Friday, March 24, 2023

Well, it's a thing...

 I should be sewing right now but I am letting myself take a bit of a break; I spent most of the day at church sewing and I need to think about something else for a minute, lol.  I wasn't expecting anyone to show up to help sew today; one lady said she might come by later in the morning, so I didn't rush this morning and rolled in about 15 minutes late.  

To find that the 'maybe later' friend actually made it earlier and was waiting on me.

Ain't that always the way?

She brought a steamer and worked on making the costumes a bit fresher...noting needed repairs we'd missed and trimming threads and such as she went.  The detail work that often gets overlooked.  I was really glad she came.

Me, I worked on the Magistrate's robe.  Nearly 7 hours of work, it's not done yet...and this character has one speech that will last about 45 seconds, lol.  Again...ain't it always the way.

I had to modify the pattern for our standard Bible robe.  We wanted a squared-off neckline and a shorter sleeve.  The shorter sleeve wasn't a problem, but the neckline had me puzzled a bit.  Then suddenly I realized I could just draft the FACING and use that as a template to cut the actual neckline after I had rough cut it out with the pattern.

Winner winner chicken dinner!  That was a quick fix.

I actually sewed it mostly on my Old Faithful Kenmore.  Since we were using a compact car for transportation back when we were first married in 1980, instead of getting a bulky something for Christmas I got cash.  It covered most of the cost of  that sewing machine, which I used for 14 ish years before purchasing a new machine.  Not because I was unhappy with the Kenmore, but I wanted some specialty feet that I couldn't get for that high-shank machine.  I think maybe there might have been an adapter available for sale somewhere, but I never could locate anyone who sold it.
The Kenmore became the backup machine; it weighs a freakin' TON but got hauled around to  sewing days at church...made all the Scrooge costumes back in the day  (it's visible on the pictures that used to be linked to those early posts, but Google has started dropping the old pictures from the albums.  Guess that happens when you blog for more than 15 years...)  I have one of my other machines in, but the newfangled electronic Janome didn't have an adjustable pressure presser foot.  The Kenmore does.  Went right over bulky seam intersections without bogging down.  

After I got the back sewed up to opening, I realized that I probably did not need to include the opening at all...the neckline will be wide enough as it is.  Oh well, it gave me a good start/stop for the trim.   Tomorrow...hem and lower trim, and a blue drapey wrap to kind of make up for the fact that the fabric is a wee bit sheer. Strategic drapery should take care of that.
Normally I can crank out a basic bible costume in about 4 1/2-ish hours, but this one ain't basic.  I added pockets in the seams so there will be a place for the mic pack.

I like that Greek Key trim; but it's cheap Offray and pretty much says it's not washable, dryable, ironable...LOL.  I'm going to write on it w/ a sharpie  (on the facing behind the trim on the back) to 'hand wash drip dry'.  Maybe that will work...

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Starting with deconstruction

 So, part of the task for the costume for the woman with...the issue...who will actually be a dancer is to deconstruct a skirt that was used in an Easter production 20 ish years ago.

The lady who sewed it was enamored of the new-fangled elastic in which the backing was sewn to the garment and the elastic threads pulled up and sewn down.  

Well, the elastic has degraded and deteriorated and is useless at this point...not to mention that I need the skirt, which has a matching top that fits, more or less,  to be much more flowy...and featuring strips...than the straight up-and-down with an elastic waist.  So I am taking it apart.

It's taking about four times as long as I icky, tedious business.  Once I get the elastic off the second piece I have to finish the edges and run the fabric through the laundry to get the residue off of if.

Word up...if you are ever sewing costumes for any kind of production, for the love of all re-purposers down the road, PLEASE do not use a teeniny stitch length.  

Just sayin'.

On the 'here's a tip' front,  some time ago I was watching you-tube clothing historian Bernadette Banner draft a pattern and she was using Christmas wrapping paper.  DING DING DING the lightbulb went off.

I think I paid a buck and a half or so for some REALLY STURDY ugly wrapping paper at Hallmark's after Christmas sale and used it to draft the gore pattern for the skirt (I think I will get ten gores).  Y'all, the grid marks made this an absolute BREEZE.  10/10 Highly recommend.  

No good for tracing, but if you a drafting from's great.

Got another sewing weekend in front of me but I don't know if anyone else is going to show up.  That's ok...I know there are a couple of ladies who are doing alterations/ mending at home.  I think we only have two more costumes to make...the dancer being one of them,  I'll work on the other at church since that's where the fabric and trim is currently.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

A Productive weekend

 Well, four of us teamed up Friday and Saturday and made a good dent in the costume sewing. 

It's not my first choice for  a sewing space, and it's highly temporary, but we've made do with less comfortable spaces so I'm not going to complain.  At least we can leave it set up until we're done.

It's actually one of the rehearsal studios...formerly a dance classroom, back when this was a high school.  But there's enough space and power and the lighting's decent, so it works for now.

 I was at church from about 9 - 3:30/4 ish both days and we got the four garments for Paul, Silas and a couple of other prisoners done Friday (no pictures, unfortunately...they've been sent home with one of our creatives to get abused, marred and 'bloodied' up).  Saturday Miss K and I cranked out the tunics for the little girls who will be in the 'Triumphant Entry' dance.

They look so tiny, but they were made to the measurements we got so's hoping they were correct, lol.

We are down to the one-offs; the individual costumes.  We need a dance-able costume for the woman with the 'issue', and we need a costume for the Philippian magistrate.  I have a vision for the woman (Veronica, if you've been watching The Chosen).  I am mending one garment, re-fashioning a second and making a third to layer her up; the top two will be kinda, well, car-wash-skirty, if you know what I mean.  Strips.  We will also have a tangled red ropey belt thing between the bottom and middle layers that will only be seen in glimpses as the garments move, held together with magnets so she can drop that bit at the proper moment.  I think this is going to be my biggest challenge and I'll be working on that from home this week...making it up as I go.

I think we can take care of the rest next weekend. Hopefully.

This is a much easier costuming effort...each person only needs one.  That's a big relief, lol.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

The fiddly bit is done

 At least, I think it is. 

I finished the yoke on the velvet skirt.  I ended up doing quite a bit of hand basting on the pockets, and I hand finished the buttonholes that are on the back side of the elastic waist should I decide I need a drawstring to augment the elastic.  I kinda expect I will; I think this is going to be a rawther heavy beastie.

But you really can't tell it has given me so many fits, just looking at it, lol.  

The pockets hang a bit lower than the yoke but that really doesn't matter.

But I have to cut some more pieces before I can sew any more on it's all going on hold for a bit.  Easter is coming, and we are having a workday at church tomorrow to hit the costumes needed for the Easter production.  Dress rehearsal in a little over two weeks...(deep breaths).

In all honesty, I'm expecting the team to need to make about a dozen costumes...and, being Bible costumes only, they are amenable to assembly line production, which we are going to hit tomorrow.

6 tunics for wee little dancers who will be celebrating in the Palm Sunday scene, out of this fabric:

I ordered that during a big sale at FFC last Wednesday.  Didn't get the shipping notice until yesterday, so I didn't expect it to show up until, like, Tuesday next week.  I was scrambling to pull together other projects to work on with my big crew (6 ladies are coming!) tomorrow.  But it was on the step when I got home today.  Miracles do happen!

I traced the pattern and made the adjustments for the dancers (shorter, slits on the sides; they'll have some pajama-like pants under, which we found online). So we have work to do!

And The Actor and his Little Red Haired Girl are coming up tomorrow; he had the week off from his new job, which apparently goes on holiday during spring break, so he came up and they've been working on wedding plans from her folks.  But we will get to celebrate St. Patrick's day with them.  Gonna give corned beef a try...don't think I've ever had it, let alone cooked it.  But it doesn't look to be too difficult.  I will throw it in the crock pot before I head to church.

So we enter another Busy Season, lol.  Deep breaths... ;-)

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

That Jacket in My Senior Picture...

 The pleated velvet skirt is turning into one of THOSE projects in which every time I put the needle in the fabric something goes wrong.

So I'm taking a pause from my stitch-picking-out to post a wee bit of sewing joy that came my way today.

I have been hunting and hunting for a pattern I used back when I was a (koff koff) sophomore in high school.  Yeah, that would be age 15.

It was the first time I made myself an honest to gosh capsule wardrobe.  Nobody called it that back then, of course, but that's what it was.

I bought two chunks of poly double knit from the local Ben Franklin a navy blue crepe and the other a blue and white micro houndstooth...and made

1) a jacket and gored skirt from the navy

2) a pair of pants and a skirt from the houndstooth

3) a reversible on one side, houndstooth on the other

I bought two ribbed knit turtleneck bodysuits, one white, one navy, from JC Penny and I was set.

I wore the jacket for my senior portraits...we didn't do that drape thing in our neck of the woods...

This is the best pic I have of it.  You can't tell much about it; that was a sleeveless turtleneck top under it, if I remember right (pics were taken in June...).

I have no idea what happened to that pattern; I had been kinda low key looking for it on vintage sites for, well, a really long time. it didn't help that I couldn't remember which pattern company it was. One night last week I found one of those sites that has a bazillion patterns and just started scrolling through the 1970s listings, just to see if I could find it.

I found it, and found an Etsy seller that had it in a size 12, which was the largest I could find.

It came today.

It's cut, of course, but it's all there and 'm going to trace it and see if I can alter it up to fit my current shape.  It has such interesting lines; the back is princess seamed.  It's unlined, and the pocket flaps are fake, so I may actually upgrade it a bit and make a lining and put pockets in.  We'll see how it goes.

If I ever get that (grumble grumble) velvet skirt done...