Transforming Cinderella Dress

Thursday, May 21, 2015

So I just wanted to post this GIF of the transforming Cinderella dress I made for an elementary school production. I am very proud of it! 

It was amazing how little information I could find on the internet about trick dresses like this, I guess you don't reveal your secrets! Anyway, I used magnets at the shoulder and side seams. The dress is all one piece, sewn together in strategic layers. It was quite an adventure and it worked really well, I think! 

-Madame T

Dressing the Tudor Lady

Sunday, December 28, 2014

I'm working on actual projects, really I am, but meanwhile I'd like to post a piece I did as a Christmas present for a friend. 

Hopefully you can click to enlarge it, and if you have trouble, here is the image on my DeviantART.

This was a lot of fun to make, and hopefully I will be able to get a tutorial about how I did the fabric overlay out soon!

-Madame Taylor

The Margaery Tyrell Costume

Thursday, November 27, 2014

This semester's masterpiece: I recreated one of Lady Margaery Tyrell's costumes from Game of Thrones.
She wears this ensemble in the episode "Valar Morghulis" and repeats the vest and skirt with a different scarf and no sleeves in a following episode. She also wears a similar vest made of a different fabric in a previous episode. So, generally a fairly representative Margaery costume!

Here was my main reference image:

And my version of it!

This costume was a labor of love, let me tell you! Here is some info about the different pieces of it.

Skirt: I dyed six yards of 55" white rayon challis, using Evening Blue, Teal, and Taupe RIT dyes. I cut two almost half-circles (I was conserving fabric so I could make the blue scarf for another time) with a waist circumference slightly bigger than mine. I added a thin waistband and even thinner ties, let it hang overnight, and hemmed. This skirt is based on the one from a different one of her dresses, but I wanted to make them interchangeable so I can do other Margaery costumes in the future. 

It's soooo twirly!

Bodice: Again, dyed with those three RIT colors after much swatching. This started out as a white denim. I draped the pattern based on the photo and it underwent MANY alterations. I also draped an interlining pattern (which also served as the lining pattern) and cut the interlining out of a hideous polka-dot denim. There is zip-tie boning in the interlining. The embroidery is all by hand, sketched out based on the photo. I made up the back embroidery based on the front! It fastens at the center with a skirt hook and bar, with a tie to cover it. All the edges are hand-finished. 

Here's a picture of what I did on the back in case that helps anyone out:

Scarf: I already had this fabric (it was an old curtain) which is one reason I ended up making this costume. It was a sign! It's just two thin rectangles, French-seamed in the middle and hemmed on all sides.

Sleeves: I'm not happy with them, honestly! I wanted to use brown elastic cord to "lace" them up but I couldn't find any in time, so they are just tapered bias tubes with elastic at the top. They fall down all the time and I kind of hate them. But they serve their purpose, I suppose.  

I wear it with a rose necklace that was an heirloom (another sign that I needed to make a Margaery costume) and silver ballet flats. In that scene where Margaery visits the orphanage, we see one of her handmaidens lift up her skirt to step over a puddle, and the maid is wearing a ballet-flat kind of shoe, so I figured that was plausible. I've never seen Margaery's shoes.

Probably one of my favorite pictures:

And, finally, I had the camera on continuous shot so I made a GIF of me twirling: 

-Madame Taylor

Maroon Skirt

This one is an oldie that I never photographed, but I figured I would post it. 

This was for a dance performance back in the spring, and most of the dancers got skirts from H&M and such places. I found one but it didn't fit and I figured it wouldn't be hard to make one for cheaper than the price they were asking. 
So, I surveyed Jo-Ann for fabrics that were the right color and would behave right, and they had this nice linen (it might have been a blend, I don't remember) and I bought a yard.

The pattern I stole from an existing skirt I had, which was a jersey knit so when I traced I compensated for that. It's really just a half-circle skirt cut in two pieces with a rectangle waistband. To fit mine on the fabric, I planned to have a center back seam. 

Well, I messed up a bit in the cutting of it and couldn't fit those back panels on the fabric. So, I created a "design detail" in these little triangle insets you see here. I flat-felled those seams for a nice finish.

Then of course I put the zipper on the wrong side and the back became the front, which I don't actually mind because I like having the triangle pieces in front. The seam being in the front irritates me a bit but not, like, a whole bunch. 

The interior of the waistband is hand-whipped down. The non-zipper seam is French, and the zipper seam is on the bias so I just didn't finish it. The center front seam is the selvage. 

The only other thing that bugs me about this skirt is that the interfacing didn't fuse properly on the front waistband so it gets kind of wrinkly. Someday I will go in and fix it.

Overall, though, I adore this skirt and it goes with all kinds of outfits. It behaves well in the washer and dryer, although being linen, it does wrinkle easily (but irons just as easily). I'm definitely considering making a slew of these in different colors!

-Madame Taylor

Late-Summer Shorts

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I say late summer, but in reality today was the first that felt like fall. 
I've been back at school for nearly three weeks now, and this is what I've made so far!
 I bought the pattern (Simplicity 1464) with the intention of making the pants, because I bought some palazzo pants and adore them and I wanted to make some more. However, I wanted a nice swingy rayon challis for that and I didn't find any I loved. So, I got some slightly stretchy printed cotton to make the shorts version. They only took just over a yard, so pretty inexpensive. Plus, the fabric was on sale for $3/yd. Pretty good deal. 
This was my first foray into inset pockets, and I will admit that the actual pocket is way too small to hold much at all! A chapstick and some keys, perhaps. But it was more for looks anyway, and practice. I considered putting white piping along the edge but I didn't have any, so I did this feather stitch embroidery, which I quite like. (I basted two guidelines before I started.) It also serves as topstitching to keep the (contrasting) pocket lining from peeking out.
(Note: the pattern doesn't have pockets; I added them, which is why they were too small.)

The size 14 fit me perfectly, although I discovered halfway through that my needle had been to the right and I'd been sewing 1/2" seams the whole time! I might do that on purpose for the pants when I make them, because otherwise they might end up too small. 

Time: 5-51/2 hours (under 4 for the shorts, the rest for the embroidery.)
Cost: $6 for the pattern on eBay, just over $3 for fabric, plus a stash zipper, interfacing, and thread.
Pattern: Simplicity 1464
Frustration: None with the actual pattern, just silly mistakes of my own!
First worn: Not yet!

I can only hope there will be another day warm enough to wear these, otherwise I'll probably just throw on some tights underneath because they're too cute to wait until next spring! 

-Madame Taylor

Tan Stays- Finished and Sold!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Every time I do a project, I tell myself, "This is the one that I'm going to take pictures of its whole process!" And then it never happens. Oh well. I've got some pictures of the finished stays though, not laced or on a person but finished nonetheless.

Here's the front view! I hadn't done the strap eyelets at this point, but they are otherwise finished.
All the boning channels are machine-sewn. On about 75% of them, I had to rip out one line of stitching and re-sew it, because I'd made them too small! It was really frustrating but I made it work. My advice here is, when you're drawing your boning channels, they've got to be a bit bigger than the boning itself! 

Here is the front again, laid out like they would be worn. 

And the back.

The inside with its muslin lining. I put in the lining after doing the boning channels and putting the panels together, but before doing eyelets and binding. Ashley will only be wearing this corset for a few reenactments a year, so I didn't think she'd need a removable lining.

I hand-sewed 23 eyelets. I actually like doing eyelets, they go fairly quickly (about 5 minutes each for me) and they're pretty satisfying when you do them well. I also got a nice awl out of the deal, so that's great!

Here's a close-up of my painstaking hand-sewn binding on the tabs! I kept track of my hours on this, and the binding took me almost as long as the entire rest of the corset. Pretty crazy, eh? I watched 3 different PBS programs, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Mean Girls in English and then in French! It was ridiculous. But it looks good! 

Here's a close-up of the front. For the binding on the top edge of the stays, I machine-sewed it to the front and did the inside by hand. My tip is do the bottom binding first because it makes the top binding seem to go so much faster! 

And guess what! This is my first and possibly only entry in the Dreamstress' Historical Sew Fortnightly!

The Challenge: #13 Lace and Lacings
Fabric: The outer fabric is some sort of cotton or linen, I'm not exactly sure, with a bit of a sheen. The inside layers are canvas, and the lining is unbleached muslin. The binding is commercially available bias tape.
Pattern:  The Diderot Stays pattern, which can be found in Norah Waugh's Corsets and Crinolines but which I found on La Couturiere Parisienne. 
Year: This pattern is accurate to the 1760s/1770s.
Notions: LOTS of  tan Dual Duty thread, some heavy duty thread for eyelets, and cable ties for boning. 
How historically accurate is it? Let's see. The fabric is plausibly historical but not perfect; the bias tape has polyester in it so that's a no. Most of the stitching was done by machine with polyester thread. The binding was mostly hand-sewn, and the eyelets were hand-worked. I'm going to say maybe 70% then.
Hours to complete: 24. No joke. I kept track because it was for someone else and that's how I figure out what to charge them. 
First worn: Since this wasn't for me, I'm not sure, but I think she went to try it on right after she paid me, so... July 23 I would guess!
Total cost: I charged $225 for my work, but I actually didn't spend any money on this because Ashley bought the fabrics and notions for me. So I really don't know. 

This was quite an adventure and I'm glad I got to step away from the usual hemming and mending work people pay me for! 

-Madame Taylor

Beginnings of the Tan Stays

Monday, July 15, 2013

I was thrilled to get a commission from someone who does French and Indian War reenactment and wanted some 18th century stays made for her. Of course I jumped at the chance! When most of my summer sewing work is mending, hemming, making pillows, and other tedious tasks, a historical garment, and one I have experience with nonetheless, was a definite yes! 

So, I drafted a pattern based on Ashley's measurements, with help from La Couturiere Parisienne's helpful guide as well as various scans I found online of the Diderot stays from Corsets and Crinolines (the book is on my wishlist for sure). I messed up a bit in the original patterning and thus on my first set of stays as well: I had assumed the side seams on the pattern were in fact side seams, and drafted my pattern thus. After a little reconsideration and wondering why my pattern didn't look like the original, I realized they're about an inch back from being a true side seam! Luckily I had only cut out a mockup thusfar, and luckily it was really easy to simply chop off an inch of the back piece and tape it to the front. 

Here is a photo of the front pattern piece lying on the heavy duck fabric that I'm using for the inside layers. I made the front point shorter than usual because Ashley said that her reenactments involve more sitting than standing, and I thought that would be more comfortable for her.

The two pattern pieces side-by-side

The fronts all layered together

The backs all layered together

This is my attempt to show off the outer fabric that Ashley picked out. I think it's some sort of rough cotton or possibly linen, but it's got this silvery sheen to it which is quite lovely and quite hard to capture with a camera! (This was also to show off my new camera, which does quite well in natural light especially.)

I already have all the boning channels done but did not have time to take a picture of that yet. The eyelets will be done by hand, as will much of the binding. It is amazing how quickly sewing the boning channels went, compared to doing them by hand! 

This will be my (probably) one and only entry into the Dreamstress' Historical Sew Fortnightly, late I admit, under Lace and Lacing. I will get it done in 2 weeks however, because I'm leaving Vermont next Tuesday! Time for some speed-sewing!

-Madame T

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