Looking for something?

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Gala Gown 2017

As I planned out my sewing for Costume College this year I had to rethink all my plans. I had planned a huge project that involved a fully beaded 1912 gown. Between school and now my internship, it wasn't going to happen. Maybe next year.

I settled on this floofy number:

1828 Dress, Victoria and Albert Museum
I've never been interested in the 1820s to 30s look.  But something about this dress took me in.  The more I read about it and discovered it was likely made from 18th century fabric, the more I fell in love. Plus, it's a fairly simple design. With the right fabric it could be a fancy frock.  And those bias scallops! Yum!

Finding fabric was the tricky part. I wanted an 18th century-esque stripe that was ideally green and purple. Alas, no such fabric could be procured. I was lucky enough to hit up the LA garment district on reading week and found some green and gold stripe that suits perfectly. You'll have to wait and see the final dress ;)

I got my corded petticoat done just in time to leave for CW.  Literally.  Just in time.  Like 3 hours before I left my house. Ugh.  I already hate it and wish I could remake it, but whatever. I hope it does the job. 

I brought all my sewing supplies with me and am slowing moving through the process. At first I was concerned about hand sewing the entire thing because it was going to take forever.  And I remembered, I'm here to hand sew everything... so yeah, that works out well. *face palm* 

I've cut all the pieces and am carefully hoarding them in my room.  The only part I'm not doing by hand is the making the piping.  I visited a friend with a zipper foot this week so it's all ready to go! Now I just need to get sewing. The dress itself should be fairly straightforward. As you see all the front panels are at an angle and match stripes.  By hand is definitely the way to go! 

All the bias!

The last piece I need to figure out it is the sleeve supports. I'm using silk taffeta that will need a little help staying afloat. I'll be following this tutorial from Fresh Frippery as a simple way to add a little floof. I love the idea of using tulle so they stay light and fluffy.

I also need to make a hair piece.  I'm terrible when it comes to doing my own hair. I've got a good grasp on regency, so I'll use that knowledge to make this work.  I'm planning to do something like this: 

1828 Abendfrisur

I bought all the necessary pieces with me and will attempt to make something passable while I'm here. I may invest in a foam head as that will be easier to hold things in place.  Fingers crossed!

Hopefully it'll be done before I go! I'm looking forward to hand sewing a gown. I'm feeling more confident in my hand sewing skills so this is a perfect opportunity to show them off!

And thankfully it'll fit perfectly in the July challenge for the Historical Sew Monthly.  I'll complete at least one challenge this year. ;)


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Settling In with Gratitude

I'm starting to settle in to Colonial life. I'm two weeks in to my internship now. I've made a few friends. I've joined a dance group for the summer. I have a routine. I can successfully lace my stays in less than 5 minutes each morning.

But as with all happy endings they start with a bit of trouble. Week one consisted of me wandering in the heat and humidity several times, once I ended up with a bit of heat stroke. C'est la vie. It wouldn't be me if I didn't make a few poor decisions along the way.

Williamsburg has a company called Lyft, which is basically Uber or Tap car.  They have Uber too, but it always says there are no cars in my area and I have to pay more for a fancier car.  Seriously Uber, get it together. Now that I have more access to transportation, and am willing to ask for help if needed (no, seriously. It happened!), it's a little easier to get my bearings. I've only been super homesick once so far. I've been far too busy!

I've been working on lots of projects at work. So far I've worked on a pin cushion, work bag, quilted petticoat, gown and petticoat in a day, a cap, and fringe trim. My stitches are getting smaller and more consistent. I've gone from 8 stitches per inch to about 20 per inch without difficulty.

In a few weeks I'll be jetting off to Costume College. I barely had time to finish my corded petticoat before I left let alone my gala gown. A blog post with more on that coming soon! I'll be hand sewing my gown if for no other reason than I'm hand sewing everything else so might as well.

For now, I'll leave off with a huge thank you to my community. If it wasn't for you I wouldn't be here. Truly! I wouldn't be making amazing things and meeting wonderful people. This internship was almost entirely funded by you! I hope I can do your generosity proud.


Thursday, 8 June 2017

Adventure Awaits!

I've been a tad absent since the start of the year.  I just started my Master's degree in January, which was, well... I survived.  I'll just leave it at that.

As part of my degree I can take an internship (and get credit). When an opportunity popped up, on Facebook of all places, for an internship at Colonial Williamsburg I knew I had to apply. I think it's fairly competitive, and wasn't expecting to be accepted. The fact that I got an interview made me really proud of myself! But, I did get it.  I GOT IT!

Oh man, that was the easy part. Between figuring out how things would go through school and work, figuring out finances, not receiving any travel grants I applied for, and trying to figure out if a visa was needed... it's been quite the journey to get here. I was fairly convinced it wasn't going to happen. But here we are, a few days before I leave, and I've finally realized that I'm going to Virginia.  Like, on Monday...

Super excited to learn from the Journeywomen at Colonial Williamsburg, but I'm also delighted to spend the summer in Virginia. It holds a special place in my family history. When my Great Grandfather (John Smith, no joke!) first landed in North America he came to Virginia. He thought it was the most beautiful place he'd ever seen. When he returned to Wales and my Grandmother was born a few years later she was given the middle name Virginia. And I was named after her.  I've driven through the state before, but as a small child. Now I get to go and see what my Great Grandfather saw in this place. I get to live in the place that holds such a key piece to my family's history.  I'm delighted!

Even better is that I get to spend 8 weeks in the Margaret Hunter Millinery Shop. There's so many things I want to learn! I was to learn whipped gathers and how to make a giant floofy cap. I desperately need to understand how eighteenth century sleeves are set in because I cannot for the life of me figure that out! And I want to know how to bind stays in leather, how to make trims, etc. I'll totally be in knowledge sponge mode!

Watch this space for regular updates. I'll be blogging more frequently, but differently than before. It will be more about the adventure of it all rather than strictly documenting sewing projects like usual.

I'm still attending Costume College at the end of July. I was hoping to have everything done by the time I leave, but alas. I'm fairly certain my Gala gown will be entirely hand sewn as I just need to get other projects done before I go.  As long as I can conquer that blasted corded petticoat, I'm fine.  It'll be fine.

I have three more days of work, one day off to pack, and then I leave Monday!  Please take this time to sacrifice a chicken (or tofu, whatevs) in my honour to the travel gods.

If you're on Instagram, watch the hashtag #yegsewistdoesCW for hilarious and awkward travel photos. Silly faces abound.

See you in Virginia!