Friday, May 9, 2014

I thought the first post I would write would be about CC32 or aka Costume Con 32 but instead I need vent a serious frustration. Why the hell is it that I call in to supervisor about a person doing a great job I always encounter people who are completely surprised that I want to say something good about someone in customer service. Yes, I do keep my mouth shut about the bad service, unless it really crosses the line. But, I have to admit I find it terrible that when one has something good to say everyone is shocked. SERIOUSLY! Am I the only one out there that takes the time to call back and say this person did something good? REALLY?

If you read this please take the time to applaud someone who goes above and beyond for you even when they think it's their job. B/c really they are helping you out. And it might just be because they are afraid of doing something wrong, (and they could get a complaint) when they are actually going above and beyond to help you.

Spread the luv and compliment those who help you out!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sometimes Costuming takes a back seat to real life. At other times real life hits the costumer like being hit by a bus. That happened to me, one of my two best friends, (yes, I know you are only supposed to have one) decided that instead of talking things out that we should not be friends. Not the first time this has happened as things have often gone this way in times of dispute. This was not the first time we've had a rupture in our friendship, but it was the last time I was willing to accept we just ignore things and (again) make such a black and white deceleration about a friendship that had sixteen (16) years of up and downs. I had to accept that and move forward, but that honestly was not easy.

Frankly I just shut down. Even though I knew she was going to do this, not at the back of my mind but knowing our relationship, it still hurt. To be honest it cut me to my core. To make another confession I suffer from sever anxiety, that can and dose lead to depression. Costumes, design, even going to (costume (Costume Con) CC32 was in question. But I had to drag myself out of it. I am still going to CC32. Not sure what costumes I am bringing. Certainly not the historical ones I had hoped to bring but I am going. I am going to enjoy the convention, even flying solo, and I am going to see two new places. Niagara Falls and Toronto because I love to travel.

Long and the short, I took a step forward then took two steps back. NOT in the Paula Abdul fashion, but I am working on it. And I will be working on my costumes in the very near future. AKA like tomorrow, for CC32!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Joined the 2014: YOF, HSF Here are my tentative plans

A few weeks ago I discovered the 2014: Year of Foundations sew along run by A Sartorial Statement. The image on the right is a link to the sign up page including all the information. This is a quote from the sign up page so that I could detail my goals for the project.

"Leave me a comment with the details of your personal Year of Foundations goal(s):  
           Time period of focus 
          Number of garments to be made 
          Any inspiration or patterns you wish to share, etc.     "

On the site my goal is only listed as 1860-1880. I am actually focusing on a more specified time frame of 1868-1875. I believe I am going to focus on a particular basic shape of skirts and work outwards from there. My posts concerning the HSF #1/2 will be about my crinoline/ bustle combination. So that is my first layer.

I am planning to finish my corset for the HSF challenge #3, that has been a UFO (unfinished object) for a couple of years now. Challenge #3 is Pink, make a historical garment in pink using period research. The corset is setting unfinished. All the boning channels are in and it was a kit from Farthingales. I am pretty sure off the top of my head, it was the Simplicity #9769 you can see their kits at this link.

The reason this project has been sitting around for years is for a pretty dumb reason, I never could decide on what the outer layer fabric would be. Logically I wanted it to be pretty in case I would wear it as an outer layer at some point. Well it needs to be finished and so it might as well be partially pink at the very least. I have seen some interesting corsets that combine different fabric treatments like flossing patterns. Also combining fabrics to make diagonal patterns. I am going to do some research after I finish my pattern for the crinoline/bustle.

HSF challenge #4 Under it all. Basically it is foundation garments. I am going to use this challenge to make my under garments. A chemise and drawers. That challenge is due March 1st and I hope to have it finished a week or two prior. That will set me up nicely to complete a dress maybe even two for Costume Con in Toronto, that is at the end of April. So there is my quarter of the year plans.

After this set of items is completed I am not sure what era I would like to focus on next for the Undergarments sew along. I eventually want to have garments for era's ranging from the 16th century up until the 1920's.

HSF challenge #5 due March 15th is Bodice (and what is a bodice?). This challenge is to make a bodice a pair of bodies, or you interpretation of said garment. This will be a bodice for my 1868-1875 wardrobe, maybe two. Time and funds will dictate that.

HSF challenge #6 is due April 1st and is the Fairy tale challenge. This one I may or may not skip. I am considering some options that would be fun to bring to Costume Con 32. I'll decide one this one latter.

HSF challenge #7 is due April 15th. is Tops and toes. Make an accessory that goes on your head or feet. This is the last challenge I expect to get done before CC32 and it will be a head piece to go with my new costume =).

HSF challenge #8 is UFO and PHD due May 1st. May or may not do this one. Again it all depends on what I am bringing to CC32.

So that sums up my current sewing plans, which feels fairly ambitious but I think it is do able. Once I have my under garments done then it will be much easier to  work my way out wards. There is my current sewing plans and what to look forward to me blogging about.

HFC #1 wait now #2 and the tournure

I thought this would be for challenge #1, but I am going to to have to push it back to challenge #2 I thought this would be a three post project. It may turn out to be four, reason being Corsets and Crinolines by Norah Waugh showed up on Monday. Instead of it being a helpful informative book I find this.

Yes, indeed, I find a picture of the bustle using as my inspiration. Page 125, Illustration #95. Yes, that thud you herd was my head hitting the table. To add insult to injury, I am given no further documentation other than in the book it is dated 1870-1875.

NO measurements, NO anything of value other then a three quarters view of the garment on a model looking even worse than the more current photograph I was working with.

EVEN WORSE, this photograph, I am convinced, is a reversed image. You can see the large bump out misshaped seam that is on the front hip. You can just make it out in the modern photo on the opposite hip. Not to mention for some reason the 1950's era photograph has a completely black background including the ground it's self. So it is pretty much impossible to really see any details. the 1950's photo was not reshaped properly like the more modern photograph.
.With all that being said I had a difficult time following Corset's and Crinolines due to the author using the French term tournure and the English term bustle interchangeably. At one point I actually thought a tournure was a competently unknown (to me) garment due to descriptions like this. 
       "Janury 1869
                The tournure is made of horsehair, and worn over the crinoline skirt, which is scant and has only three or four steel circles round the bottom. That the same skirt may be worn with both short and long dresses, the best way is to add to it a long flounce of the same material, corded round the bottom. this flounce is train-shaped; it is wider at the bottom than at the top; it has botton holes round the top, corresponding to the buttons sewn upon the crinoline, and can thus be put on or taken off at pleasure (93)."
        Corset's and Crinoline pg 123  quote and picture both

The picture at right is the accompanying image to this description. The book description. Crinoline with tournure and extra flounces. If you just looked at the picture it would not be clear that there is a crinoline. After some googling I figured things out, and then more confusion set in. How exactly did I want to make my pattern. What measurements to use and most importantly what was my needs for this garment?
As it was now Wednesday in the early am and the deadline looming at midnight I made the choice to step back and move this project to the second challenge which is innovation.
        Goal: To make an item that reflects the newest innovations of an era.

Well this is not the most innovative of items. However I am fascinated by the transition period from crinoline (hoop skirts) to the bustle only fashions of the 1880's. The more research I have done the more it became clear that there was no hard fast rule for shape, size, hem size, or even how the garment was constructed. My inspiration hoop is a combination of crinoline and bustle (or tournure). It is possible that if I wished to I could add a tournure/petticoat combination over top of the bustle/crinoline combination  to make it larger than if necessary in the future. So If I want to do a huge dress I could. Then went back to a comparison bustle that I found in Costume in Detail (CID) by Nancey Bradfield, pg. 234. The book is new so I did not want to break the spine. Below picture is the diagram for a 1872 crinoline/ bustle combination found in Corset's and Crinolines (C&C).
                                              Comparison Dimensions 
                       Inspiration Piece                         CID                                 C&C

Date                 1870-75                                 1873-75                               1872
Height  CF            38"                                        33"                                   46.5"*
Height  CB            37"                                     unknown                            42"*
Hem                      78"                                        86"                                   122"*
# upper hoop         4**                                       7                                        5
# lower hoop         5**                                       5                                        6
*All of these measurements are according to the diagram and I believe do not reflect the seam allowance being accounted for.
** This is my best guess based off of how the fabric is manipulated and based off of the stripes.
The page includes a scaled diagram that I unscaled the measurements for that are included in the above chart. Comparing the three garments and guessing from the the pictures what type of skirt or gown would go over it.

The C&C crinoline/bustle pictured to the left would certainly had fuller skirts then the CID bustle. The CID bustle would have skirts with a narrower bustle and skirt hem. My inspiration piece falls in between the other two. With more fullness in the front than CID hoop but less over all circumference then the C&C hoop. The largest hoop I have seen Civil War refractors us is 160" and that is usually for ball gowns not day wear. After looking at the projects I want to do I do need a fuller skirt than inspiration piece. A larger measurement in the back would be required. Something more on par with the CID. With everything to be considered. I am going to consider everything and draw up my pattern hopefully tomorrow.

Monday, January 13, 2014

HSFC #1 Make do & mend, aka meet Mr. Franken-hoop

For the challenge I had nothing to mend as I have no historical clothing in my wardrobe. So I opted for the make do, which is the goal of remaking something into a historical garment. This challenge is particularly symbolic for me as the item I am remaking was an undergarment for a cosplay. My main reason for joining the HSFC was to transition from only cosplay to having a historical wardrobe.

 This illustration is from a manga series by Clamp called xxxHolic. I can not remember if it was the cover art or if it was the full plate illustration that is included in every book. For those who are not familiar with manga a full plate illustration is used in art books and promotion items.
 Ironically what drew me to this cosplay was that it was a variant of a Victorian riding habit with a split skirt and major fullness. So I elected to build Mr. Franken-hoop.

This is the front view of Mr Franken-hoop. In reality it was fuller and I did not attach the the various tapes that held the hoop in shape. Also for those who notice it those are not extremely thick seam lines that run down the sides. Those are bone tapes because I added 7 vertical tapes and bones. They are not in place for the photos because I actually do not remember where I put them. (the cosplay project was started over four years ago :P )

As a fun note the yellow thing on the floor is the cats' Cat's Meow. Normally that puppy is the main attraction until Mr Franken-hoop went up. ALL THREE cats have spent time under it and batting at the hanging tapes that remain. And when it was laying flat on the floor hilarity ensued. One cat fits between the bone channels and it looks super funny to see a cat going round and round under it!

Here is a side view. Yes the bone channels are not perfectly strait. BUT they are not as off kilter as they appear in the photos. I will not lie this project dose fall into the shame category. I was very quickly done at the last minute for a convention.
To tie back into the make do spirit of the challenge is that the top three hoops are at least 15 years old. They could very well be far older as I purchased a three bone hoop from a Goodwill store.  The steel bands still are not rusting or showing any signs of decay!
Just to add in a bit more make do history. The black fabric I ordered from Ebay was terrible! Literally the cheapest crap polyester fabric you can imagine. Take a picture of it at close range with a flash and it looks white. BUT I was able to use that fabric as crow's costumes for a Lebanon Jr. High production of The Wiz. On stage it look perfect for making a humanized version of a crow!
Here is the historical garment that is my inspiration. It is in the Manchester City Gallery in the United Kingdoms. This is the only image that was available on their website. It is dated 1873-1875. Along with this very brief discription.
Accession Number: 1947.3712
Image Copyright: © Manchester City Galleries
Credit: Purchased
Physical Description
Medium / Material
    horsehair, cotton, steel
       Striped material woven of black horsehair and white cotton. Braid waistband fastening centre front with tape ties. Back stiffened with steels and lined with brown cotton, with lacing inside.
Type: Length  Height: 96.5 cm (38 inches)   Type: Hem Width: 198.1 (78 inches)

This is the current link to this item   (1/13/2014)
 I went into a local fabric store just to "case the place" And I fell in love with this fabric. It is not as dramatic as the original, never mind that it is not made of horse hair and white cotton. Love to know if you could buy that now a days. But I love it and therefore it is my fabric. I have not yet decided what color my binding will be, but it will be something that complements my fabric. I am leaning towards gray or silver.

Now I am going to reclaim the bone casings and the bone. Next post will have my research and construction notes.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

In the Midst of the first Historical Fortnightly Challenge

First thing first, I am not likely to ever order from Barnes and Nobles again. The one of the three books I really wanted for this challenge was Corset's and Crinolines and it may or may not arrive on Monday. I received my other two books from Amazon last Wednesday in the morning. Which arrived two days ahead of schedule  via USPS. I ordered all of the books on the same day with in minutes of each other! First Barnes and Nobles delay shipping my book by several days for no real reason other than "we have to delay your order shipping". RIGHT, it took 3 days to ship my order. Free two to three day shipping.... my package sat for 36 hours in a UPS facility in my state due to weather.... That was Thursday night, if I can deliver pizzas in my two door Hyundai Accent in some snow, AND deliver the following night perfectly fine why is it UPS can not manage to send out their trucks? My much awaited book is sitting in Sharonville, Ohio which is literally 20 minutes from my house.... Trust me on this one, I pass their dang facility on a regular basis to treat myself to Macaroni Grill. BUT so that UPS can say it was delivered in "2 to 3 business days" apparently the "weather delay" get's them off the hook. I am completely and very pointedly reminded why I have only shopped Amazon for years. (Besides that fact that I own my very beloved Kindle) Their customer service is top notch and I only once had a problem with an order years ago. Which was resolved promptly and I was given a credit when they realized that by mistake a few packages had been over looked to be picked up by USPS.

Now that my rant is over on that subject, I am almost at the last hour on getting this project done for Wednesday. Luckily my project is turning my franken-hoop into a proper historical "reproduction" of a crinolette a museum. I have my fabric all lined up. I just need to photograph Mr. Franken-hoop, then embark on the lovely task of removing all the boning tape, cause it's a remake challenge, I want to save as much as possible from the original garment. Oh, wait one problem.

I have a single picture of the existing garment. Two sentences of description and two total measurements. Lovely starting point for building this puppy. Luckily Costume in Detail has proved helpful. But not quite enough to be sure of my pattern though. (Which I am making myself) So I am now in that terribly distracting land of Google. HOURS upon HOURS latter I am praying that books shows up so that I can at least try to confirm on Monday that I am not interpreting my research wrong.

WHICH just confirms my insanity. DID I HAVE to pick an era so few people ever really do? Of course not. BUT of COURSE that's why I found it so interesting in the first place. Could I have done something 1860- 1865? Why yes, I actually have patterns and I actually have fabric and a stack of previously done research. I have BOOKS!

BUT no, I see this one image and fell in love with this crinolette. So I just had to make it out of Mr. Franken-hoop. Seriously, I might need professional help.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Costuming Books in the Mail

As with every Christmas I receive a bounty of of Kindle Food and this year a Barnes and Noble gift card. Since there are no new books I wish to buy for my personal reading I invested in three new costuming books. Books I have had on my personal wish list for many years. I will not lie, I spent several hours looking into if there were new books that I didn't know of, and sadly there were none. Which truly makes me wonder why so little is published on the subject. Then I moved on and sorted through my "wish list" on Amazon that I have been adding to since 2007. I had some stupid books on it, and I had a ton of books on several subjects that I have managed to score at greatly reduced prices on Ebay. I seriously have to laugh at how easily I stored those books on Amazon, and how many hours I spent finding them on Ebay for amazing prices compared to what they are worth. I will not lie, I do love looking up the prices of the books in my library are worth. Not that I would ever sell them, but it makes me happy to know what I worked so hard to obtain is worth so much to those who don't put the work in to acquire them on my limited budget.

So I purchased Corset's and Crinolines by Norah Waugh, Costume in Detail: 1730-1930 by Nancy Bradfield, and Patterns of Fashion I: English Woman's Dresses & Construction 1660-1860 by Janet Arnold. I can not wait for my packages to arrive so that I can dive in to my projects for this year. I already own Patterns of Fashions 2 so I expect that the first volume will be equally as informative and wonderful. After I have fully delved into them I will post reviews.

And as a last word to my best friend Michele, thanks so much for my Kindle food that helped by my books! Best friends forever!