August 29, 2008

Friday Favorites, Episode 22 (the very short edition)

Don't have many links this week, so I'll make this quick. After all, a (hopeful) weekend reconstruction project and a July '08 Burda World of Fashion that arrived in the mail today are calling my name!

So here's my two things:

1. I really liked these pictures from a fashion show that the author of glam.spoon took part in. I'm quite liking her style-- it's like Anthropologie with a recon twist!

2. This one's sort of belated, since it was really a part of the most recent Carnival of Green Crafts. But there was a list of the top 10 eco-friendly fabric vendors on Etsy, and let me tell you, there is some great stuff in there. Too bad it's generally in the fat-quarter category, because I'm dreaming of funky skirts!

And with that, off to the cutting table!

August 28, 2008

Should it stay or should it go now?

Ah, it's that time of year again. The time where I look through my closet, trying to figure out what on earth to wear for work, because it's not quite cold enough for things with sleeves and not quite warm enough for things without (we're having what seems to be unusually cool weather for the end of August. Usually it doesn't feel like this until mid-September!), and realizing that there's things in there that I haven't worn all summer. Which then raises the question...should I keep them?

It's always such a dilemma for me. Especially when it comes to things I made. There's an emotional attachment that generally isn't there for things that I bought. And the garden center job certainly complicated things somewhat, because I'm wearing a lot more of my work t-shirt than I normally would. And the things like that skirt that I like, but just didn't have the right top for, or vice versa. Or that shirt that I like the concept of, but it never quite had the right fit. So what do I do with these things? Do I take the time to reconstruct them/find something to match/tweak the fit? Or just let them go to make space for new things?

Quick thoughts on PR last night. I think I've finally decided that my favorite designer of the bunch is Korto. Her fashions consistently get high marks, I like her style, and she seems to be not quite as mean as a lot of the others. That being said, Leann has really grown on me lately too, and I am glad she won last night. It was definitely an innovative dress, though one I would never wear myself because frankly, my hips don't need the help. I did like Jarell's too, and Kenley's air filter skirt thing. I have to admit I felt a little bad for Stella-- after all, she was trying to break out of her usual mode. It just didn't work, that's all. And I'm not surprised Keith went. His outfit was kind of ordinary, and I think his little rant about criticism from the judges just put a whole lot of nails in his coffin. And I'm still amused that they made clothes out of cars.

August 27, 2008

Ooh, look, I'm an author!!

Sort of. Ok, I'm just going to shamelessly self-promote here, because I'm excited. My first post at Crafting A Green World is up!!

The project was fun, actually. I'm not going to say what it was here because then you have to click on the link to find out. ;) I think I'm going to re-do it for myself because I like things a little more funky, but that's ok.

Ok, off to eat dinner so I can get back to work on the Eva jacket...and get myself some hand-sewing for Project Runway tonight!

August 24, 2008

Impromptu social craftiness (and other stories)

So, as mentioned, had some spontaneous craftiness with a friend who invited me over for dinner on Wednesday. I didn't realize she's as crafty--knew she crocheted, but I didn't know she was into paper crafts too! So we had some fun with that. She worked on a birthday card for her nephew, and I goofed around and made these two. The small butterflies on this one are embosed and then chalked, and the larger one is stamped, heat-embossed, and raised with those foamy glue dots.



And this one is mostly stamped, using markers to color the different parts. I also embossed a swirly border around the edge. It was fun... now I just have to think of what to use them for!




Also made some pretty serious progress on the Eva test jacket this weekend. Did the sleeves and flaps last night, as well as the outer edge of the collar. Today I cut out and sewed together the lining, then sewed the facings, lining, and collar on. So this is basically what it's going to look like...

...though as you can see, I still have some work to do on the lining. And the actual hem, for that matter.

Learned some important lessons from this one:

#1: For the next one, I need to lengthen the lining some so that I can make the jacket longer. I had to cut up pretty high for this one, and it's not going to have much ease to it.

#2: At the size I cut this at, it's not going to button. Though I think this one will be fine without doing so. I thought it would, until I put in the linings and facings and added all that extra bulk. Will have to consider whether to cut a size up and make the next one like that, or to just do an unbuttoned jacket.

#3 While I like the bias cuffs on this one (though I have no idea if I actually did it right), I don't think I'm going to use them for the suedecloth.

Also today: worked some on my CAGW article project, and ordered myself a back issue of the July '08 Burda World of Fashion mag so I can see if this is a system I can handle. Figured a $15 test would be better than dropping the $80 to find that I can't figure out pictureless directions at all!

One final thing I'm pondering: In a small attempt to cut down the size of my stuff (since I have limited living space), I'm considering changing my recipe storage system. Right now, I have them stored in a big bulky binder. (Two, actually--one for things I haven't tried yet torn from magazines, and one for the ones I've actually made and liked.) I'm considering switching to the recipe box thing, because they're much smaller. (With a backup on the computer, of course.) So for you cooking types, I'm wondering-- how do you store yours? If you use a recipe box, is it obnoxious to sort through? And since I have half of the keepers typed up on the compy already, should I just stick with my printouts in a binder? Questions, questions...

August 22, 2008

Friday Favorites, Episode 21

Just one of those rushed days, so this is going to be a rush job.

Great stenciled skirt at Creative Kismet. She also did some fun painted cabinet hardware-- I would so steal this idea for my dressers if one of the drawer pulls wasn't missing!

The third Carnival of Green Crafts is up at Crafting a Green World. They also had some crafts to make from cassette tapes. (Which, incidentally, sort of inspired what I'm hoping will be my first guest writer post there... it's in the works.)

I had to link this tutorial from ThreadBanger... it's a vase decoupaged with sheet music!

This post from Crafty Daisies was fun. What can I say? I never grew up enough to stop playing with my food.

That's it for today. Next time (hopefully): impromptu social craftiness, and maybe some more jacket (provided I have time to work on it.)

August 20, 2008

Because directions are for wimps, right?

I had no idea I was such a visual person when it came to sewing instructions. The complete lack of pictures in the Eva jacket directions has got me up the wall! And the ironic thing is, reading comprehension was always a really strong point of mine. Maybe that doesn't go for technical writing.

So here's what I'm wondering...

* Why does it say to sew everything with a zig zag stitch?

* What exactly am I supposed to do with that front piping bit?

* What are the end of direction #9 that cuts off mid-sentence?

* What am I supposed to do with those cuffs?

Truth be told, I'm winging it. I actually already did something with those cuffs, and provided I don't screw up the lining, I think it'll be pretty good. But I've decided, based on the look, not to use that on my suedecloth version. And I have one of the sleeves in for real now, and it's not puckered and facing the right direction. So that's good. So we'll see how my experiment in no directions goes. Even though it will have to wait for later because I'm off to dinner at a friend's house.

And no Project Runway for me tonight. Cable's out and they can't fix it till Saturday. Good thing our internet is tied to the phone company, or I'd be going really nuts. And at least if I have to miss an episode, it's the drag queens.

August 19, 2008

Eva Jacket progress

Made some good progress on my "muslin" for the jacket over the weekend at T's house. I got the entire rest of

the body basted together, and was pleased to find that it looks like it's going to fit me very well with no adjustments. Where I'm running into a little trouble right now is the sleeves-- I don't know if it's the lack of illustrations in the directions, or that I was trying to do it without the instructions at T's, or what, but I am having a heck of a time getting this in!

This was my first attempt over the weekend. No, this sleeve is not supposed to be gathered.

Last night's attempt went a lot better, in that I know the armhole fits the sleeve well and the sleeve, which I lengthened, should be long enough to accomodate my chimp arms. However, upon trying this on, I learned that it's in backwards! Good thing I'm hand-basting this, or this corduroy would be a mess at the top of the sleeve!

Unless I'm hanging out with one of my friends tonight, which is still up in the air, I should have some time to work on this. At this point, though this isn't the fabric I was planning on using for my BurdaStyle sewalong jacket, I'm thinking I might just continue on this one. After all, it's already cut out, except for the lining, and I do still need to test the lining with the shell. And that'll keep the edges of the cord from getting too badly frayed before I get to it again. Besides, this jacket just happens to be a perfect layering piece with the blouse I just started last week, color and everything!

This was the other project I worked on over the weekend, once I started having trouble with the sleeves and decided to set it aside. This is going to be the trim on a knit shirt (basted to stabilizer since the pieces were cut.) Had a bit of a setback at first-- I had metallic embroidery floss, and it became apparent within half an hour that it was going to be way too hard to work with. So with a little help from my friends, the next day I got some regular embroidery floss at the local Michael's. The colors aren't entirely accurate in this photo, but I like the way it's turning out so far-- visible, but subtle, which means it'll go with lots of clothes!

Ok, I need to finish getting ready-- open house for my upcoming band teaching job today!

August 15, 2008

Friday Favorites, Episode 21

I know the last few weeks's posts have been rather short, so this week is making up for it with a vengeance! For simplification, I'm going to divide these into categories.



Finished projects I enjoyed:

First up is Oonaballoona, who cranked out a bunch of gorgeous clothes that she made with some really great fabric that she got for really cheap. I'm jealous of that. Plus she has a really good story to go along with it. Aimee at Wardrobe Refashion inspired me with a great jeans-to-skirt makeover that is a bit different than the norm. Creative Kismet posted this cute t-shirt that she made for her son-- I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for somewhat off-beat and corny t-shirt slogans (like from one of my favorite t-shirt sites.)



Recycled craft goodies:

Round #2 of the Carnival of Green Crafts went up this week. Particularly fun was a bottlecap-decorated photo frame that came with a haiku! Crafting a Green World featured an idea for a skirt made from bandanas and some jewelry made from old flip flops.



Tutorials that rocked:

ThreadBanger had an entire post of links to skirt tutorials, because one can never have too many skirts. My personal faves are the 2-layered gold and pink wrap skirt, the "petticoat for the ages", and the Better Homes and Gardens (I know, I know, but the print mix is fun!) skirt. At CraftSanity, there was a tutorial for how to make felt fortune cookies. So cute. I also stumbled across a blog called Sewing Tutorials, which is exactly what it says-- a gathered collection of tutorials on how to do all sorts of clothing-related things, like alter patterns for fitting adjustments, add side pockets to pants and skirts, etc. Finally, since I had some time to look for some new blogs this week, I found this amazing tea wallet over at Krustallos. It folds up into this little pouch, but fits six tea bags. I can already think of at least two friends that it would be a perfect gift for! Definitely want to make one for myself, for when I'm traveling and need to bring tea with me.

All right, that's all for today. Happy weekend, everyone! I know I'm thrilled that it's finally Friday...

August 14, 2008

a few small things

The last two days have seen a few quick projects. #1 on the list, this magnet. I spent most of yesterday when I was home cleaning my room (it needed it badly!) and so didn't have time to do any serious crafting. I did, however, find this squirrel sticker that was given to me by one of my friends. (Several of us have a long-running joke involving squirrels and the mafia. You sort of had to be there, I guess. At least at our college.) I also found a magnet that I had been given by my bank. So I ended up layering the sticker on top of the bank magnet and trimming off the excess sticker/magnet (the original sticker was an oval) to make a magnet that was much more fun.










Then tonight I made these two sets of clip-on earrings for my friend S. She doesn't have pierced ears, so I got some clips to make her bridesmaid earrings for J's wedding. Since I had a few pairs left, she requested that I make her a few more earrings--she recently got engaged herself, and wanted some new earrings for her trip to meet her in-laws (her fiance and his family live all the way over in Australia!) It would have been three pairs, but I discovered in the process of making them that one of the tigereye beads I was going to make the third pair from wasn't drilled through all the way! So I guess I'll be making the third pair when she comes over on Sunday and picks out more beads.

I also cut out the test version of my Eva jacket on Monday, and I've been working a bit on basting it together. Doing a kind of last-minute hangout with C and T this weekend, and I know there's going to be at least two movies involved, so I'm bringing that to work on as well. (Hand-basting it so I don't mark up the corduroy, just in case I need to make fitting adjustments--the whole point of using this instead of muslin, besides fabric weight considerations, was to not chop up a bunch of fabric only to throw it away!)



The other advantage to the hand-basting: Eva has a funky dart, as you can see here. So this is helping me figure it out.


And this is what it's supposed to look like.

Just a few quick thoughts on Project Runway, since I finally watched it.

Blayne & Leanne's outfit: Boring. Looks like something you'd see on any teen-oriented CW show set in southern CA.

Kelli and Daniel's outfit: I actually thought, while the jacket was on, it wasn't bad. At least, the jacket portion of it. Wasn't a big fan of the wrinkly-looking skirt. I actually would have rather have seen Blayne go than Kelli, to be honest.

Jerell and Stella: The outfit that I kind of wish had won. I liked the silhouette and the mix of textures a lot. And they seemed to be the one team that wasn't laden with drama.

Korto and Joe: Huge improvement by the time it got to the runway. Another result I ended up liking.

Keith and Kenley: I like the skirt, at least in concept. I'm really not into the high-waisted thing... having the waistline end right under the chest just really makes me think of one of my childhood favorite TV shows, Family Matters, and the Steve Urkel look. But the layers were pretty cool. But I still wish that Jerell and Stella had won.

Terri and Suede: Very wearable outfit. But that's what I've come to expect from Terri.

August 9, 2008

Sadie (finally!) and my hippie craftstravaganza

It only took me what, 8 days to get the pics? But here is my lovely bamboo Sadie. I still love how soft this is. I need some more bamboo jersey.
And a closeup of the drape in the front...


...and also underneath the drape. I didn't quite follow the directions, which called for sewing the two pieces right sides together and then binding it. I wanted less bulk and a clean finish, so I sewed the wrong side of the drape to the right side of the shirt, hiding the seam underneath the drape.

And this is what I spent today doing...
It looked like a rug when I was getting started...
I had to improvise with the dye bottle...
...and this was the fun part! No pics of the final fabric yet, but I'm really happy with how it turned out. Just some cotton muslin that I'm going to be using for an upcoming project.
I also spent some time on this:
This is a very comfortable skirt from the Dharma Trading Company. One of my favorite skirts is a black version of this that I embroidered the bottom of. This one was a dye job and fabric stamping. But I never wore it, because the skirt turned out much pinker than I liked, and after the stamping, I wasn't such a huge fan of the way it turned out. So I decided to overdye it and see what happened.
I used a deep purple. After rinsing it out, the color is kind of a darkish plum, which is much more to my liking. I also discovered that the paint could be mostly scraped off in spots. Unfortunately, in my attempt to speed this up with a popsicle stick, I ended up ripping a hole in the bottom of the skirt! (That's what I get for working on a concrete step...dummy me!) So this afternoon also included an impromptu trip to Joann's. I found some sheer in shades of purple that mostly covers up the gold, so I'm going to mend the hole and then layer that on top. Once I get that done, I'm going to add some ribbon to cover the seam. I also got some fabric to test out the BurdaStyle jacket I want to make-- didn't want muslin because I wanted something more jacket-weight, both for accuracy in fitting and just in case it works right away because then I can have two jackets. ;-) So there was this teal wide-wale corduroy on sale for about the same price per yard as muslin, so I went for that.

August 8, 2008

Friday Favorites, Episode 20 (and some belated Project Runway thoughts)

A short edition today, but that's ok.

1. My friends J, C and I used to do this thing on occasion where we'd get together our clothes that were destined for the thrift store anyway and dig through each other's stuff to see if there was anything we wanted to take. I think they call them "Naked Lady parties" around the interweb. It was kind of fun, and it always amuses me to see one of them wearing a shirt that used to be mine. The point of this story: Crafting A Green World had a post about a site called Dig N' Swap, which is basically the same thing, on a larger and more anonymous scale. It's a neat concept-- you post your clothes, if someone wants it they offer you an article of clothing in exchange, and it's free. I like free.

2. Mirela at Cutting Edge Stitches N' Seams consistently turns out all this beautiful, professional-looking stuff. And she posted a nice list of tips for working with stretch fabrics. Including avoiding those awful wavy seam lines that are a dead giveaway that it's a homemade outfit.

3. Just in time for me to be wanting to work on an embroidery project, I found a tutorial for transferring patterns to fabric. It's at a blog called Elemental Stitches, but I found it through My Half of the Brain.

Regarding PR...

Oh, Blayne. All the UV rays from your tanning addiction must have done unspeakably awful things to your brain. How else could you have NOT heard of one of the most quintessential rock albums from one of the most famous bands in the history of recorded music?!? The Beatles fan in me is appalled. Especially since I'm not that much older than you.

Didn't like either of the bottom two's outfits this week. With the hairstyle, Daniel's outfit made me think of Betty Boop, while the first thing I thought of when I saw Jennifer's sketch was Japanese anime schoolgirl. Wasn't really a fan of Jarell's either-- the mix of prints was well-done, but the outfit itself looked straight out of Titanic and that is not one of my favorite movies ever. I actually liked Joe's the best-- it just looked cute and sporty, and the most "Olympic" to me. And I agreed with Heidi that the two-tone zipper was very clever. I'm not sure how he did it, because I've never been able to put a zipper back together once it busts apart. I am glad that Korto won, though, because I just like her for some reason I haven't been able to put my finger on yet. I did really like Terri's as well--while I hate officewear and am glad I'm in a career where I can avoid it, jackets are one of my favorite fall/winter layering looks, and I really liked hers.

And now, off to finish dinner, because I'm hoping to sew some tonight. And I have a little hippie craft extravaganza planned for myself tomorrow, so we'll see how my plan works out!

Also, no pics of Sadie yet. Hopefully also tomorrow.

August 5, 2008

Just a song...er, post...before I go...

Have to keep this brief, as I'm leaving for the beach tonight and still need to eat dinner and finish packing. I just got done work. But here's what's going on in my crafty life right now, sans pictures:

1. Yes, Mom2fur, I did get the Sadie done on Friday night. More details will be forthcoming, as will pictures. For now, I will say that it fits me perfectly (no alterations! Yay!), and that organic bamboo jersey is so comfortable it's like running around naked, but without getting arrested for indecent exposure. I want some more. The tricky part will be finding it, since I bought it at a going out of buisness sale at Hancock Fabrics, and Joann's is totally behind the eco-friendly times on this. At least it is here.

2. Speaking of eco-friendly, I've been asked to consider being a writer for Crafting A Green World. Which is both exciting and scary--exciting, because I guess that means they think my writing style is solid enough for a blog that gets wider exposure than my humble abode here, plus then I'll get to research all sorts of crafty fun. The scary part is trying to figure out what on earth I'd write about, at least to get me started! (Suggestions welcome...)

3. I haven't really had any time to sew this week yet. But I'm not being a bum, really! I spent some time on Sunday afternoon and evening sticking down a few more pages of photos for my road trip scrapbook. And last night, I started work on cutting out a stencil-- one of the knit shirts I'll be making soon calls for embroidery on the neckline trim, and since I'm making it in a plain cream, it kind of needs something to keep it from boring me when it's done. So I'm adding some embroidery to it, and the stencil is to help me position the designs. I don't want to freehand it, because, typically, the design I saw and liked is complicated. (Ok, I'll admit it... I blatantly stole it from one of the Lord of the Rings costumes. But most people probably won't get that, so I can just revel in my secret geekiness.) I could do the machine embroidery, but then I would have needed more fabric to sew those pieces before cutting the rest of it out, and this was stuff in my stash, so not happening.

Next post, hopefully: an actual picture of that oh-so-comfy new tank top!

August 1, 2008

Friday Favorites, Episode 19

It's that time of the week again...

Starting things off with a lovely little tutorial for fabric coasters, courtesy of tinkerwiththis. They look like a great way to use up those little tiny fabric scraps, and the best part? Her tip for how to get the quilted lines on the back perfectly straight and even, which also happens to fall into the category of "duh, why didn't I ever think of that?" I'll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with those little lines on the machine plate.

Also in the category of wishing I'd thought of this: headbands made from old records. Haven't quite figured out how to justify vinyl cuff bracelets in my "I'm trying to be a little funky but still look professional enough so you believe I know what I'm doing" teaching wardrobe. Maybe if I taught guitar. Oh well. But this is subtle enough that, provided headbands don't look completely stupid on me, I just might be able to get away with it.

While mostly a review of the book she got the idea from, I just couldn't resist this stamped teacup pincushion at Craft Apple. It's just too cute not to mention.

My favorite thing at My Half of the Brain this week: Graffiti furniture. So there's justification for every five-year old who ever took their markers to Mommy's couch! (For the record... I never did. Not intentionally, anyway.)

I'm still quite tempted to try making my own beauty products--partially for the environmental impact, and partially because I just have not figured out what my skin likes to keep it from looking all blotchy yet, and I'm tired of buying products that don't work. But the supplies to make those are expensive, too. So I was quite happy to see my Threadbanger pick of the week: How to make coconut oil!

This week on Crafting a Green World: going serious first, with a very thought-provoking post on consumerism and crafting and its impact on the environment. And then going more frivolous (and slightly ironic, given the first mention), with fabric colored with vegetable dyes. I wish the striped ones on the site were border prints. It looks like it would make a great hippie-influenced maxi-dress!

Last but definitely not least, three words: free clothing patterns. No, it's not BurdaStyle, though I do have to give credit to that site for having a member who posted a very cute dress made from one of these patterns in the creations. And also to Mirela, who subsequently posted a link in her blog. I haven't looked through them all yet, and some of the patterns look like they were stuck in the 80s (and IMHO there is no good way for that to happen, because the 80s were seriously the worst fashion decade of the twentieth century. And that is taking the 90s grunge and 70s disco influence into account.) But I have seen some things on there that I would wear. The one downside: you have to click link by link to see what they actually look like.

And now, tonight's agenda: the Sadie tank top. If all goes according to plan, I will be wearing this tomorrow.