Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I hope you guys are all enjoying the biggest costume day of the year! I'm currently sick and not up to costume participating... but I did pick up some sewing supplies today so that I can get started on my next project as soon as it lets up!

I've also gotten some really delightful photos of some of my recent clients showing off their new costumes, I hope to share some of them with you soon! In the meantime, I'd love to see what you decided to go as for Halloween. Feel free to share your (tasteful!) costumes and I'll feature them on the blog!

Just send your photos to elenatintil [at] gmail [dot] com and let me know what name you'd like me to credit them to. :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Just updated the Costume Commissions page!

I've been seeing several similar questions in a lot of my queries, and figured it was time to add more detail to the commission page. So far I've added information regarding shipping, payments, costume quality, fitting/alterations, and the type of materials I'll work with. Please let me know if something is unclear or if I forgot some vital detail... this whole costuming business kind of came out of the blue for me, although it's something I've dreamed of doing for years. I feel so blessed to be able to earn my living this way, but I'm still working out some of the technical details. All part of a Seamstress's Confessions, right? ;)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Seamstress's Bargain - #1 (Covered Buttons)

I'm starting a new blog series wherein I share with you the most economical ways I've learned to purchase different items used in sewing projects. Some of them are just common sense ideas, others are specific items with website links.

Today I'm going to share my discovery regarding covered buttons. If you remember, when I created Regina's Riding Coat, I sewed covers for those buttons. However that was time consuming and risked fraying. So for my next project requiring covered buttons (which you'll see soon!) I got a covered button kit from JoAnn fabrics. It worked like a charm and I adored it - but a kit of 14 buttons cost $9.99! There had to be a more economical way to do this!

So I did some exploring online, and found that has really great prices! Instead of paying around $.75 per button, I could pay about a third of that... and if I ordered 100 or more, I could get size 36 buttons for just $.20 a piece, or size 20 buttons for $.13 apiece! Plus my order had a free shipping option! I don't know if this only applies for orders of a certain volume, but it was certainly nice!

When ordering buttons to cover, you will also need the kit pieces for assembling them easily, and make sure you specify whether you want the backs with the wire loops (for sewing onto a garment) or no loops (for gluing onto a project).

Monday, October 22, 2012

Last Week Before Halloween Madness!

Well I haven't been posting as much because I've been sewing like crazy. WAY too much happening, but with this being the last week before Halloween, it's something I expected. The life of a Seamstress!

Anyhow, don't worry if I don't post until Thursday, but do anticipate several AWESOME new costume diaries coming soon! I have some really cool and completely new pieces unlike anything I've posted on here before. I can't wait to share with all of you!

(For anyone who is wondering... I'm booked through December now and the rest of the winter is filling up, so if you want to commission a costume for a spring con next year, you will want to get on my queue now!)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Queen Regina's Black Dress - Part 3

So, once the dress and the headpiece are made, what does the whole thing look like? 

My client sent me this awesome pic and graciously allowed me to share it here. I really love how she did her make-up to pull the look together!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Marvel Costume Redesigns

Lots of Marvel costume redesigning going on in the wake of AvX... and so far I haven't loved much of what we've seen.

Today, however, we got glimpses at new looks for both Lorna Dane and Psyclocke. And though I'm not sold on Lorna's color scheme (I never liked it when she brought purple into her costume), I adore Psylocke's new look!

You can see the full redesign for X-Force here.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Aurora's Crown (Once Upon a Time)

Photo from Home of the Nutty

One of the details from Once Upon a Time 2.1. that really caught my eye was Princess Aurora's circlet. Instead of a traditional crown or tiara, she has a beautiful collection of chains and jewels woven into her hair.

Apparently I'm not the only one who loved this, because just a few days ago I received an inquiry from a bride, wondering if I knew where to procure this piece. I don't do this sort of metal and beadwork myself, but it is very much what my friend Shaylynn does and I would heartily recommend her as a source for anyone looking to commission a piece like this.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Queen Regina's Black Dress - Part 2

The dress was fairly straightforwards, but the headpiece required some innovation. 

First I went to the fabric warehouse and searched among their bins of appliques for the appropriate lace. I had done my research ahead of time, and discovered that this type of lace is called Venetian lace. I definitely needed to buy appliques, as a by-the-yard design would not have the size or repetition required for this project. I got lucky and found a a handful of these appliques, more than I needed in fact. I ended up purchasing four of them which was exactly the right amount.


I then used some left over fabric from the dress to create the base of the headpiece.

And more, to bulk it up.

I then cut and arranged one of the appliques on the top layer, tacking them down with hand stitches.

I had already scoured the glue aisle at Joann's to find fabric stiffener. Using an old paintbrush, I applied it to the lace.

To keep the lace falling in the right direction without worrying about it sticking to a surface, I hung it up from a mini clothesline over my workspace.

One that layer had dried, I got to work on the second one.

Again using hand stitching, I built up the headpiece. The safety pins in the corners were used in the next step, to form the piece into the cone for the ponytail to emerge while the next layer of stiffener dried. I found it took 2-3 layers of stiffener on each section to get it the right firmness.

I used a headform covered with a plastic bag to get the correct shape for the cap.

Once removed - voila! It stands on its own!

I used a hook and eye on the top and bottom of the cone to close it.

My customer loved it. There are a few tweaks I would make if I ever make another one, but overall it turned out quite well, and was a fantastic learning experience.

Now, ready to see the completed ensemble?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Queen Regina's Black Dress - Part 1

I've had some really wonderful clients this year. They are patient, passionate about their costumes, and really great cheerleaders during the construction process. Plus they have excellent taste in their commissions!

One client wanted this Regina costume from Once Upon a Time. While she wanted the headdress to be as exact as possible, she wasn't overly particular about the dress, and basically wanted it to be plain black. So it was fun to come up with the final product.

First off, I had to find a good fabric. Originally I was planning to get just a plain black velvet, but surprisingly the warehouse didn't have any of a good quality. They did however have this slightly textured piece that I thought would work even better. (Warehouse rocks, I can get excellent velvets for just $10 a yard there).

I then set my dress form to my client's size and went about making a pattern using the duct tape method I've referred to elsewhere.

I decided to go with a very simple pattern for the bodice, which I painted onto the duct tape before cutting apart and transferring to paper with seam allowances. (I have to use paint, as permanent marker will not work on duct tape.)

Laying it out! This was a bit tricky, as velvet has a nap and therefore all the pieces have to lay in the same direction.

This was also the very first project I used my serger on! Which is great, because velvet strews nap all over the place if the edges aren't finished. And since this was a costume quality piece it wasn't being lined, so serging was essential.

The serger, all threaded up!

I wanted the cuffs to flare out over the hand, so I cut them separately on a curve.

Because this was a costume quality piece, I could get away with serging the hem and folding it over once. It looks the same on the outside as a double fold, and has less bulk for a smoother flow.

Serging the armholes before sewing them in.

And here is the dress!

I did end up going back and tweaking the sleeves a bit, as I'd originally cut the openings a tad too small. Wasn't a big deal, and my customer said they fit great.

Here you can see the zipper down the back!

Continue on to Part 2 to learn how to make the lace headpiece!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Adventures in Quilting

After Regina Doman got me into quilting again this summer, I came home from my travels to discover that a friend had given me a ton of nice quilting fabric. I decided it was time I ventured into the world of applique and hand-quilting, and set to work. A month or so later, this is what I finished:

Yes, that is all hand stitching in there.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book Bargain!

Last week I went into Goodwill and checked their book selection. To my excitement, they had six hardcover installments of the Singer Sewing Reference Library for just $.99 each! 

They're really nice books with clear instructions and full color photos. I'm thrilled!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hey Downton Abbey and OUAT Fans...

Last season I did up a costume post for each show. And guess what? I'm doing it again! I've already started collecting pictures, and I plan to do the posts in two parts - one for each half of each show. So yes, that is FOUR in depth posts about the costumes of "Downton Abbey" and "Once Upon a Time" coming from Seamstress Confessions!

Meanwhile, you can tide yourself over with the episode reviews I've written on my personal blog.

OUAT - 2.1

Downton Abbey - 3.1., 3.2., 3.3.