Sunday, October 07, 2012

First fitting of the corset

1911 corset sew-a-long

I'm really, really disappointed.

If you have been reading my posts, you know I was really sad about needing to add 2 1/2 inches to every pattern piece, because I'm twice as thick as the woman the pattern was made for.

Now I have sewn the mock-up.

It's way too big.
I need to take in EVERY SEAM for at least 1/2 inch and it was like a skirt on the hips. The lacing edges were together.

Again, I look at the images of the "adding/removing fabric", and it's just a minor adjustment. I need to... do the whole f-ing thing again,

Yeah, sure, I'm not quite as fat as I thought I was. But...
Oh, and I know I should have measured the hip on the pattern and not widened it quite the 2 1/2 inches, because I know I'm an apple and most patterns are made for pears. Pears with long waist and small boobs. Like the individual this pretty pink thing was made for.

So... I'm scared that the long bones are too long for me.

I also noticed that I had read wrong the list, and I don't have any 1/2 inch wide bones.

I'm so not happy right now.

I have been procrastinating sewing the mock-up, because I'm so uncertain, so afraid, and it would have been nice to have some confirmation and encouragement, but... I just feel like a complete failure.

Sure, I'm sewing myself a corset. Yay, me. :´(

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Diary of a corset maker... (procrastinating...)

Monday 1st of October:
I have finished the pattern, and try to gather courage to sew the fitting sample. But, I haven't received my package from UK yet, so I have no bones and no busk... so...
Yes, I know. Excuses, excuses. *sigh*

Wednesday 3rd of October:
My package arrived and I fetched it.

Thursday 4th of October:
I washed my denim.

Friday 5th of October:
I hanged my denim to dry.

Saturday 6th of October:
I ironed my denim. I can't make my mock of that. The fabric is too nice.

After a couple of hours procrastinating I decided to use some old sheets.

I hate cutting. Or not hate, I'm scared of it. I really, really dislike doing it, because it scares me. It doesn't matter that it's the mock copy, and the fabric is not worth much. Doesn't matter. I'm sure I have made some grave mistakes, and the mock copy will be nasty and twisted and I won't be able to transfer the corrections to the pattern and my corset will be awful and it's all waste of time, money and effort, and I'm going to hell for being a bad seamstress. With all my education and all.

Now I have cut the mock copy and I need to sew it. I'm scared. I don't want to... I'm going to do something wrong and everything will go wrong and it will be awful and... God will strike me down with a fiery hammer for not being good at sewing corsets.

Yes, it's my first one, what's your point?

I'm a bad, bad person and I'll go to hell.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Big-Ass Book of Crafts


In Finland there's something called "käsityö" and something called "askartelu". The difference is the skills required to do the things.
If school kids can do it with a little instructions - like, let's say, punch holes, melt plastic and glue stuff on stuff, it's "askartelu".
If you would actually benefit of professional schooling to create good quality items people would pay for, because they can't make them themselves, even after reading the instructions in a book or internet, that's "käsityö".
The lexicon says that "käsityö" is crafts. Handwork, needlecraft, handicraft.
"Askartelu" is pottering or hobby crafts.

To me the difference is great and important.
To have these thousands of people, usually women, pottering about with paper, felt, cardboard and plastic and other kindergarten crafts, and believing to be craftswomen...
I'm sorry. I am. You are not. You are a potterer.

Sure you are creative, sure you make wonderful things - sure, you are more of a doer and maker than I am, who do practically nothing, but you are not a craftswoman.
Sure, you gather skills as you potter about, and some of your creations are actually very good. But you are not a craftswoman.
Sure, this is just my opinion.

I was really excited to see "Big-Ass Book of Crafts". I have Asperger's and one of the usual characteristics is to collect as much information and data as possible. And there are two of these "Big-Ass Books of Crafts"! Yupee! I'm in heaven! Yes, I want!!!

Until I went to to see what it is.
Oh, yes. Glueing things on things. Making things of garbage, like TP rolls and PET bottles and plastic spoons. Taking things and making new things of things by... glueing things on them. Pottering.

I am very disappointed. I was running to a smorgasboard filled with my favorite dishes to see it was some re-heated stuff I don't like.
So, excuse my rant.

I'm sure the book is lovely, and there are a lot of people out there who love this book. And the ideas are great and it's wonderful people are creative and make things. It really is.
I still think all those potterers are more makers than I am, and I truly envy their enthusiasm and productivity. I wish I had just 10% of it.
Oh, and I know some real craftswomen love this book, and I envy them that too. I wish I could see past my strict and, actually, rather limiting definitions.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Doctors VII and VIII

The Seventh Doctor is also very straight forward.

Here's the pattern for the sweater vest

I love those spectators :-D I wonder where I can find spectator boots Victorian style in brown and white with that kind of cut... *sigh*
Plaid in pants, this time. *sigh*
And a paisley scarf, paisley tie, paisley snuff hankie and the umbrella with a question mark handle.

And so is the Eighth.
Greenish black velvet coat, long; brocade vest; cravat; white shirt; brown tweed trousers, a bit too long... that's some nice wool... *drool* - and... galosches?

Edited 17/2-14 - To Dorian: what does Doctor VII have under his coat

Friday, September 28, 2012

Doctor VI

I understand. I truly understand.

This outfit is horrible.

He's wearing a shirt with gingham collar and cuffs. He's wearing a polkadot tie. He's wearing a patchwork vest and coat, made with upholstering fabric. He's wearing yellow striped pants. He's wearing green shoes and red spats. And that hair... I know it was really fashionable at that time, but...
They made a clown of the good Doctor. :-(
Oh, and don't forget the black cat lapel pin.
And the plaid is still there. Some parts of the coat are plaid. A lot of parts of the coat are actually plaid.

So - I really think I should go for the circus artist, variety artist, vaudeville burlesque artist way here.
Striped stockings, boots with really big satin bows, short, striped skirt, patchwork jacket and really curly, yellow hair... I think about aunt Pittypat from Gone With The Wind.. she was described as having yellow ringlets or curls... (I read the book in Finnish).

USonian independence day costume and a chorus girl from a variety show
both are said to be from 1880's

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Doctors IV and V

IV is the one with the scarf. The rest of the outfit is lovely 70's tweet... with a coat, checkered vest, a hat and a rust colored cravat.
The thing with this is that I have never really thought about what the Doctor is wearing, and now I notice to my horror that the plaid seems to be his insignia... I hate plaid...

But - here's some coats from 1880's. The first one is a hunting costume with a big, rust colored bow. The second is a trenchcoat kind of coat and the last is a traveling coat, which are - of course - more interesting when it comes to my Victorian Femme Doctor costume.

I haven't been able to find any vests of any kind from the 1880's, nor blouses. Seems those become fashionable some 20 years later, so I suppose I need to mix with the historical accuracy a little. Considering that the good Doctor is a time traveler, that shouldn't be a problem. Here a couple of suggestions of the plaid vest.

I can imagine the outfit being of tweed and sort of a hunting-traveling-wandering outfit. Not very long skirt, of a simple cut, and good quality grey tweed, and brown boots. And I would like to give her a fancier hat.

Also, it's rather funny how well this curled hairdo fits the IV perfectly :-D

Doctor V, then... He's wearing a cricket outfit, but women didn't start playing cricket before 1920's... awful, isn't it! But - the costume is pretty straight forward, anyway, with a couple of adjustments.
V wears a sweater, a shirt with colored inner collar, a nice coat with piping and striped trousars, white shoes and a hat.

 I was thinking about these tennis and "seaside" outfits. In right colors, of course.

His hair, though, causes me some trouble... the ladies did not have their hair in such disorder back at 1880's. The closest I get is Cora Allen O'Hair.

I suppose a boater is most appropriate hat for the purpose, and then white boots.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Third Doctor

Now, he's a little more problematic. Because he changes clothes all the time. The only thing in common with all the choices is a) velvet smoking jacket b) Inverness cape and c) ruffled shirt.

So I chose this - petroleum velvet jacket with red piping, dark trousers, blue ruffled shirt, red velvet vest, burgundy tie - and plaid Inverness cape. Are those cowboy boots?

 So - here's some velvet inspiration. I really like that velvet and satin dress in the black-and-white photo. Now, just change the jacket to more like the brown one, and add the ruffled shirt like in the fashion plate, and with frog closure and some soutache embroidery...

And then the inverness cape... or perhaps this "Sherlock Holmes"-y travel coat :-D

And isn't this the very same hairstyle? :-D It should just be white... but it's frilled bangs. The rest of the hair would have been gathered in a bun quite up on the head. This hairdo works also for doctors IV and VI, and also VII, even though VII wore a hat most of the time.

2 1/2 inches...

Now I have found the tape measure.

Now I don't dare to take my measures. I'm fat. I won't be near 22 inches around my waist. I will be more like twice that... Which means that I kind of need to double that pattern...

But - I have a husband, and it needs to be done, so... My sweet, darling husband took the measurements. He's really doing more than duty calls - but he just shrugs and says "that's part of paying the 18 cows". He married a woman who sews. 
18 cows... Ok. There was a village, full of beautiful women, and there was a poor man with a daughter in the village. The girl walked around hunched, afraid and ashamed, because she was poor. They had nothing.
One day a young, rich man comes to the village, in search of a wife. All the other girls were trying to charm him, but he didn't seem to even see them. He saw the poor girl. He said he wanted to marry her. 
Year later the girl came back to her home village to greet her father, and when the villagers saw the girl, they didn't recognize her. She walked with pride and joy, carrying her head up high with a radiant smile. She was like a queen.
What had happened?
The rich man had not paid the usual 5 cows, or 9 which was paid for a rich man's daughter. No. He paid 18 cows for his wife.
To get a wife worth 18 cows, you pay 18 cows...

And it's 44 inches.
Dang, I'm fat. :-(

Well... the official measurements - taken exactly against the given orders, that is, in the evening, straight after dinner.
waist 44 inches
hips 49-49.5 inches
So - let's remove three inches from the waist and get 41. That divided in two is 20.5, which is exactly twice the 10 1/4 of the CC pattern.
so that divided with 4 is 2 9/16
That doesn't look TOO bad. Actually.

"that's roughly 3/8 per pattern piece..." Compare that to 2 and half inches.
I'm fat. :-(

Bah. Comparison is the kill of joy. Back to work.

I really like that ribbon embellishment on top of this corset from 1909

Now I have done it.
I have added 2 1/2 inches to every piece of the pattern, and boy, was it rough! Emotionally it was almost too much to bear.
I kept thinking about how fat I am, I'm fat, fat, fatty fat.

Then I thought that "I just need to do this job. Add 2 1/2 inches to each pattern piece, nothing else. Don't think what it means. Just do it. It's easy. It's not tough. It's not hard. It's easy. Just add 2 1/2 inches to each piece. Only six pieces... Easy peasy."

And then "fat, fat, fat..."

And then I thought about Mae West.

And I thought about words like rubenesque, voluptuous, baroque, opulent... I love stuff like that.

Mae West was magnificent. She wasn't a skinny bitch. I can't think of one skinny bitch who's magnificent. You have to be big to be magnificent. Like Mae West and Miss Piggy. Magnificent.

I'm magnificent. And voluptuous, baroque, opulent and rubenesque. I'm not fat. I'm magnificent.

Any way, now it's done.
It's day 7 of the Corset Project, and I have slashed and spread and drafted and the pattern should be ok for the next phase.
I need to check the hips, put notches in pattern, add length and mark the bones in the pattern.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Inspiration for Second Doctor

The second doctor was a little bit of a leprechaun. He too had plaid trousers, long, black coat, a cape - less tailored than first doctor's - and a shirt with ribbon bow, but he's a much more scruffier and more colorful. His shirt is usually depicted as blue, and the trousers are brown plaid. The second Doctor loved his hats, and had a tam, but also a knitted cap and a high hat. He would have a recorder and a little, thick diary with him.

As a Victorian female the outfit would be "a l'écossaise", with ghillies and all.
The lady in the big picture is Irene Morales, a Chilean cantiniere. Her style is pretty much what I'm after with my second doctor :-D 

I would want her to have a corset skirt with those red, painted suspenders :-D

I would also like her to have an Alice haircut. Victorian ladies occasionally had a short cut hair.

Alice Liddell at 7 - George Sand

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Foxfire has been behaving badly the whole day

...or for as long as I had the computer. It worked beautifully when my husband took over. Now it's working for me too. It's half past one at night, and I should really be sleeping, but...

I have been working a bit more with my corset.
I also found this: diagonal seamed corset. Oh, I want one. And that body too.

I also found this: Doctor Who Cosplay - Victorian Femme.
So inspiring! And puzzling to see these ladies' choices... Mine would have been A LOT different.
I also like this: 11 doctors cosplay
Hmm... I'd like to do my own private 11 doctors as Victorian Femme cosplay... perhaps even as Victorian Femme Feline :-D

Doctor Who I inspiration

This is the first doctor. So - I would, of course, make a white blouse with a black or dark grey ribbon tied prettily under the chin; a light grey vest with black edge on top - or two vests on top of each other. That might be an interesting effect. Black coat and somehow incorporate the plaid Victorian trouser fabric into the skirt... and then a cape with astrakhan collar and those magnificent buttons and astrakhan hat.

 A plaid skirt of a plaid dress from 1880; tailored vest from a pattern book, idea for a vest showing under the jacket and two photos of ladies with a collar and a bow.
The "vest showing under jacket" looks like it's a jacket that's made to look as if it was a vest... and having then the dark vest under that... hmm...

Inspiration from fashion plates 1880. The first one is a riding habit.
I like the 1880's silhouette best.

 shoes like this.

And for some reason I keep thinking about Sian Phillips... 
the lady on the left is an unknown Victorian lady, the lady on the right is Amelia Jenks Bloomer
But she should have her hair up. OF COURSE.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Supportive husbands are worth their weight in gold

My husband is the best husband in the whole world :-)

I am scared to death to use money... I am not certain of which tools to use, what I'm going to need, what will I do if the bones are too long, money, money, money...

He told me that I shouldn't be thinking about money, that he thinks it's great I'm sewing myself a corset and that I should take what ever I need to do so. And he's not only saying it, because he finds corsets and Edwardian underwear extremely sexy, but because he thinks it does good for me. I feel better when I do something, something I have been wanting to do for a very long time and not taken myself the time, money and efford. I feel better when I achieve something and I feel better when I wear things I find beautiful and feminine and sexy and me :-)

So I went to the British site and ordered my steel bones, busk and bone casing, and things for garters, and used some 300 kronas. And I'm terrified and very pleased :-D

I'm going to go to the fabric shop with my sisters this weekend, and buy the rest. :-)

I'm really, really terrified and excited :-D

P.S. I also need a brassiere. Here's a pattern for that.
I could also take an ordinary bra, cover the elastics with satin and the bra with lace...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 1 of Corset Project

Supplies needed:

I got myself both patterns,  "Corsets and Crinolines" 1911 corset, and the "Titanic era corset". I'm a magpie. I think I'll go with the "Corsets and Crinolines", as I like the hip pieces. It's a little bit more tailored, and to me the corsets this time looked highly tailored.

"...busk, ¼ inch wide flat steel bones, lace or broderie anglaise, twill tape, 2 inch wide bias, 3/4 inch wide bone casing, elastic and garter slides and grips for garters, grommets, lacing..."
Uh. What are all these things and what are they called in Swedish and how do I get them, living in Stockholm?

Sigh. Sigh, sigh, double sigh. 
I have found a Swedish internet shop selling corset making materials, and a British one, that I can pay with Paypal. So - that problem solved. 
But they don't have 2 inch wide bias. Now... I know how to make bias. I just don't like making it. *sigh*

I have to go to fabric shop. *sigh*

Perhaps my sisters will go with me next weekend. 


But now I know "wide flat steel bones" are called "krinolinstål", and the Swedish shop sells it by meters... I wonder how they'd send 6 3/4 meters of flat 1/4 inch wide steel. 
Never mind. I'm going to buy my bones from Vena Cava. 

Husk is "planchette". They sell different models of husks. *sigh* Which one to get? I'm kind of tempted to get the tapered one, because they say that one was often used 1910 and about, and that's the one they use in "Corsets and Crinolines" pattern.

And I'm not at all sure we can afford buying all that stuff I need right now... so I might need to push this project in some distant future that never comes. Again. *sigh*

What ever. I'll think about that a little later.

Fabric and thread. And I may not forget the cheap cotton for mock copy. 
As far as I can see, most of the corset of this time were white - or ecru, creme, something like that, so that's what I'll do. I plan using it as underwear for a period costume, so it doesn't need to be fancy. 
(And I need to start thinking about "combinations" and "slips" and "stockings" and other such things... isn't it interesting that they'd wear the corset over the underpants and stockings fastened to the corset... so there's be quite a lot of bulk... Hmm... No wonder they had nice, fuller hips :-D

So - what's next?

Scaling up the pattern - done

Sizing the pattern to fit my measurements... 


I can't find my tape measure.

But - I have a week to adjust the pattern to my size, and I've done that several times before, so I don't think it will be a problem.

I need to finish my model and find the tape measure. I suppose it would be nice if I could prepare the sewing room, too.

Oh, and I need to get some "extra paper, a ruler, tape, scissors or and x-acto knife, and a pencil."
I think I'd like some tougher, brown paper for the pattern pieces when they are done. 
xacto knife... Hmm...
I would need one of those long, curved rulers, (hip curve?) and a one meter ruler, straight... those cost a fortune. :´(

But one thing - I'm going to adjust both patterns to me. :-) That looks like fun, and one learns a lot doing that. :-)

But I need to order my bones and husks for the mock up... I do hope they will be the right length. *sigh*

We'll see again next week, when I'll be ready with the patterns :-)

P.S. Here's more patterns:
Corset for a slim woman 1910
1910's corset pattern and instructions
Edwardian diagonal seam corset from Corsets and Crinolines - that's earlier one, a bit like the image above - 1905? 

What's my excuse?

Those darling buds you who have read this blog have probably heard me yapping about sewing the corset.
I'm just yapping. Talk talk talk.

Today I saw "1911 corset sew-a-long"

Oh, yay! Maybe I'll finally manage to dare to enter the corset sewing ladies' community!

Ok... so I looked at what the lady says about herself: "I'm sewing my way through every corset pattern in Norah Waugh's book, Corsets and Crinolines. When I complete this challenge I hope to be able to say, "yeah, I can sew," and "yeah, I know a bit about corsets." Here's how the project began, and here are the ground rules."

Oh, nice idea! Hmm... maybe I should do so too... You see, there's this gentleman who taught himself tailoring - from a JAPANESE book - because he couldn't find a winter coat he wanted.
Yes - from zero skills and knowledge to tailoring men's clothing!
If HE can do that, so should *I* be able to, too! I'm no "zero skills and knowledge" either!

Then I read "bridges" description about how she entered the world of corset making.
"I was disappointed when my made-to-measurements corset arrived, because it wasn't good, so I decided to sew one myself. At that point I had sewn only one skirt, and someone else put in the zipper. I bought a book, decided on a pattern, ordered materials and went to work - just the pattern, materials, no directions, and a lot of attitude..." and she made it. 
"There were plenty of issues with that first piece..." but I've made a couple more after that - the last 4 years - and I'm getting better with each..."




What's my excuse, again?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

101 Autumn Crafts - part 4

101 Autumn Crafts - part 4/4

Yuppee! The last leg!

77 Autumn leaf cupcakes - make cupcakes, frost them, and then add the autumn leaves - I suggest you make these apple cupcakes with caramel buttercream. You can also make fruit leather to cut the leaves from... use lemon juice and food dye to get the flashy colors... though apple leather will always be sort of brownish... as far as I know. I have never made fruit leather. The lemon juice should work, at least a little.

78 bean leaf

79 easy, no-cook play dough - I was thinking about the leaf prints... sugar cookies, perhaps? 

80 paint with melting crayons

81 make twisted trees

82 knit a tam

83 Make an autumn leaf quilt

84 I love these acorn cap frames! The other ideas are interesting too, as always :-D

85 make your own felt and cut out leaves for a nice, woolly wreath

86 Make the cutest little autumn leaf guest soaps

87 irish crochet leaves - oak leaves, simple leaves, Japanese maple leaves (yes, the page is in Japanese and the graph might feel intimidating, but don't fear :-D), maple leaves and others (and you could make a belt of them),

88 I adore these acorn napkin rings...

89 crochet a pomegranate

90 crochet a horn of plenty / cornucopia - you can also make all kinds of fruits and veggies to fill it, by crochet, or fill it with real fruits.

91 wax paper and crayon leaves - now, this is another "kiddie craft", but I ADORE Vanessa's take on it.

92 apple and veggie prints

93 felt dahlias - or chrysanthemums or asters... I've never really seen much difference in those anyway. :-D

94 recycle bottles to apple boxes. If I drank soda, I'd make 24 of these for a count-down calendar...

95 fan folded leaves. Yes, I know, Autumn is MUCH more than just leaves, but I love them :-D

96 crochet chrysanthemum

97 apple clay pot jars

98 make felt apple spice pockets

99 Make a very nice jar... thingy... ? with bits, bobs, superglue and ordinary glass jar. You can really use anything as the knob. Like chess pieces, small figurines, stuff glued on other stuff to create an ornamental pile... drawer knobs... anything.

100 Golden apple fall bunting

101 floating acorn cap candles

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

101 Autumn Crafts - part 3

101 Autumn Crafts - part 3/4

Oh, yes... one hundred and one... it's a nice number. And we have come to the middle of it - so, let's move on :-D

51 Thanksgiving hurricane vases - I would fill the vase with hazelnuts or acorns, rather than corn or peas or beans. Or other seeds and nuts. Not that beans aren't beautiful. You do what you like :-D

52 Make roses from maple leaves

53 Make grape cluster earrings

54 preserving leaves with "mod podge" and a lantern

55 Nut wreath

56 pinecone valance - or  banner

57 "easy nature notecards" - or any decoration, scrapbooking, cards, paper... using the leaves as stamps.

58 Pretty leaf pressings

59 Fall leaf window dressing - the other ideas are nice too :-)
(I don't have the idea what this was referring to, but BHG has great autumn projects. If the link doesn't work, just search "fall" "project" at their search square. I'm sure you'll find something nice and interesting.)

60 Amazing window display - of coffee filters

61 twig candle votive

62 pinecone flower garland

pinecone mandala by Kathy Klein

63 fall leaf napkin tags

64 Super easy leaf garland tutorial

65 Dry some leaves under press and then paint them - I suppose with acrylics or gouache

66 make some leaves from old books (like hymnals, bibles, school books, dictionaries, lexicons and such. The only kind of books my heart allows me to demolish.)

67 fall leaf cutouts

68 tweed leaf bowls and 22 other autumn crafts

69 leaf spirits or fairies

70 woodland fairy folks

71 I can so see this created with seeds, rice, beans, peas, corn, nuts, lentils and spices...

72 This list is for kids; games, activities, art and craft ideas - I'm sure you'll find something that tickles your fancy!

73 wooden beads and felt leaves garland - you can also use nuts as beads, and paper or leather leaves.

74 falling leaves - yes, I know, it's for kids, but... just imagine what YOU could make of it... using scraps of scrap book paper as leaves, making tree bark of yarn... paint a picture of autumn forest in the background...?

75 Making autumn trees of toilet paper rolls 
No, TP rolls are not unhygienic. The world is not full of horrible, dangerous germs - well, it is, but you are part of it. Your cutting board has more of the nasty toilet germs than the empty TP rolls from a normally clean toilet. Your cutting board has more germs than the seat of the toilet, for crying out loud! And you EAT what you cut on the board! You are not going to eat these trees. But - if you absolutely must, you can use kitchen towel rolls, or roll tree trunks of paper. Big deal.
And yes, it's a kids' craft too. So?

76 Autumn Brittle