Unexpected Hiatus

Greetings!

It’s been a bit, hasn’t it? I’m sorry about that. I’ve been on a sewing slump lately and haven’t really made anything. I have mock ups for two Peggy dresses that have just been sitting on my chair waiting to be stitched. The semester has started again and the seasons are changing – which I love but autumn leaves me tired all the time.

I’ve been spending the last few weeks collecting a lot of gently used (and loved) Orphan Black screen accurate clothing. OB has been my latest geek obsession. I managed to cosplay Sarah already but have no photos. Cosima is my favorite so most of the pieces I have been collecting are hers. I am hoping to soon have enough pieces to start collecting photos of me wearing the pieces. But that first requires a camera with wireless remote capabilities. Since my current Canon Rebel does not have that ability, I am saving for a more advanced model and a place in or near my home I can take good pictures with as a backdrop. I am hoping to achieve that soon.

Since my interests constantly change, expect blog posts to change as well. I may show more of other crafts. For example, did I ever mention I collect geek cookbooks? I have two new ones in my hands and am itching to start those recipes. Also, I got a few more knitting books and with the change in seasons it’s time to dust off my knitting needles. I hope despite the changes you will still find something here that interests you.

Thank you all for still sticking with me even though I leave you hanging often. I really appreciate all your support. 🙂

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Peggy’s Red Dress

When I set out to cosplay Peggy Carter, I didn’t ever think I would make her red dress from Captain America. I had no occasion or place to wear such a dress to. But it’s Peggy and I love her, and I love her in red. Plus I figured just in case I do have an occasion I should have a dress ready.

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The dress is made of red polyester suiting with (of course) red stain for trim. The pattern is a modified Simplicity 2648 (this pattern is discontinued and I had to get it through Amazon).  The only changes that needed to be made were the sleeves and the pleats on the hips.

IMG_8742I followed the pattern pieces of an A cup and curvy. I added the sleeves from Simplicity 1687 and added satin trim to them. For the collar trim, I used leftover blue polyester lining to draft a pattern but cut out the pieces from satin. I wished I had made them a little more narrow but didn’t realize how wide they were until I started photographing the dress.

For the hip pleats, I took the side front skirt pattern piece, cut a diagonal into it, and then created a large curve in the space to the fabric needed to make the pleats. (I wish I had pictures to show, but I forget to document my process while I’m actually doing it.)

IMG_8744I like how the skirt and hip pleats came out. I have leftover red fabric and am contemplating making a skirt of it for work.

This dress took a little longer than I expected. I originally intended to add lining to the dress to give it a better finish and a smoother drape. But the added lining made it difficult for me to properly use my arms when fully zipped up. Also, I had first used a different sleeve pattern that I realized was better suited for slightly stretchier fabrics resulting in even more limited motion in my arms. I spent an entire morning ripping out the lining and top to make a new top with new sleeves that fit a lot better.

The shoes were acquired off eBay; they are a smidge brighter red but nothing too obvious. The belt was acquired off Amazon. I actually bought three skinny belts for this dress: one bright red, one metallic red, and one light burgundy. The bright red came first and did not match any of my fabrics or shoes. The metallic red is a beautiful belt but a touch too vibrant. The light burgundy ended up being the perfect choice; I figured it would but don’t mind having additional belts in my wardrobe.

I got a lot of help from adriuh via Instagram on this dress. She had already made her own version and was gracious enough to help me when I had questions. She showed me the pattern she used as a base, the draft on Pinterest of how she did the pleats, and even shared her setting pattern for Peggy’s curls and waves. Honestly, without her help I’m not even sure if making this dress would have ever occurred.

So my second Peggy Carter cosplay is done! I think next I’ll work on my blue and red dress from the tv series since it’s my favorite.

Project Rebirth Agent Carter

Agent Margaret “Peggy” Carter is one of my favorite female characters. I loved her from the start in Captain America: The First Avenger; loved her even more in Marvel’s Agent Carter. Peggy is really what got me going into the vintage fashion. She’s my inspiration not just in fashion but also in life as she is a strong, confident woman. I love her blue suit in Agent Carter and have plans to cosplay the outfit at HeroesCon this year. But before that I wanted to cosplay some of her Captain America uniforms.

I decided to start with her Project Rebirth outfit.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER

I made a few changes to the outfit since I had plans to used some of the pieces (mostly the skirt) as a work skirt as well. I chose colors that could still pass for being a uniform to keep with the style.

IMG_7983 FixedI used Simplicity 3688 for the skirt. The skirt is made of brown polyester suiting and brown polyester lining; it’s a slightly brighter brown than the uniform skirt but not bad for work. The pattern has extra seams in the front and back which I opted to keep.

The shirt is a short sleeved button down I made using an old pattern in a tan/beige stretch poplin. Unfortunately the pattern was designed to not button all the way to the collar so it’s a little tight up there. I have an alternate white long sleeved button down shirt I bought a while ago to use every now and then. Peggy’s shirt appears to be white but I made a beige alternative. I also made it short sleeved so I could wear this cosplay in a Southern summer without killing myself in the heat and humidity.

I don’t remember the pattern number, sorry to say. I have a lot of button down shirt style patterns and do not recall the exact one I used.

The tie was made using olive green suiting and black polyester lining. I used Sweet Shop Sewing’s free tie pattern. It was really simple to make but somewhat long. I have to tuck it into the skirt so it doesn’t show. The only thing I omitted was the little tab to hold the back of the tie, but it’s not necessary for my needs.

Originally I had planned to use olive green twill and dark green polyester lining with brass eagle buttons and make the jacket myself. However, I made a mistake in cutting the pattern pieces out. I told myself not to make that mistake and I went ahead and did it anyway. Instead of buying more fabric and potentially making the same mistake again, I found a vintage Eisenhower jacket on Etsy. The Eisenhower jacket is the model for Peggy’s jacket; the only difference is most Eisenhowers were made with the buttons and waist belt going to the right (Peggy’s go to the left which is the more feminine style). It was one deviation I could live with for the sake of my sanity. The only thing I had to do to the jacket once it arrived was add the brass buttons…

IMG_7986 Fixed…or so I thought. Since the Eisenhower was a vintage and used piece, it had some damage. The seller did mention damage in their listing but was not specific in details. Most of the damage was confined to the sleeves with tiny holes in the shoulder and upper arm areas. Also the sleeve edges were worn and had holes. The most significant hole was on the left sleeve around the elbow area. I didn’t worry myself over the tiny holes since they weren’t too noticeable. The sleeve edges I managed to fix by shortening the sleeves to a more appropriate length for my shorter arms. The hole on the elbow was more problematic; I managed to sew it closed but it’s still very visible. Since I don’t plan on entering any craftsmanship competitions with this, I can deal.

Also the shoulders are HUGE on me despite this being one of smallest sized Eisenhowers I could find. =/

The shoes are from B.A.I.T. Footwear (not shown), the company that makes Peggy’s shoes from Agent Carter. The style is Roberta in tan. I had to go up in size since I have wide feet so they are a little long but oh so cute and fairly comfortable. They are not the exact shoes, as I need shoes with straps (I don’t walk well in heels without straps to hold them on). But they are brown and vintage inspired, which is appropriate for Peggy.

IMG_7988The S.S.R. pins and airsoft gun (also not shown) are from sellers on eBay. They are the perfect props, and the airsoft gun looks just like a Walther PPK – the type of gun Peggy (and James Bond) use.

So, my first Peggy Carter cosplay is officially complete. Next up is her red dress, which I already have all the materials for. 🙂

Doctor Who Fandom Skirt and Dress

What happens when a Doctor Who fan finds out that her local Joann Fabric and Crafts have Doctor Who fabrics?

She goes and buys some of course!

Not only did I buy fabric, so did a bunch of my friends in the hopes of making clothing items. T.A.R.D.I.S. and Daleks and flannels, oh my!  I bought two yards of the repeating T.A.R.D.I.S. print and 4 yards of the exploding/Van Gogh T.A.R.D.I.S. print. As much of a not fan of the Daleks as I am, I am almost tempted to go back and get that fabric to make a skirt out of.

I turned the repeating T.A.R.D.I.S. print into an A-line skirt. I made it in half a day, a week before attending Triad Anime Con where I wore it on Sunday. It’s a comfortable skirt since both the fabric and the lining are cotton based. It’s not something I can wear to work because the print is…well…see for yourself.

imageIt’s a bold print, one which I can only wear on my days off from work or to cons – and also only with solid colored tops. But I really liked the cut of the skirt so I will probably make another in a more work appropriate print. (By the way, the pattern is Simplicity 1717, style B curvy.) Because I am apparently curvier than Simplicity thinks curvy women are, I had to add two extra darts in the back to fit the waist properly.

One of my friends, Angela, bought the exploding/Van Gogh T.A.R.D.I.S. fabric and made a fabulous dress out of it. This, naturally, made me want to make a dress of my own once I had acquired the same fabric. It took a while to decide – with the input of friends – which pattern to use. I ended up deciding on Simplicity 1755, dress A but with the skirt length of dress B. I used the T.A.R.D.I.S. fabric for the main dress, a navy stretch sateen cotton for the collar and removable belt, and a navy polyester lining in the bodice. Except for the DW fabric, everything else used to make this dress came from my hoard (yay for using up scraps!).

IMG_7974 FixedAs with the skirt, I had to make a few adjustments, mostly to the top. I had to shorten the top at the neck edges by a total of about 2 inches. Then I took in the sides about 1 inch under each arm; I cheated and made “pleats” under the arms so I could maintain the blouse-iness of the top while closing the arm openings to a more comfortable level. I don’t always like exposing that much of my arms so I will probably wear a cardigan with this (perfect excuse to buy the Her Universe Tardis or Union Jack cardigans I have been lusting over).

The skirt on this dress is MASSIVE. It has all these pleats in the front so it didn’t look as large until I laid it on the floor in the midst of sewing; it’s makes a half circle skirt…with pleats. The above photo shows the dress with a petticoat underneath; you can get a sense of how full the skirt is. Without the petticoat it’s still pretty impressive.

Best part is the dress skirt has pockets strategically hidden by pleats. I love skirts and dresses (anything really) with pockets. Even if I don’t put anything in them, inevitably my hands will find my way into pockets. The print is attention grabbing and a different sort of boldness from the skirt. I think there might be certain days I could wear this to work, at least I’ll find a way.

P.S. Notice how the photography of my skirt is different from my dress? I recently purchased some soft box lighting equipment off eBay for my photography lessons. I practiced with them for the first time to photograph the dress. What a difference controlled lighting can make! I am hoping to make it a habit to photograph new projects using the equipment. Hopefully soon I can get a set-up and backdrop so you guys don’t have to see the blah off-white paint of my walls.

Building A Peggy Carter Wardrobe

In my Going Vintage post, I mentioned that one of my current role models is Agent Peggy Carter played by the lovely and talented Hayley Atwell. One of the things I absolutely love about Peggy is her sense of style. Since I’ve been attempting to go more vintage in my wardrobe, what better way to get inspiration than to start with Peggy.

So I have plans to make her iconic blue suit but I am having difficulty finding the appropriate blue color fabric in the right texture. I also have plans to make some of her Captain America uniforms but some of the pieces do not exactly translate to a teacher’s wardrobe. Since I love many of her pieces from Marvel’s Agent Carter, it just made sense to reproduce similar pieces.

A lot of Peggy’s pieces were either actual vintage pieces or custom made for the show. Other than the shoes and make up, there’s no way I’m going to be able to acquire screen accurate pieces. So the challenge would be to make them as close as possible. Challenge accepted!

One of the pieces I really love is her blue and red dress she wears midway through the first episode.

ZLu5UhcThis is one of my favorite pieces from the series and probably the closest to what I currently have in my wardrobe. I am fairly certain the original was made is a polyester type fabric but I plan to make mine in scuba knit for stretchability.

Next are her two suit jackets from the finale episode, Valediction. One is a dark blue plaid with an equally dark blue belt…

agentcaWhile the second is a dark blue stripe with a brighter toned blue belt.

agent-carter-finale_article_story_largeThe two outfits seem to use the same dark blue pants and shoes but the jackets, shirts, and belts change. They looked so similar with shirts having similar collar structures that I originally thought they were the same outfit. I’m more partial to the blue plaid one so that’s the jacket I’m likely to make first.

Speaking of plaid jackets, her red plaid jacket from the end of Time and Tide is just gorgeous and eye catching.

peggy carter in red plaid blazerThe costume designers of the show have stated that her skirt here is brown, but I think a dark navy would be more appropriate and work just as well.

Her green wrap dress coat from the Iron Ceiling is also a favorite.

1536x2048The skirt has a nice swing to it. I think this is one of the few non-red, white, and blue outfits Peggy wears but I still love it. Wrap dresses work for almost any body type, especially my pear shaped figure.

There is of course her vintage blue and pink dress from the interview at the Griffith scene.

agent-carterThis is going to be an interesting challenge getting those pink stripes to line up.

Of course Peggy also has a number of silk shirts. I can think of at least five different styles she wears, most of them made of silk. Silk is expensive these days so I will probably use it only sparingly, making most of the shirts out of polyester, shirting, or poplin. The upside of making so many shirts is I will have plenty to wear for work.

agent-carter-pilot-hayley-atwell_article_story_largeLast but not least is the red dress from the bar scene in Captain America.

ca003I have no idea when this dress will be worn but it’s nonetheless beautiful and I want it.

My plan is to have at least two of these outfits, the blue suit with red fedora, and one of Peggy’s uniforms done by the end of the year. Since I’ve already made a pair of blue pants, modified a red fedora, and have all but a uniform jacket done, I think I am well on the way there. 🙂

Next thing I need to do is get comfortable wearing a red lip and make up. =/

Going Vintage

I am a comfort type of girl. I like comfortable clothes I can move easily in. I wore jeans and shirts all through high school. I wear my pajamas as often as I can. My hiking clothes fit my comfort level, but they don’t necessarily fit my teacher profession.

But I also love pretty things. I love flowy skirts and pretty prints. I love dresses that hug the right curves. I love pretty skirts and blouse tops. I have funky feet but I still adore pretty shoes.

Lately I’ve been wanting to revamp my closet as I own less pretty things than I would like, but I never really knew what I wanted. Then Marvel’s Agent Carter premiered. I have adored Peggy ever since she was in “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Watching the show and her sense of style made me realize that I have an affinity for vintage styles. I have more of the body type of a 1940s and 1950s woman.

So I decided to slowly get rid of the clothes I no longer wear and add pieces with more vintage cuts. Most likely I will be making the pieces but I will attempt to incorporate actual vintage pieces or vintage inspired pieces.

Agent Carter is, of course, my main inspiration. I mean, look at how gorgeous Hayley Attwell is as the famed SSR agent/founder of SHIELD.

ZLu5UhcI love the classic look of all of her pieces. I will be making her blue suit and red fedora number for a comic con. I also love the blue dress she is wearing in the above photo; I am hoping to make it in a knit fabric for a slightly more modern look and feel. Each new episode brings more wardrobe inspiration.

I can’t forget the fact that I also sometimes like the funky, fun pieces I see, especially those worn by Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia (played by Kristen Vangsness) on Criminal Minds.

KIRSTEN VANGSNESSPenelope – and Kristen – is a woman who loves herself, curves and all. I have a classic pear shape (small top and waist, larger hips and thighs) and have always struggled with this shape. Penelope is such an inspiration to someone like me. I totally love the dress she’s wearing in this image; I wish I could find it.

My third fashion inspiration is a fellow cosplayer. Rachael Elle, otherwise known as Moonflower Cosplay or simply moonflowerlights on Instagram. Rachael’s cosplays are amazing; she’s always been so helpful when I ask her questions. But what I really love is her every day vintage style. She has an amazing sense of style, and her shoe collection is crazy awesome (and HUGE). Seeing her outfits has inspired me to take the plunge and revamp my wardrobe. I also love her body confidence – which I doubt I will ever really achieve.

So here’s to hoping that by the end of 2015 I’ll have at least the start of a great, vintage, pretty, and versatile wardrobe.

Bofur’s Scarf

I might have mentioned one of my best friends to you before. In case you are new or you missed it, I have two best friends who have been with me through thick and thin for over a decade. Shannon has a passion for history (except American history, she loathes American history); she lives the closest so we attempt to get together as often as we can, but having opposite work schedules makes it difficult. Holley lives around the DC area; she’s the more outgoing one of us three and doesn’t hesitate to start a conversation with anyone. We have similar interests in all things Tolkien, comics, cosplay (at least for me and Holley, Shannon just admires), and cuddly things (we can never go anywhere without all of us buying the same plush animal).

Holley often asks me to make her things since she shares my cosplay love but isn’t a crafter (she wants to be but finding time is difficult with her work schedule). Recently, due to the cold weather, she asked me to knit her Bofur’s scarf from The Hobbit movies. I was reluctant at first because scarves take so long to knit. But after finding a suitable pattern that was simple, I agreed.

Bofur_NesbittWeta has a knitting kit using the Stansborough yarn (the knitters for the movies). However, I have heard the scarf is knit at a ridiculously loose gauge doesn’t hold it’s shape. Plus the kit isn’t cheap. Instead, I went with a simpler pattern on Ravelry and Knit Picks City Tweed DK yarn in Porpoise, Obsidian, and Blue Blood.

The scarf is all garter stitch on size 11 needles. It was so easy and quick I found myself done in three days…and with two extra skeins of each color left over. Not one to waste yarn, I decided to knit two more scarves for myself and Shannon. I loved the loose gauge and light airy feel of the scarf while knitting, and I don’t have a light spring scarf that isn’t made of cotton or polyester. Also, Shannon had a birthday coming up so what better gift?

After washing and stretching, I sent the scarves off. Both Holley and Shannon loved their scarves; Holley loved it so much she all but demanded we bring the scarves to her wedding for a photo…which is in September. Until then, this is the only photo I have of the scarves hanging over my bathroom door to dry.

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I wear my scarf every day. For something at such a loose gauge, it is surprisingly warm and not as bulky as some of my other scarves. Because of the neutral-ish colors, it goes with everything. I think this may be one of my best knitting projects ever.