Wednesday, March 30, 2011

As promised a two in one post!

So yesterday, I was trying to think of something to sew. Again, I had a few things that I could sew, but nothing that really excited me. I've been toying with the idea of creating another Regency dress to go with the one that Charlotte's been wearing, but logically there's not a whole lot of reason to do that. Very rarely do I have people wear historical dresses, usually everyone wears casual day wear, so making another dress wouldn't be really practical. Honestly, when Charlotte's done wearing the one she's wearing now, it's probably going to end up in the costume bag for a long time, if not forever. So while I was still thinking about making another Regency era dress, I game some thought as to why I wanted to make another one. I came to the conclusion that really what I wanted was a companion for Charlotte while she's wearing hers. She's the only one wearing this type of clothing. Beautiful, but very lonely. So I decided that I was going to make another costume, but compared to another woman's I was going to make one for a man. Joe specifically (although, I'm sure someone else can wear it in time). Now I know I said I usually don't see though to making him a companion outfit for Charlotte, but sometimes I do. That's how he managed to get two kimonos earlier in the year. So I decided that Joe was going to get a Regency outfit, or at least try to make him one. Project found!
I started off with research, with was somewhat hard. There's a lot of resources out there, but nothing very definitive. I had to glean a little information from here, and little from there. But after a few hours, I thought I had enough of an idea to at least create something vaguely from that era. I decided to start off with shoes. Since Joe has such big feet I had to find out if I even had shoes that would work that would fit him. There's not a whole lot of options around here for Ken shoes, but I eventually settled on a pair of squishy Joe boots that I've had forever (AKA, don't ask where they came from, because I couldn't tell you if I wanted to). They fit his feet and worked somewhat for the era. (Best out of what I had.) With the shoes decided on I got to work on making him some pants. I was making them out of some tan broadcloth that I bought at Walmart a while back, back when I started sewing. You might recognize this materiel from Ricky's pants. I used the same pattern that I used to make the undershorts for the kimono, although when I first made them I forgot they needed a waistband, so they were dreadfully short, meaning I had to tear out most of what I had done so I could add one. I would have needed to do that even if I had remembered to add the waistband because how I had sewn the inseam was really off, they barely fit Joe! (He's got a really low groin.)
While I was working with the pants, I was also working with the jacket. Originally I was going to use a new Ken jacket pattern that I had printed (much) earlier, but found that I was missing a piece. Since I'm lazy I decided that now was the time to see how well the pea coat pattern would work for Joe. I knew that style wise it would work since the jacket I was making was double breasted. Unfortunately, in my wonderful wisdom had thrown out the pattern that I had drafted for him, thinking that I'd never use it. I had done it the day before literally. Since I'm not a proud man, I dug though the trash. I didn't find what I was looking for, but it doesn't matter, I ended up using the same pattern as the one that Charlotte uses, just with some minor tweaks, made off the cuff. I did use a larger sleeve pattern. Joe's arms are much bigger than Charlotte's. It went together pretty easily, but I'm an old pro at that pattern. I managed to mess up the collar a few times, but that's no shock, that happens all the time. Deviating from the norm, I was going to add a tail to the jacket, which was the regency style. I didn't bother changing the pea coat pattern, I was going to add it afterward, attaching it to the back. I made a simple square and attached it.
So with all that done, I started to do the fine detail work on what I had just sewn, clip threads, reinforce seams, all that fun stuff. Unfortunately when I was snipping seams on the pants, they shifted in my hands as I was cutting, and I cut a hole into them. A hole?!?!?! Oh, I was so mad, and it wasn't even on a spot that I could take in, it was in the seat of the pants. I couldn't believe that I had done that. I threw the pants across the room, I was so not in the mood to deal with them then. That's when I decided I was done for the night. I didn't trust myself with the jacket. Messing up the pants was one thing, messing up the jacket was another mess entirely. Plus, since the light in my room is terrible, working with black on black is terrible at night. I did however remove the tail that I had attached. It just wasn't working, so might as well cut my losses early on that one.
It was mid-morning of today when I got to work on it again. Last night was bad, with the alarm chirping in the middle of the night. For some reason it thought there was something going on in the living room when there was nothing in there. Sometimes it's screwy like that. I was also awoken by thunderstorms in the morning. But still I got to work, but before I started sewing, I went on a hunt to find Joe's other shoe. I thought I had it last night, but when I went to get it, I could only find one. I brushed it off last night, thinking that I must have misplaced it, but this morning when I checked all the places I thought it could be, I couldn't find it. I ended tearing apart my room searching for it. I was even back in the trash, wondering if I had tossed it in there by accident (it's happened). Eventually I did find it, I had accidentally put it into the costume bag last night. I had taken it out to find something from it, and I guess the boot ended up in there when I was putting everything away. I'm glad it showed up, I was beginning to think I didn't have a pair of them in the first place! Doesn't take much to make be doubt my sanity. With that behind me, I got back to sewing, I started off making another pair of pants, to replace the ones I messed up. These ones ended up being a bit longer then the first pair, but that's fine. They're actually going to be tucked into the boots, and the extra length means more volume for the puffy pant legs. Which is actually not correct for the era, but Joe's legs are so thin that he needs pants with volume. If they were skin tight, like they should be, you'd really see how small his chicken legs are! So, his costume is more an homage than an actual reproduction. Anyway, I got these completed, without slicing a hole into them. (Success!) My first item finished with this outfit. After that I worked on the jacket. I made another tail, one that was not just a square, this one was more tapered to the bottom. I think it looks much better than the old one. I finished the jacket the same way that I did the other ones, even doing the snaps in the front, making sure that I didn't sew all the way through. And if you remember when I made those other jackets, you should remember how much I love doing that... just love it. I also added six pearl buttons to the front (after I looked up if men wore pearl buttons back then.)
For his shirt, that's actually the one I tweaked on Friday. Remember how I said I'd never use it? Well I'm using it. I actually tore out the stitches I put in them to tack the collar down, I also had to rip out part of the Velcro that I moved when I tweaked it. The collar is supposed to stick straight up in this look. I might go and fix the Velcro later, but I might not bother. His neck tie, is just a tube of fabric tied accordingly. It's from the same fabric as that vintage Ken suit I made a bit back. I also blanket stitched the end of it. And I think that's it? And Joe's dressed, matching Charlotte. Originally I thought he was going to look like a Butler when he was done, but as a whole it works. He might end up getting some glasses, but I'd have to make them first (can't find his original pair), but I might not bother. He's been posing with Charlotte all day and they really look wonderful together. She, by the way, has managed to find a pair of shoes to wear. It's the white high heel Mary Janes that came with the Silkstone Waitress. Not sure how long either of them are going to wear these outfits, but they're going to be in them tomorrow. They're going to be the stand ins for Princess Rosebud and Anton while I write. See you then!
He looks so dapper!

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