Halloween Essential Wristlet

A tiny purse/wallet has been on my list for a while–something for traveling that will hold my phone, cards, and cash, but that doesn’t take up much space and will slip easily into my carryon. For a while I was looking at wallet patterns, but eventually I realized I really needed it to zip shut and, well, a simple zipper pouch just made the most sense to me. (I contemplated zip-around wallets, but it seemed like they would be awkward to open without possibly spilling cards everywhere….)

But, you may ask, you ended up just making a pouch with boxed corners, why did you buy a pattern? Aren’t there like a million free tutorials online?? Sure, but the Essential Wristlet pattern has a lot of great information and tips, especially if you’re relatively new to bag-making. And it turned out great!

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I made the small boxed-corner version with a card pocket and these additions:

  • a zip pocket on the outside
  • a zip pocket on the inside
  • a second D ring on the other side so I can attached a cross-body strap (the hardware matches a long strap I’d made for another bag–hurray for mix-and-match straps)

To make the zip pockets, I followed the instructions from the Dottie Vintage Bag (I’m sure one could find a tutorial for that online, though!).

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Here’s a look at the lining pieces with pockets before they were sewn up since you can’t really see them in the finished bag:

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And how much do I love this fabric?

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The outer is Riley Blake Lost & Found Halloween Newsprint Black and the lining is Timeless Treasures Gather Together Metallic Harvest Bias Plaid Orange Fabric (which doesn’t seem to be available anymore, alas).

The size is perfect–comfortably fits my iPhone 5 (in its case), keys, cards, cash, and maybe chapstick, but that’s it. I can’t wait to use it on my next trip!

Steampunk Denim Jacket

It’s a jacket made of denim…and that’s all the relationship this has to a traditional “jean jacket.” This has been on my to-do list for…maybe a year? And finally I did it!

For the pattern, I used Simplicity 8020, View A. Major changes from that pattern were to replace the buttons with a zipper and add a set of darts in the front since it was looking a bit boxy when I first tried it on. I made a lot of fitting adjustments to accommodate my narrow shoulders, but that isn’t a reflection of the pattern so much as it is how my body relates to the “standard” sizing. (With each project, I learn more about how to adjust the fitting and I’m pretty happy with my progress on this one.)

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I love that the jacket looks tailored, yet is actually quite loose in the torso (which means it’s comfortable and will hopefully fit over bulkier tops).

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The one thing I think I’d do differently if I made this again is to make the sleeves tapered or straight to the wrist. The ruffle is cute, but it leaves the forearms rather exposed–not so great if you’re wearing this for warmth. (Though this does mean I now have an excuse to get some of those scissors arm warmers from Sock Dreams….)

The jacked is unlined and all inside seams are finished with my serger, then pressed to one side and topstitched.

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But of course the really exciting touch is the patches on the back.

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Loki wants to know what the fuss is all about.

These are sold by MTthreadz on Etsy, and they have soooo many great patches! You can see from the photo above this one that I sewed these on–I did iron them on, but it didn’t seem like they would stay (especially since they’re so large and on an area that would see a lot of movement) so I stitched around the edges with my machine. I will definitely be picking up more patches for future projects.

On a related note, I’ve dived into fall/winter sewing. The main things I “need” for the next few months are:

  • Turtlenecks
  • Toiletries bag
  • Ballgown for November
  • Ren fair outfit

Other things I’m hoping to make:

  • Wool skirt
  • Long-sleeved knit dress
  • Clutch purse (I’m dying to make this one, but the instructions are awfully daunting)

Ah, so many plans!

Nahant Victorian Dance Weekend 2016

Hey, it’s my second dance getaway in one summer! This was three days in Nahant, MA, and costuming events included an evening party with informal dancing on Friday, a Belle Epoque ball on Saturday, and a concert/tea on Sunday. (That was followed by a promenade, but we had to scurry off early so I could catch a train back to New York that evening.)

Since we decided to go to this rather late, I concentrated on the two evening events and used some items I already had on hand…but since I’d been dying for an excuse to make late-Victorian evening dresses, I still couldn’t resist doing most of two new ensembles. (Fortunately, my Regency chemises worked fine under the gowns; when I have more time I’ll have to do up proper undergarments! And I just stuck with the same late-Victorian corset all three days.)

Friday evening I did 1880s bustle!

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(Why are my eyes closed in this otherwise lovely photo?!) The bodice is the TV464 Cuirass Bodice, with a hook-and-eye front closure instead of buttons. The overskirt is the Wash Overskirt, and everything else I fortunately already had (TV101 bustle, TV170 petticoat, TV261-R underskirt).

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Had to attempt the awkward corset lean:

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For the Belle Epoque ball, I moved forward in time to the 1890s.

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Sadly, this is the ONLY photo I have of me wearing the finished dress! I’m still hoping one of the many people taking photos at the ball posts them sometime….

For this ensemble, I made the 1890s petticoat from TV170, the Laughing Moon #103 1890s Waist (and stuffed those giant sleeves with tulle!), and Past Patterns #208 Circular Skirt. Here’s a photo of the back that I posted on Instagram while it was a work in progress, since that’s where all the action is in the skirt.

For both the bodices, I pretty much ignored the bodice construction instructions and instead followed all those tutorials at HistoricalSewing.com that I listed before. So the insides ended up looking like this.

Neat. Just for completeness, here’s Day 3’s outfit:

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The only things I made in this photo are the underpinnings. (I did swap out the grosgrain ribbon on the hat, but I don’t think that “counts.”) The skirt is an antique walking skirt that was given to me (yes, I’m very lucky!) and the shirt is just a modern button up.

I left the weekend inspired to get to work on even more Victorian costumes, but I’ve got a lot of other stuff on my plate before another Victorian event comes around!

Pinewoods 2016

A few weeks ago I attended Pinewoods Scottish Session II; it was my first time at Pinewoods and I had lots of fun! In addition to some practice clothes, I made two special-occasion outfits especially for camp. The first is this dress, which I wore to the Highland ball.

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(Please ignore the sneakers.) Okay, it’s not very ball-gown-y, but since it was made of embroidered cotton lawn it was very comfortable in the extremely humid weather. And it has a surprise on the back:

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What you can’t tell from these photos is that the skirt is also delightfully swirly (I’m wearing a ruffly petticoat underneath).

The dress began with the bodice block that was fitted to me during the Workroom Social Dressmaking Intensive, which I modified by moving the zipper to to the side, adding ribbon loops to the back side seams for lacing (there’s also a bit of elastic at the waist in the back panel to keep the skirt from sagging there), lowering the neckline, and replacing the sleeves with flutter sleeves. The skirt is a long half-circle skirt, gathered at the waist.

The second special-occasion outfit was for the themed ball–the theme this year was “Under the Big Top.” Naturally, I just shoehorned this into my interest in Victorian costuming and dressed as a steampunk circus performer (ring leader?).

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(Ugh, this is the best front photo I have, sorry!) I already had the mini top hat and shirt, so I made the bloomers (from this YouTube tutorial), bustle (just the back part, shortened, of Truly Victorian’s Wash Overskirt), and corset (the long view of TV’s Victorian Corselets, but constructed following regular corset methods, including adding a front busk).

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The hair falls are just yarn looped over hairbands (in what is apparently called a lark’s head knot), which are then slipped around buns.

So there you have it: two very different looks for Pinewoods 2016!

Cropped T with Flutter Sleeves

I made this ages ago, but between Pinewoods and madly sewing for the Nahant Vintage Dance Weekend (if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen some sneak peeks of those costumes in the past few days) I haven’t had a minute to post about it. And it’ll be a quick minute!

This started out based on the Knit Sweetheart T in Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, but I made a bunch of changes. What I’m most happy with is the fit! I’m so glad I lowered the pleats in the center bust–it looks much better than my first attempt.

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Washed-out photo so you can see those pleats.

So here’s what I changed:

  • Lowered the front neckline and pleats
  • Narrowed the shoulders
  • Cropped it just above the natural waist and finished the hem with a wide band (looks much cleaner than turning under for me since I can’t do stretch stitches, coverstitch, or twin needle finishes)
  • Replaced the sleeves with flutter sleeves (following this tutorial); flutter sleeves are hemmed with the narrow hem on my serger

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I think for the next one I will raise the neckline and lower the waist by just a smidge (1/4 inch or so), but overall I’m very pleased with how this came out and think it’s quite flattering. I’d like to do a similar one with long sleeves and a higher neckline in a sweater knit for the fall. (I believe the fabric for this was interlock? I don’t remember, sorry! It’s sort of a midweight knit with decent body, as you can see in the sleeves.)

Speaking of the seasons, here’s my updated spring/summer capsule wardrobe. There’s one item I’ve completed but might not blog about (the gauze skirt…it’s just not that interesting and didn’t turn out great) and two I think I’ll move to the fall plan (jean jacket and jersey maxi skirt). Of course, since we’re hitting 90 degrees, I’m fantasizing about what I want to make in tweed and corduroy once I finish this latest costuming push….

Spring/Summer Capsule Wardrobe

Dresses

  1. Gray floral Lady Skater
  2. Green dress (purchased)
  3. Cream floral Lady Skater
  4. Calico Giselle
  5. Black/gray calico Simplicity 1080 View A

Skirts

  1. Jersey maxi skirt (McCall’s 6608 View D) in black–MOVE TO FALL
  2. Black gauze petticoat skirt with ruffle (unblogged, but made)
  3. White petticoat skirt
  4. Brown midi petticoat skirt
  5. Jean Hollyburn
  6. Nevermore skirt

Tops

  1. Wrap top (Butterick 6285)
  2. Cropped black T-shirt
  3. Gray rose peasant top
  4. Black Weekender tunic

Outerwear

  1. Jean jacket (Simplicity 8020 View A)–MOVE TO FALL
  2. Army green jacket (purchased)
  3. Green spencer
  4. Gray jersey cardigan (purchased)
  5. Aurelia cardigan?

Dance Practice Tank & Skirt

I’ll be going to Pinewoods for the first time this year, and I recently glanced at last year’s schedule and realized that I’d need clothes for FIVE evening dances PLUS four days of classes!

Now, I’d known I needed more bras, specifically some sports bras, and had come across the Brazi Ladies’ Bra and Dress pattern. After confirming that I could make it entirely on my serger (no stretch/zigzag stitching necessary), I grabbed it and made a test bra out of leftover red roses fabric. Well, turns out that particular fabric is too soft and stretchy to make a bra on its own (yes, I researched sports bra and activewear fabric AFTER I sewed this up), but it was so comfortable and fit well over my regular cross-back bras that I added a black panel to the bottom and voila! A tank top!

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The skirt is a basic half-circle skirt, with a high-low hem for some additional interest. The waistband is just some 2-inch-wide black elastic. This was super fast and easy, requiring only one vertical seam, joining the elastic into a circle, then serging the elastic to the waist of the skirt. I didn’t finish the hem and…I’ve pretty much decided to just leave it that way. The fabric is a silky and drapey rayon/nylon/spandex ponte knit.

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Now that I’ve done more research into activewear fabrics, I’m ready to try making that Brazi bra out of the right materials. I wonder if I can actually manage a tank top that’s supportive enough to not require a separate bra so I can pack less….

And I’ve really got to finish my ball/party dress, but I’m on the zipper insert stage and ugh. 😛

(In other news, I moved a couple of weeks ago, hence the new photo location!)

 

Simplicity 1080

Everybody calls Simplicity 1080 “granny chic.” I decided, therefore, to attempt “goth granny chic.” Okay, I totally fell in love with this quilting cotton line and decided to say screw it to everyone who tells you not to sew clothes with quilting cotton. So this is made with Beacon Hall line of quilting cotton.

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I mostly followed the instructions pretty closely for finishing the seams. The main departure, as you can see, was binding the neckline rather than folding it under. The neck was already a bit wide and I liked how this echoed the binding on the pockets anyway.

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Other changes I made were to lower the pleats and add black eyelet lace trim to the bottom.

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I really agonized over what size to make this–I was firmly in the medium range based on my bust size, but so often these patterns end up huge on me (pattern has too much ease + I have narrow shoulders). Most reviews said the straight size was good, but a few mentioned that the dress ended up tentlike. So I bit the bullet and made a small. I’m happy with it! I think definitely the shoulders would’ve been too wide on the medium.

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Making good progress on my spring/summer capsule wardrobe plans!

Spring/Summer Capsule Wardrobe

Dresses

  1. Gray floral Lady Skater
  2. Green dress (purchased)
  3. Cream floral Lady Skater
  4. Calico Giselle
  5. Black/gray calico Simplicity 1080 View A

Skirts

  1. Jersey maxi skirt (McCall’s 6608 View D) in black
  2. Black gauze petticoat skirt with ruffle
  3. White petticoat skirt
  4. Brown midi petticoat skirt
  5. Jean Hollyburn
  6. Nevermore skirt

Tops

  1. Wrap top (Butterick 6285)
  2. Cropped black T-shirt
  3. Gray rose peasant top
  4. Black Weekender tunic

Outerwear

  1. Jean jacket (Simplicity 8020 View A)
  2. Army green jacket (purchased)
  3. Green spencer
  4. Gray jersey cardigan (purchased)
  5. Aurelia cardigan?