Sunday, December 15, 2013

All four Musketeers!

After much ado and little sleep, here they are!

Can you tell who is whom?

Here were my inspiration images:


So - Can you tell??
Tha's ok - Just in case, I tell you anyway.






 The only thing I need to say about these is that D'Artagnan's feathers are not lavender, they area lovely grey. Not sure what my camera did there, but I decided to just tell you, and not worry about color correcting.

And now - I sleep.
And then worry about finding the right boxes. 

Christmas orders!

As I wait for the sizing on the fourth Musketeer to dry (I cannot WAIT to do that blog post!! Thinking about hiring my awesome photographer neighbor to come get shots of them, cause DANG they are gorgeous)

I am finishing up the Christmas orders.

Here's a first, so I thought I'd share it.

I've had requests over the years (Elizabeth Crouchet) to put my feathers on a pin so that they could be removed or changed out. I've resisted doing so, cause I just couldn't figure out a good way to do it. I like being able to really control what my feathers do, since I don't fancy the "stuck a feather in his cap" look.
I finally broke down and ordered a bunch of pin-backed boutonniere vases, and have just put the first one into use, at the customer's request.

Here's a general non-feather side look:

And then BAM! feathers!

It's actually surprisingly classy looking

I had to fiddle with it a lot more than normal to get them to lie "right" but I have to say that this is a definite do-again.

That's all for now...have to go wrestle with Aramis, who needs to be finished today. All the rest of the musketeers have been so cooperative.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pleating a French Hood Frill

As mentioned, here's my blog post about making the frill for a French hood. (the way I do it, anyhow.)

I use the uncrinkled metallic silk organza and a smocking pleater.

Start with a ripped strip of fabric about four inches wide that runs the width of the fabric (mine are about 45")
Fold them in half and pin them to the ironing table. Press a hard crease in the fold.
Here I've got several strips on my table. I  try to always do these things in batches.

Take the pressed strip to the sewing machine and stitch the two raw edges together, making sure that the layers don't slip at all. Grain must be really straight for the smocking pleater to do a good job.

Press the stitched strip flat again, making sure there are NO bubbles or twists in the grain.
Use pinking shears to trim the nasty, stringy edge off neatly. You can't have the stray loose threads tangling up in the pleater. If there is even one loose thread, it Will gum up the works.

Trim off the selvedge. It's bulkier than the rest of the fabric, and the pleater, as mentioned, is picky.

Here's a pressed, stitched, pinked, trimmed strip, ready to go into the pleater.

Now thread the pleater with invisible thread, making sure that the tails of the thread are at least 20" long, and tied all twelve ends together. I use six needles, just from trial and error.
 Four was definitely too few.

The trimmed, cut edge goes into the pleater, with the folded edge just barely past the far right needle. If it's too far to the right, the frill will have a ruffle/buckle in it. Too close to the needle and you run the risk of missing the fabric with that needle entirely.

As the handle (that I apparently do not show in ANY of these shots) on the right side of the pleater is turned slowly, the fabric feeds into the gears and is folded and forced onto the needles at regular intervals.

Edited to add photo of the whole smocking pleater:

And just cause they are cool, the curved, specialty needles they require:

Here's a video. You can thank my son who was enlisted to hold the camera,
 as this really takes two hands.
It's not gorgeous, but it shows you how it happens.

Plus - WOO! I uploaded a video!

 As the pleats feed onto the needles, you gently pull them off the edge and onto the thread tails. If they scrunch up too tightly, the needles break, and the whole thing is a wash.

I tend to then serge the pinked edge of the finished frill, just to make sure none of those loose threads ever get back in my way.

Next time - shaping the frill with steam!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

First custom hood with the new Ouches

This is pretty exciting, since it's the culmination of a lot of hours an planning.
Here is the first custom (customer sent me the fabric) French hood, with the ouches used for the billiment. I'm thrilled to say that it came out just like I had hoped.

I ran into a few issues with the shape of the billiment - which MUST be curved not flat, but that was pretty easily remedied, and I have thoughts for easing future projects.

 I got to use my red-tinted metallic silk organza for the frill which I think looks perfect on here.

The only functional issue is that the ouches weigh more than the plated beads I was using, and the hood wants to fall back on the head more than the others did. I put a piece of elastic at the back under the hood (Oh - first velvet hood, too. The billiment just begged for it to be velvet - plus the wardrobe accounts are pretty consistent about that.) and I will send it with a comb that she can sew into the front if it needs it. I think it will work without as long as she does her hair in the braids wrapped around the top of her head for the heavy part to rest on.
One way or another - this will work.

So - Whadaya think?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pretty new baby beaver

This post could have been titled: "How do I photograph a black fuzzy hat with black velvet trim and not have it all look totally"

Well, And gold and white.

Here's the No- flash version
That looks pretty good,  but really very ...flat.

Here's the flash version, where you can see the hat's hairdo: but it looks sortof...over-flashed. Feathers aren't actually that shiny. Plus, the shadows in the hairdo, makes it look like the brim is bumpy, when it's actually perfectly smooth.

So I went back to no-flash, and here's an angle: 

And a side view:

 The white feather in that side view is acting funny - cause I have it all leaned over to get the dark floorish background.  The feather doesn't doesn't stick up like that - it flops over all bouncy-like, as seen in this totally un-professional shot that we will call "in-context." Cause it's always good to have a cat tree, a bag of ouches, some printer ink cartridges,  and a bobble-headed manatee. You know, for scale.

Final closeup - trying to show the black velvet in the trim, AND the beaver blank's "hairdo." I managed to do it by taking this with no flash and then lightening up the image afterward - which worked great, but washes out the gold, which is really quite vibrant.

All in all - a pretty thing, all ready to go to her new home.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Ouch samples are Awesome!

The ouch samples....have arrived!!

(And they are exactly what I wanted)

I ordered samples in three configurations:
All black stones

 All Red stones

 And Black and Red stones

 Here they are, shown with a penny, for scale. They measure 26mm,
or approximately 15/16th of an inch across

 The manufacturer put four loops on the back of them for me, which was definitely a customization. It means that I can use these to make jeweled girdles AND billiments with two rows of pearls on them for the hoods.

Here's just a sortof better "product" shot.

I had a couple of ladies write me on FB who want a whole bunch of them, so I just placed a sizable order this morning! They should be here by November 20th at the latest.

Even though the cost sortof magically increased by almost $.10 each when I placed the order (they explained that they were heavier than they expected, so the "free shipping" would cost me more....hmmm) I'm still going to be able to sell them for just $1.50 each!

I mean at that price,  you really maybe CAN get enough of them to seriously bling up a gown properly.
I can't wait to see them in person.
Can't wait for the two other ladies to get theirs and see what they think too.

I ordered them in bright gold (as shown above) and some of them also in antique gold, which I tend to prefer but have not yet seen their version. I asked for some of the stones to be a darker red, which they said they could do, but again - sight unseen.  We'll see - but my hopes are high.

With all that excitement - the arrival of 120 of these became obscured a bit:
 These, I could sell for $.75 each - but they don't quite pack the same punch that the other ones do.  Still - they are a great option to have and they look pretty right.

So - color question:

What's up with the red-and-black-only thing, anyway?

Have any of you seen these in portraits in any other colors besides red, black, and gold? (and pearls)
There are period rings and combs and other jewelry items with other color stones in them, but for some reason, I can't seem to find billiments or bodice jewely-oochie-type pieces that are anything but red or black.

If you find any -send them my way. cause I COULD get them in lotsa pretty colors in the future!