loose as you can see and I didn't even lace it very tightly.
At this point I went back to the pattern and took in circa 0,5 cm in every pattern piece except the gores. And after fitting that new version I still took in an extra 1 cm from the side seams. The picture below would then be the fourth fitting.
The last three pictures are from the final mock-up. Now it's starting to look like a corset. After this I still added a little ease around the front opening so it would lie more neatly.
It is always nice to have some goodies when sewing. I made some raw chocolate with coconut oil and cashew nuts. 

17. maaliskuuta 2012

Ladies skirt with buttons, part 1

I actually wrote this post a few weeks ago, when I received the patter. But I've been so absorbed in the Moot Court competition that I hadn't time to finish it until now.

I took a break from my studies and let my brain to rest while assembling the #0200 Ladies skirt aka Skirt with Buttons pattern. It is from La Mode Illustrée February 2, 1912.

I receive my patterns in .pdf format, since I have a mac and can't therefore use the PatternMaker software. (The only other time I've been an unhappy mac user, the other was when I tried to use Word on my computer and it crashed all the time :D) I printed out the .pdf file on A4 sized paper.

I first thought that assembling the patterns would be hard since the sheet don't overlap a bit. But on the contrary, it made it a lot easier. Because the sheets didn't overlap all I needed to check that the lines where straight.
As a reference point: the other pdf-print patterns I've ever used before are the Sense & Sensibility e-patterns. I have to say that, in my opinion, these Titanic project were a lot easier to put together. Here is a picture of one of my Sense & Sensibility e-patterns that I've printed out and taped together. It was much harder to align the lines when paper sheets overlapped and there was a white border in the edges of the paper.
Here is back gore and side gore assembled. The lines are rather feeble. But if you can see there is rather big empty space on the top of the side gore pattern. You could save three sheets of paper if the side piece was situated at the same level as the back piece. All you'd have to do is to move the side piece
1 cm to right and they would fit just fine.

Look at this! So easy to fold and store in a A4 envelope. I wish all my patterns would fold up so neatly.

I'm planning to try out the pattern with some old sheets next week. Can't wait!

My thoughts on the patterns:
- What an amazing job Janyce have done. You can hardly believe the patterns once looked like that ->
- I absolute like the patterns as they are, the lines are neat and clear although they could be a bit thicker, they are easy to put together and
- it'd be nice if all important text was inside the borders of the pattern pieces, now I copied everything by hand before I threw away the extra paper.

1. maaliskuuta 2012

Let the 1912 project begin

It happened that I got my first pattern sooner than I expected. Yesterday I got mail from Janyce that she decided to combine my group with another so that there would be just one international group. It seems that there isn't so many of us from outside of the American continent.

Anyway, I got my first 1912 project pattern!! It's the #E0200 Skirt with buttons and scalloped edge.

vpll 1912 project

I'm really looking forward to making this skirt since I've always wondered if the skirt waistband really sat right under breasts or did they just drew their fashion plates that way.

I'm getting my patterns in digital format, because I thought that it would be a bit too costly for Janyce to send them to the other side of the world by snail mail. And a lot slower too. There is something wrong with my mac though, because I could't open the password locked pdf with it. At school on PC it worked just fine.

I'm trying to enhance my drafting skills and instead of just cutting the mock-up right away and doing most alterations with it, I try to make the pattern so near my measurements as possible.

I have lots of old sheet, which I use for mock-ups and as lining. At first I'm only going to do the mock-ups, mainly because I have so much studying to do right now. But as my everlasting project is to create a usable 1910's style wardrobe, I'm going to make real garments at some point though.

28. helmikuuta 2012

1912 Project Update

I'm still waiting for my first pattern. But I don't mind since I'm so busy with the moot court.

Meanwhile I've been able to adore the garments other participants are producing. I love them all! Specially the pleated blouse and the princess slip. I want one too.

I've been thinking that if my group haven't gotten any patterns by the middle of march, I might request some other pattern just to get started. The written phase of the moot court ends then and I need to clear my head with some sewing.

vpll 1912 project

4. helmikuuta 2012

1911 corset progress

I'm a lot behind in the 1911 corset sew along. I've just had loads of other sewing to do. I went to my first larp (live action role play) in January and had to sew a regency dress for that in a week. I'm also had to finish my sister's ball gown before the ball. She finally came back from Japan and we did some fitting few weeks ago and then last week I went to Jyväskylä to finish it. I must say I'm quite happy with it. I And of course, I have studied or at least tried to study, too :)

I'm using the pattern from Corsets & Crinolines. So far I have enlarged and altered the pattern, lengthened it and added notches. So next step would be to do the mock-up, maybe I have time to start with it tomorrow. I also finally made me a pair of lacing strips. Can't believe I haven't made them earlier, because I used them when making a corset bodice for my sister's ball gown and it made fitting so much easier.
Pattern pieces taped together.
Pattern pieces widened and lengthened. And yes, I did recycle a catalog of a local department store :)
Close-up on notches.
My lacing strips. Still few grommets missing, but my hands got weary.
I got my little parcel from Sew Curvy. I love the way some places wrap your order, it makes internet shopping feel so much more personal. I ordered only some twill tape, boning channel and floss since they were a lot cheaper than here and we got that extra sew along discount. I would have ordered boning too, but it would had increased shipping costs so much that I wouldn't have saved anything. So I went to get rest of the stuff from Belle Modeste. I found out that they carry garter clips too, so that problem solved. I just love that shop, they had the cutest little dog called Elviira. I usually don't feel that comfortable with dogs, I can't say I don't like them though. I think some are cute and can be nice, but still I usually keep my distance. Well, this one, she was so fond of attention that I had scratch it all the time while waiting my purchase.
My petite parcel form Sew Curwy.
I didn't buy a new busk, but actually decided to use one I already had. It's the one I bought for my first corset ever some 8 years ago. Back then I knew only one shop in Helsinki (that means in whole Finland) that had corset supplies, it's very likely that it was the only one that had any. They only had busks in one size, 28 cm, it was some 10 cm too short for my corset, but I bought it and used it and later replaced it with a longer one I ordered from Farthingales. Since then it has been waiting for a new corset to put it in. In sew along supply list it says 9" or 10" busk. I know this is a bit longer but since I have a long back I think it'll do fine.

21. tammikuuta 2012

This is why I love Finnish winter

I'm spending most of this week-end in library practising how to write an application to the European Court of Human Rights. Because that's what we'll have to do when the moot court competition I'm participating begins in few weeks.

So no costuming this week-end. But thought, I'd just share with you some photos I took last night and this morning. They are no award-winners but I think they capture the essence of what I think is most beautiful in winter. Everything covered in soft powder snow and more on the way.

I'm happy I don't own a car though :)

about 22.30 last night

about 8.20 this morning

20. tammikuuta 2012

Links updated

I just updated my links page. It is now also fully translated, so everything should be in English.

I have lots of costuming links saved and I add bookmarks all the time I find something new. There's still a lot to sort out, but I've added the best I've found so far.

As you can see, many of the new links have something to do with my latest obsession, the Titanic / Teens Era :)

And if you know some really great ones I haven't got yet, feel free to post them in the comments.

17. tammikuuta 2012

[Costuming links] Pinterest

I've long wanted a place where I can collect all nice costume pictures without having to download them all into my computer. I considered tumblr-blog, but you can't really organize the pictures with that.

Then I found Pinterest. It's like an online pinboard. And you can organize pictures anyway you like.

You can find my boards here. I started with just a few boards and now I have 28. I have own boards for costumes from different eras, for fashion plates, for period photographs, for movie costumes, etc. My primary objective with Pinterest is to collect pictures I find inspiring for later use. It's also good with sharing and I follow a bunch of people there, who post pictures I like.

Do you have a Pinterest account? I can sent an invite if somebody would want one. Not sure how it works, though, if you get to join right away or if you do have to wait.

6. tammikuuta 2012

New Year's Resolutions

This year is going to be a Titanic year!

I'm participating the 1911 corset sew along organized by Bridges on the Body.

I'm also participating the 1912 project organized by Vintage Fashionista. It's really good timing, because I have my own ever-ongoing project to slowly transform the insides of my closet to more 1910's and Downton Abbey inspired.

I'm also making a Wanhojen tanssit (kind of a really formal prom) gown for my little sister. It's on hold until she gets back from Japan, where she's spent the last eight months as an exchange student. It's going to be a two-piece gown in mauve satin. The bodice is a slightly boned corset with lacing at the back and the skirt has three layers black tulle on the satin. So far the skirt is almost finished, but to make the corset ready I need to try it on her.

As model and inspiration I used these two pictures from Belle Modeste: the corset and the skirt.

It seems it's going to be a busy spring, because on top of all my sewing projects, I'm participating the Nordic Moot Court on the European Convention on Human Rights. It means that at times it will come first, but nevertheless, my New Year's Resolution for 2012 is that I will write here more regularly and post more pictures.

Looking back to 2011

I was very productive last year. I think I finished more costumes than I've ever finished all together. That's mostly because for once I had place to wear those costumes. I regret that I have very little photos of any of the events I attended in costume.

But anyway here's a list what I made and where I wore it:

I'm dancing early dances and baroque dance in a dance group called La Porte du Temps (in Finnish only). It's lead by Maria Hostikka-Ala-Kihniä, one of the very few baroque dance professionals in Finland. We had a performance at Sofia's Day in May. Sofia's Day is a history event organized by Helsinki City Museum on Sofia's name day in 15.5. every year. There's always lots of program in Senat's Squere area in Helsinki center. This year we were part of a dance performance called Helsinki through the ages. We started the show with renaissance Pavane, Galliard and Canario and baroque Sarabande pour une femme, La Folia, La Bourgogne and Subligny's Menuet. We were followed by a Swedish menuet group called Menuett Akademien and a Finnish folk dance group Seurasaaren kansantanssijat.

I made two costumes for the event: the 1770's polonaise from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 1 and an
undated renaissance gown of purple velvet.

In June I finished my Chemise à la Reine and wore it in the Les Lumières event called Washington Assembly (in Finnish only). And a Sense & Sensibility 1914 Afternoon Dress which I wore at We   Helsinki event on Midsummer's Day. We   Helsinki is a kind of a dance hall event organized maybe four five times a year. It's kind of a bar, but hey play Finnish "schlagers" from 1930's-70's and people dance waltz, tango, humppa, foxtrot... It's really fun.

In July I finished another dress by Sense & Sensibility, the 1910's Tea Gown. And I wore it at Ropecon ball.

During fall I made some accessorises for my newly found vintage evening dress, which I wore at my student organizations annual dinner. I made a small purse, a fascinator and a belle époque styled evening cape.

And lastly I finished my 1870's bustle gown for a ball on Finland's Independence Day.

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