Monday, October 12, 2009

Some of the Ren Faire Costumes seen...

Here are some pictures of the costumes viewed at the Faire.

Went to my first Renaissance Faire!

Yesterday my niece and I went to the Hebron,CT Ren Faire and had a great day in the fresh air and bright sunshine!

I had made a pirate costume that I was planning on wearing myself, but as I completed pieces it appeared that if my 5'1" frame wore all that I had created, I'd look a lot more like Henry VIII than a dashing pirate, so I convinced my niece to do the dressing up, and it was a very wise choice.

The coat started out as a winter coat for me a few years ago (at least 8) and was no longer a viable garment for my added weight, so I cut off the lapels, changed the armholes, shortened the length, added godets at the sides and center back and lined it in a bright fuchsia satin, and made new sleeves with deep cuffs. Good thing I found the extra fabric stowed away in the attic, or it never would have been possible.

I bought a wool felt blocked hat form, and transformed it into a tricorn, and added feathers around the brim and a pirate cutlass embellishment with a rhinestone skull and cross bones hanging from it. The peacock feathers were added for a bit more jaunty look.

The jerkin was originally a black suede jumper from the 80's, which I cut apart and added a heavy crepe back to. Added lacing D-rings to the top front, and laced black rawhide strings through to tie.

The shirt was made from a piece of vintage cotton that I had purchased waaaaaay back and it worked up beautifully. It has a tie neck and long sleeves with drawstring at the wrists and graduated ruffle that falls over the hand.

The costumes worn by the performers were very well done, and most were true to the period as far as fabric was concerned, and I think my outfit was as realistic as any of theirs...but then I'm rather predjudiced!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Demi-corset and wench blouse finished

Finished the demi-corset and the white wench blouse, as well as the white with blue tattersol check Victorian walking skirt.

Have listed the corset, but not the others as I've not edited the photos yet. Got my busty niece to model the wench blouse and corset and it looks great!

Have a bunch more fabric on hand that I want to start some more lavish Renaissance dresses with, just have to find the time.

Working on a commoner shirt with tons of pin tucking on the sleeves and front opening. Not the best pin tucks I've ever seen, but with more practice I should have it figured out so the custom shirt I'll be doing will have a more consistent spacing. Those little buggers are tough to do evenly without a line to go by. I did press each before machine stitching, but made a few spacial errors between the rows. Learning a few new tricks with my new it cuts the thread when you're cool is that?

Bought a few new patterns today to use as basis for some new designs...pirates, and Elizabethan gowns, and another style of Renaissance dress. Also got some gridded pattern non-woven stuff to draft them with. Haven't had the grid style in a while and it will really come in handy when I draft the actual reproduction pieces from the 1800's.

Added my link to business page, but have no fans so it looks rather forlorn all empty like that! I still don't know how to get it to show up on my Facebook public page, but don't have much traffic there either so probably wouldn't make a whole lot of difference anyway.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rennaisance and Victorian costumes

Thought it was about time I added a bit to this, even though there hasn't been a lot going on.

The Victorian walking skirt has been pinned together with the underlining in place, and just have to change my thread on the machine and will be under way.

I started what I call a Demi-Corset, due to the fact that it is just a short boned midriff corset, in a hunter green with gold and wine accents upholstery fabric. It is lined in a dark green moirre' and I cut bias strips of the lining and am currently in the process of attaching that to each piece as binding. I thought it would be ideal to do the corset binding the same way a quilt binding is done, and it seems to be working, except that I have to trim the seam allowance a whole lot to get it to turn over the 4 heavy layers of fabric. Will probably hand stitch it in place on the lining side.

Was a little hesitant to use regular grommets, so have been haunting all the corset supply shops on the web for a different method of lacing.

Found some interesting options, and came up with a rather unique way to close this one. I bought some brass washers last week, which i was going to use to trim some Steampunk pieces I'm contemplating, and I'm going to sew them to each opening to thread the lacings through! Since the corset is mainly a costume piece, rather than an actual waist reducer, the stress will not be as great and they should do very well.

I am also making, and have nearly finished, a black Victorian jacket with bustle peplum back. The front panel is a tiny black and white houndstooth check, and the center back is the same. The peplum is lined with the check, as are the long straight sleeves that cover the hands of the wearer.

I'm trying to figure out what to trim it with to get the Goth/Steampunk flavor I want, and had purchased some silver washers (like the brass mentioned above) which were to be sewn on in some way. I'm thinking I will still use them, but not in the original way I had planned. It's one of those things you have to let percolate for a while, until the right solution pops into your mind.

Last night and today I cut out a Renaissance shirt like the one my custom order gal sent me, and I'm going to see just how long it takes to sew it together. Took almost 2 hours to cut out as i had to really finoogle the fabric to get all the pieces, as I didn't have quite enough of my practice fabric. The shirt has 20 pin tucks down each long, full sleeve, and also 9 of them on either side of the front opening. Also I will be putting loops for lacing the front opening and the sleeve cuffs.

I just realized I did not allow space between the 2 front pieces for the loops to lay flat...guess it's back to the drawing board, or perhaps I can convince her to go with the original button holes as her old shirt had.

Off to ponder the latest costuming challenge..this should be a doozee!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Custom items finished

Well the commissioned top that I built the bright colored fabric for (see a previous post for pics.) is completed, actually has been finished for about a week and a half. Haven't figured out a way to photograph it yet, as the neckline is so wide the top slides off hangers, and my mannequin, so guess i'll have to hang it on the clothesline and see how that option goes.

Since that was completed, I have had a bit of a revelation, and a definite change in my M.O. all because of a post in Art Fire's Forum. I asked if anyone thought there might be a market for Victorian period costumes and/or RenFest garments, and was told that there was a definite niche market for each and why not go for it.

Since making costumes has always been my first love, I decided to jump in and try it. A gal who read the thread commissioned me to do a pair of breeches and a shirt for her, and sent me her old set to use as a pattern, so the breeches are finished, paid for and mailed already. The shirt still needs to have the right fabric found, but that is coming along also.

Last night I cut out a Victorian Walking Skirt in a good weight cotton poplin, which is white ground with a royal blue tattersol plaid print. It is a 7 gore skirt of the 1890's and should be great when completed. Also plan on doing a petticoat to go under it in bleached muslin.

I already listed the breeches as a custom item to be ordered in buyers size and specifics, and plan to do the same with the skirt, which will serve as a sample for skirts in any fabric.

It will be a little difficult to price these even though the work will be the same no matter what fabric is used, but more expensive fabrics like faille, heavy taffeta, brocades etc. will be more costly, so I may just list the cost of the construction and add that choice of fabric will determine final price.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Christmas in July at Artfire

Right now on Artfire, you will find a whole mess of sellers who have great sales offerings for the month of July.

Everything from free shipping to 10% off, to 25% off!

The Trends Section will have a listing of all the shops who are participating, and having a look at them will keep you busy for at least an hour or so!

My Fabric Annex studio is having a 10% off all merchandise and everything is already marked down.

Spent about 2 hours last night putting CIJS in my tags, and everyone else who is participating is doing the same, so another way to find who is selling goodies, is to type that in search. Should bring up a lot of names and studios.

My 4th of July was really a downer! All I did was clean the litter boxes and play games on Pogo!

What an exciting life I lead. The next door neighbors cooked hamburgers on the grill and they really smelled great. Tonight for about an hour from 9pm the city fireworks sounds will be wafting my way.

Unfortunately there are too many trees in the way to see the sky where they will be displayed. I'll just watch the Boston Symphony as usual and enjoy their displays.

I actually signed up for a Twitter account and am following a half dozen folks so far. Don't expect to have a lot of followers, as I'm not haunting the place like some people do....not too much to twitter about!

Going to go do some work on listing in my studio, so will end this exciting bit of literary genius.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Just found this site!

Was following some links back to see where some of my views were coming from, and found this page on Polyvore, which has used my granny boots as a main ingredient in10 sets of items. How cool is that?

Vintage 80s Granny Boots, size ArtFire Artisan AtticClosetVi...

Vintage 80s Granny Boots, size ArtFire Artisan AtticClosetVintage handmade Vintage Accessories

Sets featuring this item

I'm a glutton for punishment!

Just to prove I'm still alive and kicking, I've opened another shop on Artfire.....Attic Closet Vintage.... it is basically items culled from my own wardrobe from the 60's and 70's and includes mosting accessories at the moment.

If you know anyone who loves Vintage, and has small feet...size 6-6 1/2, send them over to the shop. I have some really cool shoes, mostly well known brands, like Bandolino, Anne klein II, and other high end beauties that no longer fit, and are in beautiful condition.

How did I keep them looking so new, you ask? It's because I had so many pairs that I didn't wear any of them all that much, and some were for a specific outfit which was seasonal, or an odd color.

I hate to have to part with them, but as I've gotten older, my height has shrunk and my feet have gotten larger. It seems that gravity is pulling everything down, and extending my standing appendages!

Here's a link if you want to take a look....

Monday, May 25, 2009

More shots of the constructed Fabric

Just Finished Building 3 Yards of 60 inch Fabric!

The fabric was custom built for a custom order, and uses over 90 different fabrics, cut into various lengths and then sewn together in strips.

Then those strips were assembled with solid black to off set various sections and give the eye a place to if it could with all those colors and patterns!

Many long hours went into the cutting and assembly, but most I did simply to see if I had the patience to really do it!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An Astonishing Performance on Britain's Got Talent!!!

A couple of days ago I experienced the most wonderful feeling of pride in women who have guts, and the ability to astound even the most skeptical of critics when I watched the UTube tape of
Susan Boyle, a 47 year old woman, from a small village in Scotland, who is single, jobless, and living alone with her cat Pebbles.

She astounded the judges and the audience of Britain's Got Talent by singing the most beautiful song from "Les Mis", 'I Had a Dream', and she had me in tears and a total basket case with her spectacular voice and stage presence....and every day when I listen to it over and over, the tears flow every time! What a gift she has!

This woman had never sung before a large audience before, and when she first came out on that stage you had to really strain to see her nervousness, as she hid it well, and certainly did not exhibit any telltale signs to suggest this was anything out of the ordinary for her!

She so impressed me that I haven't been able to stop thinking about her wonderful performance. I worked in local theatre for over 30 years, and there were a lot of very talented people involved, but this woman was head and shoulders above any I have ever performed with. Her desire to be as good as Elaine Page is not a dream that is out of reach for her, in my humble opinion.

There are still many weeks left before the finals begin, as this was only the second week of auditions, but she will be back for the finals, and if she doesn't win, it certainly won't be for lack of trying or talent.

Here is the link to her spectacular performance...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Another Shop on Artfire!

Trying out another shop on Art Fire, this time my destash fabrics. Bringing over a lot of pieces from the Etsy shop, and will be adding new items as I go along.

Since Artfire is just a monthly fee, rather than listing fee, and commission, I hope that this one takes off as well as the first one did. I haven't been adding a whole lot of new things on Etsy, in any of the shops, since I've also started a Vintage studio on Artfire, which currently has only some of my 1980's shoes...sizes 5 1/5 to 6 1.2M.

Been polishing with good wax polish and buffing to a gleaming shine! But ofcourse the nails are a bit the worse for wear. In fact the polish, which is still in A-1 condition, dates from back then also. I was very pleasantly surprised to find the little tins of Esquire and Shinola were just as moist as they were 25 years ago! Guess they don't make things like they used to!

Just finished a custom belt for a wedding dress, which uses a rhinestone clasp buckle that belonged to my Mother. It came out very well, if you ask my opinion, and I think the bride will approve! Will probably send that out by Wednesday.

Made my first duvet cover this past week...for a twin bed...not that bad, you say? Believe me it was not a happy time of my life! Who knew that schlepping all that fabric (sheet plus topping fabric) all over my sewing machine, would make my shoulders ache for 3 days! Don't think I'll be bidding on any on Etsy or Art Fire, as the price of my pain is way too high for anyone to pay!

Will get up a link for the vintage studio when I post this. It's called
"Attic Closet Vintage"...which is rather appropos since that's where most of my 'stuff' the gigantic closet/storage warehouse!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Now Selling on Art Fire

I have opened a studio on Art Fire, and currently have about 20 items listed, with more to come, as I get my photos edited, etc.

No sales yet, but hopefully soon people will be getting their income tax refunds and will be buying again.

Starting to make some new bags, and pouches which will be listed, and would love to find a wholesale outlet for the zipper pouches, as I have cut hundreds of fabrics to make them from. If I don't use it for the pouches, maybe I'll do some of those patch jackets with the irregular rectangular shapes...heck, I could make a circus tent with what I have cut! Course I could never handle the size, but could do it in sections....hmmmm food for thought.

All my shops on Etsy have slowed to a dead stop, with hardly any views and no sales in 3 weeks. There's something going on there with the listings that has everyone up in arms and I'm just getting tired of all the political games they are playing. May just let everything expire and go full force on Art Fire. Only $7 a month for life, since I got in on the first 5,000 artists. The numbers have dropped below 3,000 for the spots left, so if I plan to have another shop there for my fabric and/or vintage,supplies guess I better do it soon.

Gonna get some supper, at last, so will say goodnight Gracie.....

Store not available

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Return to Blog Land

I'd love to be able to say that I have been traveling the world without access to a computer, and that is the reason I've not posted in over 6 months, but sorry to say that is not the case!

As I said in my long ago previous post, I'm not much of a journal keeper and since my life is pretty ordinary, (read that as boring), except for the occasional aches and pains of old age, I really don't feel that a daily post would interest anyone, even me.

Since I have signed on to follow a new blog for Art Fire, I thought I should at least update this to the present...2009...

I joined Art Fire early in December, and although I have yet to sell anything there, the chance to once again be in the Beta stage of a site development appealed to me, and I thought I'd bring my wisdom of the ages along for all those "youngsters" who are just starting out.

Craft shows for the Christmas season were pretty good this year, and I did really well at the Bethlehem Christmas Festival (CT), due primarily to a change in location, a different building, from the one I had been in for the previous 2 years.

I also made sure that the items I brought to sell were lower in price than my previous collections, due to the down turn in the economy, and I think this helped a lot. I did have some more expensive jewelry pieces along, and everyone commented on them, but of course no one purchased them. Items ranging from $6 to $15 were the most popular, and so I'll probably stick with that range for future shows. Surprisingly earrings didn't move very well this year...only sold 2 pair I think, and they are mostly in that price range.

This winter has made it necessary to stay indoors a great deal, unless out shoveling snow or chipping away at ice...just came in from doing just I've been photographing some of the wood based jewelry pieces, magnets and buttons that
I made specifically for the shows. Adding a few at a time to both Etsy and Art Fire, but only sold a set of scrabble buttons to a lady in the Netherlands...guess you have to be European to appreciate my the scrabble magnets, pins and pendants sold very well at the shows. The scrabble jewelry rage has not hit New England yet, to any great extent, but I did sell some over the holidays at the shop in Sandy Hook, CT where I have a mess of things consigned. So maybe there is hope yet.

I'm hoping to get some vintage clothes into my Etcetera Emporium on Etsy, as soon as I can get them organized, steamed and cleaned. They are mostly from my sister's 1960's wardrobe, as well as some of my own hand made dresses, etc. Probably have some pieces stored away from my costuming days when I haunted the Salvation Army thrift shop here in Waterbury, which is now gone...sigh :( Once the weather gets a bit warmer (3 months from now?) I'll dig out all the stuff that's fit to sell and get it on the site. Maybe I will eventually be able to walk through the attic without turning sideways!

Ok, enough catch up for this session. Check back in 6 months for the next installment, unless something earth shattering occures and I manage to post sooner!