Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Spring! (Albeit a few days late)

     Well, it's that time of year again. The flowers are popping out of the ground, the sun is coming out, and the coats are being banished to the closets. 

     I meant to write this post on the first day of Spring, but I didn't have the time. Oliver Twist is in full swing now, with our first performance being this Thursday. It would be an understatement to say it's been hectic, but I've loved every moment of it! Some of these pictures are from the twentieth though, so feel the first day of Spring seeping through when you look at them :)

     Because I was hurrying to finish up my projects for the show (if you recall, I did some of the sewing to help our lovely seamstress, Debbie), I didn't get any pictures during construction. I will hopefully be able to get some pictures this evening to share with you. 

     I did get this picture of my apron though (my character is Miss Rose's maid, Nelly). I finished it Saturday after starting it the evening before. I would have finished Friday, but I began to feel sick. So, it was a very quick project.

     I didn't use a pattern; aprons are so simple that it really isn't necessary. It's construction is purely rectangles. The fabric I had was a nice, medium weight white fabric with a good texture (which thrills me no end!). It was remnants, so I didn't have the full width of it. It was probably leftovers from a cut up sheet or tablecloth, since some of the edges were hemmed and there were tags still on it. I used the hems to my advantage. 
    The length of the remnant was perfect for the skirt, so I tore it about twice as wide as I wanted the end result, and then gathered it to 21.5". The bottom edge was already hemmed, so I just did a quick roll hem on the sides. Next I tore a rectangle the length of the fabric and a little more than twice the width I wanted the waistband to be (I eyeballed most of this). I then found the center of the skirt and the waistband and matched them up, so that the ties would be even on both sides. I sewed them right sides together, then turned the waistband, folding under the long edge, and put it on the other side of the skirt, so that it completely encased the raw edge of the skirt (at the top). Then I topstitched through all five layers (waistband and fold for seam, skirt, waistband and fold for seam). 

     For the ties, I ironed under the seam allowance (already there because of sewing it to the skirt) and also ironed under the ends. Then I top stitched along these folds. If I had been wanting this done really well (and period accurate) I would have slipstitched all of these seams, instead of topstitching; but for this performance, it isn't very important. 
     I then tore a rectangle for the bib. I did it longer than necessary, so that I could adjust it later, and I cut it wide so that the lace on my dress could be displayed. I did a roll hem (the best kind in my opinion, especially for this kind of project) on all but the top edge (which was still too long). I layed it right side to wrong side on the waistband and sewed it in place; I basically placed it on the skirt so that it looked like I wanted it to in the end and topstitched (again).
     All that was left at this point was to shorten and finish the top of the bib and add straps. I tried it on and decided where I wanted the bib to end, and I cut and hemmed it (roll hem). I wanted the straps to attach to the ties, rather than tie behind my neck. I tore them like the waistband, only narrower. I sewed them into tubes, only leaving one end open, so that I could turn them right side out. Before turning them I diagonally clipped the edges, right up to the seam. This ensures a crisp edge. Then I turned them; which can be a nasty job, and I topstitched all the way around. I didn't bother closing the open end though, becuase I still had to measure how long they needed to be. I sewed them in the back; this is important, you can't measure it yourself if the free end goes to the back. Sewing it into the back first means you can measure them in front. I sewed them like I did the bib, to the top of the waistband/ties. I put them just where the skirt ended. Then I was able to draw up the straps to the front, and make them the proper tightness. And voila, I have an apron! 

     I finally made it to the store, hello beautiful produce! And can I just say that smoked Gouda is heavenly?

     I found this sweatshirt at Wet Seal, and I couldn't resist. Cruella is my favorite Disney Villain, and there she was on a sweatshirt hanging on the ceiling. I was hooked. And it was a wonderful surprise when she was $15 instead of $25. I am not wearing a stitch of home sewn or vintage clothing, but I don't even care. The white skirt is my celebration of Spring and the freedom to wear white again. I got this skirt just after Labor Day, and it has been taunting me in my closet all this time. 
     Just one more thing. When I was sixteen, I dyed my hair black, and maintained it for over a year. My family vacationed in Italy, and it was the first time I was able to look in the mirror and think I was pretty (I had a dreadfully awkward puberty). So, I just dyed my hair black again. I think that it will forever be connected with feeling pretty in my mind. It's good to be able to go back to such a turning point in my life. 
Lots of love!

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