Tag Archives: Hallowe’en

Hallowe’en 2017 II: The Aviator

Tyo’s costume this year was both simpler and more frustrating than Syo’s. Simpler in that she had it picked out early, it required making a single piece, not three or four, and I bought a marked-down twill for it so no precious or sentimental fabric was sacrificed. Frustrating mainly because Tyo didn’t prioritize the making of it, so she kept making other plans and disappearing, and I was not prepared to sew it all for her, both because she’s old enough to do it herself and also hello, fitting. But mainly the first reason.

In case you’re wondering, she’s a Top Gun pilot. I believe she went with “Goose’s granddaughter”. She bought the patches, but was unenthused by the “girl Top Gun” costumes (one was a stretch Lycra flight suit, the other was a mini-dress version). She wanted coveralls, but that fit her.

The first tricky bit was the pattern. A dig through my Burda mag stash (thank you, Zena!) turned up a few jumpsuit possibilities, but nothing that would work in my heavy twill. (Maybe not the best fabric choice, but I’d already bought it at this point.)

Next best would be a combination of a high-waisted pants and a shirt pattern. I had made her Burda 6849 in plaid flannel a few years ago, which seemed perfect, and I found a pants pattern fairly quickly in my pattern database. Unfortunately, my intermittently-meticulous pattern organization failed me, and I couldn’t find either pattern. I think I maybe lent the pants pattern to a friend a couple of years ago. I have no idea where the Burda shirt has gone. Obviously some Quality Assurance* activities are in order.

(*My day job is at a government lab and QA is an obsession to the point where it’s alternately hilarious and ridiculous.)

Anyway. Obviously plan B was in order. A further search turned up Burda 3038, above, which had all the required style elements—except that it’s a young junior size range. It goes up to a 37” hip, which is close, but, um, the drafting was definitely for a preadolescent body.

I raised the back rise a bit over an inch, doubled the size of the back darts, and added a bit of width to the hips. I should’ve added a bit more to the hips, but all in all it worked out surprisingly well. I’m not saying they fit “well” for pants, but, well, they fit!

The rise would be great as pants, but was not quite as high as I was hoping for for coveralls. But since we were on a project-runway style deadline, we made it work.

Oh yeah, deadline. Because my darling, sociable seventeen-year-old couldn’t make herself stay home long enough to work on it until the day before Hallowe’en. Aside from tracing out the patterns, this was entirely cut out and assembled on Oct. 30 between 4:00 and 11 pm. Which is well past when I need to be in bed, by the way.

Since I couldn’t find the shirt pattern, we fell back to Kwik Sew 433. Tyo had made this before for an unblogged Terry Bogard cosplay, so it was traced out and I knew it would fit. I added about 2” in length to the body, to accommodate the whole “it’s a jumpsuit now” thing. I also added a small tuck on each side of the back to make the waistband fit. It was a very small tuck—I could easily have taken the width out at the side seams or something.

And, by some miracle, it all worked. I thought maybe I added too much length at the back, but then she sat down. Less in the front might have been possible, but I don’t think it’s a problem, really.

I tried to make Tyo do most of the work, but as the evening wore on and time grew short I wound up doing more of it. So she did the cutting out, and constructed the pants (including cargo pockets!) mostly on her own, but I did all the sewing for the top except the darts. Fortunately I noticed that the KS seam allowances for the jacket/top were only 1/4” BEFORE we sewed anything at 5/8”, which would’ve been both hilarious and painful. I did manage to insert the zipper inside out.

You may have noticed the cuffs at both sleeve and pants hems. This is because both are unfinished. And yet, sometimes that’s good enough. She can finish those for next year, when it gets reworked into a ghostbusters costume.

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Hallowe’en 2017: Interview with the Steampunker

I didn’t really mean to do intense Hallowe’en costuming this year—frankly I was more excited about decorating the house (which we ended up not even doing!)

But my kids had other ideas. Fortunately for me, they’re also old enough to contribute to the process pretty significantly.

We’ll start with Syo, because that’s who got her shit together and started sewing first. She wanted to be steampunk again. Wow, clicking that link was a flashback! Actually she wanted to be a vampire, but a classy one, with glue-in fangs. She even got the fangs, except that they don’t really work with braces. So, steampunk. But every choice she made it seemed like she really would’ve rather gone vampire. After some debate she settled on wearing my red Angel Underbust corset and making a coat, skirt, and blouse.

Repeat patterns help a lot for speeding up Hallowe’en sewing. For the coat, we settled on McCall’s M6800, which I made ages ago in camo denim and lace.

I won’t lie, making this coat hurt. Not because of construction or kid-wrangling issues, but because it used up not one, not two, but three fairly “precious” fabrics in stash. Most particularly a stretch denim with flocked velvet medallion pattern that I only got two mètres of, years ago, around when Cindy of Cation Designs made a pair of pants from similar fabric. I’ve been planning to copy her shamelessly ever since.

but now I won’t be. Since 2m is not enough fabric for this pattern, we had to continue stash diving to find something compatible. Settled on a nice, beefy bottom weight cotton stretch sateen. Not as precious as the flocked denim but still a nice basic I’d hoped to turn into something practical for ME. For lining, we used the last of my precious red Kasha, (what did I say about vampire wannabe-ism?) which would hopefully make the whole thing a little more Hallowe’en-friendly (Hallowe’en here is either on the cusp of winter or in full on winter so making costumes warm is a priority).

I’m telling myself it’s ok because she loves the resulting coat and will probably wear it for lots of other things, but mostly I’m only ok with it because we’re actually the same size these days other than height so all I need to do is make some detachable cuffs from the scraps and then I could wear it.

Syo did most of the cutting out and basically all of the sewing on the shell. I directed and sewed the lining and hems. And the main hem is the main thing that we probably should redo, because I hemmed the two layers together and I shouldn’t have, but we were on a tight time schedule. So it doesn’t hang as nicely as it should. I made the buttonholes but she selected and sewed on the buttons.

The skirt(s) and blouse were much simpler and quicker. I drafted the skirt as a high-low half-circle on some black stretch velvet. And by drafted I mean, took a measuring tape and some chalk and and drew lines right on the fabric. I made a bunch of ruffle with some still-kinda-precious-to-me stretch mesh, and added various gathered bits until it started to look ok. There’s an underskirt of red mesh made much the same way, too. It was harder to let Syo help with this part, since I was flying by the seat of my pants. But it also didn’t take too long.

The blouse was both last and least. The pattern is just a peasant blouse from the late 70s, not unlike the first pattern I ever sewed. 😂 the only alteration was to shorten the sleeves a bit, though I suspect she would’ve preferred a more plunging neckline. The fabric was a remnant of black rayon twill that, again, was way too nice for a Hallowe’en costume. At least it wasn’t expensive. But rayon twill might be my new favourite fabric.

Guys, I love this costume. Like I wish it were for me grade of love. None of the snapshots really do it justice—it deserves a proper photo shoot. Someday. 😂

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Hallowe’en (Epilogue)

Y’know, that slow bit after all the exciting stuff, only read by the true fans who love the characters more than they love good storytelling? That’s kinda how I feel posting this so long after Hallowe’en, when all the excitement, and even most of the candy, is long gone.

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Regardless, because it’s my blog and I’ll blog late if want to ;), here’s some quick and not terribly organized glimpses of my Hallowe’en outfit. It’s not really a costume since I’m not actually anything in specific, but I still had a lot of fun making it and wearing it. Even if I did work the whole damn day AND evening so the only pictures I got were crappy bathroom mirror pics and staffroom selfies. I am obviously not a real “Millennial;” I suck at selfies.

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Man I miss my basement-bedsheet-photo studio! These days even if I might have time to take some decent pics it’s a gamble whether I’ll even be able to FIND my tripod, and that doesn’t even address the complete lack of any thing approaching appropriate space in our current home.

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You can’t have a circle skirt without a petticoat (ok, I can’t, anyway), so of course I had to make a crinoline. As it turned out, I had to make two—the neon green tulle one I made first was, unsurprisingly, woefully inadequate. So I pulled out the black crinoline fabric and ribbon I bought last spring to make a black petticoat, which worked really nicely, although I fear it’s more costume-grade pouf than everyday pouf. I may have to make another, not-so-fluffy one for every day wear. Which means I’ll have four crinolines to store. My husband may leave me, just so you know.

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Also, no circle skirt is complete without horsehair braid. I covered the join in a scrap of my fashion fabric, which, if you can’t tell, was an awesomely over-the-top acid-green taffeta with black spiderweb flocking. Don’t ask me why it needed to be a circle skirt, but can you really imagine it being anything else? Short of a complete eighteenth-century ballgown, anyway. That would also be awesome.

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I constructed my circle skirt EXACTLY the same as my old grey one, even using the same waist template from Elegant Musings. This is the facing for the slit I made for the not-invisible zipper.

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Of course poodles are traditional for circle skirts, but this one had to have a spider. I wish I’d had enough of my green thread to go around the applique a second time so the black edges didn’t stick out—I wasn’t really thinking about that when I bought my thread and only got an itty bitty spool. I used a supplementary (acid-green) cord of embroidery floss under the zig-zag to give it a bit of dimension, and because, ah, the manual for the Rocketeer (on which I sewed all of this) suggested it. I love the little techniques old manuals suggest. Although somehow they never mention all the massive amounts of actual skill it takes to use most of these techniques. So, y’know, your black velour fabric doesn’t stick out on the wrong side of your zigzag.

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I used a skirt hook and a thread-chain loop. We’ll pretend this was a couture touch, and not because I couldn’t find a bar to match my hook. It needs a second hook & bar, too… I confess day of I just used a safety pin. Do you see how wide that waistband is, by the way? I think it was around three inches, finished. Which pretty much brings the top of the waistband right to my underbust. Fortunately I’m fairly cylindrical in that area, so I can get away with a straight waistband rather than a contour one.

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Because I’m bored of detail shots, here’s a slightly naughty pic of my layered petticoats. You can see clearly the sheer inadequacy of the green one (sheer… snork… see what I did there? hyuk, hyuk.), but the black filled it out nicely and the green was still a nice touch of colour.

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And this eye-searing green is actually the little tank-top I made to wear under the black lace blouse. I used my brand-spanking-new walking foot to sew it, and while I don’t sew enough spandex to really compare, it sure handled it nicely. I didn’t get any actual shots of the tank-top, (I used my old pattern… the real miracle is actually that I FOUND all these old pattern pieces), without the ruching, of course, but it went together fairly nicely until I got to the straps. They are ugly. But I can always cut them off and do better at some point, I suppose, and they weren’t exactly a prominent part of the costume. I cut out bikini bottoms at the same time, should I someday wish to own an acid-green tankini.

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I decided, rather belatedly, that what the ensemble really needed to finish it off was yarn falls. Pushes it a bit into anime territory? Anyway, it only took me three different yarn shops to find what I was looking for, which turns out to be 100% wool superwash, whatever that is. It certainly was warm, and the texture was great, although a bit fluffier would’ve been nice. These are ridiculously easy to make, just cut a bunch of lengths and tie them on to a hair elastic. I’ve been trying to look up the knot I use but I can’t seem to find it…

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Oh, look, here you can actually see me edging the applique! (which I adhered with Steam-a-Seam, by the way) I forgot I took this one. I’m using the “Special Purpose Foot” on the Rocketeer, which has a little piping-hole. It seems like a really flimy, cheap little foot, but I guess it’s held up for fify-some years already, so it can’t be too bad. It worked fine, anyway.

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The blouse was made out of a spiderweb lace. This pattern, McCall’s 6467 (view D), was not the best choice. WAY too many seams, all of which had to be finished super-neatly, in this soft, floppy, annoying-to-sew lace. Of all the frilly blouse patterns I possess, why did I pick this one? *headdesk.* To make it worse, the pattern had hella crazy ease and I did not want it to be a sack on me (the way it looks on the envelope model). I made the size 8, a full two sizes smaller than usual. I went a little easy on my usual bodice shortening because of this, but apparently not easy enough because I had to cut down under the armpits to make it fit. In the end it looked fine and the sizing was about right, but it really wasn’t the best pattern for the job. And did I mention that’s a lot of annoying seams to sew in an annoying fabric?

Ah, well. Deep breaths. A week later, it’s all water under the bridge, right? It was a really fun outfit when it was all put together, and I have at least a couple of pieces that will (maybe?) be useful in the future.

Hope you had a scary Hallowe’en!

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Hallowe’en Roundup

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Actual Hallowe’en photo

Okay, why is it so hard to get good Hallowe’en photos? every year I vow that I will, and every year I end up with a couple of fuzzy shots of kids running away to the next house while trick-or-treating. >_<

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The best actual Hallowe’en picture.

Anyway, I’d say the Steampunk costumes were a success, at least as costumes. As costumes for Hallowe’en in Saskatchewan… not so much. I think the last several years in balmy southern Alberta kind of messed with my head in the Hallowe’en-costume-planning department. Note To Tanit: Saskatchewan Hallowe’en costumes should be: showing NO skin, ideally can cover a snow suit. Scarves are a bonus.

It took me the better part of a month to work up the energy to wrangle the girls back into costume (and makeup), and at this point I’m really too tired of all of it to do much introspection. Which is too bad, because there’s probably a fair bit left to say, if only about the jackets.

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Yes, so late the Christmas tree is already up.
(Note—I didn’t put the tree up.)

OK, I know you pretty much saw that one already. Anyway, prepare for pretty much a photo essay, with minimal commentary.

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Tyo, giving me crap for taking the photos so late.

Pocket watches were an important elements of the costumes.

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A long-awaited closeup of Syo’s hat

I must confess, I think Syo’s hat with the painted holly berries actually crosses the seasons nicely.

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Syo’s pocketwatch. All pocketwatches courtesy of my mother. (Without whom these costumes really wouldn’t have happened, I think.)

The tailcoats were adapted from the much-maligned McCall’s 5312.  Originally Syo didn’t want one, but it turned out the size 10 was too small for Tyo, and Syo consented to wear it (thankfully, as she would’ve been even colder than she was already without it). She’s been wearing it at least weekly since, so I think that’s a win.

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Tailcoat and monocle.

Syo requested an internal pocket for her pocketwatch. Tyo didn’t, but I should’ve included one anyway. Oops.

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Internal pocketwatch pocket.

Syo’s monocle actually turned out really cool (and had an actual magnifying lens, too). It’s made from an old earring and some kind of jeweller’s loupe. Unfortunately it spent the entire actual Hallowe’en tucked in a pocket with the pocketwatch.

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Syo with monocle

I had a lot of fun painting the jackets with black, brown, and silver. Why? Well, mostly because. Also, it was fun. I lined the jackets with this fun printed quilted lining fabric I picked up at Value Village on a whim sometime last spring—it was one of those things I really wasn’t sure I should ever have bought, since it’s right on the border between awesome (a cool print) and horrible (quilted lining is one of those things I generally loathe). However, it really came into its own here, I think—giving body to the  wimpy suiting fabric I was using for the shells, and adding much-needed warmth. Seriously, I can’t believe how long my kids wore these outside. It was -7C, -14C with the wind chill, and we were out for almost three hours, with only a couple of warm-up stops.

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Jackets. Also, I want to eat your brains. But your hat first.

My mom offloaded generously gave us a bag of old stenciling supplies a week or two before Hallowe’en, including a lovely, delicate rose stencil. I couldn’t resist adding it to the coats in a couple of places. I just used the same acrylic paint I used on the rest of the coats. I don’t particularly expect a lot from this down the road, but it served the purpose at the time.

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Painted jacket: ruffle trim and stenciled rose.

I think that’s about enough. I added length to the sleeves of the coats, and the tails, of course. I think I didn’t get the button positioning quite right, as the lapels (which I interfaced) rolled nicely but sat better before I put the buttons on.

And now, on to more recent things. I have a backlog building up, as those (few) of you following on twitter or instagram probably know already…

Of course, none of it’s been for me. *pout*

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Hallowe’en Spotlight: High Waisted Shorts

I know. This post (and the next, where I will finish up the whole Hallowe’en costume craziness) are late. Late late late. Late enough that some organized person (not me) has the freakin’ Christmas tree up. This is the post where I tell you about one more bit of Tyo’s Hallowe’en costume: her high-waisted shorts.

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Way back when, when Hallowe’en was just a misty possibility on the horizon, I doodled a costume sketch for Tyo. It included, as a bit of whimsy, a feature completely and utterly alien to children of her generation—high waisted shorts.

As an avid adopter of the low rise myself, I know for a fact Tyo’s never worn anything (pants, shorts, skirts) as high as even her bellybutton, ever, in her life. But there I was, offering to make Tyo her very first pair of high-waisted anything, ever.

Despite my doodling, I was hesitant. They won’t open like jeans you’re used to, I pointed out.

They will feel different.

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She assured me it would be fine.

I went through a lot of different thought processes—even started to draft out a pattern using Pepin. Then, when I found Butterick 7759 in a vintage size 12 (33″ hips, within an inch of Tyo’s these days), it seemed like fate.

Butterick 7759

Well, I can’t say I’d call it fate. I’m not really super-duper-enthused with Butterick 7759. Although it clearly is supposed to rise about an inch above the waist, there’s no flare-out above the waist to accomodate what (I would think) most people’s bodies do. But my biggest quibble is the shaping of the crotch—back and front are almost identical, and there’s not a whole lot of “space” created. After comparing with the fit of McCall’s 5312 (Yes, I actually used that pattern as a fit comparison!?!), I added a crotch length extension. I considered adding my usual rear rise wedge as well, but figured there would be plenty of height in the rise anyway, since the pattern was probably drafted for someone rather taller than Tyo (who hasn’t cracked five feet yet, although she’s getting perilously close.)

Pattern pieces

So, aside from my small pattern mod, and adding the points at the front, I sewed them up as is except for the back darts. In hindsight I might’ve skipped the front darts and saved myself some headaches—they make the front of the shorts a bit poofy, which Tyo was not really a fan of.

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I assume there actually is a person out there with a figure suited to front darts. I just haven’t met them yet. Or maybe that’s how pants/shorts like this are supposed to fit, all poofy in front? How the hell would I know—I haven’t worn anything but stretch denim voluntarily since I discovered the stuff.

This is an actual photo taken Hallowe’en morning before school. Shorts. With snow pants.

When I first started fitting the shorts, Tyo was suddenly very sceptical of the high-waisted fit, and I was very close to tearing her head off. Fortunately for her (and for my continued jail-free existence), once I had the zipper in and they actually stayed up, she really, really liked it. The only hitch came with me adding in my own (made up, half-ass) facing. I had incorporated some above-waist flare when I made the custom-fit back darts, but when I was measuring the facing against the shorts themselves, that flare kind of folded itself up. So the facing rectangle wound up slightly shorter than the shorts had been. It eased in all right and doesn’t really show, but the waist/rib section is a bit more snug. Most of the time she wore it, the zipper was down about one or two inches. Which actually looks pretty cute, but fit, it is not.

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All in all? I don’t know if she’s a high-waisted convert (although my 15 year old niece was asking about shorts “to her waist, to tuck things into,” so you know the times they are a-changin’) but it was certainly an interesting exercise outside both our comfort zones. And the results were pretty darn cute. Even if I do still have a long way to go in fitting what we’ve affectionately dubbed the Gigi booty. (After the paternal grandmother to whom we can trace this particular figure in my husband’s family)

Also, anyone remember when Tyo looked like this? What the heck happened to my baby?

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Hallowe’en Spotlight: lace-up leather shorts

Lace-Up Shorts

It’s been a Hallowe’en sweatshop around here for the last little while. Last weekend was devoted to, as Steph of 3 Hours Past has put it, sewing with hammers. I spent Sunday with the kids at my mother’s, working on the goggles, and also Syo’s lace-up shorts. Rivets and grommets and wire, oh my.

I was already using McCall’s 5312 for the kids’ tailcoats (more on that later), so I decided to use the pants also included in that crime of a pattern.

Cutest pattern ever?

OK, I’ve whined about McCall’s 5312 before. Despite their supremely cute illustration, these McCall’s “Sassy Girl” patterns are dumbed down almost to the point of not being worth the time, IMO. I hate dumbed-down, simplified patterns.*

On the other hand, that makes them perfect for costume patterns, right? This might be why I hate making costumes…

Anyway, since I had the pattern out, I figured it would be a good candidate for Syo’s shorts—basic pants, no pockets, no waistband to worry about.

Laces!

I traced off the size 7 as shorts, and cut them out from my fake leather. This was my first time working with vinyl, and not being able to pin really threw me for a loop. It’s funny, because I tend to think I don’t use pins much. Well, working on this high lighted every single instance I reach for them. Closepins were helpful, but not really satisfying. I made about half the shorts on my machine, and half over at my mother’s; her old Pfaff has one thing none of my machines have—a roller foot. It made a BIG difference in sewing with the vinyl, especially for the topstitching bits. Topstitching was essential since I couldn’t exactly press this stuff in any meaningful way. I also used a lot of Wonder Tape.

Back darts

I used a very quick ‘n dirty pants-fitting method for these where I sewed them up sans darts and then added the rear darts by pinching to fit. I skipped the front darts, which really don’t make any sense to me when fitting any kind of a rounded tummy—something I’d say about 90% of kids have. Though, I don’t think the darts I wound up sewing are hugely different from the original pattern darts. And, yes, they’re pointy. I’m not worrying myself about it.

Front view

To make the laced sides, I just folded over the edge about 2 cm (I ended up folding the front edges over a further 2 cm) to make the placket, topstitched, and added a “modesty panel” attached to the back side. She was not thrilled about this, having wanted “real lacing,” which apparently doesn’t have fabric behind it. She can deal, at least until she’s eighteen. Not that she would ever not be wearing leggings and tights underneath for a Hallowe’en costume. This is Canada, after all. And not one of the warmer bits of Canada. (Although comfortingly free of both earthquakes and hurricanes. I hope all you easterners are doing OK with Sandy.)

Grommets

We added the grommets last. Actually, Syo did the front grommets more-or-less on her own, since by then my fingers were so sore from setting the back ones (plus all the goggle-making). It took her a while, but she got them done, only one ending up a bit distorted. I’m not sure why I am always startled by her strength and coordination. You’d think I’d have it figured out by now.

Back View

I don’t know if it’s a “good fit”, but they stay on, come up more or less to where she wanted them, and the gap between the lacing is a good width. So, really, I should probably apologize to McCall’s 5312. It really came through for me this time.

Except that I just made two tailcoats out of the jacket pattern, and, well, I’ll go into that later. Not horrific, just dumbed down and predictably bad.

And, sorry for the fuzzy iPhone photos. My mom’s house has gorgeous backdrops but terrible light, and I keep forgetting to take my real camera along.

*Note: I have nothing against simple patterns, where simple is called for. What annoys me is patterns for intricate designs that are simplified to make them “easier”, generally at the expense of fit and style.

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Brung Low

I have had the blerg. That is, the the-kids-have-been-back-at-school-just-long-enough-to-incubate-new-strains-of-plague annual fall cold. Blerg.

On the up-side, I have an excuse to do nothing but hunker down, drink tea, and catch up on some of the blog-reading I’ve missed over the last three weeks. And think about my fantasy sewing in a bit more focused way. On the minus side, I haven’t been coherent enough to do anything useful, never mind anything fun.

The kids have decided, and we (most especially Osiris) have agreed, to being a Steampunk family for Hallowe’en. I’m all kinds of conflicted over this.

I really sort of loathe Hallowe’en costumes. I mean, I love a really cool costume. love love love. But. There are few things I hate more than making something that will only be worn once. If we could have Steampunk Club every week, I’d be all over the costuming. But for once a year? Erk. On the other hand, the idea of shelling out money (of which we have very little right now) for the godawful atrocities that pass for storebought costumes fills me with shame and horror.

So, sewing costumes it is. /sigh.

Osiris will be easy. In fact, all he really needs is some goggles (please nominate your favourite goggle tutorial 😉 ) and maybe some other accessories—everything else he pretty much already has, although if I were motivated to finish his frock coat I’m sure he’d happily wear that.

ZOMG I bought a brand-new pattern.

I’m less clear for myself, although I did pick up this Simplicity pattern at the $2 sale last weekend. I love the coat, although my deep suspicion of costume patterns makes me assume that it will be poorly-drafted and lacking sufficient internal structure to look right. I should probably at least read some reviews before I come to that conclusion, though. There was another pattern with a bustled overskirt thing that I also like, but it was featured in the Fabricland flyer and so long sold out by the time I got there. /sigh. Of course it’s the sort of thing I can figure out on my own, but for two dollars, not having to make it up might’ve been worth it. And I have (or rather my mother has) a perfect hat already.) Although my make-life-harder reflex is yammering something about “Steampunk Seamstress” that involves an antique-sewing-machine-looking-backpack…

Sketchies—Tyo’s costume.

Which brings us to the kids. We spent some time sketching on the weekend, although this was a bit frustrating since every time one girl came up with a good idea the other decided she wanted it, too—but they don’t at all want the same costume. >_<

Anyway, Tyo seems to have settled on some high-waisted shorts (over stripey stockings and the boots that started this whole thing) with braces, a corset/bodice thing, and a jacket with short coat-tails. After some wibbling and sorting through my patterns, I decided to try drafting the shorts based on Pepin’s instructions from Modern Pattern Design (1942). I drafted it on Inkscape, which isn’t perfect but is decent for computer drafting. This wasn’t too hard, at least when tackled in twenty-minute stretches as I zoned in and out of blergishness (this was one of those colds where it’s too uncomfortable to sleep, or really do much of anything, for very long), but I have yet to print the pattern and try drafting it, so I won’t declare any kind of victory yet. I have a feeling the hip curve is going to be off and the rear-dart-shaping is going to require work (and probably a swayback adjustment). On the other hand, they have the longer-back/shorter front crotch length like the Burda pants-draft, which seems to be a generally good feature.

Syo is all about the lacing. She wants lacing on her shorts (not high-waisted, though, preferably leather) and lace-up arm covers. This doesn’t strike me as overly Steampunk, but I imagine we can manage. She wants a corset but she’s not going to get one. Maybe a corset-seamed bodice. I’m hoping I can talk her into a cute little vest. They both want tiny top-hats… we’ll see.

Of course, with Steampunk a lot comes down to the accessories. Vaguely Victorian clothing, I can come up with fairly easily (although the number of individual pieces is slightly terrifying at the moment, considering I’ve scarcely stitched in a month). Accessories will require more work. Obviously, some googling is in order. Or, y’know, if any of you care to share your favourite steampunk costume or accessory or tutorial, I’d love to check them out! 😉

Also, it appears there will be corsets. (or things having a generally corset-like appearance) For Tyo certainly, and quite possibly for me. I have plenty of patterns, although not in Tyo’s size. Which brings on the debate—grade or draft? I’ve never made a corset before, but having read obsessively about them for several years I’m reasonably comfortable with the basic ideas, at least for costume purposes. But I’m pretty sure that the patterns I have, which are all Misses-size, are not going to be anything like the right proportions, even if I graded down to her size (which is about a Misses’ size 4). Decisions, decisions.

Obviously I need to sign myself up for Peter’s Hallowe’en Sewalong, stat.

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