On a Better Note…

My last entry about my fiddle frustrations probably seemed pretty down.  Fortunately, I’m in a little better mood since I’ve been ignoring the fiddle for a couple weeks or so, focusing on sewing my stays.

The stays have been a little source of concern for me as well.  I created my own pattern based off one in a book.   I of course had to make things difficult by changing the design slightly instead of copying it completely.  This was my first time making something like this — I’ve never even worn stays, so I wasn’t completely sure how the fit should be.  I have made a corset from a pattern, so I thought it would be worth a try making one on my own instead of buying a pattern.  Plus, I had a book with some patterns in it and there’s always information on the Internet.  I’ve been piecing together patterns based off of information, without a pattern (like my shift and cap, and Christopher’s shirt), but this is the first foundation garment of this type I’ve ever made.

Except for a few changes in sizing and length, the first version of the pattern actually turned out better than I expected.  There were (and still are) a few spots I’m not happy with, but I’ll see how the final stays turn out and possibly make more changes for the next one down the line.  I’m not sure if the fit will be just right, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

I’m in the process of sewing the boning channels and cutting and inserting the boning.  I’ve been nervous about dealing with the tabs on four of the panels, and I wasn’t pleased with how skinny my design’s tabs were.  The stays I based mine from have several tabs, and although it was difficult to see what size the original’s tabs were, they seemed somewhat skinny as well.  Unfortunately, I think mine were too skinny.  I got to a point Saturday, where I had to stop sewing and make a big decision: figure out how to make the boning fit the current tab design, or remove one of the tabs on each of the four panels to make each tab a little wider to match up with what I hoped to do with the boning channels.  When I first started working on the pattern, I didn’t even have any boning handy to figure out how much space per channel they would need, so I didn’t make a layout to double-check my design.  I’d been nervous to mess with the tabs, even though I knew what I wanted to do — I just wasn’t sure it would work.  It wasn’t going to.  So I nervously decided to redesign the tabs and see if that would work instead.  I couldn’t believe it — my first redesign worked perfectly for both panels!  I tried it on the other two panels, not expecting to have it go as smoothly, but it did!  Although I drew white lines on the fabric with a dressmaker’s pencil, they’re still subtle and should clean off easily.  I have to admit, with the lines drawn on I also feel more confident sewing the channels on those panels, even with the tabs.

Having the quick, on-the-spot redesign (I had already started sewing the channels on one of the panels before I made my realization) work out so smoothly gave me a boost of much-needed confidence.  I think this week’s sewing will be fun and relaxing for the most part.  Until I get to all the hand-sewing, like binding the edges, that is!

Next time, I know to make a layout for a better idea of how to fit the boning into my pattern, since I now know what to expect from the boning I am working with.  I also ended that evening on another good note:  When my husband was making us some well-earned martinis, I played a couple songs on my fiddle.  They weren’t fancy with ornamentation, or perfectly played.  They weren’t the hard songs that had frustrated me before, but songs I’ve played a lot and are favorites.  No one but my husband heard me play — but it was fun and I enjoyed it.  I didn’t push myself and learn anything new on the fiddle, but I have learned that I can push myself when I need or want to for certain things like sewing… maybe I’m just not ready for some of the things I tried to do on the fiddle.

About Cynthia Griffith

I have way too many interests and hobbies, and continually cycle through them -- paying attention to some, while others wait for when I can get around to them again. My main interests are sewing and costuming (I enjoy historical clothing, such as 18th and 19th century, as well as fantasy costumes like elves and hopefully someday even dwarves), as well as getting back to art by drawing fan art of Thorin Oakenshield and Company. My husband Christopher and I spend a lot of time together, enjoying the outdoors and shared hobbies such as juggling. This blog and website is my way to share what I'm up to with friends and family.
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6 Responses to On a Better Note…

  1. It’s been a blast watching you working on a more involved sewing project again. The panels for the stays are just really neat!

    And…as far as fiddling…you sounded great last night! 🙂

  2. Thanks, Christopher! I enjoy playing the fiddle for you, especially your favorite songs! 🙂

    Yes, the stays have been interesting. With the work I did on them today, I’m really looking forward to them being finished (for many reasons… the biggest of course is to move on to the next project, ha!). I do think the tabs on the sides overlapping and sticking out a bit is a bummer, but we’ll see what happens when they’re finished and I put the binding on the edges. I don’t think they’ll get in the way too much (hopefully they won’t mess with the pocket hoops), but we’ll see when they’re finished.

  3. Amy McKinney says:

    Hi Cynthia! My goodness I’m glad to see you have a blog and are busy with all sorts of wonderful things. I was just going through some old links and discovered DarthCynthia again and from there, Christopher’s blog, and then discovered your blog. The stays look like they’re going to be gorgeous. Are they silk? (They look silk in the photo.) I’ll make sure and follow your blog; come visit mine from time to time. Take care ok?


  4. Hi Amy! I’m so glad you found me! I really need to get things rolling and update the old site to redirect here. Talk about following a lot of links to find me, ha! I’ve been so slow, but I’m hoping to make some changes with the website in the near future (just trying to decide on a few things before I put too much time into moving files over).

    The fabric was marked as silk taffeta — I found it at Golden D’or in the silk section. I thought it would be perfect for this project. It’s one of those two-color fabrics with a mustard-ish color running one way, and a lovely blue running the other. It shimmers a subtle gold and either a light blue or a light sage green. I’m getting a little closer to finishing them… slowly but surely! 🙂

    Thanks so much! I’ll check your blog out and add it to my reader. Best wishes!

  5. Amy McKinney says:

    Ooh, I love Golden D’Or!! And that silk shop at the end of Perth St, which I visit every chance I get when I go up to DFW. Shot silk has got to be my favorite — luckily it’s used a lot in Civil War era so I can get away with it for Civil War gowns. I adore silks of all kinds. Now that I have a kiddo I’ve had to kind of give up wearing silks at reenactments and stick with cottons and wools, else that little girl will undoubtedly spill or spit something on me and ruin my dress! Ha! I love the 18th cent stuff you’re doing. Are you still doing activities with DFWCG? I joined and then ended up moving away, so it didn’t end up working out. :::sigh:::

  6. Yes! Gotta love shopping in that area. Sadly, I don’t get to go there as often as I’d like. I saw the photos of your little girl on your blog — congratulations! She’s darling 😀 And yeah, I can definitely see how wearing fabrics like that with a kiddo would not be a good idea. I don’t blame you for wearing cottons and wools for now.

    I haven’t done anything with DFWCG since that one Candlelight event you saw photos of. They’re all over the place with costuming, and I want to focus on a few of my favorites for now. For a long time, I couldn’t do any sewing (drove me batty!), so I totally sat out all the events. I’ll probably just pick and choose things I feel like doing/want to make something for, and then there’s another very small private group for 18th century costuming that is trying to get started, so that one will probably be my main focus. What a shame about moving away from the group 🙁 That’s one thing that gets me every time I think about moving somewhere else (I’m so not a fan of summer here — and maybe find relief from allergies)… I don’t think I could handle losing my costuming group and friends 🙁

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