Auspicious Beginnings

Ah! After so many months of gathering/cutting/dying/cutting some more, I've finally begun to actually make up the braids for the braid coat. Seeing the work starting to pay off is very exciting. The 'double-ended' strips will be the shoulders of the coat, I figured that would be a bit more elegant (and less bulky) than trying to butt two up end-to-end at the shoulder seam. The three 'one-sided' strips in between are the back neck area. The four in front will be the front neck/closure flap area. 

The top row is flipped over to the 'outside' The wool is turning out sort of dimensional (probably because it's difficult to steam/press down) which I don't mind. I'm holding off doing the sleeves until I see how much fabric I'm using up as I go, but it looks like I may have wayyy over-estimated. Still, it's better than not-enough. 
In teaching news, I am teaching the evening "Experimental Costume" elective for highschoolers this summer. Unfortunately the class was cut down from 3 nights a week to 2. I understand why, the poor kids were exhausted last year, but I've had to change up my curriculum to suit only 8 3-hour class periods. It sounds like a lot, but remember I have to devote a whole class to learning how to dye and how to use the machines. So I think I'm going to do a riff on my pattern alteration/thrift remix projects, I'm calling it: Uniform/Custom-I'm making up a jumpsuit sort thing for each kid, and then I'll show them how to add and remove volume, do dyework, add zippers, ect. Anyway in order to do it, I had to make up a loose, basic jumpsuit pattern, which I bodged up from some shorts and a big button-up.
Gotta say I was expecting problems with the shortie bottoms but I think it actually worked out pretty well. It's big and boxy to give them room to play around with pleating or gathering. I'll probably do it as full pants so they can cut them off where-ever they like, same with the sleeves. Can't decide if I should leave the center-front seam open (so they can get inside) or just not connect the top and the bottom before I give it to them (that would leave it open to have a possible skirt bottom too. 

Yep, clearly made with the leftover fabric from my last few projects. I need to decide what I'm actually going to make them with, I have muslin from the pattern-alteration project, but it's sort of wimpy. I'd love to do it with silk broadcloth because it would dye so well, but that would be pricey. Maybe a light-weight cotton twill? Gotta start shopping for that. 

And here's a little drawing dump: 
Mariah, doodling out the outfit altogether.

Page of shirt inspiration, well, you've already seen the top-left one come into being. 
And yeah I like the Avengers. Watch this blog for a big weird dorky post (like my Star Wars one) about the costuming at some point. I was just tickled pink that Loki and Thor's sweet mystical/futuristic outfits had boots with sneakery soles on them, don't know why.

Stripping, Piecing

So the colorwash shirt is pretty much finished! The only snag is, because of the fact that the button placket in the front is so pieces, I don't really want to try and do button holes through it. So I'm waiting on ordering some pearl snaps to use instead. I think it'll give the shirt a neat western look. 

Cutting the dark strips now for the braid jacket. I really need to get a move-on with this, I knew it would be a long term project, but it's starting to get ridiculous. Hoping to get a few more middle shades dyed this weekend and then, finallllly start putting the braids together. 

Four more Dear Jane blocks! C-8 to C-11. Nothing too tricky with this group, thankfully.

And because I was having trouble picking the colors for each block as I go, I jury-rigged a design wall so I could see the whole thing. It's just a wonderfully obnoxious as I had hoped! Also a good motivator to keep working on them. 


Recently I've been sort of entranced by colorwash or watercolor quilting. It seems to have largely fallen out of favor, and definitely has a very 90's vibe to it--it's almost cheesy? It walks the line, that's for sure, but that's what I like about it.

Anyway, it takes a lot of different bits of floral fabrics in different values and colors to work, something I didn't have. I put out a request for scraps on a quilting group, and some lovely ladies sent/are sending boxes of scraps and squares for very reasonable prices. And so I'm playing around.
One lady sent me what was originally a quilt kit--it was all 2" squares. So I got them organized from light to dark. 

And I wanted to work small, so I cut them in four, giving me 1" squares. Let me tell you, 1" squares are difficult to work with, very fiddly. But I finally got the hang of chain piecing them together, and started making a gradient. Well the strip I made was just about the right size for a shirt collar...and is all spiraled out from there. 
From top to bottom: collar, button placket, two cuffs, and a braid trim for a pocket. 

The collar that started it off. The blue-and-white stripe on the backside will  be the body of the shirt. I'm going to keep the rest of the shirt very simple, no piping or detail or anything. 
Tried out a little bit of braid-piecing to trim the collar. The pieces were 3/4" I quite like the effect, I might try to make a tie this way.