Tuesday, October 25, 2011


still sewing pearls like mad to the sleeves and embroidering the partlet. Not much to show really. Sorry, but I am still working away!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

Denver Post article

For those who are interested the article is here:

I am thrilled with it and the pics are really good too :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

rebeading the sleeves

I love my sleeves but I want to really make them pop

does this help?

on the right is the way the sleeve is beaded now, on the left the new way I am thinking of beading them. I was planning on the small clusters at the end of each diamond 4 in the middle- I'm also tossing around the idea of a small cluster at the bottom of the tail

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

in an odd space

While I will admit I am disappointed in not being listed among the winners, I do not begrudge those who were named. Rather I think I am more disappointed that I didn't push harder, do more, the disappointment lies with myself.

Don't get me wrong I adore my dress and am very proud of my work but like so many artists I see my mistakes and wish I could have finished more. There is a lot of beading I still want to add and I wish I had given myself more time to do it in.

I am so glad I took on the challenge and I adore the amazing work the other entrants completed. Bella has started an amazing thing, just like her website this could grow and inspire so many.

It's rather funny as I was dealing with my emotions today I thought of all those who have inspired me- (there are far to many to list here) when I received an email from my website from someone I had never met that read this blog. In it she told me I inspired her, it wasn't the first time I had some tell me that today. I never thought that I inspired others  and I have to admit that it touched me very deeply.

This whole thing started with me because I had dealt with some major emotional blows, I was deeply depressed and one of the things that brought me great joy had fallen to the wayside. I hadn't done any real sewing in well over a year. When Bella put forth her challenge I figured it was the perfect time to force myself to create again. It worked and I am grateful.

Currently I am looking at my dress and wondering what can I do next. I hope to bling this up and wear it to 12th night so any ideas I would be very open to it

Sunday, August 21, 2011


so the challenge is over but my work on this outfit isn't. I have so much I want to add to the dress, beadwork and embroidery. So keep watching this space more to come

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Final photos

So I started wanting to do something with my hair

I was going for this:
I got close- If I was willing to play with it some more I think I would have gotten it but I think I was close


Layer 2
the dress and accessories
you can see the jewelry box and banner I also made during the challenge

With the black veil

with the cloak and 2nd drawn thread handkerchief

and parasol

with zibellino and gold veils

with the 1st handkerchief and rosary

my favorite because you can sort of see the miniature of my son Neil in the costume I made him to look like Henry VIII's son Edward

For fun:

Friday, August 19, 2011

100th post!

15 hours left!

At this point I'm just doing extra stuff to the skirt of the gown- All my layers are finished!!

Layer 1
Camicia, Drawers, stockings

Layer 2
Petticoat, Pocket

Layer 3
Partlet, girdle, gown

Layer 4
Handkercheif (2nd not pictured) earings, necklace, hair pins, silk veil, sheer veil, black veil (not pictured here) flag fan, banner (not part of the challenge) Parsol, cloak, Zibellino

Thursday, August 18, 2011

another new project

Because I am not insane enough. Since I really don't have time to futz with ruffs (will make them after the challenge) I decided I could sneak in one more project before the deadline. Yes I am insane! so I have the dress in a stage of done but I am still adding to it, a parasol half painted and now I have started working on a mask for my Zibellino. Yup I'm nuts!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I have been looking for a nice umbrella to turn into a parasol! I found one today- as much as I love the periodness of my black veil I do get sick of the cousin it jokes I get when wearing it.

So I removed the orginal canopy replaced it with muslin and have started paintin my device on it! I love it so far the canopy is so big! It will be perfect!

should I tease you

With the pics of the dress on the dummy I took tonight or should I make you wait until Bella posts them on the 23rd??

Monday, August 15, 2011


so I have finished the pleating of the skirt. I just need to do the hem which I hope to take care of tomorrow. In all honesty once that one little step is done I could be done- but will I stop there?? Naw I have time to at least get started on one more piece. Yes I am insane!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Denver Post

I just finished the interview with the Denver Post! It was exciting. There was a ton of photo's taken! It's a shame they will not all be used in the article. Not sure when it will come out. There is talk of holding it until after the photo shoot with the finished outfit.  I am feeling very lucky and blessed at the moment!

Still need to finish the front of the skirt and hem it. Anything I get done after that point will be gravy!! I am in such a good mood now! It was so cool trying on the full outfit for the first time to see all the pieces coming together!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


the house is presentable and the skirt is now in the process of being pleated and attached. Most likely the front will not be pleated and attached tonight.

Why this furry of activity and why am I worried about the house and not the 9 days left for the challenge. As I mentioned before but you may have missed it-

The Denver Post is sending a reporter and a photographer to my house at 11 tomorrow morning. It's all about the challenge and this dress I am working on! I am so excited- I wish I had more of the dress finished but I am big on not working on the dress till the foundations have been made.

second handkerchief

finished the second handkerchief another linen piece with some simple drawnthread. I love it, its so girly


just whipped up a partlet I was hoping to get done! Yeah!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

sleeve 2 nearly done!

I just need to bind the top and sew up the sides! I hope by tues. to attach the to the bodice and take another pic of the bodice and sleeves on the dummy!

last ermine spot done!!!

now to get working on finishing the rest of the sleeve!

ermine step by step

  • I had a stencil of my ermine spot
  • I draw the outline on my fabric
  • using a running stitch I follow my outline- attaching the fabric to a stabilizer

  • I then cut away the fabric inside the outline as close to my stitching as possible, without cutting the stabilizer underneath- which is why the stabilizer is so important you don't want the fabric to stretch or warp in any way
  • Then I do a zig zag to help catch stray threads around the outline. this helps it look cleaner in the end, and will give it a little more strength to hold it's shape later
  • I then use a wider shorter zig zag stitch to applique around the edges
  • cut away the stabilizer on the inside, trim the stabilizer around the outside an it's done!!

This can also be done by hand although for the time crunch I decided to use my machine as your cut away designs get smaller you will have to sew it by hand- trust me it will save you headaches later!! a simple whipstitch can be used to clean up the edges and I would suggest a buttonhole stitch to finish the outline- It holds up better and has less of a chance of shifting revealing the raw fabric edge underneath then whipstitch. You can fray check your cut edges before finishing but it isn't required. 

last ermine spot

I am starting the embroidery of the last ermine spot on the second sleeve........ thank goodness!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

today has been a rough day

I am feeling like I am draining fast as I am working on my umpteenth ermine spot. Beyond my closest family I only have you the readers helping to drive me on.

I am so close to the finish- I think that is when a lot of folks want to give up. You look back and see how far you have come and just can't believe the end is within reach.

I guess I am feeling very down and defeated today.

sleeve 2

I have been breaking needles like mad today working on the sleeve. Off to buy new needles and other last minute pieces to finish the gown

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

17 days

only 17 days to go- Panic is creeping up on me. The sleeves are still in patterning and I have a ton of embroidery to do on them as well as on the skirt. Since the majority of the skirt must be attached by hand I still have to find time for that.

I had great motivation at the start but lately it's been tough with school and my son driving me nuts and adding in a family trip which took me away from my machine. I don't know how far along I will be.

So my strategy is that of several stages of "done". If I only have the satin straight sleeves finished then that is a stage of done. If the skirt is attached but not embellished- that is a stage of done. and so forth. I really would like it if I could figure out the sleeves today and get started on them but who knows what might happen.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I am working on the sleeves of the gown. For some reason I am having a terrible time patterning it! I need to wrap my head arround it soon if I want to get started on the embroidery

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Home, time to get back to work

So I am back from my family trip. I am glad I went it's been over 5 years since the last time I was there. I was able to finish the handkerchief while I was there. Now that I am home I know I need to hit this gown hard. I hope to cut the skirt panels and stitch them up and start pleating them onto the bodice today. So much to do and not nearly enough time to do it all in.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


the bodice is basically done. I want to tighten up the should strap length a bit and it isn't as blinged out as I would like but it is wearable enough to start on the skirt!

Pics up as soon as I come back from my family reunion thing in Oklahoma

Sunday, July 17, 2011


The new Victorian gown went over very well!

So now that I got my groove back with a side project I hope I am set to dive back into the IRCC- the bodice should come together very fast now and the skirt should be just as quick. I may have some issues doing the pattern for the sleeve and with what I intend to do there will be a bit of extra time spent on doing the cut work. I am also losing about 4 days since I have a family reunion over the weekend in Oklahoma, so most likely I will just work on finishing my handkerchief.

I have the fabric for a partlet, as well as the fabric for a short cape. I am thinking the ruffs are something I will have to do post IRCC as they will take some time and I am already scheduling very tight, I already have plenty of items to make up my layer 4 for the challenge- why should I put myself in a panic over them. I need to finish my layer 3 as I have nothing finished for it yet- being that it is the main dress, anything I get done after that will be gravy.

I just need to keep plugging along.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011


And all the trim has been laid down!

I plan on adding some pearls but I am looking at other ways to bling this up

bodice trim

so I have started attaching the trim to the bodice. I have had this lovely silk satin in an amazing shade of blue for ages. It is an antique and it was a gift. I plan on pearling over the gold thread.


well all I have left to do is hem the cuffs of the sleeves- wow I didn't think I could pull it off. But I have a new outfit for the game this Saturday. Later today I will go pick up what I need to make the trim and get back to work on the bodice.

In the back of my mind I still have a little panic to finish everything before the deadline- but overall I think it is a goal I can meet. This has been a great challenge for me. I have really enjoyed it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


so I am pleased the bodice is coming together pretty fast. Although I am taking a bit of a break as I don't have what I need to create the trim I want.

I am also involved in a wild west LARP and I decided while I am waiting to hit the store to get what I need for the IRCC until tomorrow I could quickly throw together a new blouse to wear for the LARP. I have half a victorian gown finished, all the underwear and skirt and bustle but I haven't had time to fit the bodice so a simple blouse could make the rest of the outfit wearable. The game is Saturday so I need to be done before then- wish me luck

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

To Do list for Bodice day 2

so I didn't get as much as I wanted to to last night so I am really trying to keep myself on track today. I did a list of step by step to do lists for every piece of this outfit when I first started this project, sadly the web site I have been using to keep track of everything is offline at the moment so I am using this space to keep my notes in order

  • Stitch boning channels
  • cut bones
  • file bones
  • cut trim 
  • Stitch trim down onto linen
  • Satin stitch over edge of trim in gold
  • stitch bodices together
  • turn
  • bias tape bottom
  • stitch top of straps
  • Have a glass of wine
  • Pat self on back for finishing the bodice
  • Go see Harry Potter movie! (If you finish before Friday!)
hit a snag I tried on the bodice after placing all the bones and I have discovered I need more in the front

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

To Do list for Bodice

  • cut out canvas bodice pieces 1&2
  • Stitch bodice 1 together
  • Draw boning channels
  • Stitch down eyelet tape
  • cut out linen bodice pieces
  • fray check linen bodice pieces (as it will be sitting on side a while)
  • Stitch canvas bodice 2 together
  • Pin canvas bodices together
  • Stitch boning channels
  • cut bones
  • file bones
  • cut trim 
  • Stitch trim down onto linen
  • Satin stitch over edge of trim in gold
  • stitch bodices together
  • turn
  • bias tape bottom
  • stitch top of straps
  • Have a glass of wine
  • Pat self on back for finishing the bodice

Monday, July 11, 2011

lacing strips done!

it looks good and looks like it will work but I guess I really won't know till it's done

I was asked why the bottom of the bodice looks so odd. I have added taps since I am a bit fleshy so it will sit easier over my hips and I have a space over my spine as I have found if I drop to low or had a tab there after a few hours my back would act up. Since I will be adding the skirt on by hand anyway It is safe to do longer bones without fear of having issues with my machine when I sew the skirt on

bodice update w/ pics!

So slow going, schoolwork is kicking my butt!

I have cut out my inner bodice and have drawn where the boning channels will go. Before attaching my second layer of canvas so I can sandwich the bones in between I need to attach the lacing strips. In the past I have sewn down rings- which would snap the threads and pop off when lacing if under to much strain, I have sewn down the duel lines of ribbon like Jen Thompson did for her Venetian gown, that worked pretty well but soon I the ribbon started to fray and stretch from strain. So this time I am going to try something new, two lines, because it really does help with the strain and keeping the laces straight with rings in the form of eyelet tape. I'm not sure how it will work but it is worth a try!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


bodice all cut out! now starting to piece it together, stitch down the lacing strips and mark the boning channels!


Almost all cut out! Trying to lay out patterns and cut them with a 4 year old wanting to play is really hard work!


the bodice pattern seems to be worked out. I am cutting the foundation patterns now. I hope to finish the bodice quickly

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Layer 1 done!!!!

with the drawers finally being finished:

I have now finished layer 1!! so two layers finished one to go

Layer 1: Camicia, drawers and stockings

Layer 2 Petticoat and pocket

loaner is here

So I dropped off my machine and the earliest I will see her now is next Thursday. Lucky I have a dear friend who has loaned me her machine. So it's back to the grindstone!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Eva is in a coma

Now it isn't as terrible as it sounds- ok maybe it is. Eva is my sewing machine. She has a blue light and the first time I turned her on my son pointed and cried out "Eva!" He was going through a Wall-e stage at the time. Tonight after squeaking, then chugging she finally seized up. I can't turn the hand wheel and I am very sad. I was busting through the drawers and making real progress! So I'll take her to the repair guy on Tuesday and I hope he can take her off life support and put her on the mend.

Lucky I have a very dear friend who is offering her machine to me as a loner cause "You have to finish this challenge."

I can feel my stubborn side kick over, with the days counting down quickly- I know I have to finish, and one way or another I will- gosh-darnit!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I will work on the drawers tonight! I have ironed my linen and am ready to lay out the pattern. Then to do some embroidery and stitch it all together! Updates as I go- I have to get myself moving again!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

bad day

it was a really bad day today. I had big plans to really work on my drawers today but that ended quickly. I won't get into the reason why but It was a bad day so I am watching old musicals and eating chocolate here is hoping tomorrow will be better

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

fabric-store.com contest

I have entered my 1515 Florentine Gown into their contest- the one that started it's life as a ladder laced gown that I remade since it had a ton o fitting issues. Please if you have a minute please vote for my entry you can vote once every 24 hours. I am currently in 4th place, I am 16 votes behind the third place entry- help me bridge the gap

Thank you

Vote here

If I place in the contest I will use the prize to get more linen to make sleeves and a sash for this gown!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

little update

The long awaited veil, the embroidered chemise and the banner

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


not much done today. I am gathering the neckline and hope to finish it, add cuffs and finish the hem tomorrow

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I got home from nationals today- I am so tired! I knew I needed to do something to start to get myself back into the swing again. So I sat down with some movies and worked on the second part of my painted banner. While it doesn't count towards the IRCC it is an accessory I have been wanting a long time and one I hope to have in the background during my photo shoot of the finished gown. It's that whole branding thing

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Since I have been at nationals all week the only thing I could bring with me that would fit into my bag was my handkerchief. I have discovered it takes about 6 hours to finish each side of the drawn thread work with the buttonhole stitch. I have finished two sides since I got here. I am thinking I really have to budget my time on this project so it will have several stages of "done" I go home tomorrow and I hope to finish my chemise within the week and send in a new update to the challenge. Next on my list is the drawers then I can move onto the meat of the project- the dress itself. At the moment I am still ahead of my schedule so I am not in panic mode yet.

I am so thrilled to have so many people following me on this blog helping me stay on task. The two people I was so thrilled to see taking on the challenge and who I was hoping to use their progress to keep me motivated have dropped out. So I really need to be sure to push myself- the nice thing is I know I am not alone there are 25 other people and many of whom read this blog that are keeping me going and I wanted to take a moment and thank you all for that. It would have been very easy for me to give up when I started back at school and then with this trip to Nationals- you guys really inspire me and fuel my drive. I just hope when it is all said and done that I don't let you or myself down

Thursday, June 16, 2011

not a creature was stirring

yes I have been a bit quiet around here- all this week is the National Speech and Debate meet, One of my students qualified so I have been very busy all week with her, there isn't a sewing machine in sight and all I was able to bring with me from the IRCC is my handkerchief and I really haven't had time to work on it. I return home on Sunday and Hope to jump back in with both feet with the goal to get all my underwear finished by the end of this month

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Is nearly done! I just need to add cuffs, gather into the neckline and do a little hem around the bottom. I may make my end of the week deadline Pics up tonight

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Silk petticoat

So while waiting for the advice to come in about the camicia I have tossed my petticoat into the wash again I have washed it several times now but I am still finding it is bleeding color badly- so I got some Synthrapol and I am going to try to get the dye to a stable place- I would just hate to get dye all over my stockings after all that work

I took a pic to show the dye coming off of it sadly the pic doesn't do the bubble gum pink color justice. I hope this works

What to do?

So as you can tell from my last post the blackwork is starting to really burn me out. I have 7 days before I head to Dallas for work- It's a National Speech and Debate competition. So I will be losing 7 days. I had hoped to have the camicia finished before I leave. As it stands right now I have the 2 sleeves embroidered and the two side panels. I had originally planned to also do a row of embroidery near the seams where the front and back meet the side panels. Now I am not so sure-

I am using the Camicia pattern from the realm of venus website for the first time- it's very close to my usual pattern so I'm not to worried about that

This is a rough diagram of the camicia on the left half is where the embroidery is right now the right is pre embroidery. Do I add another row of embroider on the front and back where they meet the side seam?? or do I just leave it? I am doing a ladder laced gown and once in the dress none of the embroidery will show-

I'm being such a Libra about this- so I need to ask advice from my readers- what do you think I should do??

***note the squigle lines are embroidery straight lines are seams- I already have all the embroidery shown in the diagram finished for both sides

brick wall

So I have been hitting the blackwork pretty hard for the camicia. I have finished 2 sleeves and a side panel and I have realize I have hit the wall. My eyes are crossed and my brain hurts. I am dreading doing any more., Normally when such a wall hits I put the project away and deal with it when I feel my energy comes back. My problem is that it could take months before I am ready to move forward again. I don't have that kind of time. I also had plans to fully embroidery my drawers which would be more of the same. I'm trying to rest my brain I have the 3rd season of true blood and I am going to take a nap I hope I feel ready to move forward again soon

Friday, June 3, 2011

to the grindstone

back to work on the blackwork on the camicia still working on the sleeves

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

jewelry box

Because I don't have enough on my plate (yeah right) I ended up adding one more thing. While shopping for supplies today I picked up an unfinished jewelry box at the local hobby store. I needed somewhere to keep the lovely bits of jewelry I had made. So today I stained it and panted 3 damask motifs on the top and put in a mirrior onto the lid. Now I have something to keep all that jewelry in one place.

Monday, May 30, 2011

this last week

so this last week I finished my petticoat, black silk veil and started the blackwork on the sleeves of my camicia. It may not feel like I got a lot done but I know the blackwork takes time. I can strike layer 2 off my to do list and focus on finishing layer 1. I would love to get it finished over this next week but I am not sure how much time I can devote to the blackwork.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Veil #3 done!

Black silk trimmed with lace and tassels

What it is based on

Pics up later- This is the last accessory I can finish without the entire gown done.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Petticoat pictures!

Red silk with gold embroidery. Not the best pictures as I tied it a little low in the front but it will do untill I can get better ones taken



close up of damask around hem

close up of embroidery at pocket slits