Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Projects -- the Dreams of Things to Come

I have a huge list this next year of things to sew. Not sure how much I'll get done but with house repairs to my 110 year old crack house winding down it should free up some time.

18th century stays are the first project after the try at Steampunk for the Edwardian Ball in late January.  Since this is a first try I decided not to break the bank fabric wise.  I bought an embroidered faux silk (e.g. some mystery poly fabric), super strong canvas since I can't get coutille locally, and some cotton that I had already for the liner.

I'm using a Butterick pattern and trying out one with a front lacing because I so often have to dress myself this just may be easier in the long run.  I will also purchase a grommet setter and order corset grommets because I just love grommets so much.  Actually it is because I'm lazy and don't want to do all the eyelets by hand.

I will order patterns from J.P. Ryan for the pocket hoops and for the dress, although I plan to use a silk wedding dress and redo it eventually.  I may do a first attempt using a cheaper fabric.

The rest of the list includes:

* First attempt at Steampunk-ish outfit
* Regency stays.
* Regency dress (have a wonderful raw silk sari from India to use)
* 1870's outfit

Old Projects

Here are photos from past projects.  All were worked from readily available commercial patterns.  Some required a bit of tweeking, others required a complete redo -- but since I don't draft patterns they allowed me to have a base to work from.  I also try to costume on a budget.  I love the scoring a bolt of fabric for $2 or less a yard and turning into something really fun....although it is getting harder and harder to do that.

My basic 1860s day dress is a Simplicity pattern.  The lace collar is antique and was purchased from the Sunnyvale lace museum.  This was worn over a Victorian corset, late Victorian chemise, split bloomers (also Simplicity), and a hoop.  The hoop is not period correct in the least bit, thank you Ebay.  However, since I do not adhere to strict historical accuracy the hoop worked just fine.

Initially when I sewed it I used hook and eye tape, which is why in the colour photo you see a thin black line from that angle.  I covered the tape (by hand) with fabric and problem solved.  Sepia photo is from Dickens, I didn't work the event, just geeked out and attended in costume.

Please note that the gentleman is "borrowed" -- if he is yours and you wish him back let me know and I will remove the photo. 

The next two outfits are based off an Edwardian Past Patterns pattern. The first time I made the dress was from tissue silk from a cannibalized wedding dress. There used to be a time that you could buy old silk gowns on Ebay for $20 or less. Those days are long gone. I added inset cotton lace and machined button holes up the back bodice. I made the hat from covering a cheap straw hat with silk and silk roses and ribbon. I’m using a Victorian corset in both Edwardian dresses but realized if you stand a bit wonky you can get the right look. The black/gold dress is made from $2 a yard embroidered cotton and a table cloth with the same paisley pattern. Didn’t love the tablecloth but it was a cheap source of fabric. The black/gold dress uses a sleeve pattern from a Past Patterns Attic Copy bodice. I bought the pattern specifically for the sleeve. The cut of the overskirt is copied from a fashion plate I found on-line somewhere. I also made the hat, again using a cheap straw hat. This time I added antique feathers that I was gifted with many years ago. The silver ladies coin/money holder at my waist and the metal mesh bag are a real antiques that I was gifted with from a family member. The gentleman in the military uniform was graciously loaned by his wife for the photo op.

Fourth of July at the Rengstroff House in Mountain View.

This was high-tea at the Palace hotel in San Francisco.  We were a large group and it was just an amazing experience.

This was PEERS Vampire ball (hence the eerie eyes and fangs).  I changed the trim out deciding I hated the trim I had made previously.  Some store bought trim in muted gold and black did the trick.  The collar and cuffs are antique pieces i worked into the costume.  When I retire this dress I will salvage them for another dress.

My only Ren Faire outfit has evolved over the years.  The vest was a Simplicity pattern that I changed to have a double lacing in the front.  Since I've retained quite a bit of post baby weight the vest doesn't really fit well but what the heck, its Ren Faire....a little bit of spillage never hurt anyone.

This costume was done on the cheap.  The natural fabrics in the skirt were $1 - 3 a yard.  The Celtic woven leather belt was (new) $1.99 at Goodwill, and I had a lot of the doodads I hung from the belt.  I've remade the skirts once and still use the origional chemise.  I tried my hand at a cap one year but didn't like it.  Still, the rules are that you should cover your hair....which is why I attempted the braided scraps of skirt material.

All the Middle Eastern jewelery were things I already owned.  I took the costume to a more Gypsy like direction so it all pulled together.  Btw...I do not play the harp...I was asked to sit for the photo.


The other type of costumes I like to put together are fanciful and scary vampiric ones.  As I said previously I have been doing these long before it became so cool to be a vampire.  I've offended some with a costume or two, but just remember -- they are just costumes....I don't run around sucking blood, although the idea of sleeping all day is seriously appealing. 

Many years ago I had a fang-master in NYC make me a custom set of fangs.  This was before the Halloween super stores had decent fangs for $19.99.  Sadly I when I started using the kind of toothpaste that whitens your teeth my super expensive scary fangs started to look mis-matched.  My dentist is going to see what he can do about that.  The other Vampire necessity is the scary contacts.  Mine are both super creepy and must when driving to the party.
This is an outfit I designed and helped sew for a friend then borrowed back.  It was like an evil wood sprite deal...I braided in a long hair piece (love wigs and press-on hair).  Turned out pretty cool.

This outfit consisted of my first corset.  I ordered it from England, again Ebay.  They are now four times the price which is a bit of a bummer but it has held up well.  It is patent leather looking.  This was back when I could close it at 23" (days long gone).

The skirt was a crushed red velvet that I glued thousands of shimmery beads to to get this really cool Baroque look to it.  I loved the bird -- as the night wore on people asked me how I had trained it to sit on my finger at the  Another note was that this old house was seriously was a trip living there...but that is another story...'s only ketchup.......
This was a Rennaisance pattern that to say the least I changed up a bit.  It was lined with red silk with a Chinese love poem embroidered on it (or at least that is what the lady at the silk shop told me).  Lots and lots of grommets.  Everything was held together by them.  The black material was a stretch leather.  The choke collar was made from curtain findings and the pendant was the Chinese symbol for "evil" which I made from craft clay that you can bake.

This costume upsets a lot of people.  Sorry to the religious folks viewing this, no demonic intention intended.....I used the same Simplicity pattern as the outfit above.  This had a red stretch jersey under black mesh.  It had the same sleeves as above but they were all mesh.  The choker is Hollywood prop barbed wire.  I had to beg a costume shop in LA to sell me a yard of the stuff and ship it to me since nobody had it here and I had to have barb wire for the choker.  The inverted cross is the letter "t" I got at Michaels.

This was the night in Vegas (yes was Halloween) that I discovered that I AM the third wicked stepsister!  These fab gentlemen were taking  a pic and I just couldn't resist but to love a fantastic photo op.

The dress is a Vogue wedding dress pattern made out of black patent looking material.  Never again will I sew with this stuff, I nearly lost my mind.  This dress also had a lot of grommets and laced up the back giving it a corset like look.  The horns were a new edition from a wonderful artist.  They were a big splurge.  She had a pair for sale that was discounted because they were not custom coloured.  I painted them to my liking and presto....pure evil.

A late venture into blogging --

After several failed attempts to post a blog about my sewing adventures I have finally gotten it together enough to put Tfirah together.  I have been an amateur costumer for years.  Trial and error, a love of history, and long held interest in vampires that predated the current Twilight/True Blood phenomenon have lead me to create some fun garments. 

On this blog I’ll share most of my creations as well as try to share sewing projects as I muddle through  some new more complicated garments projects.  Lucky for me and the rest of the San Francisco Bay costumers, there are always events one can wear one’s creations to.  Then of course there is The City, where you could walk around in costume any day of the week and no one would throw you a second look – except of course the tourists…then you’ll be photographed.