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?