Thursday, August 28, 2014

Renn Fest Prep

It's that time of year again - I usually try and pretend I'm doing something sort of historically accurate - but this year, nothing doing.    This year, I'm screwing around.

The nonsense started with a masking tape double.  I didn't feel like fitting a corset properly, so I popped on a trashbag and made Greg run around me a zillion times and did the fitting the lazy way.

After I'd been extricated, I drew the shape I wanted, front and back,  cut them out (and folded down the bust to get the right, flat, "historical" shape, and blamo!   Corset pattern.   The boning will take up just enough space, so that with the lacing it will be skin tight, but not actually compressive.  

As of writing, the shirt is also finished (no pictures yet) and the skirt is in progress.   One of the pattern weights was very helpfully holding it down for me.

(Oddly enough, she is the 'helpful' one.   Goshu likes to pull the pins out...)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Amanda's Moneta

I've been bad about posting lately....  (I can't even blame this one on the move.   Although having a parking lot rather than a garden outside my back door does cut down a bit on easy photo ops)   Anyhow - here is Amanda's Moneta.

For her wedding present, she specifically requested a jersey-dress with a gathered skirt, a sweetheart neck and pockets.  The next week the Moneta came out and I managed to get it all in except the sweetheart.   They jersey stretched weirdly and lacking proper stretchy interfacing, I went with the scoop.   

She picked out the fabrics - not a combination I ever would have come up with, but I really liked how it turned out.  Also at her request - festive pockets!   (with skirt fabric facing, so they are stealth)  Although the brown / pink color combo means that when looked at from the right angle, with all the folds, they end up looking a lot like labias. (not pictured, I have faith in your imaginations)  Which really just made the whole thing more entertaining.

Anyhow, now that I've distracted you - BEHOLD THE PRINT MATCHING.  Those stripes have about 6 different patterns going on, which I only notices at the last possible moment.  

So huzzah for Amanda and huzzah for her taking her own initiative to do a photo shoot and send me pretty pictures to put on the blog.  (Also, we're gearing up for RennFest.  More on that later!)  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

my sewing hallway

I don't think it quite counts as a room - but it works for me.

Everything on the left is my stash.   Not pictured are the three large bins which make up the rest of the stash.  As of this moment, I am officially going on a fabric fast (minus things needed for presents or for costumes.  Halloween is very important around these parts.   I won first place at the costume contest last year and have a reputation to maintain.)  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I have a sewing room!

Move #2  (from my family's home, where I was staying while househunting to my own apartment) is just about done.   Another day or two of organizing, and the cats will move in too.   (I decided to have them avoid the furniture-moving and handy-people, etc....)  

The big news of the moment is that I have a sort-of sewing room!    The space that was listed as "dining-area" is far to small to fit an actual dining room table - but it fits my sewing desk rather nicely and leaves a little space for shelves.   Its really more a large passage way than a room, but it lets me have a dedicated space.    The only thing I'm missing about my old sewing-closet (to which I used to draw up a chair)  is a door I can close to keep the cats from nesting on projects when I'm out.

Pictures when it is more than a pile of bags on a table....

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sewing with a plan

For possibly the first time ever, I made a list of sewing projects - and then completed all of them, in order.

dress, suit, christening gown, wedding bolero

This never happens.   In fact, it only happened because most of them were for other people. Which also *never* happens.   (My typical response to "Will you make me something?" is "No, but I'll teach you and you can make it yourself."    I find this shuts most people up, and only two people have ever taken me up on this.     If they are particularly persistent and push, I start quoting rates of $100 an hour, and tell them even a sundress will take about 15 hours.    That always shuts them up.   I like to sew for *me*)

However, these were all for a particularly special group of people, with a special set of life events.  (Except Greg, who I wanted to not die of heat-stroke.  But he is special anyway.)

Anyhow, here comes the next plan, with a lot of the same faces.  First, there is something for me, then we have Amanda's wedding present dress and a shirt for Greg's birthday.   Then, maybe, I can get back to my selfish, hermity ways.  

Anyhow, coming up we have Simplicity 2451 - view A (except floor length)

It's currently in progress, I just haven't gotten around to taking pictures.    I always get a kick out of swishy skirts.

Monetas for both me and Amanda:
When we were discussing what she wanted as a wedding present, she sent me a picture of a knit dress her friend had just had made - sweetheart neckline, gathered skirt (but - and I'm not linking to the picture) really badly made.    (I admit to being a total snot)  Anyhow, cruising around the internet I came upon the Moneta - knit, gathered skirt, pockets, and I figured I could wrangle a sweetheart into the scooped neck.   Clearly, this was meant to be.  (And I want one too....)

And the shirt for Greg - V8889:

(He is particularly excited about arms that are long enough, without the body being enormous.    He is also planning to learn to sew, as he has seen how much of my time it takes to make him these things.   It seems his grandmother has an old sewing machine she doesn't use anymore, so I in a couple months I'm hoping there will be a Greg-made item or two gracing the blog.)

Only real problem is he doesn't like covered button-plackets, as they require extra ironing....  I I need to figure out how to deal with that.   (I will say this for menswear - it is taking me out of my comfort zone and I'm learning a lot of new things.)   

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

V8988 - finished!

he'll fight you for it.
Not only is the suit done - but it has had its first adventure.   Greg wore it to an outdoor wedding in Virginia (aka - HOT - although it was only in the low 80s, so it really wan't bad for that neck of the woods)  and was cool and comfy and generally considered to be tremendously stylish.   So, I'm counting this as a major win.

 As with the pants, the directions were a bit of a mess, and my original attempt to follow along for the front pockets was such a disaster, they had to be remade from scratch.   fortunetly, we'd gotten a couple of extra yards, as I was a little intimidated by the project and wanted an insurance policy.

There are a few things I'll change for next time....  The back flap ended up being on a diagonal rather than straight, as I kept taking it in to fit correctly.  Also, the jacket cuffs don't quite lay as flat.  (Greg has also requested that there be an inner breast pocket on the left, as well as the right sides, bringing the total to *10* pockets for the suit.)  (seriously, how many pockets does one man use?   I've polled the ones I know, and none has ever used more than five at once.)   However, other than that (and the directions requiring serious thought to interpret) I'm really liking this pattern.

Once I simplify the waistband pattern, we're going to make a few more pairs of pants in more everyday fabrics.    One of them may end up as his first real sewing project, as the process has gotten him hooked on clothing that fits properly.  He is particularly excited about a shirt with long enough arms that doesn't have a baggy body, and is starting to really take note of the materials in the clothing he already owns.   Cotton/linen blends seems to be the reigning favorite.

 As a suit pattern, I think this is a good way to dip one's toe in the water.   It only has a facing, rather than a full lining, which means skipping the umpteen layers interfacing and pad stitching, etc...    The sleeves are still lined, and have to be put on by hand - but it's both necessary and not really that tricky.

If you are interested in the suit, and would like to see more detail on the pants, check out this link.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Pants and Vogue's attempts to violate physics.

I'm very happy with how the fit turned out -- I've never done non-costume menswear before, and was worried about getting the right amount of ease without making it look all baggy and saggy - but I think it turned out rather well.

 I went rogue in a couple of places (there are eight belt loops, instead of six, because I can.)  And get this - I not only read the directions, but I more or less followed them.   (However, they were crap, which I will get to later.)

The pictures are a little over saturated from the bright sunlight, but in person, they are a lovely green and white seersucker that remind me of candy.  (I have no idea why - I can't think of a single green and white candy I've ever had.)  (But there it remains.)

But onto the directions.   They were horrible and confusing.   I knew there would be fit issues, as Vogue patterns always seem to have an extra four inches of ease, but having not bothered to read any instructions in years I didn't realize how convoluted, poorly drawn and poorly planned they were.   (The waist band was absurdly complicated and is going to be redrafted for future iterations of these pants.   However, to illustrate the insanity, I offer your step 82 - making the button-holes for the back pockets.    This comes after everything is all made and you have to slip the pocket into the machine in a manner I haven't figured out yet.   I don't actually think it is possible.)

If however, the same instruction had occurred DURING pocket construction, say between steps 39 and 40, I wouldn't have to violate physics.

pocket construction.   a good time for button holes.
Anyhow, the result of all this is, I like the pattern, but the instructions are a confusing mess with nearly useless illustrations.  If you try this, I recommend coming up with your own construction order and ignoring almost everything about the waistband.  (seriously -- cutting something out on the bias and then immediately interfacing it, with no change in shape or ease is an exercise in futility.) (grumble)
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