titusnowl: (duel)
I finally got some GI Joe type dudes.  I've been wanting them forever.

So I could do this with 'em.
titusnowl: (house classy)
Formal Daywear:  the Morning Dress
A black tailcoat is worn, with a white shirt, gray waistcoat, and grey pants with a black stripe.  The tie can be an ascot or a regular necktie, and although white or grey are the traditional colors, nowadays all colors are worn.  This can only be worn to occasions that occur before 5:00 pm.
An alternative form of morning dress involves a grey tailcoat and grey trousers, and is popular at the Royal Ascot.

Formal Evening Wear:  Black Tie
A tuxedo, or dinner jacket, is worn, always in black with a ribbed silk or plain satin lapel.  The pants are black, with a single or double satin ribbon stripe down the outer seam.  The shirt is white, and the waistcoat should be low-cut and, usually, black (although there is some scope for color here, provided it is not gaudy; additionally, a cummerbund may be worn instead if you really think it best, but I ask you to consider this long and hard before making the purchase).   The tie is a black bowtie.  There are no exceptions to the tie rule, or why on earth would they call it black tie?

Ultra-Formal Evening Wear:  White Tie
Our friend the tailcoat returns, this time accompanied by the pants that go with the black-tie outfit.  The shirt, tie, and waistcoat are all brilliantly white and stiffly starched.  The shoes should be black leather, mirror-shined.  Patent is to be regarded as a Last Resort for Those Who Suck at Polishing and are Too Cheap to Pay a Shoe-Shine Boy.


COMMON WEDDING-PARTY MISTAKES:
- "Let's make the groomsmen wear red bow ties to match the bridesmaids' gowns!"  No.  Do you know who wears red bow ties?  Waitresses in night clubs where the uniform consists of the tie, a skin-tight bustier, and a pair of furry cat-ears on a headband.
- "Let's have the groomsmen wear tailcoats and green vests + neckties to match the bridesmaids' gowns!"  No.  Tailcoats are too formal for such things, and you should never be wearing a standard tie with evening wear.
- "Let's have the groomsmen wear navy blue tuxedo jackets and turquoise-blue cummerbunds with a lime-green bowtie, so they match all the pretty flowers my mommy and daddy are paying for to decorate the church!"  GO TO HELL YOU VAPID BINT
titusnowl: (sewing)
I am just so so pleased with how the left-side darts came out on the vest.  I've impressed myself.  It looks professional!  Tiny little stitches a tiny little way in from the tiny little rolled-over edge! 

Of course, then I got my work cut out for me on the right-hand side, and put House in the DVD player, and sewed three inches of tiny painstaking backstitch, and then realized I'd folded the dart to the wrong side - had folded the right-hand dart over in the same direction as I'd folded the left-hand one, when they need to be in opposite directions so as to be mirror-images of each other and thus most appealing.  FOO.  I became so discouraged that Justin had to pick the seam apart (I don't own a seam-ripper, so he used his pocketknife), and I haven't gone back to it since.  I suppose I'll do it tomorrow during V for Vendetta.
titusnowl: (sewing)
The timing on the sewing machine is off, so that the needle strikes at the wrong time and snaps itself off.  Don't have a sewing machine repair center within an easy driving distance, and don't have the ~$70 it would take to get it fixed (at least not right now, being paid biweekly and rent due tomorrow), so the entire vest is being hand-sewn.

Now bits of it would have had to have been (I'm afraid there were too many avoirs just there, sorry) hand-sewn anyway, viz. the darts in the front, but I'm going to have to do all the hems and seams by hand as well, and I'm woefully out of practice.

I'm doing the left front portion of the fashion fabric right now, working on the dart.  It's slow going due to my being out of practice, the heft of the fabric (and my lack of thimble to push the needle through quicker), the fact that the Coats & Clark Oxford Grey thread is the exact same color as the fabric so I have a hard time telling my stitches from the twill weave, and the fact that since this entire portion of the stitchery is going to be completely visible I'm working it in teensy tiny little backstitches (three threads to the stitch), so it's painstaking going.  Luckily I have Casanova on to distract me.
titusnowl: (sewing)
I am making a vest.  I really have no good reason to need a vest, but I am making one anyway.  It's all Cameron's fault; her little vests are too cute.  It's also Jeeves' fault, as I rather hope that by wearing a neat little vest I will pick up some of his better properties via vest mojo (this is a scientific fact, which you can read in any encyclopedia).  I've made the lining as my toile, out of a really cheap, heavyweight synthetic double-sided satin from the Walmart clearance rack.  It is black.  I've done my fittings and basted it together, and tomorrow I will cut the fashion fabric (another really cheap Walmart clearance find, this some sort of cotton-blend twill-weave suiting in a dark charcoal).  I bought some buttons for the front (it will button all the way up to the collar, so that I can leave the top two or three undone with my shirt-ruffle tucked through the gap) and a couple of the next-size-down button of the same pattern for pockets - I know I need a watch pocket, as I have a pocketwatch, but I am as yet undecided as to whether I want to build the pocket in to the darts on the front with no button on, or simply add a patch pocket to the front with a button on (and in that instance should it be one pocket for one watch, or two for the sake of symmetry?).    I will need to go out and find some sort of buckle for the strap in the back, since I am not flexible enough to fit darts behind my own back yet need some way of fitting it properly so you can actually see my waist. 

Opinions on the pocket issue eagerly solicited.
titusnowl: (stays)
The stays project will, in fact, be costing about $10.  I just realized I don't have black thread in the quantity required, and I also need some ribbon.  These things will probably have to wait a while; money is tighter than anticipated.

The busk is completed, though.  We got a stick of poplar for $1 at Home Depot, and paid a surprise visit to Justin's family (we hadn't been able to go for Mother's Day, so we delivered our presents and went shooting with Matt - it was a ton of fun, and we stayed there until almost 10:00 at night - we made up the India story mostly to stay awake until midnight while driving home!).  We used their coping saw and belt sander to cut the busk down to size and give it its gentle curve on the outside.  It's perfect.

We also got a bunch of cable ties, including some that are a full 4 feet long - they were in the shed just hanging out, so we could have them.

Now I have to do the layout for the boning and sew my channels (which will require that black thread), and then I have the fun job of cutting the cable ties to the proper length and doing something to keep sharp plastic edges from breaking through the fabric.  I'm also not really looking forward to binding the seams with the ribbon - it's not something I've ever done before.  I'm lucky in the channel sewing department, though - the bones are just the right width that I can simply use the machine's presser foot to gauge the spacing.

Oh!  We also borrowed a grommet setter and approximately 45 little brass grommets - we'll only need 16 or so for this project, so I think I'll use the rest on a doublet.

(My goal with the doublet, by the way, is to make something that looks reasonably historically accurate while still being wearable in the real world if you're slightly eccentric.  But more on that once the stays are done!)
titusnowl: (bee)
If any of you know how to draft a sleeve pattern (the type that you pin or lace into the armscye, not the tube-with-a-gather-in-one-end style) and could shoot me some instructions or maybe a photo or diagram with nice labels on it ("once attached, this part is the top of your arm and attaches to the shoulder; this part goes in your armpit; it's about X inches wide at this point"), I'd really appreciate it.
titusnowl: (stays)
Me: Excuse me, sir, can you help me find some really big cable ties?  Like, 3 feet long and 1/4" wide, or so?
Orange vest:  For duct work?
Me: Um. 

I don't know what they're for in real life!  It turns out that yes, it's for ductwork.  They didn't have any on display anywhere; he called the manager, and the manager didn't know where they were either (they'd been moved from their old position).  Finally the guy went to the aisle where they used to be and found a couple of unopened boxes still up in the midstock racks, got a stairlift thing and pulled the box down, opened it up and gave me my pack of giant cable ties.  Yay.

And we found a piece of poplar that is just the right size to cut down to a busk, so now all we need are 18 grommets and a few yards of ribbon (for finishing and lacing).

I hope to have this done by Wednesday.
titusnowl: (stays)
I just cut the fabric for my very first pair of stays.  The pattern came from an Elizabethan Corset Pattern Generator, and so (obviously) the shape is Elizabethan, which isn't my #1 choice of costume eras.  However, the desired body shape is the same for 18th century costuming, which IS my #1 choice (flat front, conical bodice and prodigious titties), so I should be fine using one set of underwear for any dresses I make.  The main difference will be in the back closure.  As you can see in my icon, the back of a pair of Georgian stays laces tightly closed and looks kind of like a vest.  Well, for one thing, mine doesn't have straps, but the main difference is that the Elizabethans are designed to leave a 2" gap down the center back.  I'm fine with that - it allows for more leeway in gaining or losing weight.  (Speaking of, when I took my measurements for this corset last night, my waist was 3" smaller than it was the last time I took measurements, several months ago. I'm still overweight, obviously, but 3" is a hell of a difference.)

I opted not to put tabs on the bottom of the corset, partly because they weren't included in the pattern and partly because I'm lazy.  There were instructions provided for adding tabs, but I couldn't really figure them out, so I'll just not have tabs.  I don't really need them to make skirts stand out (my hip:waist ratio is insane), so my only concern is that the bottom of the stays might dig into my hips a little.  If that happens, I can always try to alter the thing later.

I'm making it with a red cotton lining and a charcoal grey twilled-somethingorother outer.  (The outer is "unknown fabric origin," something heavy and synthetic in a twill weave, that I found on the $1 a yard table and bought the whole 6 yards left on the bolt.  The inner is a scrap I had left over from making a tote bag; it was exactly the right size.)  I'll be boning it with cable ties, and we're going to try to carve a wooden busk, if we can find a piece of oak or other hardwood that is 3/8" thick and 2" wide.  We're on our way to Home Depot.

Yes, I am going to Home Depot for costuming supplies.  My life is weird.


Oh - we were a bit worried about the fit, because when we had just the lining fabric wrapped around me the gap looked too wide, but when we took the lining and the fashion fabric together it was exactly perfect.  This pattern generator is pretty awesome.

The best part is that since I already had the fabric lying around, and cable ties are really really cheap, this thing is gonna cost about $5 total.

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titus n. owl

February 2015

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