Friday, June 25, 2010

Gypsy skirt update and tips!

Yesterday I started and finished gathering the last tier of my clockwork gypsy skirt. TIP Divide each tier into sections before stitching the gathering stitches and break the gathering stitches at the division marks. This will make the gathering go a lot easier. Even if you don't divide it first, make sure that you do break the stitching occasionally or the gathering will be nearly impossible.

So then all I need to do to finish the skirt is stitch the last tier in place, sew the seam, hem and elastic. Not too bad. I work Monday so maybe I'll get it done on Tuesday and I can start on the costumes that I need to make the Misses Dashwood and Van Eycke.

I also sewed a button back on the blouse I wore yesterday, while I was wearing it. That was kind of interesting.

A bientot!

Miss Leah J Wilde

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Recent sewing projects

Hello dearest dear readers,

I haven't been up to much since Marcon. I felt that a break was necessary. But here's a little update as to what I have been doing -

1. I took in a dress for a friend so it would be a little more form fitting through the torso.

2. I just sewed a button onto my beau's pants. He'd lost the button at the fly and asked me to replace it. Instead of shopping for something that might match, I removed a button from one of the back pockets (which he never buttons) and moved it to the fly. Quick and easy.

3. Last night I made a new skirt for myself. I'd purchased a remnant of this lovely green embroidered cotton (similar to an eyelet) that was just under a yard. I cut it in half along the fold line, sewed the ends together on both sides, hemmed one end and created an elastic casing at the other, used a safety pin to slide elastic through the casing, tried it on, knotted it at the appropriate length, sewed the casing closed and voila! I have a cute new summer skirt. I think that it should work for everyday or steamy wear.

4. I've been working on using up the last of my clockwork fabric to make a gypsy skirt. Well, that's my term for them - a tiered skirt. I tend to live in them in the summer, my dears, because they are so comfortable and tend to be cool. All that's left is to add the bottom tier, hem and elastic it.

How to make a gypsy skirt:

First step - cutting the fabric
The first tier needs to be larger than your waist (or hips if that's where you're wearing it) - one and a half to two times should do it.
The second tier needs to be one and a half to two times longer than the first tier.
Each consecutive tier should follow this formula.
Ideally, each tier also increases in width - for example, the first being around 4 inches, the second 6 inches, etc.
Each tier will likely have to be pieced to achieve the necessary length.

Second step - sewing the fabric together
If you've already pieced each tier to the desired length, the next step is to stitch a gathering stitch along one side of each tier other than the first one. To do a gathering stitch, I use heavy thread in the bobbin, regular thread on top and a large stitch length on the machine.
Start by pinning the second tier to the first. The best way to do this is to divide both tiers into sections - four works well at this stage. Then gather each quarter of the second tier until it is the same length as a quarter of the top tier and pinned them together.
Stitch the second tier to the top tier, being careful not to catch any of the top tier in the stitching.
Continue with this method until all the tiers have been sewn together. As the tiers get longer, I would recommend division into eighths instead of quarters for the gathering.

Third step - seam, hem and elastic
Now that everything is sewn together, pin the two ends together and stitch a seam. I usually try to wear this seam at the back or on the side.
Next, hem the bottom tier. I tend to lean towards a narrow hem,
Then make the elastic casing at the top, being sure to leave a part of it open so that the elastic can be inserted. The easiest way to insert elastic (at least for me) is to attach one end to a large safety pin and pull it through the casing. Just make sure to keep a hold of the other end!
Once the elastic is through, try on the skirt and adjust the elastic to fit. Knot the ends of the elastic, cutting off any excess before allowing the elastic to slide into the casing. Then all you have to do is stitch the opening in the casing closed and your gypsy skirt is complete!

My clockwork skirt is to the gathering and pinning stage for the bottom ruffle. I would have done it the other day, but realized that the bottom tier wasn't long enough so I had to add more length by using up what left over bits of fabric I had. One good thing about the skirt is that with the gathering, its unlikely that anyone will notice / comment on the pieced tiers. And if they do, then I think that they are looking too close at your clothing. Such inappropriate behavior!

Well that's it for now, darlings!

A bientot!
Miss Leah J Wilde

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


My dearest readers,

Marcon was a complete success. All of my costumes were finished on time and they were all a hit. The time traveler made a splash at the fashion show and the mystery costume - Queen Gorgo from 300 - was also greatly lauded at a party Saturday night. And Miss Dashwood looked simply fabulous in the bustle and bloomers that I made her.

The Time Traveler and the Conductrix, Saturday night, Steampunk Fashion Show (photo courtesy of Miss Dashwood)

Unfortunately, I haven't seen any photos of my Gorgo costume. Even more unfortunate, my beau was unable to wear his kilt because he lacked the proper belt for it. However I will state that he did look rather dashing in his Utilikilt.

Now for my future sewing plans -
1. Dresses for Miss Dashwood and Miss van Eycke
2. Some hemming for a couple law school friends
3. I may be doing some sewing for the Captain.
4. And my summer project - Mara Jade from Star Wars. I'm hoping to finish it by fall so I can apply for the 501st Legion. *fingers crossed*

Have a lovely day everyone!

Miss Leah J. Wilde