Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Strawberry Skirt - With Pockets!

So lately I've seen some fellow sewing bloggers making up cute versions of the Hollyburn skirt. With my recent jeans fail I found myself with an awesome new t-shirt but nothing to wear it with. So at my next JoAnn's trip I kept my eyes open for some affordable fabric and lo and behold I found a linen-wanna be in my price range with a gorgeous color and texture. Since I already had thread, lining and a zipper left over from other projects, the whole thing cost me $5. YAY. 

Our budget wasn't going to allow me to spend $15 on the Hollyburn pattern, so I decided to try drafting my own knock-off. 

I'd purchased 5/8ths of a yard, which was just barely enough to make the skirt work. Honestly to do the pockets properly (see further down) I'd have needed a bit more. In the future I would get 2/3rds a yard to make another skirt like this.

Skirt pieces, waistband pieces, lining, and pocket inserts.

First the facing for the front of the pocket...

Flip the facing around -

- and iron-

- and topstitch! Originally I was going to do a lot more topstiching on the skirt, but in the end I just did the pocket openings and it looked just fine.

I didn't have enough of the linen to make the entire back of the pocket (which would show) and just barely enough to do a facing on half of it.

Pinning both sides of the pockets straight on the skirt front.

Stitching the edges together.

Then pinning and basting the top and side seams.

Looket! It's a pocket! (I've done fewer pockets than I can count on one hand. This is a biggie for me.)

Then sewing all the pieces together.

Basting the lining into the linen at the waistband seam.

I cut the waistband pieces and fused them to interfacing before cutting the interfacing out. With smaller pieces it is sometimes easier this way.

Then I tried the skirt on and realized it would fit much better with some darts in the back. Rather than sew the lining and linen darts separately, I just folded all the layers together. Lazy but it worked well with lots of pins to hold the layers in place.

Stitching in the waistband.

It's looking good!

I added the waistband lining at the top seam, sewed in the zipper, then folded down the lining and hand stitched it in to cover all the raw edges. It looks pretty snazzy!

With both of my dressforms in use it was a bit tricky to hem the skirt properly. It turned out okay, but there were a few places that look a little wonky up close that I might fix later. Maybe.

Anyhow, it was a great skirt to wear over Memorial Day Weekend. Yes, I wore it Saturday and Monday - it held up well, although it liked to get wrinkly... still, I spilled some white chocolate on it that came out perfectly with a bit of warm water, so yay for versatile!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Belle Blue Dress - Version #6!

When I first saw Belle's blue dress, as interpreted by Once Upon a Time and worn by Emilie de Ravin, I loved it and had no idea that I would (to date) create six different replicas of the costume. This version was actually finished and shipped out in December, I've just been too busy to blog about it until now!

The most notable tweak that happened with this costume was inserting a zipper in the back.

The chiffon likes to slip around and while previous versions had included a tie, it still resulted in too big of a neckline that slipped around. I've been adding snaps to the shoulder seam with their connecting pieces on the bodice, but the zipper was an even better touch.

Ironically, this change came about because I cut the back piece too narrow. What a fortunate mistake!

I included a petticoat with this version.

Overall I think this may be my most accurate recreation to date!

My one peeve with this version is that the back didn't turn out perfectly smooth. My customer was tremendously happy with the costume though, so I'm not brooding over it... just something to watch next time.

This is actually the first time my queue has not held a version of Belle's blue dress in it, and I'm a little sad... here's hoping the craze for this dress hasn't ended forever, because I'd like to make another eventually.

Monday, May 12, 2014

OUAT Finale Costumes - The Princess, the Bride and the ---???

There are two big spoilers in this costume review, so click away now if you haven't seen OUAT 3.21 "Snow Drifts" and 3.22 "There's No Place Like Home" which premiered last night in an epic 2-hour finale. (My full review of the episodes can be found here)

Once Upon a Time has this habit of being very hit or miss with their princess gowns. Either the dress is jaw-dropping amazing or just a little 'meh'. Emma's red dress falls closer to the 'meh' side. Yes, it is extremely striking, but without a single bit of contrast decor, it seems a little too plain. Not to mention that red is a color pretty strongly associated with either 'evil villainess' or 'prostitute' in historical and fantasy settings. The only thing I can think of is that Emma has some character parallels with Elizabeth Swan, who has an iconic red dress, and since Emma is up to pirate shenanigans in this episode, the color could be connected to that character parallel. But I'm not sold on it.

Belle's wedding ensemble was a little sad, since it would have been so wonderful to see her in a gorgeous bridal gown. However, storywise, it makes a great deal of sense that she would have gone very understated, and with that in mind her ensemble is elegant, chic, and with a bit of retro French flair that is Belle's signature style.

But we all know what costume is going to be iconic next season and thankfully the glimpses we got in the last two minutes were gorgeous.

I love how they seem to have kept very true to the movie's style, but are adding some very rich beadwork embellishments in appropriate places, such as the wrist above.

I'm just drooling over that neckline! I did wonder how they would transfer it to screen, as the film version would be difficult to keep historically flavored in a live-action setting. So far it looks great!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Queen Regina - In Search of Fabric

Those of you who follow me on Instagram got a peek yesterday at what my next commission is: Queen Regina's Black/Purple/Blue gown with crazy silver embellishment. Right now my client and I are in the midst of trying to track down the perfect fabric for it - which is hard because finding a black brocade with purple, blue and silver is proving to be a Herculean task. From what I can discover, the fabric used in the show has been discontinued. We're exploring other options and I've contacted a few other cosplayers to see if I can get any ideas.

Meanwhile I'm researching to see what others have done with this dress. It's pretty cool to see how many replicas have already been made!

This amazing dress by Firefly Path is perhaps the most awesome one I've seen thus far. They were lucky enough to get the last of the official fabric!

Here is the same dress worn by cosplayer Jacky Brodhead, on Greenhouse Photography's DeviantArt page. I'm drooling. Whoops. *wipes off keyboard*

Photographed by CJ Newman, and created by Cavalyn, this is another stunning piece with amazing embroidery details. Looks like she found a pretty good fabric as well!

The fabric for AmazonMandy's dress was handpainted. WOW.

Here we have a simpler version of this dress, by Bobauna Cosplay.

And here is another simplified version by Cristina Petrini.

So that's what we've got for now, folks. I'll keep you updated on what we decide to do for fabric. At least my new embroidery machine is an option for helping out color-wise.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Me Made May

As I delve deeper into the rapidly growing world of sewing blogs, I keep discovering intriguing new things. For instance, have you heard of Me Made May, a group pledge to wear at least one homemade garment a day for the month of May?

I found out about it about two weeks ago, and realized with my ill health, lack of getting out of the house, and being too busy sewing for clients to sew for myself (I don't have quite enough in my wardrobe for a whole month in the spring), doing the challenge this year was going to be too much for me. I think it's great, however, and hopefully I'll be able to participate next year!

Friday, May 2, 2014

I usually don't poke myself with needles

(Blood trigger warning)

I don't blame people for being wary of needles. After all, we associate them with drawing blood and that is not a pleasant experience.

Still, you can't be a seamstress and not be comfortable with these little bits of pointy metal, and I'm more than at home with them. Sure I tend to wear shoes in the sewing room, just in case, but for the most part even if I do poke myself, it's just a bit of pain that quickly goes away. No blood, no fuss.

Well yesterday there was a bit of blood, which I found surprising because, as I said, that usually doesn't happen. Thankfully I was working on a personal project, not a commission, and it was on the inside of a petticoat so it's hardly a big deal. It's definitely got a part of me in it now, and all.

I'm blessed with tough fingers, though. In college when we did the lab for blood types, I couldn't get enough blood with the pokey thing whatchamacallet to find out what my type was. Which was lame, but oh well. Tough fingers and a good clotting factor are good for a seamstress.

So that's today's confession - the first gory one, I think! ;)