Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Makeover Dolphin Dance Outfit

The past few weeks have been so full, so guys, I think I'm going to have to accept the fact that over the summer I won't be sewing nearly as much as I was earlier this year. I keep thinking "today I'll sew!" But I never do. I haven't really been inspired to sew lately, either. Our reenacting wardrobes are okay for now and nothing pressing is coming up.

Yes, she picks out her clothes herself. I would never have guessed
just how beautiful hot pink and black plaid is with a fuzzy black leopard
print vest with black vinyl frog closures. 

I did take about an hour lately to remake a few things I've had sitting around. For starters, I've had this. . .thing. . .for over a year. It was given to me with a bunch of other things when my neighbor moved away a while ago and I thought I could make it into some sort of Halloween costume. Yeah. . .no. But the quality of the fabric, the construction and the fit were all great! So I held onto it. 

It was a good candidate for a remake! Now, don't laugh but over the last year I've started to really get into belly dance. At first it was just a fun little break for the days I do not work out with a kettlebell but now I love it for itself; it's so relaxing, liberating and just a beautiful celebration of being a woman. It has really benefited me physically and mentally. I sure know I needed a pick up after recovering from my last c section and this has provided that and more. And the black bodysuit of perpetual ugliness was destined to become a belly dance outfit. 

It was so easy and quick. The top was just cut off below the bust. The blingy edges of the slit bell bottom pants I sewed into a band for under the bust. Once the band was attached I put 2 hooks at the back to close it and done!

The skirt is so fun. I found this large purple scarf at the peddlers mall. It is printed with dolphins and has fringe at the edges. Love!!! To make the skirt I folded it into quarters, cut an oval for the waist opening the same circumference as my hips and added a stretchy black fold-over waistband cut from one of the legs of the bodysuit. Since I sewed the stretchy waistband to the skirt with a zig zag stitch I didn't even have to finish any seams. And since the scarf is already finished on the edges, no hemming either!

My little fashion designer artistically sticks pins into the
mannequins rear end. After each one is inserted: "I DID IT!"

For dance use I have another scarf bought at the same peddlers mall striped in black, purple and white. It's not as blingy and jingly as other hip scarves but I like it's subdued hue very much. 

A long process of learning to celebrate myself, c section scars, stretch marks and poison
ivy patches and all!. Well, maybe not the poison ivy. 

I will probably use the skirt for modern wear as well. Because, dolphins! I should make a few more of these scarf skirts. But now I'm running out of time to even write this blog post. Summer is here! 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Dress of Yellow Lawn

I made up the yellow lawn I got earlier this year in anticipation of this summers Gettysburg trip, as well as for something relaxing to do after the 1940's experiment. (Love the vintage styles but it is SO FAR out of my comfort zone!) 

This dress went together so quietly and easily. Really no problems whatsoever and I was surprised when I realized that yes, wow, it's done and wearable. That was easy. I didn't even have to think about it. I guess that is one good thing about sticking with this time period for over 15 years. Construction gets easier. I know if I try vintage style again it will eventually become easier. But this was a nice project to relax with before I tackle something new again. 

This dress is inspired by the popular Peachtree Mercantile Dress Pattern as well as a few original gowns, including one in Costume in Detail, that have the bodice with gathering at the shoulders and waist. While the Peachtree dress has only a partial lining that goes under the arms, I made my dress with a half high lining so it can be worn without a corset cover. Since my material is so light and rather sheer I don't want my corset showing through. 

The lining is of white cotton recycled from a thrifted sheet. The hem and waistband facings are from the same sheet. 

To keep things simple for myself I made the bodice and lining as one, except for the lining neckline and darts. The lining is attached to the outer bodice at the side seams, shoulder seams and the waistline. To create the extra width for the gathered shoulders I slashed up my basic bodice pattern through the dart lines, spread the pattern pieces apart an inch or two, and redrew the shape. Then the extra just gets gathered back to the original lines of the pattern at the shoulders and waist. Easy.

The outer bodice has no fastenings and is pinned shut at the base of the V neckline. For these pictures I just used a straight pin; a brooch could work but the one I have is too heavy for this material. So a straight pin is fine. The lining closes with hook and eyes and the skirt has a dogleg closure. 

The skirt is cartridge pleated and it was convenient to use the checks as spacing guides for the pleating stitches. They came out fairly large, so the pleats are softer and bigger than on previous dresses. I still like it. It adds to the overall loose, airy feel of the gown. 

The sleeves are full bias sleeves with a little bias ruffle at the top to help conceal the chemise sleeve worn beneath. They hook closed at the wrist. These sleeves are SO COOL. They catch the slightest breeze. 

Despite all the good things about this dress I still am not sure if I like it. I mean, it's pretty and it's lightweight but it's definitely not my favorite dress. Maybe it's the color? From a distance this dress looks like a pale blob and I guess I've grown to prefer dresses with very sharp, defined patterns. But the paleness goes with the style, maybe. It will be good for summer and very comfortable in the heat. I'll wear it. But I'm still not sure if I like it yet. Definitely not in love with it. 

I had the chance to wear this dress at Camp Dennison, which was the site of a training camp and hospital during the Civil War. Though most of the buildings are gone now there are still a few remnants of this interesting history there and close by is a small cemetery. The particular home in these photos, the Walschmidt Homestead, was built in 1804 and was used as headquarters by General Joshua Bates. 

For fun, here are some edited photos I have been experimenting with in Photoshop. While I definitely need more practice I was so excited to get these pictures looking a little more like real period images!

Hope you all are having a blessed June! Much love!