Thursday, February 26, 2015

Spring Sewing Patterns!

McCall's has just released their spring patterns, which include this steampunk offering;

 Have to admit, my first impression was not great. Mostly because I think the example dress is terrible, from the materials to the quality of construction. I'll admit I hate pastels, so someone else may feel differently.  The underskirt is pretty boring and steampunk-standard.  I really love the back of the jacket, but the weird front that seems to be trying to do a 1910's style looks really odd to me.  Of course the bustle cage is cool, but I wonder how practical it is, attached only at the waist.  The ruffles are apparently "raw edge finish" which I personally dislike because so few fabrics really look good that way.  It also feels lazy in a pattern, IMO.

Butterick has released this Downtown Abbey-esque pattern, which I feel a bit "meh" about.

Again it could just be an unimpressive sample dress.  But I feel like there are better patterns out for this period.

Vogue has this interesting dress, which I feel could be a good base for casual steampunk.

Simplicity has a couple interesting offerings.

They seem to be making a more serious attempt at a real corset pattern.  The front of the pattern tells you all the details of their corset that are good.  Like steel boning and busk and back lacing.  They include different cup sizes, but apparently some only have boning going to the underbust?  But both drawings appear to be a cupped corset with no boning in the cups?  I'm confused.

But okay, the cups might actually be useful for a cupped corset.  But the corset still appears to mostly just stop at the waist.  The actual photos look better than the line drawings, which look like bustiers.  But there's still not much waist-to-hip curve, which means anyone with natural curve will find this uncomfortable or won't actually get any waist cinching.  Plus it's very short, so really more appropriate as the top of a dress, as it's shown here.

I don't know.  This might be fun to play with, but I think it would require a lot of modification before really being good.  I also wonder if they've stopped adding ease to corset patterns yet.  If not, you'd still need to automatically go down two sizes from what their chart recommends.

Finally, Simplicity has this AWESOME vintage dress pattern.  I swear one of these months I'm going to make myself a 50's dress and I keep changing my mind about which pattern I will use.  Not steampunk, of course, but still.  Plus, plus sizes!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Apologies for the radio silence

Hi everyone!  I know things have been silent for a while.  First I had a severe back flare that meant I wasn't getting ANYTHING done except playing video games.  It also was pretty depressing and I just couldn't work up enthusiasm for blogging.  And then there were the holidays and I was traveling for two weeks and now that I can work on things again I've been pretty busy.

I'm trying to catch up on my corset commissions and I'm also doing some home improvement projects.  They're small DIY, low-budget things, but that's taking a lot of time.  I have been wanting to ask my readers, though: should I post about my home projects here?  They're not actually steampunk related, unless you want to say something simple like painting cabinets could be steampunk.  I have a more personal blog that no one reads where I COULD post about them.  I've always tried to keep this blog as on-topic as possible, so I'm asking.

Should I post about my home improvement projects here?

Yes, I'm interested!
No, keep it strictly steampunk.
Maybe? (Explain in comments.)
Poll Maker

Thanks for voting!  I really am interested in my reader's opinions.

On the steampunk front there are things coming up in my area that should get me back in the swing of things.  I am keeping my con schedule light again this year for financial and personal reasons.  I will most likely only be attending/vending at small steampunk-specific events.

Here are some of the events I'm keeping an eye on at the moment for Texas:

Steampunk Express (Cogs, Leather, Lace and Steam) - The Texas State Railroad is having a steampunk weekend April 24-26.  There are lots of events planned, but details are still slim.  This sounds super cool so I'm looking forward to learning more about cost and vending and whatnot.  FB event here.

The Corrupted Cog - Austin, TX May 9-10 - From the organizers of Weird West Fest, it's a new event right off 6th street in Austin.  They're going for a dark, macabre side of steampunk and I'm looking forward to it!

There's a Sherlock Holmes exhibit currently at the Museum of Natural History in Dallas and I'm going to try to organize a steampunk group trip.  I'll post details once I have them.

I will also be giving TWO corset making workshops this summer at the same location as my workshop last year outside Dallas.  Details to come.

So yeah, the next few months are starting to look busy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Recent Corset Creations

I'm unfortunately still laid up with my back, 4 weeks later.  I haven't sewn in FOUR WEEKS, OMG.  It sucks, and there's not really much more to say.

I thought I'd share my last two completed commissions.  They were both rather challenging overbusts to fit.  The first was a plus size overbust with a waist yoke.  The fabrics are difficult to photograph, so excuse the flash.  This is on a dress form that doesn't have the curves of the intended wearer, but you get the idea.

The next was a commission for an underwear overbust from a steampunk friend who is gifted in the bust region.  She wears a 40H bra!  It was quite a journey getting the fit right, but we both are happy with the result.  She got great shaping and is thrilled with how it feels.  At one point I had to resort to drafting the pattern in 3D paper form to figure out how to make the bust work.  It's a trick I like to use when a flat pattern just isn't enough and you don't have time to sew a trial.

And here's the finished corset.  It's two layers of white coutil with bones in internal coutil casings.  The top layer is floating per client request.  Normally I wouldn't float the top layer because I think you get a smother result without it floating, but I aim to please.

In the side view you can see just how much bust curve there is.  Many corsetmakers would say this much bust increase requires a pattern with gores, but I think I've proved that wrong. With good patterning and lots of bones, you can avoid gores.  The full bust circumference is spread over three panels.

You can see when the corset is on it's intended body, many of the wrinkles smooth out, although I'm still not happy with the look of the seams.  This was definitely my most trying corset to fit ever, but my client is thrilled with the result and has already ordered one in black, too.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Finds: Random Tutorials

I haven't been keeping up with Friday Finds because, for one, I've been too busy with other stuff to spend much time surfing for cool steampunk things.  And also because when I do find stuff it doesn't fit into nice categories for making a nice thematic post.  So I'm giving up on themes and just going to throw stuff at y'all when I feel like it.

My jaw dropped open when this Steamer Trunk Refrigerator appeared on my FB feed.  This wasn't even intentionally steampunk, but DAMN, it's gorgeous.  I want to do this to my ugly white fridge so much, but now I'm afraid it would just up and die as soon as it was gorgeous.  She explains her process here.

How to make a Victorian or Steampunk Flounced Petticoat.

A really great, in depth tutorial of making either a traditional underwear petticoat or a steampunk adjustable version.

Steampunk on a Thrift Store Budget  - A Guide to thrifting for steampunk with some good points.  I think things are a bit more open if you are willing/able to modify items, but this is definitely food for thought.

How to Build Your Own Junk Light

A neat guide to putting together lamps from old junk, including how to completely wire it.

That's it for today!  I hope everyone has a fantastic Halloween and weekend.  It will doubtless be better than mine since I've had to cancel my plans in order to stay in bed with my back.

Monday, October 27, 2014

McCall's Winter Steampunk Patterns

So naturally, a few hours after I post about the new Simplicity steampunk pattern, McCall's releases their Winter patterns and there are TWO patterns of interest.

First up a new steampunk costume pattern:

McCall 7071

The jacket and blouse are AWESOME.  I love the short sleeve blouse as a warm weather piece, and the back of the jacket is great.

The skirt is kinda meh, I'm not wild about the way the front falls, but that could be the fabric of the preview.

Secondly, is a craft pattern for, wait for it, Steampunk Aprons and Christmas stockings!

McCall 7062

Guys, CORSET STOCKINGS.  And all of it is really cute.  The octopus applique on the apron is so awesome.  What fantastic Holiday gifts these are for any steampunk!

New Simplicity Steampunk Pattern!

Hi all!  My progress on all my projects came to a crashing halt a week ago with a flare of my back condition and I've been stuck in bed since then.  I'm desperate to get back to sewing.

In the meantime, Simplicity has FINALLY released their new Steampunk pattern that I previewed on my facebook page over a month ago.

Simplicity 1248 - Misses Steampunk Costumes

I have to say that I love it.  The jacket is FANTASTIC and totally worth the pattern alone.  Plus I've always been a fan of using chains to hold up a skirt.  In fact that was part of my very first steampunk outfit ever, back in 2010.    The bustier is kinda pointless, but I'll tolerate it as long as you don't call it a corset.  ;)

But they KEEP using ridiculously cute top hats in their photos and not including them in their patterns.