Black and White Petticoat Nearly Done!!!

True test to see how fast i can sew, i cut out and began a Victorian Petticoat on Saturday and am very proud to say that i am nearly done!  Including the "extra" bits i decided it needed.  I used the Truly Victorian pattern #TV170, View B "1877-1882 Natural Form".  I'm not a huge fan of the bustle, and am quite happy to continue to minimize the need for a bustle when ever possible, thus most of my Victorian Clothes fit into the Natural Form (1877-1882) and Bell Epoch (1890-1897) periods where there was either just a bit o' bustle or none (my preference).

I had found a fantastic black on white printed fabric during my Longs excursion in Oakland that i paired with a plain black fabric for good contrast.  I have finished nearly all of the sewing!!!  I decided to add a 1/2" wide strip down the front/side seams on both sides to help break up the print and it looks much better.  Kat had recommended all White stitching and i'm glad i went for super helps it pop and otherwise those pintucks would have been for not.  The seams are french seams mostly and the entire garment is lined.  I did a small amount of cheating as parts are more in the style of flat lined and others are pretty lining clean finished (darts are all inside with no way to escape).  Here are some progress pictures...

Front - AND - Back
(missing the bottom ruffle and waistband)

Front of Victorian Petticoat   Back of Victorian Petticoat

Extra Black Taping along seam - AND - Pintucks!!!

Close up of Binding on Petticoat    Pintucks on Petticoat 

How clean/pretty the skirt is on the inside

Beautiful Clean finished inside

Pirates, Cannons, and Beautiful HATS!!!

This weekend was the Pirate Faire in Vallejo, CA on the waterfront.  Fantastic location that makes for super pretty pictures.  I finished and debuted the Edwardian Underthings set i've been working on in the shadow strip cotton.  Perfect for the weather with a parasol.  Some pictures of me and me mateys. 

Kathleen and Cranes   Tracey ... Arg!!!   Jason and Me on the Waterfront

Some of my favorite things were the fantastic Black Cheery Cider, the interesting carnival games (Axe Throwing!!!), amazing costumes, but bestest of the best was ... all of the fantastic hats!  People definitely went all out on the hats and it showed!  My two *very* favorites were the Marie Antoinette Ship/Feathers/Butterfly ensemble (on left) and the Straw Birds Nest (on right).  There are also pictures of the gorgeous dresses that accompained each womans hat.  The Dress with the Birds Nest Hat had a super cute shirred up back bustle style in a super cute black and skinny white striped fabric.

Pirate Ship Hat (Hat only)   Bird Nest Hat worn with Black and White Dress

Admists all of the hats goodness i was bewitched and decided i must have one of my own!  Yes, i've started making hats...but there was this amazing hat done in a molded felt (something i *haven't* gotten to yet) that called my name.  I purchased my new favorite hat from Sidney Rice "W the house of Wormwood".  The Hat came with a specially designed hat pin for said hat.  Now i just need to make an outfit to wear it withas i own *nothing* in these colors.  Keep your fingers crossed, she is looking for more of the ribbon othat is on the hat which i will totally need to deck out an outfit.  I've already got a black and camel Edwardian suit running around in my head screaming to be made (and worn to the Steamcon in Seattle)...

"Camel Hat" by Sidney Rice   "Camel Hat" by Sidney Rice   Hat Pin made for "Camel Hat" by Sidney Rice

Nile River Ripple Blanket ... Begun

With the beginnings of new seasons of most of the shows i watch i needed some "tv knitting".  I've found i love knitting blankets!  So the happy, happy marriage of the two was a basic blanket that i could knit without staring at *most* of the time.  I decided on a very simple ripple 3 row repeat pattern.  I originally thought this was going to be a crochet blanket...but my crochet skills aren't ready for not watching while i do it yet.  I started the blanket a few days ago with the return of two fantastic shows: Weeds and True Blood.  I'm super excited i've also got a blanket going as it's an awesome roadtrip knitting item as there is always tons of space in the car while the blanket gets bigger and bigger : )

Checking out Longs off Broadway

I keep hearing from a close friend about the wonderfulness that is the Longs Drugstore in Oakland off Broadway.  They are open 24 hours a day and more importantly they are open 24 hours a day!  I decided to try out a longer bike ride then normal and get myself down there.  Good times!  Ridiculously bad service...but beautiful fabric.  Two fantastic items were procured.  Plaid wants to be some incarnation of a day dress possibly for Dickens this year.  The white/black is screaming petticoat ruffles and front panel along with black poplin out of the newly procured pattern from Truly Victorian - #TV170.

Plaid and Printed Fabric from Longs

Pintucks and Lace Dying Disappointments

First the good ... Pintucks!  Here are the pintucks on the dust ruffle of the petticoat.


Painful ... dying lace.  Sad, sad, sad...  The lace just didn't want to go to the "black as midnight, black as pitch, blacker then the foulest witch" that i was hoping for.  In the upper left corner is a swatch of the body fabric so you can see just how uncooperative the lace truly was.  Some day the lace will be pulled out of a box and have something done with it.  For now i want to pt it in the paper shredder, but am going to settle for the fabric storage box.

Stripy Underthings Goodness

Progress has been made on my Edwardian Underthings project.  I have fallen head over heels in love with the Cotton Shadow Stripe Fabric...fabalous!!!  Being home for nearly a week i've been ultra productive and i have a whole nother week and a half before my next trip to NY, pleanty of time to finish up this project.

Even through they are just underthings you *never* know how a pattern is going to fit until you sew it up.  So Saturday i busted out the muslin and cut out the bodice and drawers.  I figured that making a muslin of an open back petticoat was kinda silly.  The bodice was fantastic!  No changes necessary at all.  Very impressive Folk Wear.  Next came the drawers... I got them on, stepped in front of the mirror, and decided that the horror was too much to bear and there was no way i was going to be sewing these are wearing them in public.  I really do not like how period drawers/bloomers usually fit.  I knew that i was going to need to make some adjustments, but this was too much.  Apart from being way too full for me personally they were not balanced, so the legs collapsed and bunched up at the leg opening instead of hanging nearly straight off the hips.  Plan B?  Laughing Moon Saloon Girl Drawers to the rescue!  I made these in a short version for my Victorian Saloon Girl Costume for Steam-Con last year and knew they were fantastic.  I lengthened the pattern, skipped the muslin, and found the ruffles from the Edwardian Underthings fit perfectly on the Laughing Moon pattern, nice.

Current Progress:
* Drawers complete, minus ruffle @ Leg Opening
* Petticoat structure complete, minus ruffle layers @ Hem
* Bodice ... 0% complete

All of the seaming has been done using French Seams.  I haven't sewn French Seams since school...damn do they make things look pretty.  The bodice has been on the back burner while i decide if i have time to crochet some lace inserts this week to accent the top.  THe leaning is towards crocheting the lace because i know how purty it is and the sewing pattern even came with corchet patterns for the different inserts on the garments (super awesome too Folk Wear).

A new skill obtained today was using a "Bias Turner".  Awesome little machine that *super* helped as it kept me being able to feel with my fingers versus the normal burning off off my fingertips in sacrifice to the self bias god.  I needed for the waist casing on the petticoat, and had some left over scraps begging to help out.  I spoke with a friend about these a few months back as she made fantastic bias tape.  "New Mommy - get one ... they're everything we thought they might be and more!!!"

Rockin Productivity

This weekend include a boyfriend back in Missouri for the sisters wedding...which equals TONS of time for me to play with the house and costumes.  YEA!!!  First some very sad prints were thought of and had frames purchased and got framed.  Now the b-friend can hang them upon his return (it's what he does).  Next the basic muslins for the Edwardian Underthings were cut and fit.  I don't like the drawers, just not my style.  Luckily i remember fantastic drawers i used for an evening outfit for SteamCon last year from Laughing Moon...perfect!  Everything has now been cut out in actual fabric, the beautful shadow stripe i found a few months ago in ny.  This week will be focused on finishing the underthings to wear to Pirate Faire!  I also have a dress pattern that would be perfect...but it's Pirate Faire.  I think just the under garments are more appropiate : )

Some Attention for the Backyard / Prepping for Garden Time

My poor sad backyard and i are finally taking a few evenings to get reacquainted.  The grass is nearly dead, the lemon tree's leaves are yellowing, and the weeds were in full control.  After two days of loving the leaves have been cleared from under the trees (will someone please tell Berkeley it's not Autumn?).  I weeded the back yard and gave the lemon tree some food.  Now there is space for goodies!!!  Some space means i've probably got enough space for 4 or 5 small things around the lemon tree.

Over the years here i have grown bell peppers, hot thai peppers, cilantro, greeen onions, and a failed attempts at strawberries and a couple of other things.  The Peppers were tasty and the cilantro is a never ending sight of joy.  Yes, it's only 35 cents at Berkeley Bowl...but i like pulling it out of MY GARDEN.  Oh so rewarding.  So i'm thinking of trying the following this year with fingers crossed as the weather has decided to be Spring instead of Summer again for awhile.

Plants I'm ready to purchase and Plant...
* Cilantro (Main Stay and Must Have)
* Green Onions (Main Stay)
* Rosemary (There is a big open space behind the leon tree that could support a bush...)

Plants under investigation...
* Basil
* Bell Peppers
* Jalapenos

The investigations will continue over the next few days while i check out growing requirements (sun/shade, size, etc.)  I found an awesome website about herbs, Culinary Herb Guide, where they discuss growing considerations, harvesting, drying, when to replace, and even some herb garden designs based on how much space you have.  Fantastic site that totally helped with the Rosemary selection.  THe plan is to hit up some of the Nurseries on Friday, take some pictures, and start some lists.  I want to get it going, but i also want to do my homework so i do it right, and once!  Here are a couple of local Nurseries i found online.  Recommentations/advice greatly appreciated! : )

East Bay Nursery
Dwight Yabusaki's Way Nursery
Dry Garden (no website, near Shattuck and Ashby)

And a pretty picture to make me want to work in the garden all year from Berlin.

Super Find: Betty "Birdie" Draper Dress

Last month i went to an estate sale that was posted on the GBACG yahoo group.  Very little there, but looking under the tables provided a gorgeous dress...the Betty "Birdie" Draper Dress.  Appropriately named after the beautiful wife of the character Don Draper on AMC's Mad Men.  If you haven't seen this, go watch the first two seasons, you will not be disappointed.  Oh the 60's started with some beautiful fashions, all very much represented in this show.


The dress and i had love at first sight.  Unfortunately some others have not loved the dress as i am.  There are some stains on the front that look like water stains maybe?  Any tips/tricks on removing stains out of the old polyester style fabrics?  Also some of the "rhinestones" have fallen out of the buttons.  I'm really excisted about restoring this dress this summer.  Also it fits fantastically so it's only cosmetic changes.  Very lucky find!

Socks be done!

This evening was a fantastic night starting off with some weeding of the backyard, which yes...means that i'm home!!!  Post fantastic left over tamales Mom's socks were picked up with *only* the toes to finish.  A new episode of Cast On took me up to the kitchner's stitch and voila, a finshed pair of socks that are only 8 months late.  To my credit this is the second attempt at knitting socks for Ma as the beautiful cables on the first pair had NO stretch and thus did not fit a 6-year old girl child.  These on the otherhand have a fantastic amount of stretch, but not stretch out and i think mother will enjoy them greatly.  Now back to our original programming of stuff for me.

Twilight Handknit Socks for Ma   Twilight Handknit Socks for Ma