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Thursday, 19 November 2015

Why you Should Get a Custom Gown

If you've never had clothing custom made for you the process can be a bit daunting.  Your sewist will ask for all kinds of crazy measurements you didn't even know existed and it can get a bit pricey.  So here's a quick guide to explain why it's one of the best decisions you'll make, especially when it comes to costumes and historical sewing.

1. Creative license - You get to completely customize your order.  Whether you are buying a complete outfit, or just a few accessories, it's all up to you and your sewist!  Working with a professional sewist is like working with any other type of designer.  You can show up with a random smattering of ideas and they can help you put it together into a cohesive look.  Seriously, they know what they are doing and pretty much anything is possible.

2. Value - Yeah, okay, it costs more than most clothing.  This is due to what my friend calls, "The Walmart Effect."  We are professional designers and often artists so expect to pay a fair wage.  I don't know any seamstress that charges an outrageous amount per hour, and most things are negotiable.  If you want a grand, 18th century court dress for $100... well, just keep walking there, skipper!  But if you want a certain look that can be achieved with pieces you already have that can be altered, and maybe you just need a certain piece custom made we can help you.  For reals, we like puzzles.  But be prepared to pay what it's worth or just be honest and tell them your budget.  Because you are having something tailor made for you it will wear better and last longer.  So really, it's a great value.  Plus, once you've found a great sewist you can go back and ask for more things and they already know your body.

3. Fit - Helping design a project may be out of your comfort zone, and it cost a bit more than you expected, but when you put on your finished custom made garment... oh man!  Nothing compares to how it feels to have something fit you perfectly without any of the discomfort of an ill-fitting garment.  You'll wear it SO MUCH!  Even if it's a costume or reenactment outfit, you'll be surprised at how many opportunities you'll find to wear it once you have the perfect garment.

I'm sure there are more reasons, but let's just stick with the 3.  I'm a stickler for #3!

As a sewist and tailoress, creating a garment that captures someone's personality is such a gift.  Fit is fairly easy if you've paid attention in sewing and drafting class, but the act of working with someone and actually making a garment that meets, and often, exceeds their expectations is THE BEST.

And it's gosh darn fun!

So, here's my promo for the day.  I make custom gowns and costumes.  For reals.  I really love making people Regency gowns as so many woman believe they can't wear them.  Oh yes you can!

And I can help you with that.

And wouldn't you know it, Regency Encounters is having another ball in February.  You think Lizzy Bennet went to Mr. Bingley's ball in an ill-fitting, hand-me-down dress?  Surely, not!  So why should you?

Check out my Etsy shop for more details.  Again, it's completely customizable.  I'll even make you a matching reticule!

You know you want a matching reticule...


Saturday, 14 November 2015

Costume College Here I Come!

YOU GUYS!  I got my tickets for Costume College 2016!

I'm so overwhelmed with all the emotions.  So many of my costume heroines will be there!  I might actually get to meet them.  Wee!

Now, to figure out what to wear...

Pool party: Romper?  New bathing suit?

Ice cream social: Sherbert Robe a l'Anglaise

Gala:  1770s court dress made of this beauty:

I got 9m of this silk fabric for $11.  Yeah, $11!  And some really love trims from the Fashion Under Siege fabric sale.

Sunday Tea: Regency something or other.  I'll probably be a zombie by this time so whatevs.

Monday fabric shopping: comfy shoes and a big purse.

What's even better about going to CoCo?  B wants to come too!  Not to the conference, but to LA!  Woo!

I'm just too excited!

Monday, 2 November 2015

1912 Mrs Banks: Butterick 6093

I could watch Mary Poppins every day.  All day.  So, for Halloween this year I decided to be Mrs. Banks.  The movie Suffragette just came out (in Canada, at least) so it was a perfect time to go for it.
I have no idea where there the umbrella came from...

I wanted a similar look and feel without being an exact replica of the dress.  For starters, I hate high-necked things.  Probably why I shy away from Edwardian all together.  I started with Butterick 6093.  I read a few reviews before starting and decided it would be a perfect starting point.

I had a piece of blue poly suiting I got in the discount bin for last year's Roman costume so decided to hack it up for this.  I purchased a little pale yellow taffeta and started ruffling.  I'm pretty happy with the result.

I made a few fitting adjustments at the bust, as usual.  I gathered things a little differently than the pattern called for.  But then, I rarely follow the pattern anyway...

I wanted a similar petticoat to the movie costume without spending an entire weekend making a separate petticoat.  I decided to simply add a ruffle to the bottom of the underskirt.  It was just a tad long...

Bathroom selfie for the win!
After a bit of fiddling, and some interesting advice from B regarding ribbon placement, I finished the whole thing in a weekend.  Less, because who works on one thing in a weekend?

I'm super proud of the hat.  I really love millinery and wish I had more opportunity for it.  If I could just make hats all day I'd probably die happy.  But, alas.

I have no idea if this is what an Edwardian hat should look like.  I wanted something particularly non-datable for future flexibility.

And there you have it!  An Edwardian-ish Mrs Banks.

Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Challenge #11: Silver Screen
Onscreen Inspiration: Mrs Banks from the 1964 Mary Poppins
Fabric: the most horrid polyester I've ever felt.  But, it's out of the stash.  Poly taffeta.
Pattern: Butterick 6093
Year: 1912
Notions: straw hat, ribbon, button form, snaps, bit of interfacing for the sash.
Accuracy: Fabric is way off, but the colours are good so maybe 50%?
Hours:  Not many.  From inspiration on a Friday evening to completion on Monday night, including all pieces.
First worn: October 29th to Scottish Country dancing (skip change is not meant for Edwardian dresses!)
Total cost: Almost all stash except the yellow taffeta, which was $12 CAD.  Hat was $13 CAD, but I'll re-use it.