Christmas Break

I am writing this, on the eve of Christmas Eve, and I am happy to say that I have NO projects at the moment! I know, that seems like something to be sad about. But really, I did just finish making four pairs of black knee-length bloomers and three pairs of wrist braces for the Christmas season, and I’m ready for a break. I love to sew, but as anyone who’s been around me on a work day knows, it saps all the motivation, wit, brains, and nutrients right out of me. When I’m done, I want to eat like I’m in my first trimester and watch mindless TV for a few hours. In a Snuggie. Yeah, yeah, shush. I own one thanks to my dear grandmother. It’s pink. I prefer to wear it samurai-style, belted with the opening in the front and only my left arm in a sleeve. Sometimes I’ll switch it around and have the opening in the back, but I’ll still wear it only one-armed. The sleeves are just too long to do anything.

At least I look classy in my Snuggie. But now, time to eat snickerdoodles and pack up for the Christmas weekend!

What JOY!

Oh, I love it when I get to make a dream come true! My dear friend Deidre had a Facebook status in which she mentioned needing a gown for a charity ball. I immediately had a vision of something that would be just GORGEOUS on her. I’ve helped her before, in the capacity of a stylist. We went shopping and I introduced her to some new colors and styles that suited her remarkably well. She was transformed, really. She gained a whole new level of self-confidence that was beautiful to see. Anyway, this made her trust me ABSOLUTELY with her fashion choices, so when I suggested that she hire me to make her a dress, she agreed immediately. I went to visit her over Thanksgiving weekend, and I showed her the sketch and explained the particulars. She was delighted. I took her measurements and went home to work.

We arranged for her to come to my house a week later, and she could take the gown home then. I was not fully done when she came, but she was happy to hang out with me while I finished the work. I think it was a good thing she did, because it gave her a new respect for the work that I do. She was more than happy, when it was finally done, to pay me generously for the piece.

The best moment was when she tried it on, completed. She looked so elegant, so beautiful, she absolutely glowed. She felt beautiful, too. She had me take a picture on her phone to send to her boyfriend and say, “THIS is what you get to take to the ball.” With such pride. ^_^

Anyway, I know you want to see the gown. And here it is!

One beautiful gown

Deliveries and Customs!

Woo!  I have not one but TWO pairs of Gingher spring-action dressmaker’s shears, and I have a grommet tool.  Sadly, measurements as stated on ebay are not standardized, and the tool is for much larger grommets than I have.  I am going to go ahead and buy a pair of grommet pliers from Joann with my last gift card, because they’ll work for both the crappy eyelets AND the better two-piece grommets–PLUS they have a built-in awl.  WORTH IT.

Meanwhile, today I have a consultation with a customer who wants a gown for an event in February.  I’ll be discussing what she wants, drafting some ideas, and taking her measurements.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I’ll do something similar with a friend for an event in December–I hope I can do what she needs in time!  Likely, I can.  I know what she needs; it’s right there in my head.  It’s only a matter of fitting it properly and convincing HER it’s what she needs.

And third, I have two fabulous ladies hoping for my help putting outfits together for the Steampunk Exhibition Ball, to which I may also venture!  They’re going to drive up here from Seattle and we’ll spend a day doing the thrift store circuit together before we figure out what things need to be made from scratch.  I’m excited.

Working, working!

I’m waiting on some supplies right now; the grommet tool to fit my grommets, my pre-cut boning, and my new sewing scissors.  I’ve been cutting pieces out of my fabric with my current scissors, although they’re just getting duller. :(  Invest in good scissors, fellow sewers!  They’ll save your butt!  Mediocre scissors will serve you just fine if you’re sewing one piece at a time, cutting through one or two layers max, but when you’re cutting four or more, those plastic-handled things are USELESS.

Meanwhile, I suppose the best I can do is keep my supplies ready and bide my time.  Laundry and criminal investigation documentaries for me!

Burlesque Bitty Bustle Done!

So, since I really wanted to wear my purple corset and my black bloomers, and most especially my new hat, I needed a little skirt to complete the ensemble.  Last night, I draped out the whole thing and set to work winging it.  I highly recommend a good wing, ladies and gents, because if you have 3 clues what you’re doing, you can come out with something fun.

This is a wrap skirt, with the fastenings in the back on the waistband.  The bustle hides the place where the front drape curves up and meets in the back.  The whole thing feels very light, and it’s comfortable to cinch under the corset bottom, as well as lounge about in.  As an added bonus, I can wear it over top of a longer skirt as an apron, to make a more conservative period look.  I think this will be a good permanent addition to my steampunk wardrobe!

Look at this sweet thing!

Here's the front drape...

And the back, all bustled up!

You can see a bit of how the waist fastens here.

So, now that I’m not slaving away at this all day long, I’m going to rest a little to prepare myself for partying all night at the gay bar!

I do love helping!

My dear friend Andria has been coming over for the last few days, as Halloween is nearly here, and she needed some assistance with her Poison Ivy costume.  Now, if you know me, you know that this is a costume I myself have been toying with in the back of my mind for a while.  I know the character and the license one can take with the costume, there being so many versions out there that merely sticking to the basic rules is enough to convey the idea.  Andria’s version involves a red wig, a green corset, black ruffle shorts, and fishnets.  The basic “hey, look at me, I’m sexy” getup.

Her first corset didn’t fit too well.  It gapped in the chest even when fully tightened.  No good.  So we went out to find a solution.  She bought a bright white corset at Lover’s, where they told her she could dye it.  Oh, sure.  Dye a 100% polyester corset.  No problem.  We bought green dye, and I stirred the thing around in a sink full of hot water and concentrated pigment for quite a while.  The outer part of the corset turned merely a pale grey-green.  Terrible.  But the inside, as the corset was lined with a sturdy cotton twill, was a LOVELY shade of deep green.  I ripped the tags and modesty panel off the lining, reversed the lacing, and voila!  Green on the outside.  She picked up a garland of fake ivy to decorate the wig with, and I put some bits of it in the hair, along with a couple of pin-up style loops.  I tacked considerably more ivy to the corset, though, and I’m quite proud of how it turned out!  I have pictures.

The front of the corset

The right side

The left back

Some pretty hair!

From the back

From the right side

The front. You can see it's heavy enough that I have to hold the front of the wig head down.

I liked the light here. This is posed with my own bustle skirt, which is not even cut, let alone finished, and my hat.

Anyway, today, I need to find where I put yesterday’s energy and make that purple fluff into a fabtabulous mini bustle skirt, possibly with some black ruffles to edge it.  I’m improvising here, but I think it’ll go well.

It Begins.

I just bought fabric enough to get my Etsy store well and truly started.  I can make 24 pairs or 48 individual wrist braces, depending on how people want them, and I have six different fabrics.  They are all beautiful brocades, in colors from vibrant magenta to soft gold with brown.  I can’t hardly WAIT to finish making them so I can list them and start selling them to my lovely customers!

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