Lobsters and Petticoat's

I haven't had a ton of time for sewing lately, even though I have about a million things I need to be working on right now. But I did manage to squeeze in a new lobster bustle and crinoline petticoat last month!


Being that Halloween is just around the corner, and I'm the crazy costumer that I am, I started thinking about my Halloween costume early in August. I had decided on a costume that I've wanted to make for a long time now, but unfortunately I don't have the funds to do it properly at the moment.

The costume was Christine Daae's wedding dress from the stage version of Phantom of the Opera. It's always been a favorite of mine, but unfortunately will have to wait until a better time when I can do it right.

Anyways, that was what got me going on these foundations. While I was playing around with that idea and researching materials, I started with the undergarments. I knew I needed a larger bustle than the half bustle petticoat I made a few years back for my 1870's ensemble, and because it was a stage costume and I didn't need to be particularly historically accurate in material's, I decided I should make a crinoline petticoat.

This was something I've been meaning to do for a while, but just never got around to because I really don't like working with tulle of any kind.

And this crinoline lived up to my expectations. It was a beast to work with. Partially because I was making up the pattern as I went, when I really should have sat down and crunched some numbers before sewing, but I'm just gonna blame it on the crinoline. Fine? Fine.



In the end, the petticoat turned out quite nicely. It's made up of two layers and is stitched onto a bask with an elastic waistband. I actually added another small ruffle along the bottom edge of the top layer to help keep the shape around the hem, but I haven't gotten any pictures of it at that point yet.

Please ignore my hideous carpet. We just moved and haven't had a chance to update the floor in my sewing room yet.

The lobster bustle came together quite easily, and is taken directly out of Period Costume for the Stage and Screen. I think I will end up making another one that's just a little bit biggest, particularly on the bottom half, but otherwise I really like it! It isn't quite done, it still needs a ruffle along the bottom edge, but it's wearable.


Sadly since my costume plan's have changed the bustle won't be used, but I'll may still use the petticoat. But more on that in another post!

Going in a New Direction

Over the last few years I've been trying to find my voice and style within costuming and the online community. When I first started costuming I focused heavily on historical costume with a bit of cosplay in the mix, and in more recent years I've moved a bit more towards costume design, as that's what a lot of my focus has been moving towards professionally.



As I learned and gained more experience I played around with different idea's for this blog and have wobbled between focusing on my costume design work for film and stage and personal projects, usually of a historical style in one way or another.

In the process things have gotten a bit... Messy. I feel like I don't know what to write or how to write it simply because my website, this website, has gone in so many directions.

So I've decided to take a step back and focus on what I really, really love, which is historical costuming. I no longer plan on posting about the films I'm working on, unless they are have a strong historical influence. I'm toying around with the idea of keeping a separate blog dedicated to my costume design related projects and ventures, but that will be completely separate.

I want to get back to traditional blogging like it was when I first started years ago. I want to write a blog that is personal and has a specific goal, which is historical costuming.



To help get a better idea of what I want for this site and to have a point of reference should I ever begin to wander away from this goal, I've written a mission statement.

But before we get to that, you may have noticed I've gone through a bit of a name change as well. While I've had a couple of different titles for this blog over the years, I've decided one something that (should) be a little more timeless.

And with that, here is the dedication;

The Demure Seamstress is a blog dedicated to historical recreations and the art of sewing quality, accurate reproductions. The goal of this blog is to document my learning process as I delve deeper into the art of sewing (specifically historical costuming), and to share the information that I learn in a helpful way. My hope is to learn and inspire others to learn as well, and share each bit of knowledge that I pick up along the way.

I'm really excited for this new phase for my blog and hope to have lot's of exciting things to share soon! In the meantime I'll be working on getting everything under the new name; The Demure Seamstress.

A Velvet Gown (WIP)

In between the madness of moving and settling into our new home in Idaho, I've been working on a new film project. I'm assisting with the costumes for another Lightsaber Choreography Competition film, which we will be filming next month.

I'm making perhaps the most complicated costume for the leading actress, which is a floor length velvet gown, with all sorts of wonderful, tricky details. It's coming along quite nicely and is nearly done.

This is a little sneak peek of the gown while I was still working on the bodice and before the skirt was attached.

I'll share more details of the design and finished garment eventually, but that won't likely be until the film is released in October.

Two Vintage Dresses

As promised in my last post, here's the photo's from the rest of my photoshoot with Elie. These last two dresses are vintage dresses from my collection. The pink one is a 1960's evening gown, and the blue is 1950's.

The interesting thing about the first one is that it seems to be home sewn. Everything is finished quite neatly on the inside, but you can see the pinked edge on the inside of the hem between the lining, and the selvage is only folded over on the front edges of the top layer of chiffon.

I came across this dress at a Goodwill Outlet store and paid maybe $0.60 for it since they charge by the pound. It has a few stains and holes, some of which someone attempted to patch at some point (my guess is the original owner since it looks like the patch is from the same pink chiffon as the outer skirt), but overall it's help up well.










This second dress is one that I purchased on Etsy several years ago. This one is 1950's and is in a little bit better shape than the first dress. With the exception of the blue chiffon layer of fabric around the arm holes having been cut out, it's in great condition and definitely needs to be worn more!

I paired some fun accessories that haven't been photographed before, which include a vintage aligator purse, pink hat, and pearls. The hat was a gift from my great aunt, and it's super cute, however I haven't found or made a dress that matches it yet so it's never been worn. But I felt like the tone matched the dress well enough for the photo's.

The purse is one of two that was recently gifted to me by a friend at a vintage event. She knew I collect vintage pieces and wanted to give them to me, and I gladly accepted. Not only are the purses she gave me cute, they're practical and handy to have when wearing vintage at events.









The Grey Gown Photoshoot

I got together with a friend this week and had a little photoshoot. The goal was the get photo's in one of my vintage dresses but we finished quicker than we anticipated and decided to photograph a few additional dresses as well.

Luckily my friend and model, Elie, fit into everything I put her into, which gave me the idea of having her wear one of my dresses that hasn't had a proper photoshoot. It's the Grey Gown, which I made last year and only have photo's of on my dress form.

I'm in love with how these photo's came out and I'm so happy to finally have some good photo's of this ensemble! I love the soft linen and the simplicity of the outfit.






We had a visit from one of our cat's while we were shooting.






If you want to read more about the making of this dress, go here.

I'll share photo's of the other dresses we photographed in another post soon.

1940's Nautical Blouse - Making Wearing History 4001

Funny story. I bought Wearing History's Sailor Playsuit pattern, material, and notions two years ago. And they sat in my stash until about a month ago when I finally decided to make it.

After finally deciding to print out the pattern (I opted for the e-pattern, which was part of my procrastinating. I always have a difficult time getting them to print at the proper scale) and got to sewing. It came together rather quickly, and I'm in love!





I love vintage nautical fashions so I've wanted to make this for pretty much forever, I just never quite got around to it until now. But I'm obsessed and there will definitely be more nautical fashions in my future sewing.

The pattern itself is great and fit me perfectly without any modifications. I can't say much for the instructions though. I used the written instructions as more of a guideline and found them confusing, but I knew what I was doing for the most part and was able to work my way through with only referencing it throughout to make sure I was on the right track.

I made the shorts that goes with it too, but I don't have any photo's of those yet, but after moving in a few weeks I want to get some good photo's wearing the whole thing. I'm also planning on making the skirt soon as well.

The Making of Padme's Picnic Dress - Part 2 Hair Buns Tutorial+Crochet Pattern

Today's post is going to be all about how I made the head piece for Padme's Picnic Gown. If you missed part 1, you can find it here.

When I was making this part of the costume I made sure to keep notes on how I made it so I could make a tutorial out of it, because I wasn't able to find one already. So I hope this is helpful to anyone else making this costume.




I would like to note that the crochet pattern I used was written as I went and I have not tested. Hopefully it will make sense.

To get things started, let's go over the needed supplies

Materials:

-Yarn. I was able to find the perfect color with a strand of gold tinsel spun into the yarn. You can find it at Joann's by clinking here.
-Crochet hook, 1.5mm
-Wig hair (I used some extra wefts from an old wig I re-tracked)
-2 hair nets. You can find these in the hair section at stores like Target. I found mine at Fred Meyers.
-Green ribbon
-Green embroidery thread
-Elastic

The first step is to make the buns using the pattern below.

Crochet Pattern:

Ch 8 and join with sl st
Ch 6 and sc in center of loop x6
Ch 6, sc in loop, repeat until reaching next round and increase to 8ch, then 10
On the 5th row ch 6 and sc into loop then ch 6 and sc into same loop. Repeat for entire round
Ch 8 and sc into each loop
After 2 rows, decrease to 6 ch for 1 round
On next round, decrease to 5 ch for 3 rows
Ch 4 and sc into loop for one round
Finish off and weave in ends

Cut two pieces of yarn approximately 12" long and weave into outer edge. This will be used to pull it closed later.


Assembling the Buns:

Take the hair wefts and play with them until you get a good amount/shape.



Place them inside of the hair nets and pull the excess net towards the back. If you leave the hair attached to the weft's, try to arrange the hair so that that won't be seen.






Place the hair in the bun and make any adjustments necessary to make it look nice on the outside.

Once you're satisfied, pull the yarn closed and tie it off.




Making the headband:

I made the headband from ribbon and elastic. Measure around the widest part of your head and cut the ribbon to that size. I decided the easiest way to get it on and off would be to use elastic at the back.

It took a little bit of playing with it to get the sizing right, but after playing around for a while I cut an approximate 2" piece of elastic and sewed it to the center back, cutting off a bit of the ribbon.

After it was stitched I added three rows of embroidery along the edges and the center of the band. I used a twist embroidery stitch.




When that was finished I used the same process for the flowers as I did on the bodice, cutting them out of the curtain panel I used and stitching them on the band.

To keep everything secure, I stitched the buns to the headband and while I wore them I pinned them to my hair with bobby pins to keep everything in place.

And that's it!