Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Sneak Peak

As the end of February draws closer, the probability of me NOT finishing the corresponding HSM challenge grows higher. It is truly my own fault. I got pulled down the creative rabbit hole of patchwork/quilting, and thus only started my rather complicated make this last Saturday. 

In the meantime, here is a sneaky peak at my project. Can you guess what it is?


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Regency Beginnings: HSM "Foundations"

This is my first ever entry for the Historical Sew Monthly/Fortnightly. I had my eyes on some other participants historical makes all of last year, so when the format changed from fortnightly to monthly, I jumped in with both feet.

This was not my first choice of project for this months "foundations" challenge, but 3 other projects, all corsets, had to be postponed due to lack of time and materials. 

The 18th century stays might get done for next months "blue" challenge, the busk for my victorian corset has not yet arrived in the mail and I simply didn't have time to make regency stays as I had already wasted most of January making muslins for the other 2 corsets. 

Luckily, I also needed a new chemise to kick-start my regency wardrobe :D


A chemise is the inner-most layer of clothes. It keeps sweat, body oils and dirt away from the non-washable stays/corset and more precious outer dresses and gowns. When making costumes from the skin out, it is the first garment to make and fit other clothes over, making it the "foundation" on which every other garment is made ;)


This chemise is made to go under regency stays and dresses, but it is an almost timeless shape that can be used for anything between Elizabethan and mid-19th century without problems. 

The fabric is an old cotton Ikea bedsheet that I found in my fabric stash. It is the perfect fabric for chemises: soft, lightweight, tightly woven, breathable and slightly sheer. It has already been washed and tumble dried many times before, so it is easy to wash after events.

Seam at the back due to the period cutting. 

For the pattern, I used this lovely tutorial, in size C but used the shoulder measurements between the B and C sizes, as my chest is 36 inches. I used the "period cutting layout" on my wider-than-normal bedsheet fabric, and lowered the front neckline 2 cm after the first "fitting".
I made my own self-fabric bias tape for the neckline. I put a narrow, off-white grosgrain ribbon in the neckline drawstring, but I might replace it when I find something more suitable.

Sleeve gusset. Flat-felled seams all around :D

The fit is a little big on me, but otherwise fine. Next time I might just make the smaller size (B) and make the sleeves a bit narrower and perhaps without the gathering. 


I sewed most of the chemise on my sewing machine and did the eyelets and finishing of the bias tape by hand. I used the recommended 1,2 cm seam allowance throughout and flat-felled all seams. 

It was oddly meditative sewing the (very long) flat-felled seams, and I am happy to have replaced my old chemise with a newer and more lightweight model. Next project: corsets!



The Challenge: Foundations (January 2015)
Item: Regency chemise
Fabric: An old Ikea cotton bedsheet
Pattern:  Online tutorial
Year: ca. 1800-1810 but suitable for 1600-1850
Notions: 1 m off-white grosgrain ribbon for drawstring. White polyester thread. Bias tape maker.
How historically accurate is it? 50 %? The fabric, cut and sewing techniques are all fairly accurate, but the "modern" sewing machine wasn't invented until the 1840's.
Hours to complete: about 6 hours of active sewing work spread over a weekend.
First worn: For fittings only. To be worn this summer.
Total cost: All stash and re-cycling materials, so I'm counting it as FREE!


Thursday, 22 January 2015

Colette Hawthorn and the Autumn/Winter of a 1000 Shirtdresses

I am just barely making the deadline on this, despite having started it back when the challenge was announced. This is my official entry to the Autumn/Winter of a 1000 Shirtdresses.


I had such great plans. I would dig out my Colette Hawthorn pattern and do all the dreaded adjustments that I knew would be necessary to make the Colette C-cup bodice pattern fit my barely-B frame. Then I would use some beautiful textured fabric given to me by my grandmother, and it would be the cutest of spring dresses.

Well, that didn't happen.


First of, this fabric was a pain to work with. The texture made it hard to sew vertical seams and the vertical buttonholes was a nightmare of skipped stitches and unpicking. The printed white flower motifs stuck to the iron, making ironing from the right side impossible. Ironing from the wrong side made the fabric "grow" as the texture was flattened.


Second, I might have over-fitted the bodice armholes, and they have become too tight. It is still wearable, but would be more comfortable if I would bother to take 1,5 cm off the edge all around the armholes.



Thirdly, I am not sure this style is for me. It looks SO cute on the dressform, but not quite as cute on me. I have a low bustpoint/long collarbone (ballerina neckline?) combined with a hollow chest, and this high, nocthed neckline and collar just seems to accentuate that. Low, scooped necklines just suit me better, I think.



All that aside, it is a beautifully finished dress. The hem and armholes are finished with self-fabric bias tape and sewn down by hand. The front and neck facings and collar edge are understitched by hand instead of top stitching. The shoulder seams on the collar and facing are pinked to minimize bulk and all other seams are overlocked.



The buttons are from a local fabric store and are the perfect shade of pearlescent blue. They are quite large, so I only used 10 instead of the recommended 13.


Hope is not completely lost, though, and search for the perfect shirtdress continuous. I might try Vintage Vogue 2960 or a button-front version of Sewaholic Cambie next... wish me luck!

Lastly, a big thanks to Mary of Idle Fancy for hosting this sewing challenge. I am not sure if I would ever have had finished this dress otherwise ;)

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Homemade Christmas: Nerdy Little Things

Me-made Christmas gifts for my little brother (left) and my twin brother (right).








We got our first Nintendo console in 1997. It was a N64, and it was glorious! We had just learned to ride our bikes, and as an extra encouragement, we each got to name ourselves a price. My brother chose the Super Mario 64 game for N64 and I chose these for PC.

The PC games didn't last long (my parents wouldn't let me get refills for the printable fabrics), but the love for Nintendo still lives on. Many games followed, but no game was more loved by my brother than Yoshi Story.


Yoshi has been his favorite Nintendo character ever since. So when I saw this Giant Yoshi Plush pattern and tutorial on Instructables, I knew I had to make it. It was meant to be. However, the finished Yoshi is well over a meter tall. I didn't want to commit to making such a large toy without consulting my brother first, so I scaled the large pattern down to app. 45-50% by printing 4 pattern pages on each A4 page. My finished yoshi is app. 45 cm tall.

Crappy camera picture from cutting of the green fleece.

The fabric is all from Stof2000, a danish fabric chain store. I got 50 cm of green fleece, 25 cm of red, orange and white fleece and 50 cm of yellow felt (they didn't have yellow fleece). I used ALL of the green and white, but still have a lot of orange, red and yellow left over. The knit fabric and wool felt for eyes, nose and stuffing guards were all pulled from my remnants.

Front view. Metric cutting mat for scale. 

For stuffing, the content of 2,5 cheap Ikea pillows did the trick.  
I added little bags of rice in the hair, saddle and tail to weight him backwards and down. I should have added more to the hair or back head, as he tilts forward a bit due to his nose. 

Side view.

I sewed most of it by machine, but the sleeve-to-body and head-to-body seams were sewed by hand as they didn't fit into the machine. The eyes and nose were sewed on by hand. 

Back view. 

I am really happy to report that my twin brother absolutely loves it! I haven't seen him so happy or surprised for a really long time, and he has jokingly requested the whole range of Yoshis plus a full size green one.

Hand applique on pillow in progress. 

For my younger (and equally as nintendo-obsessed) brother, I made a Zelda shield pillow (see picture at the top of this post). He had written "Zelda merchandise" on his wishlist, so I tried to recreate this pillow, but in the Ocarina of Time design. The inside pillow case is made from unbleached muslin and the pillow cover is made from wool remnants. The blue is from a medieval heraldic surcotte, the red is from my boyfriends medieval tunic, the grey is from a second-hand skirt refashion gone wrong and the yellow is from an unused, disposable cleaning cloth.

Hand drawing the pattern and motifs.

I drew the shield shape and design by hand on pattern vlies (swedish tracing paper?) and used iron-on interfacing on the shield rim and motifs. I did all the appliqué by hand with small, even fell stitches.
The cover closes in the back with a wide lapped zipper. The pillow is stuffed with the remaining half Ikea pillow left over from the Yoshi.

My younger brother was happily surprised with his pillow and actually slept on it on Christmas eve. He has *also* requested more, as he would like to have all 3 shield designs from OoT. My twin brother has also requested a pillow, but he first wants it AFTER his red yoshi.

It is tough to have brothers sometimes ;)

Monday, 5 January 2015

New Year - New Sewing Adventures

Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2014

In 2014, I returned to the blogging world after a long break, and I love it! I still struggle with planning and scheduling my posts (as evident by me not blogging at all in December. Oops.) as well as taking nice photos, but I'm working on it!
Here is a little collage of my finished AND blogged makes this year:

Blogged makes this year. I have a small rack of just-needs-a-hem makes and christmas gift makes that have yet to be blogged. 
2014 was also the year I moved from my dark, small basement room to a nice, big apartment with my boyfriend. I love it here, and my dedicated sewing corner makes it easy to sew in the evenings and weekends.

My beloved sewing corner and sewing machine.

I got to travel a bit to the Netherlands and in Northern Germany in 2014. My boyfriend and I went to Amsterdam in the spring and spent my birthday at an indoor fabric market in s'Hertogenbosch.
In the late summer, I took a trip to Flensburg with my mother and grandmother to attend the Stoffmarkt Holland. And lastly, my boyfriend and I had a short trip to Lübeck and Kiel just before Christmas to stroll the famous Christmas markets *swoon*.

Other highlights includes my very best friends wedding, my parents 25 year wedding anniversary, hosting a family gathering and a Christmas gathering of the danish LARP bard community and singing 18th century songs at the annual 1717-faire in Frederikshavn.


What will 2015 bring?

I am not a fan of new years resolutions, but here are some of my goals for the coming year:
  • I will "shop my stash" and use stash fabric and notions when possible (especially for historical garments).
  • I will try to sew a little bit every day, even if it is just 5 minutes.

The Historical Sew Monthly 2015 thedreamstress.com


Wish me luck ;)