04 September, 2011

Not ignoring!

Dear readers,
I'm not ignoring you! I've not really been busy lately, primarily recovering. This wonderfully tedious late summer has brought with it, a pulled muscle in my back which immobilised my right arm for a period, a summer cold, which I'm still getting over, a sprained right ankle, and the beginnings of carpal tunnel. Being down for the count with the sprained ankle, I've been crocheting like a madwoman! A bunch of new snoods for my Etsy shop and an afghan for my hubby!

But new posts about new projects shall be coming soon, I promise!


30 May, 2011

Etsy Shiny's!!

So, things have been kinda slow, sewing-wise, in the last few weeks, as I've been reeling from the whirlwind of 2 different faires in 2 different states on back-to-back weekends. But I'll be getting back into it soon. Spring, however, has finally arrived, and it's quickly getting shoved out of the way by summer, so the next couple weeks will be partially devoted to the yard and getting it to a presentable situation!
However, I haven't completely slacked off. Yesterday I went outside in the first sunny day for a while and took some pictures of some vintage jewelry from my husband's extended family: watches, necklaces, bracelets and such, and posted them on Etsy.com. Check me out:

Vintage Crystal Faced Watch

Sapphire Heart Pendant

Lighted American Flag Pin

Eiffel Tower Pendant

Shades of Pink Necklace

Aries Ram Pendant

Vintage Gruen Gold Watch

18 May, 2011

Wedge Foot Pillows

So, a few months ago I saw a commercial for homeopathic foot pillows. They are wedge shaped pillows that sit behind your feet in bed and lift the blankets off of your feet. Ideal for people who have foot problems or sensitive feet. I thought to myself: "These would be perfect for Dick [my stepfather]". He's had foot problems for years, and the worst part of his day was trying to get comfortable under the blankets at night. According to my mother, it's become a half-hour ordeal for him to get settled in bed now. So this wedge pillow was ideal! There was only one problem - They cost $50!! $50 for a freakin' wedge of foam wrapped in fabric.

So I sat down and decided that I could make that. Just need the foam. Well, hell! I know where to get foam from! and I've got some nice flannel fabric that needs a home. Why not?? Well, my husband and I went to Hancock fabrics and found the perfect foam - nice and dense, but still light weight, and in a 15x15x15 block. No problem, I'll just cut it to size! Heh, yeah right.

Cutting the foam has proved to be a challenge. Not insurmountable, mind you, but still a challenge. 4 knives and lots of light green foam dust later, it's done!

So, now the puzzle is what is the best way to cover the pillows, such that the covers are easily removed for washing? After some debate, I think that three seams down the sides at each angle, an attached right side and a zippered left side will be the best. Two sides of the left-side triangle will be zippered to make it easier to remove and replace the pillows should Mom or Dick wish to wash the casing.

(Don't let the apparent grunge on the fabric throw you...That's part of the pattern!)

So here we go!
It's actually proving easier to do this than anticipated. :) Always nice, right? After piecing it all out, I ran into some trouble fighting with the two Y-seams in the corners and with the zipper, but after much cursing, re-pinning, and re-stitching, it is done!

[Image - finished]

M'Crack Skirts, Pt II

It's time for the Green! HUZZAH! As mentioned in M'Crack Skirts, Pt I, I'm making an overskirt and a double-layered under-skirt. Well, now that the black skirts are done, it's on to the green/white! The green fabric you've already seen, and I've told you about this beautifully shadow-patterned white fabric:

I'm starting by doing what I should have done from the very very start: patterning my base onto felt. I've already used the tissue base about a dozen times and it's only taped in 3 places right now, but I'd rather call it safe and just felt the primary pieces. As much as I've adjusted the waistband, felting that particular piece isn't totally necessary, especially since I just use it as a guide anyway. So, felting first!

I must say, it really is a nice feeling one gets when upcycling the most hideous and unusable curtains into a gorgeous, functional skirt! The fabric is lovely, but as curtains? Blech! and not at all functional as curtains either...entirely see thru! The longer I work with the material, however, the more I hate it! It's a mesh more than it is a fabric, it stretches, and it hates to lay right! Geh!!

Huzzah, huzzah! The body of the white is done! Now onto the much less irritating green cotton. :-) I anticipate the green being much easier to work with, simply because it's the same as the black. (M'Crack Skirts, Pt I) I loved working in that material, so nice and non-stretchy!

As expected, the green is so much nicer to work with, a lovely reprieve from stretchy crap!

I must say, though, as light as both fabrics are, I am surprised at how heavy the combined skirt turned out to be! Don't get me wrong, it's not uncomfortably heavy, nor unwearable, but it is decidedly heavier than expected.

The waistband was interesting. I found that it didn't like going on as well as I thought it would. With my previous experience with the combined skirts, I was adding a drawstring, so I was able to leave an opening above the skirt panels and make a casing. However, I'm not tying this skirt off, but rather lacing it shut in the back, so I brought the waistband closer to the skirt fabrics. I didn't measure right, however and was left with a bit of a tail on the back side. Instead of bruising my fingers and tearing up the fabric by ripping it all out and re-pressing the waistband and re-stitching it all, I just added a second row of stitching inside the waistband and a third with a "stitch in the ditch" just under the folded portion of the waistband to hold down the back flap.


So, after some debate, I decided to take a shorter hem on the white skirt than on the green, that way I won't do too much damage while wandering about Faire. I'm looking at taking a 3/4" first hem, then a 1" deep hem over that. Meanwhile, I'll probably end up taking a 1/2" then a 3/4" inch hem on the green.

New Corset, Final Stage

After much debate, I've finally made a decision on the exterior fabrics! (New Corset, Update)
I've finally chosen to go with both sides of the corset being tapestry fabric. It helped that upon further debate and discussion with roommates and sewing buddies, it was determined that the tapestry would be sturdier and last longer than the suede. But no worries, I'll find a use for the suede!
As I sit on the couch sewing the back layer of tapestry fabric by hand and watch Gangland (I know...but it's fascinating to me...), I've been puzzling over the binding and my decision to use single-fold bias tape. I'm now torn between the bias tape and using embroidery floss and the button-hole stitch to make the edging. The decision however, seems easier. Based strictly on the functionality, a bias-edging will be sturdier and last longer. So it looks as though my decision has been made for me!

So after a nice trip to visit family in St. Louis, the tapestry fabrics are on! HUZZAH!! Now to see if I'm lucky enough to use my machine to attach the binding. My hopes are high that I'll be able to use my zipper foot to attach the binding via machine and save me bu-cu amounts of time!

After a little stress and a lot of praying...my hopes were in the right!! My machine can handle the thickness and stitch the binding on!! HUZZAH!!

Also, I've found that I can run the bottom edge of the tabs as well as the center point on the corset on the machine as well. Which has saved me a ton of time. After I finish that step, it's off to the couch to hand-stitch it all on!

04 May, 2011

Commission - Jess

The loverly lady who gave me the idea for the eyelet skirt (M'Crack Skirts, Pt I) has now commissioned a bodice, skirt, and chemise. The entire project is an upcycle of old projects of hers - a 6yr old cloak and a set of curtains from her old apartment. Fun!

The only major trouble I've run into is that the pattern for the bodice isn't right in the proportions, forcing me to re-draft and re-shape some of the pattern pieces. Yay - A re-drafting project!!
Original Patterns:

Re-drafted Patterns:
After all the work involved in re-drafting the pattern for the bodice, it turns out that I didn't need 75% of the work I put into it! I really didn't realize just how squishy Jess is. All I really needed to do was increase each piece by one size. Geh! And it should be said, for the record, that I'm no longer allowed to sip on my favorite wine while working, especially while lacing bodices......

Also, I played with the idea of re-drafting the skirt pattern, but after much consideration, determined that adding four side panels would work better and provide a slightly fuller skirt for her.

Essentially, the skirt panels will be arranged like so :

              2               2
           2                     2
           2                     2                 (Instead of having only two #2
              2               2                           panels on each side)

And so begins the skirt! The closest thread I have is a lovely gold, but the worry I have is that I only have a partial spool and I'm also using it on my corset (New Corset, Update). So I'm debating using white or black thread on the body seams, which no one will see. I know that Jess wouldn't care, but it will still bother me, just because I know they don't match. After digging through my thread stash, however, I found a nice chocolate thread that looks nearly black on the spool, but is perfect for this particular fabric - just about a shade darker!.

Ok, so I've run into a small problem. The lovely suede cloth that she brought me won't allow the needle to pick up the bobbin thread. The exact machine set up stitches on cotton, but not on the suede-cloth. So, I have to puzzle on what to do. My current idea is tissue between the fabric layers to help the bobbin, but I'm going to have to discuss with some of my sewing peeps to find a solution. In the meantime, I'll work on the bodice to at least stay a little productive today! In a small way, I'm finding the fact that the bodice is going together without incident a little saddening. I kind of enjoy the puzzles and challenge of a non-cooperative project. But I'll also admit that it's nice not having to stress over at least one part of the project...I'm expecting the chemise to be as nice as well.

I am finding one issue with the bodice as it goes together (and this is consistent to the tissue pattern itself): the front and side pieces don't want to line up at the top and bottom. There is a princess seam, which I had anticipated, and kind of hoped, would take in some of the variance, but it took in very little (if any at all!!).

                                       Bottom Variance                                 Top Variance

I'll probably just end up trimming these down to fit and hiding the rest of the variance (what I can't trim) in the binding. But still! It's irritating that the original pattern does this, not just my redraft, though in all honesty, I should have tried to draft it out. After stitching the preliminary parts (and before attaching everything) and trying it on Jess one more time, it was determined that a dart was needed at the top of the bust curve:

Now onto the binding, which was a bit bitchy, but less than anticipated! :)

And here she is!!

[Image - bodice finished]

It's been a slow, gloomy start to this week and I've been feeling particularly un-motivated. So I decided to skip ahead a little and work on the chemise next...something simple, and not nearly as irritating as the skirt insists on being. Not really going to go into detail, there are two other chemises that I've done, and profiled, on here. This blog is long enough already!!


It turns out the solution to the suede-cloth fabric is Jess herself coming over to stitch! After consulting with her regarding the issue, she happily volunteered to come over and hand-stitch the skirt pieces, so long as they were patterned and pinned. So, yay! One less thing on my plate!

[Image - skirt stitching]

So, she got all of the irritating fabric stitched. Now it's up to me to find out if the newer material is machine-friendly. If it is, then I've got a seaming dream waiting for me for the remaining of the skirt. The newer material went together fine, and even attached to the suede wonderfully. After cutting and prepping the waistband, then attaching it while she worked on the hem, she has left with the mostly finished skirt, intent on hemming it while I finish my stuffs! Once I get a picture from Faire, I'll post the finished ensemble. Unfortunately my camera's being a butt today, so I'll have to come back and edit the brackets above, considering I can't currently get the pictures off the camera to upload them. Bear with me!!

[Image - Final!]

11 April, 2011

Chemises for M'Crack

The linen is finally washed and pressed! HUZZAH! My new chemises can begin!!
I've decided to make two of different weights…one in a lovely tissue linen, at a 60/40 blend of linen and cotton. The other is heavier (ideal for the cooler days at Faire) and checks in with a 41/59 blend of linen and rayon. After puzzling over the pattern that I was originally planning to use, I came to the conclusion that it really just wouldn’t work for the look I’m trying to achieve. Seeing how I’m making it so that my corset can double as a strapless bodice, the chemise look I’m wanting is an off-the-shoulder deal. However the pattern that I was originally looking at has no elastic and thus would not provide the proper look. A lot of the chemises that I have patterns for can go off-shoulder, but don’t look right. Or the elastic climbs back up on top of the shoulder and just irritates me all day.
So after a nice little bull session with a friend of mine, I came to the decision of fudging a pattern I have and making it work for what I need it to. (Kind of like the rest of this project so far!) I’m going to be starting with a poet-shirt base, but instead of having a yoke over the shoulders, I’m going to be adding a casing and elastic. Thus as the shirt falls, it will want to sit around my shoulders, and the only true function of the elastic at the “neck”-line will be to keep it from slipping down too far. Also, I’m going to be adding about 9 inches to the bottom of the original pattern piece so that I have more of a knee-length dress feel as opposed to a long-ish shirt.

And so patterning begins! You can see here where I've added several inches to the bottom to create the longer body:

I was also forced to shorten the sleeves dramatically so I'd have a final look of a 3/4 or 1/2 sleeve:

Seaming was simple, and after attaching the front and back and closing the sleeves, all that was left was the casing for the elastic 'round the top and the sleeves, then to hem!
I opted to go with a "cheater casing" using bias tape, simply because I've got a ton of other work to do. Also, I have a crap-load of white single-fold bias tape sitting around in my sewing room and I desperately want it all to GO AWAY! So, why not use it up on this project? I also had some natural colored bias tape, and since I really don't care what people think about whether or not the casing on my chemise matches perfectly, I chose to use that on the "neck"-line of the heavier weight chemise, simply because I don't have anything else that it will match!

And there it is! My completed chemise. I'm modeling it since my dress form doesn't have arms and these are designed to fit 'round the biceps rather than on the shoulders:

The tissue-weight chemise will be the same exact deal, just lighter weight. I may or may not come back through and post those pictures as well, simply because they will look the same.