Unraveling the fabrics, lace and trims, patterns etc from the suitcase's meant jumping into a whole heap of new projects this past few months.
SKIRTS: There were a few basic shooting skirts to try and what a neat one this cowboy skeletons was to do for Belle Vaquera.
Mustang Toni's cute little layered skirt in cowboy paper dolls print kept me amused and her corset – to be done – has been cut out and pattern matched of course!
SUITS: Crossdraw Jac got his sack suit which I was over the moon with how it turned out!
This pattern was a 'size the pattern from 32″ chest 28″ waist and little instruction' type of gig. (Jack's getting one, it's 2/3rds done) I managed to work it out upsizing to a 44″ chest and was extremely pleased during the process.
Being a plaid wool, I got pattern to match! I did more research and have made the best welt pockets yet. Called on my costume resource Aspen Filly (thank you so much) and asked about pockets in trousers for the era *sigh, so they both got pockets in their dacks!
More research was done to find out about trouser lining – to the knee or long? Went with the 'to the knee' option.
In the meantime I found a snippet of information regarding the weird little pocket that was shown on the black and white drawing. It sits just above the usual coat flap pocket on the right hand side. Some would jump in and say “is it for your pocket watch?” Well, no, that usually is situated on the inside attached to the vest. It is in fact a pocket for your train ticket. This fascinated me and therefore now had to be included in the construction of the coat.
Of course with my eye for detail, how could I possibly give over this suit without getting a train ticket to go with?! Thanks to Duke Canon I asked if he could print me off a couple of 1890's tickets I'd found and Ta-dah! we now have train tickets!
QUILT: Might as well throw something totally different in the mix with a quilt to head to a friends grandson Thomas.
FROCK COAT: Getting back to another 'Thomas', as in Hell On Wheels' Thomas Durant, this coat was asked for by Jack. It was about time he got something new and I'm pleased he is looking at something different, and of a particular character. So that's what he got!
More watching of the series to get it right plus we had seen it in the exhibition at the Cowboy Museum where I had taken many photos. Patch pockets and even welted button holes. Although I'm none too keen to do those again any time soon.
Now he has the shirt to match and I have the vest cut out for him. Pants to go and I already know where he needs to go for the right hat. (I'll be in touch Linda – I know Workin' Ranch have one that is perfect for it!)
STEAMPUNK: Oh yeah! A fun fabric given to me from Singin' Sue probably 2 years ago now. Coloured cotton reels and thread print was just begging for me to attempt a steampunk styled outfit. It sort of just morphed as I was making it.
From a polonaise pattern as it hung on the mannequin, the front bodice lay open revealing the cheeky red flat lining. Hmmm my mind went into overdrive and I said to my daughter, “I think I shall have lapels and leave it to reveal the corset underneath”. Then I thought, “I don't need sleeves, how's about some cap sleeves?” She still needs some work and accoutrements but here is 'Steampunk Seamstress'.
1890's FASHION: Ahhhh the beautiful 1890's gown for Tacky Jackie. Previous feats for finding the perfect colours were achieved. It all started with a trip to a little town called Custer, South Dakota, at the foot of the Black Hills. Jackie came back with a gown she had seen in the Museum there. It just so happened that that Summer, Jack and I were headed for the same territory. One photo was not enough, I needed more and before our time in the Black Hills came to an end I was determined to find the right museum and this gown.
The last day came and we found it – mind you we had driven past it twice in the previous day's. Never mind, got in their on opening and managed to grab some more photos.
Skip forward and now it's time to reproduce this beauty, simple yet elegant in its design.
Basic skirt and bodice pattern, make scalloped caps, work out and set in silk – okay, ready for bead work.
I drew up the bead design according to the pictures, acquired the beads (even though the lady wanted to sell me pre-made trim) and set about to recreate. I had envisaged making the trim before attaching and had Dad make me up a 'rough loom' for how I thought I would do it. After attempting to do that for about half an hour I ditched that idea and went for working the beads straight onto the bodice.
Some 35 and 1/4 hours later, I got it looking like the real deal. If you look really closely there are a couple of differences but as Mum says, “a blind man on a galloping horse wouldn't notice!”
Think I can safely say Tacky Jackie is going to love it.
SALOON GIRLS: A quick little purple and gold number for me needs a little more lace that's waiting in OK. Tried out a new corset pattern – gores and me don't exactly fit. We will see how that goes when I get to finish it with steel etc.
However, the rich red satin and cotton lace number is out of this world!
No lace I could find was the right colour or the right feel so I decided that I would embark on a journey into the world of dyeing. Crazy? You bet ya! Others have done it with success, might as well have a crack at it myself.
So with Miss Curstin at my side we tried 4 different methods on some samples, making notes as we went. Thank goodness that child helped me sort through that and we had fun doing it. Another few days and I do the bulk lot, still slightly freaking out as to whether I would achieve the perfect colour. Finally washed out, set and dried I was happy with the result.
Made up the French drawers – divine!
Then it was onto the ultimate corset construction (to date)! Another new pattern to trial AND throw in power mesh that I've never used before. Of course it worked, why I doubted I could do it, I am so excited at the result.
Hand stitching the gorgeous liquorice black scallop trim and appliqués to complete this corset had taken 23hrs. It is totally divine and will be loved by her new owner.
Of course the trip wouldn't be finished without a couple more Ad Ita skirts and tops. 'Mint Slice' I called it, for Emerald and a gorgeous turquoise pallet for Trixie.
That's it! Did a few catch ups with OK Carrol and got her started again, Joyce (the mannequin) went back with her and things were getting packed up.
From the sewing desk
P.S. If you didn't get it, this is a catch up, sewing done while in Aus! I'm getting there! I'm getting here. Couple other tops and bloomers thrown in at the last minute just for good measure!!