Tuesday, March 31, 2015

To add flower petals or not?

I'm making progress on my civil war ball gown! I've been working on it, but now I'm stuck.


So, I've made the shoulder straps, and sewn them on.


I've made the 7 skirt tab things and sewn lace, braid, and beads.


I've run out of braid and gone to Joann's to buy more only to discover they no longer carried the exact braid I needed, so the last tab has a slightly wider black braid on it.
Now I'm ready for the last decoration. These flower petals.


There are 49 of them. 7 for the bodice, and 6 per skirt tab.


This is what they look like on half of the bodice. I think I may like the bodice better without them, but I can't decide. So the short story is I'm considering leaving the flower petal like things off the dress entirely but would love some more input. Any thoughts?

Friday, March 20, 2015

My Awesome, Creative, Little Sister

I have a very creative little sister. She's always doing one craft project or another, and I'm typically very happy if her crafts improve her sewing skills. So I'm pretty pleased with what she made today, completely on her own!


She turned old pant legs, left over from cut-off shorts I made myself a few years ago, into pillows. She got the idea from this pillow a friend made us several years ago from an old jeans leg.


So she went digging through my fabric/scrap stash and found some soft, slightly stretchy, pretty colored, pants legs. She turned them all inside out and sew one end closed. 


I'm very proud of how straight her straight seams are getting!
She then turned the legs right side out and commenced stuffing! Once she finished stuffing them, she sewed up the open end and ta-da! A finished pillow! Out came the glittery fabric paint to add the finishing touches.  

Green and purple, my 2 favorite colors!
Now she did get a little carried away with the stuffing part, as the pillow she gave me is rather hard, but by the 3rd pillow she had it down, as that pillow is perfectly soft! Unfortunately, as a result of my over-stuffed pillow, she then ran out of fiberfill so she still has to finish stuffing the remaining 3 pillows.  

Along with being creative my little sister is also generous. 
One of the completed pillows she has decorated as a birthday gift for a friend and the unfinished ones she already has ear marked as gifts for other friends. Yep, I have one awesome little sister!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Goin' to Guatemala!

I'm excited!! Why? This summer (June to be exact) I get to go to Guatemala for a week!! On Monday my passport came in the mail (only 3 weeks after I applied, rather than the 4-6 it was supposed to take!), and I paid for my plane ticket.
So this is really happening. Now why am I going to Guatemala? The short answer is I'm going on a mission trip with Christian Fellowship Church. The long answer includes a back story that started about 3 years ago.
My senior year of high school a missionary couple who had been in Guatemala for several years came to my school to tell us about their ministry. They told us about the conditions the families whom they worked with, lived in. Of course my heart strings were tugged. I love kids. Hearing about those kids in Guatemala who needed help made me want to go and help in anyway I could, but logically I didn't think I would ever get the chance to go. Then God opened a door for me.
The week after the missionaries left the dean of students sat down with me and told me about another program that they were hoping to start in Guatemala, a goat program. Well this was right up my ally. They wanted to find a way to provide local families with dairy goats so that they would have milk for their kids. The dean asked me if I would be interested in helping with that. I said sure, and she gave me the email address of one of the directors of the missions organization. I started emailing him asking about his idea for a goat program. He seemed to like the idea of me going down there for about 6 months or so after graduation to help get this program started. I seriously considered going, but I didn't. I got busy with life here. 
Last fall the thought of going to Guatemala entered my mind again. That was God. I told my mom that I was thinking about Guatemala again and she told me about a missions class at Christian Fellowship, for people considering going to the mission field. I went to the class. It definitely enhanced my desire to go to Guatemala. I emailed the guy I'd emailed nearly 3 years ago and asked him if they were still wanting to do a goat program. He emailed me back and said he didn't think the timing was right for their organization to start a goat program. That was discouraging, 
I told the missions' pastor at CF that I'd emailed and it seemed like I'd waited too long and the door for me to go to Guatemala had closed. Well he told me that CF was sending a mission team to Guatemala, to work with the same organization that I had communicated with. The trip was  in June, and I was welcome to come. So, I'm going.
Now, this trip is only a week long and has nothing to do with goats, but hey, I get to go to Guatemala, a place I feel God has called me to go for whatever reason. I get to go, see what it's like down there, and maybe talk to the people who have been interested in starting a goat program. I get to see if my going in the future to do that is even a possibility.
Now, aside from my own personal reasons for going on this trip, what is the purpose of it? Well it's a dental mission trip. A dental team is coming to provide some much needed dental care to people in remote villages. So what will I be doing? People will have to wait in line to be seen, and there will be a lot of kids, so they need someone who can entertain kids. I can do that! We are still figuring out what we will do with the kids, but it will probably be something similar to a VBS/ Bible club type thing. I've helped out with plenty of those, both at my home church and on other mission trips!
I am really looking forward to this trip! I get to work with kids, go outside of the U.S. (for the first time ever), and maybe get an idea of whether or not I could live in Guatemala for a year or so. Please pray for our team that's going, as we prepare, the people we will be working with, and for me personally, that I might get some answers/insight, as to whether or not I'm supposed to be further involved with ministry in Guatemala. At this point I'm just amazed by how God has worked everything out so far for me to be able to go on this trip, and I can't wait for June to come so I can see what's next!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

I'm dreaming of dresses. . .

It's cold. And snowy. And slippery. So, other than caring for the animals I'm staying inside today where it's warm and not slippery. On one hand this is sad, I can't go to church this morning and I really wanted to, but on the other hand this means I have lots of time to sew on my ball gown! And dream of things I'd love to sew one day if I ever have time.

Ever since finishing my purple plaid wool dress I've been dreaming of making more historical dresses from different time periods, why? Just for the challenge, the experience. I want to become a better seamstress and this is one way I can pursue that goal. Also because I love history. I want to know what it was like to live in the past, to wear the clothing of the time. (although I do really appreciate having my sewing machine to use when making these, so nothing is completely historically accurate as far as construction goes.) So these are some of the projects I am hoping to one day get around to (when I'm not sewing stuff for other people).

First off, I want to make,

This dress. I found it on Pinterest. I love it. It's from 1885-87, the second bustle era. I love the triangular over skirt and the lace trim. I even already have fabric for it.


This green calico, the fabric I originally got to make my purple plaid dress out of, before I found the purple plaid. I have 10 yards of it! 


Then I have these two patterns I should be able to put together and alter to make the dress.
I can wear this dress over my existing corset, and probably over my two plainer petticoats, but I will need to make myself a wire bustle, that will be a new experience to be sure! I also ought to make my self a combination, a combined chemise and drawers, similar to a union suit, it is worn under the corset and far more prevalent than a chemise and drawers were by the late bustle era.  

Next, for Christmas one of my best friends gave me this book.


It has copies of pattern of original dresses made between 1600 and 1860, and gives information about how they were made. I plan to use it to make a regency (Jane Austen's era) gown. Most likely this one, although there are a couple others I like too.


And this is the pattern for it.


And that is wear the challenge lies! I will need to transfer the pattern from this 1/8th inch grid to a 1 inch grid. and then size it to me. In the past I've always worked off a commercial pattern, altering it as I need to make it look like the design in my head. This will be the first time I've drawn a pattern myself, so it's a little scary! Although I'm really excited about getting to use a pattern from c. 1800, rather than a modern pattern. If this project goes well there are several others in this book that I would love to attempt! 
For fabric I might just use plain white muslin, or I might use these green striped sheets I got at a thrift store. They are about the same weight as a thin muslin and would make an amazing dress! I'm just not sure I want to use them incase this project doesn't turn out well.


Now the undergarments for the regency era were considerably different than those from later in the 19th century, so I will have to make myself a complete set, including a set of half-stays (corset like thing) and a bodiced petticoat. I may be able to wear a chemise I already have with it though.  

And finally, I have this printed sheet that I think would make a wonderful period dress.  


The print reminds me of something from the 1820's-1840's, so I think I'll make a dress from somewhere in there, but I have nothing picked out yet. If my regency dress turns out well I may consider using another pattern from Patterns of Fashion I, but only time will tell.

Now back to sewing! I've made considerable progress on my ball gown this week, but most of it has been hand sewing so there's not really anything new to show. I'm hopeful that I can get it done within the next 2 weeks or so. That kinda depends on what the goats decide to do though, I have several left to kid yet. I'm just hoping they wait till after this cold snap to have those babies!