Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Corset update

I've been very bad about sewing recently. It just hasn't interested me. This afternoon I was determined to get over that and put a good two and a half hours work into my corset. I finished fitting it (drawing all over in the process), zigzagged the edges flat, since the seam allowances in most places were too small to flat-fell, and cut some of the coutil into strips for the bone casing.

I'm happy to report that my new machine sews it wonderfully! It didn't have a problem sewing through multiple layers of coutil at all, as opposed to our old machine, which sounded like it was dying every time it sewed more than one layer of fabric. :) The old machine is in for a much-needed repair right now.

Newly fitted!
Close up of the zigzag.
Coutil strips for the bone casing.

So there you have it. Because I have a short attention span, I also stopped mid-way to iron the fabric for my next project. :) I'm going to make a pair of pleated shorts for my graduation party.

Here's the pattern:

And my fabric:

Hope you all are having a great week!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Of Birthdays, Chicks, and Sewing Machines

I am now 18! It's rather strange to think that I'm old enough to legally get married now. And get a tattoo. And join the Army. But I'm not going to do any of those things. Know why? Because I'd much rather stay at home sewing something on my new sewing machine!

Isn't she beautiful?
It's a Viking Emerald 116. A pretty basic machine, but it has everything I need to sew all sorts of amazing things. One if the coolest things about it is that it has not only an automatic button-hole setting but also a needle threader! No more poking and prodding at a tiny little needle with an even smaller hole in it. :) I haven't tried the automatic button-holer yet, but I'm thinking it'll be pretty neat. The main thing I don't like about making buttonholes is trying to get them all the same length so the button isn't too loose, or worse, too tight. That and trying to keep the long edges straight.

After a few sample runs to try out the different settings, I sewed a few seams on my corset. She certainly has a different sound than Mom's machine. Not a bad sound though. Here's what's new with my corset:

After I had to take out two of the pieces in each side because I'd sewn them in upside down (sigh), I sewed them back together with a 3/8" (I think, it was just to the edge of the foot) seam allowance because I didn't want to mess with the edges where I had cut them because of the flat felling. So now it's too big. I think. I've never made one before, so it's all trial and error. The mock-up I made fit fine, now just to get this fitting. I don't really know how big/small it should be, having never tried one on in real life. All I know comes from the internet. (Which actually kinda cool, if you think about it. If I had been born 30 years earlier, I wouldn't know a thing about sewing corsets! Or want to make one, probably, based on the common mis-conception about everyone being tight lacers. I love telling people that I'm making a corset, just to see their faces. :) )

The black is the non-fitted side, the blue is fitted, showing how much I've taken in.
Once my fitting helper (a.k.a. the ever helpful Mom) gets back, I'm going to try it again. Fitting is one time when I could use a clone! One of me to fit onto and one to be behind myself to see how it fits! And maybe one in front to help hold it. :)

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In other news, our chicks are getting bigger! They've all started getting wing, tail, and body feathers in. The two Buffs are a bit behind the others, in terms of feather growth. They all are getting to the point where you have to hold them in two hands, simply because of their size. They're growing up! I feel like a proud mother telling about her kids. :) They like to flap around the box we're keeping them in. None of them have flown to the top of the feeder yet, but I'm guessing it won't be long! The box sides are a good yard or so tall, so we don't have to worry about them getting out.

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I'm going to post a picture of my moccasins. I know I said I wasn't going to post a picture until I got the beading on both done, but I have it done on one and now I'm not sure I like it. First off, here's what they look like:

Sorry for the poor-quality picture. Mirrors aren't good photo-takers.

 They're maybe not the most flattering, but are they ever comfy! I like that you can sit on them (I sit on my feet a lot) without a big hard sole digging in. they look better with the red beading or without? Please leave a comment. I can't decide.

I do like the blue beading and it's going to stay whatever I decide on the red.

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Anyhow, I had a nice birthday. A roller-rink near us has a homeschoolers only Friday once a month which happened to fall on my birthday. We got done with school a bit early, all ready to go, but then we learned that it was closed due to flooding from all the rain we've had recently. So instead we went to the Michigan Historical Museum, which was more fun anyways. :) 

One of my favorite things they had on display was a bloomer dress. It was interesting to see one in person as opposed to pictures on the internet. It fastened with hooks and eyes, which kind of surprised me. Were I making it, I would have used buttons. I think they would stay better if you were vigorous. I wish they had had more information on it. They didn't even tell what year it was from! Ah well. I wish I had remembered to bring my camera.

They also had some of Laura Ingalls Wilder's original notebooks! She wrote down her story in them, then Rose, her daughter made them into books. Her handwriting was lovely. I also enjoyed seeing some Civil War era letters and diaries. The handwriting in them was beautiful as well. The only way I can think to describe it is 'spidery.' It's very fine and delicate.

Old, new, and our messy sewing table...
On the drive down we encountered water going across the road. After watching two smaller cars drive through, we decided to go for it as well. We made it just fine and there were no other incidents on the way there. We took a different route on the way back to avoid it but ended up driving through water once more and turning around because it looked too deep and/or fast three more times. I suppose it's better than a dry year like last. 

Let me know what you think on the beading!

Friday, April 12, 2013


We have chicks! Eight little bundles of joy joined our family on the 9th. There are two Americanas, two Black Australorps, two Buff Orpingtons, a Barred Rock and a Golden Laced Wyandotte.  Picture time!

They're so precious when they sleep.  :)
From left to right, Black Australorp, Barred Rock, Buff Orpington, Black Australorp, Buff, Golden Laced Wyandotte. The two Americanas are up top.

I believe they all still had their egg tooth when we got them. Most of them have fallen off by now.

I love the chick on the left who fell asleep standing up against her sister.

Aren't they just the cutest little things? I do believe it's impossible to look at them without smiling. They're even cuter in real life, running around pecking things, scratching for food in the sawdust, snuggling up next to one-another.

I also finished my moccasins. I'm trying to get the rest of the beading done before I post a picture of them though. They're so comfy! I just wish it would dry up so I can try them outside.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Has Sprung! (Moccasins)

Well, I think spring is finally here. The spring birds are, for the most part, all back and singing outside. The sun is shining and I haven't seen any snow for a week or so. We're looking at getting more chicks. We started out (8 years ago) with 26. We lost some and gained some but now we're down to one. I think she looks rather lonely sitting on the roost at night by herself.

Anyhow, I thought I would share some of my favorite spring pictures, historical dresses or otherwise to get you into the mood. Enjoy!

Love those hats, especially the blue one! Why don't more people wear hats?
Four lovely ladies, all dressed up. I wonder why they were dressed like that? Were they picnicking? Play croquet on the lawn? About to go out visiting?
Because every now and then, you need a rabbit driving a car with a huge red egg in the backseat.
And pussy willows, because I love pussy willows.
On another note, I have started making myself a pair of moccasins. Long story short, my feet don't like shoes of any kind. I tend to get blisters if I hike for more than about an hour in anything.

My Grandpa brought down some beautiful chocolate brown leather for me yesterday. (The picture makes it look a lot grayer than it really is.) I drafted my pattern using this site and cut it out. A few trials runs (on scrap cotton) with the pattern later, I cut the leather. Now I just need to get some thicker thread as well as a needle or an awl that will actually go through the leather. I suppose it's such a good thing the leather is as tough as it is. :) It feels so soft against your skin and it smells delicious! I can't wait to get them done!

As weird as it looks, this turns into a moccasin!

Hope your spring is going well so far!