Friday, September 28, 2012

Sketchbook Friday: some drawings and their finished products

Today's Sketchbook Friday scans are from 4 different sketchbooks, but all are of dolls and costumes that I actually made!
First off is a Green Fairy Costume that I made in the early 2000's
Left is colored with Jell pens and shows the wings.
On the left the bodice is shown lacing up the front, when in reality it laced on the side backs.
On the right is an old picture of me wearing it.

The skirt got re-purposed, the wings were destroyed and the bodice and sleeves I sold on Etsy

Next is a drawing of a silver skirt that I currently have up for sale on my Etsy shop.

And here is a doll I made.

This is what he looked like when finished, other than he never got his boots. His name is Jasper.
He bears a strong resemblance to my husband and his brother. So much so that when my  2 year old recently saw the doll she called it Uncle!
Jasper is my own pattern and was my first male doll, I think I did a good job on his face.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Handmade Gift

When money is tight but the stash is large.
When a Special even is coming and requires a special something.

My husband had a birthday recently and I was at a loss on what to give him. He is a low key kind of guy so he wouldn't have been bummed if I didn't give him anything, but I couldn't do that. I knew of several things that he wants, and several that he needs, but they were all more than I was wanting to spend. A conversation between friends online lead me down the path of how old fashioned he is and I had the brilliant idea of embroidering one of the cloth handkerchiefs that he uses. It would require no money just a design and some time!

I decided I wanted to use an actual Victorian pattern and headed over to De Gracieuse to search through the embroidery patterns. I didn't find Letters of his initials that I liked, many were too flowery, and honestly I am not fond of the way his initials look together. then I found it!

October 1st, 1867, Issue 20
(if the link doesn't work, search for "Gracieuse. Geïllustreerde Aglaja, 1867, aflevering 20, pagina 172/3"
My husband's nickname is Cat, so I left off the O in Cato. I cropped the image and printed it out at the size my printer wanted to and copied it onto the hanky.
 I managed to embroider it, in the same room as my husband (since he was home all this time) and he didn't notice! I was done with it quickly enough that I decided to do a second one. This one I had fun with making my own design.
I think he liked the second one better, but he did appear to like both and was surprised that I had made them right under his nose!

I am not very good at embroidery so I can't tell you much about the stitches other than I used satin and split stitches (I think, I could be very wrong.) I also did not knot the end of the threads, but wove them under the back of the embroidery. I thought this would give a better look to the backsides.

For the sake of honesty, here are the backsides. and I apologize for the poor lighting, I had to be sneaky in the early morning on his birthday to get these pics.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Etsy Monday Reminder

This is the last week of September, we are getting the hang of being back in school, the weather is cooled down to the point where the laundry on the line isn't 100% dry at the end of the day. We are thinking about Halloween and what costumes we want to make for it, maybe like me, you have already started on it! Just over the horizon is Christmas, and I know some of you are already thinking and creating for that!

Today's Etsy Monday is a reminder. Remember this post where I promised all my Etsy sales to Sarah Lorraine of Mode Historique research into the "chemise a la reine"?

Just the other day I did donate my Etsy sales from the past few months, which were quite small.

I will continue donating my sales through the month of October, I hope the donatation I make on November 1st will match, if not exceed that I made for the last 2 months.

Remember I have a coupon code
CHEMISEALAREINE will get you 20% off!  Ends October 31st.

 New items are finished and waiting to be listed, a few more need to be finished up.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Barbie's Shape.

Every once and a while a piece is written about Barbie and her physical shape, often focusing on the psychological damage that her (im)perfect body causes to the young girls who play with her.
There are so many printed articles in newspapers over time, and even more now on the internet that I will not link to any. They often quote things like her actual measurements were she full size, her history, some even mention the somewhat muddy past she has in being connected to an adult novelty. Other mention how revolutionary she was in a time where the only dolls marketed we baby dolls.

Baloney I say.

Do you know why Barbie (and other fashion dolls on the market) has such a small waist?
Proportion and scale. Fabric doesn't scale down that much. once the clothes are around that tiny waist, she begins to look more "normal" because the seams around the waist add bulk.

Take this picture of my 2 Tonner dolls. I don't actually own any Barbies. On the left is Red White and You! undressed, on the right is Basic Wicked Witch of the West in full 1860's wardrobe. Both have the same body mold.
While the undressed doll has a very small waist. the dressed doll has a much larger visual waist size.
The 1860's wardrobe has several layers going over the waist: Chemise, Drawers, Corset, Hoopskirt, Petticoat, Corset Cover and finally the outer garments you see here consisting of Sheer blouse, Skirt and Jacket.

Now this outfit has a lot of layers going around the waist. such is the way with period garments. Barbie is a modern doll. But her proportions are not new. Take a look at this early 18th century doll from the V&A

Doll | V&A Search the Collections Museum number MISC.264-1978

Notice this doll has an even smaller waist? with a much larger hipspring this is also a style characteristic of  fashion of the time.
Just like today Fashion dolls were more than play things. Some of the onese now in museums may neer have been played with at all, which is why they survived to today.

So the next time you see one of those articles floating around, take a minuet to think about it,  and if you are up to the challenge, try sewing a set of clothes for Barbie yourself, see how they affect her shape.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Another Dragon Bag and copyright thoughts

Here is the second Dragon bag all finished up.

But it is not going on my etsy shop.

I made a mistake, and selling this one would be infringing on copyright, so instead it is being gifted to my friend and fellow dragon lover K in Canada.
My mistake was in the choice of dragon design. Both this and the last dragon were stencils I made from books for a previous gift project. 
This dragon design is from of Dragon Wings and Faerie Things by Jillian Sawyer Amazon Link
Before I finished I double checked the copyright in the book, and then on the website.
On Jillian's website is a clear declaration of Copyright.

So the point of this story is to always check the copyright before you make something for sale!

And it also brings me to think about what type of copyright I will put on my patterns? should I allow sales from my patterns? Should the sales be limited?

Questions I will have to answer before my patterns hit the printers, and I will be sure to tell you of my decision in a blog post to come.

The Celtic knot was also a stencil I made for the same gift project that the dragon stencils were made for. I am actually surprised these stencils were in the house when so much of my sewing and craft supplies are still in the storage unit from my move months ago.
In the mean time, more pictures of the Dragon bag. I outlined this one in couched metallic embroidery floss, just to be different from the last one I did.
The face came out a bit sad looking, but still nice.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Etsy Monday 9-17-12

Today's Etsy Monday post is a special sale on a complete set of vintage sewing technique books from the 70's

Well actually the books were originally printed in the 40's so the interior illustrations are from that era!

If you are interested in Vintage sewing, these books would be a lovely addition to your collection.

Simplified Systems of Sewing and Styling 1948 26th Edition 1970

 Until October first you can get the complete set for only $8 plus $4 shipping! If you take a look at other offerings for this title on Etsy you will see that complete sets run for quite a bit.

Here is a selection of darling images you will find inside this book

Style lines

Fitting and finishes

 One of my favorite sections is on restyling and mending, both are very valuable to the recreationist today. 

Until October first this is on sale for $8.00! After that it returns to $15.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sketchbook Friday

I was reorganizing my book shelves and ran across some of my older sketchbooks. I decide that it might be fun to share some of the images in them with you, so a new regular feature will be Sketchbook Fridays.

This book isn't dated in the cover but I think it is from 2003 or 2004 (more likely 2003) by what is in it. some of the dolls and costumes I sketched out I actually made in that time frame.

These 4 drawings are on consecutive pages and most likely done the same month, probably the same week.

I scanned them in but didn't do any editing.

The first is a dress inspired by fire and geometric shapes.

The second is directly related to the first and is a page of circle skirt designs. There are 3 different designs on the page, the bottom one is in 2 colorways. The yellow is of course the skirt from the above sketch.
Simple color, simple overall shape, somewhat Science Fiction inspired. (Babylon 5)
The last one is probably my favorite of the bunch. I drew the figure and then just started drawing curvy lines on the figure. which turned into the dress, of course the boots, gauntlet and hat were needed to complement the drawing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Miniature Teal Corset

This miniature corset is an older project I made in 2008-9 (yes it took me over a year to complete it because other projects kept getting in the way.

I posted this picture to my facebook today and thought I should also post the making of entries to answer the questions.

The corset is 1883 US Patent 281,659 and the dress form is  Atelier Sylphe's Victorian Dressform pattern Ref VIC.

The corset measures:
3 1/4" front
5 1/2" waist
8" bust
8" hip
Back length (shoulder to waist) aprox 3"

Read the Making of this little corset under the cut. I DO NOT have photos for all the steps as I had a computer crash during this time and lost quite a bit of data.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Etsy Monday New Item Dragon Bag

It's Monday, so here is the weekly Etsy post.

Unlike last weeks Etsy Special (which is good until the 17th) this weeks is a new item, just finished and listed.

I spent this weekend working on This Dragon Bag. It felt good to be outside in the sunshine painting my favorite creature.

Aren't they sweet?

This bag started out as a pillowcase, but our pillows were always too long, so they never got much use. I  had seen on Pinterest that you could easily turn them into a bag, so that is just what I did! I tossed them in for a good washing and then cut them into bags. Later I will show exactly how I did that as I have more bags to finish up.

This Hand Painted and Embroidered Dragon Bag (which folds into itself for storage) can be found at my etsy store for $15!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Thinking in 3D

I have been in a creative craft pattern making mood the pat few days.
As I sat down with paper and pencil a few days ago and started drawing out a new stuffed toy pattern, I was reminded that I don't always put much thought into WHY I put the seams WHERE I do. At this point it comes pretty easily to me, but someone just starting out, they might be baffled.

This morning, I saw my Kindergartener sitting at his table with paper, pencils, scissors and glue sticks. He was trying to make something, so I steped back from working on my pattern on the computer and took a closer look at what he was working on.

This is what I saw
He told me they were party hats for his My Little Ponys, and had already assembled one of them.
If you look closely you will see he has drawn the little fold over glue tabs that are needed to make a paper model. His father makes paper models and had showed him he needed the glue tabs earlier this summer. Since then he has been trying to make 3D shapes out of paper using what he has picked up from watching us make our crafts. He also really is interested in using CAD on the computer since both his parents use it.

I then showed him how he could make the same shaped hat by using a section of a circle instead of triangles. He then corrected my hat to have the scalloped hem!

So I have been thinking that a short blog series on how simple shapes can be used to create complex shapes and how to think more in 3D when you want to create a stuffed toy pattern. I just don't know what to call it. Softy, Plushy, Cloth Sculpture? each is a different term, but where does my work fit under those categories? They are not always toys, and the fabrics can vary, though woven cotton is my standby.

So anyways look for a blog series coming soon!

What become of the Pony Hat? Well My Husband helped him cut out one and glue it together, then I added the thread, so the 5 sided pony hat seen at the right most of the picture works too!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Now on Facebook!

I have just (as in 5 minutes ago) created a Facebook pages for Corsetra Designs, and would be most pleased if you would LIKE the page.

What you can expect to see on the FB page is link to these blog posts, pictures of finished, in-progress, and upcoming projects, links to interesting articles and webpages, and other assorted curiosities.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Etsy Monday #1

So I decided to post an Etsy post every mondya, be it a new listing or a special offer.
I also decided to make the Special Offers last 2 weeks instead of 1.

I am working on some items for the Etsy shop, so expect to see a new listing soon.

Today I sat down and went through my vintage patterns, they make up the bulk of my etys listings, after all. I found several that were the same size!

So for the very first Etsy Monday Special, select 3 of 5 1970's SIZE 12 BUST 34" patterns for one low price of $12!

If you were to have purchased 3 of these patterns at the normal listing prices, it would have cost $20 to $26.

This listing will expire on Monday September 17, 2012

One of these patterns (McCalls 2279) has an adorable tissue paper advertisement for Reproduction Fashion plates from Godey's Magazine.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Quick project for the children.

I did some sewing this weekend, quick projects which are so nice and rare for me to do.
It all started on a trip to the fabric store with my daughter. As most 2 year olds will do, she was running ahead of me saying "I shopping for you" and picked out two remnants: yellow minky and bears in aviator caps on a pink background.
When we got them home she proudly showed them to her brothers, Brother Bear thought the bear fabric was for him, so I cut it into 2 pices and they each had a 30" square, not really big enough as a blanket.

The next time I was at the fabric store with my daughter and Brother Bear, they each picked out more remnants. Bear picked out the pink John Deer fabric and I tossed in the turtles.

Then the fabric sat, the children would use them as blankets, and I washed them several times.
Finally I had enough and got out the graph paper, measured each piece and devised a cutting layout to make their blankets.

They were sewn up in a day.
This is my daughter's with the purple back

 Brother Bear has the John Deer back.

Then I had to make one for the eldest. The next day I took him to the fabric store and he picked out some fabric. And some ribbon. We washed the fabric and I sewed up the blanket that day, I decided to use the ribbon to spell out his name and the hand sewing that on took longer, so it wasn't a 1 day project.
This was his blanket before I added his name to the center panel in ribbon
The red dog fabric is the backing, it is about 90" long, so a very long blanket!

 Click to read how I applied the letters.