Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Damsel in this Dress Corset Design Contest.

I have been working on making a new corset design for Damsel in this Dress's Corset Design Contest. Basically the goal is to come up with a unique corset design and put it up for others to see. At the end of January a winner will be chosen and they will receive a copy of that corset. I have two designs I would like to enter but only one is allowed so I will show both here.

Starting with the one I will actually enter in the contest. The Fae Corset.

This is something that I would love to have around for Faerieworlds. It's a very versatile design (at least I think so) and  I like how simple it is. 

The other design I cam up with is just a top stitched web overlay design on the Victorian longline underbust pattern to enhance the slimming effect with an optical illusion. 

Steampunk illusion underbust by Bobbi Weth

I will be posting this on Damsel's facebook as an invitation to come talk about ideas for the contest so I hope some good critique and conversation will be forthcoming.

My craft room has exploded

Riley got me some shelving and I have been hard at work trying to sort through tangled mess that is my supplies in the hopes that I can get it organized and inventoried so I know what I'm working with.
Let me just say that I have a lot of fabric. Most of it has been gifts or inherited pieces that I never had a plan for. I also have a work in progress pile that got upgraded to a box because it was too much to sit on the worktable.  I keep finding projects that I really need to finish or repair. Also I found pieces of family gifts that I didn't even know I hadn't finished which is nifty considering our late Christmas celebration is coming up and I did have anything to give my dad and sister. I also found some camouflage fabric I will attempt to make something out of for my sisters boyfriend but I haven't a clue what to do with it.
Also, Notions SO MANY NOTIONS! I have trims, ribbons, bells buttons, thread, elastic and god knows what else! I may have to relegate these to their own box soon. Riley did get me a small piece of knicknac-y shelving that I think I want to put dowels in to keep thread and ribbon spools onto.

So I have some frantic organizing and last minute sewing to do before I head home for a week to catch up on the holidays. Then I will be back to conquer my WIP pile and start my new designs for eventing season. Good lord you'd think I was making this into a job or something! Well I will be back soon with things to show you all. Have a great New Year.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Costuming Business Ethics 101

Ok I already posted this on Damsel's facebook but I decided to rant about it a little on my own blog. I know that total originality is extremely hard and that most things start from a basic concept and evolve. Creative property can be a little hard to track and that inspiration comes from many sources.

That being said this is a blatant theft that annoys me to the  very core. I know I don't really have readership yet to bother complaining to but really I don't care. I take a lot of care in designing and working out prototypes of my designs while I am still teaching myself the fine art of sewing. (Although books like this are a great help)
Salem Libraries Rock!
When I do finally get my own store up and begin sharing these designs and products I know it would absolutely make me furious to see one of my own designs being so flagrantly copied as what I am about to show you.

I am a huge fan of Damsel in this Dress bodices. I have tried on some of Michelle's pieces and if I'm lucky there is one waiting for me this Christmas. Her designs are elegant and flattering and I understand why someone might want to emulate them. Like I said they are awesome. But I don't want to sell copies of her bodices I just want to make ones of a similar caliber in my own design and aesthetic. I just want to be as awesome as she is with my own designs.

So on to the thief. It is poorly rendered so it may take a moment to realize that this

Photo belongs to even if they stole the design
 Really wants to be this
Photo belongs to Damsel in this Dress
The worst part? The badly made copy costs only $25 less than Michelle's original design. The person orchestrating this theft can't even flatter a mannequin with this piece let alone a woman and expects to get $125 for it!

Why am I ranting about this so much? It bothers me, it bothers me a lot that someone might actually buy something that flimsy and cheap for such a ridiculous price. Why? Doesn't that mean that I should be able to make a ton of money when I get there. Well honestly it scares me because I'm afraid it means that people don't know enough about clothing to recognize quality when they see it and maybe I am wasting my time trying to learn the proper way to do things and working out the best methods to provide quality when I could just churn out something like that and sell it for $100.

Readers (hey someday there will be some) please please please, say no to bad quality ripoffs and reveal them where you see them. This is no way to run a business and honestly it's just no way to live.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Ok not really scientific but I am doing some dye experimentation with black beans and some white cotton lace that I got at a yard sale. Since I am bored and on the subject I thought I would share some things I have learned about dying with plant and food dyestuffs.

Rule 1. GLOVES! seriously some dyes are pretty darn permanent even to skin and modern society is not exactly accepting of people wandering around with green or orange hands. Also newspaper and some wax paper to protect your counters. You make think the new colors are pretty but your landlords/roommates/significant others may disagree.
Rule 2. LABEL! if you are doing a dye that needs to set in the fridge or outside then label it because dyes can be pretty stinky or gross if you open them. (Also they may somewhat resemble juice and just throwing them in the fridge in an unmarked waterbottle is cruel.... apparently)
3. Research. see if someone else has used this dyestuff and what tips they may have. I found a knitter online who had used black beans as a dye and instead of boiling them she just used the leftover water from soaking the beans soak them in a tupperware. I am using a clear(ish) waterbottle so I can watch the results.
4. Experiment! go ahead get a labcoat and goggles (good plan if you use a strong mordant like spirits, vinegar or alum) and cackle maniacally
5. Have fun and make sure to document your progress to show the rest of the class ;)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sewing to do list

So my craft room is a mess! I had to leave my dresser and craft cupboard behind at my last moves so I have nothing to do with all of these craft supplies. I have finally set up my sewing machine but I don't actually have a chair that I can use to sit at it so I can't really use it right now. I was using Riley's computer chair when he wasn't home but he broke it and now it's too low.
The yarn at least is organized ... for now. I swear I sorted and organized it before I moved and then I opened the chest and all I see is this colorful Gordian Knot. This yarn stash was inherited from someone who apparently loved plastic canvas and granny squares (as well as scary geese I really need to get some new contact paper to cover that chest) so there were a lot of itty bitty ends of skeins causing the clog. The odd thing being that I have already gone through and purged those little things before and given them to crafters who use them. I swear my stash is breeding which means I should probably not ignore it for six months at a time.
The fabric is folded neatly in messy bins and boxes and I really need give it its own dresser or bookcase soon. But then there's pattens and notions ... good lord the notions! I have been slowly collecting interesting laces and ribbons and little pendants and beads for projects over the years and now they are eating our spare room.

So on to the sewing to do list. (AKA the goal list to be able to turn this into a viable business in the someday future thing)
1. Get roving. I have been trying to work out how to make miniature tri-corns and top hats and my buckram with cloth covering tries just haven't given me the right shape so the new plan is to felt them myself. I learned felting years ago as well as home dying so with some work I think I could get some nifty unique hats going.
2. Work out my pattern and prototypes of my ribbon wench skirt. This is one of the items I want to have around for fairyworld/ faires next season. I want it to be signature piece in my faire collection when I get the etsy shop up (getting closer to that when I apply for real world jobs so I can have a bank account again).
3. Work on my prototypes of bodices, the single most popular item of a good wench's wardrobe and so many people can't get them right. I have some great plans to make unique ones that range from underwear appropriate Elizabethan conicals to the wonderfully Out Of Period and wenchy. I just need to sit down and work out my collection and patterns.
4. Get a dress form, then adjust it according to the directions on Sempstress. So I have a way to perfect these patterns and display them.  This will probably be accomplished by making a duct tape version of a less curvy friend and then padding it so I can use it for my size. ( I am much better at drafting for other people when I can see how the garment fits them via mockups but I can't do the same thing for me.)
5. Make Riley some garb that won't get us as much garb snarking. He may not care but I actually am in the SCA for some measure of accuracy in my anachronism and his stuff is blatantly inappropriate for his persona's nationality and period. Also he's free advertising space.
6. Make up some simple chemise style tops and skirts to go with my over skirt designs and bodices. I have the design worked out and they are pretty one size for certain ranges.
7. Make me some actually period garb because none of mine fits anymore and what does isn't practical. I need to make some nice period pieces. I am thinking of just sticking to a cotehardie (I am aware this is a disputed garment but they are pretty) and possibly a simple apron dress. I want to keep my clothes in a middle class income level so copying the nobles styles in linen and wool (Ok cotton blends because eventing is bloody hot!) and I will probably just making a linen leine for when it's too hot to bother with more layers since I'm Irish anyway.
8. Organize, Organize, Organize! I can't know what I need to do or buy to finish these unless I actually organize and do a real inventory.

So that's where things stand right now.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Well I still feel rather icky so I didn't do anything for Halloween besides staying home with apple pie (the drink) that we had made to take to the party. Riley did take me to the humane society to hang out with puppies to make me feel better. It was awesome! There was this little tiny weimaraner that I wanted to steal and cuddle forever! Her name was Snowy but she's only five weeks old and already 20lbs so I know there's no way we could keep her. Also there was a gianormous boxer mix in isolation that we played chase with through the fence. (Exerting myself a little too much but it was so much fun.)

But even though I am not doing anything interesting for Halloween I did make a Peter Pan costume for my friend Meghan down in Southern Oregon and my mom went and got a picture of her so I could see how it turned out. 
From my mom's iPhone so not the best quality
I am really proud of it ^_^. Apparently though people think she's Robin Hood .... I don't get it but people are silly. But yeah costuming I did some!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Zombie Zombie Schoolgirl Zombie!

So this weekend was the zombie walk and since I made a costume up for it I thought I would share the photo since I haven't had anything else to put up here.
Grr Argh! Photo by Coyote's Childe
You can't see the skirt I actually made, but that's because it was getting rainy so the camera went away pretty early. You also can't see the rips I went to great lengths to make all over that top. I did get an awesome shot of Riley and I together that showcases our awesome makeup (By Coyote's Childe)

Love bites photo by Coyote's Childe
It was an awesome walk and only a little rainy which wasn't to bad anyway since I thought it was going to be worse and planned ahead and turned my boyfriend into a ZOMBRELLA!

Riley the Zombrella by Coyote's Childe

 I should have thought more ahead to try to hide the tape. It looked more believably stabbed into him from behind but I really just didn't feel like trying to get sick when I really wasn't feeling too hot when we started. ( I have an ear/ sinus infection that I have been trying to home treat and hoping it will just go away but I may have to see a doctor soon.) We did get some complaints about it when we were trying to watch the dance. Honestly though it was a rainy day in Portland. There were umbrellas everywhere and ours was not more or less an offender than any other. I know it's frustrating not to be able to see but there was a reason the website told you to come early if you wanted a decent viewing option.

Sorry for the mini-rant but people annoy me. It was a really fun event otherwise and hopefully the rain helped clean up and make sure the walk didn't cause too much property damage.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

So I am moving again

Gypsies don't complain about moving ... right?
So if life goes well I will be officially moved to the Salem area in the next few weeks.  This means several things.

1. I may actually be able to have all of my sewing supplies in one place! I have so much of them in storage and I've just kind of been stressed not being able to do a proper inventory and goal list for trying to create this business.

2. I will have a place that is not the corner of my bedroom to sew in. It will be the corner of our spare room/ library but still; being able to actually get away from a sewing project at the end of the day is helpful in unwinding.

3. There are more actual jobs here and public transit. I might actually be able to stop failing utterly at being a contributing member of society.

4. I will be within reasonable distance of game again! Yay new characters and costuming and seeing my friends again. I have to learn an entirely new game because they changed systems while I was gone but I am most of the way through a new character concept ... and by concept I mean costume design.

On the other hand, I am so tired of moving! I haven't managed to stay in one place for more than a year since I was 18. This actually kind of bothers me. I haven't  had a place that I really call "home" since then. I mean yeah I am always welcome in my parents house but I've already left it a few times and I'm not really that heavily nostalgic of a person. I love my family but living together drives us all crazy. We all love each other but in a very "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" way.

So costuming stuff is temporarily on hold until I am settled in and have everything together and sorted out.  I hope to be up and running again as soon as possible.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why I am too blunt for my own good

I'm not a garb snark I swear! I hate garb snarks because they made my early years of eventing pure torture especially when I was stupid enough to ask for their advice once when I was learning to sew and they teased me so badly about a mistake I made on a friend's shirt that I completely swore off sewing for several years after that.

That being said I don't snark on people's garb to their faces or just because it isn't period. If it fits the aesthetic and they are having fun and are comfortable I just make mental notes about what I would change. But when we were at Shrewsbery Faire this last weekend Riley asked if I had seen a girl's dress and before my mental filter could turn on I blurted out "Tell me you don't mean that slouchy purple poly(ester) one" There was a lady in front of us who turned around to agree that it was a good description of the dress but I still felt really bad. Riley was just trying to point out that the dress had an amazing cut. If it were in pretty much any natural fabric he would be right. It was a very simple princess seamed gown very lord of the rings movie style (Yes I am aware those were not period but for the casual costumer; who cares they are cute!) It was laced rather cutely up the front and back and was a good color for the girl but the fabric was just clingy hot mess that was already quite obviously sweaty and uncomfortable.(It was only 11:30 and the forecast was just going to get hotter) On a rather thin but healthy girl it was terribly unflattering because she was slouching and it gave her the illusion of being far pudgier than she was all because the farbic was wrong.

So there's my confession. I totally garb snarked at a ren faire. I do feel bad,
I am used to the standards of the SCA and I honestly am glad that the girl never heard me. I need to remember that not every event is like the SCA events I went to when I was younger ( I wasn't old enough to realize that the people I was camping with were the pickiest of re-enactors that are not the norm for eventing.) I also just personally don't ever want to let myself get into a habit of being that rude.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Business Cards!

Well my last two events for the season are this weekend and next weekend and working on garb for them has me thinking that since I have time this winter to work on some of my designs before next eventing season, hopefully I can come up with something that makes people ask where I got it. When this happens I want to have awesome business cards ready.
So since I am waiting for my laundry to dry in the dryer that eats time (minimum two or three runs through for any load to dry) I played around with some ideas and created these beauties. What do you think?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Blasted Machine! (and in progress photos)

Well my Singer Tradition 2250 has officially kicked the bucket. Nothing I do is fixing the thread bunching and I have done everything in the singer troubleshooting guide for it. I even called their customer service and they told me that the only way that would happen was if my presser foot was up. I have read reviews of the machine from amateurs and professionals and have finally come to the conclusion that this is not operator error. So mom and I will attempt to figure out how to thread the vintage 1960ish (can't for the life of me find the model's history with the numbers on the machine.) Kenmore Zigzag DeLuxe. (Actually she just did it's just weird to me because newer machines don't have nearly as many pieces to thread through.) We got it for $30 at a thrift shop and it's amazing I just pretty much have to relearn machine sewing.

In the mean time I have been hand stitching trim onto a vest for my boyfriend for the Ren Faire next weekend and am rather happy with how it's going so I decided to share some photos with you. It is a really nice faux suede I picked up and extra wide bias in a really nice emerald green. I will be adding some gold trim to it before the pirate festival so he can be a truly gaudy gypsy. (He likes being showy) Although there is an up side of my sewing machine being broken.I am getting a lot better at hand sewing.

A hand sewn seam that I don't feel like hiding yay!!!

Very pretty suede, almost can't tell it's faux leather. Hopefully Riley will like it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Simple green tunic

This may be simple but with a belt and a good attitude it is one of the most flattering styles of garb and the most versatile. I absolutely love how this one turned out although you'll never catch me wearing this one at summer events because I made it specifically for Egils when it gets bloody cold! (It is heavy wool) This will hopefully become a staple of my inventory someday. With a little trim and a couple sleeve and fabric options it can be appropriate for any class of persona or character and can be used as an under tunic or just by itself. I know I am making a big deal out of something really easy but I really love it.

Now onto business. Survey time! If you were likely to buy one of these options which would it be? Do the price tags put you off? I am doing this at very little over cost and nowhere near a living wage because this is never intended to be anything more than pursuing a hobby to help pay for my own eventing and costuming habits. I could probably make things more affordable eventually if I can buy in bulk but I am just starting out and don't have the investment capital to do that.

Best fabrics and possible price points

Quilting Cotton
Positives- Good color range, inexpensive, 100% cotton so it breathes (big plus for summer events. Seriously people can get heatstroke from synthetics).
Negatives- Wrinkles: fabric softener and wear can eliminate this over time but it takes a while for the fabric to relax, Shrinkage: means I have to buy more fabric overall to achieve the same result, Not actually period: Cotton wasn't really widely available in Europe until the industrial revolution.
Proposed price for cotton tunic= $40
+ Trim
Metalic = + $20 (the stuff is pretty spendy)
Binding Tape (Actually a common period trim) + $10
Dagged Sleeves= + $15

Period, Lightweight, good drape, takes dye well.
Cons- EXPENSIVE!, Really there are cheaper silks out there than 100% linen. There are cheaper synthetic alternatives but I really would rather not use them. What I actually use is a cotton/ linen blend that once again is not period but it would be driving the price way up
Tunic Price Range Cotton/ Linen Blend $60
100% Linen $80
Trim prices are the same
Dagged Sleeves + $25

Pros: Pretty, tear resistant, lightweight, dyes well
Cons, expensive, also stains easy and is not appropriate for all personas, more labor intensive and prone to unraveling.
Price Point $90
Trims " "
Dagged Sleeves + $30

Pros: pretty, warm, very tactile and luxurious.
Cons: HOT most conventions, Ren Faires and SCA events are hot places and draping your body in these fabrics really isn't good for your health. Expensive: well really there are two price options here crushed and stretch velvet neither are cheap but crushed is significantly less expensive. Velvet is also not appropriate for most period accurate personas but it is great for costuming.
Crushed Velvet
Dagged Sleeves +$15
Stretch Velvet
Dagged Sleeves
+ $20

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why there are art sites in my links

I like to provide inspiration for the day when I will have my resources together to set up shop and take commissions. I do however want to make one thing perfectly clear I will NEVER copy a garment from an artist unless I am certain their permission is given. ( I will make exceptions for Anime/ movies and old fine art ) But most of the artists I have listed are independent artists that are not making a lot of money of their designs. There is a difference between being inspired by something and duplicating it. These artists spend a lot of time designing interesting garments for their personal characters and to copy that would be stealing. If you like the shape of a garment think about what color would fit your use or what material would give a better texture. Also mix and match because the true fun of costumes is in making it your own.

Awesome Goodwill find!

So have been wanting a rotary cutter for some of my more precise work for a while now but I wouldn't be using it quite enough to justify paying $15 for one plus another $20-30 for a decent sized mat. Well I was browsing Goodwill yesterday with a good friend and there was a brand new still in the package with the $15.49 pice tag Fiskars 45mm rotary cutter for $2.99! This was the brand, size and style I have been wanting and now I just need to get a mat to cut on and the interfacing that is plaguing my existence right now will submit to me!

I just thought I would share that with you. Thrift shops are so awesome sometimes.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mini Top Hat madness!

So I made my first miniature top hat today for a good friend's steampunk ensemble and I am really excited about how it turned out so without further ado here is the picture.

I don't really like how the crown turned out but for my very first attempt at millinery I am pretty darn proud of it. I especially love the little gears that Meghan found at Michaels. They will be going on the matching waist cincher along with a few other steam-punky details.

Update! Mom took a photo of me with the hat on although it's just perched there because I haven't put the combs on it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Welcome to the Geeky Wench

Well I guess I should introduce myself. I am Bobbi, a seamstress in training that wants to turn my hobby into something more and help others out with getting comfortable and affordable clothing while I am at it.

Most of what I sew is SCA garb because that is the hobby I have had the longest that involves costuming and I love the medieval aesthetic. I am also currently obsessed with steampunk and neo-victorian costuming as you will no doubt see when I post photos of what is currently on my cuttting table.

I have posted some photos of my recent work and I will be getting more up that are hopefully better quality soon.

This will be the blog for my Etsy shop hopefully sooner than later. I am working up an inventory doing commissions for friends and my own costuming for reference photos because I plan to do custom simple garb and costuming. I don’t plan to make elaborate Tudor nobility garb or exact accurate reproductions. This is for the casual fair/sca goer and costume fan.

Left to right a tunic and chemise for a friend's celtic persona. An underbust kirtle for myself that is terribly OOP but fun and a Pirate vest for my boyfriend.