Monday, September 19, 2016

Customer Photos: Union Regimental Jacket!

A few weeks ago, I shared one of my custom orders from this summer: a Civil War regimental jacket, made for my fiance's younger brother. He's been in the midst of a Civil War craze, so he commissioned me (using weekly allowance money!) to make him a costume he could play in. I went all out and I was very pleased with the result... and so was he! Here's some shots of him in his new costume! 

As you can see, it's a bit big for him, but I think that's an advantage for him. He's at that age where little boys just shoot up, so having it a bit large was actually a good thing. I even included huge side seams to help let it out when needed. 

He got the cap when his family visited Gettysburg in the spring. 

And here's the brave captain with his faithful pooch! 

Interested in a regimental jacket for yourself? Let me know! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

"On English Costume"- Vintage Find!

I found this lovely little book, On English Costume, at a second hand store, and so I just had to share! 

It's a little costume guide for stagecraft, published in 1931. 

It begins with the 5th century and goes all the way into the 20th, with charming illustrations for stage costumers to get the proper "lines" for each period. 

I have to confess, though... I found a few of the illustrations very amusing. 

I mean, look at his face. 

Also, that chap has a monocle. Very dashing. 

There's even a section in the back for assuring accuracy in materials! 

It's a lovely little resource and I'm glad to have it. Hope you enjoyed taking a peek at it as much as I do myself! 

Monday, September 5, 2016

DIY Civil War Shoulder Boards!

Last week, I showed you my latest custom order- a Civil War Union Regimental Jacket! This week, I'm going to show you how I did the "shoulder boards" for the costume. 

Before I begin, however, I must note that I did not use any period-accurate construction techniques, nor did I use period-accurate materials. This tutorial is best for costumers and people who aren't as finicky about their historical accuracy. I'd recommend it to intermediate to advanced sewists. 

Materials Needed: 

-Gold metallic fabric, 1/8 yard*
-Gold metallic galloon, 2 yards*
-Gold thread to match 
-Heavy duty scissors 
-Thread clippers 

*Honestly, if you can't get a hold of fancy materials, use what you've got. It's a costume. Really. I even contemplated using felt for the base before my mother whipped out this fabulous scrap of metallic fabric. 

Metallic fabric is very thick. It will kill your nice fabric shears and your beautiful machine if you're not careful. In order to prevent such sewing room catastrophes as these, use junky scissors and put a size 12 or 14 needle in your machine. When stitching, sew slow to avoid snarls. 


I cut two pieces of the gold metallic fabric with my heavy-duty shears (seriously, they're marked "METALLIC" just for this purpose), approximately 2 1/2" by 5 1/2". Before I cut into my beautiful fabric, I cut a piece of scrap fabric and laid it over the shoulder of my already finished jacket to get a good idea of what size to make. 

I then ironed a 1/4" hem around the border of the piece in such a way that the raw edges were folded over the right side of the fabric. You'll find out why in a couple of seconds. 

Then, I zig-zagged that baby down. 

And trimmed those shaggy threads down so they wouldn't get in my way. 

Then, I pinned two pieces of galloon down to make the captain's insignia. Note: Depending on the rank your costume is made for, you may or may not have to follow this step. Adjust accordingly. Google searches for different shoulder board ranks helps a great deal

Sew those babies down. 

Here comes the tricky part- sewing the galloon around the edges. It takes a lot of patience and good deal of pinning, but it's worth it. If you can't get "mitered" corners on the trim, a simple fold-over will do. Whatever works best for you! 
 (You'll notice that the zig-zagged raw edges are concealed very neatly by the edge galloon.) 

Stitch that trim on and voila! You've got a shoulder board. Repeat again for the other side and you have it! 

I hope this tutorial was helpful! 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Custom Order: Union Regimental Jacket!

So, this custom order began with a movie. It's called Santa Fe Trail, and all you need to know about it is that Errol Flynn (yes, Robin Hood) plays a young Jeb Stuart during the Bleeding Kansas campaign just before the Civil War erupted. 

My fiance's little brother absolutely loves this movie, and after a recent visit to Gettysburg, he decided he wanted a jacket just like Jeb Stuart's. 

And here's what I came up with! 

This was one of those rare projects where everything pulls together... I had everything (yes, even the Melton wool!) on hand except the pattern. 

It was all such a joy to make... 

These shoulder boards were the crowning jewel, however. Tutorial coming soon! 

Interested in your own Civil War Regimental Jacket? Let me know! 

Monday, August 22, 2016

DIY Sketchbook Cover Upcycle

I'll admit, I've been a bit of a cheapskate lately. Over the past few months, I've done anything to get by on craft supplies and stash fabrics that I already have in the house, and to be honest, it's rather liberating. It was hard at first to get into a rigid "no spend" mentality, but now it feels like cheating when I actually do have to go out and buy a supply or two. So when I recently got into art journalling, of course I didn't go out and buy one of those fancy little watercolor sketchbooks. Naw. I upcycled one of my old ones! 

(By the by, the impetus for this upcyling came from the lovely Shealynn and her wonderful talents at, like, everything.) 

I had an obsession with Canson XL Mix Media sketchbooks while I was into graphite sketching years ago, so I had one hardly used one on hand. Of course it's not the greatest quality paper and I know I could be using something well above student grade, but you know, I'm just learning and I'd rather mess up on cheap paper than on "the good stuff". 

Now, on to the tutorial! 

-Spiral bound sketchbook or journal 
-Patterned paper 
-Solid colored paper 
-Scissors or razor-blade 
-Preferred paper glue 

-Book plate sticker
-Gold pen 

First things first, gently pull up the spiral coil and take the covers off. Careful, you don't want the rest of the sketchbook coming with them. 

Next, line up one of the covers on your patterned paper so that all but the coil holes will be covered by the paper. Cut a 1 1/2" border around the cover edge. 

Next, cut a square into the bottom two corners of the paper to make the next step easier (and more elegant looking).

Use your preferred paper glue and wet the entirety of the paper, affixing it to the cover board. Fold the border flaps and smooth to get rid of bubbles. 

Next, trim your solid-colored paper so that about 1/4" of the patterned paper is still visible around the border. Affix to the inside of the cover.

Repeat for the back cover, and you're finished! The following steps are optional for over-achievers who wish to further customize their new upcycled journal. 

Optional: I used my Pitt artist pen (best thing EVER) and filled in the area around the spiral holes on the outer cover. (You'll notice I covered the board so that the ugly blue Canson cover was facing the inside of the journal.) 

Optional: I also glued a white ribbon to the join between the paper and the spiral holes to make the transition much smoother. 

Optional: I affixed one of my favorite book plate stickers to the inside front cover for further personalization. 

And there you have it, start to finish! 

Post Script on My Patterned Paper

I just wanted to add a postscript to comment on my paper- I bought it at a marvelous little Roman journal/paper shop called Cartoleria Pantheon. They have a website, but it's very limited. One must visit their shops in Rome in order to fully appreciate the worth of this paper! 

Here's a sneak peek: 

Oh, believe me. It's heavenly. The place smells of journal leather and old ink. 

Disclaimer: I did NOT receive any of the products featured in this tutorial for free in exchange for an honest review. My promotions are personal recommendations! 

Monday, August 15, 2016

My First Big Knitted Project

I've been knitting for several years now, but I've never attempted a project bigger than a scarf or a toy. However, when one of my friends got married last year and announced that she was pregnant not long after, I was so excited that I determined to knit a blanket. Though I pinned several patterns on my knitting board, I decided on a simpler pattern because I didn't want to get into deeper water than I could handle. I bought three skeins of Hobby Lobby's own brand of yarn in a sunny yellow (which is aptly named "I Love This Yarn" because seriously, I do). I only needed two skeins, however. 

After several months of clacking my needles together during car trips and Saturday night movies, I finally got it done! 

It's definitely not perfect, but it's a start. It's also super soft, and it has a nice texture that will delight both baby and mommy. 

This whetted my taste to do more, though. I think I'll need to pick up more yarn and print out a different pattern to keep my itching hands busy! 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Exciting Costume Patterns, Part Three: Butterick!

Now for the last segment in our exciting costume pattern saga: Butterick Patterns!


Butterick has always been the best for historical patterns, thanks to designer Nancy Ferris-Thee, who has contributed many-a-pattern to their portfolio. Here are my favorites amongst their latest- click on the pics to be taken to the site!

I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for early 1900's fashion. This walking jacket and skirt are BEAUTIFUL, and I really, really want to acquire this pattern, even if all I do is stare at it. 

The accompanying menswear pattern is a lovely English-style weskit, with glorious details such as four pockets, manly lapels, and double-breasted buttons. This is a stylish vest for wear even in today's fashion world, and I might be tempted to make this for my fiance. MAYBE.

Here's the English-style coat that goes over it- just wonderful. I love it! 

Here's a 1870's-80's walking dress that is just lovely. 

Finally, one of Gertie's latest patterns reminded me of the signature dress from the 1954 film, Sabrina, which I blogged about a while back. I'm not sure if that was Gertie's intention, but I think this pattern can easily be altered to look like this classic Hepburn gown! 

That concludes my fangirling about my favorite new patterns! Have any favorites you'd like to share? I'm all ears! 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Exciting Costume Patterns, Part Two: McCall's

So, last week we talked about exciting new Simplicity patterns. This week, it's time to talk about McCall's!


McCalls has never been on top of the "great costume pattern" game (at least in my mind), but recently they've been doing their best to catch up- both on their main site and their latest branch-off, "Cosplay". Cosplay not only offers exclusive patterns by cosplayers across the globe, but it has a fantastic blog and offers classic out-of-print Butterick and McCall's patterns. 

New Patterns 

McCall's has a few new patterns that I really dig- but there's plenty more on their site (click the pics to be taken to the page)!

This is McCall's take on Rey's Jakku costume- which would need some adjustments, but otherwise it's a good base. Also, nice Uggs. 

Sith lord lovers, rejoice! Here's their dupe for Kylo Ren/Ben Solo's costume. Even if you're not a Kylo fan, this is a great base for any other Sith costume (Darths Maul, Revan, and Nihilus come to mind). 

This is definitely not a historically accurate Regency gown, but for cosplayers who are interested in something "different", it's a fun piece. As for you historical sewists, avert your eyes. 

The Vault Collection 

Like Simplicity's "print-on-demand" feature, "The Vault Collection" is a series of patterns that were once out of print but have been brought back by popular demand. Here are some of my favorite come-backs!

19-teen's sailor-esque blouse? YES PLEASE. 

Look closely... those are culottes, not a skirt! 

This has always been a classic in my book. 

Tune in next week for the last segment of the latest exciting costume patterns saga: Butterick!