Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Tale of Rose Red, Part 1

Tonight is the season finale for Once Upon a Time. I'm so excited! I invited a couple of friends over. We're going to have a little Finale get-together. I even bought an apple pie for the occasion!

In the meantime, I have officially gotten started on my Red Riding Hood costume, and thought I'd better get started on some progress blog entries too, before I get too far ahead of myself and don't feel like going back. I really want to be a good sewing blogger for the benefit of those looking for reference on my chosen projects!

Today's post will be simple: Just some snapshots and discussions about the fabrics and the pattern I've chosen to use.

This is my main reference photo:

I decided to take the approach of "close enough" with this project. That is, I'm not killing myself looking for exact fabrics or anything of the kind, most especially in the case of the brocade on her vest. I'm organizing the pieces of the ensemble as follows, roughly in order of hardest to easiest:

I. Blouse
II. Vest
III. Skirt
IV. Cape
V. Petticoat
VI. Boots, Gloves
VII. Hair, Basket, etc.

The pattern I've chosen to use is Butterick 6196, since the corset/vest has the rounded neckline, front closure, and pointed waistline of Red's. The peasant blouse and skirt are also suitable, with a few slight tweaks.


For the blouse I bought a buttery-colored crinkle chiffon. It's a wee bit more yellow than Red's, but they didn't have the perfect shade of off-white available.  I also bought 1/2 a yard of decorative tulle in the same shade for the lace layers on her sleeves. This detail on the sleeves, as well as some trim techniques on the neckline are the two reasons that the blouse, for all its simplicity in basic construction, is #1 on my difficulty level list. It's going to require the most patience to get it just right.

The vest fabric was where I really splurged. As I suggested to myself in the original introductory post to this project, I combed up and down the aisles in the home decor fabrics section at JoAnn's until I found the black/brown/grey paisley tapestry fabric shown below. Since that dept of fabrics was 50% off (and I had a coupon above and beyond that), the price of the splurge was significantly less than what it could have been, but I'd still better make darn sure that I get everything right on the vest the first time around. I also bought some brown satin lining and boning as called for by the pattern. (Oh, and black ribbon for the edging, not pictured).

The skirt fabric was an double dose of the "close enough" stance. Studying the picture above, it's clear to see, that the material for Red's skirt is super shiny and crinkly. I actually did find some bolts in the special occasion fabrics very like this, but the red they had was full on 100% red, not the wine/ cranberry/Christmasy kind of red I would consider that skirt to be. More than that, I really just don't want one quite that shiny. Although it's not easy to tell in the photo below, the fabric I found has its own luster, but subtler, and I prefer the color for myself. (Also, it was on clearance!)

And that's all I have for now! I'm going to wait until all of these elements are finished before I proceed to buying fabric and materials for the cape. I've already made a test garment for the blouse and conducted one failed (but enlightening) attempt at constructing the sleeves with those lace layers.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Lovely Lady

For the past couple of weeks there have been some drastic changes to the sewing scene at home. First I will inundate you with photos and quirky narration, and then I will tell the story.

First: This is my new sewing table. Yes, I have a new sewing table.

 Here it is all closed up.

Here is the accompanying supply cabinet.

There are, of course, drawers for things, as one might expect.

There is a handy cubby for Sergio when he's not on duty.

AND a fancy side table that swings out for Sergio when he is on duty.

Quite possibly my favorite feature is the extensions that make the cutting table.

And, naturally, since I had an official cutting table, I got an official cutting mat.
(More on that later)

Truly, this is a beautiful castle, fit for a queen.

... or at least a Lady.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to introduce the Lady Sandry.

 Isn't she BEAUTIFUL!?!?!?!?!




 ...and auto-threading, and USB ports, and way more bells and whistles than I've ever dreamed of using. 


Okay, story proper.

I have a friend, Gina, who has become a real life sewing mentor of sorts. She helped me learn how to thread Sergio this past January, and she helped me put some cuffs on a project this past month (which I haven't featured yet because of the A-Z challenge theme going on). 

Both the table and Sandry used to belong to Gina. She's been looking to sell both for a while, and wanted them to go to good homes. I have been contemplating getting a new machine for a while, mostly because after almost two and a half years of sewing, I've finally decided that it's a hobby that's going to stick. Gina made me a good offer for the pair of them, and since her offer for the sewing machine was right around the price range I was looking for, I quickly took her up on it.

Man, oh, man. I practically STOLE this machine.

I say this not as a gloat, but to sort of express my stunned astonishment. I sort of feel like I owe it to every struggling seamstress out there who dreams of bells and whistles to learn every last thing about it just to be WORTHY of the privilege of owning her.

The name Sandry comes from The Circle of Magic #1: Sandry's Book by Tamora Pierce. Sandry is a high class lady indeed, in the story, kind and compassionate, but one of the many reasons I especially loved her as a character was that instead of scoffing at her needlework like most headstrong leading ladies in fantasy these days, Sandry loved her needlework so much her governess sometimes had to urge her to work on something else. (I might have made that part up, actually, it's been a while since I read them-- Laura, Emma, Kate, please correct me if it's only in my imagination). In any case, Sandry ends up having a special magical talent with all manner of threadcraft. I hope, in that spirit, to work some "magic" of my own with my Sandry. :-)

But what about Darth Stitch? you may be asking. Well, technically, Darth Stitch is still my mother's, so his fate will be up to her. As much as I love and have come to respect him, as much as he's taught me, the student's ambitions are starting to surpass the master's capabilities, I fear. It's high time to move on. I'm going to suggest that we give him to my aunt and cousins, who are always coming over here to patch things. Not that I mind having them, quite the contrary. But still. The desire to give good machines to good homes is universal.

So here's my new sewing station, all assembled and ready to go. I can't wait to get started!!!