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Chimera Progress Report – 1 Down

I need to start getting faster at each of these as my to do list is still far too long! I technically have 9 days till show time but I know that I have a few commitments in that time.

But I am happy to at least have the majority of one dress down.

long image

Its pretty basic at this point as the arrangement I have with my friend Genny is that I will do the sewing/construction and she will be in charge of all the accessorizing.

This dress has a few quirks. I asked another friend to cut out the fabric using a tutorial (I have since lost the link) that used your measurement to help you draft a loose pattern. However somewhere along the way the waist got waaaay smaller than it should have. To correct this I had to put in diamond gores so that she could actually get it in. Unfortunately because this was just cut freehand and I’m on a tight time budget, the extra pieces haven’t always gone in quite perfectly and the seams don’t sit quite flat. If this outfit gets a second airing then I will definitely take it apart and sew them correctly.

Thankfully I don’t feel too bad about this as the main fabric was a repurposed bed sheet that I had bought from a charity store that only cost me $4. The velvet was a small piece that I picked up on trade me for $7 thinking it was a steal and then when it came I realised just how small it was!

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The collar and cuffs are made of a very dark green velvet. This was only the second time that I have sewn with velvet and the other time was using a cheap polyester version. I simultaneously love and hate working with this gorgeous fabric. It is so forgiving if your stitches aren’t quite right as it just gets lost in the plush. This is good because the nature of velvet means that the fabric can be slip-sliding all over the place! To escape, I hand sewed the sleeves on but for the collar as it was getting late in the evening I machine stitched it and I think the results are evident!

Over all I’m not exactly proud of this gown due to the rush but I’m definitely happy to have got one of the dresses out of the way!

Next up will be my own medieval banquet gown. I think I will do it for the HSF as it is plausible that it could be based on a robe.


Chimera – 2 Weeks and 4 costumes to go

On the weekend of the 30th August – 1st September, I will be joining 180 like minded fellows for NZ’s biggest annual LARPing convention, Chimera. For the un-initiated, it’s just like period reenactment but the scenarios aren’t always historic. You become your character and try to make all the decision based upon what they would do. There are a range of games types/styles but I generally prefer the historical ones so I can get my sew-on!

At this years Chimera, I will be playing in 4 games with a costume for each as well making 2 costumes for my good friend Genny.

I will be reusing 2 costumes from previous events and making 4.

They are as follows (with inspiration images)-

Tesla’s Wedding – Saturday Morning

Character – Lucia Shiningstar

Theme : Steampunk inspired 1880s

Costume: Jacket, waistcoat, underskirt, overskirt, petticoat, bustle and corset

To Do List

  • Buttonholes on waistcoat
  • Add ruffles to petticoat
  • Create underskirt
  • Create overskirt
  • Bling it up – Genny

 Love the asymmetry!

The Rose and the Dragon – Saturday Eve  

Character Lady Elaine Thamesly

Theme: Medieval Noblewoman circa 1220

Costume: Underdress, overdress, headdress

 To Do List

  • Make underdress
  • Make overdress
  • Make headdress
  • Add appropriate trim

Overdress and underdress for 13th century

Genny is playing an Steampunk Able Airman in the first game so we are making her the coat from Simplicity 2172 

And she will also be my handmaiden for the flagship event the Rose and the Dragon so we will be making her a kirtle and headdress as well. (Just imagine the dress below has been ironed)

For Genny

The HSF will be on a back burner unless I can make a few of them line up. I have been sewing furiously for a week but still have much to do!

Draping is Frustrating. That is all.

Belated HSF Challenge #9 – Flora and Fauna

In my quiet time, I did finish off a UFO project, my 1860s day dress that I started over a year ago.

1860s close up 1860s

The crinoline era was my first costuming love but recently I’ve found it hard to get excited about it so while I’m not overly proud of the dress I’m actually quite proud to have this off the unfinished pile!

I started on a making the dress using Simplicity 2887. Unfortunately I had to piece the sleeves which made them hang quite oddly. I ended up altering them to be more of a three-quarter sleeve which is still period correct, as long as there are some white cotton sleeves (I will leave this for another time). I lost the pattern after cutting out the fabric for the dress so I had to draft the collar on my own.

I also did something odd when cutting out the skirt (what that was I am unsure) and that doesn’t make it hang as smoothly as I like. Does anyone have any tips? Maybe weighting them hem a bit?

I’ll post some more pictures as I’m going to get some shots in the park near my house if its sunny this weekend. Hopefully this will make it look better given my mannequin is about half my size.

The Challenge: Flora and Fauna

Fabric: A love lightweight cotton print

Pattern:  Simplicity 2887 with alterations + self drafted collar

Year:  Early 1860s

Notions: Hand covered buttons (this was my first time doing it and I wasn’t impressed with my efforts), interlining

How historically accurate is it? About an 8/10 for pattern, and significantly less for construction techniques. The blog of the designer says that while it based on an extactent pattern, there have been some changes to accomodate the modern sewer. Also without the sleeves, it makes it much less accurate. As is my style, I machine sewed the vast majority of this.

Hours to complete: This has been lying in a heap for so long, and I had so many false starts on finish it that I can’t even guess.

First worn:  Still not been worn yet 😦 hopefully this weekend though

Total cost: NZ$5 for the buttons, the cotton was from my stash but from memory is was about $7, so about $40 all up.

Belated HSF Literature Entry

They say things are better late than never! I have skipped a few and for that I am ashamed (more below about that) but I have been wanting to make something simple like this for the longest time. Here is my take on a skirt that Anne of Green Gables may have worn.

Edwardian School Marm

Its a very simple skirt with 7 gores. The material is an annoymous piece from my stash, I think a cotten with a bit of poly in it. It was quite light so I had to stiffen/weigh down the hem with 3 layers of fabric so the dress moves correctly. I used this tutorial to draft the skirt.

I do apologise for the lack of an authentic blouse (I’m not even wearing a chemise and its quite a low cut!) and I think this hole in my costume wardrobe needs to be filled! (Maybe a belated White’s challenge??)

Racy neck line...

Racy neck line…

The Challenge:  Literature

Fabric: Let’s just go with an anon cotten

Pattern:  Self drafted using a free tutorial.

Year: 1912-14 (which is not when Anne was in her prime I’ll admit but she was still around)

Notions: 2 buttons, may need to add some hooks and eyes at some point though as the placket still gaps at times 

How historically accurate is it?  Aside from the machine sewing the long seams it was hand sewn. As for the pattern, see this from the website “These patterns are reproduced from original period patterns and from cutting diagrams found in English, French and American publications of the 19th and early 20th centuries”

Hours to complete: Approx 4/5 though over a few months

First worn: In my living room! But it was so comfortable that I didn’t take it off all evening! It made me feel lovely and feminine 🙂

Total cost:  Free! It was all from the stash, and all of these had been donated to me.


Now am I’m well aware of my lack of sewing/blogging prowess of late.

I seriously lost my juju and am slowly getting back into the grove of things. I think sometimes after working in a corporate environment all day, it can be hard to come home and be creative. And ironically, its when you need a creative outlet most!

So I’ll be trying to get back on this bandwagon!

3 Month Check In

In my New Years Resolution post I was determined to change my slacker ways. Like most New Years resolutions this fallen by the wayside a bit but lately I’ve been trawling the costume blogs and getting inspired by some amazing pieces that I can only dream of one day acomplishing! Here is how I’ve done over the last 3 and a bit months

1. Finish my Regency day dress


In a way I feel like I should cross this off because I have realised that unfortunately I have put on some weight since I created this and it’s now way too small. Hopefully the bridal diet will help with things but I think I want to start from scratch on a new dress I know will fit. I will probably try to guide my best friend to creating her first historical garment (that wasn’t cobbled together with op shop pieces) by giving her this to start with.

2. Make a pair of Edwardian Stays

So happy with these! This was the big project that I got done in this time period but it just showed how much I normally procrastinate. I got this done in two weeks using just the weeknight evenings after work.

2013-01-14 21.53.02


3. Edwardian Dress

Ummm not so much….

4. 18th Century Stays

I haven’t completed this but I’m not feeling to bad about this as I did create some 18th century paniers instead. I like the big hip look 😉

Child bearing hips...

Child bearing hips…

5. 18th Century Dress

Don’t tell anyone but I did get this done. The reason why there is no mention of it on the blog is I absolutely hated it. I tried to drape it but it turns out, I am quite terrible at it!!! I wore it to an event in shame as I had nothing else to wear but now it is hidden in my closet where I don’t have to look at it. My plan is to order the simplicity robe a la francais pattern and use that as I really don’t want to waste the fabric!

6. Victorian (Crinoline) Day Dress


7. A Late Victorian Bustle Dress

Again another half completed one because I have completed the bustle. I love my lobster tail and am even considering incorporating it in my wedding dress! On the dress side, I’ve bought the fabric. That counts… right?

Side view

Side view

I don’t think I’ve done too badly given last years accomplishments. I have a whole load of undergarments that I’m quite happy with but I need to start working on garments. To be honest, I’m avoiding them because I’m scared of making mistakes! It’s a lot less pressure when you’re just using thrifted bedsheets. The one time I did try a dress that I’d been looking forward to (and hoarding fabric for a year for) I messed it up completely. Unfortunately I don’t think that I’m at the sewing level where I can deviate massively away from a bought pattern. On the up side – yay more patterns to buy!

I hope everyone else has had a fairly productive 2013!

HSF Challenge #6 Stripes!

Sorry about the prolonged absence. The wedding planning has been a bit overwhelming over late. The first tears (not my own thankfully) have been shed over the engagement party but I’m hoping we’ve now have a compromise that will suit everyone.

In the mean time, I have an event coming up which has prompted me to get another project ticked off my to do list. I will be creating an 18th century outfit, specifically a Robe a la Francais. The deadline for the HSF is tonight (unlikely to make) and the event is on Friday (more doable). I have just however realised that this is Good Friday and I was meant to be going away but that is a different issue…

With my time constraints I am unlikely to make period correct stays so I’ll just have to use some inaccurate underpinnings. However in order to get the correct shape, one thing I could definitely not skip were paniers!

Child bearing hips....

Child bearing hips….

These are incredibly fun to wear, even if you do have to go through doors sideways! I used the Dreamstress’ paniers-along tutorial to create them, it was simple and straight forward and I’m happy with the results. They are nearly done but I’m out of twill tape so the finishing touches will need to wait till I can get some more. At least I can pin it to my mannequin and start draping my dress.

Child bearing hips...

With petticoat

I’m totally in love with my paniers! Next up is the dress. This is the first time that I will be draping a dress and I’m a bit nervous… I’m using some gorgeous curtains that I bought second-hand. They have been sitting in my closet for about 2 years now and I have always envisioned them being used in this type of dress. They’re actually quite pink but my iPhone camera does weird things these days… It took hours to rip off the pieces on the top where it hooks on but now I’m just astonished at how much fabric there is!

I definitely need a better camera...

I definitely need a better camera…

I will be using Koshka’s sacque draping tutorial. She recommends starting with a base bodice lining so I used McCall’s 6139 Colonial pattern. It fit a bit oddly in the breast area but with a few darts now seems a bit more snug. I am very excited and just hope I can make it work!

This outfit will go well with the next challenge – Accessorizing – as I will be trying to make a wig to go with the outfit.