April 27, 2011

Operation Salvage = success?

Well, the blouse is done as of this afternoon. In order to get a picture of the fit, had to try it on myself....so please excuse my pasty, banged-up legs, messy room and the horrible lighting. I think overall, I managed to salvage it pretty well, though I had to make some changes from my original plan (namely making it a sleeveless blouse, rather than a short-sleeved one), and some kind of oddball adjustments.

Here's the gist of it, without my hair in the way.

And here's my oddball salvage job. No, that's not a shadow-- that's a fake princess seam intersecting with a dart. I think I can safely say that the full bust adjustment attempt was a complete failure, and this was the only way I could get it even close to well-fitting around my chest in the end. And yes, I realize that the seam is puckered. I'm pretending that those gathers, as well as the dart that makes it look like I pieced together the side, were intentional design features. I made it work. Eat your heart out, Tim Gunn.

I guess it'll be ok that it's sleeveless, in the end-- I think the silhouette is such that I could possibly use it as a layering blouse if needed. And I still like the fabric, I think I did a nice job with the underlining, the silk organza worked out nicely as the interfacing, and I think I managed some cute buttons on this too. (Black probably would have stood out better, but I couldn't pass up the almost glittery-looking embossed design on these.) So overall, even though this means I still have a looooong way to go in my quest to perfect fitting, I think I can consider this a success.

Another exciting development around here is that I've finished the wrap, mostly. The knitting is done, and I wove in the ends yesterday.


This is what it's looking like right now--there's a row or two where I'm not sure what the heck happened because there's some odd line of holes (on the backrest of the chair).

But seeing as how this was considered to be a lace pattern, at least according to the designer (albeit a super-easy one), I think I did pretty well for a newbie.

I still need to block this. Once I figure out exactly how to do it. The pattern recommended basically soaking it and then rolling it up in towels or something.

I liked working with this yarn overall--it's Lion Brand Nature's Choice organic cotton. It's super-soft, and I hope it stays that way after blocking. It did have a tendency to shed a bit (especially when I knit part of this while on an exercise bike--then it was like my orange tabby cat on black), but I didn't have any trouble with knitting it on bamboo needles, even with my tendency to knit tightly. I have a little bit over one ball left, out of the six that I bought for this--the yarn was labeled as worsted weight but I think it's thicker, so I didn't need as much as anticipated. So I think I'm going to use the rest to make a pair of handwarmers sometime. I've been joking for years that I need a pair of skin-toned fingerless gloves to wear at church when I'm playing flute on worship team, because it tends to be so cold in there. And I don't think I'd find anything much closer to my skin tone!

In the meantime, I've started both a dishcloth and a second pair of the Constellation gloves, this time for a friend. And also tearing up something for my next refashion. Not much progress yet on any of those three things, but I'm chipping away at them..

April 22, 2011

A little Earth Day recycling action

And now for something completely different! (Editing the post I made last night, rather than writing a new one, since a day off of work means I got this done way faster than I expected to.)



 I had this container, left over from some cleaning scrubby things. When I used up the last of the "magic erasers", it seemed a shame to throw a good-sized plastic container away, and I had the thought that it might be a good solution for a project I've been pondering for awhile--a travel case or pouch or something for toiletries. I've been thinking about sewing something, but wasn't sure how to deal with the moisture-breeds-mold issue with fabric. With this, I can easily just pop the lid on this open to let things dry. But the labels wouldn't come off, which made it ugly. And the plastic on the sides is pretty thin. So I needed a way to make it sturdier.

I also had this fabric--it was given to me for free. And I wasn't really sure what to do with it. For one thing, there wasn't a whole lot of it, maybe something like a yard. For another, it's not the sort of print that I feltl like I could get away with wearing in public at my age. It would be a great print for a kid, but I don't have any. Or any nieces or nephews. Or any non-related kids that call me an aunt anyway. Really, the only thing I would have been able to do with this is pajama shorts. But unfortunately, this isn't a very comfy-feeling fabric, especially for a knit. It just feels kind of rough and would certainly not be nice for sleeping in. And I wouldn't want to subject a child to wearing a scratchy, rough t-shirt. That would be mean.
So last night, I chopped it up and made this. That's right, I turned it into yarn. I didn't have yarn on hand that would match the lid of the container, and nearly everything I have is for specific projects anyway. I've seen tutorials for t-shirt yarn before, and figured this would be a good test, because the colors would make for fun yarn. And it's thick enough that it would certainly protect the sides a bit.

Take that, stash oddity!

It felt like knitting with a rope. Or those stretchy loops that I used to make potholders with on a plastic weaving loom when I was a kid.But the nice thing about it is that the "yarn" was chunky enough that this worked up really fast. Other than casting on and knitting about a third of the bottom portion last night, I got this done within a couple of hours while hanging out with my brother and catching up on some tv shows we both like. (He was off today, too--he's normally off on Fridays, and I just didn't get scheduled to work.)

So here's the finished result:

I'm pleased with how it turned out. And the yarn does look fun. Though I guess the original print is more obvious than I thought--my brother only saw it in it's chopped up post-yarnifying state, and guessed right on his first try that it had been Snoopy.

Without the container, for a better view of the handle. (Which is long enough that it doesn't interfere with getting the lid open. This is just three braided pieces of the yarn.)

And it's the perfect size for those travel-sized toiletries. Now if I could just figure out what I did with the mini shampoo/conditioner/contacts solution containers after my last weekend away... I know I didn't toss them!


p.s. Yes, I did also work on the blouse some yesterday. Mainly trimming and prepping the facings, which are not actually sewn into the blouse yet. So picturewise, nothing to report.

April 20, 2011

I hope this isn't a craft fail in progress.

I started sewing my black and white blouse today--seemed like a good way to spend an afternoon that I did not have to be teaching band. (Reaping the benefits of standardized testing, ohhhhhhh yeah!) I'd had visions in my head of this coming together super-fast and having almost an entire new shirt to show for this afternoon. But no...it's being complicated.

First, there's this. I must have screwed up somewhere along the line with the FBA I did, because while I had a nice amount of room there, the dart ended up being rather low. (I'm not sure why, since things seemed all right when I was tissue-fitting the pattern.) It looks fine here, but there's a reason for that....you see how small the armhole is?

This is how wide I had to make the shoulder seams to get those darts in the right place--an entire inch beyond the seam allowance! I also had to take the sides in somewhere in the 1/4"-3/4" range (most at the waist, least at the top and bottom.).

And then chop these bits out of the neckline and armhole to make it functional again.


So then the mandarin-style collar was too long, so I ended up cutting this much off of that to make it work....only to remember after I cut it that I'd completely forgotten to factor seam allowances into that measurement. So I stitched the sides with a 1/4" seam allowance to compensate as much as I could. Guess I'm going to be trimming the neckline even more to compensate for the rest.

I'm going to have to see what's up with the facings after all of this--I haven't touched those yet. Hopefully I trimmed the armholes down enough for the cap sleeves to still work--though I have a bit of an advantage on that part, at least, since I picked the view that has just a cap rather than a full-circle sleeve.

If this blouse turns out well after all of this winging it I've had to do, I'll be shocked. And if I ever use this pattern again after all of this, I'm moving the bust dart up at least an inch before I cut a thing.

I really like this fabric, and I was so excited about trying the underlining technique in a more casual project now that I actually know how to do it right. So this is all kind of bumming me out. I don't want to end this post on a downer, so here's some happier things in my crafty world:

#1: The knitted wrap is almost done! At least as far as the knitting goes. I estimate that about 10 more rows should do it as far as using up sufficient yarn goes, while still leaving enough in the ball to do the last two all-knit rows. We'll see how my estimation goes. I'm going to try to finish it tonight, rather than beat myself over the head with this blouse some more.

#2: New magazines! I stopped at the bookstore on my way home from teaching last night to see if the April BurdaStyle was something I wanted to acquire. (It wasn't. Absolutely nothing jumped out at me when looking at the line drawings. There was one jacket that was ok, but I already have more jacket patterns than I'll probably ever sew.) So instead, I picked up the spring SewStylish and the summer Knitscene. Which just may contain my first attempt at a real sweater, once I finish the two summery tanks I have in the queue, because this cardigan is cute and it doesn't look terribly difficult. So it might be a good first attempt at sleeves. And, knowing how easily I get cold, layering options might also be the best way for me to go!

While I'm on the subject of knitting, I have to give a shoutout to Brinn, who very kindly commented on my last post to tell me how to raise the neckline on the tank top she designed that I want to knit. Very sweet of her!

#3: New fabric! And new yarn! Yes, my Fabric.com order came in.
So these are my apron fabrics, all washed up and ready to go. The flower print is actually much larger than I anticipated, so it's a good thing I was going for a more funky, colorful aesthetic! (To give you a sense of scale, the coin on there is an American quarter.)

And the bird fabric I picked up for the Crescent skirt (also a larger scale than anticipated--did I just not read the description or something?), along with the linen/acrylic blend yarn I got to go with it. Now that I see them in person, I'm not as convinced that the two things will go together--the greens in the fabric are a bit more of a yellow shade than I thought, and the yarn is more of a blue-toned green. But who knows--maybe they'll still work. If nothing else, I checked the yarn against my sunflower skirt, now that it's out from its winter hiding place under the bed, and it goes quite well with that. And if all else fails with this skirt, I can always pull out my basic white t-shirt.

April 17, 2011

I'm baaaack...

....and I survived the crazy busy week. Even got some unexpected time to recuperate yesterday--I was originally scheduled to work at my retail job, but the weather was horrible yesterday and I was scheduled for the outdoor register, so I got a call telling me to stay home since they weren't expecting enough business for 2 cashiers. So instead, my best friend came over, we watched Tangled and a whole lot of The Big Bang Theory, and she crocheted while I knitted.

(No pictures in this post, since I'm writing it spur-of-the-moment and it's too dark to get any decent pics. But I have lots of links.)

Still working on that wrap. It looks like it's about 47" long now, which is actually what the pattern calls for. I'm debating whether I want to make it a bit longer, since I've still got something like 1 2/3 balls of the yarn left. (Apparently I quite overestimated how much I would need. Except it looks like it's a lot longer in the picture. This one just barely wraps around me.) But then, it's rather tempting to just knit the 3 rows I'd need to finish it off so I can move on to something else! It'll get a little longer when I block it, right?

I also started my next sewing project today, which is going to be view C of New Look 6967. I had to do some fitting modifications to the front of the pattern, which hopefully will work out all right. And I got everything cut out this time--impressive for me, since I usually get lazy by the time I get to interfacing and don't actually cut it out until I need it to complete that step. I'm making it a little more complicated for myself by almost completely underlining it--mostly so I won't have to deal with the lack of opacity issues that white fabric tends to have. The only things I'm not underlining are the facings and one half of the collar, since they'll be interfaced instead. And I'm actually using a piece of the silk organza for the interfacing, as an experiment. So far, I've got the basting done on about half the pieces--I'm actually doing a blend of hand- and machine-basting for that. (Hand-basted the sleeves, the organza to the facings, and the darts on the back, but I machine-basted the outer edges of the back.) I still have to do the front and the front facings. I don't think this will take very long to sew together once all of the prepwork is done, though. Especially since I'll probably just serge the seams to finish them.

And now it's stashbusting confession booth time. Though I'm subtracting about 2 yards with this blouse (not counting the underlining fabric, which I did not add the total in and I used up all but scraps so it evens out), I'll be adding something like 5 1/2 yards once my Fabric.com order comes in. It's all Nicole's fault, really. She had the idea that it would be fun to make some Anthropologie-inspired aprons, and asked me if I wanted to get together to sew some. Which sounded fun, as well as practical since I tend to be messy when I cook. I did look in the stash first, and didn't see anything that would really work for such a project. So I think I'm excused on those two pieces. But the blame lies solely on me for the 2 1/2 yards of cotton print that I spotted that would make a really fun Crescent Skirt. Then, to make matters worse, I made the mistake of looking in the 65% off clearance section of the yarn portion of their website, and found a linen-acrylic blend that perfectly went with said skirt fabric. So of course I just had to buy it. I'm thinking a less low-cut (if I can figure out how to make it so) version of this.

So not only am I canceling out something like the last 3 projects I did for this fabric purchase, I now seem to be acquiring a yarn stash. I've got yarn for all 6 of the things in my Ravelry queue, and even if I do make the wrap long enough to finish out the current ball, I'll still have one left. Plus I still have yarn left from the beret, too. Drat. At least I'll end up using the apron fabrics almost right away.

April 12, 2011

yarn studies, revisted

I got some nice comments on my last yarn-related post, so I wanted to take a little bit of time to address a couple of things that came up and update you all on where things stand there.

First of all, I may or may not be allergic to wool. I'm not really sure, because I've never actually been tested to find out exactly what I am allergic to. (I probably should be at some point in my life, since they run rampant in my extended family and pretty much everyone in this state inevitably ends up with some form of seasonal allergies. But I haven't.) I know that the wool beret I had in high school made my face break out in a line of hives, and when I touch yarn that's got a lot of wool in it, I get this nasty deeper-than-skin prickly feeling in the palms of my hands for hours afterwards. But then there's that 10% wool sweater I've had for years that I mentioned-- I don't know if it's the blend, or if it's been washed so many times, or if maybe this whole wool thing is all in my head and I'm a hypochondriac or what, but that one doesn't bother me. (I'm pretty sure it's not all in my head, though.) I'm at least sensitive to it, and it may be just the lanolin, because I was able to handle some sheepskin slippers that I got my mom for Christmas. And I tried touching an alpaca/acrylic blend and didn't feel the urge to drop it like it's hot. (I've heard the alpaca is way more hypoallergenic than sheep wool. And warmer.) So maybe I'd be ok with that, or angora, or whichever the one is that's made from goat hair. (Is that cashmere or mohair? Or both?)

Secondly, I'm not entirely opposed to working with acrylic yarn. My handwarmers and both hats that I've made so far were from acrylic yarns, and I found both to be pretty comfortable both to work with and to wear. But I know it has a tendency to pill--I noticed that my handwarmers are already getting a rather fuzzy halo, like in that pre-pill sort of way, and I've really only worn them a couple of times so far. And some of my store-bought acrylic sweaters are horribly pilled and got that way pretty quickly. I also know it's not the most eco-friendly option. Technically, I know that cotton isn't the most eco-friendly option either, but it still seems somehow better to go for yarn that comes from a regrowable plant rather than, you know, plastic or whatever it's made out of. (Unless it was recycled yarn. That's different.) And I am trying to move more towards natural/greener options in my fiber choices where I can. So if I was going to knit an entire sweater, I'd rather it be from something natural that would hold up to washings and wearings. Even if it would probably cost me three times as much money to buy the yarn. :P

Thirdly, I did get the book in. Pattern-wise, though it had a couple of things I liked, a lot of it was kind of...meh. But I did enjoy reading through the section on the different fiber options and the qualities of each and such. I'll admit it, I was one of those nerdy kids who actually really loved the research parts of my school projects. Especially the history/literature ones. So I've been having a pretty strong urge to go to the local yarn store that isn't a chain that I recently found out about, and buy a whole bunch of yarn to play with. I'm not sure how intelligent a choice that would be for me, because then I'd end up with all these random single balls of yarn that I wouldn't know what to make with, but the urge is definitely there. As it is, I'm thinking that I might just go ahead and start off with each new yarn by knitting a swatch (even if I have to unravel it afterwards so I have enough yarn to use), and start recording/reviewing them on here. I know you can read reviews on Ravelry, but it might be nice to have my own little private encyclopedia of non-wool options that I can keep adding to. Especially as I start getting better senses of what I can substitute for wool. And if it helps someone else, too, all the better. Because I've already done enough nerdy Google searching to realize that there's not really a one-stop place to find out what a whole lot of non-wool yarn options are.

April 11, 2011

A Renaissance-y reconstruction

Since I had all that unexpected free time this afternoon (see previous post), I was able to get my necessary  chores that I stayed home tonight for done much earlier than I'd thought I would. So I did some clothes chopping! (Picture-heavy post warning.)

So I had this shirt that I made back in college. Love the fabric--it's this burnout velvet with this swirly design in these gorgeous, rich, autumny colors. I forget what pattern I used--it may have been a Butterick, but it's not one that's showing up in its out of print section. (My other guess was Simplicity, and it's not there either.)

This was the main reason I wasn't wearing it anymore. This was right around the time that I was figuring out that my arms are longer than average, but before I realized that this means that I have to add length to everything I make that has long sleeves or it just isn't going to work. So the shortest part of the diagonally-hemmed sleeve ended up something like 3" above my wrist, and it drove me absolutely nuts. But I still like the fabric, so I wanted to make it work for me again.

So here's what I did....
I took the sleeve.... (in all of its rich autumnal glory!)

...cut a chunk out of it on either side...

...and was left with this. Yeah, there's a bit of a size difference there.

So, after flipping it so that the seam on the asymmetric end was the opposite of what it was before, I gathered it and reattached it to the now shorter sleeve.

I decided to do some work on the neckline while I was at it, too. It had a short zipper in the back neck, which I never really understood because I ended up being able to pull this thing over my head just fine even when it was zipped up. So I took the facing and the zipper out, then restitched the back seam.

I'd wanted to change the neckline up a little anyway, but it became necessary since I accidentally poked a small hole in the front with my seam ripper. Oops. So I just cut a modest scoop out of the front, then turned it under and stitched it down.

And voila! I think the more open neckline actually makes it much more flattering on me, and I love the way the sleeves turned out. (It'll probably be even better once I press it all for real, but I was a bit too impatient to get the pictures and all.)

And the obligatory shot on Donna, since I can get the lighting better on her than on me this time of day!

"Georgian on my mind" dress

Surprise--my afternoon and evening got way less busy. I only have two students on Mondays, and one had already canceled. I still would have had to drive into town for the other, but then I got an email saying she needed to cancel too. So I guess I could go rock climbing after all....but my first thought was that means I might actually have time to sew something today, so I think I'll do that instead. Antisocial, but I need relaxation this week when I can get it! So now I actually had time to photograph and review this dress....

It still makes me think of Georgian-era France, thus the name. Though in this picture, it just looks like a flowery dress. (Even though it is, in fact, paisley and not really that flowery at all.)


I've decided I need to get back into the habit of posting on Pattern Review (and probably BurdaStyle, since I haven't updated there since the fall), so here's my review for the pattern: It's mostly as posted on PR, but I added a few extra comments in italics.

Pattern: Simplicity 2248

Pattern Rating:Recommend, with Modifications (is what I put on there-- I wouldn't say this is mediocre, but if I had a write-in vote, it would probably be more along the lines of "Proceed with Caution".)

Pattern Description: From the back of the envelope: Misses' dress with sleeve and back variations

Pattern Sizing: 12-20. I made the size 12.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.


 
 Were the instructions easy to follow? Mostly, though I had some quibbles with it.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Like: the lines of the dress, the pockets, the cutout in the back. (See? Cute cutout.) Dislike: The directions for how to make the pleats were kind of confusing. Also, they didn't have any mention of interfacing the buttonhole area, which could result in a mess for a more novice sewer.

Fabric Used: A cotton quilters' print from Joann's (that had probably been in my stash for a good 5 years. It was time.)


 Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I took a chance on making the size 12 (my measurements are mostly closer to the size 14), and I'm glad I did. This dress would have been huge on me otherwise. I still had to take in the back some, at the top of the zipper and the button placement. I added a snap to where the back cutout yoke thing overlapped because of that. I also added some topstitching to the bodice around the seams--the top reminded me of a corset and I wanted to bring that out some. (Hopefully this picture shows a bit more of that corset look.) This also helped me to close off the top of the pleats, since I couldn't make any sense of the given directions for that.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I probably won't sew it again, since I tend to not re-use dress patterns. (Especially ones with a very distinctive look to them, like this--they're harder to modify into something new.) It looks cute, but whether I'd recommend it would depend on a person's willingness to deviate from the directions a bit.

Conclusion: I do like the way it looks, and it was actually a great pattern style for the fabric, which had been sitting in my stash for awhile. So I'll call this one a win.



(Final note: The back doesn't really pull like that where the snap is--Donna and I seem to be different sizes here. So I need to do some tweaking to her measurements. But I did want to show what the button looks like. And I did want to say that the button addition was well-designed--I wasn't sure how easy that would be for dressing myself, since buttons behind your back sounds tough, but I can manage both the button and the snap here without any help. Always a good thing.)

April 10, 2011

Read like an Egyptian

First of all, thanks for all of the compliments on my dress so far! I finished it last night, but I'm not going to show it yet. I've found that I still have some work to do in order to get my dummy tweaked to my measurements--it seems to be a bit broader in the back than I am at the moment, and the dress doesn't really fit it as well as me so it's hard to get good pictures. And it's way too dark to get a decent picture on myself-- the lighting in here is just awful for that sort of thing. So I'm going to show my somewhat spontaneous afternoon/evening project instead.

Years ago, I saw a pillow similar to this in one of my mom's catalogs, and thought it was such a clever idea--a pillow to prop one's book up at the perfect angle! I've had the picture clipped in my inspiration notebook that I occasionally consult for years, since I was having a serious case of both DIY snobbery (i.e. "I can totally make that") and my usual cheapskate ways ("You want me to pay $30 for a pillow? That's ___ movie tickets/books/yards of fabric that I can get on sale/albums/etc.") But I never quite got to it.

It was actually knitting that brought it to mind again-- I've gotten to the point of the wrap where I'm getting bored with the repetitive nature of it and just want to get it done so I can move on to something else. So in order to keep my brain busy, I was experimenting the other day with reading at the same time. Slowed me down on both, but it worked--albeit rather awkwardly, since I was sitting here in my computer chair using my knee to keep my book pinned between my leg and the little pull-out board that my keyboard sits on. (Yes, I know that this would have been a lot easier if I'd been using my Kindle at the time, but I was already reading the paperback.) So attempting to copy this book pillow, finally, seemed like a good solution.

And here's the results!
 I didn't entirely make this up-- I got the idea for the base from this tutorial on Instructables. But I didn't really care for the more domed top that just using two squares made, so I went for cutting four triangles for the top instead. (Projects like this make it great to have a quilter mother, because she had a perfectly-sized equilateral triangle-shaped ruler!) And then I had to do some improvising with the base because my math was off and I had to add strips, and then figure out how to get the corners to work from there...so it's not as neat a job as I could have done, but I'm still pretty proud of it.
Isn't this fabric just so fun? I got it as a stocking stuffer a few Christmases ago-- kind of an inside joke from my mom, because we both enjoy the now-defunct show Stargate SG-1, in which the race of evil aliens is based largely on Egyptian mythology.  I know it's kind of geeky of me, but I just couldn't resist using it for a pyramid! (Plus then it helps my stashbusting efforts-- I used nearly the entire yard, and just have a rather oddly-shaped smallish piece left. So into the scrap bin it goes.)

I did make one small modification to the original design--I added a piece of elastic that goes around 3 sides of the pyramid to help hold the book open. It's not working quite as well as I'd hoped with my current read-- I've been re-reading all of my Tolkien books to follow along with this podcasted college class, which has been a lot of fun. Of course, all of my Lord of the Rings books have been read through and carried around in my bookbag and/or purse quite a few times, so the spines are all creased up (to the point where I may start losing pages, in some cases!)

Works like a charm on my less-battered books, though. What a relief.

It seems like it will support the Kindle quite nicely, too. (This fabric print seems to be the perfect camouflage for the skin I have on it!)

I don't know if I'll actually use it, but the original design had a bookmark attached from the top. So I went ahead and did the same. To weigh it down some, I added a few beads to the end. (The lower two are recycled from an earring I never wore, and the glass one was a random one from the stash.) The bookmark is a little impractical at the moment, honestly, because it's way too long. So I may shorten it up at some point, either by removing and then re-attaching the beads further up, or just taking the lazy way out and tying a loop in the ribbon at the top.

The timing of this was probably very good, actually. I doubt I'll be able to do much, if any, sewing this week.It seems that everything decided to pile on this one week-- between my two additional jobs that I have to supplement my flute teaching, I have to work the next 6 days, including nearly the entire day on Saturday and a band competition on Friday. Plus a family wedding. Plus all of my usual flute teaching. Plus I'm running out of food in the freezer to eat--the only way I can snag relatively healthy food between lessons, generally--so I'm actually skipping my usual Monday night rock climbing in order to cook a meal and get other necessary things done around here. Like put away the three loads of laundry that I washed today. (Including the one that I just remembered while typing this that I forgot to put in the dryer. Drat.) So yeah--I don't have anything new cut out yet, so unless I can fit a reconstruction in there, sewing's not happening.

Long story short, I may be quiet here for awhile, since any craftiness that's going to happen will most likely be knitting that wrap. Or distracting myself from knitting the wrap via books. Gotta test this pillow out somehow, right?

April 5, 2011

spring dress tease

Blame the weather around here, because it gave us a major tease yesterday. First day in weeks I'd actually been able to wear spring clothes, and I wished I'd had this done because it would have been a perfect day to debut it. And then today it goes and gets cold again! *sigh* So I'm going to tease you with some in-progress pictures.

I was glad to find out that the new buttonhole foot works just fine. I did have a bit of a gripe with the pattern I'm using (Simplicity 2248), as far as this particular piece goes. The piece has no interfacing, and yet it has a buttonhole. Which would make for a pretty horrid buttonhole, with just 2 pieces of cotton and nothing to stabilize it. So what I ended up doing was taking a scrap of the silk organza that I have left from the LBD (I have at least a couple of yards left, since I ended up underlining the skirt with the lining crepe de chine instead), doubling it, and stuffing it into that corner. Worked like a charm.

A shot of the back. Which needs some fixing, as you can see. I tried it on today, and it mostly fits very well. Except the back gaps at the top, so I'll have to undo that invisible zipper a bit and take it in about 3/4" on each side. Guess it's a good thing I haven't done anything with that facing yet. (The button placement is off, too, as a result. But I may just have it be asymmetric. Or sew on a second button off-center to balance it out. Definitely better than ripping out the buttonhole, even though I haven't cut it yet!)

The top of the bodice. I don't know if it's the combination of this neckline with the fabric, or the colors, or the corset-y topstitching or what, but for some reason, this dress is making me think of Georgian-era France. Kind of like Marie Antoinette without all of the scandals and guillotines and the terrible movie. (Seriously--I couldn't even like this one for the costumes. All I could think at the end was that it was two hours of my life I'd never get back.)

One comment about my sewing that has stuck with me is one that a one of my long-time friends made a couple of years ago. She said that she could always tell when I'd made something, because it had unique and interesting buttons. I guess that's one of my trademarks now? I was really excited to find this one, though. I'd almost resigned myself to going with a cream-colored button, because I knew the blue and green in the fabric would be hard to match. And then I found this one, which looks like mother-of-pearl and has the perfect blend of greens and that purple-ish periwinkle! The size is a bit smaller than the pattern called for, but the coloring was so perfect that I don't care. (And now that I'm looking at the button package again to check the size, I just found out that apparently these buttons were made in France. Maybe it's a sign...)

(Also, random geek fact-- I was checking one of my favorite movie costume sites to see if there were any comparable Marie Antoinette dresses, and found out that one of the dresses used in the movie was apparently also used in an episode of Doctor Who! Hee!)

April 3, 2011

The best-laid plans...

I was originally planning to sew yesterday evening. I knew I wouldn't have a lot of crafty time, since I had a flute choir concert today and that meant rehearsals for the last 3 days in a row. But I figured I'd get done practice early enough that I could get some time in. But then I'd forgotten, until a gentle reminder from my mom, that I still needed to make her jewelry to go with the brocade dress for the wedding. So I did that instead.

So here it is. Glass pearls with silver spacer beads and Swarovksi crystal spacers/chandeliers.

Earrings closeup....

And a slightly better view of the crystal bits.

 Slightly.

And then while I had the jewelry stuff out anyway, I went ahead and did another quickie and far more brainless project while I was catching up on episodes of Merlin that I missed....

Stitch counters for knitting! They're made from aluminum chainmaille rings, crackled-looking plastic beads that I just couldn't come up with a decent jewelry design for, square-shaped seed beads and wire.

You can somewhat see the coils at the bottom better in this one....anyway, I ended up making a whole bunch of them--two bakers' dozen. I gave half to my mom (since I'd goofed around with making some other ones back in the winter, and she liked them so much she'd kept them all), and kept the other half for myself.  (I'm storing them in one of the little drawstring bags I'd made for the abandoned Etsy shop, so at least sewing those weren't a complete waste of time.)