Posts tagged How-to
by Jason Downing
On April 15th, MNSOC ran a Tricorn Workshop taught by the wonderful and talented Carol Strand. While the turnout for this class wasn’t as large as Carol’s previous Tiny Hat class, a good time was had by all who attended and there were some excellent results from first-time hat makers! Your fearless Treasurer (that’s me!) was in attendance for photo taking and what appears to be his new penchant, entertaining the class with high-quality multimedia presentations. By which of course I mean that I played some grainy YouTube videos on my iPhone that amused everyone quite a bit. Even a pirate-y song!
But enough about my hijinks – on to the tricorn and potatoes. Here are a couple samples of the pictures from the class:
It was amazing – in the moment that the shutter fired, the world turned a lovely shade of sepia!
The classy ladies of the tricorn workshop!
There’s more, too! Eighteen more, in fact, over at the MNSOC Flickr feed. Did you all know we had a Flickr feed? I bet you didn’t! Photos from classes and other events will generally be posted there within a week or so of the event. Key word, “generally” – I’m about four days late on this one. You may lash me with a wet noodle for my horrible transgressions at your convenience.
To go straight to the Tricorn workshop set, click here.
We’ll be finalizing our class schedule for the latter half of 2012 soon and hope to see both members and non-members alike! Remember that MNSOC members receive discounted registration for all classes. You ARE a member, aren’t you? Aren’t you? No? Then go here to see all the reasons that you should be!
As part of our mission, Minnesota Society of Costumers holds regular classes for the benefit of both its members and the general public. Paid members of MNSOC receive discounted registration fees for classes – typically, $3-5 less than the non-member rate. Our classes cover a wide variety of subjects, from creating a duct tape dummy (aka dressform-on-the-cheap), corsetry and our upcoming tricorn making class.
MNSOC relies on your support in order to provide classes and we generally require at least 5 registrations on file at least 1 week prior to the class to ensure that we can run the class as planned. Unfortunately, with less than 5, it is not cost-effective to run the classes due the rental and in some cases, instructor fees.
A listing of all current classes will always be located at http://mn-soc.org/events/classes/ and you can sign up for the class right from the page!
The duct tape dummy class in January was a great time and we had a great turnout. Many dummies were created that day, including a “lovely” camouflage one for one of our board members. In this photo, a pair of MNSOC members are beginning the process of covering the neck. Laura Ulak supervises to make sure that any nefarious uses for plastic wrap are not implemented!
In February, Laura Ulak lead a lecture-style class on corsetry and a demonstration of 18th century draping on women’s gowns.
Our next class is a hands-on tricorn workshop lead by Carol Strand on April 15th at the Textile Center in Minneapolis. At the time of this writing, 4 additional pre-registrations are required in order for this class to be run. Our Tiny Hat class last year was a huge success and we’re hoping to repeat it with this workshop. While the Renaissance Festival is still a few months away, there are a number of events (MNSOC or otherwise) on the horizon for which a tricorn would be at the height of fashion.
Plus, they’re cool, just like bow ties.
by Erin Schneider
Last week, I logged on to the Minnesota Society of Costumers brand-spankin’ new website to register for the Forums Page. Fortunately for everyone, I took notes on my experience, and I am here today to share them with you. Enjoy with a smile.
(Note – remember, you do NOT have to be a paid member of MNSOC to use the forums. However, if you are not a paid member, you will not have access to the Paid Members Only section. You will have access to everything else.)
Step one: Go to mn-soc.org.
Step two: Click on the Forums tab. It’s at the top of the page with all the other tabs.
Step three: Click on REGISTER in the lower, left-corner of the page.
Step four: Click on the button that says you agree to our terms. Resistance is futile.
Step five: Create a user name and password. Helpful Tip – make sure these are something you can readily remember for more than five seconds.
Step six: After you’ve clicked on the button that sends in your user name and password, you will receive an email. It will go to the email address you’ve chosen to associate with said user name and password. If you are a paid member, please use the email you used when you registered as a member. Go now to that email.
Step seven: An email will be waiting for you, welcoming you to the MNSoC Forums. Awwww. And you thought computers didn’t have feelings…
Step eight: YOU MUST ACTIVATE YOUR ACCOUNT. The email will tell you to “visit the following link to activate your account.” Click on that link. Resistance is still futile.
Step nine: Save the welcome email so you have a copy of your user name, just in case you forget it. If you are a Paid Member you will be added to the Paid Member Only forum within 1-2 days of registering.
Step ten: Go back to mn-soc.org and, once again, click on the Forums tab.
Step eleven: Log in at the bottom of the page.
Step twelve: Forum away until your foruming heart is content.
Step thirteen: There is no step thirteen.
See? Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy. And if you have any problems or questions, please don’t bring them to me. That’s what our Web Mistress is for. (Or anyone on the Contact Us page, really.)
by Chelsey Barnes
I bet you’re just dying to know how that Steampunk Circus costume turned out, aren’t you?
Well, I would have to say that, despite some minor setbacks, it was an outstanding success. Here’s how it went down (bear with me… I am not proud of how I photograph, and will share the goofy picture so it appears that I look dumb in pictures on purpose):
Let’s start with the stuff I didn’t make, shall we? First, there is the totally rad black and white striped button up shirt, found at a thrift store by a friend, and immediately snatched up by me because it was perfect. Then I found the black and white striped tights on clearance (I assume, since they are not on the website, and I don’t pay full price for anything) at my local neighborhood Hot Topic. But really, you can get striped tights just about anywhere; though, unless they are in a sealed package, I’d recommend staying away from any at a thrift store. Lastly, the shoes were another thrifted item, again found by a friend, and pretty much a staple of all of my steampunk costumes. A bit of advice: If you’re like me and lack the thrifting fu (or, perhaps, the thrifting patience), always go with a friend. Luckily, my friends have amazing thrifting fu.
Moving on, I’ll show you something I didn’t make, but did alter.
I truly have the world’s greatest daddy. I’m sure 30 years ago when my dad was–I kid you not–a chimney sweep, he wasn’t thinking, “Gee, I’d better hang onto this top hat because someday I’m going to have a daughter that’s into costuming,” but it’s sure come in handy. I cut a piece of my corset fabric as long as the circumference of the hat and about an inch shorter. It’s vinyl, so it doesn’t fray, so I didn’t hem the top and bottom. I did fold the sides in about 3/4″ in order to give stability behind the grommets. A few black grommets and a length of black satin ribbon, and the hat was all set. I would also like to thank genetics for having the same freakishly small head as my dad, because no one can steal my hat. *mwah ha ha ha ha ha ha*
Okay, so what kind of real sewing did I do? Plenty. And I managed to con a friend into helping, in order to keep my mental breakdown to a minimum.
The corselet is the “tall” version of this Truly Victorian pattern. Honestly, it’s one of the easiest patterns I’ve ever used. Ever. I need to make like 900 more of these, because not only are the easy, they’re amazingly comfortable. The fabric is a custom order “Signature” vinyl from Jo-Ann Fabrics. It’s not on their website, sorry. It’s lined with muslin and duck cloth. The boning is the Wench Posse standard: cable ties.
The black sticking out is a petticoat roughly following these instructions at Sugardale. My dearest friend in the whole wide world (who kept working on this even after I accidentally stole her fortune cookie) did 99% of the work on this, gathering up and layering 4 yard, 6 yard, and 8 yard lengths of polyester lining fabric.
The skirt is a decadent 100% silk that I got for some ridiculous clearance price like $2.50/yd. Go ahead. I’ll give you a moment to curse me for snatching up super-cheap silk before you could. Better? Let’s move on. The skirt was not supposed to be that particular skirt. That skirt was born at the 11th hour. The, let’s say, 5th hour skirt was a red/black two-tone taffeta with black lace on top. Problem 1: It was way too heavy. It made this teapot (short and stout) look horrible. Problem 2: the layers were a pain to work with, mostly by my own fault. So I scrapped that, took my silk and cut two lengths selvedge to selvedge. I sewed those together up one set of selvedges and gathered them onto a waistband. An invisible zipper later, I was sewing up the other set of selvedges. I did a rolled hem on my serger to get myself out of actually hemming.
The next step is to work on accessories. Which is, admittedly, my weak spot. I certainly welcome suggestions, but I do know I will be including a pocket watch and little photos of ferrets.
…to be continued…
by Erin Schneider
Consider the corset. It is wardrobe staple for so many costuming genres, from burlesque to Steampunk, from Renaissance to 18th Century. And there are a variety of corsets/stays/what-have-yous to get the job done. However, to me there can be only one corset – the Elizabethan corset, as created by The Elizabethan Corset Generator.
I first learned of the ECG from my costuming mentor, Laura Ulak. We were interested in making more elaborate costumes for the MN Renaissance Festival, and Laura was constructing her first court gown. She needed a corset, and the ECG provided an easy-to-use pattern and instructions.
Whenever Laura finds something cool and user-friendly, she passes on the information to any and all who can benefit. At her recommendation, I jumped on the corseting bandwagon and made my first corset:
As our costuming knowledge grew, Laura determined we should now make, per the ECG, corsets with tabs. Why? Because they are 1000% more comfortable than corsets without tabs. So off to the Generator we went, and I made this:
The only downside of the tabbed corset? It requires the tabs to be hand-bound. Therefore, I hand-stitched around each and every tab:
Look at those tiny stitches! I felt like Mary Ingalls.
You would think, with my new corset all nice and pretty and well-fitting, I was done with the ECG. And you would be wrong. Because next came the 6 Wives Project… which is a story for another time. Suffice to say, we (Laura and I) needed more corsets – one for every female member of our costumed group, which numbered in the double digits. So hi-ho, hi-ho, it was back to the ECG I go-ed.
I ended up making 15 more corsets the summer of 2009. No, that’s not a typo. I slowed down last year, making just three corsets (and conferring on two more) in 2010. This year, I plan to make only one corset – and it may be my last. Along the way, Laura and I came up with a few tips and tweaks to the ECG. We hope you find them useful.
1. You do not need to hand-stitch the tabs. Simply add a ½ seam allowance to the tabs, sew them inside-out, clip the edges, turn the corset right-side out and press flat. Once you’ve boned the corset, stitch down the binding at the top edge, using your sewing machine. Voila! No hand-stitching!
2. The Generator tends to add too much fabric to the bust. Make the pattern, cut out a muslin, and test it on your body. You should have an even gap in the back between the two edges of at least 4 inches.
3. If you don’t want your corset to stretch out of shape, don’t use canvas material. If you want your corset to be breathable, use cotton material.
4. Metal boning is fabulous, for sure. But a cheaper, easier-to-procure, easier-to-trim material? Cable ties from the hardware store. We use the super-heavy-duty ties.
5. While you’re at the hardware store, pick up a pair of clippers than can cut through the ties.
6. We use a grommeter to punch in metal grommets for the lacing. If you want to make hand-bound eyelets to lace your corset, have at it. Personally, I hate hand-sewing, and avoid it like Ye Olde Plague.
7. For affordable laces that are easy to find, use shoelaces. IT’S UNDERWEAR. NO ONE IS GOING TO SEE YOUR PRETTY LACES.
8. For maximum cleavage, use a “corset mouse,” aka boob cups. I sewed in a pair of cut-to-size cups from JoAnn Fabric to my corset, and now my boobs stay front and center. Which, to me, is the whole point of wearing a corset.