Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Anniversary: what I was making last year

Okay, so our anniversary was May 17th, I'm a little late. But I thought it would be fun to post my wedding dress pictures here. I spent an insane amount of time on this in the winter of 2007/2008. I actually made 2 other dresses before this one (I hated how those came out and they don't even exist anymore.)
The fabric is white linen and the neckline and belt I wove. The dress pattern is Butterick 4827, but I altered it a lot for a different neckline and added very large gores on both sides to make the skirt extremely full.

The belt and neck trim I wove on a 4-shaft floor loom in a pattern called "Murphy's Diaper Weave" (not a cool name)--it's supposed to look like an 8-petaled flower. The warp is white cottolin with green perle-cotton edges. The weft is grey perle-cotton. I think I wove at least 5 yards of the stuff over Christmas break. I had pictures of it on the loom, but I can't find them!


This was my original inspiration for the dress. The poor picture quality is because it's a picture taken of a photocopy. I found it in a book from the library, Martha Stewart Weddings, that had a lot of cool old dresses in it. This one was from around 1920, when it was in style to mimick medieval type stuff.

This is where I got the idea for the pattern and adding the gores for fullness (Susan's dress from Lion, Witch, Wardrobe.) I think the princess seams are much more flattering than a full/gathered bodice like in the 1920's dress.

This photo is a small section of a Holbein painting. I came across it just before I started making the dress. I just love the detailed pattern on the bands.

I also embroidered my initials on an old handkerchief to put around my bouquet. It belonged to my great-grandmother, and she did the tatting around the outside.

So now I have a dilemma. I have this awesome dress that I spent a billion hours making, that fits me perfectly--and it's white. I really want to dye it so that it won't look like a wedding dress and I could wear it again. But I'm really afraid of wrecking it. Any ideas?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Felt Inspiration

This fabulous outfit is made from felt! Wow, talk about inspiration. It is part of the current exhibit Fashioning Felt at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum. The artist is Christine Birkle who operates a shop in Berlin called Hut Up.
The amazing thing about her work is that she doesn't sew at all. She uses the shrinking properties of the wool to shape the fabric at the waist, armholes, and neckline.
All I can say is--I want to try this!
More pictures here.

Monday, May 18, 2009


About 5 years ago, when I would just splurge on things recklessly, I bought 2 buckskins and made a very ugly dress out of them. Last week I decided to reuse the leather and try making a little bag. I just made up the pattern; I drew it on paper first. It was pretty easy, I even used my sewing machine.

The only drawbacks were some skipped stiches, the thickness of the leather, and it shifting too much under the machine. I used some green linen scraps to line it with. Overall, it turned out nicely, but I don't think I'll use it except at Renaissance Fest or maybe Missouri Town. It's a little too small for an everyday purse.

Does anyone know of a good purse pattern? I am thoroughly sick of my current purse--I've had it since I was 13. So it's time to move on. I've looked for a new one, but the ones I like are out of my price range (over $100). I'd love to make one if I had a good pattern to use--I don't trust myself to make up the pattern.
Have you ever made your own purse? How did it turn out?