September 29, 2012

The Ultimate Frosting Project--here we go!

Bodice pieces 2
That's right, I'm finally starting on my wedding dress! At least, the muslin for it. Ok, so all I've actually done so far is trace out the bodice pattern. Allison suggested that it might help my mental state to break the project down into more manageable chunks, so I'm focusing just on the bodice for now.

My ultimate  plan is actually to muslin it twice--the first time strictly for fit, and the second time to go with the rest of the dress/test out the boning and my idea for the lace in the back. I picked up some cheaper, much-less-cool lace and some polyester nude organza at Joann's awhile back to play with that. The slightly more practical reason for starting with just the bodice is that this way, I can start right away with making sure the seamlines of the skirt will line up with the seamlines and darts of the bodice, once I know the bodice will work. Less tracing that way, and less chance of my running out of paper...in retrospect, I probably should have ordered some along with the waxed tracing paper that I finally managed to acquire, thanks to A Fashionable Stitch! Oh well.... I still need to get some silk thread, and they have a pretty good price on that at Nancy's Notions, so maybe I'll pick up a new roll of paper there while I'm at it.

Bodice pieces 1 As a reminder, I'm using the Sewaholic Cambie pattern for the bodice, down through the waistband. (Which, incidentally, I've decided to leave white and incorporate color with a sash. For one thing, it'll make the back more interesting to look at, and for another thing, that way I won't get held up by waiting to see what we end up doing for bridesmaid dresses. More on that later in the post.) I knew from working on the Lonsdale dress that an FBA was going to be necessary. Since I'm also planning on making some changes to the back of the pattern, I figured my best bet would be to trace the pattern and go from there. I already did the FBA adjustment (took this picture beforehand) and it's....interesting looking. But if initial test of pinning the dart together and holding the pattern up to myself is any indication, this might actually work to give it the extra shaping that I need. And hey, bizarre-looking pattern pieces did the trick for my jeans, right? I did take some pictures throughout the process, so if this ends up working, I just might do a tutorial on an FBA for the Cambie.

According to my couture gown studies, the next step I need to do is to add the stitching lines to the pattern. Maybe I can squeeze that in this morning--I'm going to meet my sis-in-law and another friend for brunch, I need to pick up some paint (for my future sewing room!) and then I'm going down to Doug's to help him paint the kitchen, since we'd already decided to do that first, while waiting for a furniture delivery.

So about those bridesmaid dresses....apparently trying to find actually-wearable-again bridesmaid dress ideas that aren't your typical overpriced dresses made of cheap polyester taffeta is harder than I'd thought. My original thought, which the girls were interested in, was to do those infinity-style wrap dresses. But after narrowing it down to a couple of Etsy shops that seemed to have a good selection of greens and decent pricing, I discovered that one shop was basically shutting down for the fall/winter and not accepting any more orders, and the swatches that I got from the second were basically swimsuit fabric. Since I can't in good conscience make my girls wear shiny spandex (although my best friend/maid of honor and I had a few good laughs about it), it's time to go to plan B. So the current thought is to have them all get whatever black dress they want and add some green accessories. Which may mean sewing a few more sashes for me, as long as they don't pick empire-waist type stuff (not so flattering with a sash), or it may mean jewelry. We'll see what their thoughts are.

I'm kind of torn about jewelry, actually. Part of me wants to make the jewelry for all four of us, but part of me wonders if that's biting off more than I can chew. I do have some earrings that I can use for myself (recently splurged at a friend's party, since the sale running meant I could get these for half off!) but I wonder if I should go with green jewelry to help tie that in a little better. But I guess I shouldn't worry about that quite yet, huh?

September 25, 2012

hitting the books


IMG_0264I'm close enough now to being done with the secret baby gift that I've decided it's way past time that I did something related to that wedding dress thing! So even though I could probably finish said secret gift if I just sat down and did it, here's my plan for the rest of the evening instead: I'm going to finish my cup of tea, I'm going to get a shower, and I'm going to curl up with a Craftsy video or two (and maybe my actual reference books) to mentally prepare myself to start the muslin. Given how stressed out I'm becoming over not having started the dress yet, I think it will be good for me. Besides, Tuesday is my longest workday, so curling up with some books (and a laptop) sounds way more appealing than sitting in front of my sewing machine right now!

(There may be more tea involved, too.)

September 24, 2012

Closet challenge update

A few of last week's outfits.
9/17/12
This one was from last Monday, featuring the "White Stripes" top and the "Blue Suede(cloth)" skirt. It was on the warmish side, so sandals were definitely in order, but I was in the mood for a more fallish skirt. Taking pics of myself didn't work so well for this one--you'll have to take my word for it that there's also a camisole under that blouse. I wore this one for some teaching.

















9/19/12
This one was from last Wednesday--it was pretty warm when I left the retail job, so I threw on the "Green and Gray" dress for the lesson I had to teach. I was going out with Doug afterwards to grab dinner, and noticed it was getting cooler, so I swapped out the sandals I was wearing for the boots, and threw on the (store-bought) denim jacket, rolling up the sleeves because it wasn't quite that much cooler. My jewelry is still kind of summery, though, since it's featuring abalone shell in the pendants. I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've styled this dress a a layered look rather than just a dress, and I kind of like it with the jacket. (I also think Doug does a way better job of taking the pictures than I do on my own!)

Incidentally, I really would like to revisit this dress pattern sometime, but with a longer sleeve to take it into the fall/winter. If the yardage is right, I may already actually have two different combos of print and solid knits that would work in the stash!

I had another outfit I was pretty happy with, featuring the new jeans, but I can't show it yet--I wore it for our engagement photos and I don't have them back yet!

September 23, 2012

A mending experiment

I made a sad discovery last Saturday morning. (I meant to post this last week, but it kind of got away from me.) As you can see from my last post, I wore a brown shirt that day. My original plan was to wear my Engagement shirt, since it was supposed to still get pretty warm that afternoon, but then I found this when I was about to put it on:

IMG_0006Holes! Four of them, right in the lower back! I'm not sure if this snagged on something in the wash or what. But this made me very sad, because I'd only worn this about twice so far!

I had other sewing plans for that morning, but I decided to try and fix this first, lest it end up sitting under my bed with holes in it for months and I forget all about it until next summer. (Now that I think about it, immediate mending is probably a better strategy for me in general.)

I've mended jersey knits before. The problem is, you still see it. And one of those holes is particularly large for this type--pretty close to a full 1/8" in diameter. So I decided to try a little experiment to minimize that as much as possible.
IMG_0007I ironed a little bit of double-sided fusible onto a scrap leftover from the shirt--fortunately for me, I hadn't emptied the trash by my sewing machine since I made it! (Incidentally, I think the problem might be with the fabric itself, because the scrap had holes too. Yikes.)



IMG_0008Invisible patch!! Then I just cut around that piece and fused it to the wrong side of the fabric over the holes.


IMG_0009
It's not perfect. I was afraid that just ironing the fabric on would make it fall off again the first time I watched it. So I did secure it with some hand-stitching as well. The biggest hole (all the way to the right) is still kind of obvious. But the smaller holes ended up pretty well-hidden, I think. Hopefully it will stay.

I have been doing some sewing lately, but it's a gift project, so I can't share it yet. I'm hoping I can finish that up in the next day or so, because I'm getting very antsy that I haven't started The Dress yet! I also got as far as I could on said gift project on Friday night-- I was having a Once Upon A Time/craft marathon with my best friend so she could get caught up before the season premiere next weekend. So I also did a little scrapbook work (trimming page protectors to allow access to pockets and the mini-albums I like to make on pages that I have a lot of photos for). And I even attempted to start knitting that afghan that I want to make, with a modification that I liked even better. The bad news is, I discovered that the needles I'd bought, which is what it called for in the pattern, are too big to make a good afghan--they're just way too big for the yarn I ended up with. The good news is, turns out I was doing the background for the trees wrong anyway, so unraveling it wasn't a huge loss. I guess knowing that I need to buy smaller circular needles is still progress, right?

Which leads me to the question...I'm trying to figure out what on earth I should work on when tv-watching with the fiance over the next several months, because it sure isn't going to be The Dress. So I've been debating whether I should knit some simpler/smaller stuff like hats and handwarmers, or work on catching up on some scrapbook type stuff. They both have their pros and cons--knitting doesn't need a whole lot of stuff out, but following the patterns would mean that both the shows and Doug would get less attention. Scrapbooking takes way more stuff, but writing aside, it would be more of a brainless thing, I think. (And I'm probably way more behind on that, so catching up some would be a pro....but then, I have to take the time to match a bunch of papers to my printed photos, so that's a con.) Hmm.

September 17, 2012

My closet challenge: Evaluating what I have

Early fall in the mid-Atlantic, for those of you who don't live here, is a really odd time for dressing. The mornings and evenings are getting cooler, but the later mornings and afternoons are basically still full-blown summer. And I find myself wanting to wear colors that are more fall-ish, but it's just way too hot to wear most of the things I have in those typical fall colors!  I had some (overdue) laundry to put away anyway, so I figured while I'm at it, I'd go through my closet and see what I currently have in there--I'll definitely have some turnover as it gets colder, since most of my short-sleeved and sleeveless stuff will go into hiding under the bed, but I'm challenging myself to fall-ify what's still out.

There are a few exceptions, because some of these clothes just scream SUMMER!!! at me. You know, stuff like the gauzy white maxi-skirt that is literally embellished with real seashells that I got at the beach one year. And out of my me-made stuff, things like my Sea Flowers, Dahlia, Lonsdale and Georgian on my Mind dresses just look way more springy-summery to me. But there's a few summer things that I want to challenge myself to style more fallish--things like the convertible dress, and the Mony Monet dress (playing off the blacks and the more olive green could help, I think). I'm thinking the Titania dress could look potentially really cute with tights and my favorite cable-loaded brown cardigan. I'm wondering if there's anything I can do with the rarely-worn-but-I-still-like-it-too-much-to-get-rid-of-it Morning Glory dress, or if that's pushing it...

I still have yet to drag out the stuff under the bed and add some more fallish things. I'm not quite ready to drag out all of the cold-weather stuff yet! But after pulling out those aforementioned summer-screaming items, and putting in a few things that never quite made it under the bed with the rest of the fall/winter clothes because of extra time spent mending/making/reconstructing them, this is what I noticed:

blue/green skirts1. You can tell what my two favorite colors are. Because I found five knee-length skirts that are all basically the same shades of blue and green--yeah, one of them is just embellishment on black, and the sunflower skirt looks different because of all the white, but those other 3 are rather similar, aren't they? (I ended up adding the palm leafy one to the thrift store pile, because I'm more attached to the right-most one, which I made, and the middle one gets worn more often.) And I really don't need 3 nearly identically-colored knee length printed skirts. Especially since I also have a long one that's also almost those same colors!

Blue jacketsI am, however, claiming that I need all 4 of these blue jackets. Including those two corduroy jackets that I made. After all, one is more teal, cropped and wide-wale and one is slightly more navy with a peplum, and that makes a difference, right?

2. I have a LOT of t-shirts. Admittedly, I have a weakness for t-shirts that are either music-related, or clever plays on my favorite geeky things like Lord of the Rings or Doctor Who. Discovering Woot.com did not help this at all.  I am a jeans and t-shirt girl at heart, and I don't feel the need to change that, so I would like to find ways to style those shirts in a more fashionable way! (At least on the weekends, because though teaching music means I can get away with a lot more than I could in an office setting, I do draw the professionalism line at wearing Princess Bride quotes on my shirt.

3. I also have a LOT of prints. There's been some discussion around as of late about sewing with solids rather than prints, for greater versatility. And I can see the point. But I just love prints, and I know I'd get bored if I just did solids all the time! (Especially knowing that The Dress is going to be solids, and I'll be working with those for quite awhile!) So the logical step for me, then, is to get braver about mixing prints! With that in mind, I present my outfit from this past Wednesday:
9-12-12 outift shot
The cardigan is one of the few things I'd already grabbed for fall near the end of the summer--hey, look, I finally own something that's really from Anthropologie! (Clearance rack, which was the only way I could afford it, and I know I can't knit this myself at this point. Possibly ever, because it's made from an extremely thin yarn and those usually only come in wool.) I actually bought this to wear for the engagement photos we're getting taken, along with a sleeveless ivory tank to wear under it. I'd already figured I'd wear my brand-new me-made jeans to finish off the outfit! But I also noticed that, color-wise, this went very, very well with my sunflower skirt, so I couldn't resist trying it out! Look at me, wearing white after Labor Day! Such a rebel.

9-15-12 outfit shot4. I'm very seasonal in my color choices. In spring and summer, I tend to wear a lot of blues and greens and bright things. When the weather starts turning, I turn to browns and purples and olive greens and such. I've also noticed that my winter colors tend to be very dark and dull, and I'd like to change that, because winter is dark and dull enough on its own. But we'll see how I do this year, given that I'm not buying anything. But for this exhibit, here's my outfit from Saturday, taken at a family function. I've been experimenting with wearing this jacket, which I love but it has a somewhat difficult neckline, in other ways. Like as an actual jacket layer instead of fully snapped up and functioning as a top. I also made the tank top (my Sadie top) and the jewelry. (And look, you finally get to meet my fiance! Though one person commented on this picture, which the cousin who took it posted on Facebook, that he looks more like my bodyguard here...)

Anyway, I've been having fun with this challenge so far. Meanwhile, on the sewing front, I've been working hard to make a baby gift as quickly as possible so I can start working on The Dress for real! (Though my sewing time got a little interrupted by a sudden need for mending. More on that later.)


September 13, 2012

So this means I sort of started the dress, right?

The one perk of having to take off of my retail job to get round one of my dental surgery: Not having to rush around to get ready for work in the morning meant that I had time to deal with the next step of the wedding dress process.
fabricSo here it is....that's 16 yards of various silk fabric, washed and on the line. There's 2 yards of organza for underlining the bodice and particularly the sheer lace bits to give them extra strength (those parts will have to be dyed to more of a skin tone, I think), 4 yards of crepe de chine for the lining, 6 yards of habotai for full dress underlining/Doug's tie/whatever other green bits I have to dye, and 4 yards of dupioni for the outside of the dress. I know those lining/outer yardages don't sound like much, but I was able to get all but the habotai at 60" wide, which is cool because then I didn't have to buy as much. Of course, I also have 5 yards of that sunflower lace, not pictured here, which leaves me with a whopping 21 yards of fabric for one dress! I shudder to think of what I'd end up with if I was actually doing a train!

The awesome thing is, so far, I've been able to keep the cost just under $300, which is pretty good! (And that's including stuff like my Cambie pattern and my copy of Bridal Couture.) I've also gotten some spiral steel boning from Etsy, which hopefully won't be too hard to use. I will still need to get notions like a zipper and the finest gauge sewing machine needles I can find and thread (you'd be surprised how often I don't have white thread). But after all that, unless disaster strikes, I think I can still keep this under $350, for a custom-designed, custom-fitted, all-silk wedding dress. Thank you, Mom, for teaching me how to sew!

(Now I just need to start that muslin... I have one baby gift to make with a mid-October shower deadline, and was hoping to start actually sewing on that today so I can knock it out and get on the dress. But then when I knew I'd have extra hours after the dental work, I wasn't counting on having to keep one hand tied up with keeping an ice pack on my face. Rats.)

September 11, 2012

a funny story and a fashion "diet"

I ended up at two parties over the weekend. The first was dinner out with 5 of my long-time friends--most of us have known each other since we were in the 4th grade, and I've been friends with one of them practically our whole lives. And though we're past the 10-year reunion stage of high school (even though my class didn't have one), most of us are now married and a couple of us have kids, we've still stayed friends and get together at least a couple of times a year.  This particular occasion was to send off one of the girls to England, where she'll be living for the next 16 months while she works on a masters' degree for architecture--exciting stuff! This was also the first time, other than parties that involved people outside of this particular circle as well, that we brought the guys along. (Mainly because a couple of them hadn't met Doug yet and wanted to.) During the course of the evening, the topic of redecorating his townhouse came up, as well as my future sewing room. And Doug said something along the lines of "I don't really care how she decorates it, as long as I can't see that headless Satan doll" (meaning Donna the Dress Form). So then there was all sorts of joking about how I could add a head to it to make it less creepy for him, including a hockey mask--Doug LOVES hockey.

The next day, I was surprised by an engagement party at my future in-laws'! One of the same girls was there, along with her husband, and this is the card they came up with:

2012-09-111
















My friends are so creative. :)

So about that fashion diet...I've been seeing a lot of chatter around the blogosphere about fall sewing plans. Which is awesome--though my favorite season is summer, I do love the autumn, too. At least, until everything's dead and it starts getting really cold and basically acting like winter. I'm particularly fond of Sunni's Everyday Wardrobe plan/sewalong of sorts. So for all of you in the northern hemisphere who have fall sewing plans lined up, or just ideas, I'm cheering you on from the sidelines!

As for me, I'm feeling a teensy bit left out. I know I brought this on myself by choosing to sew my wedding dress, and I don't regret that. After all, this particular sewing project was pretty much the only wedding-related thing I wanted to do even back when I was a kid and boys still had cooties.  But the point is, I don't have time to sew any new clothes for the fall/winter, other than the jeans I just finished. That makes me a little sad.

At the same time, I don't have much of the option to buying new things, either. I've gotten by well for years on no health insurance, but now I have some appointments that I can't procrastinate on until after the wedding, including a 2-part dental surgery that starts later this week. I'll have to pay for it out of pocket. I got a card that allows me to put it on a payment plan, but I have to pay it off within the next year to avoid the killer interest fees and would greatly prefer to pay it off before the wedding, period. In other words, the money is going to be pretty tight for awhile.

I was also thinking that it might be nice to blog about some things other than The Dress for the next several months as I'm going through the fitting/construction phases. Otherwise, once I hit the hand-sewing bits, things could get very quiet around here for awhile. And an acquaintance of mine that I'm following on Pinterest recently linked this blog post about the writer's personal challenge to create several months' worth of outfits out of only things she already had in her closet. So that, and a dull day at work (the same one that inspired my post on blog commenting) spawned an idea for a self-challenge of my own. So here goes:

From now until the time I finish The Dress (estimating 6 months), I'm challenging myself to use only things I already have in my wardrobe to create as many varied outfits as possible. I'm also hoping to pick a couple outfits a week to feature on here--they may not always be me-made clothes, but there's a pretty good chance there will be something I made in there. I figure this way I can fill out my Flickr slideshows, find some new ways to wear some of my handmade stuff, pare down the amount of stuff in my closet to only the things I really love, and hopefully improve my outfit photo-taking skills! So to practice, I did take a picture of today's outfit, even though I didn't make any of the clothes....I hope you don't mind that I'm going a little more fashion-bloggy here!
2012-09-11
 Pants: purchased
Top: Thrifted
Belt: Modcloth
Shoes: the same brown sandals I wore for most of Me-Made-May
Earrings: me-made. I know they don't show up too well in the photo (the sun was going down by the time I got home from teaching), but they're goldstone beads.

I got this top (actually a very short dress) years ago with the intent to slightly refashion it to a shorter top. Then I just threw it on as is one day and liked it, especially with the belt option. What I like about this outfit: It looks very fallish, but was still comfortable for warmer temperatures--though we're finally down into the 70s, which is nice! And it's nice to know the pants don't look too short when not paired with boots. (Though these are still ones I'm planning on replacing with some me-mades, once I can...the fabric is getting a bit worn to the point where I'm in danger of tears anyway, and I already have some brown fabric in my stash!) What I don't like so much about it is that I wonder if it's too monochromatic. Some royal blue Clovers might look pretty good with this, don't you think?

September 9, 2012

just in time for fall...


As promised, two new things to show today! But first, I just wanted to give a quick follow-up to the last post. To all of you who gave me your feedback, thanks so much! Several of you brought up the time issue when it comes to commenting, which I hadn't mentioned. Truthfully, it hadn't crossed my mind while I was at work, but that's an excellent point--I'm not always the best commenter myself, because it's often hard to just keep up with the blogs I enjoy reading, and commenting often falls by the wayside. So that's something I'd like to do better about myself--there's just so many good sewing blogs out there, most of which I didn't even mention by name, and everyone deserves for their work to be appreciated! And it is good to know that people are reading and enjoying what I make.

And without further ado, on to the good stuff!


Guardian's Tail cowl#1: Near the end of August, I finally finished a knitting project that I'd been picking at on and off for months--not so much for lack of interest, but first I had to focus on the Camille shrug, then spring craziness broke loose, then I got engaged....let's say I got sidetracked. But mostly thanks to some recent hang-out time at my aunt's family beach house with several yarn-crafty cousins, I managed to finish this scarf up. (It was fun....we had my crocheting sister-in-law, a crocheter cousin-in-law who was trying to learn to knit, a knitter cousin who was attempting crochet, and another cousin who'd never tried either but was interested, so I taught her the knit stitch. Also, the five of us girls drove the two guys--my brother and the one male cousin who were there at the time--kind of nuts because we were all sitting there in front of the tv doing crafts!)

Guardian's Tail closeupThe pattern is the Guardian's Tail scarf that I started way back in last October, to use up the leftover yarn from my Counterpoint hat. The pattern was simple enough that I didn't really have any difficulty in following it, except the repeat was long enough that I never did manage to memorize the pattern. I'm sure that setting it aside for several months probably didn't help there. I was kind of surprised that I finished it up at the beach that weekend, actually, because I didn't realize I was that close to finishing up with the skein of yarn! So it ended up being a rather short scarf. The pattern had said it would make a short scarf with the yarn/amount listed, and suggested pinning the scarf. I knew that wasn't going to happen, because I am not going to take the time to pin and unpin a scarf when I can just grab a longer one and wrap it around my neck and go. So, logically, the only thing to do so that I'd actually wear the thing was to make it into a cowl. So that's what I did. Warmth-wise, it would probably be better if it was still even longer so I could double it around my neck without choking myself, but I think it looks pretty good. And hurrah for stashbusting!

#2: I feel like I need a drumroll for this one! Because guess what.... I HAVE JEANS!!!

Jeans 1If you haven't taken it yet, I would very highly recommend Kenneth King's Jean-ius class on Craftsy. It was so amazingly helpful to actually see how he did certain steps, and his method for sewing in the fly zipper alone made the price worth it. (Even though I got it on sale so it really wasn't that expensive. Believe me, it's worth the full price!) I am so unbelievably excited to have jeans that actually fit me! And I love that the class videos never expire, so I can go back and reference those tips again and again.

Jeans 2And here's a side view--pardon the silly poses, Doug was having fun playing photoshoot director and telling me exactly how to stand/what to do with the scarf! I wore these jeans all day today, and I'm very happy with the fit. The gapping is quite minimal, they were comfortable to wear, and they look pretty darn good, if I may say so myself!

For my future reference, since it'll be awhile before I get around to making a second pair, I will need to make several tweaks to the pattern itself:

a) Fortunately, I had the foresight to baste the legs together and try them on to see how it would fit in actual denim vs. the somewhat lighter twill that I'd used as my muslin. As a result, I ended up tapering the seam allowances to 1/2" in the upper inner thigh, and from just below the zipper to about 2/3 of the way up the back crotch seam. (At the risk of TMI, the crotch area had felt a little uncomfortably snug. I don't know if that's because it actually was, or my "strong thighs", as Tasia words it, generally makes it so that I have this unflattering pooch of excess fabric right above my thighs in the front of my RTW jeans, and therefore I'm used to a looser fit.) I also ended up taking in the very top in the back seam more than the 5/8" seam to remove a bit of gapping....rats, I can't remember the number. I'm going to guess a 7/8".

b) Speaking of seam allowances, I learned early in the construction process that if I want to do the flat-felled inner thigh and crotch seams like in "real" jeans, I'm going to need to allow more fabric in those particular seam allowances. I would have only had enough to do a super-skinny, very-awkward-to-sew one. So I serged it and went for the faux look.

c) I need to make the pockets deeper. I can barely get my hand in. Of course, this might also have to do with the curve of the actual pocket cutout itself....or perhaps that I'm not used to my jeans actually fitting in the front, as previously mentioned. So probably a combination of a deeper pocket and a somewhat deeper cutout curvature.

d) Waistband seamed in the back to aid in avoiding the dreaded gaposis = good. But next time, I need to shift that seam over so it lines up with the topstitching, not the actual back seam. I didn't realize until I went to put the belt loops on that lining up the belt loop with the topstitching means that seam is still completely showing. (Good thing I'm not one who usually tucks my shirts in.)

e) A little extra length in the hem could be useful. They were a great length for the flat sandals I wore today. But after serging, pressing, and turning up, I just barely had enough fabric to make that. work with the 1-1.5" (I think) heeled sandals I was wearing at the time. I'll have to check this against my two pairs of boots to make sure this will work. I usually favor lower heels anyway (and Doug isn't a whole lot taller than me, so I'll probably stick to that), but I'm not entirely sure they won't be too short for my favored brown boots that have miraculously held up since my college days.

One more note to myself: I'm happy to report that my serger (which still needs a name) worked like a dream on the denim! Which was a pleasant surprise, because I did something wonky on the Engagement Shirt and parts of it are coming unstitched already from threads breaking because of too-tight tension, Oops. But the denim was flawless. I'm very glad I got it serviced a few months ago. The really smart thing to do would be to write down these particular tension numbers for future reference!

September 7, 2012

To blog or not to blog?

(Getting a little personal with this one.)

That's the thought that's been running through my mind lately. It's not that I've run out of things to talk about, or I've lost interest in sewing or anything. It's just, well... I kind of feel like I've been boring people.

I love the sewing blog community. I've learned so much, and I feel like I "know" a lot of you now, through your amazing things that you create and the pieces of your lives that you let creep into your blog. I know I'll never have the popularity or the insight of blogs like Gertie's, Tasia's, Sarai's or Sunni's--obviously, since those amazing ladies are all creating sewing-based businesses. I also know that I probably won't be inspiring entire sewing movements, like Mena's Sew Weekly or Zoe's Me-Made-Months. Or, more likely than not, even the fun sew-alongs that people like Sarah and Alessa and Ali put together, or the just plain fun of people like Oona. (Maybe if I'm lucky, someday I can develop the great photo-setting skills and ability to create really fun things out of leftovers like Carolyn.) And, for the most part, that's ok.

But then there's this little nagging part of me that sees how few comments I get on posts, compared to people like them, and I wonder if that means that my blog is less interesting or, God forbid, just plain boring. I mean, when your all-time high is less than 20 comments, and that's on things like huge life-changing awesomeness, my blog just can't measure up to the cool kids', right?

I was thinking about this at work today--it was a really slow day, and I didn't have much else to do to keep my brain occupied during the mind-numbing hours of deadheading pansies. And I guess what it comes down to is the question of who, or what, I'm writing this for. Am I doing it for the comments, or am I doing this for me? And the answer was pretty easy. This might not be the most interesting or craft-world-shaping blog out there. The focus might change from time to time--I'm sure that more home dec-type stuff will be sneaking its way into here, now that I've got a place of my (and my fiance's) own to think about. (I'm not moving there until after the wedding, but we'll be doing some painting and such before that.) And I won't be cranking out new projects here for awhile, with the One Dress To Rule Them All more or less ready to go into pre-production stage. And I know things like that probably aren't that exciting for a lot of people. But it's still my own little virtual scrapbook of the things I create, and that's still exciting to me.

Lest this sound like I'm getting down on the blogging community, because I'm really not intending for it to come off that way-- I really am grateful for all of you who take the time to read this, and all of you (who aren't the anonymous spam-bots who like to plague my every post) who take the extra time to comment. I do read and enjoy every single one! And I do hope you stick around.

Ok, that's pretty much all I have to say for now. Though, guess what-- I have projects to show! Yes, that is multiple! I just need pictures first, so stay tuned...

September 2, 2012

wedding hair



Since much of my wedding seems to be going the handmade route, I thought it might be fun to occasionally do a post about a detail that isn't my dress. (Which, as of this week, I have most of the fabric for but have yet to start even muslining.) Although, this one does involve the dress just a bit. And I didn't make this, but someone did, and we all love Etsy and supporting handmade artists, right?

Early in the process, I asked my friend Nicole, who is a very talented artist, if she would consider doing some artwork for the invitations. (She'd told me about a year prior to this that she'd designed some wedding invitations for another friend of hers.) Not only did she agree to that, she's good at styling hair (unlike me, who can barely get my hair to stay in a ponytail), and also offered to do my hair for the big day! So a couple of weekends ago, we spent a day fiddling with my hair and having a marathon viewing of Downton Abbey. (And of course all we got up to is right to where I'd stopped in season 2 before... I'd better hurry up and finish it before all of my other favorites start back up for fall! Especially since Doctor Who already started again as of last night! But I digress.)

Because of what I decided to do with the back of the Cambie, an updo is pretty much necessary to even see that detail--my hair, as you know, is long enough to cover that completely if I even leave it half-down! She came up with a neat hairstyle that looked good from all sides, and that we both liked. We'll probably need to practice it again at some point before the wedding, since my hair is rather slippery. But I'm glad we started this process so early, because it helped me make a rather important decision about the accessories: I'm not going to wear a veil. I was kind of having trouble envisioning one on me anyway, and if Nicole is going to all the trouble of styling my hair, I want it to be seen! But I still wanted some kind of special accessory.

So this is what I ordered instead:
Bridal hair Flowers, Petite bridal hair accessories,  Bridal hair piece, Silk, Bridal hair pins, Set of 2, SWAROVSKI crystals, Summer I found these at Fiber & Stone on Etsy. I instantly loved them, as Nicole and I were scouring Etsy for potential accessories, because they're simple but elegant, and they fit nicely with my sunflowery theme! Her service was really quick, too-- I ordered these on Sunday and they arrived in the mail on Friday. They're just as I envisioned: not too big, but not so small that they'll get lost in my hair, and the edges of the petals seem to be finished very nicely! So I'm rather excited to be able to use them-- I'm also hoping I can come up with some different things to do with them after the wedding, too, since this is hands-down the most expensive hair accessory I've ever bought! (I'm also excited to be able to cross one thing off of my list, and not have to worry about making this particular detail.)

A couple more potential decisions have been made that would involve not-by-me handmade stuff, but I'll save those for later (when final decisions have been made) except for one thing: I actually recently won a giveaway on Madalynne for a voucher to Esty Lingerie. I still need to sit down and scour through the website and decide what to get. So many choices.... but thanks again, Madalynne!