Thursday, July 1, 2010

hurry up and wait....

Oh the frustration! There is nothing more frustrating (other then getting the run around by red tape) then having a list of things to do and being unable to do them.

exhibit A

Nothing broken but enough soft tissue damage that four days later (it happened on Sunday) My fingers are still taped for comfort.

exhibit B

This was the cause of the injury. Coupled with her seeing a squirrel before I did, that is.

Taped fingers on right hand (my dominant hand that is) leads to no knitting when I need to finish up for a local photographer *and* three weeks to go until I will be at a baby shower (!), no sewing no natter how much I could use a summer dress or really want to test my pattern drafting idea since I have mentally redesigned the chemise (yet again though i have it down to four panels now) and typing is a pain..... almost literally. I hadn't realized just how much I use my ring finders for in typing.....

-The head Wench

Friday, June 25, 2010

First blocks of a quilt a long.

Well I am a little late but for the first week of the quilt a long at Amy's creative side, here are the first two blocks of the sampler quilt.

I am doing this particular quilt for my son. The fabric being used is from The man of the house's discarded work shirts. (discarded due to buttons that can no linger be replaced, laundry stains and other blemishes that leave the fabric is good shape but they are no longer fit for his wearing to work.) H is thrill with what he has seen so far, and is oddly thrilled (exceptionally so) with getting a quilt made from work shirts. Yes we are a weird bunch, each for our own reasons. ;)

-The head Wench.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Well let's just say for starters that I have learned (via past posting with pictures) to put up the pictures first and then type. ;)

Today I have a bit of randomness I'm starting off with the new use for a clothes pin that I found. One basic wooden clothes pin carries just enough weight to keep yarn pulled just tight enough so that it doesn't cause problems while you work with a second color. On the hat in the picture below the stripes are two rows wide, aka just skinny enough that it would be a pain in the butt to break the colors off to start the next every color change.
Then as the rain was coming in I found this beauty in the car port. I do believe it to be a grapevine beetle. Via the wonderful site 'what's that bug' and their grapevine beetle pictures. This is the third year in a row that I have found at least one of these beauties in the yard. Sorry that there is nothing in the picture to show how big it was. Though it was between a inch and a half and two inches long.
And then of course there was H getting himself stuck when he should have been eating dinner. though personally i think of it more as an attention thing. ;)
Oddly enough he didn't notice the flash from the camera when I took the picture above but he sure did notice the flash from the camera when I took the picture below. And man did that motivate him to get 'unstuck'. ;)
And that is that for today.

The head Wench.

Friday, June 11, 2010


I am pretty speechless over this. A local new station did some digging around on a company that makes things for those who or on special diets. Namely they make things for those who can not eat wheat/gluten.

They were grinding the grains in a garage next to a snow plow, and if that wasn't enough they didn't even have running water to flush the toilet!

I don't even know how they have been open and hadn't been caught sooner. The FDA only shut down that location.....

I'm going to go and sew while I fume..... pray for my fingers and I'll get pictures up of what I've been busy with.

The head Wench.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The fun of give away day!

It is that time of year again. And there are some very beautiful item up for the giving. Not that there weren't last year. ;)

All of this is thanks to Sew momma sew where they bring all of this together once a year. (check it out really!)

For starters (to highlight some of my favorites)...

Clare's place with a simple and absolutely lovely love canvas. :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

pattern changes.

So I thought I had a mock up for the chemise (page 28 fig 7) I am trying to recreate. Looking at the top portion it looks to be a set of five panels that make up the main body of the chemise in the front. The confusing part, though, is if you look at the hem it looks to be three panels and not five. Now this could be a trick of folding, in which case it would have a pretty wide 'skirt' at the hem. From looking at pictures both artistic and photos of chemises I am leaning to the train of thought that the serious flare and generous circumference of hems is more to be found in petticoats and underskirts.

So the conundrum is....

Is this a three panel with a play on darts? OR Is this a five panel?

I might end up needing to revise things again later as I am making a bit of a leap in the assumption that in shaping and at least somewhat in cut the back is going to mirror the front in most ways. I might spend today seeing if I can mock up a three panel piece with dart like shaping in the upper part. As a reference my thoughts on shaping come from looking at corset covers like these. I think that the three panel idea would work by flipping the shaping from the 'middle' down to a 'middle' upward position.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Well here I sit with thread and string firmly attached to me via the wonders of static cling. Over the course of the day I have gone from a eureka moment where I thought I had figured out how to put together the chemise I wanted to getting a nearly working mock up of it done in scrap fabric. The fit is good, and worst case scenario I have a pattern from scratch for a new sun dress for myself.

Though I will admit that when the first threads of inspiration where latching onto my mind I did wonder if that was what it felt like to start (or finish, depending on how you look at it...) one's mind.

I am going to do some further research on seam treatment and if lucky maybe find a chemise that looks like what I am trying to pull off. Do note though that I am not holding my breath on the last part though.

In the mean time I did promise pictures of the corset fabric. ;)

First things first the lovely chocolate brown that will sadly be on the inside of the corset. (pardon the kitty toes in the picture, she had to check out what I was up to!) It looks more black in this picture since I need to work on my photography skills. With it is the lovely olive-y mint green fabric that will be the outer portion of the corset. The two paired outside of photos reminds me of a Andes mint.... Despite the fact that the green is a little darker then it would be for the candy. Still makes me hungry for the real thing though. I might go through quite a few come August when the how to for drafting a natural form era corset comes out for Foundations Revealed. I might have trouble waiting that long!

Here is a shot with the addition of the accent lace! If I get really adventurous I might just go so far as to make this corset reversible! Yes I like both the fabrics that much! they are so yummy! :D
And last but not least I will admit to a little short cut. I can *not* get lacing holes to line up straight to save my blinking life! I thought it a good investment to get the darn things pre set. If I can't line *that up* right then I'll be a lost cause. I do intend to set it so that the strip of eyelets actually sits in between layers of fabric. That way I can use a awl to open the fabric, where I will stitch them with a button whole stitch by hand. I think that will look nicer then the blaring contrast of the metal. You can just see the chocolate brown cotton ribbon (I've heard things go either way with the experiences from folks on ribbon vs shoelaces or other lacing.) it has a good gripping texture that I have had good experiences with in the past for lacing. I don't intend to truly 'cinch' myself in just a standard corset lace up. So this will work just fine. It is more of the delicious chocolate brown!

The head Wench.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Making up for lost time.

Against my better judgement, and basically due to being bored off of my butt, I am posting this even though I am medicated for yet another round of vertigo issues. (thank heavens for spell checker or this would look like how well my brain is working!)

I haven't posted in a month due to allergy/vertigo/illness/technical difficulties. I'm going to leave the explanation at about that. Otherwise this would turn into a whole string of blog posts and it just wouldn't be pretty.

In the mean time my being off and on meds has lead to some of my favorite rounds of 'enlightenment' for the costume project.

I have come to settle on what I want the chemise to look like. The 1876 Strawbridge and Clothier's quarterly had a blurb on different undergarments where I found my inspiration.

I like the design. The pro's to this design is the shaping at the waist (all the fewer wrinkle impressions to be left by the corset to go over it), and the relative simplicity of the design with the look of being more complex then it really is and the fact that even back in 1876 they weren't quite sure as to how the item should be classified. I like unusual designs that others aren't likely to have when it is paired with simple elegance. :)
The con's? I know of no pattern, period or modern, for this item. I am going to have to draft my own. I still suck at drafting so I am going to short cut it a little and get as close as I can drafting from existing pattern pieces I have from other garments in order to come up with the frame for what will be. So yeah in a way I will be drafting, I just won't be drafting from scratch.
I do have the fabric and lace though. :)

For how long it has taken me to write this much I think that I will write about the corset and petty coats tomorrow when I'm not distracted by more then the meds and vertigo making me spacey. Please pardon anything that doesn't seem quite right. I didn't feel like argueing with the spell checker and I think it was getting a couple of technical words wrong. Then again that could have just been me.

The head Wench

Friday, April 2, 2010

Flipping through old magazines.

And I do mean *OLD* magazines!


Both are free for reading on Google books. The fashion plates are a wonderful resource. It is also neat to see artwork with children's clothes of the time period as well. :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Have duct tape will travel.

Extra duct tape is in the house. Tomorrow I will dig out a raggy old shirt to tape over. Then after the kids are off for their night with Grandma and Grandpa and I am done doing some shopping with a little early birthday money I have been told I will be getting (do I restock the stash of tea, pick up more yarn for a beaded shawl I started or pick up yet more fabric for this project? Choices, Choices!) and get home I will work on the duct tape double.

I am also kicking around the question as to if I pick up a free CAD program off the net so that I can download some free patterns (we are talking patterns from the books that seamstresses and house wives would have used back then to get their patterns) and bring them up to size for printing and use. I am not a techie type person, so this poses some issues. Namely I haven't a clue what it does or how to do it. I think I might be relegating this to the man of the house. Too bad I don't know anyone who works in printing anymore, I would be able to price check taking something in for 'blowing up' and printing.

In the mean time I read a good article on YWU on period stockings complete with a reprint of some instructions (that had been written in ladies handbooks) on how to knit your own. the pictures from the old catalogs were kind of shocking for me. Previously when I had thought stockings I thought black, gray, cream or white. I Stripes and patterns hadn't even entered my mind. So seeing the checkers, zigzags, vertical strips, horizontal stripes, and various sundry of other patterns was pretty mind blowing.

-The head Wench

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Two followers! Hi Megan and I'm pretty sure that's you Rob! *waves*

I fell off the band wagon hard core with all the things that hit at once when I fell off, not that I was doing all that well in the first place, and it is going to be hard for me to keep myself in check since it is officially spring and my flowers are waking up which means I need to prep the veggie garden.

In the mean time I picked up some very nice (old fashioned looking) lace for insert work at the fabric store over the weekend. I am going to use it on the chemise, which will be my first piece on the table. I have some white cotton muslin that I had originally picked up to make a version of this shirt as I thought it would work very well for every day steampunk wear. But, that can wait just a wee bit. I need to build things from the base up.

If all goes well I will be building a 'duct tape double' in order to piece things as I go with out having to pin them on myself. Luckily the kids will be at grandma's or it would get really interesting.

In the meantime I have a meatloaf calling me to feed the family.

The Head Wench.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Insanity central

Things have just been nuts here since returning from my grandmother's funeral. Returned with a sick husband to M sick, B just starting to get the bug and a couple days in having H get sick. The microwave tried to set itself on fire, while I was getting dinner together. B got her first psoriasis flare up. The dog came home and ate chicken bones and was put on poop watch. Then there was H's god awful allergic reaction, that as we got it under control he was re exposed to the allergen so we quickly figured out what the allergen was.

And all of that happened in a two week span.

I seriously thought that I might get shipped off to a padded room.

So, any serious pondering on the Louisa Jean dress has been put on hold. Other then the occasional question of "when is it going to warm up enough that I can actually start sewing?"

I have been putting up pictures on facebook and ravelry. Better late then never. Now that we have found the camera I have yet to let it out of my sight! I figure I am going to need it quite a bit once the sewing gets underway so I'm getting my picture practice in now.

-The head wench

Monday, February 15, 2010

Muse has been located

In an odd way from death life has sprung up. While Being in Michigan I found my inspiration for my dress project.

The project is now going to be called the Louisa Jean dress. For my late grandparents Lou and Jean Compton.

My grandfather was a storyteller, in the original old fashioned sense. He loved to talk and tell stories. He also loved to live in the moment just observing and learning from things as they came about. He would store those experiences up to use later for stories to help illustrate points that would otherwise be difficult for someone, especially children, to completely understand.

My grandmother was very much the doer. She knew the schedules and routines to the day. She was very conscious of how she looked and dressed. She would not step out the door with out looking her best. Everything had a way to be done. She also loved formal learning.

In this dress project I am looking to draw from things I learned from Both my grandfather and grandmother. Jumping in, learning and doing is my tribute to my grandmother. The stories I look to incorporate into each piece is a tribute to my grandfather.

I have names for the first two pieces I will be working on. The 'what color is your cloud' chemise and the 'golden windows' corset. As I set to work on these I will try to tell the two stories that my grandfather was well known for telling. Both stories possibly go back to before my mother's time and were told to me and my brother.

Some how in all the tumult of emotions I have been feeling about this whole challenge I have found the calm I need in this light of inspiration. I look forward to learning of other stories my grand father told, and in learning of things that my grandmother did.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

too much too fast.

I should have posted yesterday but there has been a whole lot going on and my brain fried. Long story I've been trying to work out a game plan on the YWU challenge, a up coming family trip, this year's garden, and general daily life.
On top of that has been added the fact that my grandma is dieing and shortly there will be a trip to Michigan.
The funky weather hasn't helped any with it's taking time out of my day for all the snow moving. I'm praying my butt off when my husband drives in weather like this.

On the up side about a week ago B decided that she was ready and *really* wanted to get her ears pierced. We took care of that over the weekend and she is sporting her studs about.

I've figured out the cat's tummy issues from the looks of it and she is happier then all get out. I'm still thwarting the dog's desire to raid the trash. My oldest has started reading about George Washington. And, my littlest has started teaching herself to write her letters.

So all in all there has been a complete lack of dull moments around here.

The Head Wench

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sleepless two by fours....


Sore in IL

* listens to rocky and Bullwinkle music playing*

Needless to say no much is getting done under the circumstances.


Seriously if I am going to be making a bustle dress I need my sleep so I can plot my evil world domination via big butts.


Maybe tomorrow will start better.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

still looking

I think I have rounded up the last of the pictures.

This wedding dress has a nice cut. The details are beautiful as well.

This dark gray two piece has a lovely slender line to it.

Again my love of contrast shows in this black dress.

Another wedding dress with lovely details. Too bad the site isn't in English.

Finding this gray alpaca dress. No it isn't build for a freakishly shaped lady! :P
But, the fact that I didn't think the whole alpaca fiber had really started getting around until modern times did leave me with a whole new view on things. I has to be one *really* freaking warm dress!

And that bout rounds things out so far. I'm done looking for pictures and trying to iron out what I want in the dress. Need to decide just how many pieces I am going to do this in.

-The head Wench.

Monday, February 1, 2010

muse, oh, muse where fore art my muse?

A lovely site called Your Wardrobe Unlock'd is hosting a double period project. I could enter into both time periods (revolutionary/1770-1789 or natural form/1876-1882), but, at the moment I have chosen to only aim for one. I am kicking around ideas for the natural form portion of the challenge. I'm not sure which is pulling at me more. The sheer level of what I am going to be working at, between the fact that I don't quite fit into any of the skill levels (beginner/sewing for a year or less, experienced/sewing for five years or more and/or sewing as a business, and improving/lands somewhere between the two) though as far as I can tell the experienced level is where I fit best. I am finding this a bit intimidating. Ok more then a bit intimidating. Though a thought that keeps crossing my mind. If I can create costumes for my three kids and myself for Halloween in a month or less from start to finish (planning, collecting and creation) then why couldn't I in a years time complete a full outfit? This brings a sense of calmness to my mind. Until I start digging for pictures of a dress that I feel is my muse.

So far I have some nice pictures of dresses. One of them I really like more then the others. Problem is I can't look at the details. The site says you can use the zoom feature on the picture but it refuses to work for me. I'm just one of those who loves how a simple dress can be taken to a whole new level by the details.

So far the ones that have struck me as contenders at least to borrow details from are....

A beautiful red and white dated to 1875-1877. (also the one that the zoom feature won't work for me one! *argh*)

A pretty little bustled blue and black silk number.

A fancy tan. Not sure about the loads of lace, but, I do love the long jacket/coat and the general cut.

A simple but very elegant purple number. I like the simplicity of the cut combined with the way the details of pleats and ribbon dress it up.

A pretty arabesque. The use of color on this one really caught my eye.

A simple yet elegant green and tan. The lines and details really make this dress.

Dark brown and tapestry, really catches my eye for the cut and how the fairly simply dress is really made by the complete contrast of the jacket.

That is the list so far. I really need to narrow things down more. I will more then likely be cherry picking between them for my favorite parts. Until then I am still looking for my muse.

-The head Wench.

Grand Re Opening!

I know that I started this blog last year and then was tied up with life.

The kids and I have taken up the challenge to start a new habit every month. This starts today. They will be spending everyday establishing the habit of picking up their stuff in the living room before they do any computer/video game time, and I have this blog as mine. I don't think that the work in my craft area counts since that it part of a couple of much bigger projects. I am going to keep the posts for those separate from general chatter posts so labels will come into heavy use. But, I am looking forward to this. The things I want to do mean that I need to start getting out and about even if it is only on the internet. I accept this challenge and jump to meet it head first.

-The Head Wench.