Tuesday, March 29, 2011
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1. Put a bird on it
2. Put a zombie on it
3. Feather hair extensions?!
Monday, March 28, 2011
It's now a puffy A-line skirt with a big waistband. Here's what it looked like before:
I bought this dress for $7.00 from the Value Village in Kelowna. It was a size too big, and pretty frumpy. If I needed a warm, comfortable housedress I would have kept it,but since I'm neither a '50s housewife nor a homesteader, I chose to chop off the top.
I refinished the waistband and added some buttons to the bottom and snaps at the top. Even with a big panel of elastic at the back, the waist was still too big.
So I added some darts on top of the side seam, where I thought they would be the least noticeable.
The darts solved the waist issue handily. I was surprised they worked as well as they did.
- It fits.
- I like the length.
- I learned how to make automatic buttonholes on my sewing machine.
- I finally learned how to hand sew a button on properly.
- I made darts by eyeballing them and they worked out well.
- From some angles, it makes my butt and hips look kinda huge. The dress had lots gathers and pleats just under the waist, which gives it extra volume. Combined with the check pattern, it creates an unfortunate visual effect. If I was Jaclyn, the America's Next Top Model Contestant*, I would be psyched about this, but since I'm not, I'm going to wear it with shirts that cover the waist band and hope for the best.
*The big-haired, baby-voiced Texan who was given a prosthetic ass to wear during her Mad Men-inspired commercial** on last week's episode. She took it cheerfully, which made me like her. Seriously, anyone who can suffer that particular indignity with a smile probably should be a model, amiright?
** Way to ride the faintest wake of a trend, Tyra. There are like three season of ANTM produced per year, and you just get to Mad Men now?
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Tiredness and distraction have lead to a lot of mistakes. I miscalculated the math on a knitting pattern that I'm writing for a sock yarn sweater, which necessitated ripping back 3 inches. Of sock yarn. Knit in the round (so it's more like 6 inches).
I keep making mistakes at my sewing class, too. I'm sewing the wrong pieces together, or cutting out some pattern pieces twice and omitting others. So far I haven't made any fatal mistakes, but I have wasted more time than necessary. And I value those hours in the Vancouver Community College studio -- there's a serger there, and really good irons, and giant cutting tables. Continuing ed. students are only allowed in while class is in session, so I try to make the most of the access while I have it.
So right now I'm thinking about how to manage this combination of increased creative drive and decreased time and energy. I constantly want to start new projects but I know that I should finish the huge pile of unfinished work, which includes but is not limited to:
- Green floral muumuu (sewing class project). Done except for hand-finished bottom hem.
- Grey linen skirt (second sewing class project). Can I get it done in my final class on Saturday?
- Aforementioned sock yarn sweater. I'm dying to get this done. I like the design, I like the yarn, I'm not loving knitting a million rows of stockinette on 3.25mm needles.
- Black sheath dress from Built By Wendy Dresses. Done except for the hem and the edge of the sleeves.
- the "Mary Blair" Wrap Skirt from Sew Everything Workshop. Basically done, just needs a stitch or two around the hole in the waistband where the tie passes through.
- Red Late Shift mitts for my sister. Seriously, finishing these will take about 90 minutes. But do I do it? No.
- This secret project.
- The brown gingham thrift-store makeover. Close to done. Moderately successful so far, but I think I like sewing skirts from scratch better.
- All the half-knit sweaters from 2010. There are three that I can think of.
- The first sweater I designed, which is awesome-looked but needs a button band.
- A proposal for this great sweater idea that I had last Thursday. I'd like to have it done so I can just send it out when deadlines come up, since working to deadlines isn't very practical right now.
- Get my portfolio in showable condition for May 31.
I've been thinking that I need to start setting my goals by quarters (just like we do at work!). I think I can accomplish a lot of this list in the next three months, especially if I ignore the sweaters from 2010.
To keep myself motivated, I'm going to let myself start a couple new projects, too. I'm not sure what those will be yet, but things I have been thinking about lately include
- Printing on fabric. I bought some inexpensive block-printing supplies in Portland after Lotta Jansdotter's book got me all fired up. This post from Poppytalk on making simple fabric prints just added fuel.
- Knitting with the silk mawata I purchased after seeing the Yarn Harlot's post on unspun silk mittens. I've sketch out a rough design, but unspun silk is a new medium for me and I want to give it care and attention.
(I'm also dying to break out some of the great dress patterns I bought in Portland, but those will requires muslins and pattern modifications, so the will have to wait until Q3 at the earliest!)
Friday, March 11, 2011
I decided to rip out the seam between the waist band and the bodice, because I was in a bad mood and ripping seams is the best thing to do when you're having a strop.
So satisfying! I didn't realize that this would expose the elastic at the back of the waist band, though.
I think I can cover the elastic up by putting one of those folded edges over it. I'm feeling a little nervous about sewing directly onto the elastic, but this will be a good chance to get practice.
Next step: cutting and finish the button band. Then: sew the waist band back toegther at the top. Then: add snaps (as per Dory's suggestion). Then: hope it sits nicely.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
My Ruby Star Rising bag
I was also excited to read that Melody will have more fabric out in fall -- and it's part of the Ruby Star Rising line, which hopefuly means more vintage-inspired goodness.
If anyone knows where to buy Kokka fabric in Canada, I'm all ears!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
In this photo, I'm wearing two shirts under it! So believe me when I say it's too roomy. The fabric is also pretty heavy, which doesn't help the frumpy sister-wife feel.
So I'm going to chop off the top and make it into a spring skirt. Gingham seems to be having a moment right now, and I could use more prints in in my waredrobe.
Things that need to happen:
1. Remove the top off in way that allows for easy re-finishing at the waist. I'll either cut it off 2" above the waist band and fold it over twice (making the waistband thicker) or I'll pick the seam between the waistband and the top out.
2. Add a new button on the waist band so it closes propery. Time to play with the buttonhole attachment!
3. Add buttons to the front buttonband. Right now, the bottom button is about 7" from the bottom hem, which exposes a fair amount of leg. I'd like to have all this skin-flashing be optional.
I'll be taking photos of the process, so stayed tuned!
Monday, March 7, 2011
Skull is from a knick-knack import store in Austin, glass vase is from my Granny's basement.
When Dave and I went to Paper-Ya a few weeks ago, I saw a set of letterpressed cards made by Old School Stationers with the most beautiful chrysanthemum print. I didn't buy them, because I didn't need any cards at the time (and like everything at Paper-ya, they were priced out of my personal impulse-shopping range). But I felt almost pained by their sheer pleasingness and was sad to leave them behind.
So I was very excited to spot this print in the shop window of the new Crafty Wonderland pop-up store in Portland. The pop-up shop started as part of the twice-yearly craft fair and is now a permanent retail space where you can buy handmade items from Portland makers (like the very wonderful Parts and Labor in Austin, TX). I like visiting these geographically-restricted shops: it makes craft tourism really simple. Obviously, they have curatorial viewpoint, and no one store can represent all the artists and craftspeople in a community, but I think you still get a sense of what people in that place are into.
Back to the wall print -- it's thick letterpressed paper mounted on wood. I think I spent $32 on it at Crafty Wonderland. I saw the same print for a bit less at Pine Street Biscuits on North East Alberta later. You can also them for $42 on etsy.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
I love stop motion, and have always intended to try it. Turns out, it's way easier with two people. Here's Dave doing some research:
And here's the fruit of our labours! It's 20 seconds long and features the vampire I made from Creepy Cute Crochet, as well as the big plastic elf castle my Dad bought me for Christmas one year. (His rational? That I would have loved it as a kid).
The pattern is the wrap skirt from Diana Rupp's Sew Everything Workshop, which I've already made once. Last time, I made a medium in red corduroy. It was a little too big and the fabric was a little too stiff, so this time I sized down and used a quilting-weight cotton purchased at Spool of Thread. I was careful to make the pattern match as much as possible (hard, when the lines are wavy on purpose).
The fabric is "Greg" from the Brady Bunch Line by Michael Miller. I'm calling this the Mary Blair skirt because the colours and deliberately crooked, thick-and-thin lines in this pattern remind me a little of her style.
Endpaper from The Art and Flair Of Mary Blair: An Appreciation,
Mary Blair was an artist and illustrator who worked for the Walt Disney Company from 1940-1953. I found out about her when I saw an exhibition of her work at the Cartoon History museum in San Fransisco in 2008. She also illustrated some of Little Golden Books, created art for advertising, and designed characters for the Small World ride at Disneyland. She's not widely known these days, but definitely worth looking up for her unique sense of colour and expressive lines.
Mary, this skirt is a tiny tribute to your vision and talent! Now if only it was warm enough to wear it ...
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
I hope that Miller finds more buyers for her designs in the future... if only for my sake!