Sunday, September 6, 2015

3D printed dress form

So, a lot has happened since my last update. Mainly, I had a kid. That put a hitch in my sewing mojo for quite a while. I'm looking forward to getting back to sewing. To that end, I invested in a 3D printed dress form from Bits of Thread in Washington, DC.

Seriously, I'm so excited about this I can barely stand it. Now I just need to figure out when I'll have time for a new project.

Here are pictures. It does come with  a stand, but that is shipping separately.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ada Lovelace: Finished Product

I finished this project back in late July, but right afterwards life geared back up again for school. This afternoon I find myself with some free time, so here are the last of the construction photos and some of the finished product.

Finishing the Wig

Bonnie Figured out that we needed support for the side rolls
Like this!

hair wrapped around the rolls
Finished with comb, veil, and flowers
adding lace to the vaeil

I had to cut the lace in parts to handle the curves

Lace attached to the wig/comb

I had to construct it in two pieces: one sewn directly to the wig, and the other sewn to the comb

attaching the underveil to the wig


I made a test version of the sleeves. The sleeves were just a rectangle of fabric cartridge pleated at the upper edge and gathered at the elbow. I supported the pleating with a strip of batting. 
Cartridge pleats marked & stitched

I trimmed the bottom edge of the pleats with some braided trim and added some leftover lace to the gathered elbow. 

finished bodice!

helper cat

Everything together on the dressform


The gloves were a thrift store find. I sewed some trim from my grandmother's stash around the cuff. 

After doing some quick research on period shoes, I decided that ballet flats would be a close analog. I did take the sparkly bows off, though. 


I won best recreation at the Shore Leave 35 Costume Contest. It was the first contest I'd ever entered y myself. It was pretty great. The response to the costume was unexpectedly positive. Many women were thrilled to see Ada there to represent for female programmers.

Friday, July 19, 2013

More Lovelace Previews

The fun continues

tacking down the bodice pleats with running stitches
Being careful not to let the stitches show on the organza

My super talented friend, Bonnie, styling my wig for me. So good!

Intermediate wig stages

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lovelace previews

I've been blogging all afternoon, and I'm getting a little burned out, but I couldn't resist posting a few pics of my progress on the Ada Lovelace gown.

I'm trying to replicate this portrait:

The first thing to notice is that the fabric is probably shot. That is, the fabric is made of one color thread on the weft and a different color thread on the warp. That explains the pink and purple shades and dark shadows. The bright white highlights, I have concluded, have to be the artist's license. There is no way to get all four colors out of the same fabric at these intensities.

I found a brilliant silk taffeta satin for the main fabric.
While this is lovely, it's really too saturated for recreating the portrait. I hemmed, I hawed. My husband suggested using an overlayer over something sheer to damp down the colors. We looked at a white netting which was a step in the right direction, but it was nylon and I really wanted to stick with natural fibers. I kept looking and later found a silk organza that was shot with a dark teal and burgundy. I couldn't believe my luck!
With this organza overlayer muting the intensity, I feel like I've gotten as close to the portrait fabric as I am likely to get if I want to stick with natural fibers, not break the bank, and finish this thing by early August.

Here are a few shots of the project coming together. Eventually the skirt will be joined to the bodice. Right now it is all just pinned to the dress form.

The shoulders on my dress form are much wider than me. I am not concerned about the gap at the back... yet. 

Corded Petticoat (Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #15: White)

As I mentioned back in May, I'm tackling my first reproduction challenge. I am going to make an Ada Lovelace costume.

This portrait is dated circa 1838, so I needed the proper undergarments to get the right look.

I chickened out and did not attempt a late 1830's corset. I wanted to, but I also want to wear this costume in August so... I'm going to tell myself that the line achieved with a mid-Victorian corset and the line achieved with a late 1830's corset are close enough.

I decided that I really did need to make a proper petticoat to create the right shape under the skirt.

I purchased Jennifer Rosburgh's tutorial and went to town. This tutorial was well worth the purchase. The pattern is not difficult, but her input and advice on technique was very valuable.

I chose to make a two-layer petticoat and sandwich the cords into between the two layers. This allowed me to create the corded sections in one long spiral. I used cotton organdy, which I've never worked with before, and it's now my new favorite thing.

The hardest part was getting the first through third rows of cording because I had to work with the two outer layers and the seam allowance. After that it was smooth, if tedious, sailing. I used cotton yarn that was slightly less bulky than 1/8". This meant that I needed a lot of yard. I probably used about 100 yards of yarn all told.

I cannot say this enough: do not expect to finish your corded petticoat in one sitting. You will go mad.

After the organdy layer was finished, I decided that I would need an under lay to keep the organdy away from my legs. I made a (relatively) quick tucked petticoat out of some muslin and gathered them both into the same waist band. I have no idea how historically accurate this is, but I wanted to reduce bulk at the waist.

Then I starched the two layered petticoat and let it dry. Three hours of ironing later (no joke!) and the skirt would stand up by itself.

Here's some photos of the project:

I've added a little bum pad to help create the line of the skirts in the portrait. 

The second under-petticoat. 

Two petticoats in one waistline. 

It seriously stands up on it's own. For hours. Days possibly. The cat knocked this over in a cat fit of mystery fright. 

I am submitting this project for Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #15: White.

The Challenge: White has carried many connotations as a colour, from defining culture and social boundaries in Ancient Egypt (only foreigners and those connected to the afterlife wore colour), to denoting status (white was often an expensive colour to produce and maintain), to implying purity, or simply cleanliness.
For this challenge ‘white’ is defined as anything in the white family – from brightest white, through to ivory and cream and all the shades between.

Fabric: Cotton Organdy (corded overskirt), Cotton Muslin (tucked underskirt), Cotton yard
Pattern: Jennifer Rosburgh's Tutorial (available for purchase here)
Year: 1820 - 1860
Notions:  Polyester thread, approximately 150 yards of cotton yarn
How historically accurate is it? Except for the machine sewing, this it pretty dead on technique. I joined the two skirts together in one waistband, which is probably less accurate (it would cut down the reusability of both skirts in other outfits -- not very frugal). Overall: 9/10
Hours to complete: 40 hours (most of that spent sewing the yarn into casings)
First worn: Scheduled for early August
Total cost: 3 yards cotton organdy ($24), yarn ($15 - two different kinds used for no good reason), 3 yards muslin from stash ($6), thread ($1) total: $47