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FINISHED! [Oct. 15th, 2005|01:38 am]
abbysdressdiary
[mood |accomplished]

Branching Out is finished!! Going from finishing the knitting to getting it blocked out took awhile, as we have cats here, and my last attempt at blocking something overnight led to the cats screwing it up. Not willing to take the risk with my precious lace scarf, I took it and Grandpa's scarf to my parents' house, which has no indoor animals, and blocked it on their carpet.



It blocked out beautifully, and the lace pattern shows off to great effect.

That being done, I had to take it outside to take an artsy picture of it. I may actually post this photo in my DeviantArt account as textile art.



I loved the Elspeth Lavold silky wool yarn, and I'd definately use it again. Considering possibly doing a double wide branching out stole in either silky wool, or Doucer et Soie.

Now that's finished, I made a visit to the yarn store in Paris, which is a bit of a drive, and smaller than the one close by, but very cute, and the proprietress was incredibly nice. With her help, I managed to find a substitute yarn for Rowan All Season's Cotton, and promptly cast on Trelllis for my cousin Jeff's baby.



I'm doing it in Brown Sheep's Cotton Fleece, which is a cotton and merino wool blend. It's lovely to the touch, though it splits more than I'd like I haven't had too many problems with it otherwise. I've not worked with a cotton before, and I can definately tell the difference in terms of wool's natural fiber elasticity, and cotton's lack thereof. It does show the cables well despite that, and the pattern is super cute.

I'm knitting it for a little girl, and managed to find the cutest shade of butter yellow. I'm sick of giving little girls pretty pastel pink presents. And that alliteration was (mostly) unplanned. :) I'm about halfway up the back now, just past the beginning of the armscye.


~~~

On another note, though, the Vader pants had to be taken in. My brain is exploding. Gawd I'm sick of this project.
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Vader's bodysuit.... [Oct. 7th, 2005|10:09 pm]
abbysdressdiary
[mood |accomplished]
[music |Star Wars - Vader's Theme]

So, the project that has been eating my life for the past two weeks and more is finally halfway done!

My roommate John asked me to help him with his movie replica Darth Vader costume. I made a 3/4 circle cloak for him to go with it last year, and this year he's completing the outfit. And instead of shelling out $300 for a pleather bodysuit online, he ordered some pleater from Denver Fabrics and asked me to quilt it and put it together for him into a jacket and pants instead of a bodysuit.

I agreed not knowing what a total pain the project was going to be. VERY labour intensive, and tedious work. First, all pieces had to be quilted in inch apart vertial lines. I used a cotton broadcloth for the backing and some low-loft quilt batting in the middle for definition. The problem with this was, even with a walking foot on my machine, the heavier pleather top layer pulled through more slowly than the broadcloth and batting, making the back gather up sharply and the edges creep and not go to the edge of the pleather. The only solution was to cut the batting and broadcloth larger than the pleather, in sort of a 'halo' effect, and then trim any remaining excess when the quilting process was done.

I've only done the jacket so far, and let me tell you, the actual putting together was a huge huge pain. The separating zipper in the back took 4 tries to get in right. The collar took 3, and finally, like the zipper, had to be hand-basted first. A real pain in the fingers trying to get the basting through the thick layers! And then, one of the armscyes grew. I have no idea why. Both sides were cut perfectly symmetrically, as were both sleeveheads. One side fit perfectly. One side, the armscye had a whole inch and a half extra that I had to fudge. What a pain. Especially since the pleather won't tolerate any kind of ease whatsoever. Fortunately, this problem spot will be hidden underneath his armor, under cloak and cloak.

I present, picture! This will link to a larger image so you can better see the quilting.


On a different note, my branching out is done! Thank you all for your kind comments, and I'll post finished pictures as soon as it's blocked!
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Almost FO, and two WIPs [Sep. 29th, 2005|07:33 pm]
abbysdressdiary
[Tags|]
[mood |accomplished]
[music |Amy Lee - Broken]

So, I finished off Grandpa's cabled scarf, minus blocking, weaving ends and fringe. The gauge on this was so tightly knitted that it ended up taking forever! So, I pinned it out to block, to make it a little flatter, and during the night the cats got into the study and screwed it up. It's now laying in a pile until I can take it home to the 'rents and pin it to the carpet where there are no indoor animals.

Me being my ADD self, I now have two WIPs. I cast on what should have been branching out in the Modea Dea Dream yarn, but chickened out when I discovered that it's actually a compound yarn -- one strand for the lovely soft velvet that makes the bulk of the yarn, and one thin strand for the eyelash 'halo'. It's also quite slippery, and made too chicken to attempt knitting my first lace pattern with it. So, after working the first five rows in garter stitch in preparation to do branching out, but then switched to seed stitch when I decided to be a wimp. I'll work the bulk of it in seed stitch, and put a matching border in garter stitch on the end before I bind off.

This is my progress so far, before I got bored with seed stitching:


Then, on Tuesday this week, my wonderful mother and I went to the local yarn shop, where I discovered they DO carry elspeth lavold's Silky Wool!! And Mom treated me to a skein in a cranberry red color! Double YAY! So, with no more excuses, I cast on my branching out. I had to look up most of the standard increases and decreases on Stitch Guide, but it was really helpful, and although tricky, if you take time to learn the necessary stitches, branching out is really not that hard. I'm totally addicted to lace knitting now!!

One hundred rows (in two days) later, and mine looks like this:


Obviously it'll need to be blocked, but it looks great, and I'm sooo proud of myself.
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(no subject) [Aug. 27th, 2005|10:09 pm]
abbysdressdiary
[Tags|]

So, I've recently been frequenting the knitter's crack website, aka Knitty.com. Imagine my suprise to discover that people blog their knitting exploits just as much or more than people blog their sewing and garb exploits! *GASP!*

So, of course I got bitten by the bug. I'm posting it here because as an artistic endeavor of the fiber arts/textile arts persuasion, I think it goes here rather than my regular LJ, even though this is technically Abby's Dress Diary.

Anyway, sometime this past winter, I knitted up a scarf for my grandmother, to thank her for paying for my dress form. I later decided I wanted a custom-made form, out of plaster wrap, which has yet to come together, but that's immaterial. Regardless, Grammy gave me money for a form, and one day I will have one. So what do I do to thank her? This:



It's just a simple allover stockinette stitch scarf, very fast and easy, knitted with one skein of Lion Brand Fun Fur in Sorbet, I think the color is. I knitted it on US 10 needles, and with the stockinette stitch the large needles makes for a very loose, stretchy drape in the fabric. Grammy will like the pastel colors and the soft eyelash texture, and never care that it's about the most basic sort of scarf in terms of complexity, or lack thereof. You can see in the photo how I'm stretching it out between my fingers.

But then, I finished it (minus weaving the ends) and thought, "But won't Grandpa feel left out, without a scarf of his own?" So I put Grammy's away until I could start on Grandpa's. His health recently took a turn for the worse. He's out of the woods, but recovering his strength is taking forever, and has him really down in the dumps. So, I decided a scarf for the upcoming fall would be just the thing to cheer him up, and give him the motivation to get up and about so he could actually wear it once the weather turns cold.

Here's the current progress:



It would be longer, but I discovered earlier today that I had turned one of the center cables the wrong direction, three repeats back! That's more than 30 rows!!! ACK! So, I had to go frogging and rip it all out. :-( Boo hoo. I picked up a set of stitch holders earlier today at work, and I think I may take a break on that for a couple of days -- I'd been working on it really hard, hoping to finish it, but it's progressing rather slowly.

I'm knitting it with Lion Brand Wool-Ease Worsted Weight in Wheat. The color recently got discontinued for newer colors, so I got the skeins very very cheap. Can't say it's super high quality yarn, but it's nice and even, in a neutral, oatmeal color, and works well. Not itchy either, which will be good for grandpa. I'm knitting it on size 8 needles, with three cables, two wider on the outside turning left, and one narrower in the center turning right. The smaller needles and gauge of yarn means that the knitting is quite dense, and it'll need to be blocked when I get done to take care of the way the edges curl. It's quite wide, as well, which means that it's not progressing nearly so fast as grammy's.

Here's a closeup:



You can see the cabling pattern here, and also the stitch density. The flash at close range bleached it out a great deal, so this is taken without. The progress picture is truer to color.

So, having put away the cabling project to let the frustration cool, what do I think about doing for a break? I went to Michael's earlier, mostly because I wanted to get out of the house, and discovered they carry alot of gorgeous Moda Dea yarns, including Dream, which is a mohair-esque yarn so soft, I absolutely can't believe it's all manmade. Given the choice between it and true mohair, I'd say Dream is as soft, or softer! So, of course I had to grab two skeins in a beautiful pure white, which my camera has decided to hate:



This was taken without the flash, hence the yellow cast, because my flash turned it into a big white blob. Take my word on it, this stuff is fabulous.

So, what am I going to do with it? I've been lusting over a branching out of my very own since discovering Knitty, and since gauge isn't crucial for this pattern, the Dream may just suit! I've never tried anything more advanced than cabling, and I'd like to give this lace pattern a try. We'll see how it goes, I guess. Wish me luck!

I may or may not cast on tonight. With all my unfinished projects, I'd do better to hold off, but....!! Pretty pattern, pretty yarn! Ooooooh! Bad for the willpower!
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Halloween Costume thoughts [Aug. 23rd, 2005|11:50 pm]
abbysdressdiary
[Tags|]

So, I realize that Halloween is two months and a bit away, but if I'm going to make my costume, I need to be deciding what I'm going to be soon. I don't want to do last year's sewing marathon again -- it really burnt me out.

But I've got about 5 different options, and I'm having trouble deciding.

1) White ANH Princess Leia gown. Same thing as I wore last year. Pros: Wore it last year, so no real work to do on it. Cons: Wore it last year.

2) Princess Leia's scoop-neck celebration gown from the medal scene at the end of ANH. Pros: I started this last year, but didn't get it finished in time. Fabric is already bought. Cons: I might be Princess Leia-d out.

3) Eowyn's white gown. Pros: I have all the fabric from an incomplete model garment I was supposed to make for Hancock's. Also, I'll match Andrea, who's going as the Witch King. Cons: The fabric and pattern were a bitch to work with, which is why this was never completed, and sits forelornly in a bin somewhere.

4) Nerys Ada'in, Jedi padawan. The Jedi character I designed. I've worked out her tunic designs already, and have aquaired one of four necessary fabrics. John just finished building me a lightsaber. Pros: Will match John (he's doing Vader again), and I'll have a Jedi costume lying around to wear to cons and such. Cons: Alot of fabric still needs to be purchased, so more expensive. Also, 3 layers of undertunics, plus big Jedi robe = lots of sewing.

5) One of two of Padme's gowns from AOTC. Either the light blue Tatooine midriff gown, or the blue family gown that was cut from the movie. Pros: They're both cool costumes, and could be done with relatively cheap costs. Cons: They'd require patterns drafted almost completely from scratch, especially complicated in the case of the family gown. Check out the back of the gown. Padme's on the far right.

6) The one that hit on me at work, and won't leave me alone: Phedre no Delaunay de Montreve, from Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy trilogy of novels. She's half courtesan, half spy, and a really awesome heroine. Not because she's a fighter, or stupendous at anything, but because she's smart, knows how to combine her brains and beauty, and because she never takes the easy way out, when it comes to doing the right thing.

Here's the gown I would make, from a masquerade scene in the second book: Phedre's Longest Night dress. It's made of red silk jersey in the book, is a backless halter, accessorized only with a black half-veil over her eyes, and ribbons on her wrists. We have the perfect color of fabric for it at work, a changeable red/black fancy fabric. Such color, described as 'blood spilled by starlight', could only be worn by anguissettes like Phedre herself.

Pros: Simple to accessorize, I'd only have to make the dress, which wouldn't be too costly, and have my roommates paint her tattoo onto my back with paint or marker. Also, Phedre looks very like me: brown, naturally curly hair in an updo, fair skin, petite and curvy. The dress could actually be reused for a slightly daring formal gown.

Cons: I'd have to draft the pattern from a commercial halter, none of which go low enough in back. I'd have to buy all the fabric. And I don't relish spending the whole night explaining who I am to people who have no clue.


Please, please, leave a comment and help me choose.
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Hehehe [Aug. 21st, 2005|10:32 pm]
abbysdressdiary
You scored as Court. You belong in Court. You can sew like nobody's buisness, you believe in historical accuracy (of *course* you're not hot in that - ahem), and when it comes to seed beading, you are not only obsessed, you're slightly masochistic.

</td>

Court

100%

Bella Donnas

94%

Kids Kingdom

25%

Fantasticals

25%

Fight Cast

19%

Which Bristol Rennaisance Faire cast would you fit in with?
created with QuizFarm.com


This is SO me. I'm SUCH a garb Nazi, and I love to make Noble Garb. I'd kill to be part of the court at a faire.

Actual subject update coming later.
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Found it! [Jul. 21st, 2005|03:32 pm]
abbysdressdiary
I knew I'd run across the link sometime soon!

I got my patterns for both chemise and drawers at Elizabeth Stuart Clark. They're both very easy patterns to draft, as you are just applying your own measurements to rectangular and trapezoidal shades, but I have a few suggestions for each.

For the CHEMISE:
1) The sleeve is cut on a fold, with the folded edge being the one that runs vertically down the outside of your arm. That means that your bicep measurment, the one that determines the size of the sleeve opening edge, needs to be halved, since the fold will double it otherwise. It doesn't tell you this in the directions.

2) You need to hem the bottom of the sleeve before you flat-fell the underarm seam closed. Also, not mentioned in the directions.

For the DRAWERS:

The major problem I had with the drawers was length. I added 4 inches for tucks to the length, plus 2 for the hem at the bottom. The pattern drafting tapers from a very wide, rectangular crotch and thigh area down to a narrower rectangular calf area. The pattern allows for the tuck length (each tuck takes 1 inch of fabric) at the bottom to take place on a square section, but does not tell you to allow this square section to be long enough to accomodate the space in BETWEEN the tucks. Thus, to get my tucks to all be straight and flat, with no gathering, I had to leave off one tuck, and make my hem smaller. This is what made the drawers so long initially, and also why I think the bottom pulls a little strangely instead of hanging straight.


This errors, in hindsight, are very easily corrected, and I will use these patterns again! Just chalk the first time up to the trial run.

I will eventually make a hoop and corset for this gown, though the first time through I'll just wear it with stays. Victorian-era corsets, though intimidate me. Does anyone have any good sites or patterns they have used, and would recommend? I would like more of a true, hour-glassy shape than you can get from fabric store commerical patterns like Butterick or Simplicity.
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Civil War Undies, yay! [Jul. 18th, 2005|11:47 pm]
abbysdressdiary
[mood |accomplished]

As promised, I finally present to you, CIVIL WAR UNDIES!



We have here, a chemise and a pair of split drawers in white cotton muslin. I got the pattern online and drafted it to my measurements, but CRAP if I didn't forget what the link is. If I find it, I'll update you with the info in another entry. There were a few problems with the pattern for each that I'd like to detail eventually for the help of fellow people.

I ended up having to take up the drawers as the pattern made them too long, and that necessitated also taking out the crotch, so it didn't dig in. But it all seems to be fine now. Both drawers and chemise body are simply gathered into a waist or neck band. The chemise is decorated with some cotton eyelet lace with a lavender sating ribbon threaded through. The drawers have three tucks, and some cotton cluny lace that looks big enough to be hand done, but probably isn't. I labeled it Close Enough.

Here's a detail shot of the drawers:



There are three tucks, each a half inch in size. They are functional tucks, as they would have been in period, meaning they can be taken out if I ever need extra length in the drawers (not likely!). The blue marks are my fabric marker, which needs to be washed out.

Also, I changed my orignal fabric from this linen blend plaid:



to this lightweight, somewhat sheer, 100% floral print cotton:



The cotton print is lighterweight and lighter in color, which equals much cooler in summer heat. :-) Also, the extant dress I'm working from was made from a sheer cotton with a small, allover floral print, so this is as close to the original as it is possible to get. The original had small, narrow dotted trim around the neck opening and horseshoe-shaped sleeve cuffs, and that small dotted grossgrain trim I found shown in the picture matches well, and makes that detail close to the original, as there was no hope of ever finding matching trim for the plaid.

Next, I shall finish the STAYS!
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Short little Venetian update [Jul. 18th, 2005|05:44 pm]
abbysdressdiary
Well, with everything so crazy in the few days before the faire, I never got to post much updates on the Venetian gown, as it's STILL not done. But, faire being past, I put it aside so I could have a bit of a break and work on something different. Hence the beginnings of my Civil War gown.

I actually have the Civil War undies done, and I WILL post pictures of them later tonight. I just have to get one of my roommates to take a picture of me in them.
But, in the meantime I have this tiny Venetian update that readers can help me with. I picked out two choices for buttons to decorate where my sleeves attach to the shoulders at the paned tops. I can't decide between the two:



So, leave a comment and VOTE! White round, or blue oval??
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Entree into a new period! [Jun. 16th, 2005|12:33 am]
abbysdressdiary
[mood |excitedexcited]

I've made my first foray into the new area of Civil War era costuming. (For all you non-Americans, you'd think of it as 1860's Victorian.) There's a local reenactment that I'm going to, and also a state faire with the possibility of earning some prizes.

I've taken some step-by-steps, but I'm running on a time crunch, so for now, until the weekend is over, I'll just post quick snapshots of finished pieces.

Behold, my chemise!



In white cotton muslin, with eyelet lace at the neckline, beaded with a lavender ribbon.

All seams are flat-felled. You don't see French seams in this era in undergarments, as the little flap created would chafe underneath a tight-fitting corset.

It looks slightly top-heavy, but my roommate was sitting down on the couch when she shot this picture. It's a little long, but I haven't hemmed it yet.


Next:

DRAWERS and STAYS!
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