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.