Normal, Internet-Normal and not bothered about the difference.

July 10, 2013
by kat

Vivi the Black Mage – 90% complete

At least one piece of the Vivi costume is con-ready! It isn’t perfect, and there is still tweaking that we’d like to do, but they it’s wearable.

The coat is built from Simplicity 2333, view A, with alterations to the skirt panels to change the closures and create swallowtail panels in the back. Both the blue and cream sections are sewn out of a bottomweight cotton (twill, I think?) – fairly heavy and good at holding its shape. I sewed the bodice and its lining per the instructions, but the skirt panels were lined individually and then attached to the bodice.

Since the photos below were taken, cuff trim and grommets were attached by my husband, who is also sewing gold trim down the front edges. We’re going to add a fake pocket flap to hide some minor puckering at one of the front bodice seams, likely in the same cream as the cuffs and back panels.

I started working on this jacket in February – so it’s nice to have this piece done!

April 23, 2013
by kat

Ground floor: ladies’ clothes, sportswear, stationery
First floor: kitchenware, furnishings, confectionary
Second floor: children’s toys, back to school, many more
Fourth floor: electronics, fake antiques, and lingerie

Bustle Pad - Back

January 27, 2013
by kat

Historical Sewing Challenge #2 – Unfinished Objects

For those just tuning in, I’m participating in many of the challenges for the Historical Sew Fornightly group. This is goading me to continue progress on all the things that need to be sewn between now and the Summer/Fall Con season!

Challenge #2 was to take care of all of those Unfinished Objects that just seem to collect – either on your list of things to-do or piles of half-sewn projects.

The Dreamstress noted that you could do any of the following and still have it count:

  1. Finish an object languishing about
  2. Finish an idea rattling around
  3. Start a new UFO (I KNOW!)

I decided to combine #1 and #2, and then work on #3, with a bustle pad (essential for a properly prominent bustle, when not using a cage) and some good progress on the Vivi Coat.

For the bustle pad, I had scrap fabric from a previous pillow project, some extra batting, ribbon and a pattern from Simplicity 1819 (the source pattern for my White Mage bolero and overskirt). It went together quite quickly with machine and hand sewing, although I did manage to get my hook on backwards.

Bustle Pad – Project Details

  • Status: Complete, unless I decide to turn that hook around.
  • Fabric: Cotton poly blend upholstery fabric, with embroidered bees and dragonflies (LOVE).
  • Pattern: Simplicity 1819
  • Decade: Bustle-era – I don’t know enough yet to be more specific!
  • Notions: Polyester thread, white twill tape, polyester batting, steel hook and bar
  • How historically accurate is it?: bustle pads are a thing, but there seem to be a lot of variations. This pattern is almost like a tiny bum roll, with enough shaping on the bottom to go out to the back instead of out all around. (This makes more sense if you can see my hand gestures!)
  • Hours to complete: 1.5, most of which was stuffing it and re-folding the other pattern pieces.
  • First worn: Around the house, to the amusement of my husband. I tried to get it on the dog for the purposes of pictures, but she was unamused.
  • Total cost: $0 – all of the items are counted in the cost of some other projects!


The Vivi Jacket

This is going to be an item that you’ll see pop up on this blog often between now and Dragon*Con. It is my first piece of menswear, and my most ambitious set of custom alterations to a standard pattern. We’re altering the coat from Simplicity 2333 to make it look like a steampunk version of Vivi’s coat from Final Fantasy IX.

I’ve made a muslin, using View B of the pattern. Our next step is altering the back coat pieces of View A to make them curve into an ankle-length swallowail, with a blue strap across the lower back. This isn’t visible in the Vivi picture to the right – but you can see it in-game and on our many plush Vivi dolls.

I’ll alter the front closure and lapels to overlap, fastened with large brass grommets and cording, and extend the collar so that it ends at the cheekbones, instead of folding over.

We’ve purchased all of the fabrics and notions – I just need to make a new muslin for the back tails and collar, then cut everything out. Holding my breath the whole time, no doubt!

The bustle pad pictures and some shots of the muslin are below!


December 31, 2012
by kat

Historical Sewing Challenge #0

I’ve signed up for the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge, started by the dedicated and talented Dreamstress. I’d like to have a good basic steampunk wardrobe, as well as finish all of the pieces for our Dragon*Con costumes with time to spare, so I’m using the challenge as inspiration and impetus.

For the pre-challenge Challenge, I decided to start very simple – with some drawers! Two tubes and a waistband, right? What could go wrong?

Remember - Iron your britches before you take photos of them!Project Details

  • Status: 90% complete! I need to ruffle, hem and/or decorate the legs, then put in some new ribbon for the waist ties.
  • Fabric: Sateen Cotton Solid – White. (with a 40% off coupon and a gift card – yay Xmas!)
  • Pattern: Simplicity 9769 – Civil War Drawers, Chemise and Corset
  • Decade: 1860’s
  • Notions: Polyester thread (purchased, as I was out of white thread!). Red satin ribbon for cuff embellishments – unused.
  • How historically accurate is it?: The pattern is fairly accurate, from what I’ve seen. I’ve kept the open crotch as I anticipate wearing this under a lot of petticoats and I think it will be a necessity for calls of nature.
  • Hours to complete: 4, split across 2 days, but I would say I’m only 90% done.
  • First worn: ????
  • Total cost: $10, but I might spend some more to make it fancy!

Lessons Learned

  1. Check all of your materials – including your trim – before starting a project. Threading the ribbon into the casing right before you have to get ready for a house party is not the time to discover that the ribbon is disintegrating.
  2. Use fabric with an obvious Right-Side and Wrong-Side, or figure out how to keep that straight when sewing up pattern pieces. One of those legs is inside out.
  3. Always read (and re-read, if it has been a few months) your sewing machine manual. I remembered to do that this time and I was much more comfortable with the machine sewing portions than I had been on some previous projects.
  4. Remember: hand-sewing never takes as long as you think it will, and pressing and hemming will take 2x the time you’ve allotted.
  5. You’re not going to be perfect at something the first time you try it! This was true with knitting and is true with sewing (maybe even more true!). Remember this next time you get mad at a flat-felled seam that just won’t work out!  The seams did, eventually, both work out. Which was why I was more amused than annoyed when I realized that I’d have to sew one of my legs on inside-out. At least I got to show off that seam!


December 11, 2012
by kat

“I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led. And through the air. I am he that walks unseen. I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number. I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water. I came from the end of bag, but no bag went over me. I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ring-winner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider.”

October 16, 2012
by kat

Songs for being stuck inside

  1. Cloisonné (live studio version) – They Might Be Giants
  2. Take the Skinheads Bowling – Camper Van Beethoven
  3. Girl U Want (Black Light Odyssey Mix) – Devo
  4. Girl Anachronism – The Dresden Dolls
  5. Promise – Violent Femmes
  6. Jockey Full of Bourbon – Tom Waits
  7. Planet of Sound – Pixies
  8. Sad Songs and Waltzes – Cake
  9. Mirror People – Love and Rockets
  10. Somebody’s Calling Me – LCD Soundsystem
  11. The Union Forever – The White Stripes
  12. Tuff Ghost – Unicorns
  13. Cactus – Pixies
  14. Singapore – Tom Waits
  15. Prove My Love – Violent Femmes
  16. Old Pine Box – They Might Be Giants
  17. Pay No Mind (Snoozer) – Beck
  18. Motion Sickness – Hot Chip
  19. Open Book – Cake

October 3, 2012
by kat

Change your location and inspire yourself!

Over the past year or so, I’ve been slowly knitting my way through The Manly Sweater for Mr Pinkeyes. When I’m at home, I almost exclusively knit in front of the tv, working my way through my Netflix queue. (Un)fortunately, Mists of Pandaria has been so much fun that the tv has been left to collect dust, so I’ve had to come up with another way of keeping myself motivated.


Enter Lovecrafters at Davenport & Winkleperry‘s, a weekly crafting event that I’ve been trying to make it to for weeks now. I finally went last night and I highly enjoyed it! I finished 7 whole rows on the front of the sweater, along with a delicious mug of lapsang souchang tea, and made some new friends while I was there. I definitely intend to go back on the regular – even if I can’t make it every week.

Manly Sweater Update

  • Back
  • Sleeve 1
  • Front – In progress
  • Sleeve 2
  • Blocking
  • Assembly
  • Modeling

You can follow my progress on Ravelry at http://www.ravelry.com/people/katmandu