Life goes on...

I wanted to say something about how I'm still around and still sewing.  A lot has happened since I last blogged.  My standards of historical accuracy have skyrocketed (I'm beginning an M.A. program in history... draw your own conclusions from that).  My standards for costume/clothing quality have similarly increased.

I'm keeping this blog up because we all start somewhere.  I'm amazed at how far I've come since 2012.  I knew when I got into costuming that this was a hobby that would stick around for a while, but I never would have guessed how far it would take me.

Halloween 2014

My dearest friends of the Internet variety,

I had the great pleasure of meeting quite a few of you at Costume College this past August.  Many, many thank yous to everyone who volunteered!

I'm going to start this post with a bit of advice for all college-bound costumers. TAKE STUFF WITH YOU!!!

You will get to your dorm. You may or may not have any space to store costumes or sewing supplies. It doesn't matter. You will make room. You will have a costume to wear for your first collegiate Halloween. Alternatively, should you have brought fabric and notions, you will make a costume to wear for your first collegiate Halloween.

If you, however, do not take my advice, you may find yourself asking/begging your unsurprised mother to please ship your costumes to you.  Expect the following note on the shipping label:

Thanks, mom!

My inspiration for this outfit came from this print from 1909, which I found in my research for Gibson Girl era golfing way back in February in preparation for …

Vista Civil War Event

I just came home from a great weekend.  Seriously.  I'm exhausted right now, but I wish I were still there.

I went with the Historical Citizens Association and enjoyed the amenities of my friend's tent and parlor.  (Our little group portrays the civilians of a little town that has been destroyed by passing troops.  We don't have quite have the money to rebuild, so life goes on in makeshift homes (ie, tents and flys).)

I don't have many pictures of the event because I was trying to limit myself to period activities and conversation (succeeded on the first, failed on the second, but mainly because the company was full of like-minded women that enjoy the social time) and so I didn't want to take out my small SLR (but SLR nonetheless) camera.  (Next time I'll get a small disposable camera for the weekend that I can quietly slip it out of my pocket when I want a picture and not have to deal with the very electronic sounds of modern cameras.)

I absolutely had to get …

Immense Hoop Skirt of Immense Proportions

My hoop skirt is huge.  No, not huge.  Immense.  Titanic.  Enormous.  Gargantuan.  Monumental.  Astronomical.  Ginormous
It's 117 inches (3 1/4 yds) in circumference.  I could hide a small country under there.

Shaping the skirt was fairly difficult and I ended up with more forward thrust than I intended, as you can see in the picture below.  The back slopes gently until it is almost vertical, but the front continues forward on an angle.

Each hoop bone is threaded through a little channel thing in a specially woven tape and then set in place with a copper "spot."

I've spoken online with people who have had problems with this kit.  For most of them, the problem lay with the spots, which they said would come undone with the movement of the cage.

I can't pretend to know exactly what went wrong for each of the unfortunate women who put hours of effort into the cage only to be disappointed.  However, I can attempt to describe in some detail my experience with the sp…

TARDIS Corset Construction Detail

I finished my TARDIS corset in time for my birthday a month ago and then flossed it sometime the next week.
I tried to show how much shaping the corset gives by taking one of those pictures where the corset lies flat except for the bust and hips area, which flare up, but the corset didn't cooperate nicely.

The construction method is basically the same as for my brown underbust corset that I made last year and that I've been using as my only corset since then.  Basically, the corset is sewn together, the seams are pressed open, and the boning channels are applied directly over each seam.  (This is different from the technique I used on the gold overbust, which was just to pressed the seams to the side, sew them down, and insert the bones directly into the seam allowance.)  I've decided I prefer using the boning channels technique.  
For this corset, I also included a waist tape.  I did it so that the bottom edge of the twill tape I used matches up with the notches that ind…

Wooded Hamlet Cage Crinoline Kit

I finished my hoop skirt just a few nights ago.  I'm very far off my sewing schedule (thank you, internet) and so I'm absolutely stressed out at the moment in terms of making things.  (But I mended a few things on my Darth Vader gown, which made me feel productive, so yay!)
Like I said in this research post, I used the Wooded Hamlet Cage Crinoline kit.  Most people say the kit is ridiculously hard to assemble, and even the staff at Wooded Hamlet recommended I watch the accompanying DVD several times before so much as starting to construct it.  
The kit has a reputation for being a bitch to put together but being a beautiful cage once complete.  As I have made no other hoop skirts, I have nothing to compare the experience against.  The kit has its tricky moments, but I'm fairly sure all hoop tutorials have their moments as well.  I was surprised with how little sewing the kit requires - I had to attach the buckle to the waistband, finish the bottom of the tapes, and then a…

Mid-to-Late 19th Century Corset

No Throwback Thursday yesterday because I'm all out of pictures (for the moment.  I'll have to go digging through old boxes to find more).
Instead I bring you: the corset-that-was-supposed-to-be-an-1860s-corset-but-I-changed-it-and-decided-to-make-an-1880s-corsets-because-it's-more-comfortable-and-I-wanted-a-blue-corset-and-I-can-because-that's-the-beauty-of-an-independent-studies-class. 
Do you recall the independent studies class I'm taking this year?  Do you recall that I'm supposed to be recreating an 1860s ensemble?  Good, we're all on the same page.  Adi, why on earth did you a) make an 1880s corset instead of an 1860s corset ('cause there is a difference!) and b) why did you make it blue?!?
Before I get to answer my own question, let me show you my research!  Because researching is fun and it is what I do in my spare time.  
According to a study of Édouard Manet's Nana by Valerie Steele in Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity, custom made c…