Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1)

I'm told one celebrates by wearing blue and yellow and dancing like there is no tomorrow.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chalk Bags!

I haven't gotten around to hemming the purple shirt -- but chalk bags!!!!!   For those of you I don't know in real life -- I am a climber.  Not much of one lately as I hurt my arms and neck a while ago, but I've started back up.  Anyhow, I was going through my gear and found my chalk bag has escaped -- basically a pouch full of chalk one wears whilst climbing to counteract sweaty hands.   So, I made one - and in fact, made two, so my climbing buddy could have one also.  (Really, she was buying chalk and they were charging too much for the bags, so I told her I'd make one if I could have half the chalk.   So... not quite dirt-bag climber as really I had the more intense side of the bargain, as a bag of chalk is all of $4.   But the ethos is there. :)      Anyhow, they are made of old umbrella fabric (one was polka dots the other was rainbow solid colors)  both are double-bags joined at the top by the strip of colorful fabric that acts as a drawstring.   I also added zipper patch pockets to the front for lip balm / keys / whatever.    I was about to start pointing out the flaws - but really, its a sack for chalk.   It successfully prevents gravity from having its way with the aforementioned chalk, holds my chapstick (I am an addict.....I really ought to buy stock in burt's bees) and is polka-dotted.   I am content. 

Action shot!   Mine is clipped to my belt loop.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fold-Over Shirt

Ta-da!  The pattern for the no-neck binding shirt I was talking about the other day.   The furthest to the left is the sleeve, followed by the back and then the front is on the right.   As you can see, both the front and the back but up against the fold (well, trust me, its a fold) producing a body with double thickness AND no need for a neck binding.

The pointy parts from the back are pinned along the arm holes of the front - with the fold in towards the neck and the raw edges out to the arm hole.

(Don't worry, the back  lays flat when it gets onto a body.)

 Next (and without sewing, although I suppose one could baste first) the sleeves are pinned in place, holding the back front overlap together.

The sleeves are sewn on, and then the sides are pinned together and sewn from cuff to hem line, and presto, with three seams a shirt with a nifty neckline is born!

I still need to hem the bottom edge and the sleeves, but I think that will be work for another day.
Close up of how the neckline comes together.

All in all I'm very pleased with this shirt -- although the neckline is a bid wider than I'd intended.   Its forcing me to wear my bra straps on the very tips of my shoulders, which while not the end of the world, is irritating.   The next one (and there absolutely will be a next one) will be a bit narrower, and possibly involve putting another fold at the sleeve cuff so I don't have to bother with a hem there either, and get double thickness throughout the shirt.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Geometric Black Lace & Copying RTW

She knows her fabrics
I've been looking for a non-floral black lace for a while now, and everything I found was either crazy expensive, not very pretty, looked like it should be applied with a glue gun and glitter or all of the above... and then today the gods of fabric smiled upon me!   In the 50% off bin were four yards of this lovely lace.   Its a bit more drapey than I was hoping for, but as its planned as an over dress, the slip can take up the slack.  (click on the picture to get a better view.)

While I'm obviously not pulling off the dress to the lower left, something on that general theme is more or less what I have in mind.

don't remember where I got this image from...

The actual reason I went to the fabric store was for some thread and a couple of knits.  I wanted dance shorts (black knit not shown -- not too exciting really) and to copy the red shirt in the picture.   I think the lines will work well with the purple-plaid-pencil, but the color just isn't the thing.   (Conversely, I have a number of shirts that are the right color, but the styles are all wrong.)  What I particularly like about this top is its lack of bindings -- rather than put in a proper neckline the designer doubled over the fabric, taking all raw edges down to the waist line.    Only the outer layer is properly finished, allowing the inner to lie flat against the body -- so not only is the entire effect very smooth and clean and leave that much less space for me to screw it up, but its extra warm too!

Huzzah Huzzah Huzzah!
the purple will become the red, and go with the plaid!  (or I suppose, more properly, tartan)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

multi colored and paneled dress of joy

 This is well on its way to being my favorite dress -- and I've never actually worn it out.  Its twirly! and realllly twirly!  and doesn't need a belt to hold it in.  (the blue dress - wonderful as it is, was made of old bed-sheets which lack the stretch and recovery of whatever this is.)  

I ended up using self fabric binding for the neckline, arm holes and hem, which worked out nicely both in terms of the weight of the material, but also because the crazy all over the place pattern meant that when no single section was long enough to cover the hem, I could patch a few together and not even I can tell without really looking.   The length was a product of the amount of material I had, usually I take my skirts an inch or two below the knee, but due to a shortage of skirt this one is about a centimeter short of covering my knee cap.    I think it may actually be a mroe flattering length (have I mentioned I am in love with this dress?) and plan to aim to hit the same place with the next one.  (Yes, there will be a next one.  I want this dress is ALL THE COLORS!)  So you may wonder, can an inch or so really make that much of a difference?   I'm going to have to go with yes - yes it can, as its all about proportion. Not that I'm following any geometrical rules that would make it perfect (although now I think I may try something.  The golden ratioFibonacci, hrmmmmm this could be very interesting indeed.) but I think it works.  (have I mentioned I love this dress?)

[several hours later]

I was so pleased by the twirl I was going to make a video to post (it really is just that twirly) but my camera battery died.   Since then I've been cleaning, have showered and am in pjs and as I went to post this, it stopped charging --  mocking me with its little red light.  So, you will just have to take my word on it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I made you a valentine!

Lots of people love you!   Happy Valentine's Day!

Happily I grew up with it being more of a general purpose affection-for-all day rather than something angsty.  

So, on a sewing note, I think I'm going to take Tanit-Isis' idea and add panels to the side to replace the ripped seams, although I'm still deciding on the width and color.  (Although really, probably black, what else could compete with that lot?  Or give me a snow ball's chance of finding a coordinating shirt.  But also maybe florescent purple, just 'cause.)

The stretchy black/green/gray/white dress is ***almost*** done -- I have a few more panels to hem, and then I will take pretty pretty pictures.

Friday, February 10, 2012

sock monkey pencil skirt

 Yeah.  I went there.  Rock the monkeys.

This particular skirt comes to us through space and time from about 5 years ago (holy crap) when I was working at a fabric store for the summer.  Needless to say a fair portion of what they paid me went right back into the store, but, seriously, first dibs and SOCK MONKEYS!!!  
shaping trapezoids

This is a self drafted pencil -- there wasn't much too it - I sewed up the back to make a tube and then started putting darts all around the top along the edges of the squares (now trapezoids)

I loved it - wore it all summer, and then went to grad school where it wasn't quite the thing.  (We're not talking fashion faux pas or anything like that -- its just that I spent a lot of time crawling under tables and lying on floors fixing things)  

Anyhow, I was going through things this evening, spotted it, tried it on, and found there was a huge tear up the side - next to, but not actually on the seam, thus preventing me from fixing it properly.  (I suppose I could patch it from the inside... hrmmmm......)   Anyhow its looking like its days as a skirt are numbered, but I'm not sure what to do with it.  The fabric is just so insane that I fear anything cute.  As a tight pencil its so absurd it works...  but I just don't know where else it can go.  Any ideas?  (Thank you to the members of the peanut gallery who said 'hi' the other day... now I don't really think the all rest are spam bots, so I will assume you are shy/fear ducks/can't be bothered to log in.  Its okay.  I love you anyway.  Especially with garlic sauce.)

I didn't make these.  But I felt they needed to show up anyway.

And then, mostly for my own amusement  -- I think this is my favorite of the series.  Why?  Why not.  Its 2, I'm up, so you get grammar posters.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

1st Blogoversary!

Today makes one year since I started this blog - my goal at the time was to participate rather than lurk in the online sewing community, and I have to say I'm very happy with the result.   Horray and Huzzah for the interwebs and all the people that wander around this part of them!  Giant-internet-based-awkward-because-I-don't-actually-know-who-most-of-you-are group hug!!!!     Now, to satisfy my curiosity, if you are reading this, would you mind saying 'hello' in the comments section?  (or tell me your favorite joke, whatever works.  I'd take a duck impression.)  According to the stats page, there are a fair few of you, but I know for a fact that some are spam bots, so I thought I'd try to get a sense of whats really going on...

Anyhow, this has been a big year for me - I've started finishing seams, I can flat-fell, make french seams, do hong kong finishes, shirr, handle knits and make button holes.   My goal for the coming year is to take it up a notch and conquer the lined jacket, make a bra, a bathing suit, a pair of shoes (I've been doing research!) and get a pair of jeans to fit properly.   Think happy thoughts, because I'm quaking in my stylish yet affordable boots.

And on to a proper sewing update:

I finally finished all the straight stitching - despite trying to follow the serged seams, I ended up taking off a bit more material (we're talking a millimeter or two per seam) but the dress is noticeably tighter, if that's possible.  However, its a reasonably stretchy knit, so I can still get it on, breathe and move.... but I can never gain weight and it can never shrink.  ever.       Anyhow - the neckline is bound, and the arm holes are most of the way there, I ended up going with self fabric as I couldn't find a match for the weight of the original material in black.   (The internet you say?  I am not that patient, nor do I particularly want to spend more.  This is Jomar fabric, so right now the dress is around the $6 mark, and spending far more than that for trim seems a bit silly.)

Monday, February 6, 2012


First an aside -- can we talk about my desire for a 5 thread serger with a built in straight stitch so I don't have to do all the seams twice?  While we're on the topic, it will be self-threading and shoot rainbows out of its socket.
(still working on the green/black/white/gray dress.)

Anyhow and more to the point, have you guys seen this?  Susan Khalje is offering a course on couture sewing at craftsy and its currently half off.   This is the woman who does Camp Couture and usually has week long sessions (someday.... someday)  

Saturday, February 4, 2012

zipper pulls

Just got back from a First Friday art walk thinger, and I am very excited and want to share :  Zipper pull earrings!  My first thought was -- I could totally make those myself.  My second was, sure, but when are you going to get around to it -- so I got them.    From far away they don't look like anything in particular, but they will keep me entertained.   (I am going to have to add a layer of glue or somesuch to the interior of the ring -- whenever I move my head they shake and the noise is remarkably irritating. I think if the metal is covered it won't be such a problem.)

And then because it is pretty, my new lovely teak bowl.

  And a quick follow up for yesterday's post... drafting that sort of dress is actually quite easy with a dummy -- here is the original post I did on the subject.  But the short version is that I put a pillowcase over the dummy, sewed it tight, ignored the seams and drew on the ones I actually wanted, cut it off and used those for the basis of the pattern.

Friday, February 3, 2012

many paneled stretchy dress

This could also probably be called the emotional roller coaster dress --   while cutting : OH NO! last time I made this I added in an extra few inches with pins and chalk before I cut!  Then: AHHHHHHHHHHHHH  I also added seam allowances!!!!  holyshit holyshit holyshit   Followed by: I put it together in the wrong order!  Must rip seams!  Followed by, I don't think I'm making it in.... who has my proportions but is smaller  ::starts mentally going through all her friends' body types::  Followed by success!

See, even Penny agrees -- although she may be trying to eat excess string rather than stand in awe of my creations.  Even odds either way.  Anyhow, this is the second time I've made this dress -- its a self drafted pattern  based on a wedding dress by Alabama Chanin.  The original (mine, that is) is by far one of my favorite pieces and I've been meaning to make another for a while now.    I still need to add seam binding of some sort to the neckline and armholes, which I'm thinking should be black knit of the same weight so that I can use the same thing to add an inch or two onto the hem without it looking funny.    Right now, there is enough unevenness in the hem that were I to hem it as it is, it would be right above my knee, and I just don't like the aesthetics.   Besides generally having bruised up child-knees, I think longer skirts better balance taller people.

trying to get the order right.... 
experimenting with 'pattern weights'

some random putting it together shots - I love the fabric :)
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