The calm before the storm



I took some time last week for a thorough spring cleaning of the studio. It’s amazing what odds and ends linger in strange places long after a project has ended, and it felt good to get everything back into it’s proper place and all the surfaces cleared off. We also moved in a new piece of furniture – an antique cedar chest that belonged to my wife’s grandmother – so we had to do some trial and error to figure out where it fit best. In the photo you can see it in the back left corner.

So now that everything is cleaned up, it’s time to make a mess again! This is going to be a very busy spring in the studio, with many projects lined up. Here is the current to-do list:

Embroidery – I’ve been working on a line of machine embroidery designs that are currently in the testing phase, and which I hope to release for sale this spring. That means lots of stitching out, making samples, and taking pictures. As well, I have an 18th c. man’s waistcoat of white linen that I am embroidering with a floral design in shades of grey and white.

Client projects – I am working on several big projects for a client. On the list are a WWI ambulance driver’s uniform and nurse’s uniform, a 1912 silk suit and all the underpinnings, and some early 1920’s lingerie.

Costume College projects – I’m also thinking ahead to this year’s CoCo, especially since last year’s weight loss means my closet is empty! On my list are 1830’s underpinnings, a day gown to match a lovely red bonnet I have, and crazy hair to wear with the underpinnings for Sunday undies. I also plan to make a new 18th c. chemise gown and open robe, new stays, and a fabulous new hat. I have a partially-completed pink silk striped gown and raspberry pink petticoat that would be nice to finish for the gala.  If time allows, I’d like to finish a 1950’s day dress and a Gatsby-inspired day dress to wear to classes (and summer picnics!) We’ll see how far I get on this project list, since they have to work themselves in around everything else.

I’m really excited about this list, and as luck would have it, some projects tie in nicely with this year’s Your Wardrobe Unlock’d competition. I hope to have better luck blogging this year’s projects, since they aren’t secrets, rush jobs, or boring renovations of costumes I didn’t originally make.


Gearing up for Costume College

I’m so excited to be going to Costume College again this year.  Last year was my first year, and I had so much fun and learned so much.  It’s starting to feel very real, especially now that I know what limited classes I’m in.

It is also starting to feel very close and I am starting to hit panic mode for sewing all the outfits I wanted to make for myself this year.  Last year I only took one gown for the gala, and spent most of the weekend being jealous of all the people who had outfits for every part of the day.  I’ve had a list pinned to my inspiration board since last fall, but clients and classes and vacation (all good things) mean I’m still barely started on the items on that list.

Here is where I am at:

– new corset for Sunday Undies. This was my first new Victorian corset in a while, and it was my sample for the class I taught earlier this year.  Finished!

– new  petticoat and combinations to wear under the corset for Sunday Undies.  This is an extra project that wasn’t on my board, and one I don’t really need, but really want.  In Progress.

– Victorian day dress.  This will be for the charity croquet game in July, just a couple weeks before Costume College.  Think 1896-7, big sleeves, pink and green.  I have fabric in mind, but I’m not sure I have enough, so I’m trying not to get too attached to it yet.   Not Started.

– 18th c. chemise a la reine.  This was finished last year, but needed some mending and washing, which I finally got around to.  Finished!

– 18th c stays.  These have been in a box since last summer, when they were ready to be bound and I discovered they were many inches too small.  I tried them on this weekend, and they fit again!  They just need eyelets, binding, and binding.  In Progress.

– 1917 Armistice blouse and walking skirt.  The blouse is an unfinished project I dug out of a pile.  There are bits of the sewing I wish was better, but it’s light and lacy and just needs a collar and sleeves and some finishing.  The skirt is an attempt to salvage the silk from an 1890’s walking skirt I made many years ago, but was sewn so poorly I was horrified when I found it.  Glad to know I’ve made such progress!!  I took the old skirt apart and figure the gores will have plenty of room to cut a slimmer, shorter late teens skirt from it.  In Progress.

Aside from that, I’m not sure what else I might bring.  My Renaissance doublet and tall hat are some of my favorite pieces, but the skirts that go with them are not, and the whole thing is bulky.  I might just wear them anyway, since I would probably only be wearing the outfit  for a few hours.  My Regency is fine and finished.  A 1950’s dress is half-finished.  I also have a quilted silk petticoat in the works, so that might need to have a new jacket or gown to wear with it.  I’d love a Victorian bathing suit, but not sure that will happen in time.  We’ll have to see how much I can get done in the next couple months.

Other finished items:  I just finished an embroidered silk corset cover trimmed with French lace, that matches my silk taffeta wedding petticoat.  I’m just waiting on some blue silk ribbon to thread through the beading, and then I will take some pictures.