Monday, June 23, 2014

20 Minute Bum-Rump

A tiny side-project while I'm working on two costumes for AVCon (which is less than a month away now *sweats*)

20 Minute Bum-Rump.

This literally took 20 minutes.

Super easy to make! Just two crescent shapes of cotton, sew twill tape on one of the shapes ends, pinning down so it wont get caught in the next step. Sew two shapes together, leaving a nice gap so its easy to turn right-side out (pull pins from twill tape so it can fall freely). Fill with stuffing (toy or hobby stuffing) and hand-sew the gap up.

I still need to play around with this one a bit, to push the bumps out of it.

Time to Complete:
20 minutes. ;)

Less than $10.
I used scraps of material I had lying around to make this. The stuffing was only $3 for a huge packet (so I've got tons left over- perhaps I'll make another one?).

Final Thoughts:
For a project I just decided to do on a whim, I'm pleased with it. It'll come in useful in the future when I get time to make more dresses that require this lovely rump. Its not as smooth as I'd like, but nothing a little massaging wont do to fix that. haha!

Monday, June 16, 2014

My First Corset- Simplicity 2890

Finally a project I finished this month! (Last week to be exact).

1860'S Corset

My friend described my desire to make a corset perfectly: "You want to level-up your sewing skills." And yep, the only reason I really wanted to do it was to try something new- and hopefully learn from it!

In the end I chose Simplicity's 2890 pattern, which includes a corset, chemise and drawers. I only wanted to make the corset, but having the patterns for a chemise and drawers could come in handy one day.
After talking to another friend, who specialises in corsets, I discovered I'd actually chosen a difficult pattern. *Facepalm* Since then, she's shown me a much more basic corset pattern which I hope to make in the future.

I purchased the wrong kind of material for a corset... cotton sateen. Yeah, I'm addicted to this stuff. It has stretch, which isn't exactly wanted in a corset; so to counteract this somewhat I made the corset two layer (whereas this pattern only calls for one layer).

But anyways, with lots of help from Youtube tutorials (seriously sometimes I forget how much patterns assume you know sewing terminology...) I was able to finish it!

 (No work-in-progress photos, as to be honest I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to complete it.)

It is FAR from perfect.
I made lots of little, stupid mistakes throughout the whole process. Things that even I'm thinking "how the heck did I get that wrong?" but that's what this was about: learning!

And worn photos:

I have a naturally small waist and short torso, so please don't be horrified by my gigantic hips protruding out.

Time to Complete:
This took about 2 weeks, mainly because I had to wait on the boning and busk to arrive in the post from interstate. I actually completed the majority of this over 4 nights. The longest part was simply sewing the gussets, as I altered the pattern into two layers, so I had to do two 'halfs'.

On average this corset was $60, which includes the cotton sateen, boning, eyelets, busk and pattern. That's pretty good! I stole the lacing from some thigh-high boots I already owned, haha!

Final Thoughts:
For my first corset, I am thrilled that it actually WORKS. Haha! I was sort of expecting to try it on and discover that it was completely useless.
There are things that I would do differently, such as using coutil for material, and maybe even adding more boning than required.
The biggest regret for me is in the bust area- I dont get the right support. Because the 1860's corsets are designed to sit nipple-height, it gives me a triangular boob from the side! lol! I am thinking I may have made the bust area too big? Here's hoping I can alter it slightly in the gussets to compensate...
I was honestly surprised at how much it sucked my waist in. I was hoping I'd get some definition from this corset, but to actually put it on and go "woah" was nice! There is such a small gap between my rib-cage and (wide) hips, it was kind of amazing to see it actually squeeze me smaller there. I dont know if this shape is historically accurate, but I think it will go well with full petticoat ball-gowns!

All-in-all I am pretty happy with my first attempt at a corset! I'm feeling a lot more confident about using boning in bodices, which is handy as the project I am currently working on requires a boned bodice! (Also a reason why I might not update for a while, as I'm working frantically on this next project, which is to be worn in exactly a months time! Wish me luck!!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Medieval Dress for Fair

Another project I finished early in the year, and worn in May to the local Medieval Fair.

Medieval Dress

Over the last year or so I've become a bit of a bargain shopper for fabric. I can blame mum for helping with the obsession: every time she visits an op-shop she always checks for fabric for me! Not that I'm completely unthankful, though! lol!
The time of the year for the Medieval Fair was sneaking up, and I wanted to attend again. Last year was my first time sewing a dress (blog post is here) so the urge to make another one took over!

This time around I didn't want a huge flashy dress, I wanted something simple. And preferably cheep.
Thankfully, my hoarding of bargain fabric and patterns came to the rescue!

I chose to use the same pattern as my Lady Amalthea dress as I really loved the simple shape and I wanted a train!

For fabric, I dug through my boxes of discount purchases. I instantly knew I wanted to use this beautiful green brocade mum and I had found on an op-shop trip for $3! But there was only just over 3 meters of it, so it couldn't make a full dress.
In the end I decided to make contrasting panels on the dress, as well as changing the sleeves to have the contrasting material on it too.
I chose a gold/mustard fabric I'd gotten at a sale for $2. It was a risk, as this fabric was stretch, and the brocade wasn't. But... I'm all about winging it when it comes to sewing. lol.

(Please ignore the mess in my room... I am a messy person...)

In the end I cut the brocade fabric as wide as I could at the bottom, and extended the train slightly, so it would be more full. I also widened the neck to make it sit further on the shoulders.
The train of the dress after the basic panels had been sewn together (minus the back seam)
I managed this in one evening, as it was pretty simple construction.
I did, however, realise how much I need an overlocker. The seams where the contrasting material met had to be done twice, as the gold/mustard fabric stretched enough to see the tread if there was only one stitch, even zig-zag. But I managed it somehow! Haha! (Whats that I said about winging it?)

Sleeves were next, which I decided to make it cap-sleeved with the left over green brocade I had. (The dress is in need of a steam, as the gold/mustard fabric wrinkled easily). I also used some brocade around the wrists.

Here you can see the brocade around the wrists, and the final corset lacing once I had sewn the seams on the train. I'm slowly getting better at adding corset panels!! Wee! I chose gold eyelets and lacing, as I wanted a warmer feel to this dress (comparing to my last medieval one).
The wrists weren't perfect, and I did consider re-doing them, but in the end couldn't be bothered. Lol!

I let the dress hang over night before hemming it.

(Here's where I failed to take more progress photos... sorry about that!)

I purchased a trim from etsy, and although when it arrived I didn't 100% like the look of it with my dress, I added it anyway. The trim went around the neck and was hand-sewn where the brocade met the contrast fabric on the sleeves. Although it wasn't exactly what I expected, it did kind of 'complete' the look of the dress.

The night before the fair, I also threw together a very basic under-skirt out of white cotton. It was a very simple shape: a rectangle for the front, and a longer rectangle curved at the bottom to match the train for the back. I gathered it at the waist, sewing the top in a small fold so I could slide a draw-string through it. There was a chance of rain at the fair, so I knew making the underskirt would be a good idea: hopefully it would take the brunt of mud or dirt my train would be exposed to! Then I could just throw it in the wash as it was cotton, or even bleach it if it was stained.

Anyway, here are some finished photos from the fair:

I wore my new corset underneath, however I am disappointed with it as it appears to be too big around my waist/hips and you can see it protruding from under the dress in a lot of photos.

And my favourite photo from the day, courtesy of TiMarsh Digital Imaging of Mikey and I together!
(Here you can JUST see my white under-skirt peaking out!)
We unintentionally kinda matched that day, haha!

I also won second-place in the costume competition, which was cool! There was a preference for those who had made their own costumes, so even though there were some incredible outfits entered (wayyy better than mine!) I was considered as a winner because I'd made it myself. It was a good feeling! I won a beautiful little note book.

Time to Complete:
This didn't take very long to complete, the longest thing to finish would've been the corset eyelets purely because my eyelet clamper was wonky and it took forever to do them all because my hand hurt so much! haha! I'm going to estimate about 3 days, including the underskirt.

This would have to be the cheapest dress I've made yet! The material cost a grand total of $5, the pattern I already had in my possession, and the only extras were the eyelets and trims, which probably made it up to $20. The underskirt I cant even remember what I paid for the cotton, as I'd had it stashed away for a while. In total, it was about $25! 

Final Thoughts:
This was a good 'practice' dress. I was able to use the things I had learnt from previous projects to finish this dress without much issue. Next time I would consider wearing a small crinoline petticoat underneath, as after adding extra fabric to the dress the fullness was lost in photos and walking around. I would also like to find a better-fitting corset! Haha!
But I was really proud to win second-place in the costume competition, and the dress held up really well in the slightly-muddy conditions (the under-skirt served its purpose! It got dirty but the dress didn't! Huzzah!).
It wasn't colours I would normally chose for a dress- I much prefer pinks, blues, whites and silvers- but the change in colour-scheme worked well for me this time! :)

Thanks for reading! <3

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Little Mermaid- Ariel's Town Dress

I finished this project in March, and unfortunately I did not take many photos of the process (well, none really...) But I'll try to talk through it.

The Little Mermaid- Ariel's Town Dress

Ariel is my favourite Disney character; I also get to play her on occasion for children's birthday parties! She is a character whom I want to dress up in ALL her outfits!
As I feel like I'm still tip-toeing through this learning process of sewing, I thought I would start on her 'easiest' outfit.
I say 'easiest' because I already knew how to make a simple circle skirt and a hair bow. Haha!
The shirt and corset, however, would be a challenge.

Fabric-wise, for the skirt I chose a cotton sateen (I not-so-secretly love cotton sateen) as it has a nice weight and drapes beautifully, plus with its slight sheen really gives a regal look without being over-the-top like satin. I used a very light-weight cotton for the blouse and bow (some people choose to use a different coloured fabric for the bow- but that's really their choice as the colour of the bow isn't consistent throughout the scenes) and a dark-blue stretch velvet for the corset cover- more on that soon. I also got some light off-white cotton and lace for the under-skirt.

I wanted a full skirt- there really is nothing like swishing around in one! So I got 6 meters of cotton sateen, 6 meters of off-white cotton and around 6 meters of off-white cotton lace, and a zipper and two buttons. There was left-over fabric, might I add, as I have a habit of buying too much...
Here is my set-up for drying fabric after washing it. Conveniently watching a Disney movie and Simba looks horrified at the mess.

No photos of the skirt-making process, I'm afraid... But you can find tutorials online everywhere for a basic circle skirt.
I cut out the blue and white fabric in two halves, with about an inch less length on the white underskirt, and sewed them to their respective partners - leaving a 20cm gap in one top seam to hide the zip. From here I sewed the white underskirt to the blue overskirt at the waist. I added the zip and then did a basic bias waist-band (which I only recently learnt how to do! Woo!), then let it hang for a day or two before I hemmed it.
After hemming both, I sewed the white cotton lace to the underskirt (this is where taking the inch off the white underskirt helps, because the lace only peaks out when moving, which is super pretty). And the skirt was done!

Shirt & Bow:
I took NO photos of this process... but to be honest, its not fantastic, and I'd like to remake the shirt!
Simplicity to the rescue!
Having never made a shirt before, I found a pattern with similarities to Ariel's shirt: the full-length puff sleeves and easily-to-alter neckline.

Altering was easy, I just had to widen the neckline and not add buttons. My regrets come from the fabric itself: it was super light and wasn't at all suited to making a shirt with. But somehow it came together!
I will certainly remake it in the future, though.

The bow was super easy to make, I was taught how to make them by a seamstress friend almost 4 years ago!
At first I made it TOO big (like eating my head big) so I re-did it twice until I was happy with the size. I then stuffed the bow itself with some scrap organza, to give it shape but not make it too stiff or heavy.
To attach it to the wig I just used bobby-pins, but I may attach a clip to it later.

Here's where I cheated a little ;)
Time and skills were not on my side, so I decided to try something different! I had a very old corset from when I was 14- it was a crappy plastic boned thing which somehow had held up after 10 years. I only wore it under things to 'smooth' out lines, but after recently finding a new steel-boned one, this old corset was out of a job!
I was inspired to try covering my old corset!

I followed the instructions in the tutorial, but to be honest I was doubtful it would work for me. I'd chosen a stretch velvet as it was cheep and pretty, but I wasn't sure how it would look if I didn't cut out the pieces correctly and it had the likely possibility of stretching strangely.

It took some trial and error; basically I cut out the correct shapes and spent a few hours pinning it to the corset on my dummy, and taking it off again and re-pinning it.

...Honestly- I think it was luck. haha!
Yeah, its not great, but considering I was using stretch velvet AND I'd never done anything like this before, I was very surprised and happy!
(Interestingly, the corset can do all the way up on me- without a gap- but not on my dummy, I think its because I'm squishy, haha!)

Somehow it looked OK. I then sewed (using my machine- VERY CAREFULLY- as the plastic boning threatened to break my needles) the top and then the bottom onto the existing corset. I hand-sewed the seams under to give it a cleaner look.

And Ariel's town dress was done!

I first wore it to a special screening of The Little Mermaid, and had lots of people asking for my photo! Then I wore it again to Oz Comic-Con in April. I quite love this outfit, its comfortable to wear but also makes me feel princessy!

Worn Photos:

I love this photo because you can see the underskirt!! :)
(Photo credit: I Got SuperPowers. com)

(Photo credit JATS TV) 

Showing the full width of the skirt, haha! All 6 meters of it!

Time to Complete:
 If I'd worked on it from dusk til dawn, this outfit probably took me about 4 days total to make. But I did my usual bits-and-pieces working on it in the evenings and weekends. The longest time spent was on the corset, thanks to the meticulous cutting and pinning and hand sewing.

As it was quite some time ago now, I cannot remember the total costs!! Spotlight (where I get most of my fabric from) always has sales, so I wouldn't be surprised if I purchased most of this on sale. It would've been below $100, with the most expensive thing being the cotton sateen for the skirt.

Final Thoughts:
I love this outfit! And I'm really proud of myself for making it without too many screw-ups. haha! I'm wearing it again to Disney On Ice this weekend.
When I have spare time, I would like to re-make the shirt, and also make the corset from scratch to be more accurate to the film.
But for now I really love wearing this costume! :)