Sticking with my goal of a blog post a week is difficult, as I knew it would be, but even more so this week. I’m going out of town next week, on the JoCo Cruise—which I’ve mentioned is ultimately the reason Alex and I decided to change our lives and move to California—and there’s lots to do to get ready. There is always lots to do before taking a big trip, but this time I’ve made things more difficult for myself by taking on a big, complicated sewing project.
This partially came about from my deciding last year, before the Jane Austen Evening, to make a new dress. I am not really a seamstress, though I have a few complicated homemade gowns. I have a handful of period costumes that I essentially made—except that I had a ton of help from others, particularly my friend Katy Bishop (seamstress extraordinaire in the Boston area). And when I say help, I mean: Katy said, “here, sew this sleeve to this bodice,” and while I did that one simple task, she practically finished the rest of the dress. She was just that good and that fast.
But last year, in January, I bought a very last minute ticket to the Jane Austen Evening, and decided, even more last minute, to make a new dress for it. Since I cannot find the already cut material I bought years ago for a Regency gown (the mystery of where this fabric ended up is making me batty, but that’s for another day), I bought and cut new fabric on that Friday, and spent all of Saturday building the dress, eventually finishing it (more or less) and making it to the ball by about 10 p.m. I missed the majority of the ball, but at least I looked decent doing it.
It’s not the most perfect dress, by any stretch, and doesn’t fit as well as I’d like, but hey, after some 10-16 years of not really sewing at all, I whipped together a new Regency ballgown in a day! I’m surprised how much it came back to me. Well, along with RTFMing and following two sets of detailed, specific instructions, of course.
I realize now, after dealing with this current project, that Regency ballgowns are pretty simple—relatively speaking. It’s basically a skirt (which is lots of material but otherwise easy to put together), a bodice (not a corset, and the fitting is probably the hardest part), sleeves, and a belt.
This current project has a LOT more pieces, and I’ve really only gotten started, so there’s lots more to do. Not sure I’ll get it all done, but I’ll try.
One very complicated part, for me, is just having a space to work. I need to adapt my office to the space, setting up a couple of folding card tables to work on. Not ideal, especially because the table shakes when I get the machine going at a certain speed. It also becomes a disastrous mess, and there’s little point in cleaning until the project is finished. But more than that, I need to keep everything in the office, and shut the door, locking out my poor kittens. Arya stands outside the door and meows, which breaks my heart, but there are just way too many fun toys in there right now.
So what is this mysterious sewing project?
Sorry, not telling (yet). While I often use this blog for accountability, I don’t want to give away what I’m working on right now. I have declared that I’m working on it and hoping to finish it by next week, so there’s my accountability. But I’d rather wait and see if I actually get it done and then post the finished product, so I’ll just drop a few hints for now. Feel free to take guesses in the comments. 🙂
- It’s something you (or I) would wear. And obviously I’d like to wear it on the cruise.
- I’ll probably wear it for one of the formal nights.
- Because it’s for the cruise, it’s obviously nerd/fandom related. (But which one?) 🙂
- It’s from a Simplicity pattern, though one that was more popular around Halloween, perhaps (though they did still have it in the store yesterday, when I needed to consult the instructions).
- So far, I have this:
- and this:
Though neither of them are actually complete yet.
The directions leave the most difficult part for last, and while I want to follow the directions to a T, I don’t think it’s wise to leave the most difficult—and most important—part for last. So I should probably bump that up and work on it today. That way, too, if I get nothing else of it done, I’ll at least have those parts and that will be enough to actually wear the thing (that may be kind of a hint there).
That was also the advice I got from the amazing Chelsea at the Sherman Oaks JoAnn’s Fabrics yesterday. It’s often difficult to find stuff there and the staff isn’t always that helpful, but Chelsea was awesome. She helped me find stuff, like lacing, boning, and fusible web (more hints)—and the right stuff, not just pointing me to an aisle. She also gave me great advice (not all of which I’ve followed yet, but that’s another story). I helped her by pointing out that they had misspelled her name on her name tag! Thanks “Chelesa!” 😉
So after all that, I’m going to leave this blog post here and get back to my sewing. Any (specific) guesses on what I may be building? What are you working on this week?