Thursday, December 30, 2010

Year in Review and a Look Ahead at 2011

I did a lot of sewing this past year. I honestly probably don't even remember everything I've made, but I'll give it a try.

Sewing Projects -
1. Time Traveler outfit. This is a full bustled gown with an underkskirt, bustle and apron, bodice and jacket. Its done in pink satin and cotton printed with clocks and is trimmed in green ribbon, white lace, and ruffles I made from white and purple satin. Debuted at Marcon.
2. Two black petticoats. The first one is long, knee length or so and made to be worn with primarily 50s styles skirts and dresses. The second is extremely short and basically a tutu that's meant to be worn as an exterior garment.
3. Conductrix outfit for Miss Dashwood. Brown bustle worn over brown and white striped short bloomers. Debuted at Marcon.
4. Sewing commission for a company in town. It was for a competition they took part in. Snug knit dress and hoop skirt esque thing to be worn over it.
5. I worked on ANH Princess Leia for myself, but it kinda fell apart when I realized how badly I messed up the neckline. I may pull this back out to finish it, but I don't know.
6. I made matching pajama pants for Miss Dashwood and I out of the clockwork cotton fabric.
7. I made myself a tiered 'gypsy' skirt out of the left over clockwork fabric.
8. A red and black kilt for my beau. I used a homespun cotton underlined with black denim to give it weight. I recently redid the hem because it did not have enough weight to hang properly.
9. A black and silver striped bodice and plaid sleeveless jacket meant to be worn with my black and silver plaid bustled gown. I only actually wore the bodice once and that was to a picnic over the summer.
10. Queen Gorgo costume from 300. Its called the 'farewell dress'. Basically its just a few yards of white muslin that wrap around me. Not too much actual sewing was involved.
11. A reversible dress for Miss Van Eycke that she wore at the Broken Hearts Masquerade in February.
12. Spats for the Captain.
13. Green embroidered cotton skirt for myself.
14. Steampunk Power Puff girls blouses, skirts and vests for the Misses Dashwood and Van Eycke.
15. Retro Butterick dress for myself, called the 'walkaway dress', in bright green broadcloth and purple flowered calico.
16. Steampunk Durga costume for Miss Dashwood.
17. Aprons for my parents for Christmas.
18. Pajama pants for my brother and sister in law for Christmas.
19. Finally made a hat for my comic book Harley Quinn costume.
20. Steampunk Tinkerbell costume that I wore for Halloween. Made a bustle skirt, blouse, underbust corset, spats and mini bloomers.
21. New RFT shirt for my beau, this was modification not sewing from scratch.
22. New Shipwreck shirt and pants for my beau - shortened the sleeves on an existing shirt and sewed on patches, hemmed the pants.
23. Steampunk Harley Quinn for myself.
24. Started a quilt for my beau.
25. Several alterations - mended a vest for the Captain, took in a skirt and a dress for Miss Dashwood, took in a football jersey for a friend, hemmed two pairs of pants for another friend, took in a dress for Miss Stoup, modified a bustle for Miss Dashwood, and several small mending projects for my beau and myself.

Wow, I did a lot over the last year didn't I? I also attended three conventions - Ohayocon, Marcon and Mid Ohio Con, and went to a few other costuming events with my beau, only one of which I dressed up for.

Plans for 2011
1. Finishing Steampunk Joker for my beau
2. Steampunk Catwoman for Miss Dashwood
3. Maybe a commission for one of my beau's friends for a Bill the Butcher costume
4. I'd like to finally get ANH Princess Leia finished
5. Imperial Officers uniform for myself
6. Maybe Mara Jade for myself
7. A commission for another friend. Should be interesting, I've never made women's clothing for a man before.
8. Some alterations for the Captain.
9. Steampunk Confederates for Marcon.
10. Simi costume for DragonCon
11. A normal skirt for myself.

Conventions I plan to attend in 2011 -- Ohayocon, Marcon, DragonCon, and probably Mid Ohio Con.

It looks like 2011 is going to be a busy year, doesn't it my dearest readers?

A bientot

Miss Leah J Wilde
Steam-stress of the Airship Archon

Ohayocon Prep 24

Well, as you noticed from the postscript on my last post, I have hit full panic mode. Ohayocon is less than a month away and I still have all of Miss Dashwood's items and most of my beau's to complete! I managed to generate enough calm yesterday to compile an extensive, detailed to do list, including time estimates for each item. I'm guessing that I need about three weeks to complete everything, which gives me an extra few days before the convention to finish up any last minute issues. I'm still in panic mode but I feel slightly better.

Yesterday, I finished stitching in the lining on the tails of the Joker tailcoat. I would have done more, but then realized that I needed to discuss the interior pockets with my beau before I did anything with them. And I cannot put in the lining of the body until the pockets are taken care of. I also probably need to buy buttons and do the buttonholes -- I'm leaning towards bound because I don't think stitched buttonholes would work well on the corduroy -- before the lining goes in. I may be able to do the buttonholes after the lining. It'll take some thought to figure that one out.

I also discussed Miss Dashwood's utility belt and bustle with her. She suggested and I agreed that an all in one option would work best. I sketched out some ideas, she approved one and I worked out a pattern on newspaper. Unfortunately, I was unable to start on the belt / bustle because I still have not prewashed the fabric. That is on my list of things to do today.

I'm rather bored at work today -- I have no hand sewing projects to work on. I have contemplated hand basting the underlining and trouser fabric together, but think that it would be too tedious to handle today. I'm entertaining that as a last resort.

What I hope to accomplish this weekend:
1. Finish my HQ mask. I need to shorten, paint and attach the handle to the mask.
2. Add a loop or a hook to my costume for the mask to hang from when I'm not holding it.
3. I also need to try on my completed costume to see if any changes need to be made.

4. Prewash the fabric for Catwoman.
5. At least cut out the pattern for the belt and the bustle ruffles.

6. Talk to my beau about all the questions I have about his costume.
Go button / tie fabric / vest lining shopping with my beau.
8. Buttons and buttonholes on the jacket.
9. Interior pockets on the jacket.
10. Finish sewing in the jacket lining.
11. See if beau approves of the lapel. If he does, sew the lapels on and stitch in the lining to finish the edges.
12. Finish sleeves with either a hand stitched hem or a faux fur cuff to match the lapels.
13. Baste together the underlining and fabric for the trousers.

This is just a vague to do list. I may actually leave the lining of the tailcoat until next week because I can work on it during the day while I'm at work. If I do that, I'll be working more on the trousers this weekend.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde
Steam-stress of the Airship Archon

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ohayocon 23

First of all, my mask is pretty much finished. I need to cut and paint the dowel rod and then attach it to the mask, but the sewing part is done.

As for Miss Dashwood's fabric and sketches, those are still undone. I ended up being sent home early from work, just as I began to work on them. So that's why they are still undone.

I have worked on the Joker however. I finished the other two welted pockets on the jacket. They both went much better than the first pocket. I attempted to take enough photos for a tutorial but failed -- it is rather hard to remember to photograph each step. I just get so caught up in the sewing! Once the pockets were finished, I started on the lining. After pinning and not liking it, I decided just to hand stitch in the lining. I like the way it looks for one thing and I also feel that I have better control over it if I just do it by hand. So last night, I pinned the tail lining onto the coat. I worked on the stitching today and its almost finished. Last night I also basted on the lapels. I figured that basting it on was the best option. That way, we can decided if we like the faux fur or not. If the answer is yes, I can stitch it on properly and if the answer is no, I can remove it easily. The next step after the tail lining is sewn in will be the lining of the body of the jacket.

After I put in the pockets, which I completely forgot about until now. I think they're just going to be patch pockets, but I'll ask the beau to make sure before I do that. Which of course means that I'll have to wait to start putting in that lining until after I put the pockets in.

If I finish the tail lining tomorrow while at work, I shall probably work on sketches for ever lovely Miss Dashwood.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde
Steam-stress of the Airship Archon

PS -- Eeep! One month til Ohayocon! I'm definitely hitting full panic mode now!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ohayocon Prep 22 and Quilting

Things I did not work on that I said I would - my mask and Miss Dashwood's fabric and sketches. I need to take care of those today.

I did however work on my beau's quilt. I have three or four of the seven rows sewn together.

AND I got quite a bit of work done on the Joker this weekend. As previously mentioned, I cut out the corduroy and the lining for the jacket last week. On Friday, I put together the jacket and the lining. I also cut out the lapel facing and sewed it together along the center back seam.

Then he decides that he wants pockets. Which makes sense - obviously he needs to be able to carry a pocket watch and a flower in his lapel. I just wish he'd mentioned it earlier, would have been much easier to put the pockets in before the jacket was sewn together.

Since the pockets must go in before the lining, I obviously did not get around to hand stitching the lining in this weekend. Sadly.

While visiting his family out of town, and without a sewing machine *gasp*, I cut out the pockets for the jacket and also his trousers. Those were interesting. The underlining of white cotton was just fine, normal cutting out. But the outer fabric is so lightweight that I decided to use the underlining as the pattern pieces and cut out each piece separately, on only one layer of the trouser fabric. As you can imagine, this took some time.

Last night after we returned, I tackled the jacket pockets. First of all, let me state that I hate welted pockets. While they look fabulous, they are a pain to sew. I reread the directions before I started and marked where I wanted the pockets to go. Then I stitched the welts on, then the pocket lining, then slashed the pocket and the jacket and pulled the pocket through and -- I had messed up somewhere. Turns out that I had put the welts on backwards, so instead of a nice smooth folded edge showing, it was the raw edges of the welts. Sigh. So I had to take everything out and start all over again. Thankfully, the second time went off without an issue, and the other side of the pocket was sewn on. I showed the beau and he approved of my work which of course pleased me to no end.

So I have one pocket down, two to go on the outside of the jacket. Then there's two more on the inside, but I may just make them patch pockets. I'll have to talk to the beau first.

Now for everyone's favorite part - the to do list!

Harley Quinn
1. Finish mask

1. Prewash fabric
2. Sketches for both the bustle and the utility belt
3. Construct both the bustle and the utility belt
4. Insert zipper into turtleneck

1. Finish pockets on the jacket, both inside and outside
2. Sew in the jacket lining
3. Sew on the jacket lapels
4. Buttons and buttonholes on the front of the jacket
5. Put the trousers together - zipper or button fly?
6. Cut out and construct the vest
7. Probably need to make a tie

I plan to take turns working on Catwoman and Joker. I'll probably mainly do Catwoman while on the Companions Shuttle and work on the Joker while visiting my beau in his quarters. Today at work, I'm going to work on my mask and try to get those sketches done.

I'm going to try to take enough photos during the next pocket construction that I can do a welted pocket tutorial.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ohayocon Prep 21

Non sewing related crafting alert! I finished my beau's gift and wrapped it last night! I'm ready for Christmas now!

In Ohayocon news, I started cutting out my beau's Joker jacket yesterday, using the muslin for the front and back pattern pieces. Actually, I cut it all out. There was a brief moment of panic when I thought that I wouldn't have enough fabric for the outside of the jacket, but thankfully I was able to get everything cut out. Just barely. I added to both sides of the jacket front (along the front and along the side seam) so it should close now. Hopefully.

I also cut out the lining. Which also caused a little panic, and the jacket back will need some creative sewing because there's just a pinch missing from the side seams, but it should be okay. Cutting out the front lining was interesting. The way the pattern works is that there is a collar facing that is the visible part of the collar when the jacket is worn. (We're thinking of using some fake fur for this actually). So the entire front of the jacket did not need to be lined. I pulled out the collar facing piece and laid it on top of the front piece to see what exactly needed to be lined. I then folded back the collar and cut the lining omitting that section. Hopefully it will work. Although now that I'm thinking about it, maybe I should have just left it, then if we decide against the fur, the collar could have been the lining fabric. Oh well, c'est la vie. I used a bit of the left over lining fabric to cut out pockets for the inside of the jacket, as well as pieces to finish the opening of the pockets.

I still need to cut out the collar facing and the cuffs, probably out of fake fur as previously mentioned. So that is probably the next step, or I may just start putting the jacket together. I would love to have the jacket and lining ready for hand sewing this weekend. My beau and I are going out of town to his grandfather's home and I'm worried about keeping myself occupied while we're there. And we're going to need to go button shopping.

I worked on my mask yesterday but hit a small problem -- the backing is a touch larger than the outside in a couple places. And of course, I discovered this after I had already covered it. I think I'm just going to let it be, afterall, what are the chances that someone will be looking that closely at my mask? Maybe I'll add a bit of trim to cover up my mistakes.

The fabric for Miss Dashwood's bustle and utility belt is in my sewing bag today. I'm planning to prewash it on my lunch break because its rather stiff. I'm hoping to get some sketches done over the weekend so we can get started on her things next week.

That's it for today!

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ohayocon Prep 20

I finished my mini top hat yesterday! It was pretty quick and easy to sew on the hair comb and the elastic -- I'm using both because I want to ensure it stays on my head. I also started working on my mask. The outside layer is almost covered, just need to finish stitching around one of the eyeholes. Then I'll cover the inside pieces and sew the two together. I need to get a dowel rod for the stick portion of the mask. And paint it.

Miss Von Stoup and I went shopping yesterday. We picked up ribbon and beads for her Poison Ivy costume. I'm definitely starting to feel the crunch, with Ohayocon swiftly approaching.

Non sewing related crafting alert!

I worked on my beau's Christmas gift yesterday as well. Its mostly done, just need to finish it which I'll probably do today. And then I need to fill a stocking for him. No clue what to get as stocking stuffers.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ohayocon Prep 19 and Quilting 3

First of all, I thought I'd let you all know how my Christmas gifts were received. My mother and father both liked their aprons, Mama wore hers most of the past weekend while we baked. I wore a vintage tied around the waist "merry christmas" apron, just in case you're wondering. My brother and sister in law both liked their pajama pants. I had them try them on, fixed the waist elastic (tightened, knotted and snipped) and pinned the hem. Then I stitched the elastic casing closed and hemmed the pants, all while sitting on my parents' living room floor. My sister in law was particularly pleased with her purple flannel pajama pants and was planning on putting them on when they got home.

Otherwise, well...not too much has been going on in Miss Wilde's Steamy World of Sewing. I don't know if its the weather or what (its been rather frigid here aboard the airship, such a hard thing to heat properly) but I haven't had the inclination for much sewing.

What I have done --

Finished cutting out the muslin for the Joker jacket. Basted it together and got my beau to try it on last night. The front needs widened to allow for it to button, but otherwise, it fits just fine.

One evening last week, I planned on sewing for myself. Just a basic skirt out of some wide wale teal corduroy in my stash. But the pattern would not cooperate with me. Instead, I pulled out the blocks for my beau's quilt, came up with a design, and started pinning the blocks together into rows.

I still haven't finished my mini top hat or my mask for HQ.

I definitely need to get on the ball with both Joker and Catwoman. No more slacking allowed -- only 39 days til Ohayocon (at least by my count). And I have at least one project to finish by Christmas, but its scrapbooking, not sewing.

My to do list

1. Scrapbook - definitely need to finish this before Christmas
2. Quilt - and if I can get the quilt top done as well, I'd be very pleased. But the scrapbook is the important part.

My beau's Joker costume
1. Jacket - use the other jacket from the pattern to gauge how much to widen the jacket front, cut out the corduroy and the lining then put the jacket together. And I need to add pockets to the inside of the jacket if at all possible. And I think we're going to do the collar and cuffs (adding cuffs to the pattern actually) out of something different, maybe some fake fur.
2. Vest - size up the pattern I have from the Captain's vest, cut out and construct.
3. Pants - cut out of the fabric and the underlining, stitch the underlining to the fabric, then construct. I need to figure out how to convert the button closure to a standard zipper. I have absolutely no desire to tackle a button fly at this time.

Miss Dashwood's Catwoman
1. Utility belt - design and construct. Its going to have lots of snaps and pockets, I know that much for sure.
2. Bustle - very basic design of a few ruffles
3. Shirt - modify turtleneck by inserting zipper (this may be the first bit that I tackle actually)

Well, that was mainly a "all the crap I have to do in the next month and a half" post, wasn't it?

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ohayocon Prep 18 and Quilting 2


On Friday, I went to the fabric market with the Misses Dashwood and Von Stoup. We purchased items for Miss Dashwood's Catwoman costume - zipper, snaps, fabric - and I also picked up a hair comb for my HQ mini top hat.

I was planning on purchasing some crinoline or buckram to use as the base for my HQ mask, but thankfully found the left over scraps from the previous masquerade masks that I have made. Needless to say, I was very happy. With crinoline in hand, I used an old mask to cut out the basic shape and tweaked it a little bit to suit my purposes. I also cut out another mask (although it's divided in two down the middle) for stabilization purposes. I plan to use a dowel rod so that I have an old fashioned on a stick masquerade mask so I decided that extra stability would be a very good idea. In my sewing bag today is -- my mini top hat with hair comb and elastic and my mask base with black satin. I'm planning for an undecorated mask, since Harley's is unadorned in the comics.

Last night, I finally measured my beau for his costume! I started cutting out the muslin for the jacket, but didn't finish it. Finishing the cutting and basting together the mock up will probably be my evening project. Then of course comes getting him to call so that he can try it on, but at least I now have Miss Dashwood's costume to work on if I cannot work on his!

To do list (cuz you know I love them)

My beau's Joker costume
1. Jacket - finish cutting out muslin, baste together and have a fitting. Then comes making the actual jacket.
2. Vest
3. Pants

Miss Dashwood's Catwoman
1. Utility belt - design and construct. Its going to have lots of snaps and pockets, I know that much for sure.
2. Bustle
3. Shirt - modify turtleneck by inserting zipper (this may be the first bit that I tackle actually)


I spent Saturday evening and yesterday afternoon working on my quilt. I had to make some more squares, which got sewn into twos and then together into four square blocks. It was a vicious sew, iron, sew, iron, etc cycle. I think I should have enough blocks now to make the quilt top. Then comes figuring out the actual quilting.

But at least I did not burn myself this time.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ohayocon Prep 17

My dearest readers,

With Harley Quinn done (except for a couple small things that I don't have the supplies to finish at this moment), and me unable to start on either Joker or Catwoman because of a lack of measurements or a lack of supplies, I find myself quite bored. I am apparently too used to always having something to do after working on HQ every chance I had free for the last month or so.

Miss Von Stoup and I had arranged for her to come over last evening for me to show her how to size up her patterns and cut them out. Unfortunately, the same evening that I burned my arm (which is doing very well, thanks for asking), she sliced her thumb open and her husband was forced to take her to the doctor. Obviously, she was unable to pin and cut with such an injury. Knowing that I would be left without entertainment for the evening (unless I dared to quilt again and face that dastardly iron), I offered to cut out the patterns myself. With her watching to learn my method of course.

So I spent last evening with Miss Von Stoup and Dr. Chronus (he joined us after work), cutting out their patterns. I managed to get her dress cut out (but not the sleeves as they'll be a different fabric) and his jumpsuit.

They were very grateful for my aid and I was likewise thankful for them giving me something to do. I also feel better knowing that their costumes have been started. The first step is cutting them out after all! Now all Miss Von Stoup needs to do is get to sewing!

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ohayocon Prep 16 and Quilting EDITED

Okay readers, my dearest darling readers, my Harley Quinn outfit is (mainly) complete!

I made the pattern and started the purse cover yesterday at work, and finished putting it together last evening. I folded the bottom ends up (kinda like if I was wrapping a present) and secured them with buttons today. Silver with fleur de lis to echo the design in the black taffeta. I sewed the ribbons on and also trimmed it in some black lace. The cover itself is made out of the red taffeta from my costume. EDIT Pictures!

The purse cover.

A close up of the button on the ends.

I also put the grommets in my jacket (5 on each side) so all that's left to do is test out the outfit and see how it looks!

Oh and while the hat is pretty much done, I still need to either put an elastic band on or a hair comb. I also need to work on the mask, but I don't have the necessary materials.

But overall, except for those few teeny tiny things, its DONE!

As you know, my next project is a Joker costume for my beau. Unfortunately, I did not think to measure him last weekend, so I'm at his mercy for him to come over for said measuring. Until he's measured, I cannot do anything on his costume. Nor can I start on Miss Dashwood's Catwoman because we don't have the supplies.

As you can imagine, the utter inability to work on anything led to sheer boredom. So I decided to start a quilt that has been waiting for me to work on it. Readers, please note this is my first quilt. I'm working with 8" squares (VERY easy was the idea here). All of the patterned fabric was cut, but I had some solid to use (black and red) so I cut those into squares, then started sewing. After the sewing came the snipping apart and the ironing of the seams.

The ironing didn't go well. I retract that statement. The actual ironing went perfectly well. Its the 'my arm coming into contact with the iron' that didn't go well. I have about an inch and a half long burn on the inside of my right arm, approaching the elbow. Its been treated with aloe (with lidocaine!) and bandaged. My mother worries about it becoming infected and ordered me to keep it covered. It looked much better this morning when I re-bandaged it than it did last evening, but its still giving me a little bit of pain.

The moral of this story? Miss Wilde should not quilt.

Today at work, I counted up my squares, decided that I'm going to need more (thankfully I have more fabric) and started pinning pieces together for the next stage of sewing. Tonight when I get home, I'll make up a few more squares and start putting them all together. Unless Miss Von Stoup comes over for assistance with her Poison Ivy costume. But that may not happen as she also injured herself last evening -- a nasty cut on her right thumb.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas and Ohayocon Prep 15 EDITED

First of all, I finished my brother's pajama pants last evening. I stitched the waistband casing and threaded the elastic through. Now he needs to try them on for elastic and pant leg length.

And my HQ jacket is almost complete. Yesterday at work I hand stitched in the lining and pinned the sleeve hems. Last night I machine stitched the sleeve hems and top stitched around the jacket opening and all the peplums with a white straight stitch. We decided that lacing from underneath the breasts to the waist would be lovely. I picked out small grommets for the lacing, mainly because I have a lot of them already so there's no need to purchase larger ones. I'm unsure what color lacing I'll use, I have some red cord and some black ribbon that I could use, but I lean towards using white which necessitates a purchase. EDIT Pictures!

A shot of me sewing in the lining. I used black thread because I like contrast.

I personally think it needs more, but Miss Dashwood likes the subtle touch. I'll see what I think once the whole outfit is put together I think. I may add another row of stitching or a little zig zag in addition to the straight stitch or I may just leave it as is. We'll see.

I also worked on my hat. I decided to use the plastic cup technique that I read about online (I think it was on First I made it shorter because it was a rather tall cup. Then I traced the top and cut it out of cardboard for the top of the hat. I traced the top again and added to the circumference for the hat brim, and cut that out of cardboard as well. I used scotch tape and clear packing tape to put the hat together.

With the base constructed, it was time to start adding fabric. I used an uncut plastic cup to gauge the fabric to cover the body of the hat and cut it out. I wrapped it around the hat, trimmed it then used a gathering stitch along the bottom to make it fit. The top was notched and stitched with long stitches across the top of the hat to hold it in place. Next up was covering the brim. I cut out a large circle of fabric and first tried a gathering stitch. That didn't work so well. So I took out the gathering stitch and decided to pin it in place and stitch it. Around this time, I remembered that I have double sided tape (usually used to hold costumes in place). So I used a large X of that on the bottom of the brim to hold the fabric in place while I pinned and stitched it in place along the top of the brim. With the brim covered, I trimmed off the excess and turned my attention to the top of the hat. The brim and the body of the hat were covered in the diamond print cotton. Once again, I used double stick tape to hold it in place. I cut out a square of fabric (black taffeta) large enough to cover the top of the hat and taped it in place. I then trimmed off the extra and treated the edges with fray check so that they wouldn't fray (obviously :) ). Next was a double stitch in red thread to hold the top in place and add a bit of red to the hat.

Now it was time to trim the hat. I made a hat band out of a length of black taffeta and added white lace to one edge. I then stitched white lace into place on the brim. A piece of my narrow red ribbon was stitched along the center of the hat band. Now all I have to do is stitch the hat band in place. I'm planning to either add a hair comb to the bottom or elastic to hold it on my head. I am unsure at this moment. EDIT -- hat band has been stitched on. EDIT TWO Here's a couple shots of the hat at this stage of construction.

I want to add more to my hat, perhaps a plume of feathers or something sparkly, but Miss Dashwood thinks the hat is fine how it is. She actually thinks my outfit is rather over the top and keeps telling me to dial it back a notch. And while I think she's right, I also think that's the point. After all, if you can't be over the top with Harley Quinn, when can you?

Today I have my hat with me, as well as materials for the mask and purse. I plan to trace another mask that I've made and cut it out of black taffeta. I need to check my stash for buckrum like I used the last time or purchase a bit of it. Maybe I can use netting for the inside of the mask, but I doubt it'll be enough. I'll have to see. As for the purse, I've decided to make a cover for an old purse that I don't carry much anymore. Its going to be red taffeta with black diamonds and tie on with black ribbons. I may trim it in black and or white lace, that decision will be made after the construction of the purse.

Harley Quinn
1. Petticoat - DONE!
2. Bustle - DONE!
3. Corset - DONE!
4. Underskirt - DONE!
5. Jacket - put in grommets and laces
6. Top Hat - DONE!
7. Purse - pattern needs to be made and cover needs to be constructed and trimmed
8. Mask - pattern needs to be made and mask constructed and trimmed. I need to purchase and paint a dowel rod for the stick to hold the mask by.

I'm anticipating that I'll be finished with Harley Quinn either today or tomorrow. Or at least mostly finished. Next up is the Joker! My first step of that will be the mock up of the jacket for fitting and measuring my beau so I can start on the other items.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas and Ohayocon Prep 14 - Now with Readers Poll!

Hello my dear readers!

Things are still coming along quite swimmingly!

While I ironed the fabric for my beau's Joker costume, I did not progress to the point of cutting out and putting together the muslin.

I decided that getting my jacket to a point where there was hand sewing to be done at work today was a better proposition. So that's what I worked on. Going slowly and with a larger stitch length than I would usually use, I managed to stitch the peplums to the jacket back. I also stitched the jacket together at the side seams and shoulders and set in the sleeves. The sleeve seam was finished with a quick zig zag stitch and a gathering stitch used along the top curve to fit it to the armscye. I attempted to make the diamonds that I wanted for the front of the jacket, but think that I'm going to go with laces instead as the attempt result was rather dismal. I'm contemplating using laces wound around buttons instead of putting in grommets.

I started to pin in the lining and realized that I had made a mistake when putting said lining together -- the front peplum pieces were backwards. So I had to rip out that seam and then pinned the lining piece to the peplum, stitching on two sides, clipping the corners and turning. By this point, the machine at my beau's was having tension issues that I was unable (and slightly unwilling considering the late hour) to correct, so I decided to just pin the lining in so that it could be sewn into place by hand. This also allowed me to watch our Sunday night television programs with my beau.

My jacket is with me today so that I can stitch in the lining. I'm still debating topstitching vs. trimming but decided against boning. I think the fully boned corset will be plenty of constriction. And the taffeta of my jacket (plus the interlining and lining) has enough shape on its own that I don't feel boning is necessary.

Harley Quinn
1. Petticoat - DONE!
2. Bustle - DONE!
3. Corset - DONE!
4. Underskirt - DONE!
5. Jacket - need to put in the lining by hand, trim or topstitch, and figure out the lacing
6. Top Hat
7. Purse
8. Mask

This leaves me with two questions for you, dear readers:
(1) Do you think I should trim or simply topstitch my jacket? I need to do something to hold the lining in place so its not visible. I also want to highlight the detail of my double peplum. I was thinking either white ribbon to echo the red ribbon on the bustle and corset, or some very narrow white lace, or perhaps white braid of some sort. If I topstitched, I'd like to use a decorative stitch in white thread but may settle for a straight stitch in white. Thoughts?
(2) As for the laces, how do you feel about the button idea? Is it a good one, or should I just stick to grommets?

Thanks for any and all opinions.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ohayocon and Christmas Prep 13 EDITED

Finally started sewing together my twin's pajama pants. All the seams are done and I started pinning the waistband, but did not finish it as I was extremely fatigued. So it'll just be a matter of pinning then sewing the waistband and threading elastic through. The hemming will wait until after he tries them on.

On Friday, I sewed the hook and eye closure onto the underskirt waistband then sewed four hooks on as well, to attach the bustle. I sewed four hooks onto the bustle so that it can now attach to the skirt, and sewed all of the roman shade tape into place.

Last night I got a lot done on my HQ jacket. I sewed the lining together and fitted it, the only change I had to make was taking in the back seam a little. It's not terrible form fitting, but I don't think I want it to be. I'm even debating boning it at the moment. My next step was to sew the interlining to all of the jacket pieces. Once that was finished, I started putting the pieces together -- the front peplum was sewn to the front, the center back seam was sewed, etc. Then I worked on the back peplum. I'm using both the pattern piece that goes with the rest of the jacket and the peplum from another pattern (used for my Time Traveler bodice as well as my black and silver plaid creation). I love the effect of the layered peplum. I lined each peplum piece (sewn on three sides, corners trimmed, then turned), pleated the top peplum and stitched them together. I'm going to attempt to sew them all together today, but I doubt that my beau's mother's machine can handle it. While it is a rather nice machine, it is a new model and just does not have the durability that my Fern has, being an all metal machine that dates from decades ago.

I'm trying to decide if I want to trim the jacket, maybe with white braid or ribbon, or if I'll just topstitch it to hold the lining in place. Decisions decisions.

Part of my day yesterday was spent with my beau as well as Dr. Chronus and Miss Von Stoup. We went to the fabric store in search of something to use for my beau's Joker costume, pants fabric to be exact. The doctor pointed out a lining fabric that was purple and grey/white striped. We tried it with the other fabrics, and decided that it was a perfect fit. Since its lining and thus very lightweight, I'm going to back it with a heavy 100% cotton to give it the proper weight for pants. I prewashed all the fabrics for his costume when we arrived at his dwelling last evening and plan to work on the cutting out today. Actually my plan to to cut out and baste together a muslin of the jacket for fitting purposes. I already cut apart the pattern pieces.

I may start doing a daily update of my to do list...


1. Parents' aprons - DONE!
2. Stacey's pajama pants - DONE at least til she can try them on
3. Cliff's pajama pants - started sewing, needs waistband finished and elastic put in

Harley Quinn
1. Petticoat - DONE!
2. Bustle - DONE!
3. Corset - DONE!
4. Underskirt - DONE!
5. Jacket - started construction, need to finish putting the outside together, figure out the front closures, attach the lining, insert the boning (if I decide to bone), finish putting in the lining by hand, sew on trimming (if I decide to trim), and finish the front closures with button holes and buttons
6. Top Hat
7. Purse

1. Steampunk Joker for my beau - vest, tailcoat and pants, maybe a tie. All fabric and most patterns have been purchased (still need a vest pattern, may be able to use the one I used for the Captain's vest, if not, I'll have to purchase one). All fabric has been prewashed. The next step is ironing the fabric and starting work on the tailcoat. EDIT Fabric pictures are below.
2. Steampunk Catwoman for Miss Dashwood - bustle, utility belt and shirt
3. Helping with Poison Ivy and Mr Freeze - whatever they need

The tailcoat, it photographed a little blue, but the color is definitely purple:

The tailcoat lining (orange and purple) is on the left, the vest fabric (green and purple) is on the right:

The trousers (underlining of white cotton, purple striped for the trousers themselves and the pattern I'm using):

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas and Ohayocon Prep 12

No, I still haven't sewn the pajama pants for my beloved 'twin' (note we are not really twins, but we look and act like it, so I usually call him that). I was going to do it last night, but unforeseen circumstances interfered and said sewing did not occur.

However, I did finish my corset while at work yesterday. The zipper has been properly stitched in and the basting removed. And the red ribbon trim has been tacked on.

Jillian saw some pieces yesterday and appropriately "squee-d" over them, which made me ever so pleased.

And now for an updated to do list (have you noticed that I really really like lists yet?)

1. Parents' aprons - DONE!
2. Stacey's pajama pants - DONE at least til she can try them on
3. Cliff's pajama pants - fabric purchased, washed and cut out, needs sewn

Harley Quinn
1. Petticoat - DONE!
2. Bustle - just need to sew on hooks and eyes and the roman shade tape that allows it to 'bustle'
3. Corset - DONE!
4. Underskirt - DONE!
5. Jacket - all the pieces are cut out, just need to start construction once the above tiny bits are finished
6. Top Hat

1. Steampunk Joker for my beau - vest, jacket and pants, maybe a tie. I have fabric for the jacket, lining and vest so I just need to get something for the pants. And patterns for the jacket and pants, have not yet decided how to do the vest yet. I plan to make a muslin of the jacket first so I can properly fit it. And I'm already forseeing some pattern changes so a muslin is definitely necessary.
2. Steampunk Catwoman for Miss Dashwood - bustle, utility belt and shirt
3. Helping with Poison Ivy and Mr Freeze - whatever they need

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas and Ohayocon Prep 11

I still have not worked on my brother's pajamas. I keep forgetting to carry them inside from the car. I think there's also this idea in my head that I have plenty of time to finish them because Christmas is still a few weeks away and they won't take long. I need to get this idea out of my head and finish them, I'd rather have them done than be rushing to finish them at the last minute.

Progress on HQ --

Corset: I took out the zipper and adjusted the fabric. Thankfully, there was plenty of diamond print to work with -- I'd turned under almost an inch on each edge! I basted it yesterday at work and tried it on when I got home. And it fits pretty perfectly now. All that's left to do is actually sew in the zipper properly, take out the basting and trim it with red ribbon.

Bustle: I stitched red ribbon along both layers of the bustle. And pinned the roman shade tape into place on the underside for bustling purposes. The ribbon was a bit tricky, as it is very narrow. I decided to do a stitch right down the middle of the ribbon, and used a long underneath, short on top stitch pattern in red thread. I think it worked out quite well.

Underskirt: I sewed the waistband on and pinned the polyester braid yesterday at work. Last night at home, I finished the hem and tried on the skirt to see where the closure needs to go.

I actually tried on everything I've been working on (albeit with the aid of pins to hold a few things in place). And it looks good. The apron needed some adjustment, so I took out about two and half inches of the seam where the front connects to the side. I'm planning on gathering that seam so that the apron is a better length and lays better.

In my sewing basket today --
Corset: to finish the zipper and trim in red ribbon
Bustle: hook and eyes to fasten to the underskirt and roman shade tape
Apron: gather the side seams and finish them, trim in red ribbon
Underskirt: hook and eyes to close the skirt and to fasten the bustle to

I really want to start on the jacket, but I should finish all the little things first so that is my plan. Once all the little stuff listed above is finished, I can move on to the jacket and then the hat and purse (decided against the pockets) and then once that's finished I can move on to my beau's Joker costume.

I think everything is coming along quite swimmingly, don't you my dearest dear readers?

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

EDIT - The bustle apron is finished! While at work today: I pleated and finished the side seams with red and white striped bias. I tried the gathering first but it laid funny so I had to take it all apart and start again. I think (hope) that it'll be fine now. Then I sewed two snaps onto the apron back for it to fasten close. I usually use hooks and eyes but felt like trying something new and different this time to see how it works. And last of all, I sewed red ribbon along the hem. Again, I used a short on top, long on bottom stitch, but they're a little closer together than on the bustle because the curve of the apron wouldn't allow for longer spaces between stitches like the straight edges of the bustle did. And that's all from me for today -- I got called in to work my second job this evening so no more sewing for me today.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas and Ohayocon Prep 10

Well, I was a little bit naughty last night -- I ignored my Christmas sewing for Harley Quinn.

I finished cutting out my HQ jacket, so I now have both sides ready, one black, one red (fingers crossed that it goes together like its supposed to, but if not at least I have plenty of extra fabric!). I also cut out the muslin interlining and red broadcloth lining for the body of the jacket. I plan to leave the sleeves unlined.

Then I put together the skirt and it turned out just like it should have. Oh botheration, I just realized that I wanted to put pockets in the skirt and I forgot. And I finished all the seams already. Hmmmm wonder if I can pick a couple apart to put in a pocket? I should be able to... I used a sort of flat felled seam on all the seams (except the center front because it was the selvage and won't ravel) -- just turned under the seam allowance towards each other and used a zigzag to hold it together. I did not stitch it to the garment because I did not want visible stitching on this skirt. After finishing the seams, I stitched together two left over bits of red quilt binding and made the waistband. I sewed it to the outside of the skirt, gathering the back where it will sit over the bustle pillow and pinned it on the inside for me to hand sew today at work.

In my sewing basket today --
1. HQ skirt: hand stitch waistband on, pin polyester horsehair braid to the hem and maybe rip out part of a couple seams for pockets
2. HQ bustle: to start sewing on red ribbon
3. HQ corset: when trying it on for a photo last night, I realized that its a little small. I'm going to see if I can take out the zipper and either reposition it or add a tiny bit of fabric so that the corset fits better. The bottom fits okay, but the top is rather snug and crushes instead of enhancing my bosom. Its also rather uncomfortable to think of wearing for more than a few minutes.

I'd like to get all of the above finished today and then work on Cliff's pajama pants. I'll feel much better when they're out of the way.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas and Ohayocon Prep 9

I made little progress this weekend sadly. Thursday was consumed with going to my grandparents' in Indiana (see my genealogy blog for more info). Friday and Saturday I worked 2 to close and 3 to close respectively. Getting off work that late does not put me in a sewing mood. All I managed to work on this weekend was cutting.

Before work on Saturday, I cut out Cliff's pajama pants. And have a TON of fabric left over. I'm totally thinking it might be used to make myself a comfy little skirt. Or maybe I'll make myself some pajama pants, or sleep shorts, oooh or bloomers.... I'll find something, no worries.

Also on Saturday, I cut out the red half of my HQ skirt. Its a rather complicated process because I have to think about which side of my body that particular color goes on and cut the fabric accordingly. Last night, I cut out the red half of the jacket, the black half of the skirt and some of the black half of the jacket. And I grossly overestimated my fabric yardage. Oh well, 'tis better to overestimate than underestimate and run out, don't you agree my dearests?

My beau said that the black would make a nice vest. I turned to him and said "I can make you one, I'll have enough left over." So some of that will be used at least. I'm thinking I may make a long skirt out of the red (maybe both) to give me a second underskirt option for my HQ outfit.

Last night I purchased ribbon to trim the corset and the bustle. It was difficult finding something because of the particular shade of red I'm working with. An employee at the fabric store suggested I used the really narrow ribbon because then it will be less obvious that it does not match. I forsee a lot of tedious hand stitching over the next week or so. I hope to get some done at work today and if not, then maybe I can start it tonight.

Plans for tonight -- I'd like to finish cutting out my HQ jacket, put together Cliff's pajama pants and start hand stitching ribbon onto my corset.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde
Steam-stress of the Airship Archon

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Christmas and Ohayocon Prep 8

My HQ corset is finished!!! I fitted it a couple nights ago -- had to take about 4 inches out of the back and tweak a couple front seams a bit and it fits perfectly. Stitched the new lines in the lining, stitched the outer fabric together plus the alterations. Next came the boning casings - just stitched down the seam allowances on all the lining seams. Sewed the outside to the lining along the bottom and inserted the boning. I boned all the seams except for the center front (I didn't want to alter the lay of the fabric) and the seam over the breast, for obvious reasons. I pinned everything together along the top for hand stitching at work the next day.

The next day (yesterday) at work, I hand stitched in the zipper, then made boning casings along the zipper and inserted boning there as well. I hand stitched the straps together, then took the straps and the corset to my friend's house on my lunch break for proper placement and to figure out the correct length. With the straps pinned into place, I started stitched the lining and the outer fabric together, from the bottom of the zipper on one side up and over the top of the corset and back down the zipper on the other side. I finished this last night at home. Then I pinned lace trim to the bottom of the corset, which I stitched into place today.

Unrelated sewing project alert!!! I made a Bible cover yesterday. I keep thinking that I need to make one so I can actually take my Bible places without harming it, and yesterday I just up and decided to do it. I made the base out of some left over muslin from my Gorgo dress, sewed two pieces together, folded the top and bottom under, then made pockets on the end for the cover of the Bible to slip into. Once that was stitched together, I pulled out some low pile snow leopard print fake fur (random Miss Wilde fact --- I LOVE snow leopards. They are the most awesome animal ever and I could pontificate on their awesomeness, but that's not related so I'm going to move on now). I cut the snow leopard fabric a little bigger than the cover on three sides, and long enough on one end to wrap over to the front of the Bible to close it. I turned under the three sides and stitched them to the base fabric, then turned under the edge of the flap. I added an elastic loop for a button and hunted through my button collection until I found the perfect button -- a large teal colored marbled piece. I sewed that into place, slid the Bible in and buttoned it closed. Now my Bible has a cover!

Okay, back to Christmas and Ohayocon. I finally prewashed my brother's pajama pant fabric and test washed the taffeta for my HQ skirt and jacket. The taffeta laundered just fine, which means I will be able to wash my costume, which is always nice.

Sewing plans for the immediate future --
1. Cliff's pajama pants
2. HQ skirt and jacket

I feel pretty in control right now. Christmas sewing is almost finished and my HQ is coming along nicely. Hopefully I'll finish both soon so I can move on to my beau's Joker and Miss Dashwood's Catwoman. Ohayocon is quickly approaching after all.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Christmas and Ohayocon Prep 7

What I did yesterday --

Pinned together all my corset pieces, so they're ready for the sewing machine! Basted the zipper into the lining so I can fit it. I put the zipper in backwards so that the seams will be exposed, making it easier for me to take in the corset where it needs to be altered.

Pinned and sewed together the pieces of my bustle. I also cut a strip of white sateen to finish off the raw edge. That was pinned and sewed as well, just needs hand stitched into place.

Finished the edges where the apron front connects to the apron back. I used bias cut from left over red and white stripes from my parents' aprons. This was all hand stitched into place, then tacked down under the apron front at the ends. I also hand stitched the lace trim onto the hem of the apron.

I'm going to need to purchase some ribbon -- I only have a little bit of what I was going to use so it either needs to be matched and more bought, or I need to find something else to use entirely.

All in all, I feel that everything is coming along quite swimmingly. Once the bustle and corset are finished, I'll move on to my brother's pajamas and then it will be back to working on HQ to finish the jacket, skirt and top hat.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pictures of Harley Quinn!

Yeah picture time!

Here's my petticoat when it was almost finished --

And here's a close up of the hem with the polyester braid pinned before sewing --

And a close up of my pretty red waistband --

And now for the bustle!! Here's the apron, with lace pinned on --

And here's the two pieces of the bustle waiting to be sewn back together --

And a close up of the lace on the bustle --

Now, for the corset!

Basting the zipper into the lining --

And a picture of the diamonds and the interlining --

Christmas and Ohayocon Prep 6

Hello my dear readers on this lovely Monday morning! Its warmed up here a bit, so much nicer than the chilly-ness of recent days.

First of all, I purchased fabric for my brother's pajama pants. I plan to wash it today and get those finished this week.

Secondly - My HQ Corset: I pinned and sewed all of the lining together. I did a quick fitting and it fits pretty well. I need to put the zipper in (which I bought yesterday) and put on the undergarments that I'm most likely to wear with it to get a good fit before I start pinning and altering the corset. The interlining was pinned and basted to the diamonds, so its all set to go!

Thirdly - My HQ Bustle: My first step was the lining. Part of the bustle (which is a 45 inch square) was lined in left over diamonds and the rest with white sateen. Basically there's a wide strip of sateen down two sides. I purchased some petticoat net for the inside (it gives the bustle more body and ability to drape pretty) and sewed that to the wrong side of the lining, then sewed the lining to the outside. I sewed all four sides of my square except for about nine inches which I left open to turn it right side out. Then I pinned and topstitched all the way around, closing the turning opening. I went to iron the square and fold it to form the bustle shape I wanted and realized that I had messed up -- the lining and the outside weren't the exact same size (despite my efforts to make them so) so the bustle would not lay right.

As you can imagine, I was quite perturbed. Instead of crying (which was my immediate reaction), I tried a few fix its and when none of them work, I grabbed my scissors. I cut along the diagonal crease where I had attempted to iron it straight and then ironed each piece from the sewn edges towards the open end. With all the extra fabric at the open edge, I basted the opening closed. My plan is to sew the two together and then use bias to conceal the raw edges. This will also give me the waistband that I need for hooks and eyes so that the bustle can attach to the skirt. I also trimmed the edges with some white lace (from the stash my beau's mother gave me) and plan to tack on some red ribbon by hand. I plan to repeat this trimming of lace and ribbon on the apron and probably on the corset as well.

All in all, not a bad weekend. Oh I also cleaned my chamber at the Companions' Shuttle so that I can decorate for the holidays. Which I plan to do this evening when I get home!

Update on my to do list --

1. Parents' aprons - DONE!
2. Stacey's pajama pants - DONE at least til she can try them on
3. Cliff's pajama pants - fabric purchased, needs washed and sewn

Harley Quinn
1. Petticoat - DONE!
2. Bustle - need to sew the two pieces together, add a waistband, sew on red ribbon trim and sew on hooks and eyes
3. Corset - need to tack the zipper in so I can properly fit the lining, then start constructing the corset including boning
4. Underskirt
5. Jacket - I'm changing the pattern because I realized that another pattern already in my stash works better than majorly changing the same pattern I used for my polanaise. It is the right length and already has a peplum instead of me having to add a peplum from another pattern.
6. Top Hat

1. Steampunk Joker for my beau - vest, jacket and pants, maybe a tie
2. Steampunk Catwoman for Miss Dashwood - bustle, utility belt and shirt
3. Helping with Poison Ivy and Mr Freeze - whatever they need

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas and Ohayocon Prep 5

Greetings to my dearest readers on this chilly autumn morning. The weather just makes me want to curl up in bed with a good book and a good man or stay at home, all cuddly in pajamas and a robe and sew all day. Alas, I am at work and will spend my day in a chilly office (our heater isn't working right, thankfully I have a space heater under my desk or I'd be a Leah-sicle) instead of sewing like I'd prefer.

Now for my update on Christmas and Ohayocon preparations!

First off - I finished my HQ petticoat!

Secondly - I threaded the elastic through the casing of my beloved sister in law pajama pants so they are finished for the time being. A fitting is required to completely finish them after all.

With Christmas presents well in hand, I pulled out the next fabric and patterns for my HQ and started cutting! Out of my diamond patterned cotton I cut out the bustle apron and my new corset. I also cut all the corset pattern pieces out of white sateen (for the lining) and muslin (for the interlining). The back of the bustle apron was cut out of muslin and white sateen. It won't show (it'll be under the actual bustle) so I didn't want to waste my diamond on it when I need what's left of the diamonds to line part of the bustle. I believe the bustle is going to end up partially lined in diamonds and partially in sateen.

With everything cut out, I started a little sewing. The apron sides where pinned and sewn to the apron front. Then I pinned the two pieces of the apron back together but did not have the chance to sew them before I had to leave the Companions' Shuttle to meet my beloved adopted sister for food and libations (and talking of course). I did have the time to pull out my iron and our tiny ironing board and iron all of the corset pieces, 36 total pieces I believe -- six pattern pieces, three fabrics and two of each pattern piece.

In my sewing basket today -- All my corset pieces so I can pin them together for sewing. I'll pin the lining together so it can be sewn and used as a fitting tool. The diamonds and the interlining will be pinned so that each piece of diamonds is backed by muslin and sewn together before I construct the corset. I also have all of my bustle pieces so I can get them cut and pinned together so the bustle can be constructed.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas and Ohayocon Prep 4

Well my dear readers, my HQ petticoat is almost complete! Tuesday I handstitched on the waistband (I particularly like the red waistband with the black and white stripes!) and pinned the polyester braid to the hem. Last night, I sewed on the polyester braid and finished the hem. All that's left to do is sew on the closure at the waistband!

I also cut out my HQ bustle. It's my own design, so fingers crossed it works! I plan to have a standard two part bustle - the actual bustle and the front apron drape. I discovered that the print of my fabric is not perfect (aka not straight) and I'm hoping that the slight deviations don't negatively impact my outfit.

Last night after working on my petticoat, I cut out the flannel for my sister in law's pajama pants. I had to take off a couple inched of length to get the pattern to fit -- the fabric apparently shrunk when I washed it. I then sewed them together (side seam, inside leg seam then crotch seam) and put in the elastic casing for the waistband. All I plan to do at this point is thread the elastic through and leave it to be sized to her. I'm also leaving them unhemmed -- she's rather tiny in the height department so I'd much rather have her try them on and pin the hem than try to guess how long they need to be.

In my sewing basket today - (1) HQ petticoat and closure (2) pajama pants and elastic and (3) the fabric for my corset and bustle -- I probably won't cut it out at work, but I might do it on lunch so I figured I'd bring it.

That's all for today!

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

PS - I took some photos of my petticoat yesterday but forgot the cords to post them via my work computer. I have failed you yet again, Miss Dashwood.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Harley Quinn - a partial stash project

A lot of what I used for my steampunk Harley Quinn costume came from my stash.

1. Petticoat - made out of black and white striped cotton that I purchased a year or so ago

2. Petticoat and underskirt waistband - used red quilt binding that my grandmother gave me a while ago

3. Petticoat and underskirt hem - used polyester horsehair binding that I tend to keep in my stash

4. Lace trim on bustle and corset - given to me by my beau's mother recently

5. Bustle and corset - used black and white harlequin diamond patterned cotton purchased last year

6. Lining of the corset, bustle waistband, bustle lining and apron back - white sateen purchased as lining for a dress I made a few years ago and didn't use all of

7. Interlining of the corset and jacket - muslin that I keep on hand

8. Binding of apron seams - red and white striped cotton left over from my parents' aprons

9. Boning of the corset - left overs from several other projects so its a mishmash of three different types of boning actually

10. Jacket lining - left over red broadcloth from making my parents' aprons

11. All the patterns were ones that I had in my stash

12. Mini top hat - plastic cup I had, cardboard from the recycle bin at work, fabric and ribbon left over from my costume, lace from the stash my beau's mother gave me, elastic from my stash

13. Purse cover - left over taffeta from my costume, ribbon and buttons from my stash, lace from the stash my beau's mother gave me

14. Grommets for the jacket - from my stash

15. Red cord for the jacket lacing - from the stash my beau's mother gave me

16. Mask base - Crinoline left over from other projects

17. Black satin for covering mask - left over from another project

18. Ribbon and double sided tape for the mask handle - from my stash. I also made the tassel with ribbon and trim from my stash.

What I purchased -

1. Black and red taffeta to use for the underskirt and jacket

2. Netting for the bustle

3. Red ribbon to trim the bustle and corset

4. Zipper for the corset

5. Dowel rod for the mask

6. Hair comb for the mini top hat

Christmas and Ohayocon Prep 3

Hello my dear readers! I made a lot of progress last night on my projects!

First of all, I tidied my sewing area, clearing off a table that sits along the wall (most of the fabric there was left over from recent projects and got shoved in a bin). I put away patterns and sorted through trims - my beau's mother recently gave me a TON of lace, so I sorted it into what I might use on upcoming projects and what I know I won't use. Basically, I kept out white and black lace and put away the cream. Then I started making stacks on the table of things for our Steampunk Rogue's Gallery. One for me, one for my beau. Later on, I'll have one for Miss Dashwood when we start purchasing things. There's also a spot for my brother and sister in law's pajama pants.

Once everything was tidied, I finished my parents' aprons. I started by hemming the ruffle on Maman's apron then sewed the bias onto Papa's and hemmed the bottom of his apron. Two Christmas presents are DONE!

With a bit of my Christmas sewing out of the way, I moved on to Harley Quinn. I decided to start from the bottom up if you will and pulled out the fabric for the petticoat. I measured another shortened version of the pattern I'm using and used that length to cut out the pieces for the HQ petti. Once the pieces were cut, I pinned and sewed them all together. I also put a gathering stitch along the back (where it will gather to fit over the bustle pillow) and measured out a length of red quilt binding to use as the waistband. Currently, I am not doing a ruffle at the bottom of the petticoat, however I do have enough fabric that I could do said ruffle. I think I'll wait and see how it looks under the skirt of the costume and I'll add the ruffle if its necessary. I have the petticoat, polyester horsehair braid for the hem and the waistband in my sewing bag today to work on while at work. Also in my bag are the patterns and fabric for the bustle and corset, I doubt that I'll work on it but I felt better bringing it along.

Christmas to do list
1. Parents' aprons - DONE!
2. Stacey's pajama pants - fabric has been purchased and prewashed, need to be sewn
3. Cliff's pajama pants - need to purchase fabric

Harley Quinn to do list
1. Petticoat - needs to be hemmed, have the waistband attached and have a hook and eye sewn onto the waistband
2. Bustle
3. Corset
4. Underskirt
5. Jacket
6. Top Hat

I'm getting out my camera today to document the petticoat! Pictures to follow!

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas and Ohayocon Prep 2

I hemmed my beau's kilt and he says that its 'perfect' now. So happy that I managed to get the hem to lay correctly.

I got a lot of work done on my parents' aprons this weekend -- I hemmed the top and the sides of both aprons. I sewed the ruffle together for the bottom of Maman's apron (its two pieces of striped red and white cotton about 6 to 8 inches wide by the width of the fabric which is 45 inches), used a basting stitch on it and gathered it down to fit the hem of her apron. Sewed it on, zigzagged the edges and top stitched it to hold it in place. Currently the hem of the ruffle is pinned and ready to be sewn (and yes I realize that I should have hemmed it BEFORE I gathered it. I was in a hurry and skipped a step. Everyone messes up now and then.) I also put a smaller ruffle at the top - took a piece of the striped fabric about 3 to 4 inches wide, folded it in half lengthwise and gathered it. I didn't use the entire 45 inches, maybe only about half of it. That was stitched along the top of the apron. Next I sewed together a few strips of bias cut from the striped fabric and stitched it along the curved edges of the apron (the armholes if you will), leaving enough at the top for the apron to go over her head and enough on the sides to tie behind her back. Then the rest of the bias was folded in half and stitched together. As for Papa's apron, I ironed the applique onto the front using Stitch Witchery before using a satin stitch on the machine to go around the edges of the applique. I cut out the bias, sewed it together and am currently in the process of pinning it so that it can be sewn. His apron also needs hemmed.

I went fabric shopping this weekend and bought several things. The first was fabric for my sister in law's pajama pants. I prewashed it yesterday so its ready to be started on anytime. I already have a pattern and I purchased elastic for both pairs of pajama pants this weekend as well. I still need to purchase fabric for my brother's, but the shop did not have the right fabric in the right color in stock.

The fabric shopping expedition also included Miss Von Stoup and Dr. Chronus. For Harley, I purchased a little more than eight yards of taffeta -- half black, half red. The black has a tiny pattern of fleur de lis, the red of diamonds. Miss Von Stoup purchased green satin and sheers to used for her dress and bustle and Dr. Chronus found some natural colored linen to use for his outfit.

In preparation for Harley Quinn, I prewashed all the fabric that I plan on using. Once my parents' aprons are completed, I plan to start on this costume. I'll likely make the petticoat first, work from the bottom up if you will.

We have added two more participates to our steampunk Rogue's Gallery -- Miss Dashwood will be playing the role of Catwoman while my beloved beau will be dashing as the Joker. Needless to say, I am VERY excited to have him as my Joker. After all, Harley Quinn wouldn't be Harley Quinn without him. Honestly she wouldn't - he's the one that made her, in his own image. One demented clown as a mate for another.

Definite projects over the next few months --
1. Aprons for my parents - hem Maman's ruffle, sew on Papa's bias and hem Papa's apron
2. Pajama pants for my brother and sister in law - purchase fabric for my brother, sew my sister in law's
3. Steampunk Harley Quinn for myself
4. Steampunk Joker for my beau
5. Steampunk Catwoman for Miss Dashwood
6. Helping with Poison Ivy and Mr Freeze

Hopeful projects over the next few months --
7. Imperial Officer uniform for myself (this will probably be pushed farther and farther out with all the other sewing I have going on, but I have at least purchased the pattern for the jacket! and I already have patterns I can use for the skirt and or pants)
8. A couple new, normal skirts for me to wear to work this winter. I have some nice wide wale heavy corduroy in blue and purple that I want to use.

Possible projects over the next few months --
9. Maybe other costumes for fellow Archonites

That's all for now! A beintot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Friday, November 12, 2010

Harley Quinn Inspiration

First of all, a picture of the original Harley Quinn, this is a comic book cover I believe.

My main inspiration for my new HQ design was Victorian fancy dress costumes. They were often shorter than normal wear and a bit over the top. Perfect for a harlequin.

I love this dress, pictures found online at the FIDM Museum and Galleries blog (

I also found some inspiration in a book from the 1880s on how to dress for a fancy ball. The book can be found here - I saved some pictures from it, but there are simply too many to post.

I also took a tad bit of inspiration from this artist's rendering of a female joker figure - I'm just linking to the webpage so as to not offend the artist by posting his work. I love the headdress, but the whole outfit is beautiful.

And I positively love these 17th century stays (no idea where I found the photo...) I might incorporate a similar closure into Harley.

Some patterns that I'm planning to use (these are all from Simplicity) --

Christmas Gifts and the beginning of Ohayocon Prep

Hello my dearest readers!

With Christmas and Ohayocon fast approaching, I find myself up to my eyeballs in sewing!!

First of all, Christmas since it is after all only a little more than a month away! I have to make two aprons for my parents and two pairs of pajama pants for my brother and his wife. The aprons are going to be Christmas themed, Santa and Mrs Claus aprons if you will. After all, my father already looks rather like good old St Nick with his almost white full beard. His apron will be red with a red and white striped candy cane applique on the front while Mother's will be red trimmed in red and white striped ruffles. Both will have red and white striped bias trim. I've already started these - both aprons have been cut out and partially penned for the hemming, I cut out the ruffles for Maman's apron and the candy cane for Papa's, and I started cutting the bias (I don't know how much I'll need so I didn't want to cut up all the fabric. After all, I might need it for something else!) I already have a pajama pant pattern. I need to purchase the fabric and get those made soon, so I can focus on other things. And so everyone actually gets their gifts on time lol

Now for Ohayocon! Jillian Von Stoup, Dr. Franklin Chronus and I have decided to do a Steampunk Rogue's Gallery. I was already planning to do a steamy version of Harley Quinn (one of the costumes I've been sketching in recent weeks) so when she mentioned doing a group costume, I jumped in with both feet (she's a redhead you see, so of course I thought of Poison Ivy). Ms Von Stoup will be playing Poison Ivy while the doctor is on board as Mr. Freeze. We've all three gone into major planning mode. Ms. Von Stoup and I actually plan to meet this evening to discuss our costumes. I have not started anything yet, but plan to work on a few pieces of my costume soon (after I finish my parents' aprons). I already have the fabric I need for my bustle, corset and petticoat / bloomers (not sure which one I'll do yet), so I figured I could get those started before going on a shopping trip for the rest of the fabric I'll need. As of now, I'm only making my costume and helping with Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze (at least, that's what I'm hoping). However, I am trying to talk my beau into dressing as the Joker for me. The trick is to design a costume that he'll actually be happy to wear. Then I'll have mine and his to make, which I don't think will be too overwhelming. I don't know if any other Archonites will be joining in on the fun, so there's always the possibility that I'll be sewing more. Otherwise, I'll also be making an Imperial Officer uniform for myself. I have patterns I can use for the skirt and pants, I just need to pick up the jacket pattern and the fabric. This would be the other costume that I've been planning recently.

Definite projects over the next few months --
1. Aprons for my parents
2. Pajama pants for my brother and sister in law
3. Steampunk Harley Quinn for myself
4. Helping with Poison Ivy and Mr Freeze

Probable projects over the next few months --
5. Imperial Officer uniform for myself
6. A couple new, normal skirts for me to wear to work this winter. I have some nice wide wale heavy corduroy in blue and purple that I want to use.

Possible projects over the next few months --
7. Joker for my beau
8. Maybe other costumes for fellow Archonites

And in my sewing bag today is my beau's kilt. I plan to get it hemmed for him.

That's it for now! A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

PS If anyone else from the Archon wants in on our Steampunk Rogue's Gallery, please let me know asap so we can get the planning (and the sewing!) started!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mid Ohio Con - some pictures

Hello my darlings, I had a fantastic time at Mid Ohio Con this weekend and thought I'd share a few pictures and construction details. Unfort. I find myself without photos of my airship stewardess costume so here's pictures and info about Harley Quinn. By the way, I had a fabulous time cosplaying as her this weekend.

Here's a full length view of my Harley Quinn costume with my new hat. I used Kwik Sew 3052, View A for the body suit, inserting a waist seam. It has a front zipper (which is canon). The body suit is trimmed in white lace, which is not canon but I chose to use it because I do a steampunk version of this costume and wanted it to have a Victorian aesthetic for that purpose.

For the hat I used McCalls 2814 (which I think is now out of print). It took massive alterations for it to fit and it still needs work. The pompoms are made out of lace that was gathered to make the pompoms, again not canon but done to match the lace on the costume.

Here's a shot with a random military ball attender and a couple fellow con goers that I made friends with, including a pretty awesome Mistah J.

And in case anyone is interested in the steamy pajama pants I made for myself and the lovely Miss Dashwood, here's a shot of me wearing mine (with a classy Hustler tank top that I think is funny and my beau's RFT helmet).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mid Ohio Con / TeslaCon Prep 3

Progress --

1. Finished the Captain's spats for my captain. All of the buttons and the elastic were sewn on yesterday afternoon. Once I got home, I treated all the buttonholes with Fray Check, let it dry (aka hit it with my hair dryer) then slashed the buttonholes open. I made sure all the buttons and buttonholes would close before taking them over to the Captain's lodging.

2. Finished my beau's new Rebel Trooper shirt. Last night I lengthened the bib using left over bits of one of the shirts we cannibalized to make the bib in the first place. I just finished sewing on the last snap so that the bib will fasten to his liking.

3. Velcro is hand basted onto both sleeves. When I get home tonight, I will go over it on the machine. Basting will hold the velcro in place for the machine stitching better than pins. Planning to buy more velcro and might also pick up some matching thread for the patches on my lunch break. I'm going to look into double sided tape as well. I have some but its at home and the more sewing I can get done at work, the better!

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mid Ohio Con / TeslaCon Prep Take 2

Progress on my to do list --

1. Spats for my captain - Buttonholes stitched using the fabulous 4 step buttonhole stitch on my beau's mother's machine. The functioning buttons are all sewn on, I first attempted to sew them on w her machine but it was too much of a hassle. Hand stitching was much easier. What I still need to do - cut open the buttonholes and put fray check on them, sew on the non functioning buttons and the elastic across the bottom.

2. New Rebel Trooper shirt for my beau - Sewed five snaps down the side and a hook and eye at the top. Beau has requested the bib be lengthened so that he can tuck it in and another snap be sewn on near the bottom.

3. A wrap to go with Queen Gorgo - I purchased and washed two yards of 36" wide white muslin for my wrap. Also washed my Gorgo dress as the hem was covered in stains from the party I attended at Marcon while wearing it.

4. Velcro on a tshirt for my beau - Started this last night. One side is hand basted on. I need to hand baste the other side on, then machine stitch both sides and then see about sewing the other side of the velcro onto the patches that will then velcro onto the shirt. Have I ever mentioned that I hate velcro with a fiery burning passion?

So my current to do list right now for the rest of this week is --
1. Spats for my captain - finish sewing on buttons, finish the buttonholes and sew on the elastic.
2. Finishing my Harley Quinn - bra. (I think this is going to wait for another time).
3. New Rebel Trooper shirt for my beau - bib lengthening and snap.
4. Velcro on a tshirt for my beau - finish and then work on the patches.

Other things on my to do list --
6. Hemming my beau's kilt.
7. Imperial Officer uniform for myself.
8. Next steampunk costume.
10. And of course, there are Christmas presents to be made. I'll probably actually tackle these before I start on the next costumes for myself.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mid Ohio Con / TeslaCon Prep

Last week I worked on sketching and planning out both my next steampunk creation and my Imperial Officer / Juno Eclipse uniform. I've got patterns and pattern modifications planned out and sketches of what I want to do. Right now I'm trying to decide if I can make the jacket of my steampunk outfit out of spandex with the matching underskirt out of a different fabric but the same color. I'd like the stretch in the jacket (and I already have the fabric) but don't want a knit skirt. By the way, the two will be separated by a patterned bustle.

What I did this weekend -

1. Finished my Harley Quinn hat, classic version. It took some work cuz the jester pieces just weren't the right shape and size but I finally got them right, stuffed and hand sewn onto the hat. Then I hand stitched gathered lace pompoms onto the ends. My beau thinks I should add bells, we'll see. I would like to get the bra section sewn in - I originally cut out lining for the top of the suit, and had pinning bra cups into the lining, planning to hand stitch them in. I recently sewed the bra cups into place and now all I need to do is hand stitch the lining into the suit and I won't have to wear a bra under it (which always shows).

2. Worked on my beau's new RFT shirt, using a few tutorials found online. Cut the backs out of two shirts, made them into rectangles, stitched along the sides and the top, turned it right side out, stitched the bottom closed (then had to open the bottom and redo the sides because the bib was too wide), stitched one side of the bib to the shirt, then started sewing snaps on the other side. The plan is to sew about three more snaps down the side, maybe one or two at the top and put either a snap or a hook and eye where the top button used to be - this will hold the shirt close and hold the bib in place.

3. Worked on Captain LaGrange's spats. I used his old pair as a pattern and added seam allowances when I cut out the white canvas. I then used the canvas as the pattern to cut out the red and black brocade lining. I sewed all the seams of both sides (had to redo one of the canvas pieces because I put it in upside down), clipped the curves, ironed the seams flat, then stitched the lining to the outside along the top and bottom. Next I pinned in the seam allowances on the sides and top stitched all around in black thread. All that's left is removing the buttons from the old spats, sewing buttonholes on the new spats and sewing the buttons onto the new spats. Oh and sewing elastic across the bottoms.

So my to do list right now for this week is --
1. Spats for my captain - buttons, buttonholes and elastic.
2. Finishing my Harley Quinn - bra.
3. New Rebel Trooper shirt for my beau - snaps and hook and eye.
4. A wrap to go with Queen Gorgo - planning to just buy some muslin and tearing the sides so it matches the dress. No sewing required.
5. Velcro on a tshirt for my beau.

Other things on my to do list --
6. Hemming my beau's kilt.
7. Imperial Officer uniform for myself, definitely won't be done for Mid Ohio Con.
8. Next steampunk costume.
10. And of course, there are Christmas presents to be made. I'll probably actually tackle these before I start on the next costumes for myself.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What I did last night

I finished my mini bloomers with elastic through all the casings. I think they're pretty cute.

I got my beau's new Shipwreck costume ready - took a Navy button down shirt, shortened the sleeves and sewed on name tapes and a patch. Pretty easy. And hemmed his new pants - heavy jean bell bottomed style. Had to shorten them by six inches. Cut off 4 1/2 inches, then did a 3/4 inch hem. And I re-enforced the stitching on the waistband button.

Hopefully I'll have time before Trauma tomorrow to put elastic across the bottom of my spats.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Monday, October 25, 2010

What I did this weekend

I think that an itemized list style list of what I did this weekend will work best, so here we go, my dearest readers -

1. Finished my spats. All that's left is the elastic strap across the bottom, which should be done in two shakes of a lamb's tail so no worries.

2. Worked on my Harley Quinn hat. Originally used a pattern that was much too large for my head so I had fun taking it in again and again and again. Finally got it to fit and then I think it was too small, so I added a bit to the face opening edges by using a spandex strip to finish the edge. Also hand sewed two snaps on below the chin to close it. Now I need to stuff the head thingies and hand stitch them onto the hat and then figure out how to do the pom poms at the ends. I'm thinking gathered lace to match the lace trim already sewn onto the body suit. Then I'll have an (almost) complete Harley Quinn costume!

3. I did some ironing - the dress that I had planned to wear on an airship outing yesterday but the weather did not cooperate and the fabric I purchased to make my parents' Christmas gifts.

4. Washed and dried the petticoat that I had planned to wear yesterday and did not end up using. I also moved the hook and eye closure so that the petticoat will sit at my waist instead of my hips. I've been safety pinning it pretty much since I made it, figured it was high time to fix it.

5. Painted the wings for my Halloween costume. It took a total of three cans of paint (one regular spray and two fabric spray paint, I decided that the fabric paint worked better) plus a tube of glitter (sprinkled on while the paint was wet) and some glow in the dark paint for accents. Hopefully they look fine with my costume on Thursday, otherwise I may be running to the store for new wings.

6. Worked on my mini bloomers - put together and cut out the pattern pieces, cut the pattern out of the fabric (decided to use green satin), stitched them together then pinned and stitched the elastic casings at the waist and leg openings. The pattern calls for button holes and ribbon to be threaded through the legs but I think that elastic will work just as well and be a mite easier.

7. Worked on a couple projects for my beau, including redoing the hem of the kilt I made him. It wants to curl up. I folded it up again and machine basted it. He said it looks okay so I'm going to hand stitch it and then remove the basting. Hopefully it works for him afterwards. I'm personally worried about the length, but don't know how else to fix the issue. I'm guessing that there's no enough weight in the hem for some reason.

8. Took apart my captain's spats and figured out how much fabric was necessary to redo them. I purchased said fabric but have not worked on the spats yet.

Current project list --
1. Elastic on my spats.
2. Elastic in my bloomer casings.
3. New Shipwreck shirt for my beau.
4. Spats for my captain.
5. Finishing my Harley Quinn hat.
6. Hemming my beau's kilt.
7. New Rebel Trooper shirt for my beau.
8. Imperial Officer uniform for myself (will tackle this for Mid Ohio Con if I have the time).
9. Next steampunk costume which I've already been thinking about and sketching.
10. And of course, there are Christmas presents to be made.

No rest for the wicked.

A bientot,

Miss Leah J Wilde