April 30, 2007

experiments and sweater knits

Warning: Girly stuff ahead.

I'd seen tutorials at craftster.org before for cloth pads, and I had to admit my initial reaction was, why would anyone want to do that? Since then, I have a friend who's switched to them and loved them. I've been becoming a lot more eco-aware as of late, and especially through people I've encountered from things like Wardrobe Refashion. I'm at the point where I'm quite annoyed with feminine hygiene products, of the disposable variety, because of just how much waste it generates. (Plus other things that I'm not getting into here because it's TMI.) So I figured it was time to give them a try. My mom was ordering some diaper material to turn into kitchen towels from some site (don't remember the name), and found some washable but waterproof fabric on there that's used for diaper covers, so I got some of that for the bottoms. They also had a pattern, and I made two winged pad covers and four inserts yesterday. I tested one today, and so far so good, though I'll have to see how it goes when things are heavier. But they were so quick and easy to make, and definitely more comfortable, so I hope it works! Even though all the flannel we had around here severely clashes with what I got for the waterproof layer. Oh well, I'm the only one that's going to see them.

I'm also making a shrug to go with the Morning Glory dress, due to the fact that I get cold ridiculously easily (one of my pet peeves prior to my ongoing conversion to granolaism was places that use excessive a/c, because I hate having to bring a jacket just to walk into a store without freezing in my tank tops!) I don't know how warm it'll actually keep me-- I'd forgotten how loose a weave the crocheted-like sweater knit is. But the color matches the blue in the flowers perfectly, and if nothing else, it'll keep the dress a little more modest for church (since I'm up front for the music a lot, definitely an important factor). I just hope I can sew it up all right-- I'm guessing I might have to French seam it all just to hold it together. It'll be an interesting challenge, since I've never worked with this sort of fabric before.

April 29, 2007

What's the story, morning glory?



As you can see, my dress is done as of last night. It's from McCall's 9370, with a few minor modifications (namely, making the straps a bit wider and I had to take some tucks in the top of the bodice princess seams and sew a much wider seam in the back to get the fit. Sometimes being between pattern sizes is highly annoying.) This one's a bit of a stretch for me stylewise, as normally I like silver much better than gold, but I liked the silky feel of the fabric and the light turquoise embroidery. I didn't take a close-up picture, but it's these trailing vines of leaves and flowers with a matching gold sequin in the middle of each flower. So I'm dubbing this my Morning Glory dress, because of the color of the vines and the sunny gold.

Couple interesting things I learned from this dress/tidbits:

  • This was really my first effort to try and match stripes, and though it doesn't look bad, and I'm probably the only one who cares, it wasn't entirely successful. I realized after laying the cut pieces together to see how I did that I probably should have cut the pieces out one by one, since generally one piece lined up and one did not when I had to cut 2 from the same piece.

  • I have a bad habit of forgetting to purchase things like zippers and lining fabric when getting fabric with a specific pattern in mind. This was no exception. Though I did have to go out and buy a zipper, I was very proud of myself because I discovered that the lightweight tan cotton from the Plum Blossom Dress trim was actually very close in color (of course, this was also a result of my bad habit of taking forever to clear the leftover fabric away from my sewing area after finishing a project, but at least this time it worked to my advantage!) So since I had a rather large piece left over, I used that to make the bodice lining instead of buying more fabric. So I got to save myself the money and do a bit of recycling, so to speak.

Next on the agenda is the fabric I bought to make a matching shrug when I got this fabric last year, from the pattern I originally intended this dress to be. (Couldn't use it because I discovered it was a bias-cut dress and the embroidery is on the bias, and I would much rather have diagonal stripes than vertical or horizontal.)

April 25, 2007

The gold dress, part 1

Made a lot of progress on my dress tonight. I got the zipper sewed in, the remainder of the back seam, the straps, the hem, and now all I have left to do is sew the bodice lining down. So I might be able to finish this tomorrow. We’ll see how things go, since I'll have to hand-do it for it to look right. I did have to do a little tweaking to the pattern-- the size I cut it out in is slightly too big for me up top (of course, the next size down is too small to accomodate certain parts of my anatomy :P ), so I ended up having to sew the zipper in at 1 1/2 inches instead of the 5/8" seam allowance, as well as take it in slightly more at the top of the front princess seams. But it looks like it'll fit well now. And it's going to look fancy when it's done-- the fabric is this gorgeous satiny gold embroidered with turquoise flowers.

Now that I think about it, this necklace would probably go with it perfectly. Which means I need to fix it-- one of the kids at work pulled it a bit and broke it, sadly. The seashells are all there and intact, but I need to find a way to restring one of the strands (preferable without undoing and redoing all the seashells.)

And now, off to plan my Montessori lesson… sigh. At least I only have to go three more times.

April 20, 2007

*sigh*


Well, I almost made it four months without buying clothes. But I caved and placed an order at Campmor today for some gear I'm going to need for my hiking-heavy summer vacation. (And likely before that, since I'm planning on doing some dayhiking before I go.)
This is the result of some massive screwups in trying to make some outdoorsy clothes. The first being, the rain gear that I'd already made last year in an attempt to save myself money (that, incidentally, the pants don't cover my entire backside but I figured it was ok since I just wear them over pants) failed to keep me dry when I actually wore it in significant rain last weekend. The second was, the zip-off pants. I really, really wanted a pair since I figure that would be the most versatile thing I could pack (and the easiest to wear for things like rapid temperature changes in the mountains.) I've discovered thatdespite using the right measurements as listed on the pattern, if I actually wear these pants, even if I can reduce it to the tiniest seam allowance possible so they actually fit over my thighs, I'm not going to be able to walk in them. Nor do I have enough fabric to add any inserts to make it fit. So, after double-checking the jacket in my shower to see if it had been a fluke and finding that it was still getting damp inside, I went ahead and ordered some new hiking clothes, since I don't have the time to try and adapt another pants pattern to make it work (especially since that would require finding a pants pattern that actually fits me first.)

I'm going to try to salvage the pants by using the pieces for something like this (as odd as it may sound, I've backpacked with several girls who swear by hiking skirts, and they're just cute). We'll see how it turns out, since between this and the complete headache that trying to make the rain gear was in the first place, I've decided I hate working with these water-resistent/repellent fabrics. In the meantime, I cut out and sewed together a dress as far as I could tonight, since I'm short a zipper, because right now I just don't want to look at that green nylon stuff. That, and it was actually decently warm today so I really wanted to work on something springy.

April 18, 2007

It's not that I haven't been crafting...

...it's just that my recent addiction to a certain video game keeps me playing that at night instead of blogging about it.

Due to some extra time off from not having to go to one of my teaching jobs last week, I got some nice progress made on my scrapbook from my Chile trip. I decided to do all the journaling hidden behind the photos, since I want to keep the focus on the photos (and, well, save the space for them!) So I got all that typed up, got them printed onto tags and made some envelopes to keep them in (so far, loving these templates), and started getting some pages laid out. In order to simplify putting it together, I'm using the same strategy I employed for another trip scrapbook a couple summers ago of using the same couple techniques for the whole book so I can finish it quickly. In this case, the tags/pockets for the journaling, acrylic paint to add some color to my otherwise very neutral cardstock, I'm going to stamp title things like place names with some foam stamps, and if I have to do any captions I'm just going to do it on strips of cardstock and attach it with some brads. I have to actually stick the pictures down on the couple pages I slapped the paint on...that might be a project for after work on Saturday.

I also did some sewing last week, on a very basic level-- all I did was make some handwarmers out of a piece of fleece I had lying around. I don't have pictures yet, because I have to wash them after the camping trip from last weekend, but I'm really glad I had them because they went a long way towards keeping my hands from freezing in the nasty weather--that's what I get for backpacking in a nor'easter! (In my defense, the date was chosen way before the weather report came out.)

Tonight I got a pair of pants cut out. I'm using one of these Green Pepper patterns to make some zip-off hiking pants. I meant to make them last year but hadn't ever gotten to them, like so many other projects, but with about two months till my hiking-heavy road trip, it's time. I hope they turn out-- it's unisex, so I'm risking making a small. The measurements looked good on the envelope, but when I was trying to wrap the pants leg around my leg, it looked a bit snug. So hopefully it'll turn out ok-- guess I'll find out soon enough.

April 7, 2007

Plum blossom dress, the finale

Just as a refresher: I started with this.

And now, the finished product!

I fixed the neckline (as much as it's going to get fixed-- it's still not perfect. Sigh...) and finished sewing the hem on Thursday night, and then sewed the neck facing down tonight. I was really hoping to wear it to church for Easter tomorrow, but alas, it's too cold and I don't have time or materials to make something that would keep me warm and look good over top (and nothing already in my closet that would do that.) So I guess it'll have to wait until later this spring.

And this is a closeup of the fabric. I just love the little geishas.


And so, well over halfway through the challenge, I finally have something to show at Wardrobe Refashion that's an actual refashion. Go me. :D

April 4, 2007

Plum blossom dress, part 3

The top of the dress still isn’t sitting quite right; I need to work on that some more. But yesterday I got the zipper and the back seam and the sleeves sewn in—ended up having to re-use the original sleeves because I didn’t have enough fabric from the bottom of the skirt to cut longer ones. Wish I’d known that before I ripped the sleeves out… oh well. Tonight I pinned up the hem and started sewing it a bit, but didn’t get very far because it’s by hand and it was kind of bad lighting in my friend's room for it and, well, Lost was on. So I’ll work on that more tomorrow, hopefully, and all I have left to do otherwise is get the front laying right and then sew down the facing. I’m hoping to have this done by Sunday so I can wear it to church for Easter. I’m also getting really antsy to get my Chile scrapbook worked on, so I’m thinking that may be a project for next week, since I'll be off of my most hated teaching job for spring break, and what better way to celebrate than with craftiness?

I think I'm a binge-crafter. I'm obsessive over one, and just keep doing it and doing it until my brain suddenly switches gears and I want to do something else. Lately I've sort of had to be in a sewing binge, what with the baby gifts and all, but I can feel my brain switching gears back to scrapbooking now. At least temporarily. But since it's been well over two months since the trip now, I really need to get that put together before a) I lose the photos and such in the black hole that is my bedroom, b) I forget everything worth journaling about, and c) this summer's vacation that will probably end up with three times as many photos (or more) because I'll be gone for three weeks instead of just one and I'll be outside for much of it and I have a weakness for nature photography. But who knows... maybe I'll stil get some sewing time in too.