Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hat. Taking. Forever.

I am making a soft hat for my son's garb. I started at 6:30. I just now have the top sewn to the brim. I have to add binding to cover the seam edges at the opening, and then add trim.

This is taking longer than my pretty tall hat.

Oh, and I broke a needle on the sewing machine, too.

New Mantra

It is not going to rain this weekend or Monday.
It is not going to rain this weekend or Monday.
It is not going to rain this weekend or Monday.
It is not going to rain this weekend or Monday.
It is not going to rain this weekend or Monday.
It is not going to rain this weekend or Monday.
It is not going to rain this weekend or Monday.
It is not going to rain this weekend or Monday.

It is not going to rain this weekend or Monday.

I promise this is the last update tonight...

I have nearly all of the shoulder tabs pearled! I sewed one, 8mm pearl to the top of each tab, close to the edge. Looks great!

Isn't it amazing how having the correct tools saves so much time and effort? The beading needle that I bought is both thin enough and flexible enough to really make this go very fast. I anticipate, now that I have a technique worked out, that it should take only about 2-3 minuted to sew each pearl. I have five left on one shoulder (7 tabs, each soulder), and a total of 33 left on the sleeves (yes, I actually cut down, and am only pearling the outer panel of each sleeve).

I am still trying to plan my back-up dress. Technically, since my dress is corduroy, I should be able to wash it in the washing machine. From a practical stand-point, however, the trims may not make it. The pearls should be okay, as long as I don't dry them in the dryer (which I wouldn't do anyway, because this is cotton corduroy, and shrinkage would be bad.).

Okay, time to...

go to sleep!!!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

More accomplishments...

Yes, I have to keep doing this or I was dissolve into sheer and utter panic at the amount of work I still have left to do...

The rest of the trim has been added to the front opening of the overskirt. I added another row of the same gold and maroon trim that covers one edge of the gold trim. So, two rows of the same trim on each side. Easy.

I can't believe my sewing machine went through five - six layers of fabric (several layers of corduroy, no less).

And it survived!

Okay, I get to go cross more stuff off of my list!!!!

One down...

Okay, actually two down.

Laundry - Check (only did one load of darks, so my son could wear a certain T-shirt tomorrow, that he has now decided he does not want to wear. He picked out another.)

My son's tabard - check! Done!!!!! I knew I should have made this pattern to begin with. I spent a total of three hours on this - the same amount of time I wasted making the one that ended up being small enough to maybe fit a seven-year-old. Hmm... I should see if I can find someone who would want it...

Okay, now to put the rest of the trim on my dress, and to tack down the facing. Then, I need to lint roll the skirts, and iron them to be ready for Saturday. The few wrinkles it did have will probably pull smooth because of the weight of the skirts, but I would like to be certain.

And since I have a beading needle again (four, actually), I can make more progress on putting the pearls on my bodice. Fun!!!!

I am not getting anything done tonight!

Here is is, 7:19, and I have nothing done.

Granted, I did go and get a new beading needle, more black bias binding, a pillow to sit on at faire, and a silver plate to put my fruit and snacks on during the faire.

Of course, the fact that my son informed me the moment I walked in the door that pictures are tomorrow, and he forgot his form at school, may have something to do with it.


Anyway, I just went and got quarters for the laundry. I still don't know what he wants to wear for pictures (okay, let's face it - he's a boy and they just plain could care less about clothes).

I am going to at least start the clothes, and start putting the binding on my son's new tabard (correctly fitting this time).

Food for thought.

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

-- Theodore Roosevelt, editorial in the "Kansas City Star" May 7, 1918

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Grandma is doing much, much better today than she was yesterday. She's still pretty sick, though. The plasma appears to have worked, and they were able to give her some blood this morning. She's pretty tired out, as a hospital is actually not a good place to get rest when you have people taking your vitals every 15 minutes.

I feel a lot better today about her condition than I did yesterday. We almost lost her. :(

Monday, August 28, 2006

Okay, folks. Need some prayers here.

My grandma Pelz was just transferred by ambulance from Lake City Hospital to Fort Dodge. She had suffered a drug interaction that pretty much left her with no clotting factor in her blood. This is what they found out after running a bunch of tests today.

She didn't qualify to be life-flighted from Lake City to Des Moines, so they are taking her to Fort Dodge because it's the closest facility with a blood specialist. He'll decide if they bump her up to qualifying status for life-flight to Des Moines. My mom was in the process of driving from Lake City to Fort Dodge when she called me. She'll call with more information tonight. Until then, I have to sit tight, and continue with what I am doing.

So please, if you are praying people, say a prayer for her now. If you are not normally a praying person, just send good karma her way.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

New fan!

I made my feather fan tonight!

My Ostrich & Peacock Feather Fan

The jeweled piece is part of a Christmas ornament that I bought at Hobby Lobby. It had three peacock feathers in it to start, but there were ugly jewels glued to the backs of the feathers. So, I took apart the ornament, pried up the glue and the feathers, and threw them in the trash where they belonged. I then took 4 black ostrich plumes (I could only find four), one white ostrich plume, and three new peacock feathers. I sawed off part of an old paintbrush, and covered it with black ribbon. I cut the feathers to length, and got happy with the glue gun. 20 minutes later, I had a fan! Yippee!!!!

Photos from last night

I have links to pictures from last night's ribbon cutting ceremony at Festival Park in Des Moines. I can't embed the images here, for copyright reasons. This is the dress I have been working on for the last three weeks solid. The hat was finished yesterday afternoon (still needs lining and more decoration, but it was wearable, got lots of complements)

From the back

Here is a better photo. I did not get the skirt facing slip-stitched, so I pinned every broach I had to the front. I got lots of complements on the broaches (and the dress!).

A far-away pic of the Sheriff in the Black Doublet from Hell. I'll have to get a closer one - it turned out very well! No, Robin, you cannot nick off those beads with your sword. Unless you sew them back on.

Lots of pics on the site from the banquet. The town is on track to be about 99% done by opening morning, weather cooperating (or even if it doesn't). I am hoping for clear skies at least on weekends until the end of the run - no back-up dress yet! Making a back-up dress is the goal for next week...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

It's a wonder I'm still conscious...

Yes, I walked into Hy-Vee tonight in my lovely, newly finished Elizabethan tall hat.

But only because my son still had his garb on, and he was feeling self-conscious. I'm that type of mom, you know. :)

Things went very well tonight! My dress was very wearable, and I wasn't too terribly warm. May I reiterate how much I LOVE my pearls???? Love them!

In any case, there may be pictures circulating later.

The most unique thing that happened to me tonight, besides asking Lady Ariana to cast a spell on a certain person, happened while we were waiting for the guests to arrive.

There was a huge picnic today at Sleepy Hollow Sports Park, of which Festival Park is a part. It was winding down as we were gathering, so there were tons of kids everywhere, all of them very interested in these people in strange costumes. :)

Anyway, this one couple and their two children, a boy and a girl, both still very, very young, walked past us with their children in a stroller. Pretty soon, they came back, and the father asked if I would mind posing for a picture with his daughter, who looked to be about 18 months old. Cutest little girl with her black hair in pigtails! :) I said, yes, of course, and he handed me his daughter, and his wife took a picture of us.

This is why I do this. Not just because I enjoy the whole faire, which I do tremendously, but what makes it special is seeing the look on the kids' faces when we take the time to interact with them. It is pure joy for me, and makes it worth the effort needed to do this. The long days, the nights with too little sleep, the pain of wearing a corset (although they are great for back support).

This is SO worth it.

I can't wait until Saturday!

Shirt - just needs to be hemmed

Looks good, but I am sooooooo tired...

Maybe he can dress like a pirate, just for tomorrow...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Crap. Double-crap.

I am an idiot beyond all idiots.

I screwed up my son's tabard. You know, the one he needs tomorrow.

I followed some vague instructions online for a tabard, thinking it would be easier.


I should have just used the pattern I've used in the past, but we wanted something different.

Now he has nothing to wear, my hat is not finished, and my forepart is not hemmed.

I am going to work on something else for a bit, and think about what I am going to do to fix this mess. Oh, and he still needs a shirt.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Gown Update

This is what I have been doing every spare minute of my time:

Full Skirt View

Skirt detail

Bodice with sleeves

Now you all know why I am not sleeping... :)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

If you know me, you know there is no way in the world that I actually woke up early this morning.

Actually, I have woken up at 5:30 in the morning for the last two mornings, but went back to sleep. Because, let's face it, that's INSANELY EARLY.

I am trying to get better at waking up early. I set my alarm for 6 this morning, thinking I would sew for half an hour before getting ready for work. I should have remembered that my eyes do not work that early in the morning, except on a campout. I reset the alarm, and work up quite refreshed. I actually had more sleep last night than I have in several weeks.

Tonight the plan is to work until midnight, get up at 6:30, slam down a bunch of caffeine, and go to work. Tomorrow is another long day. We had rehearsal in Des Moines tonight, and met more of the court.

The site is really looking great! They were grading the roads today, in prep for the gravel. There were a bunch of people in garb for a photoshoot for a local magazine, and lots of people out working on their buildings. The entrance gate is going to be amazing.

Yes, I got up close and personal with the entrance gate. The gate has three towers, and a walkway between them. There will be stairs on each of the two side towers, but for tonight there was only a ladder. Now, during opening gate, I accompany the Queen, hopefully in a carriage, maybe on foot, but either way, I am ON THE GROUND, not on the gate.

Except tonight I was filling in for two ladies who were not at rehearsal, and who will be on the gate. So, I got to climb the ladder in a skirt.

I hate ladders. But I did it, mainly because I wanted to see the upper part of the gate better. Climbing up wasn't the real problem. Climbing down... the flip-flops went into the purse, and I very carefully made my way down without being too chicken-y. But it wasn't fun. I can't wait until they have the stairs in place. Ladder = too scary.

Okay, time to get back to work. I've promised myself that if I got the hooks and eyes on the bodice tonight, I can start putting pearls on the tabs! Pearls!!!!!!!! Yummy!!!!!!!!!

Damn. There goes THAT plan...

Vegas Ends Overnight Marriage Licenses

Monday, August 21, 2006

Okay, going to try something new.

I am worn out. I can barely keep my eyes open, and I have been pushing myself to stay up long past the time when I should be asleep.

So, as an experiment, I am going to go to bed early (for me) tonight, and get up 30 minutes earlier tomorrow morning, on the theory that I will actually be able to get a bit more sewing done in the morning when I can still concentrate (hand sewing, not machine).

I managed to get four hooks, that's two sets, out of fourteen sets sewn on my bodice tonight. Obviously, that's a problem.

So, good night all, I am heading off to some well-earned rest. Right after I make sure I have something to wear tomorrow...

Not a good idea

Having my twelve-year-old try to pin up a hem to an overskirt. He couldn't quite get what needed to be done, and kept having it on the floor by about two inches so he could pin it more easily. I carefully showed him how to pin it up, so that the edge of the hem was two inches off of the ground, using a handy cereal box with a line drawn on it.

He did try, however. I have to give him credit for that. I have one edge that is right at the front, and I have to somehow calculate how much longer it needs to be in the back to compensate for the bumroll. I think I may be stacking things to get the farthingale and bumroll off of the ground, and then just make the overskirt an inch longer.

I knew I should have bought that dressform when I had the chance...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Skirt Update

Yes, I know that no one cares about this, but I am posting my progress just to remind myself of how much I am actually getting done on this gown.

The skirt is fully cartridge pleated and sewn to the waistband. This is what I have left to do to finish the skirt:

1. Slipstitch facing to skirt.
2. Add hooks and eyes.
3. Hem
4. Add the rest of the trim.

If I had someone here to help, I could start hemming tonight. I may have to make a guide, and teach my son how to pin up the skirt so that it is off of the ground the correct length.

Bodice progess:

1. Still need to add hooks and eyes (am short 6 sets, as I used a bunch on my corset).
2. Sew shoulder straps to the bodice (can't do this until the hooks and eyes are on, so I can fit it better).
3. Finish slip-stitching the back neckline.
4. Add trim to front of bodice.
5. Add pearls to tabs.


1. Attach points.
2. Sew pearls to joins.

Time to get back to work...


And waiting for the waistband to be finished (I don't know how I overlooked it - normally I finish the waistband first...). Very heavy skirt...

Too many temptations...

I am glad that it is sunny and cool out today, but it is presenting too big of a temptation! I want to go out for a walk, I want to just sit on my deck with a tall glass of diet pepsi and a book, and soak in the sheer gorgeousness of the day.

Since I can't, I'll have to placate myself with the open windows...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Skirt panels - check!

Skirt panels have trim down the front sides, and are sewn together!!!! Tomorrow morning, when I can see straight again, I will cut the gingham strips for cartridge pleating, and get that heavy, gorgeous skirt pleated and sewn!

Hemming is going to be another matter. I am going to have to have some help, and I am not sure who I can find to help me, and when I am going to be able to do it. I think I can machine hem it, as long as I can get someone to pin it up for me. There will be trim that will cover any machine hemming stitches.

Tomorrow, I am going to get up early, get the grocery shopping done, start the laundry, then sew all flippin' day. No meeting tomorrow night, TG, but I have stuff to do every evening except Thursday and Friday. So, basically, my last full day is tomorrow, and I can probably get six hours of work done both Thursday and Friday, if I push like crazy.

Lots of work to do, but this gown is worth it!

My careful organization has turned into something other.

I keep having to run back to my room to try to locate essential sewing stuff. I normally sew in my room, but the scope of this project, and the fact that there is not nearly enough light in my room, pretty much made that not possible.

I am sewing on the dining room table.

Normally, I like the dining room table totally clear, except for the napkin basket or flowers (haven't bought any for way too long). It is clear right now only because I had to cut out the three panels for my overskirt (yay!). I need to take a few minutes and try to make some sense of everything that is currently on my countertops in the kitchen, if only so that I know where things are so I can grab them immediately.

So, with seam guage in hand, I will go back to the dining room and escape the temptations of my computer. I have until next Saturday evening to finish pretty much everything.

Yes, that is panic in my voice.

Okay, bye.

Friday, August 18, 2006


The waist tabs are now attached! I have only hand sewing left to do on this project, at least until it is time to attach the shoulder straps.

I hope I can get a ton of stuff done tonight.

Cutting it close...

As I was cutting strips for the looped tabs for my bodice, I started to get worried that I wouldn't have enough left to make enough tabs for the waist (the shoulder ones are done). It was a matter of length, as while the shoulder ones were several different sizes (and turned out gorgeous!), the waist tabs are all the same length.

Then, I screwed one up by cutting it an inch too short.

Then I reached the end of my longer pieces, and discovered that I was ONE STRIP SHORT!

So, I recounted.

And I actually had the correct number of loops, one had just stuck to another.

It's a good thing, too, because I don't have any pieces wide enough to cut out another loop. And the skirt will take every bit of what I have left.

Now I have to cut out the lining for the tabs (I have plenty of that fabric left, although now I am short my pirate skirt - I couldn't find the same shade of red, and the skirt was way too narrow anyway).

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I'm sorry I'm so boring tonight.

I am making the looped tabs to my bodice. It's going fairly quickly thanks to my rotary cutter and salem rule. Thanks for the quilting lessons, Mom!!

I hope to post pictures later tonight. I will have the bodice done before Saturday's rehearsal! Just buckle down, and work. I still have 15 more loops to cut for the waist, but the shoulder tabs are in progress now.

Zipping along nicely!

The Sheriff came over to pick up his doublet tonight. Hopefully, it will work out well, and he won't get heat stroke. :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I am now in the process of basting the lining and the bodice fabric together!!!! I should be able to start adding the trim tonight, and maybe cut out the looped tabs (which also need lining cut out, and to be sewn together, then sewn to the bottom of the bodice. I think I will wait to sew the pearl trim to the loops until they are attached to the bodice.

I know, these posts have been boring lately, but seriously folks - all I have been doing, besides going to work - is sewing for the Renaissance Faire. Believe me, I would love to be able to get out of the house and go do something completely unrelated, but with just a couple of weeks left, that is not possible. I am yearning for company, for having fun (not that this whole thing isn't fun), for someone to work with on these projects. I don't have any friends in town who can sew like this to help me out.

Damn. I am overly tired and emotional tonight, and I hate that, because I have too much work to do. Maybe things will be better after I get at least this piece and the sleeves completely finished. The skirts, while time consuming with the cartridge pleating, are fairly easy, so I can relax. The hat materials are purchased, and I just need to find six black ostrich plumes (for my fan - Hobby Lobby is out of them.) After the gown, I have to make my partlet, stablize the shoulders and neckline of my two chemises (no time to make a square-necked shift, and not enough white cotton to make more anyway), and add an adjustment band to my farthingale. Even one person helping with my son's tabard would be tremendous help, but the pattern I have used in the past, I have altered so much that the instructions are useless.

Well, back to work. Maybe a glass of ice cold diet pepsi will help... I am saving my last two Rolling Rock bottles, as they will be collector's items someday (I'll explain later, unless you are also a fan of the Pale Ale, and know that it is no longer being bottled in Latrobe).

Gmail inbox = 0, except, of course, for Spam


But on a positive note, I found something gorgeous to turn into a fan base for my feather fan (highly necessary for Faire). And I vacuumed the living room, and straightened up the kitchen. Everything would look great, except I had to put my farthingale on the living room floor, so the hoops can get into shape correctly.

Dinner is in the oven. I am going to sew. I want to get the bodice mostly finished tonight, and start working on the skirts after dinner tomorrow (trying this crockpot thing for tomorrow - they were on sale for $4.99 at Hy-vee, frozen thingy).


The Doublet is DONE!

Whew. This project sort of morphed from a simple doublet into this insanely cool thing that ended up taking hours and hours more than I thought I would. If I had to guess at the number of hours I put into this doublet, I would have to say around... hmm... let me go back and check blog posts... been doing the trim and decoration since July 26th... probably around 60 hours into the project, if not more.

And it's done! and it looks wicked cool!!!


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bodice pieces - cut out

I hate cutting out pattern pieces. It is, in my opinion, the worst part of any project. You would think that it wouldn't take very long, but it does.

So, tomorrow evening, or maybe even for ten minutes over lunch, I can start actually sewing the real bodice together. Finally.


Tell me what you think...

This is how my day went.

• Was unplugging power cords in one of the rooms when there was a sudden HUGE ball of sparks and snap/popping sound. One of the outlets on the big power strip, which BTW, was NOT one that I was working with, apparently pull up and out of the strip causing a short. Luckily, I was not hurt. Scared the crap out of me, though...

• After work, on the way to Wal-mart, which is evil, but has the trim I need for my gown, the rearview mirror fell OFF OF MY WINDSHIELD.

• Could not find the right color cotton at Wal-mart for the lining to my bodice, but I DID find three more spools of the trim that I decided to use on my gown. I bought the red fabric for my son's new tabard.

• Left the grocery store without the chicken I wanted to buy, that was on my list, but found several frozen meals to make for dinners during this hectic next couple of weeks.

• Was going into the house when the bag of Diet Pepsi split open, and the jar of spagetti sauce that I did not know was in that bag came tumbling out, shattering on the ground.

• Cleaned up the mess. Explained to my son that we were not having spagetti tonight.

• Was so shaky from hunger that I ate two bowls of cereal while dinner was cooking (I apologize mom, for continuing to eat while I was on the phone, but I was about two steps from having to throw up because my blood sugar was so low).

• Went to do laundry, and one of the washers was broken.

Am I just having a string of bad luck today, or what?

Monday, August 14, 2006


The new mock-up fits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Okay, I figured out why the bodice mock-up did not fit around the waist.

When I altered the pattern, I mistakenly had it in my head that I was altering only one size up for the waist, rather than two. So... it fit at the bust, but not the waist, obviously. I am redrafting the pattern as we speak, and was lucky enough to find instructions on how to modify the back piece to fix the gaping problem (just a minor gap at the top of the back piece).

Hopefully, this will work...

Hi, Mom!

I sure wish I knew who in Manson was reading my blog... I thought it was Movie Star, but she is in denial... Who ever you are, it's okay if you want to remain anonymous, but it would be neat to know. Just leave a comment on this post, or email me at nielandj @ gmail dot com.

And if it is Mom... Cool!!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Corset - Done!

I finished putting the hooks and eyes on the front of the corset (6 sets, 2 inches apart - coat hooks and eyes). I alternated the hooks and eyes on each side, so that they won't come undone through movement.

Things worked pretty much as I expected. It is easy to get into, and easy to get out of, with one small caveat...

When you have to lace into a corset, your body has a chance to get used to the reduced amount of air flow. Not so much with a renaissance corset, which merely compresses the upper body into a cone shape, rather than an hourglass. With this corset, which is prelaced in the back to the approximate width needed (about two inches between the sides), once you are hooked into it, the difference in air flow is immediate, and if you make a mistake in the distance needed between the two sides, the stomach doesn't like it a lot. There was a half an inch difference in my waist measurement after I put the corset on tonight, from Friday night. Smaller, of course. The corset was actually pretty comfortable, all things considered. I won't have to worry about anything moving up top, that's for sure (I know, TMI).

So, everything is going fairly well. I did NOT cut into the red fabric tonight, like I had planned. I had planned on all sorts of things that did not happen today, due to a meeting that I had tonight.

My revised list is as follows (and yes, I won't go to sleep until around midnight, but that's normal):

1. Finish the Sheriff's Doublet once and for all!!! (BTW, the Sheriff had a close call with a table saw yesterday... he's lucky that all he did was score his fingernail... shudder)
2. Rip out the cartridge pleating on the green taffeta underskirt, so I can add an extra panel. (five minutes to rip out, it took over three hours to do in the first place, but I desperately am trying to save the money so I can use it on the visible areas of my costume)...

I will end this blog post as I have the last few... back to work!!!


I need to stay on task today. I have a million things to do, and my son is having a friend over this afternoon, after he returns from his camping trip. Somehow, despite my best efforts, there is thread all over the house from the excessive sewing I have bee doing. I am going to go back over the worst spots with a lint roller, then vacuum, so that I don't kill my vacuum.

I have several sewing projects today, most of which need to be completed in a certain order. I converted my corset from back lacing to front opening. I will sew hooks and eyes to the front, and keep the back lacing. This will make it much easier to get in and out of for the faire, in that I can have the back laced, hook the front, and then adjust the back slightly as needed. Much better than trying to deal with a tangle of lacing cord.

I have the binding done on one sleeve, and will work on the second shortly. After that one is finished, I will close up the sleeve panels, and add the points (the cords with silver tips that are sewn to the sleeve, and used to lace the sleeves to the bodice). The points turned out very pretty, as I found some bolo tips at Hobby Lobby (half off, regular price was 2 for $1, so I got each set for $.25 - I bought 10 sets, and spent $2.50. I used eight sets for the sleeve points).

After the sleeves are mostly finished (except for the pearls where the panels join), I will start to work on the hooks and eyes to the bodice. Then I can try on all of my stuff again to see how tight I lace today without passing out of becoming breathless, and measure again. I will alter the pattern once again, make another mock up, then get back into the gear and fit it again. Now you can see another reason for wanting a front-hooking corset...

If the mock-up fits, I will cut out the bodice, and overskirt. I will finalize the trims that will go on each, and begin sewing both. Yay!!!

Yes, this is an ambitious schedule, but necessary. The Govenor's Reception is in two weeks, and the faire opens in three.

Back to work!!!!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I have a name and a story!

Practice went well this morning. We worked on character development, and on getting to know each other's character and backstory.

I am feeling more comfortable about my place at court. I really enjoyed rehearsal, and am excited to see what happens next weekend. No site tour today, as there were a ton of people at the site, working on buildings, picnic tables, etc. Next week, we will be at a different location, as getting to the park today was a chore (the State Fairgrounds are VERY near to Sleepy Hollow...).

Anyway, back to work! I am putting together my sleeves, and then I will be taking apart my corset to make it front-opening (so I can keep the back laced, and thereby have a chance of getting ready on time). After the corset is redone, I will work on adjusting the bodice pattern (it also gapes a bit at the top of the back, and looks funny). I have to add a couple of inches to the farthingale waistband, add one more panel to the green taffeta underskirt I already have, then hem it.

In other words, EEK!!!! I have so much to do, and so little time!!!!!

Friday, August 11, 2006


Okay. My corset doesn't fit. We've established that. Or rather, it does fit, but is too long to be comfortable..

When I went to fit the bodice, I discovered that when tried on over corset, farthingale, bumroll, underskirt and forepart, the top will close, but the waist will not. So, I am a 12 up top, and a 16 at the waist, which is depressing. All of the undergarments added a full inch to my waistline.

I may do one of two things:

1. Make a new corset, using an old bodice that fits well as a guide. Just make it a bit smaller, with thinner straps. I really don't have time for that.


2. Take a gamble and put the boning directly into the lining of the bodice. This would suck if it didn't fit. It's too risky.

I guess what I will do is just shorten the other corset around the hips, which means putting it back on, and marking the lines where I want the hips to end. It will take less time, certainly...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Long Day

I have one more sleeve panel to add pearls to, and then I can assemble the paned sleeves to my gown. Each sleeve has about 4.5 yards of the tiny string of pearls sewn to the edges of the panels. They look very nice, and I can't wait to see the finished product!

I am going to assemble the bodice mockup tonight. Then I get to try it on over my corset, bumroll and farthingale. Ought to be fun trying to fit it correctly.

Hopefully it will just fit.


In other news, I found a cotton velvet remnant at JoAnn's - just about a full yard for $5 (half price!)! I'd like to use it for my hat, but I am not sure yet... I have some black satin to use for the hat lining (90% remnant at JoAnns!).

So far, I've gotten nearly everything I have needed on sale. The only exception to that would be the trims, and some of the pearls. The fabrics were all on sale - 33% off for the brocade, and about the same for the corduroy. I am using fabrics I already had for the linings.

My goal is to have most of the machine sewing done by the end of the weekend, so I can tackle trims and the hand sewing. Not to mention the accessories... and the hemming...

Okay, back to work...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I traced out the pattern alterations for the bodice to my gown. I cut out a mock up, and will sew it together, and see if it fits. I would do it tonight, but I am way too tired to be operating a sewing machine.

I have decided that as of Sunday, I will be weaning myself off of caffeine. I have to drink more water, period. I think my headaches may be partially related to dehydration.

I talked with my dad tonight, on the phone. He and mom are going to attend one of the days of the Des Moines Renaissance Faire, to see us in action! Very cool! He asked, "If I bring you a turkey leg, would you eat it?" Heck yes, but probably not a lot of it, as I will be corseted, hot, and probably not that hungry. But my son would finish it off in a second. I'll have to say "No" to the Big Mac, though, Dad... I hope they enjoy it! I know I will!

Anyway, I am going to go pop in a movie and attempt to sew pearls to at least one of my remaining sleeve panels. I really want to start on my hat, but that will have to wait until I know I have enough velvet (I don't think I do). I think an early bedtime would be a good idea tonight...

Progress report (tried to post earlier, it got lost)

I now have three panels of my sleeves beaded at the edges! Yay! I went and bought more trim for my dress, and gold cord to make a net for my hair. The net will have pearls at each intersection, and will attach directly to my hat, so I don't have to worry about my hair falling out of place. I also found some white chiffon for my partlet.

Lots more to do tonight, but I am taking a break to make dinner, and eat.

Dr. James Van Allen, sad news...

Dr. Van Allen, of the University of Iowa, passed away this morning. He was 91.

U of I scientist Van Allen dies

I worked in the Physics Library at the U of I for four years, and had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Van Allen. I would go to the main library to get books out of storage for him, when he needed something right away, rather than having to wait for them to be delivered the next day. He was a wonderful, sweet man, and will be sorely missed.

He's part of the stars now...

Murphy's Law of Computing

As soon as you get a piece of software installed, uploaded to radmind, and tested, and have installed other items, uploaded and tested, the first piece will have a critical update to apply.

Which means a distinct possibility that problems will be introduced...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Another reason to be annoyed by MySpace

No, I do not want to join the "Sexy Webcams" Group. End of discussion. Don't keep sending me this email. Please. Gross.

Quilting done!

The quilted part of the black doublet is finished!!!!! Whew. Now all I have left to do is attaching the looped trim better, and some tidying up of the inside of the doublet. Very close!!!!

I would have been further along today, but I had a headache after work, so I took a nap before going to a scheduled picnic tonight. Between the nap and the picnic, I lost about 5 hours of work time.

I did get all of my measurements taken for my gown. I would like to know how it is possible to be a 14 for skirt waist, a 30 for skirt length, a twelve up top, and a six in arm length, and a four for back to waist length. Crazy... We'll see how the mockup for the bodice works... I have a feeling that it is going to take a lot of work to fit properly. And then I'll have to worry about weight fluctuations...


I arrived at the scout room at 5:45 last night. I forgot to put money in the parking meter, since it was much earlier than we normally have to arrive. After 6:00 in the evenings, parking is free.

This morning I discovered, tuccked gently beneathe the wipers of my car, a rain moistened PARKING TICKET, with a time stamp of 5:53 pm.

Thank you. I was there 8 minutes when I got that ticket. I will be dropping off my $3 later today. I know I was wrong, and I am contrite, guilty, absolutely distraught with grief that I parked for fifteen minutes without paying. I had a lot on my mind, and I am sure you have a quota to fill...

Monday, August 07, 2006

There is something about new clothes that always makes a girl happy...

In my case, it is my new court gown. I could care less about the fact that I really need to go shopping for clothes for the new semester. It's not like I can't afford to buy regular clothes. I just don't like to shop by myself, because I am clueless when it comes to what looks good on me.

Now, on the other hand, I can design renaissance gowns and ensembles without hesitation. If it were appropriate to go to work dripping in pearls, I would have no problems supplying them (and actually am always on the lookout for more pearls. I found this gorgeous pearl necklace at the Salvation Army Store in Ankeny last Tuesday night, good quality glass pearls, with knots carefully between them, very heavy - plastic pearls are very light).

Anyway, I am distracted by thoughts of my gown. I can't wait to get started on the rest of the dress (unfortunately, I have somewhere to go tomorrow night, or I would be cutting into the red tomorrow...).

Update on progress - My Gown

Here are a couple of pictures of the sleeves in progress:

Three panels make a sleeve...

A view of the beading that is sewn to the edge of each panel (rather, WILL BE sewn to the edge of each panel.

Detail of the pearls around the edge of the sleeve panel

It is taking about an hour per panel, which is more than I want to spend, but well worth the effort for the amount of richness it lends). BTW, I made the sleeves out of the leftover brocade from the forepart. The brocade was 54" wide (I'll double-check that later), and I bought 2.5 yards of it. 1.5 yards was for the forepart, and 1 for the sleeves. The fabric was wide enough that I cut all of the sleeve panels out of the remainder of the forepart area, all in the same direction. Money saving tip there, because now I have a yard of brocade left over... I am going to make a bag out of it, for sure, but I have no idea what to do with the rest - maybe new pillows...

Anyway, time to work on the Sheriff's doublet. Maybe I'll watch Spaceballs...


Yep, I came back from lunch grouchy. I think it is because I have a slight headache. I accidentally left my tylenol at home, too.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Feeling good!

I managed to get a lot done today! I finished the forepart for my costume, and I have all six of the sleeve panels put together. I am in the process of sewing a strand of tiny pearls to the edge of each panel (which sounds a lot harder to do than it is). I have one panel "pearled", and will work on another during lunch tomorrow. The next two evenings are really busy, so I will be short about three working hours each evening. I am hoping to spend at least two hours on costuming each of those nights, after I get home, but I am not sure how that will work.

I am so excited about this project!!!!

Forepart done!

It will be hemmed when the skirts are hemmed, when everything is tried on over the farthingale and underskirt. They need to be about 2-3 inches off of the ground, so that they don't drag.

It turned out beautifully! I lined it in a plain black broadcloth, so that the back of the brocade doesn't catch on anything and unravel. Another option would have been to line it with another brocade, making it reversible. I can do this later if I get tired of always having to wear the same thing.

I have lunch in the oven, and will start the sleeves after we've eaten and cleaned up. I think I can get the sleeves mostly done today, if I work hard. I may also be able to get a good start on my hat.

I am going to have to try to get a day off of work sometime in the next couple of weeks. I can get so much done in a day!

Oh well...

I was looking forward to a good night's sleep last night. I stopped working on my costume at around 10, and curled up on the couch to watch TV for awhile. I went to bed at 11:30, and slept like a rock until 3:45, when it started storming.

And I couldn't really get back to that lovely deep sleep.

I need to go get groceries, do more laundry, and sew like crazy.

I have the sleeves and forepart cut out, ready to assemble. I am working at this a little backwards, where I am trying to do things that won't take very long, and don't require a lot of fitting, so I can just mark them off of the list. Then, I can focus on the hard part, which will be the bodice.

The problem with fitting a bodice is weight fluctuation. This time of year it is the norm for me to suddenly lose about five-ten pounds, due to the sheer amount of physical activity required by my job, along with the anxiety caused by the start of the school year, hiring and training new lab monitors, and meeting new faculty. Throw in the renaissance faire, and we've created a really good situation from a diet standpoint, but awful from a costuming standpoint.

So, bodice fitting is difficult, but skirt fitting will be okay, as I can always adjust the waistband. I also want to adjust the waist of my corset, as it is digging into my hips (too long). There is room to lace tighter if necessary later, which is much better than having it be too big. I wish I had made the tabbed version. I guess if I have time (*snork*), I can make a new one...

Anyway, time to stop goofing off! I am off to get some breakfast, and do the grocery shopping!

Saturday, August 05, 2006


This morning, I became Lady Rosalind, Lady of the Privy Chamber, to Queen Catherine, of the Des Moines Renaissance Faire.


Okay, back to cutting out my dress!!!!! Sew like the wind!!!!!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Having fun!

I am cutting out the pattern pieces I need for my gown, in preparation for tracing the pieces, and getting ready to cut out at least the forepart, sleeves, and shoulder loops tonight (maybe). It is taking FOREVER, because of the sheer size of the ladies wardrobe pattern. Tons of pieces and variations and sizes...

My back hurts, I am so sleepy.

I have clothes in the dryer, and another load waiting to dry (someone put powedered laundry soap in the lint filter of one of the dryers!). One load in the dryer is my beautiful red corduroy, so I am anxious to be done.

In any case, I have put a limit on my activities tonight. I am going to go to sleep at 10 instead of 12:30. I want to be well-rested before tomorrow. I could probably go to sleep right now and sleep through until morning.

As far as the doublet, I just need to sewn the looped trim around the top of the tabs, and quilt the front. The rest is done. I can't wait for it all to be done, although there are some areas I'd like to neaten up a bit, that can happen during small bits of time, as a break from the main project. I need to cover the back edges of the button loops, so that they don't show, and I have to remove the threads that I used to tack down the beads. I did not keep track of how many hours I spent on this doublet, but I know that I probably have more work into it, hand sewing-wise, than I will on my own gown.

Maybe. I guess I should wait until I get the gown most of the way finished before I say that... After all, I have lots of pearls to attach. :)

Fabric Finds - quick post

Fabrics for my dress

This is a red, small wale corduroy, and a gold brocade that I found for my new garb. There is a slight sheen to the criss-cross lines on the brocade, that is really pretty. The brocade will be used for my sleeves and forepart. The corduroy has a rich sheen, and is a gorgeous shade of red, like a rose. The bodice, looped sleeve caps/bodice tabs, and overskirt with be made out of the red. I will use black for the binding on the bodice and sleeves. Lots of cream glass pearls will be used!!!!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Starving. Well not really, but Hungry...

I am so hungry right now... time to make some "choko" pudding!!!!! Nummy!

So excited!!!!!

I have my fabric for my dress, and the fabric for my sleeves and forepart!!!!!! I can't wait to get started!!!!!

Maybe I can do blue instead of red...

I may have to end up doing a blue dress instead of red... I know, I know... The point is, I just need to find some damn fabric already and get started on my garb.

More info about why I am in full-tilt workaholic mode will be forthcoming on Saturday afternoon, if all goes well Saturday morning.

I have a complete list of what exactly has to be purchased, sewn, or put together:

I need (and yes, this list is intimidating):

  • Bodice
  • overskirt
  • underskirt - I may be able to recycle one that I made awhile ago, just need to turn up the hem a bit more...
  • forepart (this is the part that shows under the overskirt
  • parlet (this is the white thing that goes under the bodice, and fills in the neckline area
  • sleeves
  • hat
  • fan
  • pouch

We'll see how this goes. Some of these will take less than an hour.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

trim basted

not going to be done tomorrow night. more trim than I thought...whew. Looks great, though!

Panic Mode

I can't seem to find the right fabric for the dress I want to make! I am anxious to get started on it, for several reasons. I am beginning to think that I need to make a trip to Des Moines to pick out fabric. I did find fabric for a forepart and sleeves, but haven't made a final decision yet.

I know it will all come together, but I want this dress well underway before the end of this weekend.

The doublet is going well. I am pinning trim around the tabs, so I can baste it into place. It will make it easier to sew the trim to the doublet. I have the trim and the quilting on the left side to do yet, and then this will be done. My goal is to finish before the end of tomorrow. Tall order, yes, but I have a bunch of movies to watch while I work, and the sooner I get done with this, the sooner I can start on my dress.

Well, back to work!



Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Yep, my son is watching Futurama.

Waste of Time and Effort

Not a happy camper right now...

I hauled my son over to Ankeny to search the Hancock Fabrics store for duponi silk. They didn't have any!!!

Thay had a gorgeous, oh so gorgeous red silk in the decorator fabrics, but at $19.99/yard, with needing about 7 yards, that is impossible, crazy, insane to buy. Not duponi....

In fact, I left there completely empty handed!!!! I didn't find anything I liked, which is bad.

I am going to have to do a little more research to figure out which stores in Des Moines may have what I need...