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!!