While Kate is working on our yellow/brown dresses, I already got started on the green/black versions. Well, kinda. I like to think getting started this soon on the outfit shows some sign of maturity in project planning, but the truth is sewing is an escape for me and things are kind of stressful at my day job lately.
There are many components to the costumes that really make it into a complete look, but from experience I knew if I didn't start on something for the outfit I would be scrambling near the end. Plus I have Ryan's outfit to work on too. And I knew I would be "troubleshooting" through some of the pattern pieces. So, not much actual room for procrastination!
I did actually make a list a few weeks ago to keep track of everything that goes into one of these completed looks - cost especially - but also to wrap my head around all the little things that I just add as a side-thought that really should be taken into consideration if I am ever to offer this sort of costume creation to anyone else. So far my list consists of:
The hoop skirt is already created, and the belt will only take an evening to soften and modify. I made the necklaces before Christmas as a present to Kate, but I haven't posted progress pictures, so here you go:
Kate already had a hat from a previous outfit that will work very well with this one, so why reinvent the wheel? I just had to find the same supplies, which I thought wouldn't be a problem, as she got hers at Michaels' and H&M.
Well, it turns out the hat was on FINAL CLEARANCE online when I went online shopping (the closest H&M store is an estimated 4 hour drive from me) but I managed to snag it for less than $5! Sadly, shipping added to that, but I won't let that fact get in the way in the feeling of my bargain shopping success.
On to the feathers from Michael's... Lo and behold I did find the exact feathers still on the website. I added them to my online cart, but something seemed amiss when it came to checkout time. Namely, the cost. It turns out one can find the feathers listed online, but sometimes you can buy them individually, and sometimes not. In my case an overpriced $3 feather pick turned into $20, an $8 (ouchy price) ostrich feather turned into $24, and so on. I waited not so patiently until last weekend when I visited my Mom in Wichita where I could buy the feathers and not pretend I was purchasing stuffing for a premium duvet.
Here's Kate's hat and other outfit from last fall:
I had to tell myself several times during the construction of my own hat that it did not, in fact, have to be completely identical. Sigh. Perfectionism isn't so great at times. No one else will probably even see the difference anyway! Here's my completed hat:
Aaaaaaand that's all I'll post of the hat until it can be combined with the rest of the outfit. ;)
I am actually now working on the short chemise. I'm using cotton/polyester voile fabric, which is almost tissue thin. The over-achiever in me is doing flat-felled seams, that of course take 3 times as long to sew in place. But, I'll leave that adventure for another blog post, probably after I tackle the smocking.
At the end of last summer, after wearing the same brown monk's robes for nearly 7 years, my dear husband finally decided he'd like a different Renaissance outfit. Well, I certainly don't need to be asked twice to take on a new costume project! Granted, the monk was and easy outfit to make and wear, but it will be nice to be able to refer to him as my significant other while volunteering in the Royal Court, instead of ignoring him. ;)
After much discussion on what he did and didn't want (no tights! no puffy pants! no codpieces! nothing heavy or too hot!) we decided to do historically inspired Celtic renaissance wear. I found a pattern that hit most of the points we were looking for, and it IS historically accurate. And $35-$40 for the pattern alone. Ouch.
Frankly, I was just relived to find some excuse for historical accuracy that Ryan was nearly okay with. So, for his doublet we'll use this silhouette. As for the pants ("trews") Ryan wants something a bit looser, so I won't worry about trying to recreate the creative seams on this pattern.
Just like me, Ryan is not up to the arbritary standards used for sizing patterns. I may have an altered dress dummy to help me, but not one for Ryan. Oh well. At least I have the live model. With luck I won't even stick him with pins!
Ryan already has brown boots he bought for use with costumes, and I want his outfit to coordinate with the ones Kate and I are making. By this I mean, use some of our skirt material in his doublet. This means I can't exactly finish his doublet until Kate finishes the Cranach/German-inspired gowns she's working on and I finish the green/black middle class German gowns I'm working on, but I can start on the shirt and pants.
The shirt is out of muslin, and you can see a corner of it peeking out of the picture above on the right. I am doing lace-up sleeves for extra air conditioning. I've already had to increase the chest measurement twice and the length once. Oh the joys of sewing for interesting body shapes!
I'm actually about half way done sewing the thing together; I'll get a picture when I'm done.
Ryan doesn't know it yet, but he'll have two outfits to choose between: one to match the brown & orange Renaissance dresses Kate is doing and one to match the green and black design I'm working on. For the brown and orange he'll have brown pants, a dark green doublet, and accents with fabric from our dresses. For the green and black I'm making black pants, but the doublet isn't quite designed yet. I don't want to put him in too much black - that gets hot quickly in the Kansas sun.
Maybe someday if I'm feeling particularly creative I'll get some sketches done of Ryan's outfit. In the mean time here is a preview sketch of the brown & orange dresses that Kate completed. (No, the dress won't be parti-colored; Kate just put both dresses in one sketch.) Kate says she's already made progress on the corsets, so HINT, HINT KATE: MAKE A BLOG POST! Love you! :D
I had a sneaking suspicion, and proved myself right. I knew, just *knew* that I had more up to date pictures on my cell phone of the Allison, Jr. dollhouse build. After Kate snapchatted me updates of kitchen cabinet building last weekend I had to take a look... and ta da!
The MDF the housebody is made out of is notiously difficult to drill through. Actually, we were using drill bits and a chisel for the first few holes, but then Dad found and sent a miniature router bit for the off-brand Dremel (bought at Harbor Freight) that miraculously hasn't crapped out on this project yet. In about two sessions Kate and I got holes drilled, wiring soldered to outlets, and things glued in place. The momentum kept Kate going throughout the week and she got the dining room started! It looks like a place I'd love to eat in real life. Which is I guess why people build dollhouses - to recreate real life, right?
Not pictured in the dining room progress above: installation of a dark wooden floor that is more in scale with the house. Kate's decided to move on to a few other projects before going back to install baseboard and crown moulding, so no completed pictures of the dining room... yet. :) However, thanks to some Christmas presents she HAS decided to go with the (more expensive and labor intensive) custom kitchen cabinetry. The cabinets come unassembled and unfinished, including needing to drop in a separate metal kitchen sink into the wooden cabinet box. This is a level of detail even I didn't attempt with my dollhouse but it will look FANTASTIC when finished.
To be perfectly fair, the kitchen space is quite oddly shaped, so even if we had bought a kitchen kit some customization was always in the works. For right now I think the two of us have moved on to Renaissance dresses, so as has been the case several times over the last few years, the dollhouse is once again on pause.
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!