Monthly Archives: September 2012

Weekend Vacation

So this weekend was my boyfriend’s birthday.  Because of that, we took the weekend off and went hiking.  My plan to catch up with what I was doing went straight out the window.  Oops.  I did get some great pictures though:

A bee.  My boyfriend’s index finger for size reference.

I also saw a bunch of cool frogs:

And there were these cool birds everywhere!

So today I finally got cracking.  I put aside my corset.  The boning hasn’t arrived yet, and according to the USPS tracking number, it suddenly went from being ten miles away this morning to being in Kansas.  Wonderful.  So I decided to work on the square-necked chemise on page 90 of Fashions of the Gilded Age, Volume 1: Undergarments, Bodices, Skirts, Overskirts, Polonaises, and Day Dresses 1877-1882.  I went out to the local Jo-Ann’s and got lots of trimming.  Since they didn’t have the color I wanted, I got Rit Dye Liquid 8 Oz. Dye: Aquamarine.  I’m currently dying the white trimming I got to add a pop of color to the white muslin fabric I’m using for the chemise.

I drafted the pattern onto some paper

This is the muslin cut out and sewn up the sides

The finished side seams

Eyelet lace for the top

A four gallon trash can for dying

I filled it halfway up. Look at that steam!

I grabbed a knitting needle with a lost pair to stir the trimming

The color is beautiful, I just hope it sticks


The small knitting needle felt flimsy, so I grabbed a size 15. I never use my 15’s, so they just sit there. Now he’s got an important job!

I have to pull it out in ten minutes.  The top trimming is a surprise for tomorrow.

Wish me luck!


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Corset Progress

As a short reminder I am currently on a countdown until Halloween and working out of Frances Grimble’s book,Fashions of the Gilded Age, Volume 1: Undergarments, Bodices, Skirts, Overskirts, Polonaises, and Day Dresses 1877-1882.  I have currently 48 days to complete an outfit for Halloween, or I have to wear one of the ‘cheap’ store outfits that are expensive for cheap materials.  (I’m a bit disappointed with the quality of them, if you can’t tell,) So if I don’t want that to happen, I have to get cracking.

Yesterday I had a half day because of some commitments I didn’t know about, so I only worked until about noon.  That means that I didn’t get as much done as I hoped, but I plan on making up that time soon.  I had most of the half done on Tuesday, but had to redo a bunch of seams.

This is the pattern I drafted:  

Out of this pattern I have finished the right side of my corset, except for some of the boning which I measured for and ordered yesterday.

I previously stated that I sew slowly, this is proof.  This is all I did in seven hours.  I put in the boning and eyelets on the back piece.

I sewed the seams to each other so the sides would line up really nicely.  The middle I folded over the seam allowance on the back side and placed it over the front and sewed up the side seam.

The boning channels I eyeballed and had to rip out quite a few times.  It took all of yesterday’s three hours to sew up five boning channels.  Today I plan on sewing up the other side.  Hopefully by tomorrow I can finish this corset and have it sitting waiting for me to put in boning when it comes.  I did forget to buy laces, but I think I can find something to use in the meantime.

Wish me luck!

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A Crazy Decision

The countdown to Halloween has begun.  Only 50 days left until my favorite holiday is upon us.  And I have decided to do the craziest thing I can think of.  I plan on making an entire outfit from Frances Grimble’s book, Fashions of the Gilded Age, Volume 1: Undergarments, Bodices, Skirts, Overskirts, Polonaises, and Day Dresses 1877-1882

This decision is probably one of the most daunting, daring, deranged, and dumb things I have ever done.  This is all of those things for a few reasons:  I have never finished a full outfit in my life.  I am one of those people who start something and then never finish for whatever reason…. I am working on this, which is one reason why I have given myself this impossible goal.  I have a back-up idea if this doesn’t work, ’cause I can’t go through Halloween without a costume.  A second good reason this is an impossible decision is that I have never made a corset in my life, and my entire outfit depends on having a good corset that works well and fits perfectly.  The third reason is that I have from 9 am to 5 pm every weekday to do this. I am treating this like a regular job (seeing as my current one isn’t).  The fourth and final reason why this may be the stupidest thing I’ve ever done is because I am trying to get a full layered outfit done in fifty days, with well made muslin mock-ups and streamlined final products.

This is how this is going to work:  I am going to work, and at the end of my ‘work day’ I’ll post what I have done the previous day (so I can get my pictures all pretty), and briefly describe what my plans are for the next day.  This way I can have a steady record of what has been done and what needs to be done.

So what prompted this crazy venture into something that is impossible for someone of my intermediate sewing skills?  I recently purchased Fashions of the Gilded Age.  It is a wonderful book with beautiful pictures and over 100 awesome patterns.  Now, I have been sewing for most of my life, and I’ve made all of my Halloween costumes.  Previously however, all of my costumes have been modified from existing patterns (mostly Simplicity) and I have not had much luck in drafting my own.  After purchasing this book, I did a (very) brief scan online to see if anyone had made any of the patterns from this book and it came up surprisingly empty.  So I plan on going through most of the patterns and making them with reviews on my struggles with the patterns and (hopefully) helpful tips to others trying these patterns.  As previously stated, I have trouble finishing things, so I gave myself this deadline to kick myself in the rear to hit the ground running with these patterns.

Today I drafted and cut out “Corset without Gussets” on page 54.  I have sewn together one side and since I took a three hour break to make pot-roast for dinner, am going way over my self-imposed deadline.  I plan on working on the other side tomorrow, and order boning after it’s measured properly.  So far I think it’s coming out wonderfully, but it may be a bit small.

Wish me luck and until tomorrow!

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