Saturday, March 29, 2014

Random Make Friday!

This new gimmick of mine is the perfect excuse to go back and cover projects I didn't do justice to the first time.
A perfect example is The Laurel dress, originally made in 1909 for Lady Maude Warrender, and the inspiration for thousands of costumiers since, thanks to Janet Arnold.
Arnold's meticulous pencil drawings were our inspiration.
Leimomi The Dreamstress actually made the dress, I just did the leafwork, which I covered here and here. But I never showed you the outcome, just linked to it. The Dreamstress has a whole fab page of pictures, but here are a few that really show off the detailing, which I filched from the page linked to:
 This photo shoot is in the old Dominion Museum Building, now a part of Massey University's Wellington Campus. It was the museum of my childhood and I can still remember the smell, the awe inspiring grandeur, the crazy kiwi banisters and the Egyptian Hall. All very old hat by today's museum's standards, but it was a magical place to me.
Our detailing worked out very delicate, like the original pencil sketches. It was such a surprise to me to see and handle the original at the Museum of London, which is loaded with sparkly gunmetal sequins and is very dark and dramatic.
 A good close up view of the corded applique,and velvet trim, all couched in metallic embroidery threads. Source
Our version is closer to the original than many around, but what fascinates me is how the inclusion of this one dress in Arnold's Patterns of Fashion book has made it the default inspiration for probably most of the "Titanic era" ballgowns and tea gowns since. It is a testament to her work that her books are the go-to texts for so many historic recreationists and costumiers. I wonder what other dress she may have decided to cover instead? This one was settled in a cosy archive box with a beautiful wedding dress from the same era, for example.
I thoroughly enjoyed developing the techniques to embellish this gown and I hope one day to take on somethig even more challenging to work on in collaboration with another talented seamstress like the divine Dreamstress!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Random Make Friday

There are so many cool recurring posts on blogs - I thought I would make one up too...
Welcome to Random Make Friday, from Sent from my iRon.

Today's Random Make is a lampshade I made last week. I made the shade up in white calico, slathered it in Mod Podge, smoothed the pretty bird tissue over it, and slathered more Mod Podge over the top.
Here is the tissue in its natural, tissuey habitat. The Mod Podging brought the colours out even more.
I am in love. I am also in love with the black toile du jouy beside it and may have to try it as well!
(Please ignore the strange "Chianti Bottle woven with Rex Lace by a Hippy in the 70's" lamp base. )

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Introducing Major General Sir Woodward Houghton-Browne (with an E)

Introducing Major General Sir Woodward Houghton-Browne*, Steampunk's latest recruit.
Inspired by the gorgeous lines of Twisted Fate's jacket on my beloved, I made him a coat of his own.
The outer fabric is a metallic mix brown fabric from my stash (love it!) lined with the striped acetate I bought on Monday from The Fabric Warehouse. Worn with linen trousers, a waistcoat from his wardrobe, a cowboy fedora, boots and a stock whip, I think it has potential!
 Indiana Jones meets Beau Brummel?

 The back is cut into a long, pointed tail, somewhere between a frockcoat and tails.
 The back collar is from the original pattern Butterick B3648:
It's a strange pattern (leaving aside the bizarre green robe!) - the sleeve is only one piece which isn't very accurate, but the cut is good otherwise, and I didn't have to make that many changes to it - just changing the cut of the front, collar reveres and tail.
 Instead of bagging the lining in, I put the outer and lining wrong sides together and bound the raw edges with the same metallic knit as Twisted Fate. SO easy. Of course none of the construction is "tailorin' stuff," and given how lightweight this coat is, that's fine.
Close up of cuffs, and the interesting martingale-ish closure, which uses a ring an bar system in gunmetal. The big gold dome buttons on the collar were also in my stash.
I cut the bits of pattern I used in size Medium, but had to add 15cm - 15 CM!!! to the sleeves for my beloved's endless arms.

The Details:

Pattern, and outer fabric from stash, cost unknown, but would have been bought on sale!
Stripy lining: $12
Interfacing, thread, buttons and closure from stash. Binding fabric left over from previous project.
Time to make: about 5 hours.

*This name is taken from MrC's great-grandfather, Major General Sir Edward Woodward (yes, really! But no relation to the actor) and his grandmother, who was a Houghton-Brown (no E). I am Lady Mathilda H-B (w.a.E) ;-) Lady Mathilda hasn't any new things to wear, but there is enough of the metallic brown stuff to make me something nice too. Quai Hai!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Twisted Fate Revealed!

Here we go!
The animated character, and the Teenager, side by side. Not a great photo but he is so gorgeous!!!

The gold trim looks a bit dull here, and it was because I didn't want it to look like easter egg foil, and the gaiters were a bit wide at the top in the end. I found it hard to judge how much ease to allow for tucking trousers and overdid it.
Delighted to hear that plenty of people at the event recognised him straight away and he had a blast.
Made with felt fused over two layers of heavy vilene, with satin on the underside. The gold trim and band are made from a metallic knit fabric I found at Fabrics Direct. I used the quilting binding method for all the edges. To get the brim to curl like the original, I zigzagged elastic to the edge before applying the binding, stretching it to its maximum. This created enough tension on the brim to curl it up.
I love the cutaway shape of the coat and am working on one for MrC. The cuffs and shoulder guard are one layer of heavy Vilene and a brown moleskin, with gold fabric paint. The waistcoat is a satiny fabric of extreme syntheticness, used to also line the tail of the coat and the underside of the hat. All bound with same metallic knit. The jacket is a heavy black, slightly sparkly denim.
The gaiters didn't work quite as well as I hoped, because he has such enormous feet and couldn't find brown shoes, and honestly it seemed excessive to paint them given how much more practical black ones are. They are made from the same moleskin with fusible batting on the inside to give them substance, but not too stiff. The details are all stitching and paint and metallic knit trim. They did up using Velcro down the inner edge, and wide black elastic held them onto his shoes. I'm pretty chuffed with the fit, given how tricky gaiters are to make, with noone to fit them to! While MrC and Master C are currently surprisingly similar sizes, legswise they are already showing the ultimate difference - My darling MrC is a racing bean whereas Master C is going to end up being built like an All Black. So I over-compensated. Ah well!
I think I will make black gaiters for MrC's steampunk outfit - it's a fun way to create the look of boots.
So, that was 60 or so hours of my life! But it was worth it!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Constance's first public gig!

Well, it's finally happening. I have a gig at a regular show called Caburlesque on 5 April at The Fringe Bar.
Apart from a minor typo in my name (I only have one Craving, not many!) it is quite exciting seeing the poster!
The theme, as the poster says, is Madonna. I am singing two numbers. After hunting through Her Mad's hits list, I opted for two from different movies she has been in. Both a tad torch song like. One is getting a severe makeover. And that's all I'm letting on for now :)
Still waiting for photos of the Teenager in his costume, which in spite of the appalling weather last week which delayed ferry sailings, arrived on time for the scifi convention. 
Busy week - I'm out nearly ever night - Tuesday for dinner with friends last night to get my eyebrows threaded (a world of pain!), tonight to the local Quilters' Guild, Friday to Michael's to lay down the backing tracks for the show above. Saturday I am not teaching but I am hosting a stall at the local Embroiderers' Guild work day, and in the evening and Sunday I am hoping to either rest or whip up a coat for MrC, as on Monday we are going to a Steampunk event. And on the following night we host Tuesday Night Dinner.
I am exhausted just thinking about it all. If I didn't have to open the shop in 20 minutes, I'd go have a lie down ;-)