The Seamstress in Progress

The Seamstress in Progress

If you’ve spoken to me at all recently you may have noticed the sudden and intense interest I’ve taken in sewing, dressmaking, card-making, painting and all things creative in general. I’ve made so many things in the past month or so that I decided to a) record what I’d done for posterity and b) share with you all what I’ve been up to.

I’ve named this post so as a little joke, as one of the costumes I’ve been working on recently is a seamstress (a la Discworld/Terry Pratchett) Victoriana corset and bustle skirt outfit for this year’s Hogswatch celebrations in November. Discworld aficionados will know all about the double entendre attached to the word ‘seamstress’. However I can assure any sniggering male Pratchett geeks out there (I *know* who you are) that the type of seamstress I am rapidly becoming is the type which wields a needle, thread and five pound sewing machine. Be warned.

Funnily enough this craft spree started off by pure accident. A few weeks ago I went to a camping convention, Wadfest, which is run and populated by the same Discworld geeks I knock about with down in Wincanton. The weather that weekend was beautiful and as such, me and my pale skin spent a prolonged period of time hiding in a tent. While I was there I found something rather interesting to do. And time consuming. Time consuming!

Newly acquired TARDIS! Messing up the side ^^; Yes! It's Blue!

One of the stalls in the main tent was selling unpainted plaster casts of spaceships and ‘COMPLETELY GENERIC POLICE BOXES’ (made by the awesome Shaun of MythCast) which you could sit down and paint. As you can guess from the number of photographs (courtesy of Loz!), I spent quite a lot of time doing just that. Unfortunately I was too busy organising talent show turns and generally having too much fun to finish the blasted thing. So a purchase of some acrylic paint and a week or so later, this is what I ended up with.


The next project I embarked on is something I’ve been planning for quite a while, and the first part of my costume for Hogswatch. It is pretty traditional for ladies attending the sausage supper at Hogswatch to wear a corset, as apparently Sir Terry is rather fond of ‘ladies who wear their underwear on the outside’. I’ve never worn one before but decided to join in this year. Being me, I never do anything by halves and so I wanted the whole caboodle – long flowing gathered skirts, lace, velvet, satin, a HUGE bustle… and so, I decided to make a bustle skirt to go on top of it all.

I used a wonderful tutorial I found on Corrine Leigh’s new Youtube channel Craftovision to make my skirt, and I used a deep burgundy stretchy velvet with thick black lace. It has three layers and a band wide enough to go round the hips. This project took up a lot of ‘quality’ time with my sewing machine but in the end I was triumphant! Although this is intended to be a skirt, it also makes a GREAT cape and I can foresee having a lot of difficulty deciding how to wear it.

Bustle skirt/cape

Close up of shoulder

In just over a week’s time I’m heading down south again for my amazing friend Kris’s 60th birthday party. The theme is ‘fantasy’ and as such, I decided to go as a hobbit! I’m really excited about this, being such a Tolkien fan, and as I quite see myself as a hobbit this is probably about time. I bought myself some latex pointy ears for the upcoming LARP season, and while I’m still waiting for the vast majority of my costume to arrive I distracted myself with creating a flower wreath headband.

Mine was made with copper craft wire twisted around/with fake ivy which I found at the not-so-local craft mecca in Washington. My mum spotted some fake lavender which I tucked in at intervals, and tied some light green ribbon remnants at intervals, partly to keep the lavender in place and partly to keep the larger leaves tamed. I finished it off with a long matching ribbon at the back to fasten the band in place, which makes it fully adjustable!

Flower wreath headband

Last Sunday I found out that a family friend was selling prints of her paintings and other goodies on a stall at church to raise money for her sister’s sponsored trip to the foot of Everest, a charity event which will fund the building of a new school in Nepal and fill it with books. I was particularly inspired by this and decided to make a contribution of my own to the stall. As I’d been considering making my own pincushion I hit on the idea of making lots of little ones from different fabrics and ribbon I have lying around. I made fifteen in all over the last two days (and managed to completely rid myself of all my synthetic filling, oops).

The dining room table, looking like a bomb hit it

Finished pincushions

Once I’d finished with the other pincushions, I set out to make my own. I’ve been wondering for a while what kind of shape to make my pincushion, as I wanted to make something special to me. I hit on the idea of using one of the iron on patches I got back when I was putting together my Rimmer costume for Wadfest. Found on eBay, they’re not particularly cheap but are really good quality. I chose a Ravenclaw patch, black brocade and black velveteen (left over from last Hogswatch’s witch hat) and some of the lovely bead trim I collected when I went shopping for the fabric for my bustle skirt. The bead trim made it very difficult to sew on my machine – and the end result was rather bigger than I had originally planned! – but I am over the moon with the result and love it to bits.

House pride!

Gorgeous bead trim

There is one more craft project which has taken up a lot of my time this month… but for reasons which will sooner or later become apparent, I’m keeping it under wraps for now 😉

Next on my list… matching burgundy velvet spats for my black high-heeled boots. I’m also hoping to make a start on a mask, again for Hogswatch, as this year’s theme is Mardi Gras! I have visions of feathers, lace, red velvet, red and gold silky swirls and perhaps a hint of steampunk… but that’s all to come!


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