Sunday, July 29, 2012

Birthday Vest!

I've been super busy with repairs and alterations this month and have been neglecting to post but I have been taking some photos which will make their way online in the following week! As for my favorite project in the last 2 weeks - a ridiculous handmade birthday present:

 I used a vintage pattern and altered some of the pieces - the neckband and collar pieces as well as the front bands for the buttons and button holes.

The bands were much wider than this and a bit longer than I wanted the vest to be so I shortened the length of the front and back pieces and that of the right and left band accordingly.

It took a few practices to get the buttonholes the way I wanted so I used scrap material until I found the right settings on my buttonholer machine.

(This is an amazing piece of equipment which I will gush about further in another post, I promise.)

I decided late in the construction of the vest to embroider my friend's DJ name on the back. That meant I had to open up the basting stitches around the armholes and work in between the shirt layer and the yoke. This was difficult to do but it was necessary because the back of the embroidery is now protected from wear. That is why you should do the embroidery BEFORE you put everything together. Oops...

This is the front before I added the buttons and buttonholes. I loved working with fringe! First I sewed the pieces together with the right sides facing and then pressed the fringe out. Then the yoke was attached to the shirt and after basting around the neck and armholes I top stitched just above the fringe to hold it all in place. I found that keeping the length of fringe longer than instructed was very helpful in this case because it allowed me to account for my alterations in the band widths.

The zipper foot works great for close stitching like the top stitch for the fringe and also for the band stitching because it allows more visibility as you sew. Also this foot allows me to have the needle to the right or left of my work which is very handy.

This kind of foot works great as well for top stitching. For my buttons I used the machine as well to produce a more professional look.

I used this kind of foot for my buttons and made sure my zig-zag stitch width was set to the correct width for the size of button I had and that the stitch length was zero. I turned the wheel with my hand instead of using the pedal because you can make sure the work stays in place and you can keep the stitches consistent for each button you attach. The backside looks much neater than if you were to attach the buttons by hand. I usually tie the threads off at the back with a box knot before cutting them short.

Here's are some great poses in the finished article:

I'll be updating again soon, stay tuned!

Friday, July 6, 2012

An Elemental Tale

An Elemental Tale

I'm going to back track a bit and showcase some costume designs from 2009. I had the opportunity to costume a play for a children's camp through a friend of mine, Miss Natalie Jones. The play is called An Elemental Tale and consists of children and adult characters as various animals and earthly elements such as the Moon, the Wind and the Earth. One of the many wonderful things about this play was that 3 generations of Miss Jones' amazing family were a part of this particular production. Natalie's mother, Ellie Anderson and her mother, Juanita Choukas co-wrote the play and Ellie directed and composed the music.  Natalie and her brothers have acted in different productions throughout the years, with she and her brother, Nick starring as the Sea and the Wind in this particular production.
This project was a blast - I took a lot of measurements of the cast and then began building the costumes at home. As we approached the performance dates I set up shop in Ellie's home so I could fit costumes properly and have a bit of help for the last few pieces. Our baby deer actress' mother made the deer costumes which was a big help at the last minute and they turned out great. Other parents helped provide things like leggings, black pants or green shirts for their kids as we needed them.
If anyone is interested in reading the script for this play, contact Ellie at 
I will be adding a link to her website soon!
More pictures will follow soon :)

The Moon - Miss Sophia Lapaglia

The Sun
Frog and Little Blue Bird
Momma and Baby Black-Eyed Susan 
The Sea and Wind - Baby Bunny and Baby Bear
Sea Creatures
Seahorse, Octopus, Starfish and The Sea