Steampunks in Space – return from the Delta Quadrant

We had a lovely time last week at Steampunks in Space at the National Space Centre in Leicester. As always there were fabulous costumes and Captain Janeway was ably assisted by her first officer Ellen and companion captain from Serenity, James.

Steampunks in Space 18

Steampunks in Space 2

Ellen’s costume was brilliant, she made the bolero and hat herself and it all looked so good together. She now has an extensive wardrobe of pieces that she can combine in different ways like the corsets, leggings and bustle. The phaser is from one of her University fancy dress outfits.

Steampunks in Space 1

Steampunks in Space 3

Steampunks in Space 4

My hat was decorated with some little model ships and some control panel pictures, pictures taken in the toilet again as the light was good there!

Steampunks in Space 5

This year they also had some costumes made with a space theme by various members of the Seamstress Squadron which were on display, such talented people!

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Steampunks in Space 13

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The tie fighter hat and Death Star costume below was the overall winner of the costume competition along with her Steam Trooper companion. Such creativity!

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Not only were there the great costumes to admire but also all the brilliant stuff at the Space Centre, we didn’t do any of this last year meaning to go back but ran out of time so never did.

There were some great interactive activities, designed for kids which we really loved like the mining activity where you had to control a bucket with levers to load rocks and this chair which again was lever controlled.

Steampunks in Space 11Steampunks in Space 10

We are both really concentrating on the display screen here as it was really difficult to control.

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Steampunks in Space 9

We also really enjoyed seeing what we look like under infra – red, Ellen is the one with the really cold nose! Picture courtesy of James.

Steampunks in Space 19

I remember the first moon landings and many years ago we went and visited the Space Centre in Florida as part of a fantastic US holiday so I have always been really interested in this, particularly the human stories behind it. I have read biographies of both astronauts and control crew and loved the Hidden Figures movie. I am waiting for First Man to come out on DVD so I can watch that.

I am still working on embroidering stockings, hopefully they will be all completed this week and then I have a little bit of frantic machining to do to get everything together. Where does the time go, I am sure last time I looked it was only October!

I hope that you have all had a good week, I am looking forward to the last couple of weeks of teaching and then being on leave, and going to Spain, it will be so good to see my Mum as I haven’t been since July.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

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Marsden Magic

Sadly I have to report that the black velvet jacket got abandoned on Thursday, I was already having trouble with the bodice fitting, the seams kept slipping as I was stitching but the final crunch came when I realised I had cut down the sleeves too small again!

I have so much trouble with fitting, everything was far too big when I first cut it out and I thought I had trimmed just enough off but it was not to be so I now have a bag of large velvet scraps that I will do something with at some point.Next time I attempt a jacket I am going to do a toile first and get the fitting right before I cut!

I was disappointed but at least I had the lovely red skirt and my old velvet jacket to wear. Ellie came up for a few days and I was saying to her that evening that what I really wanted was to find a charity shop jacket that I could adorn, preferably a man’s dinner suit but they were so hard to find.

We went for a little walk and a bit of charity shop browsing the following afternoon and a miracle occurred as one of the charity shops had not one but ten brand new men’s dinner suits on sale and one of the ones in my size was a beautiful shawl collared one, with the collar made of black satin. It fitted really well apart from the sleeves being too long and the whole suit was only £10 🙂

Dinner jacket 1

A few hours of adding lace yesterday and I now have a beautifully decorated jacket for next weekend, without all the stress of sewing black velvet! I am very happy and relieved. I have also put lace on the cuffs and pockets.

Dinner jacket 2

Dinner jacket 4

Dinner jacket 3

The little red insert in the pocket is a cut off from altering the waistband on the gorgeous skirt I bought some time ago, I love the style of these and will probably end up with one in every colour!

Steampunk red skirt

Ellie also found some boots for herself in another charity shop which she was really pleased with having been on an unsuccessful shopping trip on the way here to a huge shopping complex where she trailed round every shop unsuccessfully. Marsden truly is a wonderful place!

My theme for the Steampunks in Space event is Star Trek and I am taking inspiration from Kathryn Janeway, the captain of Voyager, with my outfit.

Captain Janeway

We have some comm badges that we bought from Etsy and I have some tiny space ships to decorate my red hat and hopefully some printouts of the control screens.Ellie has made a lovely bolero jacket and still has her phaser from a previous outfit so we are ready to beam aboard and go where no man has gone before! Photos of all the outfits to follow plus all the other amazing stuff, we were so in awe last year.

I have also been making more delicious bread, I made an olive version as well this weekend, I really could just live on this, it is wonderful.

Nov bread baking

We had Christmas bauble making part two on Friday, at a friend’s house and there were lots of people there, I think in total about 12 baubles got made and everyone enjoyed themselves so that was great. Only a couple of photos due to lack of light and being busy but don’t these two look lovely?

Nov baubles at Janes 1

Nov baubles at Janes 2

Nov baubles at Janes 3

After next weekend I must crack on with the Christmas stockings and gifts, as it will be only a month to go, every year I think I give myself lots of time to do things and then it all evaporates!

At least I now have a jacket to wear to Whitby Steampunk in February as well so will just concentrate on making some capes. I have the capelet/bustle from the black velvet cut out and that doesn’t have to fit so will put that together for an extra layer and the just embellish the red hat again.

Hope that you all have a good week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

Pattern hacking and pattern making

Things are progressing slowly with the Steampunk jacket but I am pleased with it all so far. I cut out the velvet without too much trauma or the house being covered in black velvet dust! I have just trimmed all of the pieces as usual I cut them much bigger and then had a garment for at least one and a half of me!

I should really have made a toile but I am short on time, one day I will get around to making a body form from a mannequin base as that would be really useful for fitting patterns onto before cutting.

I have hacked the pattern slightly and plan to do more hacking, in the initial stages what I did was lengthen the jacket as I want it to come to just about hip height. I will possibly not have it quite this long as I have added eight inches but it is easier to shorten than to lengthen!

Steampunk velvet jacket 1

Steampunk velvet jacket 2

I also want to attach the bustle to the jacket. It is not very obvious in the picture below but the bustle is tied around the waist under the jacket. I have already modified this and only cut two layers of ruffles due to not having enough fabric but I think that will be fine with the longer jacket. It may all go horribly wrong but I like experimenting.

McCalls Pattern 1

The Love to Sew Podcast had a great episode on pattern hacks and they have loads of ideas for adapting things from existing patterns.It was from there I got the idea of adding the tracing paper to the existing pattern pieces which makes it a lot easier to adjust.

Steampunk velvet jacket 3

My plan for this afternoon is to zig zag all of the pieces to stop it fraying and maybe even start the construction. It looks a fairly simple design, famous last words, but the initial fit piece went well together, I do have collar and buttonholes to look forward to though!

My very talented daughter Ellen has just finished her amazing piece for the Refashioners 2018 project. This year the theme was, ‘inspired by’, so she chose this gown by the House of Worth which is dated 1898 and is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Ellen - Worth dress 5

 

She tuned a pair of velvet curtains into this and did all of the pattern making herself, she is such a talented seamstress and so confident with design, these are pictures from her Facebook page and she has some pictures of the process on her Instagram here. 

Ellen - Worth dress 1

Ellen - Worth dress 2

Ellen - Worth dress 3

Ellen - Worth dress 4

I don’t know where she took the first two photos but I think she looks amazing and I am so proud of her 🙂 You can see lots of other refashioning at this Instagram page here

I do love all this creativity, long may it continue. I am also working hard on the second set of stockings, I am doing another five and am about half way through these, such relaxing stitching while watching Netflix, bliss.

I did my last Saturday teaching yesterday, no more until Feb so I get the whole weekend from now on to do what I like, what a lovely feeling 🙂

I hope that you have had a great weekend and have a good week ahead. We have a Wool and Wine bauble making evening here on Friday so I will get some pictures of the Christmas gorgeousness for you all.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Sorting out the stock

We had a lovely last event at Caldicot Castle, the weather was mostly very good which always helps and it was great to see everyone one last time before the end of the season. As always I am sad in one way but with the colder weather on its way am looking forward to cosy nights in with the candles lit and lots of stitching!

We visited Gloucester Cathedral on the way home so have a lot of beautiful pictures from there to sort for you, lots more inspiration for embroidery designs.

Glos cathedral 1

I have spent part of the morning labeling all of the stock for Yarndale, I finished the last two pouches this week. As last year I have used a lot of Liberty but tried to do something different this year in case I have customers coming back who have bought in previous years.

Yarndale Stock 3

Yarndale Stock 2

This year’s new stock has been quilting themed with pouches and baskets with blocks and hexagons on.

Yarndale Stock 5

Yarndale Stock 4

I still have some things left from last year like these sheep themed knitting pouches as well so have a nice bag of goodies on its way to Sarah.

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These pouches below all use recycled denim from old jeans and the lovely Liberty hexagon fabric for the bases.

Yarndale Stock 6

Yarndale Stock 7

The pretty flower zips are from Buddly Crafts and I need to order more stock as have now run out of coloured ones.

I have finished the large stitches sampler from Jenny of Elefantz that I was working on and have just started two smaller circle monogram designs of hers from last month’s Stitchery Club. You can buy just this design from her Craftsy page here and I am going to the finished stitching into pouches for Christmas presents. Picture from Jenny’s Craftsy page.

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She has so many beautiful designs and I have just had a sneak peak at the Christmas stuff she is doing for next month. It is gorgeous and I am really looking forward to stitching them.

Term has started and I have had a very busy and very nice week getting to know all of the new first year students. It is so exciting for them and I really love this time of year, despite the very wet and windy weather, the trees look gorgeous and I have lots of nice things to look forward to in the next few months. Oh and I have just booked my flights for Spain for New Year so I am very pleased about that.

I am planning lots of stitching on the sofa this weekend while watching Netflix. I am currently enjoying watching Star Trek Voyager again, our outfits for Steampunks in Space in November are going to be based on the uniforms from this series so we have been busy collecting things for those.

Hope that you have a lovely weekend, take care and thanks for visiting.

The second Steampunk jacket

Technically this is the third jacket I have made from a Steampunk pattern as Amanda’s wedding jacket a couple of years ago was from a Steampunk pattern but this is the second one for me.

I saw this pattern a while ago and thought it looked beautiful and it gives me a chance to wear more lovely lace! It is a McCalls Pattern M6770 and I bought it a while ago during one of the Jaycott’s pattern sales. Images from their web site.

McCalls Pattern 1

 

McCalls Pattern 2

My plan is to make the jacket out of some black crushed velvet that Ellie gave me a while ago. I already have one black jacket but it is a little too small over the bust so want something that does up as this will be used for events in November and Feb so it will be cold.

I met one of the Seamstress Squadron at Lincoln who had already made this and she was kind enough to let me take pictures and talk through the construction with me.

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Steampunk event Costume 9

The bustle part is actually a separate piece that ties round the waist but I am planning to adapt the pattern to attach it to the jacket and make the front a little longer.I will also not have the corset fastenings on the back or the gathered part on the sleeves which will make construction easier.

I did the same sort of pattern hacking on the jacket I have just made and it worked out fine. I may not have enjoyed my school needlework lessons all those years ago due to a very stern teacher who shouted a lot but I did learn the basics of how patterns work and have the confidence to alter them.

I will then make the skirt out of some pink velvet that I bought many, many years ago for re-enactment, in time for the Feb event. I am planning to buy a red version of the purple skirt as illustrated below for the Nov event as I love it so much and it will go fabulously with my new hat.At some point I think I will also get the black one as well.

Steampunk red skirt

The plan is to cut this out next week before things get busy at work as the sizing is always the most difficult part. I have had a lot of inspiration and practical help from the Love to Sew podcast. They have an episode on tissue fitting which was really helpful so I am going to try doing that before cutting out.They also have a great one on pattern hacking if you want some ideas for adapting things.

Wish me luck as I hate sewing with velvet though I love the way it looks! It moves around so much when you sew it but am determined to use up stash rather than buying any new fabric in the spirit of sustainability and trying to use up the many yards in my sewing room before I relocate to Spain in a few years.

Will update you on the progress, take care and thanks for visiting.

A tablecloth, some curtains and another mad hatter

My lovely daughter Ellie is actually named Ellen Scarlett Rose, the middle of these names being after one of my fictional heroines, Scarlett O’Hara. So it was very apt that Ellie’s outfit for this steampunk event was indeed made out of a pair of curtains.

If you have never seen Gone with the Wind you may not have seen the part where, short of fabric after the war, Scarlett makes a dress out of some green velvet curtains, inspiring seamstresses and steampunks everywhere. Photos below from Google.

Scarlett O'Hara dress 2

 

 

Scarlett O'Hara dress 1

Ellie also made the whole outfit in a couple of days which is very impressive, re-purposing a charity shop wedding dress, a piece of lace and an old net curtain as well as lots of flowers from various sources.

Steampunk event Ellie and Kerrie 1

Steampunk event Ellie 1

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Steampunk event Ellie 2

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The parasol was mine. I had bought it to go with my outfit but it looked so good with hers she kept it all day and I have loaned it to her for future outings. I did get it back for my photo shoot.

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Steampunk event Alison 1

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Kerry was wearing her gorgeous black coat, I love this and if she ever wants to get rid of it I am first in line!

Steampunk event Kerrie 1

Steampunk event Kerrie 2

I was very pleased with my ensemble and really touched that so may people who had seen it on the Seamstress Squadron Facebook page stopped to say hello and tell me how much they loved it. They are such lovely people and very inspiring.

I have another post for you with lots more outfits but just wanted to show you the wonderful dancers from The Belly Fusion Dance Collective who we saw perform twice. They all wore tea themed costumes with fantastic head dresses, I think my favourite one was the cake stand one below but they were all amazing.

Steampunk event Costume 31

I also bumped into another sewing enthusiast who had the most brilliant sewing themed hat and she very kindly stopped for lots of photos.As well as all the very creative use of tape measures she had fantastic walking stick made of cotton reels.

Steampunk sewing hat 5

It was all so lovely and inspiring and we also had a great re-enactment show, very wet on Sunday and my tent blew over so everything got very wet but my lovely friends helped out putting it back up and it was not damaged which was a relief.

We had a great day on Monday, doing our usual walk around the area and photo shoots and lots of tournaments and then my angel of a friend Kerry drove me all the way home as I was not walking well after so much time out in the damp.

I have a fairly quiet couple of weeks ahead before term starts again and then I am working every weekend until the end of Oct, just on Saturday but that is going to cut down the creative time somewhat.

I have a new outfit planned for Steampunks in Space at the end of November so I will at least get that cut out before term starts so I have it ready for sewing.

I will be back soon with more costume loveliness, meanwhile take care and thanks for visiting.

 

My vintage tablecloth Steampunk jacket

I first blogged about this jacket in September last year when I cut out the pieces. I was intending to make the jacket earlier in the year but life got in the way as usual and at least I have finished it with 3 days to go before the event and am not going to be hemming anything on the train!

Steampunk linen jacket finished 1

Steampunk linen jacket finished 2

Steampunk linen jacket finished 3

I am so pleased with how it turned out, it is quite different to the original pattern as shown in the photos below but that is deliberate.

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Steampunk butterick-pattern-2

 

The pattern is the Butterick B6305 Victorian Top and drape front skirt and despite it being categorised as very difficult it wasn’t and I would make it again and am possibly going to make a skirt as well in the future.

I ended up not lining it as I didn’t need to and also decided to keep it open rather than doing buttons or any fastening.

 

This is partly as I am very bad at buttonholes and didn’t want to spoil it and also as a fitted jacket does not really suit my shape so I am wearing it open over a blouse that I have.

Steampunk linen jacket finished 5

I also had a little bit of an issue with the sleeves as they were way too big, I cut them down and them they were too small so I had to insert a piece which curves round the sleeve for some reason. I am calling this a design feature 😉

Steampunk linen jacket finished 4

Steampunk linen jacket finished 8

I am so pleased with how it fits and the way that the embroidery shows on all of the pieces. This was three tablecloths originally, one became the front of the jacket, another the back and the sleeves and collar were cut from a third one.

Steampunk linen jacket finished 6

 

Steampunk linen jacket finished 7

Not bad for £12 worth of Ebay tablecloths and a £5 pattern. I actually like it so much that I might wear it outside Steampunk events, I think it would be great for festivals.

I will show you the hat I am wearing with it a later post.I am so pleased to be able to go to the event this year with something really unique and totally me. Last year’s outfit was very much adapted from charity shop finds and things I already had and although I liked it I wanted something more unusual.

Take care and thanks for visiting.