31 March 2014

We Interrupt Your Regularly-Scheduled Costuming Blog To Bring You:

A FREAKING DRESS DUMMY!!    ** APPLAUSE**   I've always wanted one of those!  A friend of mine came over Saturday to work on a joint project, and she brought me this from someone she knows who was getting rid of it.  YAY!

Everyone, meet Violet:

Step 1:

This was originally a plus-size dummy, which my friend's friend had cut down in order to make it a non-plus-size dummy.  I had to expand it again, obviously, because I R plus-sized.  Anyway, that's why the huge gaps - lots of plastic is missing that would normally fill in around them.

Step 2:

Once I got the thing adjusted to my measurements*, I had to adjust the shoulders, because my shoulders are far wider than the ones on the dummy.

I cut some pieces of plastic Ikea placemats to extend the shoulders the right amount on each side, and taped them in place with painter's tape (for some reason, it stuck to the red cover fabric really, really well).

Step 3:

Then I padded the plastic bits very lightly with some thin blanket backing I had laying around not pulling its weight.

This was just so that the "cover" I was about to put on it wouldn't get poked and pulled by, and slide around on, the plastic shoulder bits.

Step 4:

And here's the "cover" - an old tshirt, which I ADORE, but which is too small to wear out in public anymore...but it makes a great, tight-yet-forgiving cover for this dress dummy.

...And last, but not least, she wears a collar I made for a costume and then never ended up wearing.

Say "hello", Violet!   (Yes, it needed a name. Violet was the name of my imaginary friend when I was a kid. The girl in the mirror was me; but the girl in the reflections of glass cabinets and such, that was Violet. She was my twin sister).

* A word about the measurements:   yes, this thing has my exact measurements.  And no, it looks NOTHING like my body shape, at all.  My waist comes in a LOT more if you look at me from the front; but I have a large, round belly, so it sticks out way more if you view me from the side. Also, while the bust measurement is the same as mine; my back is narrower and my breasts much larger than the dummy.

So, this thing is going to get some very serious customization in the very near future - certainly before I start using it for serious fitting.  But that can wait.  It still needs a stand, so I'll do the rest then. For the time being - new dummy, temporary fix, just because I just wanted to start playing with it.  :)


25 March 2014

March Sewing Challenge: Part 2

Work on the blue corset proceeds apace:

Post #1:

  • pattern drafted from existing Renfest corset:  re-sized, no. of pieces changed, back/sides re-shaped for style
  • pattern traced onto paper for future use
  • fabric cut out:  outer shell, inner lining, two layers of interlining

As of now: 
  • interlining basted in place
  • lining and outer shell sewn together, including straps
  • Boning and cording channels sew in front/back/sides
  • Cording inserted (sturdy upholstery welting cord, cotton)
  • Boning inserted (bamboo kitchen skewers (it was what I had on hand)

I've also got most of the edge trim attached, but not finished, all the way around the pieces - but I've changed my mind about the color, and will be removing the trim and replacing it tonight.  After that, all that's left is the finishing that I have to do by hand - some stitching, some eyelet holes, stuff like that.  

Next set of pics should be a finished corset!  :D 

14 March 2014


I made a new pincushion.

It doesn't seem like a huge deal, but it really, really is.  To me, that is.  It's about 6" across, flat on top and bottom (except for the button), made from scrap linen, and stuffed with about six outfits' worth of pure linen dryer lint that I've been saving in zippy bags for over a year, LOL.  (I've been told by a couple of people that polyester stuffing (and some types of cotton fill) dulls pin and needle points, whereas linen stuffing doesn't.  Idk if that's actually true, but the linen lint (linent?) is easy to get a frigging pin through!)

My old pincushion was too soft, filled with polyester, too round on the bottom (it rolled all over the place), and made of deep teal fabric, which made it hard to see my [teal!] pins.  I've hated the thing for two years, and I'd been promising myself that a pincushion would be my next palate-cleanser project between big jobs, but I kept not getting around to it.

Hee!  I love the new one.


13 March 2014

Two Hours to Paisley Paradise

Time out for a mundane project!  (Yes, the corset proceeds apace).  This, like the pincushion, was a quick project I'd been meaning to get around to for ages.  It started with this:

A paisley silk sarong I bought from Victoria's Secret about twelve years ago.  It's been to the Bahamas and back, Florida, and New Mexico, and has served as a skirt, beach cover-up, and tablecloth for like three different tables.  It's got wax stains on it, and teeny tiny burn holes, and the little plastic beads that once graced the corners had long since peeled and fallen off.  I still loved it, but it had been relegated to sitting in a drawer for the past year or more.  

And then I saw this on Pinterest: 

And this:  

And after about a year of procrastination (sensing a theme here), and then a 2-hour flurry of work last night, this is what happened: 

The edge trim, belt, and belt loops are all made from a dark blue polyester charmeuse curtain panel I picked up at a thrift store a million years ago for like a dollar, hehe.  

In fact...I may make another little robe like this out of the rest of the blue curtain panel.  

I didn't use a pattern for this;  I made it the same way I make Sir Takuan's kosode and kataginu: 

A rectangle of fabric, folded in half (or two, sewn at
the shoulders), slit up the center front and bound
with a straight double-fold [bias] strip.  The kosode
is sewn at the sides (red dotted line) and knee or ankle
length;  the kataginu is open at the sides and usually
only hip length.  My robe is made kosode-style, with
added belt loops in the side seams. 

P.S. - yes, I patched the teeny tiny burn holes. 


12 March 2014

March Sewing Challenge: Procrastination Edition

Sometime last year, I decided I wanted a Tudoriffic corset*.   Several months ago - before I re-did the sewing room - I went so far as to try on my old Renfest corset and mark up the pieces so that I could transpose it into something more or less period.

oops.  bit small these days. 
For a long time, the almost-pattern that I made that day sat in carefully organized storage a pile of other crap, awaiting the day when The Perfect Fabric might come along.  It did, eventually.  It was exactly what I'd been waiting for, and I guess that day I had CrazyFlakez for breakfast or something, because it got made into the top half of a sideless surcote instead:


DUN DUN DUNNNN......  (to be continued)...