I have been trying out different ways to naturally dye fabric, since I would love for my garments not to be wasteful and to be good for the environment. I use quite a bit of unbleached muslin, so I wanted to try out some new colours for it. I have already done lots of tea staining (it just makes the perfect cream colour!), so the other day I tried a method that I have seen in books. This involved steaming fabric with rose petals folded in it. The final product wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it is very pretty! I think next time I will try with deep red rose petals in the hopes that it will make a pink or lavender colour.
To try it, I just used a small section of unbleached muslin, which I dampened. I then arranged rose petals on it in a random pattern. Once I was happy with where the petals were, I folded and rolled the piece together and tied the ends with strings. That was steamed for a few hours, and then left to cool. After it was cool enough, I unrolled it, took out all of the petals, and left it out to dry.
Have you ever tried natural dyeing? How did it turn out?
The hardest part about sewing is that I can get lots of things done, but it doesn't look like it until I have photos of them! In the past few weeks I have been working on tons of different projects, but I don't have any of them finished yet (although two are almost done!). I have also had a few very neat opportunities to do something a little different, so my sewing room has been pretty crazy.
I do have a few very exciting things that I have been working on behind the scenes: the first is that I have been making prototypes for a Calgary activewear company called Intuitive. It has been an absolute joy so far working with the company, and I am more than excited about this collaboration.
The second thing that I have been working on is my second time working with MakeFashion! Last year I was a part of the runway show in Calgary as a seamstress. This year I am lucky enough to be a team lead. My dress is called Breathe, and has to do with helping with anxiety and mental illnesses. MakeFashion will be at Beakerhead this year in September. I can't wait to tell and show you more!
On the side, I have also been working on dirndls (I made one from a Gertie pattern, liked it so much that I immediately started a second one!), a tiered 1950's summer dress, wool cigarette pants with a matching sheath dress and blazer, a 1960's colour blocked dress, and lots of repairs. My mending pile has gotten out of hand!
If you follow me on instagram (here), then you will know that I have also been working on setting up an Etsy account. So far I have hit pretty much every obstacle possible (why are computers so confusing??), so it still isn't up....
But I have made progress, so it should be here soon! I will be selling some of my costumes, as well as embroidery to start.
Thank you so much for your patience with everything, I can't wait to show you all of the things that I have been working on!
I am extremely close to being finished a new collection that I have been working on since I got home from Germany- The Berlin Collection. My trip gave me so much inspiration, and as soon as I got home I started with a military, menswear, 1940's styled collection. I thought that while I finish off the last piece, I would share some of my inspiration. I will talk about it more in my post with the photos, but I based the collection mostly off of the resistance and rebels of World War Two, and the women who rebuilt Germany. I wanted to focus on the strong women that I learned so much about while I was there.
I was also inspired by the Candian tv show X Company, which is based on a true story. All of the characters have a fantastic mix of military and menswear styled outfits as well as beautiful evening and day dresses. Aurora (a Jewish Candian spy) and Sabine (a German woman turned resistance) are my personal favourites. My jodphurs are inspired the most by Aurora.
I hope you enjoyed a little look into the inspiration for the collection! I can't wait to show you what I have been working on over the past weeks.
The more that I have been working on my sewing, and the more opportunities that I have had meant that I needed a little more help in the studio. After lots of research (mostly done by my mom), we decided on a Janome. My sewing machine is also a Janome, and I love it- I find it very easy to thread and work, and it can sew through almost anything. The sewing machine I have has also last for years- it was my moms before I started sewing. When we went into the shop, I was looking for a smaller machine (I don't want all of the extra details, or a computer panel, just the basics). There was another machine that was a little smaller, and cheaper, but it was a manual threader which is much more difficult and takes more time. This machine (which is the Pro 4DX), is a model that they have been making for years, is very easy to thread, and has fantastic reviews. I am so excited to have this extra piece in my sewing room, I know that it will help me so much!
Because I got this extra piece, I needed a place to put it. My sewing machine sits on top of a beautiful old sewing machine given to me by a family friend. It is an old Singer machine that I am hoping to get it to work so I can sew some things on this machine (which is from the early 1900s). Unfortunately, I didn't have the table space on it to fit another machine. Luckily enough, we just happen to have another old Singer machine in the house. Ours is a slightly different make, but just as beautiful, and I am so excited to have it in my sewing room (I used to pretend to be sewing on it all the time when I was a little girl, so dreams are coming true here).
While we were in the city, I also picked up a few patterns. I am so excited about these, as I will be using all of them to build up my wardrobe (I have the hope that my whole wardrobe will be made by me except for sweaters, shoes, and such). I even have the fabric for pretty much all of the projects that I have planned, so hopefully they will be quick to finish!
I have been planning a Mexico dress for a long time, and I finally have a set plan for it! I originally was going to do a tiered skirt with a white blouse (similar to an outfit that my grandmother has a picture in when she lived in South America). When I found this pattern from Vintage Vogue, I thought it was perfect. It has the tiered skirt look that I wanted, but with a twist. I am planning on printing my own cotton to make this with, with the skull (like a sugar skull), and a rose in bright colours.
The next pattern that I got I have been admiring for years. I actually had planned to make this for graduation last year, but I ended up buying something and altering it instead. When I saw the Vogue sale at the fabric store (which is why all of these patterns pictured are Vogue), I thought that it was the perfect time to get this one. I haven't decided what fabric to use for it yet (silk to make it fancier? Or wool suiting for more of a winter style? Or perhaps muslin for a summer suit?), but I am very excited to make it, and I am hoping to make a few different versions of it.
This is another one that I have been planning for a long time, however I had not chosen out a specific pattern for it yet. When I saw this, I thought that it would be perfect! I have been wanting a nice pair of cigarette style trousers for years, and when I picked out this wool suiting from Bhatia, I thought it would make an adorable pair. I had originally planned to use the wool for a cocoon coat, but I decided that I would use these more often. I also would like to make a linen version of the shorts for this summer.
This pattern was a little bit of an impulse buy. 1940's patterns are a bit of a soft spot for me (I love the interested details, and how they managed to use as little fabric as possible while still using interested seam lines and such), plus the dress with the full sleeves reminded me of the Fendi ad that I think is stunning.
The last pattern that I got a few days ago came free with a sewing magazine. This one comes in a few lengths and sleeve lengths, and I thought that it would be perfect for a Wes Anderson styled dress. I chose a coral cotton to make it out of, and was inspired by Suzy from Moonrise Kingdom.
I also have a few patterns coming in the mail- the dirndl dress from Patterns by Gertie, as well as a few Vintage Simplicity patterns. Two of those are 1960's mod styled dresses, one is a 1940's skirt suit, and the last is a pattern for 1930's tap pants and bralette.
Other than shopping, I have been getting lots done. I won't share the majority of what I have been doing yet until I get photos, but I will give you a sneak peak. I also altered my 1930's wool skirt, since it was large at the waist. It was a quick fix, but I have been putting it off for months since alterations aren't my favourite. There are a few more things I need to alter, so I am hoping to do that soon.
I am completely fascinated with moths, and after seeing Crimson Peak, I got the idea to use a print on one of my dresses. In Crimson Peak, one of the running themes is the black moth versus the butterfly.
Since watching that movie, I was very interested in moths. I love how hearty they are, and also how beautiful they can be. While butterflies are the well known pretty insect, moths can also have beautiful, colourful wings.
My fascination is a little bit darker than them just being pretty and tough. The theme in the movie (if you are not familiar with it) is that the main character is a butterfly, while her husbands sister is the moth- she is the villian in the movie.
I loved the theme, and also the visuals of the giant black moths on the walls of the mansion.
I also love the scientific illustrations of insects, and specifically of moths and bees. This is where I got my idea to stamp the fabric with moths, and I got the pattern from the wallpaper in Crimson Peak. Guillermo del Toro wanted the main theme to be throughout the whole movie, even where you don't notice it. So the moth is on some of the wallpaper, engraved on chairs and furniture, and in many other places, such as embroidered on clothing. I liked how it was there but not completely obvious, so I took the pattern from the movie to stamp onto my dress.
We went into Calgary to get the pictures, so while we were there I picked up another pair of DSign Step shoes (since I love my other pairs so much). We went into Inglewood to get the pictures for this dress, which is the oldest area in Calgary.
The dress is made from a Vintage Vogue pattern from the 1950s, and the fabric is a cotton blend.
Stamps and photos by Veronica Funk
I do have a few Germany posts in the making, but for now I thought I would share a short video of the weaving process. As a talked about in my post a few weeks ago, I have been enjoying learning some different skills. I just have a small wooden loom that I have been using for a few months, but I enjoy the size. I was thinking of making small wall hangings once I have practiced a little more by adding embroidery to the finished weavings. Any thoughts about what type of wall hangings I should make?
Travel posts are coming soon, I promise!
After finishing my Through the Looking Glass dress, I wanted a bit of a break from sewing. When I was younger, I always was working on different crafts, and many of them included some sort of fabric or fiber. Over the past week or so, I have been experimenting with some things that I used to do, and other things that I haven't tried but have been intrigued with.
The first thing that I have been playing around with is something that I rediscovered this summer- embroidery. I had dabbled with embroidery quite a few years ago, and lately I have been enjoying it again. I did a piece for my Frankenstein dress in October, and a tree during the summer for a collaboration with a writer, so I decided to make something for my Curiosities collection. I have been making a pair of moths to go on shoes for one of the dresses, and lungs for a different dress, and I have plans for other pieces as well!
One of my other crafts is fabric stamping. I have done it twice before, once for my Frankenstein dress and once for my Bee skirt, and both times I loved how they turned out. I decided to try it again for one of the dresses in my collection, and I am so pleased with how it turned out.
I also rediscovered my fascination with weaving. I got a small frame for Christmas a year or two ago, and after making a square and a half of fabric on it, both of which had terrible tension (that's why I don't knit...), I decided to play around with it again. So far I am loving how meditative the whole exercise is, and I am hoping that my tension improves!
The last thing that I have been playing around with over the past bit is felting. I have never done felting before, but it has always interested me. I got a pack from Michaels that included a needle, mat, and wool to try it out, and so far have made three moths and am planning to make many other things. This is another very calming hobby, and I am so glad that I have tried it out. Keep your eyes peeled for felted broaches and critters on my costumes- I don't think I will be able to keep myself from adding bugs to all of my projects now that I have discovered that I can!
Over the next few weeks, my blog will be a bit quiet since I am leaving for Germany on March 9. I will be sure to write up a post or two of my travels, but while I am gone, be sure to check out my instagram, where I will be posting much more regularly.
Since my Curiosities collection is based on the 1880s, I have most of my undergarments for them from my Frankenstein dress. The only things that I have had to make to go under these dresses were a bustle cage and petticoat. I could have used the bum pad that I made for my Frankenstein dress, but I wanted a more dramatic silhouette, and I have always wanted to make one. I talked about making the bustle cage in the last post, and once that was done I draped a petticoat over it. It is just muslin pleated onto a waistband with a lace bottom.
So far I have made two of the skirts, both of them are very simple. They are draped in the same way as the petticoat, I just draped them over the bustle and sewed them to a waistband.
I have been filming the progress of each of the pieces so far, so I don't have many pictures. I will put out the video once I have pictures of the final products.
I have been filming the current project that I am working on, which is a cotton dress inspired by the movie In the Mood for Love (I talked about this movie in my Movie Recommendations post). The pattern that I am using for it is one from Patterns by Gertie.
Because I am filming the process, I do not have tons of pictures of the dress as I make it, but I do have a few behind the scenes pictures while I film myself cutting the pieces out. I will post my video up here once I'm done, and as always, I will have the pictures up here as well.
I can't wait to show you the finished dress!
I recently made my way to Bhatia Cloth House with some projects in mind, and I am so excited with what I came out with!
Let me know how you like this type of video!
I had the most incredible opportunity recently to make a costume for a film made by an Albertan director. I worked with Mitchell George from Crooked Cinema to make one costume for their new film Highway Patrolman. I was so thrilled to be able to be a part of this, especially since my goal is to be a movie costumer! You can check out their website here.
I made a 1950's styled diner dress for the film, which was great to do since I love the 1950's and have had a bit of an obsession recently with the era. I used the same Burda pattern as I did for my 1950's Blue Dress with a few alterations to it. I made the dress in about 3 and a half days, while working on the side a bit. It was a bit of a tight schedule, but luckily enough this was an easy style to make, and I was able to find the right colour of fabric very quickly.
The collar, cuffs, and apron were self drafted, and the dress was based on the Burda pattern. The dress was done mostly on the machine to save time, and finished by hand (button holes, cuffs, and collar were all done by hand).
I got quite of few progress pictures of this dress, so this will be a very photo heavy post!
I am so thrilled with how this turned out, and with the fact that I got this opportunity! Be sure to keep an eye out on Crooked Cinema, and for when Highway Patrolman comes out!
I just had a very exciting opportunity, and I will tell you all about it as soon as I can! But for now, here are a few photos of me working on my bustle dress- this was just when I was hemming it a few days ago. All that is left now are button holes, although that project has been put to the side for a few days. I will get back to it very soon, and I do have a location for photos now, which is very exciting!
Also, if you haven't noticed already, I added another page to my website! I added a Self Care section, which is another blog page. Since I have been doing so much training about cosmetics and skin care with my job, I thought that I would share another one of my passions with you, and some of the information that you may not be hearing from others. I also have an instagram for the self care side of my interests, and you can see that here if you are interested.
I also have some more exciting news that I found out a week or so ago- I got accepted into Olds College for Costume Cutting and Construction, starting next fall.
I can't wait for all of these new opportunities, and I am very excited for when I am able to show you what I have been working on this week!
I have been in Calgary quite a bit lately for training for my job, so the last time that we went my mom picked up some fabric for me while I was training through the afternoon. There are a couple of projects that I have been planning for a while now, and I am so excited that I have fabric so I can start!
The first project that I have been wanting to make for a few months now is a dress inspired by the movie 'In the Mood for Love' directed by Wong Kar-wai. The movie is beautiful and sad, and the costumes are stunning! It is set in the early 1960's, and I loved the main female characters costumes, so I wanted to make myself something like that. For that project, I got a deep orange- red silk dupioni, as well as a pattern from Patterns by Gertie, which I am very excited to use since I love all of her patterns but so far have not gotten one!
The next fabric that I got is a red jacket fabric, which is sort of similar to polar fleece, but more tightly woven and a little thinner. I am going to make a Victorian inspired jacket for myself to wear in Germany when I go in the spring. I have decided to use the pattern that I made for my bustle dress bodice for this one, just adjusted to fit an un-corseted body and with a collar.
I also got a pin-striped light weight wool that I am going to use for a World War 1 era womens suit. I am loosely basing this one the new Wonder Woman movie, since I love Wonder Woman, and I loved the suit that she wore in much of the movie! That one is a plain grey wool, but I didn't want mine to be too close to that one, just more similar in shape, so I chose a black pin stripe instead.
The last fabric that I got is a white and black striped cotton. I have been planning this project for ages, and I am really excited to get going with it! I think it will be a pretty quick outfit, which will be a nice change from my multi-step bustle era dress that I have just been finishing up. This one will be made into a a-line skirt and halter top printed with gold bees. My mom made a bee stamp for me, and since I love bees so much I wanted to make something out of it for myself that I can wear in daily life. This outfit is a little summery, but I think the skirt will be fun for winter to layer with tights.
These pictures were taken in my new sewing room! I will post a studio tour in the next week or so, and I am so excited to show you! I moved into a much larger space and I am so thrilled with how everything looks in it! It also has a window, which means that I finally have the natural light that I've been missing in my old little room.
PS- Would anyone be interested in a video of me talking about plans and looking at fabrics and trims and showing sketches?
For my newest project, I have decided to print my own fabric!My mom (her blog is here) carved a stamp for me, and I printed it onto a grey cotton with fabric ink. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted, and I knew that it would be very unlikely that I would find a fabric like it so I decided to print it myself. I am thrilled with how it turned out!
It took me between an hour and an hour and a half to print each chunk of fabric, which was 2 yards long. I printed 3 of those, and I am sure that it will be enough fabric for what I want to make with it.
You can also see for the first time in these photos our combined studio space! I am still in my little storage closet, but this table is perfect for cutting out pattern pieces and such, so it's really great to have this second space.
I have been busy over the past few weeks, so stay tuned to see all of the projects that I have been working on. I will also let you know what this fabric is for in my next post!
I made my way over to the Bhatia Cloth House for the first time last weekend, and I am so thrilled with the things that I found!
The Cloth House was really beautiful and they had tons of gorgeous fabrics, as well as sarees and other fancy dress. The costumer service was really lovely, and I can't wait to make my way over there again to pick up more fabric!
I do have plans for all of the pieces that I picked up, but the only plan I will tell you about is for the mens suiting.
Not only did I pick up fabric from the Cloth House, but I also ordered a few patterns not long ago. The 1940s pants are what I will be making with the mens suiting wool, and there is so much of it that I am hoping to also get a pencil skirt or blazer out of it!
Both of the patterns are from Simplicity. I have ordered a few patterns from Simplicity now, and they have always been great. The patterns have come quite quickly every time as well, which is very nice when ordering things online!
And there is more!
My boyfriend just got back from Vietnam, and he brought me back such beautiful things! He had an Ao Dai (traditional clothing from Vietnam) made for me, and I was given the extra fabric left over from that along with another chunk of fabric!
Stay tuned for lots of exciting new projects!