Fairely Well Maid

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas projects are all done

...and my thoughts are turning back to sewing.  The first bit of news is that I have a permanent space for my machine.  Once we get the kitchen cleaned up from the holidays I will post pictures.  We have converted the eat in area of the kitchen to my craft/sewing/office area.  I have a desk and two tables for stuff and work area.  Plus a have a beautiful old sewing machine table for my machine.  No more taking over the dining room.

I'm thinking that my first project of the new year is going to be a cape loosely based on the Irish walking cape.  I have a great green velour that will work fantastic.  I'm thinking of something measuring the length of my arm span on each side and down to my knees in the front and back.  Open in the front with a fastener of some kind at the throat, with a slight wrap around in the front.

I also have an old Fox collar from a coat of my Grandmother's that I would love to put on.

Stay tuned for the pattern and the plan.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and has a safe, Prosperous and Crafty New Year.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Simple things sometimes take longer than they should

I was just making a simple tunic for Halloween.  Simple black cotton with lace on the sleeves.  It should have only taken me about an hour.  Should being the operative word in that sentence.  Here's what happened.

1.  Wrapped fabric 1 1/2 times around my chest and cut.
2.  Measured my upper arm circumference and added 1.  Cut two pieces of that width.
3.  Folded the tunic part in half then in half again.  Folded the sleeve pieces in half and lined them all up at the non-folded edge with the upper corners all lined up.
4.  Cut out a triangle on the lined up corner measuring 1/2 my upper arm circumference plus 1.  Go through all layers.

5.  Sew up the one seam on the larger piece, long wise.
6.  Sew up the seam on the sleeve pieces, long wise.
7.  Here is the tricky part.  Sew the upper cut line of the sleeve to the upper cut part of the tunic (where you cut out the triangles).  If I can figure out how to, I will post drawings.  It makes sense if you see it done.
      Here is where I ran into trouble.  The first sleeve went on no problem.  The second one went on INSIDE
OUT twice!   Grrrr.  After having cut it off twice I pinned the bloody thing on, then sewed it up.
8.  Roll over the neckline, this will include the top of the sleeves, and put in an elastic.
9.  Hem if you have to.  I left it long and used the selvage edge as a hem.
10.Cut and hem the sleeves.
11.Hand sew lace onto the sleeve.

OK, so first thing is that it's my fault for not pinning the stupid sleeves on in the first place.  Second thing is sewing black lace on black fabric is eye burning.  Now I know why old time seamstresses went blind doing that.

I also kind of steampunked up an old felt hat I had hanging around from the '80s.  I found some black net with red Jolly Rogers on it.  I bought some fabric rose buds (black, green/black, yellow/black, orange/black).  I also used an old brooch I had.

1.  Wrap net around the hat and gather in front and back with a few stitches.  I left enough for a veil for Halloween, I'll pull it up for Faire.
2.  Fasten brooch on front.
3.  Remove flowers from the stems and poke holes in the base.  Run wire through holes and fasten around back train.

So, for about $17.00 in materials and a few things around the house I have new stuff for Halloween (and garb for next season LOL)

I'll post pictures of me in full rig from Halloween.  Here are pictures of my hat.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bathroom Curtains

I have gotten a little de-railed on my corded petticoat.

I made bathroom curtains from a little over a yard of material I found in a discount bin at Ben Franklin's Craft Store.

Hopefully I'll get to the petticoat tomorrow.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Corded Petticoat

After talking to several much more experienced seamstresses than me, I have decided to make a corded petticoat. It will keep the proper shape of the Irish dress but give it a little shape at the bottom. I am using sisal clothsline rope and cotton muslin for the skirt. I will use binding tape for channels instead of sewing the channels from the skirt.

Basically what I'm doing is modifying the hoop skirt that I made but didn't use because it didn't look right. I'm going to put a few more channels in the bottom and thread the rope through.

So there's the next project. Oh, and thinking about it, I'm going to make a braided cord girdle for it. I'm going to make the cord with my lucet, in greeen, yellow and maybe beige. Then I'm going to braid them together. Sounds like fun.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How the Irish Dress performed

I went to King Richard's Faire on Saturday. I wore the Irish Dress with the yellow chemise. I was very happy with it's trial run at faire. I do need to do a few things.

1. Find a way to shape the skirts better. Maybe a bum roll and something to stiffen the hem.

2. Find something better for a belt or girdle. I used my tapestry belt and it was OK, but I'm looking for a chain gridle.

3. Make a matching hat. I'm planning a muffin hat.

4. Get my needle book or belt chateline done.

Those were my only tweeks. Here I am in full fig.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Irish Dress is complete

I finished! I made very simple sleeves. Just rectangles hemmed up with trim sewn on at both ends and the middle. I have to say that I am very proud of this project. It has given me the confidence to tackle more difficult projects.

Here it is, with detail of the sleeves.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Use up Leftover fabric day

I had some leftover fabric from the butter yellow chemise and the grass green Irish dress, so I decided to make a yellow sleeveless pullover and a pair of green pajama pants so I could wear the colors together away from faire.

Used the same basic pattern as the terry cloth robe, just put a square neck on it and sewed the seam up the side. Sewed up the arm holes without any sleeve. The pants are just sewn up the side seam, sew a channel for the waistband, then cut up the middle (I used a pair of pants that I love for the rise measurement) and sewed it up. Hemmed them and put in a pocket. I absolutely love pockets.

Easy...and a great way to use up the leftover fabric and get new cloths.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just a few Miscellaneous things

Today was learn how to clean your machine day.

Having worked with some very linty material, I thought it was time to clean out my machine. I own a Singer Simple. I took apart the bobbin case, there was plenty of stuff in there, lint and a few stray pieces of thread. That was probably what was causing my bobbin thread to clump up on me. Took off the face plate and cleaned out that stuff too.

Awhile ago I bought a Rolled Hem foot. I learned how to use it today by using a scrap piece of muslin and made myself a handkerchief. The foot is a bit fussy to use so I have to say I won't really use it except for veils, handkerchiefs and maybe linen (table cloths and stuff).

I also used up the rest of that terry cloth I bought. As I thought, I got 2 facecloths and 2 hand towels out of it. I may go back up to JoAnn's and get some white. I need a few white hand towels and it seems cheaper to buy the fabric and hem it up.

I want to finish up the sleeves to my Irish dress. Once that is done the next project is my Beloveds Pirate Vest.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pool Robe

I got 3 yards of Lavender Terry Cloth at JoAnn's for $5.99/yard. Nice and cheap. I decided that I was going to make a terry pool robe because I needed one and they are so bloody expensive. The leftover terry is going to be 2 facecloths and 2 hand towels.

The robe is nice and simple. Basically a large rectangle sewn at the shoulders and seams on the front edges with a V cut out for the front. Here is what it looks like without the sleeves. I took advantage of the selvage edges which are finished and didn't hem it up.

Then I cut out the holes for the sleeves. I really don't like setting in sleeves but I am getting better at it. I managed to get them both on, right side in, in the first shot. I only had to touch up the bottom of the sleeve hole on one side.

I put a patch pocket on the right side. I'm not belting it because it's just for the pool. Here I am, really bad hair day.

I really like this patternless sewing, and I'm getting pretty good at it. I need a little more practice getting stuff really even. I'm finding that it is a lot cheaper to make stuff than to buy it. Plus you are able to get the color you want.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Me in my Irish Dress

They are blurry but here I am.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Today I made my butter yellow chemise. I used a method my friend Kate calls "20 minute chemise". It doesn't really take 20 minutes. Well, not for me, but it is really easy. I wanted to put the hoop in the hem, but I ran into a bit of a problem with that. It tended to "V" in the back. So now I'm thinking I will make a hoop skirt for underneath.

I put a pocket in the side seam. I'm really hoping this will help with "Belt Clutter". Unfortunately, this pictures don't give you a great idea of the color.

When I went to put the hoop steel in the hem I had a bit of a hoop disaster.

When I went to try on the entire outfit, the cord I was using broke! I didn't have another cord around that would fit through the grommets so that picture will have to wait until tomorrow. By then I'm hoping to get the Hoop issue fixed.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

No Sewing Today, but Sewing related shopping

I was out running errands today and stopped in at JoAnn's Fabric. I was looking for fasteners for a Pirate Vest I'm making for my Beloved husband. Well didn't find any fasteners that I liked, but I did find a bunch of other stuff (big surprise here).

I got a length of 45" white muslin for a hoop skirt. I love muslin. It is sold as a liner for quilts, but I think it can have so many other uses. I have plans for using it for the hoop skirt, as lining for bodices, bloomers and corsets. It's also very inexpensive. It costs 1/2 of what any other cotton cloth seems to cost.

I also found a lavender terry cloth at an amazing price. I've wanted terry cloth robe for the pool and haven't been able to find one for a decent price. Well, now I can make one for less than 1/3 the cost. Yay! The real cool thing is I also had a 20% off coupon so everything was even cheaper.

I got 12 yards of elastic cord for a really good price. I also picked up a few little charms for my walking stick.

I am back to sewing tomorrow. I want to get my butter yellow chemise done so I can model my Irish dress.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Irish Dress

Day 5

Ok, there has got to be a better way to set grommets. 28 grommets with that hand squeeze thing and I have blisters. The good news is the grommets are done!

I decided to trim the front split. I absolutely LOVE Stitch Witchery. A little hand stitching in a few places and...It's Done!

That's right folks, your Hero, the Intrepid Seamstress did it. I'm pretty proud of it. I do want to make sleeves for it and I'm going to make the chemise, tomorrow. Today I'm just going to bask in my success.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Irish Dress

Day 4

Lesson - Never try to sew the ends of steel boning. Yes I know, that seems obvious, but your Hero here is in the slow learning group sometimes. It took two broken needles before that one sunk in.

As you might have guessed, the skirt is attached. I'm just waiting for the grommets to arrive and I can finish. Here is the trim I'm thinking of using. It is for a Seamstress Persona for Ren faires.

Cool huh. Trim it out and add some sleeves and I'm done. More to come.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Irish Dress

Day 3

This project would go so much faster if my Fibromyalgia would just stop of a few days. As it is I can only sew for about 45 minutes at a time. It's annoying.

Anyway, sorry about that. I really have to recommend Corsetmaking.com. I wrote them with a question and they got back to me very quickly. I placed an order today for more bones and some grommets and I received a notification from UPS about 1/2 hour later saying it was shipping. That's what I call fast service.
OK, on to sewing. I started with the skirt today. As it is a split skirt I wrapped a length of the green fabric around myself about 1 1/2 times. Cut and hemmed the bottom and sides.

Hmmm, all that needs to fit on that top? Yikes. OK, time to resort to drastic measures. I grabbed a needle and a spool of white thread and did a very long running stitch. That should help me get the gathers right.

Worked like a charm. I love it when a plan comes together. Pinned it on and checked the hem.

It all looks good. It actually looks like a dress.

I'll have to attach the skirt latter, maybe tonight.

Monday, August 3, 2009

My Irish Dress

This was all started by a trip to a wonderful fabric store. I saw this great green fabric that I grabbed. I then found a butter yellow fabric. All I could think was "yellow chemise, green overdress".

That day my friend Kate showed me how to make a quick chemise without a pattern. I tend to be able to look at stuff and figure out how it is made so I dived right in.

I ordered a dozen 1/2" steel stays in the 12" length and a pair of lacing stays in the same length from corsetmakers.com. I got my order in a few days. I grabbed a piece of medium weight cotton and started putting together a mockup/liner for the top of my Irish dress. I used bias tape for boning channels.

This is what came out of the first attempt. There are 4 boning channels on each side. I tried it on and realized that it was way too big. So I chopped 2 inches off each side. Second fitting showed still too big and I needed two more stays on both sides. So more changes and time for the real fitting, lacing up and everything. Out comes the cord that I made and two darning needles and I literally sew myself into it.

It fit, YAY, and it actually held the girls up. Fantastic. Now to take another 1/2 inch off the sides and cut out the outside fabric.

Day 2

First I thought I'd show you where I sew. Yes, it's my dining room and it gets cleaned up when we have people over.

These are the colors I'm using. I really love the green. The colors don't come out quite right in this picture.

Today's adventure started with taking a 1/2 inch off the side of the lining. Then I cut out the green fabric to go over the liner. I cut it out in one piece. Boy I have to tell you it sounded like a great idea, and it looks really good but sewing it on in one piece was...well...interesting. Actually there was a lot of muttered foul and filth. But your intrepid seamstress prevailed, although it was close in some areas.

Now I'm back to sewing myself in with darning needles and cord. But it fits!

Dilemma, the only gold grommets I have are way to big for the holes in the lacing boning and I don't have any silver ones that fit either. I want gold so I'll have to make a trip to the craft store (O Heaven for fend :) ). I'm also thinking that I may have to trim the edges. I have to think about that.

Next step...adding the split skirt.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Test Post