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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Sabrina's LiveJournal:

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    Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015
    5:43 pm
    For your viewing pleasure
    I uploaded my pictures of the Costume Museum of Canada's exhibit of 1880s dresses onto Flickr. The album is here.

    (I have serious doubts that this skirt and bodice went together in the 1880s... ;p)
    5:37 pm
    Res gestae (translation: things accomplished)
    I put the skirt on the dressform so I can mark the hem and took pictures. And now I'm posting instead of marking the hem. :p This is my improved dress improver/ruffled bustle, the ruffled panel that gave me fits buttoned to my narrow 1910 petticoat, and the scaly Gala skirt.

    For the painted scales, I used a scalloped stencil on the bottom edge of each scale row and used Lumiere paint (a mix of metallic silver and bright gold) well diluted with water and painted with a sponge in upward sweeping strokes. I'm not totally sold on them. I think they look cool when light is shining on them and you can see that they're all shiny, but they don't look so hot in low light. I guess it's fine for the Gala. I'll change the skirt to something less mermaid-y one day, if I can find a nice brocade.
    Monday, June 1st, 2015
    9:24 pm
    Soooo... That skirt that I planned on having done last week... Yeah, still unfinished. All the scaly panels are sewn together and I figured out the pleating of the back panel today so that it fits the waistband, which I also put together today. Still needs to be attached to the waistband, hemmed, and adorned with a pleated organza flounce (which also needs to be cut out and pleated). And I had planned to have my Gala dress done by now. Ha!

    Thoughts on CoCo sewing: get the Gala dress done this month and hopefully my Regency stays, then Lost Hope fairy dress, tunic, and turban next month. If I miraculously have any time left, a 1920s one-hour dress from my lavender polka dot rayon.
    Saturday, May 30th, 2015
    8:02 pm
    Long day
    Whew! I'm tired out. I had a long day today. This is the weekend of Doors Open, when a bunch of historic sites around the city are open to the public for free tours. Places like the Legislative Buildings and the Lieutenant Governor's house, but also other random houses (and a jail!) that have been converted to offices and things. My living history society was invited to spend the day at Dalnavert House (built 1895) to add some colour. We hung out on the lawn and porch all day, playing games like croquet and the game of graces, and had a couple of displays of an early 19th century tea set and some 19th century sewing notions and tools.

    I had to get up early to dress up in my polonaise and such. I was happy to learn that I was alright wearing the corset for about 5-6 hours, but that I might want to make a Victorian one with less reduction in the future (probably for the 1867 stuff). I had lots of nice comments from people about my dress which was fun. :)

    I've also come up with a very simple hairstyle that works for this era: it's a low French braid (so that all the hair is joined into the braid as the first three strands are braided) with the end looped up and tucked/pinned under the little hole the French braid makes. I'd have a better braid loop if my hair was longer, but it gives the sort of low silhouette of the very early 1880s. I got the idea from some of the pics in Fashions of the Gilded Age Vol. 2 that have a sort of knot above a looped up braid. Mine's just a simplified version.

    I didn't get a chance to see much of the house, but what I did see was lovely. It's all restored and filled with period furniture. The Costume Museum of Canada had also put up an exhibit of 1880s dresses in one room. This sort of confused me because the house is 1890s and they have tons of 1890s stuff, but whatevs. Also a weird convo with someone from the Costume Museum. I was with another living history girl and we were looking at the dresses when the Costume Museum lady said, "Can you imagine wearing a tight corset like that?" And I said, "Yes, I'm wearing one right now." She just sort of looked at me like I was speaking gibberish or something and then said, "The waist is so tiny," pointing at the mannequin. I'm not sure if she just didn't hear me, or actually had no comprehension of what I said. It was so odd. :s

    I have lots of pictures of the dresses but am too tired to upload them right now. I also got several pictures taken of me in and around the house and I'll post those when I get them from the photographer.
    Wednesday, May 27th, 2015
    4:54 pm
    For nuranar
    I needed a break from my ruffled petticoat panel, so I thought I'd give nuranar's polonaise trim a try on a scrap of fabric. (Nothing is measured properly, just eyeballed and sloppy.) On the left is box pleats in the middle with knife pleats on the top edge. (It ws kind of difficult to do, which is why I didn't try it on the bottom edge.) On the right is knife pleats facing one way in the middle and the other way on the edges. I think the second one might be it, or close? It makes the weird V shape while keeping the centre flat.
    3:06 pm
    Argh part 2
    I got the flounce re-gathered and re-attached and ironed... But I couldn't help but notice that the flounce was too short. Wtf? Then I thought back to when I was marking the spacing as to where the flounces should go and realized that I mis-measured. So the flounce is off again. And sitting there. While I come here to whine and complain. Stupid sewing.

    And, as if sewing mishaps weren't enough, progress has also been slow today because my dog decided to throw up and I had to clean that up. Not fun.

    But things will get better. Going out to see my favourite musical, Jersey Boys, this evening! Yay!
    Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
    10:27 pm
    I was sewing my ruffly petticoat panel and was nearly done, just finished removing the gathering threads having sewn the 3 flounces to the panel, when I discovered that I had sewn the last one with the wrong side facing outward. So then I had to rip that flounce off, which would have been annoying but not terrible if I hadn't also managed to put a hole in the panel! ARGH! Luckily it was a small hole that I could mend and in a place where it will mostly be hidden, but still, super annoying. So tomorrow is redoing the work that I had to undo today, re-gathering and re-attaching the flounce. Then putting the flounce on a band and sewing the buttons and buttonholes to attach it to my petticoat.

    On the good side of things, I finished up painting the fishscales on my skirt today. Tomorrow I can iron to set the paint and assemble the skirt panels.
    Monday, May 25th, 2015
    8:29 pm
    Um yeah, no painting today
    I finished up my small bust pad, complete with buttonholes and sewing on buttons to my ruffled bustle. Not going to be able to paint today, though, because while making supper I managed to burn my thumb with hot oil and having ice off of it for any period of time longer than like 30 seconds makes it hurt, a lot. Ouch! :(

    However, I got my muslin ruffle all cut out and the flounce hems ironed. So I can sew that up this evening instead and hopefully get the painting done tomorrow. Puts a hitch in the sewing, though, because I have to wait for the paint to dry before assembling. Maybe I can cut out the silk organza for the flounce while it dries...
    11:47 am
    Painting and projects on the go
    I started painting the scales on my skirt. It's a somewhat gruelling process and it also takes way more paint than I was expecting, though I'll definitely have enough for the skirt. I got the front and back panels done on Saturday. I was painting on the floor and my back is not pleased with me. But it looks interesting and shiny, and you can definitely tell that the pattern is scales, so all good stuff. Sorry, no pics right now.

    Yesterday was a pretty busy day for me and I knew I wouldn't get enough time to do more painting (just the 2 side panels to go), so I started my extra skirt poofers. I have the bustle pad about half assembled and stuffed with fabric scraps. The muslin is washed and dried and needs cutting out and ironing before I can get to assembling it.

    I want to get these three things completely finished this week and then next week I can get to work on the train and a balayeuse.
    Friday, May 22nd, 2015
    8:36 pm
    Needing more poof
    Looking at the profile picture of myself in my polonaise, I decided that my skirts just don't have enough back poof for the era. I don't really have the time, or the inclination, to make another petticoat right now. However, I've come up with a couple of stop-gap ideas that are quick and easy: a small, flat-ish bustle pad that I can button under my ruffle bustle and a button-on back ruffle for my 1912 petticoat (which is pretty narrow). Both will be put on bands with buttonholes and the ruffle bustle and petticoat will have buttons added. This way, in the future, I can remove the bands and the buttons and the bustle pad can become its own thing and the ruffle can become a part of a new petticoat when I have more time to make one (I'm thinking a yoked petticoat). If I do machine buttonholes and keep everything very simple, should be easy to make these two things in a day. The bustle pad is already cut out and the muslin for the ruffle is in the wash right now.

    I've also ironed my sateen for my ballgown skirt and pulled out my skirt pattern. This sateen is from Joann's and doesn't have the nice sheen that the Dharma Trading sateen does, but I think it will be fine once I fancy it up with paint. I can always make a new skirt for this outfit in the future out of something nicer, like a brocade, and switch over the trim, which will be box-pleated silk organdy.
    Thursday, May 21st, 2015
    9:25 pm
    Sewing and living history
    I'm pretty much done with my print polonaise now. I got the 2 flounces sewn. I even sewed one of them on to my skirt. And then decided I was sick of this project and lazy and feeling behind schedule and needing to start on my ballgown. So I've decided to just have 1 flounce for now. If I feel like adding the other one later, I still can. Then I felt like a bad, lazy seamstress for not following through on my plan and decided I needed to find evidence of skirts with only 1 gathered flounce for this era since most seem to have at least 2 and generally more (I don't have enough fabric for more). I found one, so I can feel justified in my laziness! ;)

    This means that I can get to work on my Little Mermaid 1882 ballgown now and hopefully get it done this weekend. First up is the underskirt. I need to trace out the pieces (with pencil, thanks to atherleisure's suggestion as a substitute for my too-quickly-disappearing fabric marker) and then mark out my fish scale design. I'm going to paint the scale lines in silver paint. I got the Lumiere stuff after seeing how nicely the gold worked for bauhausfrau.

    I had my second living history event today. It was all day doing demonstrations for school kids at a local museum that used to be a convent. I was at a station showing how to card and spin wool. Now that I'm better acquainted with people, it's less stressful and more fun. We were outside and the weather was really nice. I met some new people too. And everybody acts like it's perfectly normal to dress up like it's the 1800s! (My kind of people!) I still need to find some sort of shoe that is not obviously modern, but won't bother my feet. I looked awful wearing my runners, but there was no way I was going to stand around all day in shoes that don't give proper support. My feet were tired enough afterwards as is. And one of these days I'll get an outfit made so I can return my loaner costume!

    Next living history event is on Saturday, the 30th. It's at Dalnavert House, built 1895, so no need for Regency stuff at this place. It'll be my first outing in my polonaise. There will be pictures!
    4:10 pm
    Armscyes and arm movement
    I've noticed that I don't have the greatest range of motion in my historical dresses. I can't seem to lift my arm past the shoulder. I'm pretty sure that I've read somewhere that making the armscye smaller or tighter under the arm helps increase range. I do have a bit of space in the underarm on my late Victorian bodice pattern that I could take in. What do you guys have to say on the subject of arm movement? Thanks!
    Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
    1:41 pm
    So close to being done! I got all the buttons and buttonholes finished this weekend. I wanted to have the entire thing done, but was just not disciplined enough. Since the closures are on, I was able to take pictures! The ties for bustling are all pinned. You know what's not fun? Trying on your polonaise and having pins poke you in the butt. Seriously. (Excuse the wrinkles. The skirt has been lying around unfinished for a really long time.)
    Print Polonaise Pictures PresentedCollapse )
    All that's left is sewing the bustle ties, hemming the skirt, and adding the skirt flounces.

    I'm so happy with how this has turned out. I was worried that I would have a lot of trouble with fit, but that went smoothly. The buttonhole-making wasn't too bad either. And I LOVE the buttons. They're vintage and made of real mother-of-pearl, so they're heavier and have a lovely rainbow-y shine. The only thing that bothers me, from looking at these pictures, is that it really looks like I could use another petticoat under the skirts. I have a narrow late-Edwardian style one I can use, so problem solved. :)
    Thursday, May 14th, 2015
    4:36 pm
    You asked for it!
    A picture of me sewing while on my stationary bike. ;p (I took a video for ashamanja_babu but LJ wouldn't let me upload it. Sorry, Elizabeth!)

    The things I do for you people! That's me hemming the polonaise.

    I also realized that I haven't shown any progress pics of the polonaise since my mock-up. Here's the real thing:
    More pictures behind the cutCollapse )Pictures of the insidesCollapse )
    Obviously it doesn't fit the dressform, but it does fit me. The panniers look pretty awful without the petticoat and skirt to fill them out more. But I love how the back seams look and how the collar turned out. I used this method to put on the collar, but also had the front facing sandwiched in with the collar and strip of fabric. The pleats in the back are stitched down with a herringbone stitch.
    Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
    10:53 pm
    Multi-tasking... sort of
    I figured out that I can sort of hand sew while on my stationary bike. :) I have to peddle pretty slowly and make frequent stops when getting to difficult sewing bits, but it is so much better than just sitting on the couch. I think this needs to be my new thing.
    Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
    9:36 pm
    I have a collar!
    I got the sleeves hemmed and I made a collar and edged it with my pretty cotton lace from Treadle Yard Goods. Hemming and adding lace were both hand sewing projects, so took a bit of time. I've attached the collar with a strip of fabric for a facing/edging along the neckline. It now needs sewing down, also by hand. Then I am moving on to hemming the skirts of the polonaise. The last few things are all rather time-consuming hand sewing bits: sewing down the front facing, buttonholes, buttons, and ties for bustling.

    Oh, and then I have to finally hem the underskirt and add a flounce to it. I think I have enough fabric for either one wide flounce or two narrower flounces. One flounce is sounding like less work to me, so it'll probably be that. Hoping to finish this up this week and then get started with the ball gown!
    Monday, May 11th, 2015
    9:38 pm
    Thanks for the input, everybody! I really appreciate it. I think on this one I am going with a falling collar. Although, like ashamanja_babu, I think the standing collar is more "Laura Ingalls" and I think I actually prefer the standing collar, I'm pretty sure that almost every single bustle day dress I'll be making in the future (and I have fabric for at least 2 in the stash!) will have a standing collar, plus most day dresses from 1866-1912. This may be my only chance for a bustle dress with a falling collar, so I'm going to take it!
    Sunday, May 10th, 2015
    5:48 pm
    Please help me decide, friends! Should my 1882 print polonaise have a standing collar or a falling one (like a shirt)?

    Both are correct for the period, although the standing collar is far more common. I'd use pretty much the same technique to put in the collar, so neither is more work than the other. I think both would look good, so no help there. This is why I can't decide. See my Pinterest board to see what I'm talking about.

    Also, I'm so lazy and just want this thing finished that I decided against adding cuffs and instead am just going to hem the sleeves. This is what prompted my collar indecision, because I was originally planning on having matching collar and cuffs, both trimmed with a narrow cotton lace. Now, with the plain sleeve hem, I can make plain white cuffs to tack in (which I see in tons of 1880s photos) and I can reuse the white cuffs for other things later.
    2:32 pm
    Progress is slow stuff
    I spent all day yesterday sewing. All that I really got done was the sleeves. And it wasn't that they were difficult or anything. Sewing, for me, is just something that is really slow. I had to iron all the seams, overcast several seams (shoulders, sleeves, and armscyes), sew the sleeves together, and set them. By the time I got those things done, it was time for bed. I did try it on and the fit is still looking good. The only concern is that the neck might be a little tight, but I can just cut that down a smidge.

    Today, I am hoping to get the collar and cuffs together. I need to draft them and cut them out and edge them with lace. Maybe I'll even get them attached to the polonaise? Not likely. But it's already the middle of May! I need to get this done!
    Saturday, May 9th, 2015
    1:34 am
    Polonaise progress
    I have all the big pieces together now. It just needs ironing before putting together the sleeves and adding them. Then it will be all the smaller, fiddly bits, like collar, cuffs, buttons, buttonholes, hems, and ties for bustling.

    There's also seam finishing. I'm not sure I even want to bother, but if I did, it'd be whipstitching all the seam allowances like in koshka_the_cat's antique cotton bustle dress. What do you think, friends: is it worth spending the time doing the hand work to neaten up the seam allowances, or should I just leave them so I can get on to sewing other things?
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