August 30, 2009

the best-laid plans...

I was hoping that this post would be more in terms of action shots...the plan was to go to the Renaissance Faire yesterday. But the weather was a little less than cooperative, and now we're hoping to go at the end of September. In which case I will post some action shots. But in the interest of keeping up with this blog (and getting my dummy back), here is my almost-entirely recycled gypsy costume.

In its entirety, minus the thrifted boots and bangles.


This is the back of the corset-- I found a $5 formal dress at Goodwill that was a two-piece looking corset top--with boning! and skirt. So all I had to do was remove the zipper and detach the skirt from the corset lining, sew the lining down, and add the grommets and lacing.


This blouse was free-- a former sewing project in my recon pile, because the cut of the empire waist was just a little too high and the gathering a little too much to be flattering on me. But under a corset I figured it would be ok. It was originally long-sleeved, so I shortened and added elastic to the bottom of the sleeves.

The hip scarf was the teaser from the last post, as I'm sure you've figured out. This was a thrifted curtain panel, and the trim was a beaded coin thing that I've had in my stash for awhile and just didn't know what to do with. I didn't have enough to cover the entire edge, but since I'm stashbusting and it coordinated and I didn't have to buy anything else, I can't complain. I do have a good bit of this panel back, and will probably use part of it to tie around my head.

The bag was made from a thrifted tablecloth-- I originally got two almost-matching tablecloths to make my skirt out of, but couldn't get enough length that way. So instead, I figured a hands-free way to stash my money/camera/etc. would be a good use of it. It's just a basic drawstring bag, self-lined in the same fabric, with a loop sewn into the back drawstring casing to string it on the hip sash, which will (hopefully) hide under my corset.
The skirt, of course, is the second tablecloth. When I realized I wouldn't be able to get a long enough skirt with the two, I found a linen-looking (and surprisingly sheer) bedsheet set at a different Goodwill (where the boots also came from). I used the circle skirt tutorial from Wipster as a starting point for my skirt, though I think I did a bad job on my geometry since the hips weren't quite snug. Which turned out to be an ok thing--rather than use a zipper, I decided to go slightly closer to authentic looking and rigged up a closure with an on-hand button and a hook-and-eye set.

So there you have it. Two other things:

1. Since I didn't go to the Ren Faire yesterday, one of my friends that I was supposed to go with and I hung out anyway. She crocheted while I sewed and we watched the loooong version of Pride & Prejudice. Good stuff. I thought I finished this top, which is the last bit of summer wardrobe that I'm finishing this summer. Except then I put it on the dummy and began to suspect there might be a problem, and tried it on and realized that there is definitely a problem-- you see that reverse batwing thing going on in the armpits? I know it's probably my fault, because I didn't exactly follow the BWOF instructions and just sewed the straps on without making them adjustable, and bound the edges with no facing. (Pattern Review suggestion.) But I need to figure out how to fix that. Seam ripping will probably be involved. Also pondering how to use this as a transitional piece-- maybe with a cropped jacket? Say, maybe this one?

2. In the last post, I mentioned frustration with Joann's at their not shipping my special order fabric. I found out yesterday after talking to one of the employees in person that the fabric had actually been backordered until August 21 (which I was originally not told-- I was simply told "August"), and should come in within the next couple of days. Went home, and I swear that only 2 or 3 hours later, I got a call saying it was in! So I went back today to pick it up. That's a relief. I also went a little crazy on fabric purchases-- though some of them are justified. So here's the rundown with my stashbusting project (which I am not counting any of my bedroom makeover purchases for, btw. I am primarily a clothing seamstress, after all, and this was not in the cards when I started!)
  • If I estimated right from the last time I actually marked it, I was at 6/8 of stash fabric used to new fabric bought. Most of this being from the miniwardrobe, and now being used up so no longer sitting in the stash. Good for me. Except for the shorts. I don't think I previously counted the velvet that I had to buy for the wrap for my brother's wedding, or the fabric I bought to line it. (both of which were hand-dyed by me, and the lining will not be used because despite being in the same dye bath as the silk velvet, the silk lining actually turned rose pink instead of chocolate brown. Therefore, I need to re-dye it and use it for something else, because I refuse to wear rose pink.) I also didn't count the red knit I pretty much used up as a muslin, and I'm pretty sure I didn't count the fabric I used up for my weekender bag. Or any of the fabrics I gave away via Freecycle. If I don't count the Freecyclees, that puts me at 8/10. (If I do count the Freecyclees, then I'm at 20/10....hmmm, maybe I should go with that!)
  • Two of the new fabric purchases today: a satin to use to line the wrap, since the aforementioned silk lining would give it the effect of a chocolate-covered strawberry candy...not exactly the look I was going for. Need by October, also didn't know when I started this plan that my brother would be getting married this year, totally justified purchase. Also, a brown knit that I'm using as binding to make one of my stash fabrics into a dress.
  • The others can't be so easily justified. The first two came as a result of the Pattern Review class I'm going to be taking-- figured if I'm going to go to all of the trouble of getting a very-nice fitting straight skirt muslin, I should probably use it to make an actual skirt. So I found two lovely pieces of suedecloth. I also found a sheer fabric that I fell in love with instantly and it perfectly matches one of the future skirts. So that puts me at 9/15 (counting the knit for the dress, but not the Freecycles), or 21/15 (with Freecycles and knit.) I think I still like counting the Freecycles better...
6/10

August 27, 2009

(mostly) Project Runway 6.2

...starting with one teaser of my most recent sewing project. After all, I did promise a photo of some sort in my last post!!

One other comment, since I'm just waiting for the new episode to start anyway. I'm feeling a little frustrated with Joann's right now. I placed two special orders back in June for my impending bedroom makeover project--one for curtains, and one for the fabric I was planning on using to border my quilt. (Yes, I am planning on making a quilt. Somewhere, pigs are sprouting wings.) The curtain fabric came in within a couple of weeks, no problem. I was told the quilt border fabric (which also happens to be the fabric that inspired the entire bedroom color scheme) would be in this month. I called them about a week and a half ago to check on the status, was told to leave a message for the person in charge of ordering, nothing happened. Called them again yesterday, was told she'd be in today, please call again today. I did so, and she still wasn't there. I left another message. I hope she calls this time. At this point, I'm honestly not expecting to be able to get this fabric--it's out of stock on the website, so I'm suspecting maybe it was a limited run print and just not available anymore. (And of course I picked a brand that is only available through Joann's, so I can't get it anywhere else, unless it's on eBay or something. Except I just checked and it's not.) I am disappointed if that's the case, because I only have about a half-yard tops of the fabric left over from the scrapbook that I covered with it before this decor project even came up, so I'm barely going to be able to have anything in the room that's made from the fabric that inspired it. But I'm more frustrated over how much of a run-around they're giving me on this. If they can't get it, I just want them to tell me so I can get my money back and start looking for something else to match the rest of the quilt fabrics that I already bought. (The worst of it is, it's not even like I have an alternate place to shop if I get completely fed up with the lack of customer service. There's only one other fabric store I know of in my entire county (the entire state, really... this is Delaware) that sells apparel fabric, which is 3-4 times the distance away and has a far more limited selection. So it's basically use up more gas/lose the sales to drive there, buy everything over the internet, or keep shopping at Joann's regardless of how this goes down. And I can't really justify paying shipping or driving 3 times as long for say, thread or a zipper.)

On with the show!! Haha, the tie-on bellies are cracking me up.

I like the idea of Althea's woven-ribbon bodice... I hope it turns out well. And I have to say... "Mother Hen"? And jodphurs? What is Malvin thinking? I agree with Tim-- no woman wants to make her thighs look bigger. Especially if her belly's already bigger to begin with.

Oh man... those shorts are huge. And did he just say "fierce?" STOP CHANNELING CHRISTIAN!

No... you did not just say to make that nest more literal.

Logan's look: Kind of boring.
Shirin: I like hers. The drape is nice, the coat is cute.
Nicolas: Chic, but very bulgy-looking in the belly, more than I would be comfortable with pregnant.
Christopher's is cute-- looks maternity, but the one-shoulder is nice.
Mitchell-- trailer trash.
Qriistyl-- looks like a beach coverup
Epperson-- The wrap in the back of the jumpsuit is nice, but not my thing.
Louise-- cute.
Gordana-- very chic looking-- i like the sweater wrap.
Johnny-- looks like it would be easy to wear.
Malbin-- at least he didn't go with the jodhpurs.
Ra'mon-- would have been better without the color block.

Carol- the belly band is weird. It looks liek one of those baby wraps.
Aletha-- waaaaay low-cut. Would like better with more coverage.
Irina-- very cute. I want to wear that as a non-maternity dress.

Haha, Qristyl's reaction to being named as safe cracks me up.

Judge's comments:
Ra'mon-- I hadn't thought of the "baby here" arrows, but very apt description.
Louise-- I hadn't seen the pleats in the bust, but that' s a good idea to build in room for expansion. She thought it through well.
Althea--I'd agree with that.
Malvin-- it seriously looks like one of those baby wraps. Yup, Nina just called it a sling.
Wow, those ginormous shorts of Mitchell's are short. And gappy. I see London... (And that's bad when Heidi says it looks like she would have sewn the shorts.)
I hadn't seen the criss-crossy waist on Shirin's before either--that's cool.

And I'm glad Shirin won. She deserved it-- it was a very well-made outfit. Malvin wasn't my favorite, but I'm really surprised that he got auf'ed instead of Mitchell. Especially given that Mitchell was in the bottom two both weeks so far.

And I have to say, for next week's preview, it was gratifying to hear Heidi saying that to be on Project Runway, you have to, you know, SEW.

August 22, 2009

Random end-of-summer thoughts

It's not quite the end of my summer yet, but it's getting close...I have a faculty meeting for the school I teach band at on Tuesday, and school starts on the 31st. I don't actually start until the Wednesday of that week, though, since I'm only there one day a week. I've also been trying to get an idea of what my flute teaching schedule is going to look like, and so far it's been kind of a mess. I'm hoping that I'll be able to work in time for both exercise and craftiness, but that remains to be seen. I've kind of been feeling like this may be the most hectic fall (which is always one of my busiest seasons) of my adult life to date, between juggling my band job, fitting in my teaching (which I have to rearrange my entire schedule due to schedule issues with music schools that I have no control over), and my brother's upcoming wedding, which I still need to arrange one piece of music for and then find time to rehearse with the violinist. I really need to try and finish that next week.

In preparation for the fall, I've been pondering several things:
  • I've had cooking on the brain lately. Maybe it's my as-of-yet unfulfilled desire to watch Julie & Julia (which, at the rate I'm going, won't be fulfilled until it comes out on DVD and I can Netflix it), maybe it's because I'm gearing up for fall and usually the only way I can eat dinner then is to take it out of the freezer. Probably both. But I've been in the mood to do it more. I did manage to concoct something on Thursday with some pasta, canned chicken, bottled mushrooms and olives, and fresh tomatoes from the garden--it wasn't quite something I could call a recipe yet, but it might be worth experimenting with in the future. And I've spent a good bit of today cooking--an Asian-style marinaded pork in the crockpot, and a mushroom risotto to eat on the side with some roasted chicken I already had in the freezer. I used recipes for both, but ended up having to tweak both due to some ingredient constraints-- the only day I could run to the natural food store to get dried mushrooms was Tuesday, and so I didn't want to get both dried and fresh because I knew the fresh wouldn't be good by now and used all dried. And I didn't have as much sour cream as it called for. And I forgot to add teriyaki sauce to the store list, so instead of doing the peanut sauce that it called for, I ended up having to combine teriyaki, soy sauce and hoison sauce. (Probably just as well....the hoison had been around for awhile, so it was probably time to use it up. I ate some of the risotto for lunch, and it turned out pretty tasty (although better when I added a couple of pieces of bacon!) I'm not sure if it'll be my go-to recipe though, because it was pretty involved-- two saucepans and all. The pork is going to be my dinner tonight, and hopefully will be done within about the next ten minutes of when I'm writing this. So hopefully it'll turn out ok.
  • Though technically my pledge over at Wardrobe Refashion is supposed to end at the end of the month, I effectively ended it for myself as of yesterday. I need too many pairs of pants to sew and thrift them all by the time it gets cold enough for them here (which, given how the weather's been here in the mid-Atlantic this year, it'll probably get suddenly cold right around the middle of October with no warning and no in-between season.) And JC Penney's was having a sale that I had a coupon for. I'd been getting concerned lately about weight gain due to having to take my measurements for a recent sewing project (which will be elaborated on in a near-future post) and having the waist be a whole inch off from what I'd had written down before. I'm actually feeling kind of better about it after yesterday's shopping trip, because as it turns out, I was fitting into pants a full two sizes below what I thought it would be! But here's the problem: almost every pair of pants I tried on still looked awful on me. I don't know if it's my particular curves, especially in my thighs, or the fabric they were using to make these pants, but every single lump and bump was showing, and I just wasn't comfortable with walking around in public like that. (The seamstress in me is inclined to think the fabric is slightly more to blame, seeing as how most of it was thin, clingy polyester blends.) So I ended up only getting one pair of trousers and one pair of jeans (to replace my now-defunct homemade ones, at least until I can rework the fit and have the time to make it.) I've come to the conclusion that the only way I am going to get pants that fit and look good on me is to make them myself....though I'm still going to have to try a few other stores in the meantime, because I don't even want to try them again until I can get the whole fitting thing down.
  • Not to mention I don't have the time to sew them right now anyway... I have a few other pressing projects on the plate. (Now try saying that five times fast.) I've been working mostly on a quickie Ren Faire costume for next weekend, but that's pretty much done except for two accessories (a head-scarf type thing for my peasanty Gypsy-ish costume, and a drawstring pouch to hold essentials like my camera and money which I'm planning on hanging from my waist for some hands-free fun.) I've also been spending some time today on the last piece of my summer mini-wardrobe that I'll be finishing at this time, my BWOF knit tank top. I'm hoping to finish that after dinner, so we'll see if the storms hold off. And then the next thing has to be tracing out the pattern and making the muslin for the dress pattern that I'm hoping to use for my brother's October 3rd wedding. It was a tough decision to make, but I decided to make things easier on myself and not actually sew them something for their shower gift. And I'm thinking that for the wedding, I might just give them an IOU on some pillows to go with the loveseat they bought. (No room in the condo they'll be moving into for a couch.)

Food cravings aside (the teriyaki pork stuff is pretty tasty, btw! Eating that now), I've been thinking a lot lately about my sewing and my lifestyle and how they fit together. And I came to the conclusion that I've been putting way too much pressure on myself. Not in terms of quality of the garments, so much-- I'd still like the finished products to look good and be finished properly-- but more in terms of feeling like I have to make everything. I could almost define it as a pride issue-- like I have to be totally DIY and self-sufficient or I'm failing. I want to be constantly developing my skills and stretching myself, of course, but I don't want to suck all the fun out of sewing by feeling that I have to make everything. Plus that takes away from other creative endeavors that I'd like to do, like my neglected scrapbooks (I did finally get a new batch of photos developed, so that's a start). And, on a practical note, I'm just not going to be able to sew many clothes over the next couple of months, not while I have an entire bedroom to paint and redecorate and sew for. As busy as this upcoming season of my life is going to be, maybe it's ok to just step back a little. And not feel guilty that I have to buy pants right now.

(The next post will have a picture of some kind, I promise.)

August 20, 2009

Project Runway is BACK!!!

(blogged while watching...)

Oh, Project Runway, how I've missed you. Especially after watching that cheap imitation of a Fashion Show that couldn't hold my interest for more than a couple of eps.

Based on initial impressions of personality, I'm inclined to like Qristyl and Shirin. And inclined to think that Malvin is seriously trying to channel Christian Siriano. I mean, the hair, the androgyny, the pretentious attitude of thinking he's so far ahead of the curve that his style can't be defined yet...I hope I'm wrong, because Christian is pretty much my least favorite PR alum ever. And I'm feeling kind of bad for Johnny... seems like he's got a lot to overcome, and I hope he pulls it together.

Runway show!

Favorite dress: I think I'm going to have to say Ra'mon's. Though I also liked Shirina's, Nicholas's Celtic-knot looking thing, and Irina's, and Louise's. Christopher's is kind of fun too, though I could probably never wear that silhouette.

Least favorite dress: Mitchell's, hands down. Ari's is a close second.

I am glad to see that Johnny got it together. Again, a silhouette I could never wear, but not bad considering the earlier meltdown.

Christopher was a good choice for winner, I think. He did a nice job.

You know, looking at them side by side like that, Ari's and Mitchell's haircuts are awfully similar...

It could have been interesting to see what else Ari would come up with....but considering her dress looked like something out of a MST3K-worthy film...yeah.

Edit: Craftstylish was kind enough to put up a post showing all of the sketches vs. the final runway designs-- check it out!!

August 18, 2009

Catching up, 4/4: The Honest Scrap Award

I am a bad, bad blogger. Catherine G was kind enough to give me the "Honest Scrap Award" back in June, and between the computer problems and all of the recent real life craziness, I'm just now getting to it. Sorry for the delay, Catherine, and thank you for the award!
The rules are as follows:
I must thank the person who gave me the award and list their blog and link it.
I must list 10 honest things about myself.
I must put a copy of The Honest Scrap Logo on my blog.
I must select at least 7 other worthy bloggers & list their links.
I must notify the bloggers of the award and hopefully they will follow the above three requirements also.

All right, let's be honest:
  1. It's probably no secret, given my career field, but I am extremely addicted to music. Including finding new music. I currently have over 8000 songs on my iPod, and it's an ever-growing collection (mainly due to my eMusic subscription, in which I get 30 tracks a month that I have to use or lose). I'm doing a blogging project right now (on my LiveJournal, since that's where I keep in touch with some RL friends) where I'm trying to listen through the contents of the iPod in its entirety. I started on August 1. I got through the last of the albums that begin with A yesterday. (No jobs where I can listen to my iPod while I work, so it's taking me a little longer than it otherwise would.)
  2. The dorkiest thing I ever sewed: a vest from a vintage 70s pattern made out of snakeskin-printed vinyl. Both of which were free, having belonged to my mother. In my defense, I was a teenager at the time, and making an effort to create my own style and not just wear all the same Abercrombie crap that many of my classmates were drawn to.
  3. I often wish that blogs were around back when I was a teenager, so I could have documented sewing projects like that. Somewhere back in grad school, I did realize that I should be doing that, and started a really basic scrapbook for it-- just pictures, basic info like what pattern I used and when it was completed and any other comments I wanted to make, and a fabric sample if I still had one. Something about the system wasn't working (too bulky or something) so I had to pull off most of the pictures to start over. I know I did start making a very, very basic digital scrapbook in Photoshop to start over, but that's unfinished as well. I'm kind of torn between trying to get caught up on that and get it all printed out so I can have a tangible copy, or just scanning the pics from the original scrapbook (film camera) and documenting them in here just so I can get it done.
  4. I read really fast--when I have the time to sit down and do it, I can read thick books in a day. (Worked for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, anyway.)
  5. Sad to say, I'm at the point where I dislike a lot more about being single than I like. Since all of my efforts to change that status have failed miserably, I really need to work on learning to like it again.
  6. Routine is tough for me. That's why I loathed the thought of a job where I was doing the same thing 9-5 every day. (And why I have a hard time enjoying highly repetitive crafts, like knitting, crochet and needlework.) At the same time, I have a hard time sometimes with the day-to-day reality of trying to juggle an ever-changing schedule with lesson cancellations and reschedulings/other part-time work/fitting in time with friends when my schedule is so different from theirs/eating meals at regular times with my unfortunate tendency to get shaky when I don't eat for awhile/finding craft and exercise time/finding time to read/still doing the things I have to do like laundry and cleaning. I wonder if I'll ever find a balance.
  7. On a related note to #6, I think part of the problem is that I enjoy doing too wide a variety of things. And I can't bring myself to quit doing things I enjoy.
  8. You wouldn't know it from how much I tend to ramble in these posts, but I'm actually fairly quiet. At least within social settings, unless it's people I'm comfortable with.
  9. I get really frustrated with situations where I have to wait on other people to figure things out, like my current attempts to figure out my fall teaching schedule, because I'm too much of a planner for my own good.
  10. On a completely random note, I'm one of those people who likes to throw movie quotes into everyday conversation.


And the Honest Scrap Award goes to:
6. Salinda's Blog Spot
7. PB Designs Reading and Crochet Blog

Ok, I think that catches me up for now! Until I finish the current 2 projects, anyway...

Now to finish what I need to around here so I can do some sewing between my flute lessons! I'm going to miss my low-key Wednesdays once school starts and I'm back up to 3 jobs again.

And pardon me for a moment while I squeal... Project Runway starts up again tomorrow!!!

August 14, 2009

Catching up, 3/4: Summer Wardobe 5 (the hippie top), and some redecoration stuff

It's about time I finished something else for this, since it's almost halfway through August! Anyway, this is my peasant-top-inspired shirt. (Please ignore how badly the duct-tape wrinkles on Donna the Dummy's chest shows through the gauze.)

Since I wanted the hippie look but a little more fitted, I went with one of my tried-and-true tops, Simplicity 5683.

I don't usually pay attention to the suggested trim details in patterns, but felt that this one needed a little something since it's just plain light blue cotton gauze. So I followed their lead and added this crocheted lace and ribbon trim. (I hope it doesn't make it look like something meant for a 5-year-old... I'm thinking the lines going down the front do help a lot there.)

I do wish the trim on the sleeves had gone better... I tried to follow the placement lines, even taking it up higher, but perhaps my trim was too wide because it was still a struggle to not let it hang past the edge of the elastic casing.

The really nice thing about this one, since I had it already cut out, is how fast it was to make, even with inside finishing. I sewed the trim onto the pattern pieces on Friday night. (I probably could have gone further, but Cassie was over at the time for one of our crafty tv-watching hangouts, and we got a little sidetracked by an urge to play Guitar Hero.) I sewed the rest of it together in its entirety on Saturday.

I haven't tried it with the skirt yet (and obviously not with my ill-fated jeans... I'm still trying to figure out if it's worth the effort to rip out and resew the back seam in an attempt to salvage them!) Looking at it now, I'm really not convinced that this top will go with the skirt either--I think the top is too light a blue and the skirt is too red a brown. I'll have to try it on to see for certain, of course, but I have to admit that I'm not feeling very hopeful about it. (And having a little trouble shaking the overall feeling that, even though I've finished most of the intended pieces, as far as mixing and matching goes this mini-wardrobe is kind of a bomb.)

On a non-related note, I stopped at a used-furniture place this afternoon, the type that does estate sales and such. After my brother gets married in October, I'm moving into his room (he got the larger one even though I'm older...mine used to be my mom's sewing room and so that was the first to go) and turning my current bedroom into a guest room/teaching studio for my flute lessons. (My parents are so cool about the musician income thing.) Since I still have the same furniture, sans bed, that I've had since I was oh, seven or so, one of the things I've really been hoping to do is replace some of the kid dressers. Really, hoping to go down from the three dressers I have in here (one long one, and two that used to sit under the loft bed I had when I was a kid, one of which is a really bad use of space) to two. But I've been having trouble figuring out how to get that to work without ditching half of my clothes, seeing as how my closet is also crammed full. (The hazards of sewing clothes/having costumes/having old recital dresses that need to be kept because in my line of work, I actually do use them sometimes!) So I've been hoping to get two dressers that are larger sizes than the ones I have now. Or maybe get one larger one and move one of my old ones over. Or something. I'm still sorting it out.

Anyway, the point of that ramble is that I did actually find something at the used furniture store today-- no pictures, because it's on my phone and I can't figure out how to get pictures off of it. :P But it's a little outside of the box, so part of me is excited about it and part of me is wondering if I made a $100 mistake!! I'll try to describe it-- they listed it as an arts-and-crafts hutch (though I don't know how old it actually is). So it's kind of this light oak-ish color, 3 drawers and two doors that open out. There's a shelf inside to split that into two parts, so it's not just a total waste of space like my armoire dresser. And then sitting on top of that, there's a little built-up part with 3 shelves. (I'll take pictures once I get it home-- I have to get my dad to help me pick it up, since he has access to vehicles that hold larger things than my Civic!) So I'm thinking the lower part can be used for clothes, though I'll have to play around with the shelved section to see if it would be better for smaller clothes, like underwear or rolled-up t-shirts (an excuse to make fabric storage boxes), or for a better way to store my jeans than rolled up and crammed into a too-shallow drawer in that waste-of-space armoire. (Can you tell I really don't like that dresser?) And then I can use the shelves for things like makeup/hair stuff/candleholders and such that I can't bear to get rid of. Or maybe my dvd collection, if the shelves are tall enough to accommodate them. I really hope this was a good move--in thinking ahead, this could be a piece of furniture that could work well in the long term, like if I can eventually afford my own place or if I actually can get married someday and therefore move out, because then I could just use it for another function. Like, say, craft/sewing room. ;) And I like the quirkiness of using a piece of furniture for a purpose other than its original intent. But I hope it works!! And then there's the question of refinishing it, since I do have to paint over my free computer desk... (Damaged section that had to get repaired= power-sanded down particle board. Not pretty.)

August 13, 2009

Catching up, 2/4: a little bit of recycling

Remember that draping experiment I did earlier this summer with the bamboo left over from my summer wardrobe skirt?

It's now this.

The story: my (almost) sister-in-law's birthday was yesterday, and seeing as how she's going to be getting all sorts of practical things over the next month or so, between her shower (which I still don't know when it is...grrrr...) and the wedding, I wanted to give her something that was more just for fun. My brother mentioned that she likes doing watercolors, so I decided to take that route.

I figured the bamboo would be a good choice for a paintbrush roll, since it's supposed to be naturally anti-microbial and quick-drying. Plus she seems to like more earthy, neutral colors, and I wasn't sure what to do with that shirt anyway, so unpinning it from the dummy and turning it into this wasn't a big deal to me. My mom was kind enough to let me use a bit of a cotton print from her quilting stash for the trim and ties.

It was pretty simple to make-- basically, I just layered a scrap of quilt batting between two of the larger scraps of bamboo and basted that together, folded another rectangle and topstitched that to make the pockets (I was basically pinning around the paintbrushes to ensure the larger ones would fit! Made it a bit bubbly, but at least they fit in there!), and made a slightly smaller rectangle to make a flap that would both protect the brushes and keep them from falling out of the top. The binding covers up the raw edges, and I sewed the ties into the outside with the ends also in the binding.

Besides the brushes, I also got her a small portable watercolor set and a pack of watercolor paper. If I'd had more time, I considered a tote or something to stick it all in, but then I keep telling myself that several of my upcoming projects are for her wedding and I need time to finish those too! (Especially the music I have to arrange!) And she seemed to like it, so it's all good.

I really like how the brush roll turned out--I may have to make one for myself at some point. I've found myself really missing art lately. I don't know if I've ever mentioned it on here, but art used to be one of my biggest hobbies-- I took it all through high school and even majored in it for my first semester of college. But I had a really rough time with that, and it became quite clear to me that music is where God wanted me instead. After I switched majors, it's been hard for me to get back into anything beyond still dabbling in photography-- I guess I lost my inspiration for drawing and painting. Or, probably more specifically, my confidence in my ability to do it. And I guess that's why I kept up with the scrapbooking beyond my teenage years, was because that's a way I can sort of still dabble in it. I don't know if I'll ever act on it beyond maybe trying to do some smaller artsy things in the scrapbook context (it is a time-consuming thing), but I've wished more than once that I could get back into it. Even if only in the context of small things like ATCs or watercolor sketches. Especially since making this, and spending a day recently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with an artist friend. A girl can dream, right?

August 12, 2009

Catching up, 1/4: The Sunflower Skirt

I've been a bad blogger lately, but I have more to say about pretty much everything I wanted to post than would be nice for a summary post, so I'm just going to give each item a shorter post.

This is the skirt that I ended up making from my Spoonflower fabric. I made it from a pattern I've used before, McCall's 2029 (the bias-cut view)- I was originally planning on using the BurdaStyle Sidonie, but realized I was about two sizes smaller at the waist than I was at the hips, and also stupidly decided to lengthen it from the line within the pattern rather than at the bottom, so I was having a good bit of trouble with changing the pattern to work. The fabric is a tiny bit see-through, as is the nature with white, but rather than line it and risk that extra line showing at the side seams, I underlined it with some white lining fabric that I had in my stash and it worked pretty well. I just really love the graphic look to it-- I found a tank top that I have that matches it decently, but I'm going to need to invest in some solid tops that pick up the colors in the skirt! Maybe a nice royal blue...

Thanks again to Gwen for the giveaway, and Beth for doing such a lovely job on the print!

Speaking of pattern-fitting issues, I took the plunge and signed up for one of the upcoming classes at Pattern Review--the "Make a Skirt Muslin" one. (7th one down on the page-- I can't link to it directly.) I like that the idea is basically to teach me how to make a skirt sloper and then use that to fit other skirts--I'm fortunate in that I don't really have any major fitting issues, but it would be nice to learn how to adjust the patterns to work around my waist-to-hip ratio discrepancy instead of just taking in the seams as I'm sewing! (Plus this one is a recommended prereq to the pants-fitting class, and I need to learn that!) I think I know which skirt I'd potentially like to use for the pattern that's my choice--I've been drooling over this BWOF pattern since the day I got the magazine. (Though I do wonder if that's too close to the starting point for me to really benefit from it, and maybe I should go with something more A-line or bias-cut instead?) For the first pattern, though, I'm required to use a straight skirt with darts and a waistband that actually hits at the waist. (Ugh, I'm used to hiphugger everything, and the waist feels constrictive to me now!) I usually get A-line skirts instead of straight skirts, so I'm going to throw the question out there: do you have any recommendations for a good basic straight skirt pattern?

August 6, 2009

this makes me sad. :-(

Remember this? The jeans that I spent so long tweaking the patterns and the muslins and basically spent an entire week sewing together? The jeans that I've only had finished for a little over 2 months and have only worn maybe four times tops and haven't even finished the wardrobe that they were part of yet? Today was a much cooler day than it's been (mid-70s instead of upper 80s), so I wore them out to the movies tonight. When I came home and took them off to shower, this is what I found. Right in the middle of the backside. I don't think this one is mendable. And it just makes me really sad, because these jeans were literally years in the making. I don't know if the denim was just too lightweight to stand up to jeans (it is a rather light denim), or if I did something wrong in the construction, or if I gained a bunch of weight without realizing it. I don't think it's the latter, because I made them to not be super-tight and they didn't feel any different than usual. I'm inclined to think it's a combination of the first two. But I wish I knew what I did wrong!