Thursday, May 30, 2013

Handcarts (and a sleeve)

My husband is also involved in the trek I'm going on and making the dress for.  When I got home from work last night, there were some handcarts in my driveway.  I was so excited that I flew down there to try one out.  My husband caught me playing. You can actually see my smile in this one.  I'm such a geek. lol

The other three that were in the driveway were just wheels on bare metal frames.  Adam and the person in charge of Trek were going to build the boxes for those.  They worked all evening on it.

They finished all three boxes but none are attached yet as they didn't have the right kind of metal tapping screw.

They actually bought the wheels from a company who makes them for covered wagons and are very good quality.

And while they worked on those, I worked on my dress.  The three sleeve pieces are finally finished (except the hemming of the sleeve edge...I'm waiting until it's attached to the dress so I get it right).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I tried it on!

I hope you had a great Memorial Day.  We had a very busy, tiring but good day.  We woke up early and with the help of 8 or 9 church friends, we were able to saw down our neighbor's tree.  A giant chunk of it had fallen in a very bad storm we had last week.  She's a single mother of 5 and couldn't afford to do anything about it.  We mulched what we could and cut the branches into firewood.  The trunk is still in her yard (we can't do anything about that but at least she and we don't have to worry about the damage the rest of the tree falling would have.  Took 5 hours.  Well, actually, it's not done as there is a large pile of branches sitting in our yard but people were too exhausted to continue.  We finished at 12:45.  We had a gang of people coming over at 1 for a bbq lunch.  We were planning on eating outside under that giant tree and its shade...but there was no shade anymore.  So we just ate inside.  

My mother-in-law, brother-in-law and his family, neighbors who are like grandparents to my husband and his siblings and a family of family friends came.  Their 16 year old daughter was in a serious car accident 3 months ago.  The doctors didn't think she'd make it.  She had a broken eye socket, brain injury, broken ankle, broken back and lost several feet of her intestines.  She was in a coma for 5 days.  But she is recovering quite nicely. She's fairly traumatized from her experience and is finding it difficult to cope with her new reality but was in good spirits during the visit at least.  They are a neat family.  

After the visit I managed to get my house back in order, go weed in the garden a little and then work on the sleeves of my dress a bit.  

The bodice is not finished yet.  It still needs piping around the waist and the arm holes, the back needs to be hemmed and have the hooks and eyes added, the side/front panel seams need to be handstitched in the ditch to the lining, and the neckline will need hemming.  It is done enough that I was able to finally try it on though and to my relief, it does fit!

The unfinished back

I love these lines!

Finally, it's on!  (It was midninght and I was falling asleep but had to finish it enough to get it tried on.)

So now I am moving on to the sleeves even though I'm not quite finished with the bodice.  The sleeves, while they don't have lining, will be thick since there are three sleeves stacked on top of each other in varying lengths.  

This is the macheron (the cap sleeve).  It gets three deep tucks and each tuck will have piping on the bottom of each tuck. So I'm doing basting stitches to make the folding easier.

Since the pattern has dropped sleeves and I had no idea how low the drop was, I couldn't tell if I would need to add length to the sleeve or not.  So now that I was able to try on the bodice, we pinned the sleeve to it to check.  I added 4 inches which will give me the length I need plus hemming room.  The black piping is where it ended before my addition.  The piping will make it appear intentional, I hope. ;o)  And the oversleeve is in place.  Just need a mancheron.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

more of the bodice

So work continues on the dress.  I recently had to unpick a lot of work because I did it wrong.  So I am finally back to where I feel like I'm making a bit of progress.  

Here are all the gathers at the bottom of the front.  I hand stitched the gathers even though it wasn't in the instructions because if one of them broke, it would ruin the whole look.  It went pretty quickly. I did it through the backside so you can't see it on the front side.

The shoulders called for gathers but I toyed with pleats and eventually went back to the gathers because they're easier.  As of right now, this piece is waiting to be sewn to the lining.

The back pieces have gathers at top and bottom as well.  They got resewn to the lining last night.  This dress has the closures in the back so I will definitely need help getting dressed.  

Finally touched the sleeves last night.  There are 6 seperate sleeve pieces (3 for each side).  A sleeve (full length), an oversleeve (like a 3/4 sleeve) and a mancheron (a cap sleeve of sorts).  Each starts at the shoulder seam so that's gonna be a heavy sleeve! lol  Guess what...there are more gathers in the sleeves!  They sure liked their gathers!  I got the gather stitches in both sleeves and over sleeves last night but haven't gathered them as of yet.  The mancheron is kind of gathers, just a few tucks and lace.  I sewed one of the sleeves up to try it on last night.  I have big hands so I wanted to make sure my hand could fit through the opening.  It did.  I need to lengthen the sleeves as my arms are also longer than the average women's apparently.   The other area of concern for me is the area in front of my armpit.  I feel like the incredible hulk in a lot of women's shirts because it's so tight at the armpit that I can't move very well.  It felt like it would be ok...but once it's attached to the bodice (which I haven't been able to try on yet) will be the true test.  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pioneer dress - working on the bodice front

I sure picked a complicated dress after having not sewn a piece of clothing in coming up on 20 years now. My MIL is helping me translate the instructions which the company who made the pattern stated up front that they would be confusing for anyone not familiar with historic clothing construction...yeah, that'd be me!  I will be making the corset too but I don't have enough time before this dress is needed next month.  The dress I am making is the top one on the right.  The bodice is just amazing to me!  

You can see the bodice much better in the illustration below. Lots and lots of gathering in this one.

Here's the front bodice lining.  I've never done darts before and I was so proud of these.  They have channels sewn into them for the boning that wasn't added yet when I took this picture but has since been added.

The actually bodice is four pieces not counting the lining.  This is two pieces sewn together and there are two small side pieces not sewn in yet in this picture.  If you look closely, you can see my silhouette.  This thing is huge...but it won't be for long.  This is going to be getting the gathers. (It was midnight and I was exhausted, excuse the blank stare.)

They have you sew in the gather stitches but before you gather, they have you sew on the side panels.  That was a little frustrating because I managed to catch the gathering threads in the stitches.  But after taping the threads to the fabric, all went well.  7 gather stitches across the bottom.  

So with that sewed, I had to pin the bodice to the lining.  As you can see, it's a poor fit. This is where I stopped tonight.  Now the fun begins...gathering everything until the bodice is the same size as the lining.  The shoulders have gathers across the top as well.

My MIL leaves me with homework to do before she comes over next.  My homework this time is to do all the gathering, unpin the bodice and lining, pin them back together with wrong sides together and sew everything together except for at the bottom.

I'm thinking 4 weeks will be pushing it!  My MIL says we can do it...I have to have faith in her experience since mine is lacking.  But once this dress is done, I really need to come up with a costume for Adam.  He's not at all interested in historical correctness though so I am not either, for his costume.  We're doing trek next month, in case I didn't mention it.

It's been a little frustrating, a lot confusing but overall, a great experience.  I am learning a lot and I am so excite for this dress!  It's going to put my other pioneer costumes to shame.  I will be the most accurately dressed on trek, I am sure of that.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mini ocean

Here's a mini painting.  It's 2"x3".  It's nice to be able to do one this size because I am often short on time but want to get a painting done.  This size is easy for me to do quickly.  I can't mess with too much detail.  

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