Sunday, December 11, 2011

sewing goodies for an amateur seamstress

This afternoon I braved the nightmare that tends to be McKnight Road (just north of the city) to have a Robert Griffing print custom framed at JoAnn Fabrics today.  The print had been sitting in my apartment for over four months, safe in its cardboard wrapping, but sadly not displayed for the world to see in all of its macabre glory:

"The Victory Coat" by Robert Griffing
This Eastern Woodland Native American is trying on the dead enemy's coat for size. 
When I arrived at the chain fabric and craft store I realized that I had left the print in my apartment, totally defeating the goal of my excursion.  Irritated, I went inside anyway, as I had also planned to look at some fabric for a potential sewing project.

Unbeknowst to me, JoAnn's was having an amazing Super Sale weekend.  I ended up getting three yards of this beautiful brocade material for under $18.00.  The goal?  To make my own corset, with the help of Ruth, one of my new steampunk friends:

The mostly blue side is the predominant color.
I just thought the other side was too pretty to not show.
Then I decided to look through the patterns, even though I was pretty sure that I wouldn't find anything relating to my personal steampunk and neo-Victorian needs.  I was wrong.  This Simplicity pattern set for a Victorian jacket, skirt, and bustle,  was on sale for $1.99.  That's a steal compared to its original sale price of $17.99:

Don't expect any of my attempts at sewing corsets or skirts to pop up on the blog for a while.  For one, I don't yet have possession of a sewing machine.  I am waiting to see if Santa brought anything (Despite being full-fledged adults, he still leaves myself and my twin sister and older sister rather rather generous pile of gifts each year, the same size pile as my high-school-aged youngest sister.  My parents claim that that will happen until I am married.  So... don't get married, and keep getting awesome gifts from Santa?)

Other hindrances to posting any new hand-made costumes will  be the amount of time I can commit to these projects, patience, and my damn obsession with perfectionism, although I will try my hardest to record my failures as well as my successes.  I am the type who would rather buy an item than make it if I think it's worth the money I spend for the time I will save in not doing it.  But I have recently joined a "Stitch 'n Bitch" group run by Ruth, where we can sew and discuss steampunky and not-so-steampunky things, so having a project to do at these things other than my current project of sewing clockwork onto a flannel bag would be nice, and make me feel good about creating something with my own hands.

I am better at building props, so expect a tutorial on making a "clockwork doll" costume later this week.  That costume is currently in the works, much to the annoyance of one of my neighbors, who just confronted me in the back alley of our apartment building over the smell of the spray paint I am using to make a life-size cardboard clock key more metallic in appearance.

(As an aside, after making these purchases I went back home, retrieved the forgotten print, and returned to JoAnn Fabrics, where I was treated to another 50% off of my custom frame job.  I am currently in love with this store. )


  1. I love that picture, he is an awesome artist. My family met him a couple of times at historical reinactment events and bought a book of his artwork as a gift for a friend who collects his pieces, certainly a great addition to any collection! That fabric also is gorgeous!

  2. What gorgeous fabric! And that pattern, for $2!?!? I can't wait to see what you do with them.

  3. @ Snowhyte- Now I am curious to know where you live, as Griffing is considered to be a renowned local artist here in the Pittsburgh area. That, and he's often at local historical reenactments. My "Victory Coat" print was signed by him at Bushy Run Battlefield this past August.

  4. I do not live in Pennsylvania though I do have relatives there. I also have relatives where it was that we were able to see him/his work. The particular time I have in mind (not sure of the year?) was at the Kalamazoo Living History show in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I have relatives there who go regularly and I have been able to attend a couple times over the years though unfortunately its been a while... :)