Gathering Queen


Well, I survived! Two weeks making real costumes for a real theatre company going on a real stage (and just in case you don’t believe me, you can check out the details here)! Ok, well, most of what I made was just for the fitting stage, so the only things I did completely from start to finish were an apron and a floppy bonnet. I nearly finished a second floppy bonnet, but I had to leave early yesterday and was on the second-to-last step when Liz (the supervisor) brought out a bouquet and some cake as a thank-you for my hard work.

So, it appears I have made a positive enough impression to be missed next week. I really would have liked to do the full three weeks (and possibly into tech week as well), but we leave for California on Monday (eeeeee!). Here’s a comprehensive list of what I worked on throughout the last two weeks:

  • two aprons
  • dungarees (plackets!)
  • pinafore (lots of gathering)
  • two floppy bonnets (more gathering)
  • taking up a petticoat with a tuck (might have gone a bit wonky, that one)
  • taking up a skirt hem
  • bunny rabbit dress (even more gathering)

Most of what I made up had to be taken apart and adjusted after the fittings, but oh well, at least it wasn’t me having to deal with readjusting loads of gathers!

All in all, I’d call the last two weeks a success. Huzzah!

My kind-of shirt


Today was long. Really, really long. I got in bang on 9 am and got to work, and didn’t leave til 8.30. That’s down to my own stubbornness more than anything else. Pauline hadn’t expected us to finish our shirts in two days, but I had it in my head that my shirt would be finished by the end of today dagnabbit!

By 3 pm, I realized this was unlikely. By 5 pm, I realized this was impossible. By 8.30 pm, I had achieved this much:

my kind-of shirt

It’ll look way better once the collar’s on.

What I thought was going to be a mild, introductory project has actually been a fiddly and, at moments, downright soul-destroying process. If I never have to sew an underarm gusset again it’ll be too soon. Who knew 16 inches of straight seams would be such a struggle?!

underarm gusset

Here’s the cuff I (almost) finished:

cuff! woo!

Here’s the cuff I didn’t:

this is your brain on sewing

I probably won’t finish it until Thursday or Friday, because we’re drafting our jacket patterns tomorrow and then maybe making up the breeches and waistcoat. Either way, I’ve thought enough about sewing for today. Done and done.

Practice makes perfect


Seeing as I haven’t sewn anything since Halloween, I decided a bit of practice before starting the course would do me good. At Pauline’s (the woman who founded and runs the NCC) suggestion, I decided to have a crack at the sleeves on this 1930s dress, courtesy of Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 2:

So that’s what they’re supposed to look like. The pattern:

Scaled up:


Okay, so it’s one half of one sleeve. But the point is, I spent ages fiddling around with pins and gathers, and I don’t think the result is half bad!

Let’s hope this is the start of a positive trend.