Friday, March 9, 2018

V1493 The World's Most Delicious Kimono pattern!

I am a big fan of Plus Size pattern sections! I am so tired of seeing a pattern, wondering if it will fit me, looking up the size range and playing Size Range Roulette. But every now and then I hit the jackpot, and when I saw that this gorgeous beauty came in up to 26, I Squealed with delight!
For the record, I seriously love the treatment shown in the sample, and the instructions cover how to recreate this applique. Me, I just wanted a devore velvet kimono robe that would pass as 1920s, and in this pattern, I saw my chance.
The two fabrics are an odd polyester knit (?!) faux devore velvet, figured in burgundy and purple paisleys, and a plum rayon velvet for the trim. Not seen is a plum velvet ribbon and lace trim and burgundy satin bias binding.
Apologies for the revealing photo, but as it just appeared in the national press I figure what the heck! I had a photo shoot for this article and cheekily took the robe along to ask them to get some pics of it for my blog. I wasn't expecting one to make it to the article!
So as you can see, I cut it longer than the pattern, and also made it fuller by slashing all the pieces long ways and spreading them a little bit at the bottom without changing the shoulder. It was only a little bit as with three backs and four fronts, it adds up. I left the pockets off as they would show and this is not a practical garment!
Look this is a hack job. No seam finishing inside as the weird not really devore velvet doesn't fray. I sewed the cuffs on without any pinning and they fitted perfectly, even given the fabrics are different! The front band is sewn right sides together, then I sewed the ribbon and lace trim to the free edge of the band, and hand stitched it to the seam allowance on the inside. This saved trying to fold bulky velvet under, making MANY LAYERS of velvet seam allowance. It does droop a little but that's mostly down to the velvet being a lot heavier than the main fabric.
Lastly, the hem I machine sewed but I did use a satin bias binding to finish it as there is no nice way to finish such a hem. I messed up the ends a bit where they joined the band, all harmless for this costume piece and learning for the real thing.
I LOVE this robe. I wear it pretty much with this outfit in a back stage scene where my stage hubby and I sing a bittersweet duet about the shifting nature of love and relationships.
I am looking forward to making a couple more in cotton and silk - I think I have one of the world's largest collections of embroidered silks and cottons that are THE MOST DIFFICULT fabric types to find an actual use for! And this robe with its gorgeous cross over cuff will look amazing.
But you know, don't hold your breath!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Tidying up my blogging

Hello lovelies!
I used Blogger to set up a website for Constance a few years ago. It's just been an online reference really, but as of yesterday I have started to write blog posts on it. About being CC.
I realise that this blog is like me - an eclectic jumble of topics that appeal to some people some of the time. I'd like to return to the daily happenings of my off stage life however, and the show stuff will go on the other blog.
So, if you want to read about being and Emcee, pop over to Constance's Blog.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Planning our Creativity

I am not a planner. I have two jobs that take up 60+ hours of my week where planning is key. I am all planned out after that.
My best bet is to watch for patterns of success, and work those patterns. Only then does planning come naturally to me. One of the successful patterns is having a range of different scales of projects.
In sewing this means a complex garment or a big quilt maybe, with a few simple jobs like repairs or small craft projects mixed around them. (my sewing lately has been short on big projects!)
Same with show projects - I've just come off one huge show project and I'm looking forward to the next couple being much simpler affairs for me - a photo shoot to accompany n interview I did recently and then just MCing on the night and belting out a couple of songs from my usual repertoire. The trick is to not convince myself that I need to make a new costume or write a new song for them - that's where all the panic and time wasting happens!
I am also the unapologetic owner of a personal whiteboard. It's BIG and it was free - it's actually the back of an annual planning whiteboard that was being thrown out. I learned from my corporate career that being able to write all over a whiteboard really did help us to organise thoughts and ideas and make them achievable. Not just wispy words in our heads.
So when I feel overwhelmed by projects and things to do, I write them on the board. This board covers the whole year to mid November, but not too deep unless it needs to be. It's the things I need to plan ahead for. The details I write down in lists on pads.
OK, OK This IS planning. I am deluded! But it is simple, visual and effective. And no time sheets and the budgets are far more fun!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

On busy weeks and running away

My goodness what a busy time I've had! Between WIGSTOCK and last weekend it was all about Kabarett presents NACKTMUSIK. Rehearsing and sewing and travelling and organising and...all in a very hot summer!
Here we all are in the foyer afterwards Back row - Audience member, Trillian, Clever Hansel, Ellie Kat, Dahlia Dangerous, me, Front: Madame Vestris, Cherry Boomb, Leo Lennox.

Here's a weird selfie that Cherry took before the show, with me in the background.
Gosh it was full on but from a sewing point of view the highlight would have to be the robe I made for one little scene from Vogue 1493. With the amazing sleeves. More on that in its own post, when I get some photos! I'm doing a photo shoot on Thursday and thought I would wear it so hopefully Ill get some good ones.

Friday, February 23, 2018


This photo of Clever and I was refused by the editor of a regional paper last week. The same paper happily runs beauty queens in bikinis and other scantily clad young women in the context of news (not page 3 stuff) but this was not acceptable. Why?
We never found out, but I have a few ideas. Gender ambiguity maybe? Daring to be old and fat and scantily clad instead of young and pretty maybe? It WAS by far the least confronting image from a photoshoot full of images. None of them really scandalous at all, not really.
Anyway as we had no time, I sent in this one instead and they ran with it:
It worked anyway. We oversold the 330 seat theatre and they had to add more seats!
More later!<3 p="">

Thursday, February 1, 2018

WIGSTOCK - The last night of the Gardens

Starring PollyFilla and ME [and a bunch of other people] ;-) PollyFilla now lives in Melbourne and is the most recent recipient of entry into the Melbourne Drag Hall of Fame, which is a huge honour; makes me so proud to be his friend and mentee. Polly wanted to do a huge drag show to finish the Gardens Magic series of concerts that Wellington City Council operate each year. While he was in Aus up to his eyelashes in shows, we got a cast together and the rest is herstory!
The largest crowd ever (so I am told) gathered to watch us. Must have been nearly 2,000 people! Age range from babies to great grans.
 Synching to the Grass Is Always Greener from Woman of the Year. Me and PollyFilla
 Backstage, Polly (top) and Ellie Kat doing last minute sewing repairs. Two extremely talented (and qualified!) costumiers in their own rights.
 Polly opening the show!
 Here's a bit of the enormous crowd who came to watch. This is family friendly drag!
 Me on stage singing Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps. I had already done the lipsynch duet with Polly but I was still blown away singing to so many people!
 A close up taken by some lovely person on Facebook
Ross caught this moment with the breeze slightly lifting my skirt. It was a sensational evening - cool and calm which is always a huge relief when you are painted to the max and trussed into a tight frock!
All of the performers were amazing. It's surprisingly hard to find photos of us all though, and no word of any official photos as yet. So I'm not filtering out the other fantastic artists on purpose. I love them all!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Oooh look - Kaffe Fassett!

Brandon Mably and Kaffe Fassett came to visit my shop this week. Thanks to the amazing Sue and Shanon at Busy Bee quilting who sponsored the Wellington leg of their NZ tour this summer. They teach and speak and are amazing. I missed all of this as I am too busy being distracted, so I consider myself extremely blessed by this unexpected gift.
Brandon took the above pic on the verandah outside, in front of this wonderful mural. Kaffe spotted it and decided it was his kind of backdrop. Colour blending and painting is his style, not high contrast.
I love both these amazing people's work. I have a lot of Kaffe fabrics in my stash, that I treasure so much I can hardly bring myself to use them!
You couldn't meet two nicer men. They were encouraging about our beautiful shirts and shades and we had a wee gossip about some of the other players in the industry, not mean just fun things.
And, I sang them the bit of my Stashbusting about Kaffe and they wanted to see it so I sent the link.
Made my month, year, decade that did!