Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Carrie Fisher

Obi-Wan: "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."

How I feel today. I am going to break suit a little to say goodbye to someone I really love.

I couldn't tell you exactly when it was, but at a very early age, most definitely still in the single digits of age, I started watching the Star Wars movies and I watch them so much that I wore through the VHSs we had and at one point my mom had to re-buy my dad the trilogy box that for Christmas.

I absolutely love Star Wars and I remember I wanted to have lightsaber battles with my friends when I was a kid and upset that not all of my friends knew what Star Wars was so they wouldn't play lightsabers or stormtroopers with me. I remember the one or two people who knew of the characters and I would get into a bitter arguments over who was allowed to princess Leia, but not because I wanted to be the girl, because Princess Leia was a bad-ass and I wanted to be the bad-ass.

When I was still very young I knew there was something different about Princess Leia. She was very smart, she was a leader, she was brave, a warrior, she was very strong and capable, and as I got older I appreciated her sass, I love that she didn't need a man to tell her what to do, and in fact she told "The man" what to do, but Leia was able to be vulnerable at the same time. She was a woman.

Princess Leia was my first female role model growing up. I absolutely loved her, she was there long before Morticia Adams came into play who is my second female role model. I would say she was very much responsible for shaping me into the strong willed, sassy, independent woman that I am because she has been there since the very beginning for me.

Princess Leia would not be who she was if played by anyone other than Carrie Fisher. Carrie Fisher was a funny and strong woman. Not only a great actress, but an activist too. Today I lost a hero and I knew I would be sad but I find myself much sadder than expected. Now that I'm off work I can process what I've been feeling all day and I'm overwhelmed emotion and choking back tears as I write. 

Carrie fisher you were a huge inspiration to me and I loved you so much. The world will not be the same without you, even when you faded away for a while you were always there, and now the thought that you are not there anymore it's heartbreaking. 

My General, My Princess has fallen. Screw you 2016.

Remembering you in my favorite roles, The Burbs, Jay and Silent bob, and of course Star Wars.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Wonder Woman! DC Cinematic Redeption

NEW WONDER WOMAN TRAILER IS HERE



The new trailer is amazing! Now, I am really excited about this movie. It brings an iconic female character to the table, whom others have tried to reboot but has failed. 

That CG. Those costumes!

I am very hopeful, but I was also hopeful about Suicide Squad, which I am still holding a grudge over. That is why I wanted to post prerelease impressions before I see the film. As with Suicide Squad, I was very excited, trailers looked great, but the end result was garbage. Here is hoping we don't go down that road again.

Now Gal Gadot is the amazing Diana Prince, who when announced she would be Wonder Woman was met with a lot of skepticism,  from me as well. However, after BvS, which is universally regarded as a not as good film as it was hyped up to be, it seems unanimous that the best part of that film was Wonder Woman, so she is already set up for success.

It also looks like the first movie where the female character is "written" or "treated" the same as the men in the movie. 
Now, I touched on that in a prior blog, when I talked about why many studios don't want to do female-driven movies, and I mentioned that there is an irritating need to write women differently from how you would write the men, often with forced cheesy or "sexy" one liners, to much hip swaying, and crappy costumes. (Looking at you Catwoman, the film not the character). However, when the characters are treated the same, Selene from Underworld, Alive from Resident Evil, Black Widow in the Avengers, Rey, and Leia in Star Wars we see huge success and support for them. 

It's not that people don't want to see female-driven action movies, it's that they are not often written as action heroes.This movie and character have really set themselves up though, and I am very optimistic.

I am hopeful that this movie is a huge success, that it is done well, and it is what they are advertising to us in the trailers. Being a huge Marvel fan, who at first was pretty progressive with its female characters, it seems they are falling behind. Between the two, I expected the first sole female action movie to come from them. On you left Marvel. (pains me to say that.)

Hope you enjoy the trailer, 
please leave your thoughts, 

Jessi Harm
Evil Regal

Here are the other blogs I mention in this entry:


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Other tools you need and Mimi G Style Lesson 1: Sewing Basics

Hey everyone,

I said I would make a video but I know there are lots of people who are much better versed, experienced and knowledgeable so I decided I was going to share one of theirs. I recently got some Mimi G Syle patterns on sale and she also does a sew-along with her patterns on her youtube channel. After browsing her videos I saw she does a basic series videos too so I decided to share her with you. This video talks about everything from machine basics, tools needed, and understanding pattern packets. I started the video at 10:45 but if you want to watch the whole thing, please do. There are many other great videos on her site. She has videos that go more in depth with what I have talked about before, and of course, the sew alongs I mentioned. I am going to link some of my favorite channels below that I visit often too. It's important to have a good reference base and the best way to do this is by checking out many different designer and points of view. There are sewing rules and staples that will never change, but everyone brings something special to the table.

Also, Check out my little black book on my blog, the Curvy Sewing Collective is a great resource. Geared toward curvier women, but easy to follow tutorials for adjustments and other need to knows. They also have a very active facebook forum under the same name. American Duchess and Before the Automobile are great if you need inspiration and want to see amazing era recreations. I get so envious and motivated when I view their stuff. I looooooooove those sites. Lastly, Pinterest and StumbleUpon are great resources for information too.



https://www.youtube.com/user/madetosew/videos
https://www.youtube.com/user/ProfessorPincushion/videos
https://www.youtube.com/user/SewOverIt/videos 

Enjoy and have a great day!!!
Jessi Harm

Monday, October 31, 2016

Back To Basics: Understanding Patterns and Mock-ups

Keep and eye out for my video demonstrating this information.

So you got the machine, now you want to buy a pattern and fabric. What do you need to know?

First, you need to have some measurements available to tell you what size pattern you will need to purchase. That is your high bust aka chest, full bust, natural waist, and hips. When you buy the patterns you want to buy based on the high bust measurement. Your measurements may not fully align with the pattern packet, and this is fine, you can always adjust sizing, but we pick high-bust because it gives you the best fit in the arms holes, shoulders, neck, and back area if you're making a dress or shirt. If you are making skirts or pants, you choose the bigger measurement, which is usually the hips. This picture is an example of high bust vs full bust from Pamela's Patterns. This link will take you to a more in-depth blog on sizing and measurements. 

Once you know what size pattern packet to get you want to see how much fabric it suggests. It will tell you on the back under your size column. Error on the larger size for fabric amount because it's easier to take away than it is to add. As an example, I said to base your sizing off high bust for shirts and dresses, but let's say you have beautifully wide hips and that puts you are a larger size than your high bust, get the fabric for that. Get the fabric suggested for your largest size based off of measurements. Also, almost always you should pretreat/preshrink your fabric so allow a few extra inches for that. If you know ahead of time you need to add width, or length or other larger adjustments, bear that in mind as well.

Every pattern packet comes with a set of construction instructions, as well as the layout of pattern pieces for fabric based on size and width, plus tips for making simple adjustments or using multiple sizing, and other terminology. All the info provided is generic and included in all patterns so some may not apply just focus on that which does. I always encourage doing a thorough look over before you construct to see if there is anything you may be unclear on.

So now you know your pattern size, and fabric amount, time to start cutting right? WRONG!

All seamstresses will advise that before you ever cut into your pretty, pricier fabric, you make a mock-up. How you do that is by purchasing very cheap muslin fabric. That's right, you need to purchase more fabric. Muslin is a cheap cotton fabric that you can get as low as $1.99 a yard, and if you use those coupons you can get it sometimes a much as 60% off. I usually buy it by the bolt to always have a bunch on hand. (I suggested buying a bunch in an earlier blog for practicing threading, running fabric though machine, and different stitches before you ever considering buying patterns). The benefit of this is to make a mock version of your outfit to test for fitting issues so you can be aware of any fitting adjustments that need to be made prior. Also, it makes you familiar with the construction so you can work out any hiccups or questions you have before you compromise your pretty fabric. The biggest and most important benefit is the fitting, but the last thing you want to do is make an error during construction, and have to seam rip something like linen or rayon because it will start falling apart.

Quick side note: Here is some bolt information from the Sew Chic Pattern Company blog, there are a few things I want to direct you to briefly, and the most important one is the width. Fabric comes on the bolt folded in half (selvages together). The width is when it's unfolded. Most patterns have you cut fabric while folded. Muslin sometimes comes as narrow as 32 inches which aren't on the packet, so when making a mock up look at the fabric layout in the pattern instructions to see if you need to buy more muslin. Always ask someone, like people at the cutting counter what they suggest if you're not sure. You can get muslin that standard width but it may be a few dollars more expensive, just be aware of the width and how much the pattern says you need.

It will also give you care instructions.

So more info to come soon, and keep and eye out for video as well. :)

Jessi Harm

Friday, October 28, 2016

Back To Basics: Sewing Machine

So you decided you want to home sew, and your not sure where to begin. The biggest and most important decision is the sewing machine.  This is getting a blog all on its own because it is very important.

I will tell you is having a good sewing machine is a must, but you don't need all the bells and whistles. Nowadays many sewing machines are computerized, some have fancy features and stitches, but for 99% of all projects those added features are a waste. You don't need them. What you need is a machine that is going to give you the longevity and reliability for all your projects years to come. I always suggest a base model mechanical/manual machine. You don't want to go for the cheapest, but you don't need to spend lots of money either. A sewing machine should be an initial investment since it is the center and a staple of all your projects but let us not go overboard.


There are some reliable names like Husqvarna Viking, Bernina, Juki, Singer, and others, so how do you decide what's right for you? Well, this will take some research. Talk to people at fabric stores, (but bear in mind they make sales commission and sometimes have contracts with certain companies) tell them what types of things you are looking to make. Clothes? Costuming? Home Decor? Other types of crafts? Also ask around in Facebook sewing communities. Different brands will have different price points.

From experience I would ask how the machine handles heavy fabric or multiple layers, what about light and delicate fabrics, and any tension issues. Those are the most common hiccups you might have with machines. Be prepared to spend no less than $200.00 but you don't need to ever spend more than $500 for a beginner home sewing machine. Something like this Viking model is more than adequate and can be purchased around $350.00. Viking is a great reliable brand that handles several layers of heavier fabric just fine, and a base mechanical model like this will last you forever if you take care of it.

To clarify what I mean by a mechanical machine is that you manually change the settings but turning the dials, not hitting a button and the machines internal computer doing it for you. The picture above is a mechanical machine. The picture of the Singer is an example of a computerized machine. I have this Singer, but I also have my moms New Home which is mechanical. I prefer her New Home.

Lastly about sewing machines, is get a full-size machine, not a mini or portable. Working with a full size is so much easier when you are learning. There are other types of machines out there, like embroidery machines, sergers, and so on, but those not needed right now, so don't even look at them. Those types of machines are nice convenient additions, but you will always still need a sewing machine. Lots of features those machines offer can be imitated with a sewing machine, and I will explain more later.

For those more experience leave advice and suggestions below. Next, I will talk about reading pattern instructions, making mock-ups, fabrics, and notions.

Jessi Harm aka The Evil Regal

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Back to Basics: Sewing tips

So I have my first serger on the way and I am so excited to start working with it. I am no longer afraid to work with Rayon and linens because now I can properly overlock the edge and reduce fraying. In the meantime, I wanted to talk about some things I have learned over the last year of sewing. I want to preface by saying I have been sewing a year and I am self-taught so it's been a lot of trials and error. Any corrections or suggestions please leave below.

As a general overview for someone who says they want to home sew, I would suggest the following (I may break up into blogs for length);

The first thing I would tell a beginner is to relax. When you decide to sew you can get very excited as well as overwhelmed. Slow down and don't' take on more than you can handle. Find the beginner tutorials on YouTube and get a good book.

I reference "The Sewtionary" by Tasia St. Germaine from Sewaholic. The link will take you to Sewaholics page. It's an a-z guild of sewing terminology and how-tos with color photos and easy to understand explanations.

Another good book is "Dressmaking, a complete guide to making your own clothes" by Alison Smith. The link will take you to an amazon retailer. This covers everything from equipment to materials, techniques for fitting and some follow along patterns. Again, it has color photos and easy to understand explanations. These are great references for any newbie, but even after a year I still use them.

The next thing I would tell a beginner is to make sure the projects they want to do are appropriate for their skill level. I didn't know for the longest time that patterns usually have a difficulty rating on them. Some are more obvious than others. If you look through a Vogue pattern catalog they even have a whole section dedicated to "Vogue Easy" without sacrificing style, and there are also Vogue Very Easy patterns. Love it! So make sure you are sticking to something within your skill range.

The third thing I would mention is to get those coupons!!! I live near a JoAnns, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby who take each other's coupons, so get those apps, get on that mailing list. They have 50% off items, 60% off items, 20% off total orders and so on. You can use those for craft supplies, notions, fabric, and equipment. Coupons can't be used on Patterns, but those babies go on sale all the time. When simplicity has their $0.99 each pattern I stock up! Butterrick and McCalls also have something like $1.99 each, or 3 for $5 and Vogue will go on sale for $4.99 each. May vary by area. Also use the internet to hunt down cute patterns.

There is so much more I want to tell you but I am going to break this up. Next, I'll talk about the must have equipment, understanding patterns, choosing sizing and making mock-ups.

Hope you enjoy,

Jessi Harm aka Evil Regal

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Vintage Vogue Dress: V8789

     So, this is the lovely Vintage Vogue circa 1957 that I recently made and it was surprisingly easy. I bought this beautiful cotton sateen by Gretchen Hirsch a while back with the intention of making a princess seamed peplum blouse, but when I decided on this for a wedding I knew the fabric was perfect. I did the boat neck version on it, however, other than the bodice necklines everything else is the same. 

     This is the skirt, which was 4 yards alone. I did three lines of basting stitches for this beauty. I did not construct a cummerbund, I simply wore a belt in its place.

     This is the dress of the form as I am trying to gage a few thing in regards to construction and fit. No crinoline and no hem, yet.
     One more view from the side. It looks a little loose and baggy because my dress form isn't to my size, I just use it mostly to assist with even hems and a few other things, but never sizing. I promise it's not as pointy when it's worn.
     I even went to the antique store and got me a little clutch bag and gloves to match.

Here is the beauty with the hem, which I did a deep 1 inch, followed by a 3-inch hem. There are a few more pictures on my Instagram page. One change I did was in place of an armhole and neck facing, I just lined the whole bodice in white cotton.

I rushed to meet the wedding date, so I need to make a few fixes and then I will post pictures of the cute button details on the shoulders, and maybe I'll model a few too.

Monday, October 10, 2016

M7154 Shelved for now

     So I regret to inform you, but I had to cancel the party and I was having a hard time with the fitting that I had to put the project aside. I did, however, do a Vogue 8789 vintage Tea Dress that I will put together a blog of that for you. :) I'll be back soon. :)

Jessi Harm
Evil Regal

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

McCalls M7154 Update: Stress


   So I am working on a 1930s dress for a Halloween get together and I am not even cutting into the real fabric yet and I am stressed.

    Currently, I am trying to understand how to do as fba on this thing. The dress has an underbodice and an over bodice, so it's not treated as and doesn't function as a lined piece. The underbodice is a standard two dart bodice construction and is more form fitting. It's inside and not really seen. Then the overbodice is a looser, no dart, free-flowing piece that has a slight shrug appearance.

     The finished measurements on the underbodice are 47 inches, and my full bust 49ish. Both pieces need an fba of about 2.5 inches (an addition space of 5 inches in the finished piece) to fit properly.


 
   Now on a standard arm and waist dart bodice, the fba is very simple and straight forward, however,
the waist dart is off center from the bust apex about 3/4 inch so trying to get the right fba has been hard. I am already on the third muslin shell for just the underbodice alone. you can kind of see in the picture to the right how there is an undershirt. I would also like to add that even though they are two bodices they do intertwine each other as one.

*What I have done for the next alteration attempt shifted the waist dart to be centered with the bust apex, did a normal fba and then shifted the tip of the dart back to the 3/4 off center it was. Also, since I have added so much room to the side, I had to slightly adjust the position on the side dart as well.*

     Then the next task which I don't think will be too bad, is the overbodice has no darts at all. So I am going to do the dartless bodice fba, and when you do an fba it will automatically add that arm/side dart, then I will do another adjustment to remove that.

Now this is just the bodice, you can see from the pattern pictures that there are also many pieces that create the hips and skirts. I may have to adjust those two.

What did I get myself into????

Wish me luck,

Jessi Harm
Evil Regal

Friday, September 16, 2016

Halloween "Costume; 1930/40s Evening Gown

   
     So I have been thinking about what I want to do for my costume this year, and I am hosting a Halloween party on the 8th so I wanted to do something special. Originally I wanted to throw a masquerade-style party, but space and funds are limited for that, so I went simple and decided to do a pattern I bought over a year ago, its one of the first ones I ever bought, "Archive Collection Circa 1930" evening gown by McCalls. I have been dreaming of this for a while but have been too terrified to make it. I even bought a second pattern envelope in case something gets damaged since it was on sale.

Disclaimer: This is not just a costume. Any chance I get, I am wearing this.

     What I really love is the seams on the dress. I love how it drapes but is also tailored in the right places. I am going to be very careful with fitting and sewing because I want this to be near perfect. I found some lovely versions on Instagram and google, but you can see very quickly any errors made in these particular seams. I am nervous on how it will lay because I am an apple shape so I have been thinking of getting a set of appropriate foundations to wear under and basing my measurements and fitting with the foundations.

   
     The Fabric I chose is Crepe Back Satin, and I decided to do an emerald green after I saw Kiera Knightley's green gown in the movie Atonement. I thought the deep emerald green would also allow for some old Hollywood glamor, and bring in some of the 1940s which I love. This fabric also has some texture to it, so I think it will really show off those unique seams as well and do fabulous light play.

   
There are a few changes I am going to be doing.

First is a full bust adjustment. Needs to be done. The second is because I am so large in the chest I don't want the open in the back because I need to wear support, so what I want to do is some of the pretty cloth covered buttons and little button loops. This is new for me, so I am sure that I will say lots of naughty words.


I will keep you in the loop as I go step by step, and let you know of any changes, issues or concerns I have.

Make sure to check out my Instagram account for pictures of other fun finds and adventures.

Jessi Harm
Evil Regal

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

McCalls 6819 Finished: Evil Regal

  The Evil Regal is back, and her new outfit is awesome.

      So here is the nearly finished product on the dress form, getting the approval from Ms. Abby Cat. This is the almost completed product I referenced in my last blog. I did everything last minute. With hours left to go, I got the grommets done, hemmed the bottom, did some final fittings, finishing touches, and voila.

     So I love this dress. It is so much fun. Below is a picture of my outfit at Michigan Renaissance Festival opening weekend. Also, note my awesome Son of Sandlar boots, I have been coveting a pair for years. My favorite thing about this coat is how with very little wind or effort it billows out when I walk providing the perfect dramatic effect. The only thing this outfit needs is a fabulous hat to pair, and a different shirt. (I also intend on getting some great leather gloves to match the hat and boots.)

     There are some changes I will make next time around, and there will most definitely be a next time around.

     First, I made an error when I was constructing the bodice, and I made it a little shorter on me than I would prefer, so when I put on my belt you can't see the tabs in the front. It basically sits right above my waistline, and it should be just below.
     Secondly, because I knew I was going to wear a corset I opted to not do a full bust adjustment, and bust apex reposition, because of that I also opted to not do the hook and eye closure in the front, or lace ties in the back. Next time around I will, and although I still don't know if I am convinced on hook and eyes, (mostly concerned about their durability while LARPing) I will say I think it would have looked a lot better. I hate the space in lacing at the top and then they are completely closed at the bottom.

     I did see one other lady wearing the same pattern, but hers was made with stiffer fabric and a cotton lining so it held its shape really well. Hers looked nice and crisp, she did the hook and eye in the front and ties in the back. When I saw her outfit I wanted to remake mine immediately because it looked so amazing. She had hers made for her by a professional and it really showed. She wore hers with a skirt under it and added other feminine touches. I love how versatile this piece can be.

     I am considering making a second version of this for larp, and later in the fair season when it cools off and the rains get really bad. I did notice with the length on this one if I am walking up anything I step on it, so running and swinging a sword may prove difficult.

     I made some awesome new friends at fair too, (shout out to Chris and Chris) who loved the outfit
and were down to help with the next one. That one I will most likely do the full sleeves, heavier fabric, but a shorter asymmetrical skirt similar to this picture. So the M6819 pattern, but just change the skirt style. Chris and Chris also suggest the use of trim and stones which are a must do. When I begin that one, I plan on doing a more step by step tutorial.

    Please leave your thoughts, tips, tricks and experiences below.

xoxoxo
Evil Regal, aka Jessi

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Renaissance Festival project progress: M6819 pt. 2

     So we are about day three into the McCall's 6819 project and it's almost done. The construction was pretty easy considering. My biggest praise is the lack of hand stitching involved. I hate hand sewing, and other than slip stitching the inside of the bodice lining once you attach the skirt there really isn't anything else that requires it.  The picture here is the version I am doing. No sleeves or all around skirt pleats.

     Originally I was going to include boning on the side and back seams for structure, but I have since nixed that idea since the bodice and skirt meet right at the waist line and my waist is short, even my apple shape doesn't warp the structure or how it hangs. Another change I mentioned doing was adding ties in the front to replace the hood and eye closure it called for, and I am still thinking of taking this route, or, I may do some buckles. Haven't decided that yet.


     The pattern calls for decorative lacing in the back, but I haven't done that yet, and I am debating if I want too. It's solely decorative, and if I make the wide waist belt that also comes with the pattern, it seems silly because the laces would be covered up. (However, I am thinking of wearing a corset under, so we will see.)

     This picture is everything that is included in the pattern packet. I am thinking for a second project of making the bodice with the all around skirt pleats, minus the skirt for a second project. There are so many ways to change the options up and have fun.



   So this is the inspiration for the project. Regina is my spirit animal... of fashion. When I saw this picture I immediately thought of my pattern and knew this is what I wanted to make/use as a base. Michigan Renaissance Festival starts August, and goes until October, so I knew I needed something that would offer versatility for the dramatic weather we see in that time frame. We get heat with high humidity, we get lots of rain, and then it gets cold very quickly. I opted no sleeves since my chemise has the long sleeves, and I'll later layer a cloak. I am not part of the cast so I can have more fantasy in my outfit, so I wanted it to be less formal, but still feminine, and along the lines of pirates and roguish. I love this pattern for that.


     The pattern calls for lining, and the jacquard I got from the upholstery section was durable, but not stiff, so it lacked structure. I decided I would take the muslin shell of the bodice I tested and attach that to the lining to have it as an underlining. To be honest, I will never do that again. This was my first time with a lining, and it was frustrating at times to work with not two, but three layers. In fact, I hated the slippery lining I used. unless its a dress or something more delicate, I am using a muslin or cotton linings from now on. I know I will for my next bodice I am already planning.

Here you can see the muslin and lining inside out on my dress form as I was checking the seams and preparing to pin to the main fabric.



     I LOVE THIS COLLAR. On my next project, I may exaggerate it even more. The little sleeve caps are so much fun too. Here is the collar, sleeve caps and bodice sewn up with the lining. It looks great. The collar and sleeves were so easy, you just pin to the edge of the fabric on the right side between the lining and outer shell, and sew it all up in once swoop. Once you do that and turn it right side out, everything just falls into place. The edge stitching was already done to the collar before it was attached to the bodice, I did double line of edge stitching on the collar, one line on the sleeves, and once it was all sewn together I did one line down the front and blended it into the collar.



     My moms' cat Abby kept hiding under the dress form as I was working on the skirt, which I assume was just one giant tent to her. She is a beautiful minx kitty though, so I decided it was a great time to get some shots of her. I posted a few more on my Instagram. Here she is trying to be sneaky.

     I got the skirt lining sewn and the unit attached but I still need to hem the skirt and lining. I deviated from the pattern instructions a little at this point. The pattern calls for the right sides of the skirt to be together and you sew up the sides, up the slit in the back and along the bottom, leaving the top open, but I needed to trim up fabric and lose some inches so I left the bottom open too.

     At this point, all I need to do is add the little decorative pleats, one on either side in the front closure, slip stitch the inside lining closed, which I'll do last in case I need to do anything inside the bodice, trim and hem up the skirt, add whatever front closure method I decide, and decide on the back ties or not. I also have some Kuchi jewelry from my belly dance days I thought about adding to the outfit for more of a pirate look. Not much more to go, and I should have it done in one, maybe two more days time. Fair is 5 days away.


I think this would easily be a long weekend project. I did work at my own slower pace, and on a few occasions I got over confident and ahead of myself which lead to me seam ripping and starting parts over. Over and over. Here is how it's panned out so far:

Day one: cut out pattern, made muslin shell of bodice to decide on fit and alterations (really more so a couple hours at night. I spent the day at JoAnns picking out fabric and notions.)

Day two: cut out lining, and main fabric, cut out sleeve caps, and collar, sew the bodice together, didn't do more because I was waiting for the boning to come in the mail. So I edge stitched around sleeves, collars, and caps

Day three: decided to nix the boning even though it came in the mail, cut out skirt and lining, and sewn them up. (at this point I think my sewing machine was over it because it started to jam on me all the time. I had to put the darning plate cover on to reduce the issues I was having. I have a singer curvy and I was told my the sales person it doesn't do well to layers and layers or heavier fabric.)

Day four: this will be the day I do my finishing touches, touch up anything else thing that needs it after I put on and move around, hem the skirt, and take lots of pictures for my conclusion blog. I'll make sure to get pictures of the details.




Friday, August 12, 2016

Renaissance Festival and New Sewing Project: m6819 pt. 1

     Michigan Renaissance Festival is a week away and I am going to be working there this year as a banner carrier for the 'Sons of Sandlar' booth. I am very excited to be back. It has been about 3 years since I worked in my prior role, which was a CD selling belly dancer for Djiliah Pharlengo, and now I am coming back as something a little different. Sneak peak below. But first some words about lost loved ones, and my history with the fair.

     This year is going to be bittersweet. I have been completely absent for a few years, and even the last few years I worked was more part time. I haven't been fully present since 2010. A lot has changed since then. The biggest change for me is Djiliah is no longer performing there, and I am very lost without them as they were my start and my muse. Also, a few other musical acts will not be there. Owain Phyfe passed away a few years ago. Kevin Tyler, another beloved performer we had shared stages with several times has left us. Jessica Masserant aka Tiger Lily, the Captain of the Crimson Reign (Brethren of the Great Lakes) left us in 2014, and this year I also lost a long time fair friend Charles Sanderson. So much has changed with and without me, and I am scared to go back. I am terrified of the change, as well as excited to return to my roots.

     Michigan Renaissance Festival has a very special place for me. I grew up loving to play pretend. I had dress up clothes as a child, plus a wild imagination. MRF introduced me to a whole other world of people who had similar interest. People who could see the magic and indulged in fantasy. It's safe to say MRF was also my first LARP. I always wanted to be the idea of a gypsy dancer. I wanted to be Esmeralda, twirling to music, or the gypsy girl on the beach playing enchanting music in Queen of the Damned (before Lestat kill her). So one year during drama class our teacher told us about castings for the fair. I attend very unprepared and was given a role in the Enchanted forest with the fairies.
     I loved putting on my costume and loved running around fair. I started in 2003/2004 when I was about 15 as a gypsy in the children area. It was volunteere babysitting essentially and I hated it, however, I was quickly "fired" about three weekends in because I didn't stay there. Can't cage the gypsy heart I guess. One of the times I slipped away is when I met Ernesto aka Spanish Bard, the man of Djilia Pharlengo playing his amazing music in the walkways. I just ran up and started dancing, and then followed him around from show to show. I came back the next year as his CD girl. Over the years I evolved from the little gypsy girl to a belly dancer (thanks to my biggest influential act which sadly is no longer there, Nommobugunte, an African tribal dance troupe, I sure miss that drum circle).
 
     Nothing beats the morning dew as you stroll in with the sunrise half dressed to make the morning meeting. Even though its August/September it's chilly so you wrap yourself in your favorite cloak or snuggle up to your favorite person. There is a coffee shop in a building by  the fountain which is always popular, or if you are early enough, you can make breakfast in the castle if you have a few bucks. Cast and the shop keeps are arriving and getting everything set up. The most iconic moment of a fair morning is when women are running around asking someone to lace them up (usually a long time fair friend, or a someone they fancy). There is a specific feeling in the air, like when you wake up before your alarm, early with the sun, and as you lay in bed, for whatever reason this morning feels... perfect.

     Other acts I remember from my early days were the Pirates and Musketeers, E muzeki, some members later became Circe Paleo, Mark Valeras took his amazing talents to Wine and Alchemy for a while and then went his own way and hasn't returned to Michigan since, already mentioned Nommobugunte and their awesome end-of-day drum circle, of course Djilia Pharlengo, and I know there are so many more.

     With that being said, the inevitable fact of life is change happens, good or bad, whether we want it to or not, and whether we are prepared or not. I am excited to feel those feelings again when I step back onto the fairgrounds. I only worry about who I will no longer see, and what else has changed. I worry those people took the atmosphere I love with them and I worry that everything is truly different.

     However, with this change comes the opportunity to do something I always wanted to do, and that is explore other costuming and creating a new character. Hard to belly dance in a pirate coat or a bodice, so this year around I am doing a rough, pirate take on a Once Upon a Time costume, via Snow White. McCalls Costume pattern M6819. I am doing the most basic version on the right.

Some changes are going to be made. First, I am including an underlining for additional structure in the bodice, that I will attach some steel boning to via the side seams, up the front closure, and some for support in the back. Also, the pattern calls for hook and eye closures in the front which I am switching out for lacing instead. That means that I will be adjusting the width so that there will be slight gap present to allow for lacing.

I am a bigger girl, and apple shaped so normally I would have needed to add room to the waist, a full bust adjustment, and drop the bust point slightly, but since this will be laced, and I intend to wear a corset under (which will assist with lifting and shaping) the only fitting adjustments I am doing is adding a quarter inch to the side seams (which I did by tapering my 5\8 seam allowance to 3\8), and for the bust, to reduce bulk and give a little room without pattern altering, I did my front princess seams at 3\8 off the bat, so that allowed approximately an additional inch in the bust and in the waist.

Head over to my Instagram to see new pattern purchases, as well as the material I chose. I am using a blue jacquard from the home decor section, that has a filigree print, and a gray lining to match the print but add overall contrast. my chemise is a gray tone as well. I will also be wearing black pants, boots, and as it gets colder, black gloves and a black hooded cape.

I am going to take pictures of my progress, and I'll post a blog once it's completed, or near completed. Stay tuned.

Jessi


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Suicide Squad commits Suicide Post Production


 Suicide Squad, or 'Deadshot, Harley and Friends' as it should have been called, was the greatest disappointment this year for cinema so far.

     Like many others, the hype was real and I was so excited to see the long-awaited Suicide Squad film. I watched cast interviews, behind the scenes footage, and every trailer gleefully in anticipation for the new movie, only to leave the theater confused and disappointed. I went home to read up on what exactly happened, and found myself very angry. Now I want to preface this blog by saying I really wanted to like the film and came to its defense before its release to those who had their doubts. Sadly that is not the case. My opinion is "I liked it...but meh."

 At the end of the blog I will leave my references, and final thoughts, if you want to skip spoilers and get to the point.

What what happened? Some minor spoilers. 

     The first thing I noticed was so many scenes from the trailers never made it to the film. An article that mentions all of them is below, so you can research yourself. Some story pieces were cut out and moved around giving the movie a choppy feel. In fact, it seems the original story, and what we were shown in the trailers, is not the end product. We had been marketed one thing and given another. There were six months of reshooting that happened, and we never got a straight or consistent answered whether it was for the action, (According to Jai Courtney via Twitter post) or for tone and humor, according to others. There were also rumors of the studio getting very nervous via the BvS flop and started to intervene. According to the articles below, the studio tested two trailers, and the campier, more humorous trailer tested better than the director, David Ayers original vision, which was darker and more origins based, so, that is the tone the studio execs wanted to reshoot and transition too. There are also rumors of multiple editors, even though only one is credited, whom actually left before the completed project, and a whole different company took over. So safe to say, too many visions, too many hands in the cookie jar. Again, articles with this information below.

     The most obvious change and injustice, in my opinion, is Harley and Jokers relationship. In a cast interview (below) when talking about shooting Harley and Jokers scenes, Margot Robbie mentions the abusive complicated relationship and makes reference to the Joker trying to kill her a few times. This would follow the comics accurately. We see a glimpse of this in the trailer when Harley appears to be tossed from a Helicopter by Mr. J, which shortly after is shot down by Amanda Waller in an attempt to stop their escape. However, in the film Joker was rewritten from the abusive, and psychotic Mr. J, to being obsessively in love with Harley, and his only role in the move is to reunite with her. So that scene was re-edited to look like he pushed her from the chopper to save her right before the chopper was shot down. It was then confusing when Joker went down with the chopper, why Harley didn't run to him and instead is seen later pouting outside in the rain, rips off the 'Puddin' choker Mr. J gave her and tosses it away.  I feel this more follows the idea of her upset because her Puddin just tried to kill her, not because she thinks he is dead.

     Jared Letos Joker received a lot of criticism, but I feel he did a great job. Joker is a hard role to do, with big shoes to fill. He brought back the unpredictable, colorful, theatrical, and psychotic elements of Joker. Mind you, that is what little we see of him, because rumor has it, due to all the reshoots and changing of the original story, most of his scenes were left on the cutting room floor. I feel we didn't get to see what he really brought to the Joker. The Joker was reduced to a love obsessed boy trying to reconnect with his girlfriend, which any true fan knows, is NOT the Joker at all. 
     One scene, in particular, was removed and fractions of it used later as flashbacks. That is the shot we see in the trailer; where the Joker is in a tuxedo with a burnt face, manically shooting a gun. This was supposed to be after-chopper-crash when a confrontation in the subway with the squad ensues after Harley tells Mr. J she isn't going with him, that she wants to stay with the gang to finish the mission. So Joker throws a grenade at them before he leaves. That aforementioned scene is used completely out of context later, and that confrontation itself never happened. 

     The movie also felt very unbalanced. In the beginning, they do a very quick intro to characters, not all of them, and later when Amanda Waller is going into their histories and dossiers, Deadshot gets the most time, followed by Harley, and everyone is quickly glossed over. In fact, Katana and Slipknot get no real back story or intro time, Killer Croc, who had five hours of makeup before shooting hardly gets any total film time, and neither does Captain Boomerang. El Diablo gets his intro but spends most of the time in the background, until later in the movie he shows what he can "really do" which felt more convenient than anything else. Another thing that was unusual is no one had a role. They were all there because they were crazy metahumans, however, they didn't have specific jobs. Typically in these types of films, if you have a squad of people together, they have specific tasks and roles. However, they all fought alongside each other, not using their specific abilities, which was also disappointing. 

     I also noticed some audio and soundtrack issues. The scene when Rick Flag is giving his speech to the inmates in the desert, the audio is much different from the rest of the film, a small thing, but I think more evidence of sloppy reshoots and editing, and most of the movie soundtrack is pop culture songs, until one particular scene before the suicide mission that has an actual score which felt out of place. The last thing that really stood out to me was a few scenes where the characters outfit and make up are slightly different. One example is the squad has been out in the rain, Harley's white face paint has faded, her eyes and lips are more smeared, as they should be, but later, post rain, her face paint is caked on and eyes and lips look freshly applied, Which again I think is the product of sloppy reshooting, and re-editing.

     Now reshoots and edits happen a lot, but I think part of the problem is Suicide Squad already had an ambitious release date before reshooting, and then the re-editing was very rushed, and again, by multiple companies and people. It not seamless, it feels choppy and sloppy. However, it's not just re-edited, they redid the whole story line. THEY CHANGED EVERYTHING

There is so much more but the linked articles talk about it in more detail. I want you yo do your own research and make your own opinions, this is my own personal ranting.  

So why am I so mad? 

     I am really disappointed because some of these characters are making their first debut in the film world. I can't tell you how long I have been waiting for a live-action Harley Quinn. The original story line was awesome too, and from what I read, the David Ayers vision was going to be great. It was going to follow the original story closely, and it was going to do real justice, but nervous studio execs came in and screwed that all up. We would have gotten a great film, but that was stolen from us. That is why I am so mad. 
     Yes, I am irritated about the inconsistencies in editing, yes, I am annoyed they changed the Joker and Harley relationship to be more commercially appropriate, instead of what is really is. Yes, I am disappointed that Jared Letos Joker was barely in the film and butchered to point where he never got a fair chance, but mostly I am upset that David Ayers was going to give us a great, origin based film (that was evident in the cast interviews and trailers), but it was stolen from us, hacked and re-edited to be something studio execs, who are clearly unfamiliar with the story, preferred. I think had it been left to David Ayers, it would have gotten stellar reviews and fan response would have been overwhelmingly positive. 

Mostly, I feel so bummed out.

Perhaps one day we can see the David Ayers version. Sadly none of the cast members or director will ever be allowed to say what really happened, and are required to maintain support for the finished product. David Ayers has said this is his film, but I think it obvious that is not true.



Let me know what you think, 

And remember, this is just my personal opinion, so don't take too seriously. 

Jessi Harm


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bumps in the road

Hey everyone,

I hit some bumps lately and hoping to soon get back on my feet, but in the meantime, I am working on some new projects to share. This is going to be an exciting summer. Michigan Renaissance Festival is starting soon, plus the LARPing season goes until October. Also, I am getting ready to move, so as that unfold I will keep you up to date.

Best,

Jessi Harm
Evil Regal

Friday, June 17, 2016

Summer Floral Flare

I recently got this very awesome Retro Butterick 1951 shirt-dress pattern in B5920 and had so much fun making it. Now I am a super beginner, and this is my first dress. I found it to be pretty easy to follow along with, however, you will notice the lack of the notched collar because I couldn't figure it out. I also ended up taking off a lot of length from the skirt compared to the original pattern. I am 5'5 and I like skirts and dresses typically right below my knee. This first picture was my finished piece. Again, room for improvements, but I really like this style. More shirt dresses to come. 


(again with that garbage pail)


SMALL
This is the dress still on my dress form with the tailor marks and original length. I wanted you to see the cloth buttons. I went to a vintage store and found a bunch of buttons, however, didn't like any of them and ended up getting a cloth button making kit to do my own out of the leftover fabric. 

 The only thing I want to do is find thicker, funkier belt to really cinch the waist. :)

Hope you enjoyed, 

Comment below, 

Jessi Harm

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Memories Antique Mall

I recently found a gem in Michigan. Its off 23 highway and Grand Blanc Road toward Rankin, called Memories Antique Mall. There were so many vintage goodies in there. My mom walked away with four 50s/60 dresses, and I got a fun hat and vintage buttons. I will definitely go back and take more pictures but I wanted to share some of the fun gems here. 

I imagine this is what vintage heaven looks like. This is only a small fraction of what is available. This only one vendor. Lots of vintage decor as well, but I lost it when I saw all these clothes. 

That red hat in the back of the top pick is the one I got. :)


Monday, June 13, 2016

I am back... With Sewing!

Been a while. Got a Degree. Got a new Job, and oh yea... started sewing. :)

So earlier this year I discovered the amazing fabric and pattern designer, author and seamstress, Gertie, aka Gretchen Hirsch. I fell in love with her vintage, punky style. I bought all of her books and got myself some of her fabric too.
Recently I made a skirt out of her beautiful border print fabric, and followed a tutorial on her blog for a Dirndl style skirt. Links Below. Here is my creation. I paired it with a blazer and blouse from Target. It was light, feminine, fun and very spring :) This is her Rose Garden Border cotton Sateen fabric. I am a beginner. This is the 3rd finished project I have made so there was some room for improvements. 

(please forgive the garbage pail in the photo)
 It was really easy if you follow her tutorial, however I am bigger than she is, and I wanted some  extra lushy fullness, so for my waist measurement of 41 inches, I got 2.5 yards of fabric. 
Her tutorial is below, she broke it into two parts and I really don't think it needed to be that in depth.

Basically is two large rectangles for the skirt, sew up the side seams, but leave a spot for the zipper,  you just need to know how you want your fabric to lay, and I like big hems, so after I chose my desired length, I added 4 inches for a big hem. Same with waistband.  Two long rectangles of desired thickness, plus seam allowance, and width plus seam allowance, and I opted for some fusible interfacing. 

Best thing about this skirt, its a rectangle, so its the easiest hem job ever. I hate hemming skirts. 

Here is Gerties tutorial:

http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/2009/08/sew-full-gathered-skirt-part-one-make.html

http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/2009/08/make-this-skirt-part-two-of-gathered.html


Hope you enjoyed. 
Comment below, 

Jessi Harm