Friday, September 28, 2012

September Regency Project - Organdy Cap

Here we are at the end of month already and again I realized that I had very little time to do my required monthly regency project. I whipped up this little cap this week so that the requirement at least will be met. I originally planned to make a short gown this month but I can easily do that next month. I think most of my sewing time this month was taken up with working on the hobbit costume as well as being sick! We are finally recovering from our violent colds that we have had all of this past week.

This cap was inspired by the Kannik's Korner pattern for a round eared cap. I am a cheapskate and will rarely buy a pattern but I will look at pictures from other patterns and try to copy the design, alas. But it is a very basic style of cap for this era and will work nicely although since I wasn't feeling well and trying to make this quickly I am unhappy with a few things about it. Namely, I think the ruffle is a bit too wide and too full, the band a bit too narrow and the crown not quite long enough from crown to nape of neck. It fits. It works. But it could have been better. I am wearing the cap here with the white stripey gown I made last spring for the Jane Austen festival and my white linen apron from June's regency project.

I never did get good finished pics of the apron so thought I would get some yesterday. I should have worn a colored gown instead of a white one, though, since its hard to see detail with white-on-white. I really like the apron though! I realize that more and more every time I put it on. It's such a useful accessory!

And excuse my horrible modern hair. I finished the cap in the late afternoon and hurriedly threw on my clothes to get a few pics when David got home from work. I didn't do my hair up at all. It's still in its modern side part and ponytail bun. (but caps cover a multitude of hair sins).

Have a wonderful weekend darlings!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Bilbo Baggins' Birthday Breakfast

It's hard to get my family to eat very early in the morning (they tend to get hungry around 9 a.m. or so), so I very rarely will make actual "breakfast", usually settling on serving a brunch type meal around 9:30 and then regular lunch around 12:30. Due to David's work schedule, we had our "breakfast" around 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Way past the proper time for breakfast, second breakfast or elevenses. But it was a good time for us since we were all very hungry by then and I think even our currently-picky 5 year old did hobbital appetite justice. 

I didn't end up making the pumpkin pie. I roasted the pumpkin for it but since I baked scones, "seed cake" and apple tart Saturday morning (plus roasting the pumpkin) I did not have time to get it done before we sat down to eat. Instead, I fried up a bowl of sliced potatoes. That was much more to David's liking anyway.

We set the table with my great-great-aunt's blue dishes and we all had tea, although Malachi refused to drink his, preferring lemonade. 

The consensus? We need to have a Bilbo Baggins' Breakfast annually and David has requested the same menu for Christmas morning. I won't argue with that.

Later that afternoon it was time to head out to the Magical Fall Festival. Since it gets dark so early now I did not get many pictures but here are some of the ones we did get. The festival was a blast and I can't wait for next year!

Merry and Pippin were two of the first people we saw!

And the handsome Boromir, who was portrayed by a gentleman from the SCA group.

Boromir and Lady Arwen.

I was delighted to meet one of the characters I most admire from the Narnian tales, Mr. Tumnus!

David visited with Queen Jadis and she kindly gave him a piece of Turkish Delight.

Here we are right before entering The Mines of Moria. Once we stepped behind this curtain we were instantly plunged into total darkness and tiny halls, having to feel our way with our hands as we groped along, only to discover dead ends and becoming very disoriented. Whispery, shivery words from Gollum hissed in our ears as we made our way out. 

Here are Peter and I, watching little David play "Toss the One Ring". 

And my handsome husband with our wee hobbit-babe. :)
I whipped up this new woolen and leather cap for David Saturday afternoon. He made a very tolerable (although tall) hobbit. I think I will make him a new shirt and waistcoat before the premiere of The Hobbit, more along the lines of the ones worn in the movie.

She was so good, sleeping for at least half of the time all bundled up in her shawl and blanket. She even tolerated a cap (oh my!). 

A few people asked me if I was carrying around a baby doll. I assured them that she was indeed a really real baby.

A wraith. 

Little David was the only one who agreed to getting his face painted. He desired a train, so the artists painted a train on one cheek and tracks on the other. He was over the moon with joy although after his face was painted he talked very oddly, not wanting to move his lips for fear of messing up the paint job. It was so funny.

Me and my baby. :)

I wish so much I had got more pictures of all the characters who were there and the different activities that went on but like I said, it got dark quite early and its hard to take photos one-handed while carrying around a babe that seems to get heavier and heavier as time goes on. The only downside to the festival was that the children (thankfully not the baby) and I were all horribly sick the next day with terrible colds. 

The next hobbit thing to look forward to is the premiere of The Hobbit! Woot! Exciting times. 


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lady Hobbit Costume ~ Finished! At Last!

We had a wonderful day yesterday celebrating the 75th anniversary of the publication of "The Hobbit"!

A friend reminded me that September 22nd is also the birthday of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins so there was extra reason to celebrate. I hope to have a post up soon about our breakfast and the Magical Fall Festival we went to last evening but in the meantime, here are some pics of the finished hobbit outfit. Note: It was really terribly windy yesterday so these didn't come out as well as I would have wished but hopefully they will do!

Oh and yes. I did my hair especially for the day by putting it up in pin curls. I learned from my mistake last year when we attended the colonial faire and so did NOT use a million pounds of pomade to make my hair stay in place. Instead, I just let it damp-dry after I showered in the morning and ran some hair oil through it (you can get it in the ethnic hair section at Wal Mart for a few dollars - I love the stuff and use it often). I coiled (around a crayola marker - hey, it was perfect!) and pinned tiny lengths of hair all over my head and then let the hair dry the rest of the way (about 4 hours or so). Here is my hair before taking the pins out:

All unpinned!

To get it really curly and wild looking it was just a (lengthy) matter of carefully pulling all the curls apart. It's quite a weird sensation to walk about and have your hair jiggle like jello, but that is what it did! Judah told me first my hair looked like it was electrocuted and then later informed me I looked like batman. (?) Maybe next time I will spring for some sleek banana curls instead?

I really like this costume. It is odd to do something that is not historical and yet not modern. I really enjoyed working on this outfit and it is definitely fun to wear! If I dared, I'd dress like this every day, I think.
But not necessarily would I do my hair like this every day. Yikes.
I may go back and add more lacing holes. These worked to keep the bodice shut but if I add more the X's will be smaller and the look will be better. I will try to do that before the premiere of The Hobbit later this year.

For the pics I have the corners of the apron tucked up into the waistband to form a pocket. My necklace is a brown flat shoestring and my copper brooch. I don't have real hobbit ears yet but my hair covered my ears anyway so it was all good.

To finish the outfit I would like to make a kerchief at some point to add a bit more coverage. I was able to nurse the baby in this without any problems but the neckline is a tad low for total comfort. I have some lightweight windowpane cotton in a sagey green color that would work well for a neckerchief.

I'm already daydreaming about making a "party" bodice in brighter colors (maybe plaid or stripey!) with a cut out "keyhole" on the bodice. Since the elements of the outfit are all separate and can be mixed n' matched there is so much you can do with just a few things! Hobbit costuming just may be slightly addicting!

Edit: 7-30-2013

Here are some new photos of the outfit, without the apron and with my baby daughter in her own hobbit dress - which is finally fitting her well 8 months after I originally made it! Hair in these photos: front hair pin curled (not brushed out or pulled apart, just messily arranged) and back hair in a low ponytail. I like this style much better!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy Hobbit Day!

I put the last stitches early this morning, people. So of course, I had to try everything on, unshowered and messy-haired as I was. And yeah, the apron is horribly wrinkled so excuse that. I'm sure we'll get tons more pics tomorrow at the festival but for now, a sneak peek!

I feel short and fat when I wear this but isn't that kind of the point? Hobbits are supposed to be.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Planning Second Breakfast

~ Apple Tart
~ Homemade Bread with Raspberry Jam
~ Cheese
~ Mushrooms and Sausage
~ Eggs (made to everyone's individual preferences)
~ Seed Cake (lemon poppyseed, since I know the children will eat it)
~ Pumpkin Pie (from our own pumpkins!)

Tea and coffee and milk should round things out quite nicely. I think we shall pass on the ale.

To top off our festivities, guess what? I found out that on the same day a nearby town will be hosting a festival that focuses on, among other magical worlds, Middle-Earth. (Narnia as well!) So we will be able to don our hobbity attire and have fun visiting with other like-minded people who enjoy the wonderful world of Tolkien. The only downside is that the festival takes place out of doors in the evening and the high is only supposed to be 60 degrees. Quite chilly, especially for little people. But I think we can manage costumes that will give a somewhat decent look, using items they have for 1860's reenacting. (short trousers, long sleeved dress shirts with rolled up sleeves, suspenders and woolen coats? That will work!) David will wear his regency breeches, shirt and waistcoat and either his green corderoy sack coat (similar in cut to some hobbit men's coats in LOTR) or his black wool frock coat.

Baby Girl looks darling in anything. But an undershirt and "jumper" (strapped petticoat from 1860's clothes) and a little coat (stripey red and white one) should keep her in appropriate look and a cap and big fluffy shawl to wrap her up in to keep night chills away will work beautifully.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More Hobbit Bodice Progress. Almost There.

Bit by bit the bodice is getting there. As of today it is *almost* done. I just need to attach the lining and bind the thing off. Maybe it will be done by tomorrow? Maybe? Hopefully. I still have no clue what I will use for a lacing cord. Maybe I will have to fall back on my old stand-by; an extra long shoelace.

After my last update, I sewed the back bodice pieces to the front bodice pieces at the sides and shoulders. The side seams are piped with the same green fabric as the center front panel. Here is the bodice all sewn together and ready for boning:

I use cable ties for almost all of my boning needs. They are cheap, local and can be cut to any length. And they work brilliantly! Here is my pile of cable ties all snipped to the right size and ready for melting:

Melting, you say? Well, I have learned (the hard way) that snipping my cable ties leaves sharp edges. The sharp edges can scratch skin in sensitive places. It also tears through labor-intensive binding jobs and can be a cause of frustration and unladylike language. So now I melt the tips of the snipped ends just til they round out and soften:

And then once they harden up again, I have a smooth, rounded edge on my cable tie bone instead of a sharp pricky edge. (and it's cool to melt things in a candle flame. Yes. It is.)

Then they just slip right into the little boning channels and there is your boning job all nicely done.

The next thing to do was to slip stitch the seam allowances to the interlining. This keeps the seams nice and flat. Because there are so many layers in the seams they were really bulky until I finally just stitched them down. The stitches are large and sloppy but they do the job and no one will ever see them once the lining is in.

Next I sewed the eyelets. I finished the back edge by sewing on a narrow strip of fabric as a facing and then made the eyelets that will lace the bodice shut.

And after that, I cut the lining and sewed it together. I decided to use the rest of the old sheet I made one of the hobbit skirts from. It works quite nicely and is a very smooth and tight fabric, which will help prevent the bodice from stretching much when it is worn. Here it is all pinned in to the bodice:

The folded under edge of the lining at the center back covers the raw edge of the facing strip. This will make it easy to take out and replace the lining if that becomes necessary. (Since I won't be wearing this often I do not foresee the need to have a replacable lining, but one never knows.)

And here it is as of now! Binding can take kinda a long time. So, I hope to be able to finish the job tomorrow. If not, at least by Saturday, which is the day we will be having Second Breakfast since hubby will be able to be home with us to share in it. ;)


Friday, September 14, 2012

Hobbit Bodice, Progress Is Made!

This little thing is coming together well! I was able to make some good progress yesterday afternoon. David was home earlier in the day than usual and the baby napped more than usual and the boys had new watercolors to paint with so. . .sewing time was achieved!

First, I traced the pattern pieces from last mock up onto brown paper. (I ALWAYS do this - I have learned the hard way to ALWAYS make paper copies of your last, nicely fitted mock up!)

Then I cut three layers for the interlining. The top layer is cut from a striped cotton pillow slip. The fabric is tightly woven and does not have much stretch so I thought it would be good to retain the shape of the pattern pieces. The middle layer is cotton batting and the bottom layer is a light cotton flannel.

The stripes on the fabric made great ready-made guides for quilting. I just stitched along the edges of each pink stripe, after first stitching the boning casing lines (one at each seam).

Instead of stitching the interlining and outer layer separately I decided to stitch them together as one layer. This way the outer layer won't shift over the interlining - it will be firmly attached at all the seam points. First, I had to decide whether or not to decorate the center front panel of the bodice. In the movie it seems a lot of  the hobbit bodices did have some sort of decorative trim on the center front panel. I decided to go with a very simple trim of some antique lace that was given to me by the lovely Natalie from A Frolic Through Time. The lace is a bit yellowed from age but I decided to just leave it that way instead of attempting to (gently) wash it. I think the "old" look of it adds to the overall Hobbity-ness.

I then laid the outer layers of fabric onto the interlining pieces and sewed the front bodice pieces together. The side bodice pieces are of dark blue wool (not quite as bright a blue as the photo makes it appear).

The seams are pressed open. After the boning is inserted into the interlining the lining will be sewn up separately and attached to the inside of the bodice. I'm still not sure what to use for lining. . .plain white linen? I have a lot of cheery bright green linen too. . .or maybe black polished cotton. . .(but that tends to bleed if it gets wet).