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Guest Blogger

Mood Fabrics Guest Bloggers for our Sewciety Blog
  • Summer Lovin' Happened So Fast: Sewing with Scuba and Neoprene

    Necessity is the mother of invention; isn't that what they say? As a mom, it seems I'm always inventing or, at the very least, creating something, and usually that something involves my four-year old daughter, Lane. It's funny how differently you view childhood through a pair of 'mom eyes.' As a kid growing up in Florida, I think I spent the entirety of summer in a bathing suit. I lived in the pool, and if I wasn't swimming I was zipping down a slip-and-slide or jumping through a sprinkler or even drinking out of my mom's garden hose (Yuck!). IMG_0613I can remember that feeling of summer so vividly. But what I can't recall is ever having something on over my swimsuit. I remember going to dozens of pool parties, and it amuses me now, but I'm pretty sure I just showed up on the doorstep in my bikini and a bath towel and said 'Let's party!' Maybe it's because I was the youngest of three girls and such a frivolous garment as a sarong wasn't a priority for my mom to spend some of our clothing budget on, or maybe I just refused to wear one. Of course, nowadays finding terrycloth cover-ups with a wide variety of characters printed on them can be done blindfolded. We have things like water shoes to keep our children's feet protected from hot concrete while they're playing in the local splash pad, and I'm totally guilty of purchasing my preschooler sunglasses to match specific outfits in her wardrobe. So I guess it isn't totally unexpected that as a mom who sews for my little one that I find summer time and swimwear to be incredibly inspiring. However, I also feel I am meeting a need -- and not one of simply just swimwear. IMG_0587Not far from our house is this great little town square which features a host of restaurants, small stores and dessert shops. It's a great place to visit in the evening when the sun sets late, and it's a fun area to bring our daughter. On weekends there's a great farmer's market with live music. There are swings and a small theater, but my daughter's favorite part is the splash pad with synchronized sprinklers. One thing my husband and I have always found tricky is how to do what we enjoy while visiting the area (dine at the pizzeria and window shop) while letting our daughter have some fun splashing in the sprinklers. I love dressing my daughter up when we go out, and she enjoys dresses, especially the kind she can twirl in, and of course that's not always the most practical thing. When I saw the chocolate chip digital print neoprene (scuba knit) from Mood, I fell instantly in love. I knew Lane would love it -- she could give Cookie Monster a run for his money when it comes to a love for chocolate chip cookies -- and I was excited to sew something I've never worked with before. I've been challenging myself lately by working with stretch fabrics, and wanted to create something fun and summery that was also practical. I started by creating a one-piece bathing suit patterned from a leotard Lane has recently outgrew. I lined the front of the suit with a nude colored swimwear lining, though the scuba knit is a nice weight and not really sheer at all, I like the quality feel a lined swimsuit creates. The cut of the swimsuit is modest with two simple straps, and I think it looks charming on Lane. I wanted to elevate it slightly beyond a simple swimsuit, though I think the digital print fabric takes a simple swimsuit to a special place. IMG_0576Thinking about what a summer evening or a Saturday afternoon might entail for our family -- dinner out with a stop by the splash pad afterwards, or a birthday party involving water balloons and sprinklers -- I decided to create a swimsuit cover-up that could double as a cute and stylish summer dress. Playing with the scuba knit, which has an amazing drape and feel, I decided to go with a classic circle skirt enabling Lane to twirl to her heart's content. What's more fun to a four-year old little girl than twirling? I gave the skirt a wide elastic waistband covered in the cookie print, and finished with a rolled/lettuce edge. When worn together, the suit and skirt appear as though they're a one-piece dress, and are great to attend a pool party or to wear out to dinner. In seconds she can slip off the skirt and be ready to splash and play in the water on a hot summer day (or night) and I don't have to worry about finding some public bathroom to change her into a bathing suit on the spot. IMG_0210After my experience with the chocolate chip cookie neoprene (scuba knit) I decided to also experiment with a thicker neoprene, and the coral rose color was too beautiful to resist. Feeling inspired, I chose the matching wonder mesh, and brainstormed how I could marry the two. Upon receiving the fabric, I was in love and wish I had purchased it in every color. The body it has is so much fun and my mind raced with ideas for implementing this unique material into the costume creations I make for my daughter. The way it holds pleats is so inspiring and I can see this being a go-to material for me in the future. Given the stretch it has, it's incredibly forgiving and it's liberating to think you don't have to hem or worry too much about seam finishing (though fold over elastic worked like a charm for this project.) Again, with summer in mind, I opted for a classic box pleat skirt with a simple bodice which features a racer back. I love how the skirt holds it shape, (no need for layers of petticoat netting) and the material lends itself to a sporty vibe. I also love how Lane can wear this to a water themed summer party and I don't have to worry about her getting wet -- actually, I encourage it. IMG_0208Since I'm all about accessories, I decided to use the mesh to create a fun and floppy hat, and edged it with the neoprene. I also used some scraps to create a large flower which adds a bit of whimsy to the entire ensemble. Next, I'll be whipping up one of those neoprene sleeves for frozen ice pops. Have you seen those? No more freezing fingers like we had back in the day. Plus, every girl needs a summer snack holder to match her dress, right? Years ago, if you had told me I'd be sewing with scuba and neoprene to create swimwear for my daughter, I would have thought you were crazy. I didn't believe either fabric would be so easy to sew with and never did I think they would be appropriate for children's wear. Adjusting the pressure of my presser foot, using clips instead of pins and of course a ball point needle made construction easy, and both of these projects made me fall in love with my serger even more. I'm excited as I think about the fun projects that lie ahead, and am glad I challenged myself to use materials that were new to me. So, as a wise man once said, “Thank you, Mood!" Jennifer Rouch is a stay at home mom and sewist who creates clothing and costumes for her cosplaying daughter, Lane. You can see more of her creations on her Instagram page, Ferdalump, or watch her adventures on her YouTube channel.
  • Lace Dress & $50 Gift Card Giveaway

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    In life there are so many things we do not know, almost as if it were a well kept secret. From a cute cafe in your neighborhood to the color of your friends eye! There are even some things you never meant to become a secret but they did. Like talents! For me, sewing was never a secret but over the last two years it became one. I wasn't sewing or creating so no one knew. Even I had a second where I forgot! Until one day on the train I was looking through my photos and I saw my designs from my last collection. In an instant I was in tears. Remembering just how much work I put in and how much joy I had in making each and every garment; the excitement I got when it was time to shoot to the final moment when everything was completed. There is nothing that can replace that feeling.
    From that moment I felt it, I knew I had to start sewing again. I prayed and prophesied, saying God I will sew. Months went by and I still was saying it. Finally, when I got an email from Mood Fabrics asking to feature me as their Guest Blogger, I knew this was the time. God made a way in the most magnificent way! Not only that but I can share the joy with someone else as well. At first I wanted to make a vintage lace skirt! It was all I thought about, but I couldn't find a pattern that worked. So, I went back to Mood the next day with my mama and we found this beautiful purple lace. Immediately we knew this was it! Then the idea changed  from a skirt to a dress.
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    I must say I forgot how tedious sewing was! I used the McCall's Pattern as my base to get the silhouette then added my own details! I used a rayon lining and made it about 3 inches shorter than the skirt body. I wanted to show some leg through the lace. Placing the darts in the skirt was very time consuming, good thing I was watching Hitch to take my mind off of it! After basting skirt body and lining together I attached the bodice. I turned the bodice lining inside because I wanted it to cover the inside seams. This is where it gets interesting. When it was time to place the zipper I grabbed the wrong one. So, no worries I worked with what I have! I created a cute keyhole in the back! What you need is to have your fire lit again. You have a dream, a passion, a gift! It's so important to not keep it a secret. That secret can become so hidden you'll never know where it is again. It's almost like a legendary pirates hidden treasure! You were meant to showcase your talents to the world, not keep them in. There is someone who you can inspire and even more so, save; just by you embracing every part of you! I say let go of the "I'm scared", "I don't know what people might say" and just do it! Sing, cook , write, whatever you want to do in life! Believe you can and do it! Don't stay in the secret garden instead, bring others along for the ride. As a way to  get you started I have teamed up with Mood Fabrics for a special giveaway!!! We will be giving away one $50 Mood Gift Card, good for online purchases!! This contest will be run on Simply Jseivad Instagram page. You must follow and complete the rules on the post  on the instagram account announcing the contest.
    To Enter You Must ::
    1. Follow @jseivad & @moodfabrics on instagram 2. You must tag three friends in the comment section of the instagram post
    *YOU MUST COMPLETE STEP ONE AND TWO TO QUALIFY FOR THE GIVEAWAY!*
     Giveaway will run from Saturday July 9th 5PM EST through Thursday July 14th Noon EST
    Winner will be announce Friday the 15th. Good Luck and Have Fun!!
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    Inspirational Message of the Day 
    Believe you can and you're halfway there!
    Photos by Briana @briwrks
  • A navy bird Cashmerette Upton Dress

    Is there anything better than a bird print twirly dress? When Mood Fabrics offered me the chance to try some fabric for my latest pattern, the Cashmerette Upton Dress, I went straight for the prints, because try as I might to be a sophisticated solids wearer, I'll take a novelty print any day.

    navy bird dress fashion diy

     Naturally, these birds came calling to me at once! Combined with a navy background (my favourite), each bird is a little masterpiece, and also at a really great scale.

    navy bird dress fashion diy

    The fabric is a stretch cotton, while the Cashmerette Upton Dress is really intended for non-stretch wovens, but I simply used a non-stretch for the lining, and it worked fairly well. The fabric has quite a firm hand so it also has a nice amount of flare in the skirt - I used the gored skirt from view B.

    navy bird dress fashion diy

    I love my final dress! It's a great quirky everyday garment for the summer, and put on a nice hat and I'm sure it would do for a garden wedding. Now, who's inviting me?

    navy bird dress fashion diy sewing

  • Linen shirt dress

    linen shirt dress linen shirt dress linen shirt dress linen shirt dress linen shirt dress linen shirt dress Hi everyone! My name is Ping and I blog over at peneloping.com. I started taking pattern-making classes last year and I'm so excited to share my latest drafting adventure with you today! This dress is a copycat of an Anthropologie dress I completely fell in love with a few months ago. It was one of those dresses where it catches your eye, you pet it a bit, and immediately want one in every color. So I went home and decided to try drafting a pattern to recreate it. I won't go too much into the boring technical stuff, but I started with a torso sloper to get that continuous front panel, then switched to a bodice/skirt sloper set for the rest of it. For the bodice, I kept the waist darts, did cutaway armholes, lowered the neckline a bit, and then drafted a collar stand and collar. For the skirt, I added flare to the back, introduced pleats to the front, and then added a waistband and ties. The trickiest part was definitely the bit where the waistband, ties, skirt corner, and front panel meet. There's a lot going on, and notching and marking dots are crucial! I had to rip it out the first time and re-sew it by hand to get it to sit right. But I'm thrilled with how it worked out! And then there's the fabric. I chose the Medium Weight Linen in Orchid Bloom. (This particular color is currently sold out but they've got a bunch of scrumptious colors available!) I can't even describe how luscious this stuff is. I have a hardcore linen obsession going on right now. This linen is the perfect weight for a shirt dress without being too heavy and bulky or too lightweight and see through. It was super crisp when I got it in the mail but I stuck it in the wash and have ironed it a bunch and it's softened up really nicely and drapes well without warping weirdly. It does wrinkle very easily but I love the summery casual effect that has. And lastly, if you want a chance to win a $50 gift card for Mood, head over to my blog and leave a comment!
  • Heirloom Smocking for Quilting

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    Hi there everyone!  I'm Cheryl of Muppin.com, and I'm a quilter and author of the DVD Heirloom Sewing Techniques for Today's Quilter.  I'm super excited to show you my latest quilt using 9 different smocking techniques.

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    Lately I've been fascinated with using heirloom clothing techniques in my quilts, such as smocking, gathers, pin tucks, and pleats.  I love texture, and I love to raise the surface of my quilts.

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    For this project I used some gorgeous iridescent Dupioni silk instead of quilting cottons.  I liked this silk because it's woven like a traditional quilting fabric, but also because it's woven with two different colors, so it has a wonderful iridescence to it.  The silk is nice and crisp, and it shows off the texture beautifully.

    I start by drawing the grid on the back of my fabric (or pick a side to be the back, if your fabric is reversible) with my Smocking Template.  The template comes with one pattern, and you can get the rest of the patterns from Muppin.com.  I used all 8 available patterns and included one I'm working on that's not out yet.

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    After you mark your pattern on the grid, each design was worked the exact same way.  You connect the corners of the marked boxes with a small stitch.

    It's hard to believe that all of these patterns, even the very curvy ones, started off with a simple grid on the back!  It's relaxing work, which I do in front of the TV.

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    Once my pieces were smocked, I inserted them into my project like any other quilt block.  Then I quilted it with a basic meander pattern so I didn't take away from the beautiful smocked pieces.

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    If you'd like to know more about the smocking template, or would like to win a $50 Mood gift certificate, head on over to my blog!
  • Billboard pockets Jeans.

    Hello Mood Sewciety readers!
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    I'm Rachel from House of Pinheiro, and today I'm delighted to share my latest make with you. A project that is far from perfect but one I'm really proud. Sometimes those not-so-perfect projects are the ones that bring you the most joy.
    For a long time I had procrastinated on starting my first pair of handmade jeans. Throughout my sewing journey I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone over and over but for some reason jeans were still a bit scary. Silly really because I have tackled trousers, fly zippers and topstitching in so many previous projects. What was pushing me back was the ability to find the right fabric. That's when Mood came to the rescue. Under their expertise and great customer service I chose Theory Indigo Stretch Cotton Denim for my first pair.
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    The fabric is described as lightweight. If you been following me on my Snapchat you know I've been wearing this pair non-stop. It's almost 'indecent' to be seen wearing the same jeans so many times... Jeans are made to be worn a lot, right? I can say for sure that these are the most comfortable jeans I have in my wardrobe right now. I called this post 'Billboard jeans' because of my "handmade" tag design as part of my pocket. I tried many different designs but decided to go for a simpler statement. Sewing pattern options for jeans making has increased dramatically over the last 2 years. Skinny, flares, boyfriend, fly or button fronts. Jeans fever in the sewing community. jamiejeansmood16
    I made the Jamie jeans from Named. The pattern is described as a skinny jean with a regular rise and slimming vertical front seams. My favourite design feature is the slated front pockets. I sewed a size 40. I normally sew Named at size 38. I didn't make any pattern alterations besides adding 3 cm length. The garment is a bit on the loose side on me and the skinny leg is more like a straight leg. Which doesn't bother me at all. As I mentioned before: It feels very comfortable. The extra ease shows more where I have a bit of fabric bagging excess.
    This project is just the start on my jeans making journey. I know what alterations I would like to make next and luckily I still have enough of the same fabric. ( which I love). One advice I would say for those wishing to make jeans for the first time is to sew your test version with the same material you intend for your final version.
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    If you’d like the opportunity to win $50 to put towards your own jeans fabric (or whatever you would like ) I'm hosting a giveaway on my blog and social media with #Myfirstjeanswithmood. Thank you Mood for starting me off on my jeans making journey.
    Happy sewing,
    Rachel
  • A Real "Agent Carter" Dress from Vintage DuBarry 5306

    1940s Agent Carter dress made from original vintage pattern with Mood fabrics

    Sometimes I have a bit of a binge on vintage clothing. It usually happens in Spring or Fall, and I often laser-focus on one period. Most recently it's been the 1940s thanks to certain popular TV shows like "Agent Carter." So when I got a killer deal on a bundle of original 1940s patterns, I knew immediately something Peggy Carter style was in my near future. Lucky me, when the packet of ten or so patterns arrived, there was no question which one would be perfect for the famous Agent Carter blue dress. The DuBarry 5306 pattern envelope features, you guessed it, a blue dress with a white collar, and an accompanying blazer. Perfect.

    1940s DuBarry Sewing Pattern

    DuBarry patterns were originally printed by Simplicity Pattern Company between 1931 and 1947. My pattern is from 1942 and is an unprinted, perforated pattern, which means that cutting and fitting marks on the pattern are indicated by punched holes and notches rather than printed on the tissue itself. This can make working with original vintage patterns confusing, but you do get the hang of it – just don’t lose any pattern pieces along the way, because there’s no way to identify them! One of my favorite things about original 1940s commercial patterns is they were very well made. The pieces go together perfectly, the sizing is accurate, and the resulting garment really does look like the pattern envelope illustration, which is rather a feat when you consider the exaggerated proportions of fashion illustrations in any era. I also have a particular love for 1940s patterns because the bust-waist ratio is realistic: my measurements are 34 bust / 28 waist, same as the Standard Body Measurements on all my 1940s patterns. However, Standard Body Measurements changed  in the late 1950s / early 1960s to reflect a Standard Body Measurement of 34 bust / 26 waist, and even today modern commercial patterns expect us to have a 34 bust / 26.5 waist. But anyway. For this project, I chose a luscious navy wool blend from Mood Fabrics in NYC. I wanted something with structure for a blazer (my future project with the same pattern and material), but also enough drape to work for a princess seam dress. This wool had a little stretch in the weft, so I treated it like a knit, and cut all pieces so the stretch would work across and around my body.

    1940s Agent Carter dress by American Duchess

    After a quick muslin to test fit, I basted all seven body pieces together. This allowed me to check fit but also stitch the curved princess seams on front and back more precisely. I left the side seams open and stitched the sleeves on the plane. This may not have been the best choice for this particular pattern, but in general I prefer it for the ease of then fitting through the side seams. The biggest trouble I had was with the side zipper. I know it's period accurate and all, but side zips and I just don’t get along. The curved side seams in combination with the weftwise stretch was frustrating to say the least. Zipper stitched on, zipper ripped out, stitched, ripped, rinse repeat. I ended up fitting it on the dress form and just smoothing and pinning however was needed to get everything to lay right. In the end I won. The last bits of finishing were to apply the collar and turn up the hem. The collar is rayon, stitched on and finished on the interior with a bit of silk bias. This is where I got the opportunity to apply the little “Made with Mood” fabric tag that came with my order. This brought me untold joy, having never stitched any kind of label into my clothes. I felt super pro.

    1940s Agent Carter cosplay outfit by American Duchess

    The hem I turned up with rayon seam binding, a nice vintage touch that gives a lightweight but stable hem. It’s a great material for deep hems on A-line or flared skirts, as it’s easy to gather slightly and press down smooth to get fullness to fit. The gathering, pressing, and hemming with tiny hand stitches is time consuming, but looks great in the end, and is one of the major noticeable differences in vintage clothing versus modern. All-in-all I’m extremely happy with this dress, even if it requires specific underpinnings to wear. It’s very business-like and looks sharp paired with a blazer to make a suit, or just on its own. And, of course, with a certain red hat it is instantly reminiscent of Agent Carter. What better for 1940s cosplay than your outfit made from an original 1940s pattern?

     1940s Agent Carter costume from original vintage DuBarry pattern

    About Lauren Lauren Stowell is a historical costumer and vintage fashion enthusiast. She designs and sells women’s historic reproduction shoes from the 16th century through the 1940s under her independent labels American Duchess and Royal Vintage Shoes. Lauren explores the everyday lives of women of the past through making and wearing the underpinnings, gowns, and accessories from various historical periods, to understand how culture, technology, and women’s rights were affected and effected by fashion.
  • Retro Stripes and Denim

    Hi everyone! I'm Tasha from By Gum, By Golly. I'm delighted to show you a couple of items I made recently, from some yummy fabrics from Mood! Since the weather has been typically spring-like, where it jumps from cold to warm and then to snow and then sunshine and then rain every other day, I've had my eye on sewing things for that in-between season. When maybe short sleeves will do with long pants, or the opposite... you just never know. My pick? It didn't take long, as they were two garments I knew I already wanted: a pair of jeans and a tee, with my own retro twist, since that's my style. tasha-ginger-jeans600 The jeans are Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Files. I'd sewn them once before, raising the waistline of the higher rise view 1", and this time I raised it another 1.25", finally getting my dream of a slim jean that falls at my natural waist for a retro look. The denim is a Theory stretch indigo denim, and the fabric description of medium weight with a crisper hand doesn't lie. This was pretty rigid when it arrived, but softened up nicely in the wash, and is a beautiful dark indigo. Let me point out here that I remember it being so difficult finding truly dark denim in RTW, but when you're sewing, it's plentiful. Another reason to make it yourself! I love the feel of the Theory denim, but it can be a bit stiff for skinny jeans. Fortunately, while I like the waist and torso pretty fitted, I don't like the legs super skin tight, especially in the ankles, which I lengthened from my original pair so I could cuff them. tasha-ginger-jeansb600 I dutifully basted my jeans to check the fit, and admit that I probably let the thighs out more than I should have in the end. I know that denim does relax, but somehow have to convince myself of this when basting fit! But another great thing about sewing for yourself is that you learn with each project... at least in theory... so perhaps next time I'll actually remember this! To add my own personal touch, I decided it would be fun to do red bar tacks and matching buttonhole and serger thread for my jeans, in contrast to the copper thread I used for all the topstitching. I love the look, especially the angled bar tacks in lieu of rivets! I borrowed the idea from a pair of vintage women's jeans I spied on Etsy. tasha-ginger-bartacks600 Now the top I'm wearing with my jeans is a version of Butterick B6285, which is a vintage-inspired wrap top pattern with cut-on kimono sleeves. I did a tutorial on my blog on how to turn the pattern into a surplice top that tucks in, and that's the same thing I did for this one. tasha-butterick-top600 The fabric is a lovely blue and white cotton jersey, which is totally opaque and a nice light-to-medium weight for springtime weather. I love elbow and three-quarter-length sleeves right now, because they give you just a bit more warmth, but they aren't so long that when it really starts to warm up, you won't have to shove it to the back of your drawer until fall. (Not that I've ever done that. Nope.) I didn't make any changes to my pattern hack, but I carefully matched up the stripes along the center back seam. Everywhere else the stripes are left to chance, due to the shape of the pattern piece. tasha-stripes-cb600 I quite like how the stripes run down the length of the arm and bias across the body! tasha-kimono-sleeves600 In the end I think I have a pretty fantastic outfit for spring, thanks to Mood! These were really satisfying things to make, and I know they're both going to become staples in my wardrobe very quickly! tasha0ginger-jeansc600 If you'd like to see some more details of these projects and snag a chance to win a gift certificate (yay for fabric shopping!), keep an eye on my blog soon!
  • Sakizo: Blue Viennetta – Costume by Becka Noel

    Blue Viennetta by Sakizo Blue Viennetta by Sakizo

    Hi! I'm Becka Noel, a cosplayer from Colorado and living in New York City.  I'm really excited to share my costume, Blue Viennetta by artist, Sakizo, here on Mood's blog.

    As a mostly prop and armor builder, this project was pretty terrifying at first for me.  No joke, the only things I had made prior to this costume were simple loin cloths and finger less spandex gloves.  I really wanted to learn to sew better and I thought, “I’ll pick something really big and complicated so I can learn all the things.”  I chose Blue Viennetta specifically so I could learn a lot of different techniques that would turn me into a magical sparkly unicorn seamstress.

    A tremendous amount of research went into Blue Viennetta; I researched neck ruffs and pleating alone for about a month before I even started on the skirt!  I watched tons of tutorials and scoured sewing blogs that contained anything relating to my costume.  But even with the research, it was mostly just guessing and figuring stuff out!  I am by no means an expert and I certainly am not a professional seamstress.

    Although, there are a bunch of things I wish I had done differently (perhaps I will update at some point because I am an insane perfectionist), I am extremely proud of what I was able to accomplish in a relatively short amount of time.  This is definitely the start of a beautiful friendship with luxurious fabrics and needles and thread☺.

    Blue Viennetta at Katsucon 2015 Blue Viennetta at Katsucon 2015
     

    The Ruff!

    Because there is a plethora of talented ladies out there who have made great write ups on corsets, I’m actually going to focus mainly on the skirt and a few details.  The biggest and by far most noticed part of Blue Viennetta, is the skirt.  It’s basically a very large version of a traditional Elizabethan neck ruff.  I didn’t know this when I started, so I was looking up things like “Gigantic candy looking skirt” and “Mother of God Huge ruffly skirt.”  As soon as I discovered what the skirt was, things became a lot easier.  All I needed to do was learn how to make a neck ruff and enlarge it to the size I needed for my skirt.

    There were two main concerns with the construction of this skirt.  The math and how the hell was it going to stay up?  I’m terrible at math and thankfully, I was working at a private equity firm at the time and one of my coworkers helped with the math.  I wish I had taken a photo of the math, but the paper is now lost somewhere in my messy craft area, haha.  Something about waist size x number of ruffs (according to their size) and so on...

    The paper tutu helped to get an idea of what the skirt would look like, but I still didn’t know how I would get the fabric to stay up.  Making the ruff similarly to how ballet pancake tutus are made wouldn’t work since there weren’t horizontal layers of tulle to sew wire into.  I ultimately decided to make a pancake hoop skirt that would sit underneath the ruff.  Anyway, once I knew how much fabric to buy, I went to Mood to pick up supplies!

    Almost completed skirt Almost completed skirt

    The fashion layer of the skirt is made from cream velvet and brown silk taffeta.  Even though there would be a hoop underneath, I need to firm up the fabric.  So, after cutting the velvet, I interfaced it with the stiffest interfacing I could find.  I’m not sure it was necessary, but I also sprayed the interfacing with a spray starch before ironing it on.  Prepping the fabric really took a lot of time!  Once the velvet was ready, I sewed it together, end to end and did the same with the taffeta.  After this, I then sewed the velvet and taffeta together.  At this point, I decided that I wanted to also use horsehair to give the eventual cartridge pleats a very rigid shape (the velvet was still so soft and floppy).

    My best friend during the creation of this skirt was horsehair braid.  I used so much.  I went back to the store twice to buy more because I not only ended up sewing it under the velvet, but taffeta too.  In total, there are 71.75 yards of 6” horsehair used! The entire underside of the velvet/taffeta layer is lined with horsehair and it overlaps itself in the middle.  One thing I wish I had done was sew the velvet on without pinning it to the horsehair.  In the Blue Viennetta drawing, the skirt is pretty fluffy and organic, whereas my skirt is very structured.  That’s because I made the mistake of not looking at the reference while I PINNED THE HELL out of the fabric.  The two smaller layers are noticeably fluffier and that’s because I realized my mistake by then.  Now that that fabric was sewn together, it was time to start manipulating it into cartridge pleats!

    Cartridge pleats!  There is a great tutorial I used in my references list on how to make these.  Basically, I measured and marked a spot with a pin every six inches down the middle of the entire length of my fabric.  Six inches because that’s how tall I wanted my pleats to be.  Once marked, I threaded through each pin marking, weaving in and out of the fabric.  I didn’t cut the thread for this, but rather just kept the spool going.  Since I needed the thread to pull the pleats together, it needed to be all one continuous length.  After threading through the entire length of fabric, I started to very carefully gather the pleats together.  I tied a knot at the end and starting carefully pulling the thread from the spool end.  As the pleats started to take shape, I had to put the end against a wall to control the thing, from flying around, the beast that it was.

    Cartridge pleats Cartridge pleats

    So after everything was gathered up, I added a safety pin at each gather to help stop the pleats from coming out.  The I put a few stitches by hand at each of these points.  35 pleats with two each on the inside and outside is 140 separate points and a lot of patience!  Obviously, I used white thread on the velvet and brown on the taffeta.  Just like on little cartridge pleats, I added a waistband.  But this one was a nylon and elastic band the same width as the pleats, to give extra strength.  I sewed the band to the skirt on the top and bottom.  Okay, phew...the big ruff is done!  Time to try on…

    Once I finished the skirt construction, I did my first test fit and when I first put that thing on, it was like a rush of excitement and unicorn tears.  Seriously happy that I had figured out how to make something this elegant and even MORE excited that it completely stood up on its own and didn’t even need a hoop under it!  The horsehair was strong enough and I am confident that I wouldn’t have even needed to interface if I didn’t want to if I made this again.  Sewed on some heavy duty snaps to close the waist band and some smaller ones on the velvet for closure, and this giant ruff was done :)

    There are two smaller ruffs on the skirt.  I realized that the outer edge of the ruff should have been fluffier that I made it by this time so I made the two smaller ones really fluffy.  These were much more free to sew.  All I did was basically take the strip of velvet and horsehair, pin it loosely to the bottom of the big ruff and then sew into place.  They didn’t have to be perfect, as it was meant to look more organic.

    The last little bit of detail on the skirt is the layer of ruffles on the waistband, which I made with with the same silk satin I used in other parts of the costume.  There is also a blue silk taffeta bow which is sewn to the top of the skirt on the back.  This is the bow top to the tails that are connected to the skirt train (which also has ruffs on it that were made the same way as the big ruff).  The train is made of silk satin and is covered in hand sewn beads, sequins and crystals.  There are three layers of ruffs as the bottom of the train and it is finished with pretty brown velvet and blue silk taffeta bow tails adorned with gold beads.

    Profile Viennetta 2015 Profile Viennetta 2015

    The Hat

    The other really fun part of this costume is the Blue Viennetta hat!  I made it out of three pieces of foam that were sandwiched with cream spandex and brown velvet.  The pieces were sewn together and then ruffles added at the bottom and top in cream silk satin and brown silk taffeta to create an “icing.”  It was finished with a delicate brown netting that hangs down in the front.  It easily pins to a wig or hair.  I’ve admittedly worn this out…

    Blue Viennetta hat Blue Viennetta hat

    The following is a list of everything I used to make Blue Viennetta:

    Fabric

    Trims

    Beads and Sequins

    • Gold ball beads (skirt train)
    • Gold bar beads (skirt train)
    • Gold fancy beads (skirt train)
    • Brown rhinestone beads (skirt train)
    • Gold rhinestone beads (skirt train)
    • Gold sequins (skirt train)
    • 4 horse cameos (bows, back bow)
    • 6 blue resin cabochons (neck ruff, brooch, garter belts, shoes)

    Structure

    Other

    • Wig (Gothic Lolita)
    • Honey colored contacts (Honey Color)
    • Suede shoes (which were then heavily altered)
    Suede shoes with ribbons Suede shoes with ribbons

    Prop Spoon

    • Worbla
    • Friendly Plastic
    • Blue tassel w/hand beading
    • Acrylic paint
    Big spoon Big spoon

    Facts:

    Ribbon Candy Skirt (Ruff)

    • Large Ruff
    • 19.5yrds 8” wide cream velvet
    • 19.5yrds 7” wide brown silk taffeta
    • 57.75yrds 6” horsehair braid

    TOTAL YARDS= 96.75yrds

    • Secondary Ruffs (the two smaller ruffs located under large ruff)
    • 5.5yrds 8” wide velvet x2= 11yrds
    • 5.5yrds 6” horsehair x2= 11yrds

    TOTAL YARDS= 22yrds

    • Train Ruffs
    • 3yrds 3” wide velvet
    • 3yrds 3” wide  horsehair braid

    TOTAL YARDS= 6yrds

    Total velvet used= 33.5rds Total taffeta used= 19.5yrds Total horsehair used= 71.75yrds

    TOTAL YARDAGE= 124.75yrds

    Becka Noel Front and back views

    Facts

    • It took four hours to cut the velvet and another six to sew it together with the horsehair braid for the main skirt ruff. Once sewn together, measuring out the ruffs and gathering them together took a total of three days.
    • There are 35 individual ruffs. It took approximately 1.5 minutes to sew each one together individually, totaling 52.5 minutes.
    • The ruff is so rigid (due to the horsehair) that it stands up on its own; there is no support underneath it.
    • If stretched out, the entire yardage used for the skirt ruff alone would equal 374.25 ft. (114 m); that’s 74.25ft longer than a football field!
    • There are approximately 184 various beads that were hand sewn onto the train of the skirt and back bow.
    • Every ruffle was made by me by hand.
    • The Viennetta hat was once mistaken for an actual ice cream sandwich (serious, haha)
    • There are approximately 42 feet of trims and lace used throughout.
    Viennetta 2015 Viennetta 2015

    Total Time Spent: 239 hours (9.9 days over the course of 1 ½ months)

    Total Material Cost: $950

    There are many, many details to this costume which I did not go into because there are just too many for one post, but if you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me.  I’d be happy to answer any questions :)

    Special thanks to Mood Designer Fabrics for allowing me to take over their blog for a bit to share my cosplay with you!

    Cheers,

    Becka

    If anybody is interested, please find a few of the references I used while making this costume:

    http://www.elizabethancostume.net/ruffmake.html -So many great ruff tutorials, and a lot of history on them!

    http://www.elizabethancostume.net/cartpleat/ -Tutorial I used to make my cartridge pleats on skirt and neck ruff.

    http://www.stgeorgenorth.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/How_To_Construct_an_Authentic_Ruff_wth_Pictures_and_FB_Tutorial_and_Diagrams.202202539.pdf - Neck ruff write up.  Very long read, but packed with info and super helpful!

    http://thecuttingclass.com/post/90669276728/creating-cartridge-pleats - Another cartridge pleat tutorial with nice and easy to comprehend illustrations.

  • Easy to Sew, Easy to Love

    Hello! I'm Rochelle from Lucky Lucille, and today I'm super excited to share two of the most gratifying garments I've made in a long time. Though my original plan for these fabrics is the polar opposite of what I ended up with, everything worked out for the best. I don’t know if it’s the recent snow storm we got in NY or the fact that cold/flu season seems to have found its way into my household in lieu of Spring, but I had a momentary lapse in judgment when planning my projects.

    moodfabrics_rochellenew01

    I’ve always associated Mood Fabrics with high fashion, designer apparel so I really wanted to create an impressive outfit worthy of that description. Well sometimes, as they say, you don’t get what you want but you get what you need.

    moodfabrics_rochellenew02

    Sure, the trendy blazer and dress combo I had in mind when shopping for fabric would have been super cute for special occasions, but what I really need in my wardrobe right now is comfortable, quality basics that I can live in and wear all the time. I'm SO inspired by high fashion garments but, as much as I may want to, I can't fit them into my lifestyle.

    moodfabrics_rochellenew03

    I'll be the first to admit I'm easily distracted when it comes to fancy sewing patterns and pretty fabrics. I'm like that squirrel who collects shiny things and has no idea what to do with all that acquired “treasure”. I've sewn a lot of beautiful things in the past that I never wear and I don't want to be that squirrel anymore!

    moodfabrics_rochellenew10

    The more I sew for myself, the more I learn to treasure and appreciate the simple things. I'm finding beauty in basics like pullovers and comfy shorts. Sewing for myself allows me to get the sizing just right and pay attention to small details like matching stripes. I can invest in higher quality fabrics when I sew for myself, too. These are the types of garments I need to start acquiring.

    moodfabrics_rochellenew06

    The fabrics I picked for this outfit are a striped cotton/linen shirting (or in this case, it's cotton/linen “shorting” - ha!) and an olive rayon blend jersey knit. The jersey is a heavier weight with great drape and stretch, perfect for loungewear! The cotton shirting is exactly as described online, nearly opaque and very soft. Both fabrics were wonderful to sew with and I'm already pondering other projects as an excuse to buy more!

    moodfabrics_rochellenew04

    As for the patterns, I picked two indie favorites and made small modifications to each. The top is Lark by Grainline Studio, and the shorts are Carolyn by Closet Case Files. I added cuffs to the sleeves and a wide band to the hem of Lark for more of a sweatshirt vibe, and my Carolyn shorts are sporting a drawstring at the waist instead of plain elastic. Playing around with directional stripes gives my inner squirrel just enough “ooh shiny!” action to be satisfied with such a simple outfit, but if you ask me, easy to sew equals easy to love.

    moodfabrics_rochellenew08

    There's nothing more gratifying than sewing something you can wear and love all the time, and since I'm still wearing the above outfit as I type this, I'd say that's a mission accomplished. I'm grateful that Mood allows me the opportunity to browse all their shiny designer fabrics, from home in my loungewear, while adding the more sensible-for-me lifestyle basics to my shopping cart at the same time. It's a win-win situation for inspiration-seeking minimalist squirrels everywhere! ;)

    moodfabrics_rochellenew07

    p.s. If you'd like the opportunity to win $50 to put towards your own wardrobe basics (or wardrobe fancies!), check out the Mood Fabrics giveaway on my blog. Thanks for reading! -Rochelle
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