Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another Cloak

So the friend who requested the cloak I showed you earlier in this blog, asked for another to give as a gift to a fellow SCA enthusiast. This person likes red. But in order for the cloak not to look like Little Red Riding Hood, I needed to think of something different.
I found this beautiful tapestry fabric in the home dec section of Fashion Fabrics Club. Conveniently, it had a nice repeating pattern that was easily divide-able in straight lines. I edged it with black velvet ribbon instead of folding the edges under since the fabric ravels easily and is bulky. Dry clean only! Even though I did pre-wash the red wool melton. In the second photo of the cutting layout, it shows how I had to cheat a bit since the wool did shrink, and the pattern would not fit onto the fabric. Oh, well, it's such a large expanse of fabric I thought, it won't be noticed. Here, my son is modeling the cloak. Yes, I did make the boots that he is wearing, too, using directions from a book called The Medieval Tailor's Assistant. 

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Halloween Rush

I thought I never again would have to sew Halloween costumes, but this year there was a party we could not miss. So once again, I found myself spending hours in the sewing room. I don't mind sewing to a set of instructions, but hey, I just can't make a copycat version of a pattern.

Isa wanted to be Queen Boudica. She needed a leather armored chestplate and she also likes corsets, so I created a heavy leather corset which looked very armor-y. I used a leather needle but this leather was so thick I had to manually help the wheel on my sewing machine with just about every stitch! Luckily the seams weren't very long, but there were four of them. She also wanted a plaid cloak. The fabric arrived on the 31st, so we didn't have time to cut it into a semi-circular type cloak and it ended up being draped. The leather, which a friend gave me, is tough enough for shoe soles, and in fact, I did use it to make the boot soles for the last costume described here.

Here's my costume.

The main thing was, I got the idea that I would use up some fabric from my stash that had no other chance of emerging from the closet. I started sewing this dress on Halloween, having cut most of it the day before. I used a regular peasant-type dress pattern but cut the sleeves bigger and let them dangle instead of gathered at the wrist. I wasn't sure what it was going to be, so I asked my husband, and he said "Fortune Teller!"

Eamon is happy with just about any costume and I picked this for him. He is a big Monty Python fan. All the materials for this I had in my stash except for the pleather which was new from the Denver fabrics closeout. That darn lion applique was supposed to be ironed on with a fusible but it wouldn't stick to the nylon taffeta. I had to sew it on by hand, and no, I couldn't just pick regular thread, but a metallic thread that kept fraying! I made the boots with pleather uppers and thick leather soles. The toes weren't intended to be curled up but that's how they came out and it has a very funny effect. I had this metallic knit which I used for the sleeves. The sleeves were attached to one of his old T-shirts he wasn't wearing any more.

Next year? I guess I'll try to start earlier.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Clean and Modest

Jalie 2682 has become one of my favorite patterns. I love the sleeveless version because it has long slimming lines and does not show bra straps. Shaping is built in to the seams, so the top can have some ease around the waist and still be flattering. It also does not show large bare expanses of chest. The first top shown is made with cotton/lycra.
The top part of the front is actually a double layer of fabric. Without the zipper, it is folded over. With the zipper, it is cut in two pieces each side, and each side sandwiches the zipper. I had some reservations about the double layer with the thicker fabrics, but it actually works out well, creating a smoother layer over the bust.

In the light turquoise version, also a cotton/lycra, I added strips of leopard-print velour as trim.

I made two long-sleeved versions. One is with a print of rayon knit, which was quite stretchy. This top is so comfortable it almost feels like wearing nothing at all.

The latest one I just finished is made with Eco-wool (machine-washable) from fabricline.com. I am planning to use this as a winter running top. The fabric is not as stretchy as the rayon, of course, so I added some ease to the waist, tapering out from the underarms. However, I just discovered by looking at these photos, I should have added the ease to the underarm/bust area as well... It doesn't feel tight, though a little pull line can make it look a bit less than perfect. This version has a zipper, essential for running. I think I'll like this for just hanging out in.
Next time I'll make it in fleece!

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Welcome to my Musical Sewing Room! I have been meaning to begin my sewing blog for a long time! The problem was trying to decide what project to start with. I think you will really like this one. 

A friend who is involved in SCA had a request for a cloak. 
I looked at two patterns from Folkwear and decided on the simpler one, the Moroccan Burnoose, though I bought both cloak patterns. Black wool seemed to be the obvious choice for the outer material. The cloak has so much expanse of fabric that the color needs to be very conservative, although I read that black dye was actually very expensive in medieval times. This is a very special, skin-friendly wool boucle from fashionfabrics.com.
I lined it with rainwear fabric I had bought a few years ago from a Seattle Fabrics booth at the sewing expo in Puyallup. You guessed it--the cloak is reversible. The binding is black polyester braid. I bound the hems separately, as I sort of expected the wool layer to "grow" as it is worn, while the lining won't budge.
The clasp is from grannd.com. The cloak is sewn closed by using a piece of the binding as reinforcement, a very good design choice by the patternmakers. Before even starting this project I fussed over what to do about the closure, which has to take the stress of the whole weight of the cloak. In the movie, 300,  the cloak wearers had a leather strap to keep the cloak from riding up and strangling them in their fighting frenzy. But I don't think my friend is going to be fighting in this cloak so this type of closure is okay. The beautiful clasp is only there as decoration, so I pinched the hook closed.

Shirred Stretch Dress

Burdastyle's  Stretch Jersey Dress 08/2018 #112  is sure to be one of my all-time favorites. I'm sure I will make this over and ove...