Friday, February 25, 2011

Swing Dress: Update #5

Here's a little sneak peak of the progress on my swing dress. 

 All of the fashion fabric is cut out.  The bodice is stitching, gathers, midsection and all...and the skirt is sewn together and stitched in place.

The sleeves are cut, sewn and hemmed, waiting to be put in.  Besides that, the final steps are sewing the side seams (which includes setting in the zipper - never fun) and hemming the bottom of the skirt.  I am hopeful that the dress will be finished this weekend.  If the weather will perk up enough for me to get some good pictures of the finished dress, you will be able to see it soon.

P.s. - The High School Musical, Cinderella, that I am costuming, is coming up in a week.  The next few days are going to be crazy...pray for my insanity to remain intact.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Belated: Valentine's Tea

So, this post just might be about a week late, but there is a reason why I'm just getting around to posting something about Valentine's Day.  First of all, I don't put much thought into Valentine's Day.  Sure, it's nice to get a sweet card from my husband, and the annual bouquet of peach colored roses (my favorite)....but honestly, we all know that Valentine's Day (in today's, modern world) is just another consumer holiday.  Thus said, I almost always ignore the holiday.  This year my daughter was invited to her first Valentine's Tea, but when the host family became ill, the tea party was postponed until today.

Jane wore her finest tea party attire, complete with a garden inspired frock, white gloves, beaded cardigan and a string of pearls.

The party started out with a dance.  There was a shortage of young gentlemen...but this didn't stop the ladies from showing off their finest moves.

Each kid made their own Valentine's card (to be saved for next year, of course.)  A lot of thought went into these little cards.  Hearts and glitter were abounding.

Then, of course, came the tea and treats.  Chocolate covered strawberries were a hit (although, if I'm honest, it was mostly the chocolate, and not the strawberries that were eaten.)  Jane had peppermint tea.

I fell in love with this little tea pot.  Who wouldn't!

So sorry about geeking out on you with the picture...I was having fun with photobucket.

I'm suddenly having visions of Jr. High dances and Prom dates....yikes!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Swing Dress: Update #4

I've been swamped with work, making costumes for the high school musical, and home life.  It has been difficult to get any time in for any sort of recreational sewing or my poor blog.  I have a growing list of things I would like to make, mostly in preparation for the Jane Austen festival that will be here sooner than I think. 

I did manage to find a bit of time to set in my sleeve on my Swing Dress mock-up.  Now, I should finally be ready to cut out and sew up the real thing.  I'm excited about having a light and airy spring dress.  When I was younger, I wasn't really much of a dress gal.  I put that mostly up to being a teenager during the grungy phase of the 1990's.  Baggy, ratted jeans, screen-printed tee-shirts, flannel button-ups and a REALLY smelly pair of chunky leather sandals were pretty much my uniform during high school.  Does that date me?  But, now, I adore the freeing movement of dresses and skirts....elegant, feminine, comfortable, and so easy to wear.  I don't really wear dresses for any sort of modesty, or religious reasons (though I respect those who do), and I don't wear them all the time, but I do find myself wearing them more and more these days.  I really enjoy the connection and respect I feel with different time eras of the the women of the past that dressed this way daily.

On a final...slightly silly...note, here is my latest creation for the Cinderella play that I'm costuming.  It's what the enchanted horses will be wearing on their heads.  All I can say is, I am glad I'm getting reimbursed for materials, because each feather cost a whopping $7.00!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Cinderella Gown

I'm helping out with costumes for my school's high school musical production of Cinderella. The director is non-traditional with costumes, using brightly colored modern prom-dresses for the ball scene, and baggy, calico printed dresses of all sorts of different eras for the village scene. There is everything from a Queen wearing a Medieval type gown to Edwardian era mutton sleeves on the Stepsister's dresses. It's say the least.  It isn't exactly how I would have costumed the musical...but it isn't my musical, so whatever.

Nearly everything was rented from a local theater, but I was asked to make Cinderella's "Mother's Gown" because it is suppose to be 'torn apart' in the play by the two Stepsisters. We couldn't exactly tear apart rentals, now could we. So, I used the Sense and Sensibility, Elegant Ladies Drawstring Gown Pattern as a base...altered it to open and close in the back for easy on and off capabilities...made a removable sash and a tear away sleeve (with velcro). And voila!

I'm pretty pleased with the results. From close-up, the seams are a disaster because I rushed, and the only thread I had on hand was too light for the fabric, but no one is going notice those things when the gown is worn on stage.

Nothing like a little Regency thrown into the mix of hodge-podge, multi-era fashion, right!
*Oh, and did I mention I am doing this completely on a volunteer, um, yea!  At least the fabric's being paid for.*

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Seed Starting Tips

Image of a Garden at the Birr Castle Demesne in Ireland. 
Check out their  webpage...they have images that will make anyone fall in love with gardening!

I know many of you expressed interest in starting your own gardens by seed.  So, I thought I would share with you a well written, and easily understood article I found at the Burpee Gardening website on starting seeds indoors.  You might already be experienced with all that is required of raising seeds...but I am not, and this article was very helpful.  Hopefully, it helps you too!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Swing Dress: Update #3

The Swing Dress Sew-Along continues....
Here's my muslin mock-up. (FYI - The bunchy-ness on my left side is where the zipper will be, and is only pinned together for the photo.)

The muslin is cut and sewn together.  I've fitted it to me, and the only change I will be making is to add about 1/2" to the midsection...(too many sweets, oops!)  Next up: Sleeves.  Then, on to the real fabric!

Thinking ahead...

I'm thinking ahead toward Spring.  This gloomy, never-ending winter has put me in a day dreaming mind of gardens and sunshine.

Growing up in a rural area seems to have planted a hardy, farm-girl seed somewhere inside of me, and I love messing around in gardens.  I live in a medium sized city now, and when I got married 5 1/2 years ago, our first house was a tiny 865 sq. ft. 1950's style bungalow, with a yard the size of a postage stamp.  But, somehow, I managed to find time every weekend during the spring and summer to work in some small flower beds and potted veggie/herb gardens.  Last January, we bought a new house, with more space inside and out.  But...due to some indoor maintenance issues and other expensive, and unforeseen hindrances that came our way and dried up our checkbook....other than a handful of herbs, I wasn't able to do much gardening.  This year, however, I am determined that things will be different.

I really am getting tired of the rising prices of fresh vegetables and herbs in the grocery stores.  Here in the south-eastern-midwest (whatever you want to call this place) more than half the time, the vegetables are either out of stock, under-ripe, or else they rot a couple of days after you buy them.  Everything seems to be shipped in from halfway across the country.  We do have a local farmers market, but it's only really open during a short 3 or 4 months of the year, and  honestly, I'm too lazy to wake up early on a Saturday morning to go there. 

 I usually start my herbs and plants from small seedlings I buy at huge garden centers or home improvement stores.  But these sort of places aren't exactly cheap, and usually the options are slim. So, this year I'm going to attempt to raise my plants from seeds.  I recently stumbled upon a website called, Urban-Farmer.  They have a beautiful selection of vegetables and herbs in seed form.  Most plant varieties are about $1.50- $4.00 for packets running from anywhere between 20 - 200 seeds.  They have free shipping on orders over $50.  And if you sign up for their newsletter, you get coupons for 20% off and such.  Think of the savings!  Think of the fresh, wholesome, garden-picked veggies gracing our table for half the year!  Whatever is left can be canned or dried to be used during the winter months. 

I'm starting to sound like an, anyway....

 I'm reading up on which seeds to start indoors and which to sew directly into the ground.  I'm learning about times to plant, the spacing, watering and fertilizing needed for each variety.  It's pretty complicated, but I'm confident.  Here's to hoping my garden is blessed!

*All images from the Urban Farmer Website.*