Knit Me A Straightjacket

Location: Wild West, United States

Friday, April 07, 2017

Done and Dusted

I did it!! Both my outfit and Rachel's are done, with a week to spare. I'll try to remember to get pictures at the tea, but here's what the dresses look like:

I changed the design of mine quite a bit from what I had originally planned. Instead of the beige variation of Andrea Schewe's design for Simplicity 1517, I combined the lace overskirt from that and the Butterick B6190, view C, as the base, mostly because I decided I wanted sleeves. Rachel's is view D of the Butterick. I'm really happy with the way they both turned out.

Here's a closeup of the ribbon roses on Rachel's dress:

The undergarments are all done too: a petticoat for Rachel, and a full suite of foundation garments for me. Here are the petticoats:

Rachel wasn't convinced that she needed one, but I had her try on the dress both without one, and then with mine, and she was sold. The difference it makes is enormous!

Now to pull together the actual party. I wonder what I'm forgetting? Definitely not china!

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Tea Party Dress Update - Underwear Unlock'd!

It's been a while, and honestly I've been doing more knitting than sewing in that time. However, the tea is now five weeks away, so it's time to get moving!

The corset is done, although I had a terrible time with the grommets. I tried using the ones sold on, along with their tools, and they didn't work at all. I tried getting different tools elsewhere, both the kind you hit with a hammer, and the pliers. No luck. The spreader part just isn't opening the flange out enough. They keep falling out. I think I'm honestly going to go back to the standard craft store grommets, that have always worked just fine.

I've also completed the Truly Victorian TV105 Combination Underwear. I used white linen from, IL020 handkerchief weight. It's lovely stuff, and will breathe well, but it's a little, ahem, immodest. I left off the leg cuffs, and shortened the legs considerably, to knee-length. I also left off the sleeves. I added lace to the neckline and legs. It turned out really cute, I'm quite pleased with it.

Next up is the petticoat. I have not bought this pattern, I'm just making it based on the picture and description. It doesn't show, after all, and I'm pretty confident that I can get it close enough (famous last words?) I've got the pieces cut, just need to assemble and add the ruffle.

I hope to start on the actual dress itself very soon. It's a good thing, too, because my daughter has decided that she wants a dress, too! We (she is going to help) will be making Butterick B6190, view D. The fabric has been ordered; I hope it's okay! I hate to buy without seeing it first. I'm also going to need to make her some sort of slip or something to wear under it, but I'll figure that out when I get there.

Five weeks! I can do this! (I hope)

Monday, November 07, 2016

1910's Tea Party Gown - Update!

The corset is complete! Well, mostly. Okay, it's wearable. I still have to add hooks and eyes to the lower center fronts, and I really should finish the eyelets somehow. Also, still deciding whether or not to bother with garters. BUT IT'S WEARABLE! That means that I can move on to the next steps, because I can put it on and get measurements and do fitting. Yay!

If I'm going to use stockings and garters, then I will need a new shift or combo shift and drawers, because my current one is too long. Also, I need to decide if I really need that petticoat or not. It would smooth out the lines a bit maybe, but I don't really need it for shaping I don't think - it's pretty much a straight columnar silhouette, so I may be able to get away with skipping it.

I'm not sure about the logic of taking shortcuts at the same time that I'm going way overboard on details and accuracy...after all, I've gone so far as to make a corset, is it silly to then stop there, rather than going all the way and really doing it right? Or is it silly to insist on little details that no one but me will ever see?

I'm planning on wearing this outfit exactly once. Am I crazy? Probably. And no, I am not posting a picture of me in the corset!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

No updates to post on the tea party dress, but I did have some excitement last night. The kids' father picked them up for an afternoon visit, then I had an appointment, ran an errand, and then, since the house was empty, I decided to take myself out to dinner. On my way home around 7:00ish, I found my neighborhood blocked off by police cars at both entrances. They told me no one was being allowed in or out as there was a "law enforcement incident" in progress.

I was at a loss. I couldn't think what to do or where to go, and as always in a stressful situation, I felt painfully the separation from my children, and it filled me with anxiety. I drove around aimlessly for a while, then found myself at the north end of town and saw the sign for Perkins. I went in to get a cup of coffee and a slice of pie and to figure out what to do next.

I sat there scrolling through Facebook, and posting about the situation, and eating my pie, still trying to collect myself. An anonymous stranger paid for my snack! That's never happened to me before, and I have no idea who it was. I figure if it was someone I knew, they would have come over and said hello, and if it was a man who thought I was attractive, he would also have identified himself, so I ruled out both. Why then? Somebody just being nice? Or did they feel sorry for me because I was alone? Maybe I looked lost, I certainly felt it. I guess I'll never know.

One of my friends from my knitting group invited me to her house, so I went there. Subsequently I got a bunch more offers, which was really sweet. My kids, especially my son, were getting anxious and wondering what we were going to do. It was a school night, and they didn't have their school things with them, nor a change of clothes.

I kind of wish I could have picked them up and gone to a hotel or something, so we could be together. I felt bad about imposing on my friend, but by the time it became apparent that I wasn't going home anytime soon and would have to spend the night, it was too late to call anyone else and the kids had already gone to bed at their dad's house.

I lay there on the couch in the dark, wide awake, checking the local police Facebook page for updates. Finally, they posted that they were wrapping things up and would re-open the road soon. I debated whether or not to leave my safe place immediately, or to wait for confirmation that I could go home. I waited, because it was now the middle of the night, and I didn't want to end up stranded if things went sideways.

Finally they posted that the street was open again, so I went home. I still couldn't sleep - I'm functioning on about three hours right now. I've only found one news story about what happened, from last night when they didn't know anything. I still have no details. It's worrisome that something like this happened in my neighborhood. I know it's not the greatest, but this is beyond anything I ever expected.

When I initially was turned away by the police, my lizard brain went back to the flood of 2013, when I was stranded away from home and separated from my children. I think it's why I was so freaked out at first and not thinking straight. It really makes it clear how important those things - my children and my home - are to my peace of mind and sense of place in the world.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Dress Diary - 1910's Tea Party Gown

I thought of something to blog about! The tradition of the annual Easter/Spring Tea Party has continued, more or less uninterrupted, up to the present day. This year we wore Kentucky Derby style hats and lace dresses. Next year, about five months or so from now, the theme is 1910's chic. My best friend Melanie already has hers done, but it needs some tweaking so she won't allow anyone to take pictures yet. Here's what I'm planning for myself:

This is a variation on Simplicity 1517 that didn't make it into the pattern packet, but the designer has graciously posted the instructions on her blog:

Before I can make the dress, however, I need to make the corset:

RH1057 -- Ladies' 1910s Corset - Reconstructing History LLC:

and the petticoat from Truly Victorian:

TVE14 - Late Edwardian Petticoat

As always, undergarments make the shape, so they must come first. I will probably not buy the TV petticoat pattern, as I *think* I have all the information I need in the picture. The corset pattern I have though, and Melanie and I did a mutual fitting session on our mockups a while back, so I'm ready to start assembling!

Monday, April 13, 2009


Rachel's new dress I made for Easter:

she didn't get to wear it, because when it was finished I was not at all happy with the way the blue petals fell. I had wanted them to stick out a bit, not come straight down.

However, when she saw it on the sewing table she was alight with joy and says she will never take it off. :-)

We're having our annual Spring tea party next weekend, which is really the perfect venue anyway.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

birthdays n' stuff

Yep, I'm a rotten blogger - or a rotten mother? Maybe I'm a rotten blogger-mom. Whatever. Here are some pics.

From MonkeyBoy's birthday:

Some garden and cat pics:

BabyGirl's first day of Kindergarten:

From BabyGirl's birthday (yes, her hair is pink):

This lovely pink wool coat was a birthday gift from Grammy Fran: