Thursday, 25 April 2013

Green Ensemble, part 3

It's been a while since I posted about this project. I can't think of a good name for it, so I will just call it "Green Ensemble".

The last post was about the corded panels. This post is about the mottled green covers for the zip tie boned panels. The construction of the boned panels themselves can be found in part 1.
Just to refresh your memories, there are 6 pieces, numbered like so:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
2, 4, and 5 are the corded ones. 1, 3, and 6 are the boned ones.
6, 3, and 1 in various stages of construction.
Before I started on the actual pieces, I made a sample. (I apologize for the poor quality of these photographs)
This is the sample.
The sample turned out fine. I arranged some pearly beads and the snarled up threads from the edges of my petticoat fabric on the sample to see what they would look like. I found the result most agreeable.
Most agreeable. This is how I will trim it.
For this post I will show pictures of the back panel (#6) being put together.
First, I cut it out once in dark green cotton, and once in the light green cotton. Then I basted the light green cotton on top of the dark green cotton.

This is what my basting looks like when I'm really excited about getting to use the free motion foot. Not very well spaced.
I started drawing lots of jagged lines with my chalk line maker. (It's this little plastic tube that's tapered at one end. It has a gear in it, sort of like a tracing wheel, and it drops a nice thin line of chalk dust when you run it over the fabric.)
chalk lines. Some of them already sewn over.
I made sure to draw closed shapes and not to cross any of the lines, so that they will make sense when they are cut out. I sewed over the chalk lines as accurately as I could with the free motion foot. Then I carefully cut out the insides of all the shapes with thread scissors, staying about 1.5 mm in from the stitching. I roughed up the edges a bit using a tiny little square of sandpaper.
The finished cover for the back piece.
I was thinking of seaweed when I started on these wobbly patterns, but now I think that they look more like lichen.
The boned panel that it will cover.
I pinned the two coloured panel on top of the boned one.
Pins all around the edges. Except for the shoulder parts.
Then I realized that it would be a good idea to trim the corners off the point of the boned canvas piece, so that it will be easier to fold the edges in later.
The corners, cut out to reduce bulk.

The end bit folded down and stitched.
The outer piece was basted to the Boned canvas piece on all of the edges(except the shoulder parts).
I sewed it down to the two longest sides, the sides that will be sewn to the other panels, with longish machine stitches. The edges of the armhole and the neckline are still only attached with basting. This is so I can adjust things later, when I sew the panels together, which is what the next Green Ensemble post will be about.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The rest of the silly hat construction

I accidentally hit the "enter" key after I typed in the title, so I apologize to anyone who may have seen a post with nothing in it.

Here is how the rest of the hat went together.
I found a strip of what I think is buckram in the bag of interfacing that came with Grandma's sewing stuff. I cut a strip of it and sewed it around the top of the brim. I doubled my thread and used stitches that were sort of big. It was hard to get the buckram to stand up straight all the way around.

The thicker piece in front is where the buckram overlaps.
All those ruffles on the inside were getting in the way, so I sewed them to the inside of the brim about halfway up. I don't have a picture of this.
I then cut two circles for the top. One in sheet, one in cross stitch material(the only thing Fabricville had that was stiff enough). Each one was 75 cm across.

The cross stitch stuff is on the left, and the sheet is on the right.
I pinned the edges of the cross stitch material circle into pleats until it looked about the same circumference as the buckram band.
There. That looks like it should fit.
Somehow, it fit perfectly. I sewed it to the inside of the buckram band with the line of stitching exactly halfway up. Then I put the sheet circle on top, gathered up the edges and tucked them in between the buckram and the cross stitch stuff. This is why I put the stitching for the cross stitch stuff halfway up.
Here it is, with the top stiffener and the sheet installed.
If you click on that image for a larger view you can see a row of stitching across the middle of the band, and a row of stitching across the top. The one across the middle is the one holding the top stiffener on. The one across the top is holding the sheet in place, which is sandwiched in between the buckram and the cross stitch material.
I hope that made sense.
To cover the band, I cut out a piece of white silk that was a bit wider than it, and a bit longer than the distance around it. I ironed the edges in, wrapped it around the hat (with the folded down edges facing in, of course), and sewed the ends together.
The bottom of the silk band I attached with a long, inconspicuous stitch that I don't know the name of. I didn't do one on the top because the gathers on the top are softer and it would have been more conspicuous there. There also wasn't much need for one. The hat band is in no danger of being peeled off and the roses help keep it in place.

For those gravity defying bow like loops in the inspiration picture, I cut out three more strips of the same silk and sewed narrow hems on all of them. I tried to take pictures of them, but they all turned out horrendously blurry. The hems are about 6 mm wide.

Then I put thin wires in them.
This picture is blurry too, but you can see that the wires make it stand up. I twisted the pairs of wire ends together so that the ends of the strip would line up.
I curled the ends of the wires into little loops and sewed the loops to the hat band.
The 3 loops attached.
The loops covered up the seam of the hat band but the wire ends and the raw edges of the loop ends were still visible. Fortunately, the inspiration picture has a tail thing that solves all of this.
Journal de Luxus, 1789 (source)
From the general shape of it, I'd say it's a square that's been gathered up on the diagonal. Or maybe a triangle that's been gathered up along one edge. Or maybe neither of those things. I can't be sure, but it looks like a square to me. Fortunately, on the same day that I decided to abandon my design and go with the inspiration picture, my mother brought home an enormous loom and a bunch of sewing and weaving stuff that she had inherited from a friend. There was a bag of fabric that she gave to me, because she doesn't sew. In the bag of fabric there was a big, soft, square, white, silk scarf. It had a hand sewn rolled hem, so the hat still counts as 100% hand sewn. I gathered the scarf up on the diagonal and stitched it down around the ends of the wired loops.
The two corners are joined at the top.
In the bag of fabric, there was also a big piece of thin, crispy, pale pink silk. What incredible luck!
I made roses out of it using The Laced Angel's marvelous tutorial. They held their shape very well.

I also improved the manner in which I made the leaf sprigs. The first one I made was wrapped in a huge amount of thread and sealed with beeswax. I realized that this was unnecessary and made the rest of them with less thread and no wax.
Time efficient leaves.
There are eleven roses and they go all the way around the hat.
And that's it.
The finished hat.
Now there's just the problem of storage. Where on earth am I going to keep a hat that's 45 cm across and 30 cm high? (And that's not including the loops that stick out further on one side.)
My room is pretty small and already packed with sewing stuff. So far I've just been moving it back and forth between the ironing board and the bed, but I can't keep doing that forever. I should probably get some cardboard and build a colossal hatbox.
Any other ideas?
Update: I found a place for it. It fits perfectly in this old computer box.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

The silly hat is done!

Silly is actually an understatement.

"Ridiculous" is a better word.
I changed my mind about the design. I realized that my sketch was a lot worse looking than the original because I was trying to give it the colour scheme of the jacket and petticoat I'm going to make. It wasn't going to work at all, so I just copied the inspiration picture.

Journal de luxus, 1789 (source)

It's pretty heavy. It kept slipping back on my head because my hedgehog wasn't sturdy enough. That's why the front of my hair looks so weird. Without a poofy hairdo it completely swallows up my head.
I'm probably over six feet tall like this.
Here's the list of facts.

The challenge: #7, Accessorize.

Fabric: An unknown fraction of a white cotton sheet (stash). A few small pieces of white silk something that feels like taffeta but is also kind of slubby (stash). A few small pieces of pink silk that is thin and crispy but probably not organza (stash). (I really must learn more about identifying fabrics.) Some even smaller scraps of green dupioni (stash). A really slippery square white silk scarf (stash). That fabric that's used for cross stitch, I bought 1m for $ 12 and used half of it. It was the only thing that was stiff enough for the top, Fabricville doesn't carry buckram.

Pattern: Drafted by me.

Year: 1789

Notions: That mesh stuff (stash). A few pieces of thin wire (stash) A piece of round cane (stash).

How historically accurate is it?  Maybe 50%. The only accurate materials in it are the silk and cane, and I don't even know if cane was used in this kind of hat. I can safely say that my cobbled together construction method is not accurate either. It looks an awful lot like the one in the fashion plate, but those were often exaggerated. I may have taken this one too literally. It is 100% hand sewn though.

Hours to complete: A lot. I didn't count. Probably more than 50.

First worn: Today for photos, I still haven't worn any of this outside.

Total cost: $ 12 (Canadian)

More information on the construction to follow. I just wanted to post this as soon as possible since it's already 6 days late.

Since I don't have a complete set of clothes yet, I haven't gone outside with any of this on and I'm eager to see how people will react to it when I do. I wonder if anyone will take me seriously in this hat.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Some Progress On The Silly Hat

I apologize for the delay. I'm a bit behind on sewing. There are only a couple of weeks of school left and I have things to study and assignments to hand in, which is slightly more important than sewing silly hats.
This is why the silly hat is only a silly brim at the moment.

I made a brim pattern based on the paper hat and cut it out twice in that mysterious mesh stuff from my Grandparents attic.

Both brim pieces cut out. They are quite large, this table is 36" long.
 The black lines were lined up on top of one another when I overlapped the ends. The overlapped area is twice as wide as the end bits that are marked off.

The two layers of brim skeleton joined together. It doesn't hold its shape at all.
To hold the two layers together I sewed a sort of grid all over them in a green cotton yarn.
This is probably way too messy to be considered a grid. I did try to keep the stitching an even distance apart.
 I sewed a big, round piece of cane around the edge.
The part with lots and lots of stitching is where the two ends of the reed overlap.
 Now it holds its shape.
It's finally circular!
I'm covering the top and the brim of this hat with an old cotton sheet. I had to cut out two brim pieces from the sheet and cover the structure with it so the mesh won't show through.
Lining the inside with sheet. The seam allowances from both pieces were whipstitched over the cane and did a great job of covering up the scruffy edge bits.
The inside and outside covered. Even in this picture you can sort of see the mesh through it.
Then I cut a 56" x 17" rectangle out of the sheet fabric. I started out by gathering it, but the gathers accidentally turned into box pleats.
The outside pleats sewed down and the inside pleats pinned.
I sewed the side up by hand to make sure that it fit smoothly around the widest part of the brim.

Its huge, wider than my ironing board.

I think it looks pretty similar to the one in the illustration.

Journal de Luxus, 1789 (source)
 Speaking of illustrations, I found one of a hat that has a purple ribbon like my design. Or maybe it's pink, it's difficult to tell.
Magasin Des Modes Nouvelles, 1786 (source)
I'm going to make the roses out of white silk using this tutorial.
Here are the leaves. They are made of silk scraps from the petticoat for the green ensemble.
The leaves are roughly the same size and shape as the end of a thumb.
I wrapped them around the ends of the wire stems with lots of thread.

Then I braided the stems together and wrapped them in more thread.
All done wrapping.
The threads were difficult to tie off and were in danger of unwrapping. I melted some beeswax on the stove and painted it onto the threads to make them stay.
The mussel tin I melted the wax in, a brush, and 3 leaves with recently waxed stems.
It was surprisingly difficult to get the wax to sink in.

And that's all I have done so far. Just the brim and one sprig of leaves. I keep underestimating the time that these things take. The Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge rules say that you can post about your project anytime in the fortnight after it's due, so I've still got a while to finish it and post about it.
Once school is over I will have a lot more time to spend on sewing, perhaps it will be easier to keep up with the challenge then.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Plans for a silly hat

The 7th HSF challenge, Accessorize, is due on the 8th of this month. I have nothing to wear on my head with the 1780s outfit that I'm working on, and it will be a while before construction of the black hat can proceed. So I'm going to make a puffy topped lampshade hat. It's ridiculous size should go well with the exaggerated shape created by the bum pillow.
Journal de luxus, 1789 (source)
 The one on the left is my main inspiration picture.
Here is a paper mockup of my pattern so far.

 It's not quite right yet. The brim isn't tapered at the right angle and the top part should be a bit bigger. At first I thought the shape was completely wrong, but then I realized that the flowers and large puffy bow make the hat band look wider than it actually is.
The approximate edges of the hat structure.
 I think the paper mockup looks relatively decent on me. While the extra wide hat band doesn't fit on my head, it sits quite nicely on top of this large and hastily put together hairdo.

From the front.

From an angle.
 Since the only stiffening material I have is that unidentified mesh, my plan for stiffening the brim is to cut two layers of that, sew them together and put a piece of thin wicker around the outer edge. This is a softer looking style of hat, so it should work. The gathered white fabric around the brim will hide the meshy texture better than a smooth fabric covering would.
For the hat band I have a narrow strip of what I think is heavy buckram.