Monday, 23 May 2011

A really good fitting!

Today I met the lady I have been advising about her self written play about Mary Blandy. (Murdered her father in 1752 with a potion given to her by her lover, who then vanished!) She is very - erm - excitable, but stood very still while I cut the toile on her. Shift, petticoat and stays (an old pair by Jean Hunnisett) fitted well, and she was comfortable in them. The complication is that she has to get the dress on, during the play with no help, and no time to add hoops or similar, so I suggested a gathered frill of crin inside the dress to hold it out, and it looks like it will work. It will fasten with velcro strips inside the stomacher, but as she has her back to the audience at that point, it won't show. (I'm ashamed of that idea, but if it works, it is the simplest solution. This is so much fun - takes me back to my theatre roots - I hadn't realised how much I missed theatre.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

About time - a revelation!

Last evening I wore the skirt I recently finished when I went out to dinner and the theatre. I found, in spite of measuring my waist very carefully, it turned out to be too big. I suddenly realised that I measure as I do for customers - with a finger inside the tape. That doesn't work for me, as I need a tight waistband, as I have, effectively, no waist! So finally, problem solved! (Only taken *mumble* years!)

But, of all things, I dropped icecream down the front, within two hours of wearing it!! And I have no idea whether it will wash. I have some scraps to test, fortunately.

Today I have to actually get the Mary Blandy costume together, so I can do the fitting on Monday.

Friday, 20 May 2011

A cap pattern

Having searched online, I finally found a picture of the kind of cap I was looking for.

 It is at the Met,. Museum, and they kindly put a couple of measurements. I cut it out in paper and seeltaped it together, and gave me exactly the look I was after, so I went ahead and cut it in linen. I added a bit to the cap bit at the back of the head, because I have a big head - it can always be made smaller - and am going to baste it together any minute now. If it works, I will hire it to the customer, as I need a cap for someone else, and it will save me making two. The hired one is only needed for a limited time. Still wish I could find the Victorian one though!

I found lots of cap help here

I also, finally, cut out the shift pattern from "Costume Closeup" - it is a really useful pattern, and works really well. And cut two lengths of calico for a petticoat - phew, I'm exhausted after all that hard work! So I shall go and get changed into the green matka skirt I made recently, and go out for a meal with my DH and then to the theatre to see "School for Scandal".

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Nearly there!

Unless I find another patch of missing beads, everything is beaded. The seams need sewing, the front needs a bone to stiffen it, and it needs lining, but I can see the Diana dress actually being finished!

Today I lost a Victorian bonnet/cap I had hoped to use as a pattern for an 18th century cap, and a theatrical mob cap I was hoping to loan out! However, I found a pattern for the gentleman's late Regency jacket, of roughly the right size, and some fabric left over from the green silk jacket I remade. Almost enough to make a small peplum, so that a different person can have the body and sleeves to wear as a whole jacket. As they say, you win some, you lose some!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

How irritating!

Finally putting the Diana dress together for sending off, I found two corners that I hadn't put extra pearls on. I think I decided it wouldn't notice, as they are on the inside of the revers, but making it up, it was so obvious! So today, instead of finishing it off, I am pearling. If I never see another pearl, it will be too soon!

The picture, rather blurred - srry - is of the first dress I made for these people. They will leave the collar down - it was always worn up!

Friday, 13 May 2011

More goodies

The American cotton from arrived today, plus the silks I ordered, and proper petersham for waistbands.  Little actual work done, as it's the big "Messiah" day tomorrow, but once that's over I can really concentrate on sewing, if I feel like it!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Little to report, sewing wise

I spent quit a lot of yesterday ordering stuff online - I've finally found a source of petersham, I hope -, and ordered the silk for the waistcoat and cravats to go with the wool for the coat and breeches. I also made a chart of what is being made for whom - my DH laughs at me and my charts, but it does mean that I have things clear in my head.

I did a tiny bit of sewing, and had great plans for today, but life seemed to get in the way - among other things, a really good one on one Pilates session with my teacher. I am very physically inflexible, ands she is gradually helping to become more flexible, and increase my stamina - and it's working, much to my surprise.

Ah well, tomorrow is another day, as Katy Scarlett would say.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Shopping success

I managed to get white bleached and shrunk calico/sheeting for a petticoat, and cotton poplin for the shift and drawers - the batiste I found was too fine. And had a brainstrom while in the shop. Black nylon crin, gathered or pleated, and sewn to the inside of the dress, will make admirable pocket hoops or pads for an 18th century dress which has to be put on with a minimum of fuss on stage. As it is a one person show, there will not be time to put on proper underwear, and the girl is on a very tight budget, so I think that is a reasonable solution. The black noil, acting as bombazine, arrived in the mail today, and will be ideal - and cheap. Right, should get something dome with all this fabric, before it crowds me out!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Finished the skirt - all I need now is an occasion to wear it, as it's a bit "best" yet, till I've worn it a few times.

Replaced the underwire in my purple bra, obviously for a second or third time, looking at previous darnings.

Worked out yardages for the underwear fabric I'm off to buy in a minute. And made notes of the patterns to be used - mostly Hunnisett as usual. Although the corset will be a "make it up as you go along" sort of thing, as I haven't found a pattern or diagram for exactly what is needed.

And got a great new skirt pattern in the post from L in America, as it isn't published in the U.K. Nice Vogue skirt, cut on the bias. It professes to be easy - not for me it won't be - it is way too small for a start, so I will have to enlarge every piece by quite a lot. Still I'll have a go, eventually, when I have the other odds and ends done. Right, shopping to do - MacCulloch's here I come!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Monday and a new week.

Had a phone call from the friend/customer I was planning on working with for the next 2 and a half days, crying off as she had a cold/infection/ With Keith less than 6 weeks after his knee operation, and me with dodgy lungs, we agreed to try again later in the year. So that means I get to shuffle projects around, to fit everything in differently. I'll have to go and get cotton poplin and sheeting for two customers, and order some batiste for underwear, although the poplin might be better. The batiste is very soft and might not wear too well. More samples, I think.

I shall inish off a few odds and ends today, instead of sitting here, then shop tomorrow or Wednesday. Saturday is the big Sing at the Royal Festival Hall - so looking forward to that. Then back to earth on Sunday. Looks like another busy week, if I actually do everything!!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Nothing substantial to report!

A little sewing - the waistband to the green skirt sewn on by machine - needs hand finishing.

But I went and bought the wool for my gentleman's 1820 suit, (and some grey cotton lawn for me, reduced from £14.00 per metre to £3.50 per metre because of a small mark that will possibly wash out, or I can cut round.) I ordered some fabric from for the lady of the couple, and some silk noil for a quick job I am doing for a theatre performance. The character is hung on a scaffold, wearing black bombazine. I can't find that, so the noil will do. Also topped up the haberdashery pile.

Yesterday I helped a lady to fit a doublet to her husband.  It was something she thinks she can't do, so I fitted a doublet toile while she watched. Early next week I fit a Tudor costume for another lady, so probably won't get much sewing done, as I have an all day rehearsal on Saturday. Sunday will be a recovery day!!

Saturday, 30 April 2011

And another project or two

Needless to say I was deeply engrossed in the Royal wedding and got nothing done yesterday. However, today I had yet another go at putting clothes away in our bedroom - I swear the clothes explode sometimes - and put away a lot of stuff. I usually check buttons, fastenings etc,. as I do and weed out alterations or mendings before they get lost for ever. So I found a pair of comfortable/smart trousers that I had walked on the back hems of. I must have shortened them before I started to shrink. So they need shortening a bit. And I bought a vivid purple top to wear, as required, when singing "Messiah" in a couple of weeks, only to discover that the colour that looked perfect on E Bay actaully doesn't match either my long skirt or my palazzo trousers - bum! So, into the linen stash I go, and yes!there is a length of linen that is much nearer the right colour, and enough to make another half circle skirt - not hard, provided the zip goes in O.K. So over the next couple of days, before I get down to serious work, I need to finish the green skirt, make the purple one, and shorten the brown trousers - oh and replace the bone in my purple bra - boring, but it matches the top *so* well!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Already on another project!

Rather than work on what I am supposed to be doing I decided to finish a skirt I started last year. It's in green matka, a rough silk in 8 panels with a slight kick at the bottom. It was a Burda pattern, but in spite of measuring carefully, it was way too small, so I enlarged it, and of course, it was way too big. I got thoroughly pissed off with it, scrobbled it up in a corner, and left it for several months. Yesterday I made the alterations, very simple tightening of the seams at the waist, overlocked the seams and hem, and today I PUT IN A ZIP. Anyone who knows me understands that zips and I really don't get on. This one only took me three goes and a lot of cursing!

Tomorrow, amongst visits to watch the Royal Wedding, I shall turn the hem and stitch, stiffen the waistband and sew it on, with the skirt hanging loops, and find a button or a hook and bar to finish it.

Glove documentation in pictures

 The gloves went off yesterday and I am just hoping they will fit O.K. They seemed a bit large on mt, but the measurement I took of the customer seems to indicate that they will be O.K.

This is the basic pattern, thumb on the left, then the fourchette which is cut twice for each finger, and trank.

The thumb, inside out showing the stitching - this is what caused me all the trouble.

And the thumb right side out.

Finished glove, which I thought was a bit loose.
Palm of the glove, showing the inside of the thumb placement.
Glove with points added - it looks better that way, and fits tighter too.

The only problem - the chamois sheds like crazy - like a fine sticky dust!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Gloves done - at last!

And they look very good. They are a bit loose, I fear though, although the customer's measurement is a little larger than mine. I can't decide whether to put "points" down the backs - it will take in maybe 1/4-1/2" and make them fit a little better. I'll post progress pictures and finished ones later, beofre I send them off.

Friday, 22 April 2011

I can make gloves, really I can!

I don't think these gloves want to be made though. I just sewed the fourchettes (the between the fingers pieces) into  the backs of one glove, inside out!! Having lunch, then unpicking and trying again. I can do this, honestly!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

I hate thumbs!

The gloves are all cut out - goodness, chamois is slippery - and ready to sew up with a silk thread I bought years ago. BUT, it takes me longer to works out how the thumb goes in than almost the whole of the rest together! So I have stolen the gloves I made for my DH, and am going to photo them, and print the picture to put with the book of instructions, which does not have a diagram!! Then I am going to start again.

Now I'm really cross! I just put the left thumb in the right trank - grrrh! I then carefully unpicked it, and sewed it into the correct trank. Then I followed with the other glove. All ready for the fourchettes tomorrow - not usually a problem, although that is rather tempting fate.

Trank = hand piece. Fourchette is what joins the fingers,

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


I have a template for the shape of N's hand, and it seems to be just the same size as mine. So I cut and pinned a calico toile on myself - fingers too long, thumb hole too deep, and the wrist seems very tight. I made a pair for my DH, so asked him about his - they are also a bit tight on the wrist, so it is clearly a fault of the pattern, and I have marked it as needing more width.

The chamois is very stretchy, so they may well be too loose, but I can always tighten them up a bit. No hanging about on this job - need to be posted in a couple of days.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Another frustrating day!

I have spent the whole day waiting in for a delivery, unable to do anything useful in my workroom. This is because it is at the top of the back of the house, far away from the front door. Delivery men, if they can find the house with their stupid, not accurate sta-navs, usually tap vaguely at the door, in spite of two doorbells and a knocker, and run away. If I hear them, and I am working, it takes me a while to get downstairs, by which time they are long gone. so I sit and twiddle my thumbs, and play endless games of solitaire, and wait. I've done a lot of letters, made up a parcel, checked a couple of sewing books for techniques and so on. I ran out and got the papers (me? run - don't be silly - went as fast as I could), sat down with a cup of tea, and lo and behold, they'd given me yesterday's paper. Now I daren't go out again to change it - that would really be tempting fate.

What I should have been doing was cutting a pair of chamois gloves, and getting started on making them - humpf! And the DH is home tomorrow from hospital, so that's another day gone, as I will need to collect him, or rather his suitcase, while he copes with the crutches. (For new readers, he's just had a knee replacement.) Ah. well, another cup of tea, I think.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

It works!

I've just had an e-mail saying that the altered/reworked dress works! ("The owner of the frock is very pleased. A fantastic creation!") The relief is huge. Apparently the skirt and petticoat need tightening, as I thought, but that is simply a case of moving the eyes on the waistbands. Oof, I can relax for a moment or two! I'm being sent a photograph, so will post that when it arrives.

New followers

I notice I have lots of new followers, (thanks to Kendra) and although I have read your profiles, I still don't know who many of you are. If you would like to, please drop me a line and tell me why you are reading my blog, and a little bit about your interest in costuming. Thanks.

Frock finished and sent off - thank goodness.

I had to take time out to make a business trip Monday, and the same person had to visit Wednesday, so I wasn't finished quite as soon as I would have liked.

However, I made a determined effort and put the bodice back together again, added hooks and loops to the centre front, sewed in the sleeves and the wings, then tackled the skirt. This was an interesting problem - originally it was a 3 width piece of fabric draped over a drum or wheel farthingale, and pleated at its edge to make this sort of shape, although not quite so formalised.

What I was aiming for this time was something more like this.

However, I did not want to cut off the spare fabric. Eventually, I folded the fabric to give a reasonable length, flat pleated it to fit the waistband, sometimes several pleats thick, and whip stitched it to the top of the waistband. (I just hope it fits under the bodice.) I also stabstitched the back of the bodice to the top of the waistband, as the original back was a little short, and it gave nearly an inch extra in length.

As I say, I hope it all works as there was no opportunity to have another fitting. There is a small time lapse before S. wears it, so if necessary (I hope not) there is time to sort small problems. I will post better pictures of the before dress once I have them, and pictures of the altered dress as soon as I have those.

And now it is back to the tantalisingly close finish of the Diana dress, a pair of gloves for a friend, and all sorts of bits and pieces. I have a lovely length of grey cotton/linen to make into a skirt and trousers, so there might be something modern for me in the mix.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Crunch day!

This morning I cut out the drill lining to the pattern I made yesterday. It needed 1/8" taking in on the double at the centre front waist, and a small pinch at the neck side of the shoulder seams. I have decided to iron on a stiffening fabric - I think it's like a soft buckram - and add a rigilene and white steel bone at the centre front to keep it straight. It is a fraction loose at the waist but will need that to go over the skirt, which S. and I decided together should be flat pleated. However, I shall not cut off the extra fabric, as it will, as I thought, add a little to the hips. Photos below in case you are interested in the layers.

Hunnisett late Elizabethan stays, front

and back.

The so called biscuit pad, which I can now see needs a little more taken out of it.

The petticoat, with integral forepart.

Back of the original bodice - I see the petticoat needs a little more help pushing out at the back, which will be done with the pad alteration.

Ans the new front, before the tiny tightening. The neckline will be narrower by 5/8" but I don't cut this until it is ready for piping.

Tomorrow, I have to make the little alterations, cut the silk for the bodice and mount it, with the stiffening and boning, braid - ugh!, stitch on and neaten the seams, then pipe bottom and neckline. Bind the armholes, and hand stitch in the sleeves and the wings, and sew on umpty hooks and loops and ditto gold buttons, all by Wednesday. Hmm, better start early then!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Huge progress!!

Today we spent taking things apart and putting them back together again. S. unpicked the skirt from the waistband, and unpicked the frill while I unpicked the corset, removed bones from under the armhole and, tightened the underarm seams. Then rebound it, took a tuck in the back shoulder seam to stop the strap falling off, and fitted it - which worked really well - and we are both happy.

Meanwhile S. unpicked the bones from the pad, took off the bias binding, recut the front once I had drawn on the alteration, and put back the binding. She then moved the waistband eye on the petticoat.

Next she unpicked the sleeves, oversleeves, and shoulder wings, all of which had been whip stitched in place - yay for hand finishing!! - and took the buttons off  for later re-use. Once that was done, I unpicked one front of the bodice, which  took longer than expected, but eventually had a piece to use as a pattern for the new bodice front. I recut this, in calico, in two panels instead of one, pinned it together and we fitted it. It needed a bit of altereation, but minimal, really, and she was very pleased with the results.

Although I am tired tonight, I  want to tidy the toile into a pattern, and maybe pleat the skirt back to the waistband, so S. can spend her morning sewing that back on - we'll see. And I also had a customer come to collect a small mending job I'd done on her pocket hoops, and my old lodger came to collect post and she agreed to cat sit when we take our next holiday in the autumn.


Thursday, 7 April 2011

Do-able alterations, but ...

I had a look at the dress and underwear to be altereed. The stays(the second of the Hunnisett Tudor/Elizabethan ones) are simple to alter - unpick binding, undo side seams, take in 1" either side, losing a little under the arm, and re-stitch, and bind.

The pad on top of the bum roll will be shortened a little at the front, bones removed, rebound, and worn, without the pad, under the petticoat, to give a slightly more triangular shape. Petticoat, with attached stomacher, simply has the eye moved, and an extra one added for luck. The overlap thus caused - about 4" will help to bulk out the back of the dress a little.

I have already unpicked the bodice from the skirt. The skirt will be removed from the waistband (cartridge pleats,) and the "frill" will also be unpicked. Then the excess fabric will be re-folded, giving a shorter length to the skirt, and resewn to the waistband. The extra fabric will, again, bulk out the shape a little.

Then the biggie! Remove the sleeves, oversleeves and epaulettes and reserve! Unpick the side and shoulder seams, remove the binding all round, and reserve. Reserve the back for later, and recut the front. (There is enough material saved to do this, thank goodness.) Then put everything back together again, except for the oversleeves. Sew the skirt back to the bodice. The finished shpae should be more like this.

Wipe brow and collapse!

Monday, 4 April 2011

An S.O.S from a customer

has messed up this week's schedule royally. A couple of  years ago I made a Jacobean outfit for her and she wants to wear this at a ball in St. Petersburg, Russia, on 28th April. However, and it is a huge however, she has lost weight and the dress no longer fits. So, she is going to stay overnight on Thursday and Friday and we are going to take the dress apart and try and fix it - fortunately she sews.

Here is the original I based the dress on.

And here it is before I altered the neckline to fit, and rebalanced the skirt. This was before she wore it for an event.

Friday, 1 April 2011

All pearled out!

Well, all the main pearls are sewn on. Now, to sew the jacket seams, and replace all the loose pearls - I have to unpick them at the seams, otherwise the sewing machine would eat them and get indigestion! Cut and make up the dress lining, and hand sew in. Cut and make up the jacket lining, stiffen the collar, and hand sew in. Then find a box, wrap it in tissue, and  post it off with the bill  - nearly there - I shall be so glad to see the back of it!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A different Star Trek jacket!

I have three of these to fit, on a long ago promise (7 years I think.) The first one was awful, and when I recut it, it was improved but not brilliant. This second one was better, but none of the ladies is slim, and it is mighty difficult to get smooth "uniform" in both senses, fit. However, once the toiles are satisfactory, I only have to cut out the fabric - no sewing - that is down to one of the girls. (I use the term lightly - they are all in their 50's and 60's, but my contemporaries - hence girls!)

As for the Diana dress, I am on the last stretch - the last facing is halfway done. Then the jacket goes together, the seams are checked for loose pearls (the worst bit) and the linings get hand sewn into the dress, aready finished, and the jacket. It is still a nightmare, but I can see daylight at last.

Also last week I made a small 18th century cap for the customer in the above picture, and repaired her pocket hoops - she is not the most careful of wearers. (Incidentally I shortened the lace falls - way too long for her arms.) I have some ready quilted gold silk to make a petticoat/skirt for the outfit, and I am sure there is some suitable fabric for another jacket - stashbusting you understand.

Off to pearl some more.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Nearly there!

The Diana dress is nearly finished after way too long! I finally finished beading the jacket outside, just the facings to do, sew it up and put in the lining - the zip is already in place. Then pehaps I can get on with some of my more interesting projects.

Just to interrupt things, I have a couple of small 18th century caps to make for the lady who had the red outfit - she is not good with doing her hair, so these will help.

And the second of the Star Trek Jackets needs a toile - I'd better go and start something, I think. (The button boxes are nearly done, though!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Tiny steps!

I am working really hard to finish the Diana dress. I've finally found something that helps me work. I have an hourly chart, where I write the plan for the day, factoring in tea breaks, computer time, lunch, exercise as well as sewing. So far (three days) it's working - nothing else ever has, except a looming deadline!

As well as that, I am turning out my wardrobe and throwing out old, tired, non-fitting clothes as I recently updated  my clothes, almost all via E bay, and had no space. Taking out all the coat hangers that had nothing hanging helped, plus getting rid of clothes that I had never worn, still with price tags, T shirts that don't "go" with anything and so on. It's been a very interesting place, the back of my wardrobe!

As a treat I bought myself a great book for my stash busting quilts, when I get to them. It's not entirely helpful, as mine isn't a quilter's stash, but has some great ideas, along with the instructions for my half-finished Japanese folding Quilt, which I had lost.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Small back log? Pfui!

The small back log of work to be done before I can start on the quilts just got bigger! Refurbish an 18th century dress - an annual task- for a regular and long term customer, who literally cannot sew a button on.
I can't link directly to the pictures, but there is one on the second page of the Gallery, on my web siteright hand side, 2nd down, I hope. (
Make a 19th century suit for a gentleman. Make a Tudor all purpose outfit for another long term customer. Teach a friend how to fit clothes on her husband - and fit her - how did that happen? and, eventually, make an outfit for my dear DIL, for World Book Day in 12 months - Little House on the Prairie, or Little Women sort of style. And those bloomin' Star Trek jackets!

This is exactly what happened 8 years ago, the first time I tried to retire - suddenly I got busy, and the husband was made redundant. I chose to stop now as it was no longer fun, and there was no work about - good time I thought - and! Hah!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Back to work - soon!

Well, we had a lovely time on holiday, and the holiday blog will be started this weekend, for anyone inteested. The black/white plaid skirt was a great success - I even had to tighten the button on the waist! However, I shall take an inch or two off the hem length, which will make it more practical - it's overlocked/serged, then turned and machined, so easy to do.

As for sewing while I was away, I am delighted to say that I did actually get a lot done, although it might not appear that way. It is slow work! (My excuse!) After breakefast most mornings, we needed to stay out of our room/cabin/stateroom to allow the the "attendant" to clean and so on, so we found ourselves a corner in one of the smaller spaces, with reasonably comfy chairs. I took my sewing, and he read. I managed two long threads, most day, but it is very small back stitch - 12 to the inch or less if possible - and getting it neat is now no longer easy for me. However, progress was made, and I plan to try and do a little every day, once we clear up the odds and ends and start "back to work" . (For new readers, it is the quilted white silk lining for a work basket for my patient DIL.)

Next "new" project might well be another simple 1/2 circle skirt - I really love the way the black/white one hangs. I still have a small back log of orders to finish before I can properly close the business, but no major rush for any of them, I hope.

Friday, 11 February 2011

All done for this set of projects.

The skirt is done, fastening on, hem turned and stitched - and it looks good, although I says it as shouldn't!

The waiscoat has its bucklt on, I've done all the ironing, and now I can start a clear up and find some of those half finished bits from way back. However, I will be away for a while, so don't think I've stopped - I may not have access to free wifi!

Thursday, 10 February 2011


The waistcoat is finished, and fits! The DH is very pleased. So one more thing off my list - yay.

The skirt needed to be levelled - whether it dropped, or I didn't cut it straight - more likely - it is now level, overlocked at the hem, seamed down one side, and half a zip in. However, the pattern doesn't quite match, so I ripped it out and will redo it.* Then turn up the hem, put on a waistband and there we are - I'd forgotten what a pretty shape a half circle skirt is.

*Zip is now done, waistband made up and ready to sew on. The waist will be "eased" onto it, as it is a little large - two rows of gathering threads and a steam iron should do it!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Trousers finished!

Two pairs of trousers shortened, using a blind stitch by hand - hard work, but worth it for the way they look. Will try and finish the waistcoat, bar the buttons, tonight. I have to take out the back ties, made of lining fabric, and replace with ties of the back fabric - a lovely wool and cashmere blend. Add the buckle. Then sew up the side seams. Shouldn't take too long, although I am getting hungry - not a good thing!

Held up till now

I started these jackets 18 months ago, but the ladies kept saying they weren't right, and wouldn't come for fittings to make it right. Eventually they came before Christmas, I recut the green one, sent them off in the middle of the bad weather - and heard no more. Today I got an e-mail saying they were "Quite splendid"! I can now breathe a sigh of relief and get on with other stuff, knowing they aren't still hanging over my head, as it were.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Making at last!

Morning was spent doing yet more ironing - I swear I iron in more creases than I iron out! It was a phone call day, as several of my friends decided to call me, and that took more time than I wanted to. A close friend came, bearing a birthday gift for me - she'd found a beautiful framed fashion plate from about 1840 while she was away, and brought it over so I could have it now!

After she'd gone, I finally shook out the black and white plaid that I bought some time ago, a soft (synthetic) flannel like material, laid it all out on the table, cursed a few times as the weight of it made it slide off, until I remembered I had pseudo cloth clamps, and cut the half circle skirt I have been thinking about for ages. In spite of cutting a template for the waist hole, it still came out too big - I think it is so soft, it instantly stretched. I shall machine the seam, and hang it for a day or two to see if it drops on the bias, which will be the centre front and back - I might take in the waist at the sides, which will be on the straight. Then whizz round the hem with the serger/overlocker, put in the zip, and the hanging loops, waistband and there we are. I might even do that this week!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Waiting around!

I get very irritated when I have to wait around for someone. I am expecting a man to come and collect some books and magazines that I want to get rid of, and he said "After 3.00." well, it's 6.30 and I can't go and do any work, as the workroom is at the top of the back of the house, and I might not hear the bell, or he might not wait for me to stagger down all those stairs!

However, I've done a lot of domestic stuff, which needed getting out of the way. I also found a singlet that I'd forgotten, so I shan't be making a slip. I opened all the pockets on my husband's new suit  - proper tailoring - all the pocket holes were sewn shut so they didn't sag while the suit was in the shop. And I made up the wrist warmers for my DIL, so hopefully, tomorrow is trousers shortening day, one for the DH and one pair for me. I keep thinking longingly about making a simple skirt, of black and white plaid, but that might be a dream, as I can't decide on a half circle or a 3/4 circle!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Buttonholes done

and a lovely job as usual. However, like an idiot I forgot to take the fabric to cover the matching buttons, so another quick trip is needed next week. Off to finish the waistcoat right now, then do the wrist warmers I think. And a quick tidy up of some of the workroom - it is always even worse than usual after I've been working on a customer's order.

The customer offered to have her husband take photos of her in the stays and petticoat, which would be nice, especially as I abandonned all pretence at making the stays from a pattern, and simply made them to work for her. She has little to push up, and didn't want high boobs anyway, but we succeeded in producing gentle pillows! And she was comfortable, which is most important.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Stays and Petticoat

All being well, the stays and petticoat for a customer are finished. I am waiting for her to come and try on for a last time, and take them if they are O.K.

Tomorrow I get the waistcoat buttonholes done, and the matching covered buttons. I can then finish the waistcoat and take that off my list - yay! Then I need to shorten two pairs of trousers, open a couple of pockets on a new suit, and try to get the wrist warmers made up so we can take them with us when we visit the DIL and Son. If I feel like it I'll make that long cotton slip for myself, otherwise I will wear a singlet and waist slip - I hate making for me. However, I do have the big dress stand padded up to nearly my size, so I might try draping a petticoat, usually much more successful for me than a pattern.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Slow progress!

I've been very slow the last two days. The DH has been home this week so far with a stinker of a cold, and having him home is always a pleasant distraction! However, I have nearly completed the Regency underwear I have to deliver on Thursday, then I can get on with "my" things! I have a waistcoat to finish for the DH, which it would be helpful to have finished soon, as he may have an opportunity to wear it. It shouldn't take long as I just need to change the tie backs - should be the same fabric as the back, not the lining - duh. I'll go into town and get the buttonholes done, as there is a brilliant little place where I can get them and covered buttons for very little money - he is much better than I am as he has specialist machines. I also need to pick up some odds and ends from Body Shop as I have a free birthday voucher for £5.00 - I also have a tax rebate of £10.92!!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

I've been thinking about priorities, and what I should do first, to start whittling down the list. There are some things to be done in the next two weeks. One is to sew up the wrist warmers for my lovely daughter in law, as we will be seeing her in a couple of weeks, and they are a left over (unfinished) from Christmas. Two, I need to shorten my DH's trouser legs before we go away - he has a new suit as he has lost so much weight. Three, I might make the silk or cotton slip to go under an outfit, also for going away, (although an ankle length slip and a singlet will do.) I have a set of Regency stays and petticoat for a customer, to be done by Thursday, tomorrow's job. And finally, I have been quilting the lining for a sewing basket for my DIL for ages - it's what I take on holiday as hand sewing - I will take it this time, but I am ashamed it's taken so long. We will be away for nearly 3 weeks - I must be able to get most of it done, surely!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

My long term projects

These are many and various. I have crazy quilt cushions to make for friends and family, a pair of wrist warmers to finish for my DIL, a cardigan to finish for myself, and umpteen skirts, trousers and so on that I have fabric and patterns for, but have had no time to do. I have a Japanese folding quilt part made, which I will eventually post a picture of, and a silk quilt, made of gentlemen's tie silk samples, of my great aunt's to finish and back. Pictures of this will follow too!) And then there is the "big" quilt, shown here, which is the longest term project of all.