Introduction: Victoria Forest - Aka the Victorian Forensic Scientist
No, my Sewing Studio did not throw up, it was more of a controlled throw-down.
Somehow, I am going to turn bits of all of this stuff into my Costume for this year.
I already created my daughter's Sherlock Holmes character, here:
am working on the Scene Decor(a crime scene from the 1890's) for our Trick o Treat Happenin',
and so I needed to come up with something complementary to all of that.
I wanted to create a female character that would fit in with the scene.
I came up with the idea of a Victorian-era forensic crime-scene analyst.
Naturally, she needs a name. We'll pretend she is Legendary, an established character already woven into a good many of Arthur Conan Doyle's works.
aka Victoria, the Forensic Scientist.
That is Not cheesy. She is going to be so cool. Cooler than Sherlock, and more complex..
...the companion he could never
outdrink. (emphasis added)
Step 1: The Trousers, Stage 1
I want to embellish them with leather, pockets, etc., so I need them flat for ease of working with.
1. Remove side seams with seam ripper/scissors. After a certain point you can just rip though, then remove the miles of thread created from the serger.
2. I want to stitch on leather strips up the front of the legs, sort of like railway sleepers, with ascending then descending widths as they head south of the leg. I don't want to spend too much time doing this, but I want it to look textured. Let's experiment:
I have 5 leather colors here.
The light tan and black are too extreme. I like the reddish-brown, medium and also the dark brown.
I'll chalk out the shapes, cut out the strips and sew them on.
Step 2: The Trousers, Stage 2
1. Repeat chalking other side
2. Cut strips out, place over, and bring to sewing machine.
3. I wanted to stitch a dark red as I'll be adding bits of it throughout the ensemble.
4. It'll look better after the chalk has been washed away, but I have a few more things to do before I put the trousers though a distress wash.
5. After repeating strips treatment to other side, I added a tuxedo stripe down both sides. I chose the reddish brown as it was nice and pliable, plus, I had a long piece. : D
Step 3: The Trousers, Stage 3
Now for the pockets, straps,etc.
I want to build around function, so I gather all the accoutrements that I think I'll need.
1/2. I buy a lot of Gingher embroidery scissors, and they come with leather sheaths that I never use, so I thought I'd put them to good use and make mini pockets out of them. Forceps, tweezers and stork scissors will find their homes in these.
3. Forensics can build up quite a thirst, so I used the red leather strapping to create a t-strap for the flask to drop into. "According to Chemistry, Alcohol is a Solution."
4. I wanted more interesting and functional carriers, so stitched more of the red strapping over the existing ones. This gave me the opportunity to attach some clips in the front.
5. My lip balm holder holding some mint chocolate lip balm that I made. Yum!
6/7/8. Now for the back pocket to store my notebook(that I will make in several steps ahead)
9. Finally, a long, narrow pocket to hold my long-stemmed pipe.
Step 4: The Finished Trousers
The front leg holds various cutting instruments, plus a couple of things that I added; a hand carved hunting knife and a cleaning brush, for sweeping away debris that covers what I need to examine.
Now onto the Jacket...
Step 5: The Jacket, Beginning Materials and Resize
I started with a green wool bomber, and a brownish plaid blazer.
Even though it was a men's small, it was much too big for me, so I had to reset the sleeves.
This isn't as daunting as it sounds; I am not removing the entire sleeve, just increasing the seam allowance to change the shoulder line and slightly shorten the sleeve. Basically, I want the top of the sleeve to be closer to my neck, rather than hang over my shoulder.
I opened up the lining in the sleeve and pulled out the shoulder area of the wool. You can see all of the shoulder batting. I detached that, then stitched about an inch from the original shoulder seam line at the top and gradually decreased the seam allowance change to about the middle of the sleeve armscye, in the front and back. I then trimmed the excess and basted the batting back on.
Repeat for other side, then stitch sleeve lining closed
Step 6: The Jacket, Cont.
1. I removed the pockets. They are too big and don't match the era. I have a better version of leather and lace to replace them.
2. I removed the lapels from the blazer, serged the raw seams, and sewed on top of the green jacket's lapels, wrapped the serged seams a good 2 cm under and tacked.
3. I folded under the bottom half, at a diagonal and tacked to the inside. I'm trying to girlify this, borrow from some Victorian lines, and I also don't want to cover up the waist portion of my trousers.
4. I added some leather and buckles to cinch in the waist at the back. The buckles and attached leather were from an ancient pair of Ugg boots that were destroyed at the top from some four-legged thing and the leather strap in the middle was from a purse strap that I shortened. I save a lot of stuff from customer projects, and here I was able to incorporate those into this project. Cool, eh?
5. I wanted a peplum for the jacket. A peplum is kinda a mini-mini skirt attached to a jacket at the waist. It is really feminine, and certainly Victorian. I cut off the bottom portion of the blazer, about 20 cm/8 in. I serged the raw edge at the top.
6. I pinned pleats in, to fit the distance of the bottom of the green jacket. Used some math, and some trial and error. I stitched the peplum to the jacket bottom, using a heavy duty machine.
7. I then pinned and stitched some beautiful, old lace on top of that. I trimmed/separated the bottom to allow the lace to flare out.
Step 7: The Jacket's Finishing Touches
1. I have many meters of leather strapping. The cobbler up the street retired and gave me a bunch of stuff. (Actually, it was more like barter; I tailored some things for him in exchange) I cut two pieces to make a belt. The carriers are from some home decor trim. The latch in the front is a vintage scarf buckle, and the belt fastens with a clip that feeds through two holes.
2. I punched holes on the other ends of the belts and fed them through the back buckles.
3. Now for the cuffs. I wanted a more fancy cuff than the existing one, plus it offered another opportunity to incorporate more plaid into the design. I cut off a bit above the buttons, removed the buttons, opened it up and finally removed the lining.
4. I ironed interfacing along the top, raw edge, then resized to reduce the width to match the green cuff size.
5. I attached the new cuff by sewing two buttonholes in the new cuff to fit through the existing button, no sewing, I just sewed a buttonhole at each end, unbuttoned the green cuff, buttoned the under part of new cuff, then fed the button through the green cuff buttonhole, and finally fed the new cuff second buttonhole through that button.
6. More Leather & Lace. The last of the remaining lace I placed over the leather and cut around. Stitched each piece onto the leather, capped with some of the red strapping, and finally stitched that to the jacket.
It's really starting to look good now!
Step 8: The Finished Jacket!
I ordered some fountain pens(I hope they arrive in time!) to put in one pocket; the other pocket will hold.... some other Forensic Scientist essentials. : ) (plus my carriage keys and some silver coins)
I have a cream silk blouse and a plaid vest under the jacket.
I need cool footwear!
Step 9: Creating Boot-things From Boots and Not-boots.
1. Remember this pile from the beginning? See those nice, black shoes and 70's-looking boots?
2. I'm going to cut the boots up and somehow attach to the shoes.
3. I removed the zipper and kept the back heel and upper sides, as you can see.
I don't know why I didn't take interim pictures. Maybe I was experimenting and wasn't sure what I was going to keep or rip off and re-do, and then really liked it and got excited and finished it.
4. I sewed some more of the red leather strapping along the inside edges, where the zipper was, and along the bottom edges, leaving long enough tails to connect to be able to hook under heel of black shoe. I punched 5 holes along each and fed some black cording through.
5. To tie the black shoe in, I attached more red strapping over the existing belt, locking under the buckle with a hole and gluing the other end under the shoe.
6. The final touch is gluing some sandpaper under the soles to make a match strike surface.
Step 10: Monocle Goggles!
1. We start with these 2 cameras and keyboard, scooped up for 10 bucks at Goodwill.
2/3. It was really fun taking them apart!
4. Some metallic acrylics They are thicker than regular acrylics and wiping off brushes with napkins between colors seems to be a better idea than just swishing around it water.
5. Painting the different parts with the metallics. Most required at least 2 coats.
6. I've combined one of the lenses back into the focus unit/barrel and wedged a piece in that to serve as my scaffolding to hold additional lenses. I used some leather and elastic to create the headband to house my monocle unit.
7. I used E6000 to glue piece to leather. The stitch lines aren't all functional, mostly decorative.
8. Various lenses, some are magnifiers, and some painted key buttons, that I'll incorporate onto unit.
Step 11: The Finishing Touches
1. Adding a lens and the glue for the buttons.
2. More lenses, one is glued on and one is screwed on, so it can actually pivot a little, and the buttons glued on.
3/4/5. All done, different views, So Cool!!
6/7/8/9. I sewed 5 red LED sequins onto felt with conductive thread, powered it with a coin cell battery and placed it inside. Neat-o!!
It'll be just perfect for viewing faraway objects and magnifying up-close specimens!
Step 12: Potions/Solvents Caddy
I have 2 small jars and two VERY old bottles that I want to create a unified unit for. Something made of leather that I can attach a long strap to and wear over my shoulder, across my chest, messenger style.
The two bottles are 3x the height of the jars so I need to devise a design that averages that out.
The pictures are pretty explanatory. You could change different things according to what you have on hand.
Experiment with the food coloring, and keep checking the fit of the caddy to make sure things are tight and secure.
Step 13: A Leather Sketch/Notepad, Part. 1
1. I bought 6 pieces of tan cardstock, 12" x12", and ripped them into 12 rectangles, 6" x 10 1/4", to fit my back pocket. (I couldn't just rip them in half or the width of the journal would be too wide to fit into the pocket)
I folded them all in half and put them in 3 groups for a total of 4 rectangles per, for a grand total of 24 pages. I punched 4 holes through each group, 2 at the bottom and 2 at the top.
2. I then cut a supple piece of leather 2.5 times the width, enough for the front, back and halfway again around the front. The height was just a smidgeon taller than the height of the papers.
3/4. I wanted a strip of contrast leather to edge, for stability. I cut two but only used one, it would have just added bulk without function.
5. I punched a bunch of sewing holes through the dark piece. My method was to put 2 holes at the end, then holes in the exact middle, then continuing to find the middle between holes until they were about 1 cm apart.
6. I then transferred those holes onto the edge of the supple leather.
7. The finished holes
Step 14: Leather Sketch/Notepad, Part 2
1. Here I am stitching the edgestrip in the manner shown. I am using hemp cord in a variegated color.
2.The finished stitching.
3. I wrap the cover piece over my pages to find the exact locations of where I should punch the holes in the leather binding to correspond with the holes in the 3 groups of paper underneath.
4. Punched 'em!
(I have included a lot of photos/steps, but I wanted to give detailed and precise instructions so that this would be easily duplicated)
5. Start at top or bottom. Make a double knot with 3" tail and feed through to inside of 1st group of paper, matching all holes. The cord should be 60". You can trim a few off when you're all done.
6. Go down to hole directly below, come back out to the outside.
7. Bring up to top hole, just to right, creating a slant, and feed through inside of 2nd grouping of paper.
8. Go down to hole directly below, come to outside, then bring to top hole just to right and feed through to 3rd paper grouping, creating another slant.
9. Go down directly below and come out, taking care to pull all the slack from what you just sewed.
10. Bring up and to the left, feeding through hole, creating your first "x".
Step 15: Leather Sketch/Notepad, Part 3
1/2/3/4. Untie original knot in tail and tie new knot with loose end. Let old tail dangle to outside and the other piece, which should be about 40", you feed through bottom left hole, to the inside, bringing down to 2nd set of holes, to repeat what you just did.
5. The inside, and..
6. The lovely, finished product, all wrapped up!
Step 16: The Final Detail
This is the last leather prop for the ensemble.
A piece of leather 5" x 4.5". Cut out finger notch on one end.
Fold in half and stitch sides.
The finished product with,
What's that inside?
Step 17: My Calling/Trade Card, of Course!
Step 18: The Whole Thing Put Together
Let me go put it on...
Step 19: The Photoshoot! : D
Please vote for me if you like!