Sunday, October 28, 2007

1854 Girl's Dress

For Molly's 13th birthday, I made her an outfit fashioned after the American Girl doll, "Kirsten." Some friends (you know who you are; thankyou again!!) =) lent us some patterns for a dress along with patterns for a petticoat & pantaloons.

With snippets of time here and there, along with using the day hours when she was away at school, I locked myself away in the sewing room to sew and this is what became of it:

Saturday, October 27, 2007

North & South

Based from another work by Elizabeth Gaskell, this work I believe was dated around 1850.

Thanks to a friend who loaned us North & South, we girls watched this 4 hour film last night since our youngest sister had a bunch of friends over for a sleep over. For a review of the film, you may enjoy this link.

North & South is quite different than Jane Austen films, or even Wives and Daughters that was written by Elizabeth Gaskell. I think maybe because the time period is closer to the Civil War era. It did seem to have a hints of a similar story line to Pride and Prejudice however.

Do I need to even mention that the gowns of there were scrumptious?! I loved them! =) I am now online to search for dress and gown patterns from this era. Don't be surprised if I make a couple.

I also found it interesting that the woman who played as Margaret Hale looks surprisingly like a young woman we know who just got married last month, and also like Elizabeth Botkin. What do you think?

After watching so many films of late that were filmed in England, I am wishing that I could talk English like that. I should learnsometime, since after all, we are predominately English.

There, you all even got a little family history in with this post! =)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Topic of Discussion: Interfacings

After receiving a comment/question about interfacing's, I thought I'd make a blogpost about it.

First of all, what is the difference between interfacing and facing?

We call the "white stuff" you glue on or sew on, to stiffen an area, "interfacing" and we also call the little pieces you attach to a bodice neckline "front interfacing" and "back interfacing." =) Maybe that is normal or we're just a little confused here.

And to answer your question, Alexandrea, a "rule" I go by in my own sewing, ie, for myself: "If I can do without, I won't do it."

I generally don't use interfacing, ie. in this case "the white stuff" (even though the pattern calls for it). Now if the fabric I was sewing with was lightweight, I may consider doing a strip where I'd be doing the buttons-holes to give them some strength, but other than that, I wouldn't use it.

For instance, a dress that I'm working on called for "the white stuff" on the neckline interfacing's, on a button belt, and maybe in a couple other places, but since the fabric I am using is already on the "sturdy" side, my thinking is, "why use it?" =)

So do you (my readers who sew) use interfacing?

Monday, October 22, 2007

How I began to sew

Among my relatives and family, it is always fun to hear of how they began to sew, and how young (or old!) they were, and who it was that taught them. In my case however, it wasn't my mother who taught me. In fact, she doesn't sew at all. Grandma (her mother) was rather low on patience with Mama when Mama was still at home. Despite not knowing how to sew, my mother has many other wonderful qualities, especially spiritually, in which I look up to her and admire in her.

When Erin and I were young (11 and 9 maybe?), she wanted us to learn, and Erin being the oldest, she had a homeschooling mother teacher her at her home through a sewing camp. I picked up a little interest in it but only because Erin was learning. So in exchange for Mama watching this lady's youngest daughter, I was able to attend 4 sewing classes. Through those, I learned how to thread the machine (it took me probably a half hour or more to be able to thread it from start to finish!) to use a simple stitch, and the "back-stitch." From there, I made a drawstring bag, and a pair of shorts from those classes. Don't faint; this was before we learned about modesty! =)

It was years later when I was around 12 or so, that because of the American Girl doll dresses in the catalog were so expensive and "Kirsten" was wearing her dresses out, I decided to pull out the old Kenmore machine of Mama's, and make some elastic-waisted skirts for her. It took several skirts for me to realize that I need more fabric than what her waist measured, in order for it to fit.

Once that concept sunk in, from there, I began making doll dresses and clothes for my dolls and my sister's dolls. When I went to sewing clothes for people, I found it to be SO easy since all the seams were so much larger than the dolls. However I have never found making doll clothes difficult at all, just because that is what I started on.

In fact, some of you may remember way before Erin and I started "A Joyful Handmaiden" of making modest apparel for women and girls, I had a small but thriving business of sell doll dresses! I even made up a small catalog and sent out a new one to customers anywhere from 2 to 4 times a year.

Just a couples weeks ago I pulled out my old patterns and my large bin of fabric scraps to make some for the doll that belongs to my sister Molly, and to sell some on ebay; I hope to list them in a couple weeks. In fact, Molly's birthday is this Sunday, and I am working on a surprise dress for her (thanks to some dear friends who are loaning me some American Girl dress patterns for girls!) so that she can match her doll, and so stay tuned for pictures later this week.

Edit: Wow, I rambled on quite a bit. It must be the longest post I've written yet! ::grins::

Friday, October 19, 2007

Netherfield Ball Gown

Ah yes, this has been what I have been working on this week. For months now I have had this ivory silk duponi fabric sitting on my table. I have been scared to sew it for two reasons: one being, the fabric nearly cost an arm and a leg, and second, what if I ruined it in the process of making a gown? But with violin lessons coming up next month, and needing the finances for them (after not having the money for lessons this month), I decided to be brave and sew it up.

Surprsingly, sewing with 100% silk is not at all difficult, although there were a few times I was afraid it would unravel before I could get the serger to the newly sewed seams!

So within a week or so, I hope to list this Regency gown that was made with inspiration from Lizzie's Netherfield ball gown on the A&E Pride and Prejudice, a green velvet spencer jacket, and stays up on ebay. I already have a couple things up there now, and have hopes that the upcoming items will sell well before the end of the month.

EDIT: I have decided to list the items as I finish them, and so here be the listing for this gown.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And we have a winner!

It was a slow turn out this time; just 22 entries, but thanks to the site, we have a winner out of the 22 that entered!

Our winner is: Jennifer Buckley!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Apron Giveaway

Is is that time of year where our western sky seems to be at its most vivid blue color. White clouds are scattered across the blue sky, while down below the gardens finish producing the year's harvest (in our case: tomatoes!) and trees begin to show their autumn colors of golden yellow, rustic orange, and copper reds.

This evening, clouds are decending from off the mountains bringing rain (we hope!) and cool weather. It is currently 56 degrees and I think we'll be anticipating a much cooler night tonight.

With all of these things, I always get in a mood for baking delightful treats in the kitchen such as my favorite homemade bread recipe, a coffee cake, or apple crisp.

Are you getting inspired? If not, perhaps this apron will help! =)

Yes, I have decided to offer one more apron for a giveaway (more will be made to sell on ebay) this year. I made the apron from a vintage late 60's apron pattern and the fabric was found at an flea market/antique store that looked sort of like a 60's to 70's fabric.

To enter: Please e-mail us your name and mailing address and you'll be automatically added into the drawing.

To find out who won: Make sure you are in by noon (MST) on Wednesday and we'll anounce the winner of the apron sometime shortly after we do a random drawing!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

If I had money growing on tree's...

Yesterday while browsing around on ebay for some American Girl stuff for my youngest sister who is all of a sudden interested in dolls and so forth, I came across this listing.

At nearly 23½, I suppose it may be ridiculous, but my love for historical, old-fashioned things cannot be helped. =) Anyway, I wouldn't have an occasion to wear it, but it is still very pretty and fun to look at and get ideas from.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Crystal's giveaway: Wow!!

Whoa, I am excited for this giveway that Crystal is hosting over on her blog. Especially since we can enter twice and she has 10 of them to giveaway!! What is it? Go over there to find out! =)

A quick hint for you: it's a book that looks like it will be especially encouraging for wives and mothers. And while I wouldn't fit in that description yet, I AM closer to it than I was a couple years go. =D

And for a heads up, I'll be hosting another giveaway myself, in the not to distant future. Perhaps this will give you a clue. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 05, 2007

A step back about 200 years ago...

...there was an era known as the Regency Era. With nearly everything being charming and agreeable, especially the delectable gowns and dresses.

This is my favorite era to sew for, and this ensemble is "a keeper" after sewing many to sell. No, it's not extravagant silk and lace, but made out of a lovely floral stripe light cotton for a day dress and cotton "unmentionables."

It is all finished, but for the hem and I wanted to try it on so that I would know how much to hem up. Molly took the pictures of me wearing it despite barefeet, wearing a watch, and doing nothing with my hair.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Of Corsetry and Hand-stitching

::clears her throat::

For any guys reading the blog, you all can scoot on out of here as I doubt you'll find this post interesting. For one thing, I think I would find it quite amusing if any gentleman was reading a sewing blog ... but anyway, that's besides the point.

::resumes to original post::

This week I decided to have another go of sewing some Regency stays. I made some about six months ago, and while I was pleased with how they turned out, I didn't really want to keep the stays for myself.

This time around, I only used two layers of fabric, instead of three like the pattern suggests (previously I used 3 layers of twill and I think it was so thick that it wasn't really supporting anything despite using 10 bones) and used some white twill for the lining, and some white-stripe cotton shirting left over from a Regency gown, for the outer layer. I sort of cheated and used store-bought bias rather than making my own out of my dress material; instead of using eyelets I did button-holes, and as last time, I used plastic boning from JoAnn's instead of the recommended steel boning that I'd have to order off line.

Needless to say, the stays turned out really well, and they fit wonderfully! =) I couldn't ask for anything better. I then was looking forward to start working on a Regency dress (maybe for myself this time?) that requires proper undergarments. After being inspired by Rachel's lovely hand-stitching on her beautiful Colonial ensemble, I decided to try hand stitching the fabric casing down around the neckline. I must confess that it took me a couple of hours (partly because I was watching Pride & Prejudice and partly because I've never done hand stitching on a garment before) this afternoon to go around the neckline. ...I wondered many times why I chose to do it by hand, but it turned out in the end and it did the job. =) I'll use my machine and serger for the inside seams, and do hand stitching for the rest. We'll see how the rest of the dress turns out!

Who else sews by hand? Do you find yourself getting faster?