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A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow
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3rd of April of 2008, 12:36 - Singer 15-88 sewing machine: the pictures

A lot more picturesCollapse )

I finally got the tensions right today.

More stitchesCollapse )

I am not entirely sure these are what stated, and I don't know how to use half of them, hehe. The cording foot I got on Ebay some months ago (when already planning to get a vintage sewing machine ;P)
30th of March of 2008, 20:28 - Singer 301
Today it's been busy... apart from a lot of family visits, we went to pick up the sewing machine I won on Ebay yesterday.
The machine, now I can confirm it is a 15-88 model, seems in very nice condition, I haven't had time to look at it more than 2 minutes since we had to bring it home (helping Pim carry it upstairs with my damaged back: ouchie) and leave. It is a straight-stitch treadle without motor and a short shank, which reportedly can sew very thick materials, the cabinet has a lousy varnish job and a few bug holes (which seem inactive) but is otherwise nice and in good condition. The machine is misteriously missing the two sticks to place the thread spool, which I find very weird... maybe they retract to fold the machine down? it still has the original manual (in ancient Dutch, heh), the original bill from 1953 (it costed about 8000 francs, which is about 200 euro, which was a lot of money back then) several bobbins, and a lot of attachments :D it has a ruffler foot (yay!), a hemmer, a wider-hem hemmer, a zipper foot, a binder foot, a darning foot, and some other stuff I don't know what it is or I've forgotten. Two or three of these feet already cost what I've paid for the entire machine...

I was eyeing two machines this weekend, I placed both on my auction sniper (sue me). Since this one went for so cheap (only 1 euro more than starting price) I didn't take the other out from the sniper. It started at 7.5 euro and I put a maximum of 25... it went for 21.55 which is also a steal, and yeah I won that one too :D It is (I think) a 301 model, and I've been googling around and a lot of people rave about it. It is electric, slanted shank, and is placed in a portable wooden case. According to the seller it makes 6 different stitches and has a few feet, and the manual.

What can I say, but yay, YAY!

I still have to contact the seller who lives an hour away southways from us, I guess the pick-up will have to wait until next weekend.

I guess I'll be posting a lot about the machines in the next days... I'm so excited about them!
29th of March of 2008, 22:00 - Singer sewing machine
I just won this for €26 (!) on Ebay:

And tomorrow we pick it up. There was only this picture on the auction, it seems to be in very good condition and to have manual and at least a few attachments. I do hope it works but it will probably need some adjustments. Luckly I have a Singer dealer at 5 minutes walking distance from home.

I believe it is a 15-91 15-88 / 15-89 / 15-90, just from this picture though, so I cannot be sure.

Now I'm off to have a drink...
24th of March of 2008, 18:04 - 1877 corset
Today I wanted to start something new (ha, ha!), well, actually, I wanted to start this.

I used pattern P-002 - 2nd September 1877

And this is what I got:

That's the only picture I will post. The mockup is all warped and wonky (maybe I fucked up with the grain?) and the pictures are terribly unflattering ;P

I modified the pattern a little bit. I added to the hips and to the top back, and took away from the breast. I took some measurements on the pattern, but since the waist is not marked, it was a bit of a guess. The waist measurement stated in the pattern is 60 (mine is 68-70). The bust I estimate it to be 90 at 12 centimetres from the waist (I measure 91 at its fullest, which is a bit higher) this is a tricky measurement since the breast is to be lifted. And the hips measure about 86 at 17 cm (mine being around 96). So I took about 4 cm off the breast and added about 8 to the hips. I think I shouldn't have added/taken so much, apparently the original pattern is not so off from my measurements. I certainly shouldn't have touched the top back at all.

I should make a new mockup with the untouched pattern, or very lightly modified, a stiffer fabric, and I would also like to use real boning (I used a heavy duty zipper and cable ties... and the fabric is a bit flimsy) At first I was thinking of using a normal busk, but the corset seems to naturally take on the spoon shape even without proper boning. In fact, "proper" boning, as proper as it gets, should probably be synthetic whalebone, since whalebone is what it is told to be used in the pattern instructions. That would be better for my pocket actually.

These are the supplies I need, for my referenceCollapse )
22nd of March of 2008, 20:08 - Curtains
And finally I finished the dining room curtains! I've been so lazy about it... I said "I'll do it next week"... it's been more than two months.
I'm glad it's finished, the sun is very bothersome when it is behind the screens. We have both computers in front of a window.

Because of the radiator, these are short. And they match the curtains from the living.
22nd of March of 2008, 11:56 - 1877 chemisette
In short installments of free time this past week I've been working on this chemisette:

I used pattern P-001 - 5th August 1877, the same than for the petticoat. This time I had to alter the back piece since it was quite small and a bit weird. I am still not finished, I'll post some progress pictures when I am.

Another picCollapse )
16th of March of 2008, 20:16 - 1877 petticoat
I started a petticoat a month or two ago, after a pattern is this book, i tried to modify it a little so it would have more volume at the back, but it just ended too big all around (especially the waist)

Today I took it apart and re-cut it after one of the patters from the Mode Illustrée magazine I got. It is the first of these patterns I try. It is the walking lenght petticoat of the right:

I used cheap Ikea canvas, which isn't very appropiate (I use it for muslins), it feels like a fabric with more body would work much better. It is not ironed, the drawstring is not finished and it still lacks flounce and all, but so far looks like this. I have to re-shape the mannequin, the waist is too big, and it is just generally shapeless:

I am terribly lazy to make the tucks, but it seems like they would give some stiffness and structure. Yesterday I found about 20 meters of wide (at least 15 centimeters) cotton lace, it is maybe a little too rough and heavy, but I may use some for this petti.

Things I would change already: use a stiffer fabric, and probably a thinner one, or a less bulky construction method for the waistband. Too much bulk for under or over a corset. I reinforced the front piece of the waistband with strong linen, and it seems completely unncessary. The drawstring is also too bulky.

About the pattern, I am pretty happy with it.
I marked the pieces I needed with marker on my copy of the pattern, to make it easier.

Two of the pieces (front and side) needed to be increased x5, and I thought this would be more difficult, but the pieces were quite simple and I did it directly on the fabric. The bottom back piece had no pattern but only measurements given, and that was pretty easy too. All of the parts fit togheter. I didn't alter it at all, and the skirt fits me very well (better than the mannequin), also the lenght.

Cross posted to the natural form patterns forum.
14th of March of 2008, 12:06 - La Mode Illustrée patterns, 2
I am almost finished with my first pattern! And I have already received an inquiry :D

This is pattern P-001 - 5th August 1877

I hunted today for a nice pouch to put the pattern and magazine in. These are a bit expensive, but it is a strong plastic and has an accordion shape with plenty of space. And with the holes it is better for storage I guess. I also got some strong envelopes for postage.

I also took the first definitive, big format copies of the patterns. These are also a little more expensive than I anticipated. Much more than the price of 4 A3 copies... I am afraid that after all of the costs I am gonna have to increase the price of the patterns. Otherwise I am gonna take loss. (Edit: I just did, by 2€)

So it includes:

A4 reduction of the cover of the magazine, to act as a... cover ;P
Original size copy of the corresponding magazine (originals are just slightly smaller than A3, the copies are A3) 8 sheets
Original size copy of the patterns, recto and verso (in individual sheets, about A1 in size)

And still not in the pic, but I am working on it: translation to English (I will add a Spanish one later on, perhaps on demand) of the French sewing instructions.

Phew, I am so tired of running around with the bike!
13th of March of 2008, 12:42 - Enamel experiments
And this past weekend I made some enamelling experiments I wanted to try for some time:

Graphite over enamel. Hardness of the pencil doesn't seem to have any importance (here: 8B, 4H, 2B)

Watercolor over enamel

The watercolor colors that seemed more succesful (of course, the earths)

All applied over a matte surface.

The do not peel off in any way, but seem well fixed to the enamel. The watercolors have a rough (some more than others) and matte surface. The graphite is quite shiny.
13th of March of 2008, 12:32 - Brass setting
Yesterday I received a parcel from cissa in the US. That was different kinds of brass wire and sheet, a few copper blanks, and a little of solder (thanks Amanda!)
I got a torch last time I went to Barcelona, but I couldn't do anything with it (I have a lot of copper, but I didn't have any solder) Right now I cannot invest in silver, so brass is gonna have to do. It is good for practice, since I haven't done any jewellery in... 11 years!! (damn, I'm getting old)

So first thing I've tried to do, is a simple bezel setting:

Not finished of course, I have very little time in the mornings... but, yay!!
11th of March of 2008, 12:05 - La Mode Illustrée patterns
Just a few days after I found the 1877 book on Ebay, before I even received it, I found several original patterns from the same book on Ebay too. Buy it now. I waited until I got the book and I could see what these patterns included, and all of them included amazing stuff... I couldn't decide, so I bought them all, and I bid on another two that were not buy it now. I only won one of those, and it was the one I was more interested in from the whole bunch, since it has the only two corsets from the entire year!

That was quite a big chunk of money that I actually shouldn't have spent. But I couldn't let the chance pass! So, in order to recover at least a bit of the money, I decided I'll be selling copies of the patterns. It is very difficult to find patterns of this time period, so I hope some people will be interested...
There are pattern copies on Ebay, but I never bought any because I think they are always really overpriced... they are just copies after all, which are very cheap, and you can make as many as you want from the original once you have it.
I'll be offering my copies at what I hope will be a fair price, and I'll include translation of the original French instructions to English and Spanish, which I hope is a plus.

Now, reproducing these patterns has been more complicated and time consuming than I anticipated. The originals are of an extremely thin and flimsy paper, 130 years old, and very fragile. The patterns are very big, and they cannot be copied directly in the big format scanner since they would rip. Yesterday I spent all morning in the copy shop (luckly they let you make the copies yourself, so I didn't have to fear someone else damaging the patterns) taking hundreds of A3 copies from the patterns. Each pattern needed an average of 10 copies made from it, because of their size and because many adjustments in brightness had to be made individually to many copies. I also took copies of the corresponding magazines from the book (which also needed adjustments) that I will be including with the patterns.

Today I spent the morning organizing these copies, discarding the unusable ones, and reconstructing one of the patterns. I am going to "publish" 2 patterns first. 2 sheets of patterns have a LOT of patterns! I think these are the ones of most interest. One has any piece of lingerie one could wish for, also for kids and men, and several dresses. The other has the two corsets, a few dresses and several coats.

I spent last weekend making a website for selling these, Natural Form Patterns, such an original name!

It has a community forum. The authentication system is still not working properly, so I have to manually authenticate all users for now. I installed a light skin and a dark skin. I prefer dark backgrounds myself.
I think a forum is very useful, especially with period patterns, so that people can share their experiences, tips, and of course results!
I think maybe I should make everything a bit smaller for lesser resolutions. I am particularly fond of the individual pettern gallery :)
The website still doesn't have a domain, and I don't know if I will ever get one, I doubt this will be succesful enough. I also don't have a clue how to promote it. I hate promotion, it is such a pain in the ass for everyone :/
8th of March of 2008, 13:41 - Rose chairs restoration, 3
Today I've been working a little bit more on the chair. Little, because I started having pain in my wrist and I didn't want to get hurt again...

I saw and filed the rail, gave it the right shape, and also have been sanding a couple of the rails. This is gonna be a slow project...

2nd of March of 2008, 16:02 - Green skirt
This was such an impressive succesion of fuck-ups that I don't even know where to start, so I won't. By the end I was just hoping it would be wearable, which it barely is. I hope I learned something from it, although right now I can't possibly see what. I am just a lousy dress-maker and way too impatient for sewing.

Even thought the pics don't do it justice (it's way worse) I'm gonna put them under the cut.

Read more...Collapse )
28th of February of 2008, 12:48 - La Mode Illustrée 1877
I've been pursuing one of these books on Ebay for quite some time, but the bids always get too high for me... this time I found one Buy it Now for 80€ and I snatched it immediately!! 1877 is my absolute favorite fashion year in the 19th century (therefore possibly ever) and also coincidentally just 100 years before I was born.

I am so glad I found this! the book arrived yesterday. It has a little damage but it is in great condition considering he is 131 years old.

A few shots of damageCollapse )

The spine was broken at the bottom. I've fixed this to avoid further damage.

A few shots of restorationCollapse )

I've also taken a few shots of my favorite (on first review) woodcuts. I put them in a gallery here. Both thumbnails and images are quite big.
It would be nice to scan the whole thing but I don't have a scanner, plus an A3 would be necessary...

I love the greek "Penélope" costume!
27th of February of 2008, 12:11 - Rose chairs restoration, 2
As I mentioned in the previous entry about this project, er... 3 months ago... "One of the sticks was damaged and broke into the casing (...) which is too bad. I've been emptying the "casing" with a tool I don't know the english name of. It is slow and annoying because of my arm and because I would need another of these tools in a smaller size, too. The stick will need some structural repair."

Mainly because of physical problems I stopped working on this, and then, like everything else, I forgot about it :P Despite all the pieces have been lying around the house :P

Today I decided to advance a little. I asked my boyfriend Pim for help (he is home in sick leave) and in a moment he finished emptying the "casing":

I saw(ed ?) a "channel" in the "stick", adjusted the width and straightened the walls, I found some beech sticks (I don't have any oak or chestnut wood around, but beech is hard too) and pieced the missing part with them. I also filled the extra space the channel made with the stick I saw(ed ?) off first, from the same wood. I glued it all togheter and now it is drying. In the picture the glued stick is compared to the other twin stick. It looks like a mess now I guess ;P It will be cleaned up and shaped once it is dry:

9th of February of 2008, 21:03 - Organization
I've been spending the last days (re)organizing my workshop. It wasn't at all optimal so I unconsciously and gradually moved my crafty activities to the living (basically just moving the mess over here) I moved the computer because it was cold in the workshop, I ended just never going to the workshop anymore.

I brought jewellery tools (torch [!!], ring mandrel, etc) back from Barcelona (I bought them). I haven't worked in jewellery in many years. I sold my jewellery tools (to a friend, didn't hurt that much) before moving here. I don't wan't to go into straight jewellery territory, but I want to do the settings for my enamels. I still have to buy silver and that's gonna be quite the investment. Investment is not the most appropiate word since I don't expect to make a living out of this or anything of the sort...
I won't have a jewellery table (can't affor that right now) but I hope I can manage.

Organizing is proving exhausting. Mess seems to does irradiate from me. Even after moving here and starting from zero, I have an incredible amount of things and tools, and keep on finding them all necessary... I've found dozens of unfinished (or even just started) pieces. They are all now togheter in one drawer, I shouldn't start anything else until I finish a few, but I don't like to make empty promises, even to myself....
The workshop is still far from tidy, though... and I still have such a mess in the living. And a lot of other things to do, of course...

Well... I'm off to clean up the living now...
27th of January of 2008, 17:46 - Moebius Strip - making the choker
I've decided to have cissa make a setting for this piece. I wanted to put it on a ribbon choker, so I've been working in the ribbon today. My first idea was of a box pleated silk ribbon in a dark blue, with a thin velvet ribbon over it, where it would be stitched. And probably another thicker velvet ribbon underneath it all for support. I got the silk ribbons last week on Ebay, and the blue velvet ones years ago in Barcelona, for this purpose...

So I set myself to dye the silk ribbon, which I had in a very pale grey-ivory and a warmer ivory. In a test dye, the warmer ivory gave a more green blue, so I went for the other, even though it was quite stiff. But after the dye job it got soft and a little lustrous. I also dyed it pale, instead of dark, to match the lighter parts of the enamel. As the dye bath was already prepared, I thought of dying also something else to use it up, a bit of lace. I've been reading about ombre dying lately, for something else, and I tried to do this with the lace to see how it works. Such fun!! :D I dyed two sections of cotton lace darker in the middle:

The colour is gradual, but the shadows in this picture make it look like it isn't.
Entire piece under the cutCollapse ) I like how the lace looks on top of the dark blue velvet, and with the thin one on top:

The rest of the entry with more pictures under the cutCollapse )
23rd of January of 2008, 22:39 - Adjustments to new dress
This started like one thing and ended up into something completely different.

I was browsing anthropologie.com (I like to look at their skirts now and then) between work and train (I started working at 8 today, yawn) and saw this skirt:

It looks nice like that, but up close it is kind of scary.

Anyway, I immediately wanted to paint a Robin (European) on a black skirt :D Three more Robin pics for my reference: 1 - 2 - 3
So well, when I got out of work I went shopping for a black skirt, sales and all, well... I didn't find any I liked. They are so terrible, argh!

Well, I ended up buying a dress (and a waistcoat: my perdition, and two summer t-shirts...) I thought I could just paint the robin on the dress. But who am I fooling, it is a bit too dressy for that. In fact, to be honest it seems inspired by that galaxy dress... which is a nice dress. Well, mostly the neckline (no lapels, and unfortunately no puffy sleeves) The thing is, I never have, and never will, find a dress which fits, with one to two sizes in difference from tops to bottoms. So I took this dress in a 38, which is too big for my chest and too small for my bum, and tried it on... it is a bit elastic, so... well, the top is not terribly big, with a nice bra it fits, although it tends to ride up and away from my shoulders... the bottom would kind of fit if not for the lining, which is (was) smaller and not elastic... still I somehow managed to stuff myself in it. So I bought it, and ripped 4 seams up to the waist (which is perfect) only the outer (inner?) seam, leaving the overlock seam, about 5mm further away, in place. This gave around 4 cm more to the dress, I think. I still had another two seams I could have ripped so I think in the end I was pretty safe, although now 4 of my seam allowances are minimal... well the lining is there to save me ;P So, I stitched over the overlock seams to secure.
I also ripped the lining, which was what was making me look like a sausage, up to the waist, and added two strips of similar lining to the sides, tapering them towards the top. I thought it would look crappier, actually.

Anyway, who sees it? And fortunately it doesn't seem to bulge underneath as I feared.

Here is the dress on Mannequin. It looks a lot better on me, I must say ;P Mannequin is kind of weirdly shaped.

Neckline is confused by the black t-shirt Mannequin is wearing underneath... I guess some year there will be pictures of it on me.

And I guess I should dive into the stash (which is not so great, actually) for some fabric to make the A-line black skirt, so I can paint the Robin :P
22nd of January of 2008, 12:58 - Visita II - cutting
After a few more adjustments (tried over a sweater, decided to leave the total length of the back pieces again, made a few adjustments to the soulders) I've decided to cut the upholstery s fabric... is probably the busiest fabric I've ever bought, I don't know what got into me. It seems to have a bit of an arts and crafts style to it, I guess. And I got a deal for it, as it was a leftover. I just made a burn test and it seems a poly/cotton blend (poly for the black threads, cotton for the ivory)

So I cut it leaving my usual kilometric seam allowances. My mother always scolded me about that, and then the other day I read that couture pieces are usually cut with big seam allowances of about 1", go figure.
I wanted to pattern match, wich was a bit tight with the amount of fabric I had. I had to put the back pieces crossgrain, the fabric seems to be very stable in both directions, we will' see...

I am tempted to take it on the train and there pass a thread to mark the pieces...

I don't know if I should interface the fabric. I don't want it too warm, and it has some body to it, but perhaps I should, even if it is just some cotton? I will probably line it with some crappy black poly lining I have a shitload of. I hate it though.

Gotta go!
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