Saturday, June 20, 2015

Green Plaid 1950's Dress

Ah, a new season is beginning, which means I get to pull out my old summer favorites, and contemplate new projects yet to be made. :) I love summer in all its warmth and freedom! No more heavy coats... bare feet all day long! Sunshine and flowers in abundance!

This dress is a summer favorite. I love plaid and I really like green and brown and earth tones.
This was my second ever 1950's dress. I designed it using a few elements of several dresses I'd seen on Pinterest, then I drafted a pattern. It was my first time drafting, and thus just a BIT scary. ;) Fortunately the design was simple and an easy one to draft.

The skirt is a half circle. I matched up the plaid on the center front and back seems so that it would look like a  diamond print. I love all the details that can be made just utilizing plaids or stripes at different angles! It's so much fun to discover all the different ways to take advantage of self trimming with plaids and stripes.

All of the neck and sleeve trim is made from the fabric cut on the bias. I love how the knotted trim idea I found turned out. I'm so glad I decided to go for it! :)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Oldtime Country Dancers!!!

I discovered English Country Dancing in 2008 when we planned and held our "Scottish Festival". We learned a couple of dances, and enjoyed it immensely! The next year, we did the same dances again at our "Medieval Festival", but it wasn't until 2012 when I worked on a movie project called Beyond the Mask that I really took off on English Country and Scottish Country Dancing. The costuming team would often dance in the evenings after our work was done.

Medieval Festival                                                   Beyond the Mask

After I went home, I wanted to find a group to join that did Scottish Country or English Country Dances, but alas!, there weren't any within an hour's drive. For a whole year, I kept wishing to find something, then I got a bright idea... I had friends, why not see if they were interested in learning the dances and start my own group?!!! :) :D I talked to my friends and they thought it was a neat idea, so we started "Dance Class" in my back yard with just enough people to make a "set" of 4 couples. It slowly grew as more of our friends and acquaintances heard about it and decided to give it a try.
Dance Class in the yard

We soon had a new dilemma, winter was coming, and in the wonderful north, that means cold, and snow, LOTS of snow.

See ? ;) Yeah, that's our house...

We started talking about cancelling class for the winter, or finding somewhere indoors to do it. One of the class members suggested that we use a small house on their property that wasn't in use anymore. We held our next class there. It was perfect! We decided it was time to give ourselves a name too, and thus began the Oldtime Country Dancers. :) 6 months after our first dance class we held our first ball. It was a ton of fun!

      Some of the class demonstrating a dance.                              The Duke of Kent's Waltz

                            Calling.                                                                A dance at the ball.                  

The Oldtime Country Dancers New Year's Ball 2014 attendees.

After the ball the number of class members spiked and the space seemed smaller and smaller. The skill levels of the dancers were very different too, so we decided to split the class into a Beginners or Easy Class and Advanced or Hard Class. Each would meet every other week. Some of the more experienced dancers came to both classes, and helped teach the new members to dance. We held our second ball in June of 2014.

Some of the class demonstrating a dance at our "Summer Frolic"

The class has grown a little smaller again as many members have moved on to college, but we're getting new members too. :) Our youngest class member currently is 10 years old, and joined just after our second New Years Ball this January.

The day of the ball dawned grey and threatening. We were worried that we might have to cancel, but decided to carry on.

Most of the class members at the ball (some weren't able to make it)


The Oldtime Country Dancers New Year's Ball 2015 attendees. Pretty good turnout considering the weather!

We demonstrated The Elephant's Stampede for the ball, and a friend caught it on camera for us!

I am so glad I decided to start my own dance classes! We have grown closer as friends, and we've been able to encourage one another and have many adventures together. It's absolutely wonderful to have such a supportive group of friends!  I thank the Lord for them all and for the activities and adventures He has lead me on! I hope to continue teaching Dance Class and holding Balls for many more joyous years to come!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Beyond the Mask!

3 Years ago I traveled to Ohio and Michigan as a costumer for this amazing movie project. I spent 4 months sewing 18th century clothing and even had a chance to be an extra! 

Beyond the Mask sewing!!!

It was my first time ever to leave home for more than one night without my family! I must say, it was a little scary at first, walking alone down a flight of stairs to work all day in a basement with 8 other folks I had just met. But turns out, they were all awesome people, and I enjoyed myself immensely! :)

Costuming team photos, taken at various times throughout the project.

This project was such an adventure! We started sewing production in June of 2012. I spent 2 months in Ohio with 8 other seamstresses and tailors working on extras costumes. We worked all day and then after dinner we would play sports, swim, dance, watch movies. It was fun! We got a lot accomplished and had great conversation and fellowship while we worked! :)
                          Playing Foursquare                                        Epic game of Ultimate Frisbee


There was this super cool climbing tree there... I couldn't resist it. :)

During the last 2 weeks of extras costuming, the well pump blew out in an electrical storm. The entire house went without running water for 3 days! Crazy! We took some time off sewing to diagnose and replace the pump.

Fixin' the pump.

        Piles of extras costumes ready to be packed up.                        Oh! So much cleaner!!!!

 Loading costumes and supplies into the van for transportation.

In August we all shifted to Michigan to aid the Main Characters costuming team. Filming was to start soon and we had to amp up the speed of production. There were 20 of us sewing in 1 small house, and since there wasn't room for everyone to sleep inside, some of us slept in a giant tent outdoors. :) What adventure!
Had to keep track of the coat sleeves SOMEHOW! ;) :P

Music Break! It was fun that many of the other team members were music lovers too!

I learned to load, shoot, and clean an 18th century rifle! One of the perks of knowing the armorer! ;)

Although we had many fun times, we had our obstacles to surmount too... there really wasn´t enough time to sew everything that was needed, and many of us pulled multiple over-nighters to finish a project needed the next day. We finally ended up working round the clock in shifts. That was truly exhausting. (yawn) We employed all sorts of methods to keep ourselves awake, those who didn't guzzle coffee gobbled ice cream and chocolate chips! :D (In hindsight, perhaps less sugar would have been wise ;) Sure tasted good though. :))

 4 or more people working on one project was quite common.

Organizing the costume truck. (All the costumes hung in a truck so that we could easily transport them to and from set)

One of the many adventures was sewing as we drove to set. *whew* We had several close shaves! Once I had to finish stitching a decorative stitch on a shirt collar with it ON the actor! Our actors were so nice about it too! Ever patient and friendly. It was much appreciated.

On set finishing up a few last minute projects.

A fun thing we found to do that didn't take much time away from sewing was dressing up for "Wacky Wednesday" and "Formal Friday". We had fun dressing up and being as silly as possible. :)

 Wacky Wednesday! :)

Hobbit Day!

My adventure ended after the 3 nights of filming the ball scene. It was so much fun to be one of the extras. It was a little crazy, because we were filming that scene in October, In MICHIGAN, but it was supposed to be July for the movie, so we all had to pretend to be warm once the cameras rolled, and then we would run for our coats as soon as they called "CUT". I rigged up a sweater thing to wear under my dress for warmth... I'm not sure how much it helped... I was still super cold! Once it even snowed! At least there were torches and fires all over to warm up at. :)

 With a friend and fellow costumer waiting for the ball scene so start filming. All bundled up!!! :)

I got to keep the dress that I wore for the ball scene as payment for working on the extras costumes.  I was pretty excited about that. :)

I made a burgundy petticoat (skirt) to go with it for a Masquerade ball I recently attended with my family.

3 years later... After a very successful run in on-demand theater screenings, a company has picked it up and it is getting a week long limited release run in theaters starting June 5th! Check out this website to see if it's coming to a theater near you! I'm super excited! It's been awesome to see the final product that I worked so hard on!

When I saw the official posters for Beyond the Mask I was pretty excited to see one of the dresses I had done quite a bit of work on (and even got to model) was featured in the poster! :D