The Peggy Carter Project Continues

So. I wrote this morning (though this blog is scheduled to go up on Saturday) about preparing a costume for Halloween-slash-maybe-ComicCon-slash-maybe-other-cons as Agent Peggy Carter, SSR. Thus far, I’ve ordered a hat, a pattern and some dynamite shoes.

Now for the more ephemeral steps: hair, makeup and…learning how to sew.


Hair: According to the interwebs, pin curls seem the way to go, and while my hair is currently a bit shorter than it would need to be (no more cuts till October, other than teeny trims!) I’ve decided it’s better to get a jump on things and just give it a lot of practice. This tutorial was the first that came up, and while I remember trying to do pin curls for a night out in Edinburgh seven or eight years ago, I also remember that being a disaster. I’m pretty sure this will also be a disaster, but it’s my first night. Cut me some slack.


“You’re wearing my brand.”


Makeup: As I looked for makeup tutorials, I learned that the actual lipstick used on the show is available from a boutique in LA. Since I have a friend in LA who’s willing to stop by and pick the lipstick up for me and ship it out here, that seems sorted. Eye makeup will come along in time.

The sewing machine of Doom.

The sewing machine of Doom.

Sewing: OK, fine, I admit it. I’m actually typing this just so I can avoid going to try and figure out how to use the sewing machine a friend so generously gifted me earlier this year. My new mantra being, “What would Peggy do?”, however, I know I have to dive in and get the job done. So far, I’ve watched a tutorial about what kinds of supplies I’ll need to buy – I actually have some of them, but it seems like a trip to Joanne Fabrics is probably in order to pick up the rest. And I feel like I should have some idea of how the sewing machine will work before I head to Joanne’s, just in case it turns out that I need to get a dumbed-down version of a sewing machine for myself.

The Suit: I got a lovely email from the eBay seller I bought my suit pattern off of earlier today, saying she’d put it in the mail and I should get it early next week. Meanwhile, the same friend who bequeathed me her sewing machine has some ideas about what kinds of fabric might work.

Still no ideas for the blouse.

Well, there’s no more putting it off. Time to go read the sewing machine instructions and have a play around with some scraps of fabric around the house.

As soon as I top off my beer and start playing Captain America.


Somehow, I think Agent Carter would approve.

Edit: The pin curls were not a disaster! My hair is definitely too short, and I need to figure out how to make them curl properly on one side of my head so I don’t get a great spronging curl sticking out at a 90-degree angle to my scalp on the right, and the part definitely needs work…but the left side actually looked pretty good! So I’ll just keep practicing and at some point may even wear them out in public! I used bobby pins instead of the duck clips the tutorial I linked to recommended, because I’m not going to go out and spend MORE money just yet, but as I get better at it if it turns out that it’s something I want to do more of, I may go out and spring for the duck clips after all. Also, I used a really nice argan oil/shea butter soft hair “moisturizer,” and it worked well, so hopefully that kept my hair a bit healthier than the grocery store gel they were recommending in the tutorial. Though a friend whose mom grew up in the 40s said they used to use beer to set the curls, too. May have to give that a shot just to see what the difference is like.

Other edit: The sewing machine is not as scary as it looked; I couldn’t find the box of transparent bobbins my friend gave me, so today I have to go out in the cold and search the car to see if I left them out there.

8 responses to “The Peggy Carter Project Continues

  1. That machine looks like one my mom used to have. The one I have is almost 13 years old now; she got it for me for a college graduation present (I had asked for one,) so a bit more modern. But I just can’t. I’m terrible at visualizing things, and no matter how much I practice I can’t get the feel for threading it. We had home economics when I was in middle school, and I had to sew something on the machine each year, which all had turned out fine. I don’t know if it was a loss of patience or what. I’m much better at hand-stitching and needlework, but I’m sure I don’t have the patience to make clothes that way.
    And that’s awesome that you’ll be able to get the lipstick!

    • Rachel / @girl_onthego

      Heee I’m so excited about the lipstick I don’t even know what to do with myself. 😀 Cannot WAIT until it gets here, I sent my friend the money on PayPal earlier today. 😀

      The sewing machine is a Singer 534; it seems really solid. I remember threading/setup being my LEAST favorite part of using a sewing machine. I can do hand-stitching OK but no way am I going to hand stitch an entire suit, I’m just not that patient – same problem as you, there. That’s going to be one of my biggest challenges, I think, but since I have a pretty long time to get this right, I think I’m just going to try and take it in tiny, tiny steps. The same friend who gave me the sewing machine is also REALLY encouraging and has started sewing a lot of her own clothes the last few years, so she’s also giving me some random tips like how to make a really inexpensive dress form. (Though if I get through this project and it’s not a disaster I may end up springing for an adjustable one that I can fit to my ever-changing dimensions, heh.)

      I made shorts in Home Ec in 7th grade and I remember that going pretty well, though it was just straight seams. I’m a little intimidated by the whole idea of making something with lapels and folded-over bits and sleeves and shoulders and okay maybe a lot intimidated.

      Baby steps, though. Baby steps. Maybe this will be good for helping me stay in the moment and not anticipate a billion things that could go wrong, too. 😀

  2. We made shorts in home ec too, probably 7th grade. We had made a bag in 6th grade, and then I think in 8th grade we made pillows, and I made an elephant-shaped one for a friend.
    I can understand about being nervous about the lapels and things like that on the jacket. The shirt should be pretty straightforward, I imagine, so that will be a big confidence booster once you make it.
    The process can be hard. I like to cross-stitch, but it can be hard for me to keep going if it seems like I’m not getting anywhere. I won’t get anywhere if I don’t keep at it, but it can be hard to convince myself that it’s worth it when it doesn’t seem like I’m getting anywhere.
    Good luck!

    • Rachel / @girl_onthego

      I used to make little bear puppets with my mom when I was a kid, and then the Home Ec Shorts, and then…not much since. I’m kind of hoping to make a few small projects – maybe a t-shirt blanket or something – just to get used to sewing straight lines and such.

      You think the shirt should be easy? Or is that a typo for skirt. Please please please tell me it’s not a typo and you think the shirt will be easy because that would be great.

      One thing I’m having trouble deciding is how complicated I want the jacket to be. The one in the promotional pic has really cool pinstripes but I know that matching patterns and stripes can be a really tricky job. :/

      Agreed on the idea that the project has to keep moving forward in order for me to stay engaged and not get discouraged. That’s part of what’s great about the makeup side of things being involved – I’m pretty good at learning makeup and this will help teach me things like contouring and all of that. My goal at the end is to be able to get the whole costume on and makeup done fairly quickly and with minimal fuss, as I’ll be travelling when I wear it, so we’ll see how that goes…

      *hugs* And thanks for the good luck wishes. Definitely going to need ’em! xx

      • A t-shirt blanket is a great idea! I’ve been wanting to do that too (or get Johan to do it, lol, but he’s been busy.)
        I used to be very crafty and creative during late-elementary and middle school; probably because we didn’t have TV and the computer couldn’t do much then, so I kept myself entertained with reading and crafts.
        Oh no, that was a rather unfortunate typo because I had meant skirt. I think with the shirt it’s probably going to depend on the details; like doing button-holes seems challenging, but that might just be me. So like with this shirt the ruching around the cuffs might be difficult and the pleating on the front. Hopefully it won’t be too hard to find an acceptable pattern for it, though; luckily, that type of blouse never goes out of style.
        Pinstripes would definitely add another level of difficulty, but it wouldn’t be impossible. You would need to account for the extra material you would need to match the lines up the correct way.

      • Oh, I just saw this
        I suppose it’s not vintage enough, but it’s closer, right? 😉

  3. My mother took traditional home economics in high school and never touched the sewing machine after getting married. My father took to the sewing machine on those rare occasions when he needed something done. Probably because the sewing machine was old enough to have an exposed belt-and-pully mechanism. My father had an elaborate overhead belt-and-pully system in the garage that transferred motion to one of several pieces of equipment (i.e., drill, saw, grinder, etc.). I grew up around many Rube Goldberg contraptions.

    I have on occasion wanted to get a sewing machine to make quilts. My maternal grandmother in Idaho made quilts in the winters to sell at the summer fairs, and I still have one of her quilts that she made in 1978. Sewing the squares looked simple enough, but putting the whole quilt together looks like a major undertaking. My grandmother had ten kids and numerous grandchildren to help her out with that part. Besides looking at pattern books and sewing machine guides, I’ve never committed myself to making a quilt. This is something I might do in my retirement.

    • Rachel / @girl_onthego

      Down the line, if I get through the suit without going nuts, I would LOVE to start making quilts. But I think you’re right – getting the pieces together must be so tough, because if you sew one thing out of place it seems like it would throw the whole thing off. :/ Maybe I’d start with just buying a couple big squares of fabric and then using iron-on appliques.

      When I was at the fabric store on Saturday I looked at getting some simple sort of little pattern and one thing I saw was a quilted alphabet book. I’d have loved to make one for my little niece, but saw very, VERY quickly that it was way more than I’m equipped to handle right now. I think there’ s something to be said for not biting off more than I can chew…just yet. 😉

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