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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sewing for the theatre. 1916 costumes

So yesterday I took my three daughters and my mom to the LA fabric district to buy fabric for the costumes for The Elephant's Graveyard.. 
We had lunch at  Philippes', a Los Angeles landmark famous for it's french dip beef sandwiches, old counters and sawdust floors. 

If you are ever in downtown LA you have to go to Philippes' . LA doesn't have a lot of historic restaurants that go back to the 1930's and the baked apples and pickles are so yummy at Philippe's

We also went to little Tokyo after and had fun shopping for groceries at the Japanese grocery store. When we got home my son and daughter made some incredible sushi! It was just as good as the restaurant. Seriously!
 I was lucky enough on our trip downtown to find almost all of my fabric at the FIDM scholarship store for only a dollar a yard. This was great news to me as I have only been given a three hundred dollar budget to pay for the material for the play. Our theatre doesn't have much in the costume shop from this period so I am going to have to sew a lot of them.
Since last night I have been sewing up a storm and have been making good progress on my first three costumes
1.The ballet / circus showgirl
2. The town marshall
3.The town's dreary and judgemental old woman. Every town has to have at least one of those.
Here are my inspirational photos and the progress I have made on the costumes.

The Ballet Girl

I'm done draping the top and need to sew together a muslin for the fitting tonight still. Looking at the back now, I think I will change the back lines, I found a beautiful periwinkle blue silk charmeuse for this design and I am trimming it with gold fringe and a feathered headpiece.

The town woman :

So far I drafted the skirt, sewed it and inserted the zipper. The skirts from that period are simple a line skirts which are very simple to draft. I drafted and sewed this in less than an hour. Pat on back.
The Policeman

I hope you aren't too shocked by this photo of police brutality inflicted on a striker in the 1910's worker riots in Chicago. But these coat photos are great! My character in the play won't really look like this as he is a town marshall in the south. I will keep his coat single breasted and not have all the brass buttons. He will perhaps wear a cowboy hat .
The director doesn't want the cop look even though I would have loved to make it.
Here is what I'm making instead.

This pattern is a little too late 1800's so I will maybe raise the lapel and shorten the coat.
The welt pocket needs to be inserted still. Welt pockets terrify me.

The coat is all put together except the collar and facings. First, I have to see how it fits the actor before I add those in case the fit needs alteration.

Unlined but inner lined coat interior.
Coat construction notes:
When making theatre costumes I don't recommend lining coats. It is a real problem to remove the lining if someone in the future needs to alter the coat for a future production. But without a lining a coat can look flimsy and too unstructured. The coat I am making is supposed to be from the early 1900's and if you have ever looked at acoat this old you will see how stiff and structured coats were.
To create that structured look without lining a coat I recommend underling the coat with a thick flannel or twill. I cut out two identical pieces for each pattern piece. One in the outside fabric and one of innerlining cotton twill. Then I serge them both together. Serging them together finishes the seam edges and make them one pattern piece.
Then I sew the garment together but ignore the dorections for a lining.
With the underlining the jacket has a more stiff appearance but will also have the inner seams exposed so it can be easy to alter in the future.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Giveaway Tuesday: Indygo Junction Pattern

Before I get to the giveaway I have to announce my new blog design!
I have been doing my own designs since I started but felt I needed some help getting the blog to be more organized so I hired Jacquelinne from Smitten Blog Designs . She did a great job working with me to understand my concept and she also added some of her own great ideas! Now I can work more on improving my posts instead of fiddling with my blog design for hours on end. I hope you like it! I love the navigation bars up on top there.
I have a new feature here on the blog!
Giveaway Tuesday!
I will be giving away a different pattern every Tuesday so be sure and stop by to check them out on future Tuesdays.
Recently, I won a contest sponsored by Indygo Junction Patterns called the Vintage Modern Design Challenge.
I was sent lots and lots of goodies including a stash of Indygo Junction patterns which I will be sharing with you.
This week's giveaway is the cute bubble shorts, baby shoes, & hat pattern shown above.
Perfect for summer sewing!
To Enter Giveaway :
Leave a comment below.
For extra votes
 You can follow my blog by GFC, FB, Twitter, or RSS feed.
For another vote you can follow my Pinterest board.
Or you can just leave a comment if you don't want to do all that other stuff!
The giveaways will remain open all week and I will announce a winner every following Tuesday.
Good luck!
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Monday, May 28, 2012

Playday Frock

Time to go outside and play....
Pebbles are so interesting....
Those pockets are a perfect place to hide some pebbles!

I got these little flower pot buttons from Retro Nana, a supplier on Etsy. 

I made this little dress from two fabrics. The first was the hankie print I bought in Tokyo and made myself this blouse from last week :
The second fabric was a bright red gingham I had leftover from Lily's fifties 1956 pattern dress:
I soaked it in some brown dye to tone down the red and make the background match with the brown hankie print. I have used up all of this fabric now! Doesn't it feel good to clear out some stash.I wish I had bought more of that hankie fabric. I really do like it.

I got the pattern from this book above One Yard Wonders, one of my favorite project books which has so many ideas and patterns and is well worth the money. Of course, being me, I use my patterns as an outline for my own designs as I haven't gotten around to making a basic drafting block for Gigi yet. 

I used this Playday Frock dress above as my pattern base, added a longer lining underneath, and made a ruffle at the neckline. This is a great little basic pattern for simple summer dresses for girls. I may make one as a top for Lily too.
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Sew & Tell Saturday May 26

Thanks for stopping by Sew & Tell Saturday!
I hope everyone has had a great week!
I have been super busy! My son is graduating from high school tomorrow and we have a big party planned for all the kids in his class after the ceremony. He and his friends spent all morning stringing up lights outside and setting up tables and creating a party atmosphere. We are so proud of him as he has been a very good kid. He will be attending UC Berkeley next year. I think I will miss him terribly when he leaves.
I have also been working on costuming a play which takes place in 1916 in a small town in Tennessee. I have about 16 costumes to put together and most of them are for circus performers. I have been spending hours pinning old photos on my Pinterest boards and figuring out how to adapt the designs from some historic Simplicity patterns I bought. I will have to draft a few pieces from scratch as there aren't many patterns available from the 1910's. The designs are starting to come together and I can't wait to get to work. I love a big challenge like this!
Here are two featured projects from the week before last :

Blessed to be a blessing made this cute and perect for summer maxi dress. I have a maxi in the works too. Why is it people love to wear floor length dresses when it gets hot out? I don't know, but I love to too!
Can I just suggest you stop by Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty mom if you never have before? Her many sewing tutorials are so well written and you can make a lot of the dresses for adults too becaiuse they are based on measurements. She is one talented and generous crafter. As someone who writes tutorial myself, I can appreciate how much work goes into a well written sewing tutorial.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

My New Look 6913 and New Look Summer Pattern Picks

New Look 6913 View C.
I bought this hankie print fabric on my Tokyo trip and am working on a matching dress with gingham trim for Gigi. I love this hankie print voile fabric. This top will be cute with my khaki skinny cargos and my brown gladiator sandals for everyday wear.
Read below for my patterns picks and tips on working with New look patterns. New Look patterns are the budget spin off from Simplicity patterns.
New Look Patterns are usually pretty simple and straightforward. I find a lot of their patterns to be the the simple wearable types that you grab for everyday wear.
If you live near a US Joann fabric store, these patterns are all on sale this weekend, 5 for 5 dollars !

I made  View C for my top and think it's a great basic summer blouse.
When shopping for any of the commercial patterns, I would suggest you always look at the LINE DRAWINGS on the envelope. It is hard to see past the terrible fabrics on the envelopes if you don't, and you might pass up a great pattern!
My next suggestion for working with commercial patterns is always to make the pattern at least one size, or maybe even two sizes smaller than the patterns specified on the envelope for your measurements!
According to my measurements I should be wearing a size 14 in this pattern but I made it in a size 10 and it fits perfect.

Read below to see my summer pattern picks by New look:

My pick for this New Look 6122  knit dress pattern above is view A. I have to have bra friendly styles or the dress will just sit in my closet. I would make it in a tiny stripe since I am crazy about stripes. Or perhaps make my own print with some Balinese fabric stamps I bought recently? Hmmm......

For New Look 6648 I love the sleeveless version D. It is another knit pattern which is perfect for summer. View D reminds me of a top I bought at Urban Outfitters in a pretty pinkish taupe color. I wore that top to death!

I love the vintage feel of these New Look 6100 shorts. View B would be great is a drapey fabric like rayon challis. That would be very forties. View A would be cute in a light blue chambray.

I would make view E+ J+ L in New Look 6774 above in a cute blue or red seersucker for summer. I love the pockets! I would sew some cute buttons to the pockets.

I think New Look 6950 View A above would look great in a navy and blue knit stripes, giving it a fun nautical look. I would make the matching pants in navy linen.
You could sew some buttons on one shoulder and down the edges of the pockets to give it a sailor vibe.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mod Podge a Birdhouse! Spring Crafts With Kids:

My Birdhouse
Decorated and decoupaged bird houses are an easy and fun craft to do with my kids in springtime. We have lots of birds in the yard and they often use the birdhouses. 
I made my birdhouse by cutting little strips of fabric and gluing them down with Mod Podge. When they dried we painted a couple of coats of the Mod Podge on to seal the birdhouses.
You could also paint some polyurethane on the houses to make them really weather resistant.
I want to be a bird so I can live in one!

Lily's birdhouse
Lily made her house from some Amy Butler scrapbook paper we bought for 3.99$ at TJMAXX.
Hers looks very modern! 

Gigi's birdhouse
Gigi went freestyle on her little birdhouse. After meticulously painting it over and over she tore up some pieces of the paper and glued them down. She was very happy with the result!

If you don't want to hang up the birdhouses they make a cute outdoor table decoration.

These birdhouses were 3.99$ at the craft store.

Yikes, those are my Japanese tailor shears!

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