Retro Slytherin

Two years ago, I turned 40. At the time, I wanted to take a quick trip to Universal Studios to see Harry Potter world. It just wasn’t in the cards at the time.

This year, I finally get to add a trip to Universal to the tail end of my Costume College trip. I’m super excited and have added some quick sewing projects to my preparations.

My favorite so far is this little top I made using the book Gertie Sews Jiffy Dresses. The pattern is the Popover dress, shortened to be a top.

This is my second time using the pattern. I used the size for my upper bust measurement, since it’s so roomy in the bust already. This time around, I raised the neckline a bit and opted to finish the neckline with bias instead of the folded over facing.

For a final touch, I added spangles and beads to create snake eyes on the shoulder ties.

Next up…a pair of pedal pushers using the pattern from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual.


Sometimes, I daydream about making every moment of my free time all about making perfectly historically accurate reproductions of underpinnings and gowns and accessories. Then reality hits.

I’m not even talking about having a day job and kids.

I’m talking about the non-historically accurate stash. I’d like to claim that all of those fabrics and yarns were purchased before I knew better, but sometimes a material just speaks to you.

So, in the past few years, I’ve gotten to be okay with the concept of historical-ish. I’ve also really embraced the idea of including these pieces in my modern wardrobe.

Thus, some yarn that I originally purchased to make a pair of socks became a shawl that is sort of like a sontag with an historically inspired lace edge using a pattern claiming to be something Jane Austen might have enjoyed wearing.

You know, whatever. It’s scrummy yarn in a pretty shawl. I’ll wear it with jeans and a t-shirt as well as with some of my historical outfits when it is cold enough to need another layer.

On a bit of a knitting kick

I’m currently in the midst of two shawl knitting projects to use up yarn I currently have, and then today I go an order yarn for another major project.

Here’s a tiny sneak peak at one of the shawls:

I’m enjoying the mindlessness of the star-stitch pattern that will make up the center of a square shawl.

Mini Hoop

I started working on a Victorian wrapper way back in November hoping to wear it to Dickens Fair. It didn’t happen so the project has languished a bit. Once I finally got it assembled enough to put on my dressform, I discovered that it did not fit over my regular hoop.

Sure, I could technically make it work if I wore the front of the skirt open with a decorative petticoat underneath, but the side seams were still going to be pulled toward the back and not lay properly.

My only remaining options were to wear it without a hoop, possibly with my corded petticoat, or make a new, smaller hoop. I knew Laughing Moon Patterns has a pattern for a small hoop, and I also had an old Simplicity pattern that offered a small hoop option. After some Google image searching and a sale at Renaissance Fabrics, I decided to go with the Laughing Moon pattern.

The pattern was pretty simple and straight-forward, though the instructions are a bit brief for the construction. (They are wonderfully complete when it comes to suggestions on how to alter the patterns and the details on how to select and finish/connect hoop wire/steel.) I traced out and shortened my pattern one evening, and then spent about 4-5 hours the next day constructing the garment.

I ended up with a bit of puckering between the top three bones on the side seams. I suspect this happened because I opted to finish the seams by making them flat felled. While this helped with inserting the hoop steel into the channels, it made it rather difficult to keep the proper curve in that side seam. Ultimately, I don’t think it will matter once there is a petticoat and skirt over top of it.

Gearing up for Costume College 2018

This year is a bit weird.  I’m done sewing with a week left to go.  This never happens.

I’ve been reluctant to post about it on social media because so many people I know and love are still frantically trying to get projects done in time.  I feel like it’d be rubbing salt in a wound to complain that I don’t know what to do with myself.

So, instead, I’m starting a project that is a sort of “take it, or leave it” project; if I get it done, fantastic, if not, oh well.  I’ve been planning for ages to make the Decades of Style 1930s overalls.  I’m finally going to do it.

In the meantime, here are the plans for what you’ll see me in if you are looking for me at CoCo:

I’m shopping on Thursday during the day, but I’m still not sure what I’m wearing. Last year I tried for comfy but cute and was not feeling the comfy.  May just go for comfy this year, which for me is jeans and a T-shirt.

Thursday evening, I’m planning to wear my red fairy/fantasy dress (possibly with the corset and wings, but we’ll see if I’m up for it after a day of shopping).

Friday, I’m panning to wear my paid kaftan during the day.

Friday night is the ONLY new costume I made specifically for CoCo this  year, and I don’t have any photos of the complete outfit yet.  I made an 1890s skirt and shirtwaist.  I’d been planning this outfit for year and had the skirt fabric specifically earmarked for it.  It just so happened that last year at CoCo, I found and purchased a boater that matches it perfectly.  Given that the theme of the Friday night social is the Gay 90’s, this outfit just HAD to happen this year.  Here’s a sneak peak of the shirtwaist with a tie I made from leftover skirt fabric:

Saturday during the day I actually need to wear clothes that can get a bit messy.  This is also when I’d be wearing the overalls if they get finished.

This is the first year since my very first CoCo (1999? or maybe 2000) that I will not be attending the dinner portion of the gala.  I will, however, come down later wearing the red regency dress I made for an event earlier this year.

I’ve already purchased a new necklace and earrings from Dames a la Mode to bling it up a bit for evening wear.

Sunday, a friend and I plan on wearing our Hogwarts House Chore Skirts.

If you see me, please come say hi!  (If you are trying to get my attention, call out “Teresa” as I probably won’t respond to any of my online monikers.)

On a side note, I’ve tried to link all the patterns I used as I wrote about each outfit I’m wearing.  The only one I did not do this with is the fairy costume, as so much of that was sort of franken-patterned.  I think the base pattern I started with is the princess dress from Simplicity that came out when Lord of the Rings costuming was a big thing.

Is it really that there aren’t enough hours in the day…

…or am I just lazy?

Yep.  I’m a lazy blogger.

After teaching six classes per day, though, I seriously don’t have the brain capacity for anything even remotely productive.  Even the dishes don’t get done most days.

That being said, summer is coming, and my kids are going to be in a summer program three days a week.  Woohoo!!!

So, of course I have plans to do absolutely everything.  Clean and organize the house.  Make every meal from scratch.  Complete three major costume projects.  Sew clothes for modern, daily wear.  Clean and organize the garage.  Get caught up with blogging.  Read all the books on my to-read list.

I’m sitting here laughing at myself because I know that very little of this will actually happen, not matter how determined I am to stick to the plan right now.

My personal motivation over the summer is to create spaces I want to live and work in, so the blogging thing is going to take a bit of a back seat, but I promise that it will still be on the list, for whenever I manage to get to it.

A New Beret

I love my old beret that I made years ago, but it’s a tad on the small side when I’m wearing my hair up, which is all the time now.  I was hoping to use this same pattern this time around, but I couldn’t find the magazine that it was from, so I opted for a free pattern from Lion brand yarns.

I’m not quite as pleased with this one, but at least it’s large enough, and overall is fine.


See, enough room for the bun,  AND enough room for it to drape nicely on the side.

Stay tuned for version 0.5 coming up.  My mini-me wants one, too.

Regency dilemmas…

Here are my Regency short stays…that are still a tad too long.  I’m starting to feel like there just aren’t a whole lot of was for a plus-sized lady to be comfortable in the Regency.

No, not really.  I just haven’t met the right stays yet.

Over the Christmas holiday, I worked on a new pair of Regency stays (the long version).  My old ones were not only made about 40 pounds ago, but also about 15 years go, which means that they are pretty much falling apart.

Now, over the past couple of years, I’ve toyed with the idea of making transitional stays.  I even made up a set, but before I adjusted some of the quirks I didn’t like, I gained more weight and the darned things don’t fit.

So, here’s the dilemma.  In a Regency silhouette, I love the look that the long corset provides.  It smooths my fluffy abdomen so that I look a bit more like the columnar ideal and less like a marshmallow.  The problem is that, at least with the way I construct the corset, I have pretty limited mobility.  I mean, it’s fine for events where I’m mostly standing, like at a dance, but I absolutely can’t imagine sitting comfortably for an extended period, say at a picnic.

After making my new long stays (which look pretty darn good, but don’t really allow for much bending), I decided on a whim to whip up a pair of short stays with the same pattern.

I still have issues.  When a friend helped me try on the finished product, I told her it gave me “reverse muffin top.”  I think this is why most transitional stays have tabs–to gradually release the fluff.

At first, I thought I might try to fix it simply by shortening the stays, but since my tummy fluff pretty much goes all the way up to meet my bust, I’m now thinking that might not help.

So, I suppose I’m going to have to bite the bullet and create tabs.  Grrr.

Because I can’t JUST watch TV

I like to have one or two projects laying around that I can pick up while I’m watching TV.  During the early part of 2017, I was working on my quilted petticoat, and while I’d still like to add some detail to that, I’ve been much more in the mood for something simple.

So, I’ve been working on a few things here and there, such as the Wonder Woman shawl above, and a few other items below.

A mid-Victorian crocheted collar for a friend.

A lightweight shawl.

Next up, I’m working on a beret using yarn that I originally purchased with socks in mind, but again, socks are a bit too fiddly for my current state of mind.

A New Mid-Victorian Corset

Sorry I don’t have any finished photos, but they aren’t on my computer yet, and the in-progress photos really don’t do this pattern justice.  This is the 1860’s Gored Corset from Redthreaded, and it is gorgeous.  Based on my measurements, I purchased the XXL.  I ended up not having as much gap as I wanted, but the fit in the front was absolutely spot on, so I removed nearly two inches from the back panel and then reattached the lacing strips.  I have a feeling that if I had sized down, the cups would not have fit properly (I’m a D, sometimes DD) and that the hips would not have flared enough for my figure, so I’m definitely happy on that end and think the slight modification was worth having a fantastic fit.

This is before I removed the lacing strips and took out part of the back panel. Because the back panel is so narrow now, I do not have the diagonal boning.