Monday, December 24, 2012

Blog Awards and Merry Merry

I'm just going to come out and say this. I'm a Grinch. Mostly its because, here in the USA, its become such a commercialized IN YOUR FACE ordeal. This from the person that cancelled her cable because I hate commercials that much. 

But, despite that, I hope everyone is having a good time with lots of food, cocktails, and people they love. 

Now, on to the other thing! Blog awards, yaaay!  

First up is the Premio award from Cari Homemaker Deserves a Cocktail (I hear she shares!). This is to thank the last nine people to comment on my blog.  I also want you all to know that I LURV COMMENTS. Lurv them. I lurv them so much I don't even spell it right! Even if I don't reply I read every single one.

Cari Homemaker
Hana - Marmota
gahillbilly (this is my Dad)
Meg the Grand

The rules are deceptively simple.

1) Thank the person who gave you the award  (Thank you Carie!!) 

2) List seven thinks about yourself

3) Name others to pass the awards along to. This rule I've seen some variations to with some saying seven, others nine, still others "15 or so". Put a link to their blogs and notify them via a comment/e-mail.

Seven Things About Me:

  • I lived in a tent for a year when traveling around the country with the Renascence Festival. I have a great appreciation for indoor plumbing now.
  • I have a completely illogical fear of hairballs and dust bunnies. HATES THEM. 
  • When I was growing up we often had our phone tapped because of my Dad's former job, but I can't tell you what it was, because then I'd have to kill you.
  • I once saw a hawk get hit on  the windshield of the car in front of me in traffic and I thought maybe I could save it, so I pulled over and gently put it in the back seat of my van.  It died, but then I didn't know what to do because having hawk feathers  is illegal unless you are Native American. So I stuck it in a plastic in a box in the deep freezer.  Finally my husband just threw it out when we had to move the freezer to convert the garage. 
  • I own at least 40 different board games and about 20 card games (LUNCH MONEY!)
  • I met my husband at a vampire LARP
  • I play the flute. 

Ok, now time to nominate people.  Oh, dear.  I'm gonna try and stick with seven, I like seven, its a good number.

  • Kadiddlehopper - I found her through Instagram and I just love her to bits! Our daughters share a bow and arrow obsession. 
  • Hana-Marmota - we actually met through a Neil Gaiman fan site.  I love her posts about the Czech Republic and her travels in the area. Oh, and she sews too.
  • Rolling in Cloth - Claudine, you may have seen her mentioned by Peter of MPB.  She does amazing work, including Chanel style jackets with hand embroidery. Right now she's got an evening coat in the works.
  • Made-By-Hand - Jeffrey I found through The Sartorialist, and he's an honest to goodness bespoke tailor. He's the one that I found out about "Men of The Cloth" from (which made their kickstarter goal, btw!!). He probably won't respond to this post, but I'm OK with that. He's also recovering from a culinary accident to his hand. 
  • Nettie of Sownbrooklyn - another super Mom who somehow finds time to sew with three kids and grad school (just finished and landed a job to boot, Hooray Nettie!).
  • Un-Sung Sewing Patterns - I'm not sure who this lady is but she posts the most fascinating information about old utilitarian patterns. Seriously, go check it out. 
  • Kristin of K-Line - She's responsible for getting me into the right size bra, for which I'll forever be grateful!

Wow, this post took and amazingly long time to write! Good thing its dead at work. Its kinda like watching paint dry here. Oh well, guess I'll go read my new Threads magazine.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

We're still here! I'd like to thank The Doctor.

And on that note, those of us on the graveyard shift are going to bed. Happy Solstice! (a day late)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

New Projects

First of all, thank you everyone for your lovely and kind compliments on my outfit posts. It just goes to show that we're our own worst critics, right? I love y'all, and that's a fact.

So! New project!  I'm turning the raglan sleeve dress from Vogue 8701 into a TNT dress.  Its marked as "easy", which I guess it  is, once you get past the million and one modifications needed for proper fit. These are all common for me modifications: rounded shoulders, large arms, lengthened waist, full bust adjustment... The problems is I've never done it for this type of bodice.

I decided to go with the advice from a class I took at the Sewing Expo some times ago and make all the modifications to the back and shoulders first.  I have found this to be good advice, actually, since once that fits the FBA becomes much easier.  Here is a somewhat fuzzy photo of all those pieces:

I will be taking higher quality photos with details on how the changes worked later, probably next week.  I tried doing some searches for tutorials on how to make these changes and um... didn't find much. I had to turn to my text book on fitting, which had nothing for rounded shoulder adjustments on raglan sleeves.  I kinda made it up as I went.

This was my next big puzzle.  I needed an FBA of a total of about two inches after I made my modifications to the back and sleeves. I decided to start with the basic y-bust alteration and then use the "law of dart rotation".  I'm not sure either of these things are actual THINGS,  I know that many a book and blog have talked about them, though I think I may take my own crack at it here. In any case, I tried to make sure that the dart tips were at least 1.5 inches away from the bust point* so that I'm not sporting Madonna Bra Cones.

Next up I traced the pattern pieces for the "Roxy Royal" hoodie in the Autumn 2012 Ottobre' magazine. I'm pretty sold on this magazine so far and think I'm going to get a year's subscription. They have the best selection for boys anywhere that I've found. So.. YAY!  The hoodie is actually for a friend's daughter.  She loves pink and My Little Ponies, and I have some polar fleece of the original ponies kicking around in my stash. In fact, its been kicking there for about a decade now. Originally it was intended for Felicity but she is currently anti-pink.

But back to this magazine, its got that crazy migraine-inducing pattern sheets you trace. I've taken to highlighting the one I want with a similar colored highlighter. Makes a huge difference.  Also, those huge wax sheets save my life when it comes to this. Best haberdashery purchase ever!

In conclusion, here's Wanderer (aka Monkey Butt,  cause that's what Felicity started calling him after he got 'fixed' and came home with his butt shaved) helping me with my projects.

What are you working on?

* Another nice tip I read recently is to think of the bust as the tip of a cone in relation to the garment you are wearing.  You have to shape the fabric to mold around your bust in a pleasing manner.

Sheath Dress and Bolero


To be honest, my rant in this post about weight, was really sparked by the photos I didn't choose for these outfits.  The red dress is from the same pattern as the blue dress, Vogue 8679.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of thinking I was using a non-stable knit and did the size for really stretchy knits. So, I haven't worn it much because its super tight through the shoulders, weight or no weight. ACK. So, I only wear it with this knit shrug I bought at Target last fall. Note to self, make larger sleeves for stable knits.

If you are wondering what i'm doing, two very large red-breasted hawks had just decided to land in the tree by the club house. Totally caught my attention.

Oh hey, remember my bolero adventure? You know, the floral one that I was so proud of? Here it is on me! When I first wore this outfit Felicity told me "That necklace makes the outfit".  I think she's spot on there.  The necklace belonged to my Grandmother.

Another note to self, change camera position in the future. In any case, I had done all these photos the same day and after five wardrobe changes I was pretty much over it. That and it was three hours past my normal bedtime. I pretty much covered all the construction details, I believe. Or maybe I haven't?  I dunno. I've just been neglecting this poor little blog for so long I don't know what's what. I'm gonna have to fix that.

Ugg, please excuse my hair.  I didn't think to brush it when I took it out of the clip. As you can see though, the fit is pretty spot on.

And the side. Here you can see the Dior Dart if you look closely.  Also, after seeing the photos, I'm pretty happy with the sleeves.  I think I could have taken a half inch out between the elbow and shoulder. Or put in better shoulder pads.  In any case, I'm making one more in black cotton velveteen soon. Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Two Renfrews and a Clover

I see this and think "I'm wearing low-tech TV snow". You know what I"m talking about? Comes with awful noise.

Well, goodness. Its been like,  a million years since I took honest to goodness photos of myself. To be perfectly  honest, one of the reasons I haven't wanted to do so is because I've gained back all the weight I lost prior to Mom's death. (Which is why I look like I'm hiding in this photo, kinda.)   I eat poorly when I'm depressed.  Add to that the two major falls this year and I haven't been moving much either. Then it just becomes a negative feedback loop.  My husband pointed out that I have been using the upper body strengthening machines at work, which has added bulk in my shoulders and arms, which I honestly don't need. What I need is actual  _weight_ loss.  And not because I'm having an OH GOD I'M FAT moment. Well, most of the time. I do have a melt down about once a month at the same time all I want is chocolate and red meat.  You could say its cyclical. But that's besides the point. The point is I need the weight off because it is a great strain off my lower back and hence lessens my constant pain. So, I'm starting with baby steps. Walking. I shall walk every day, even if only for 15 minutes and start planning my meals. That's all I did to get the first 15 pounds off because my metabolism is fairly robust.

But for now, I'll just own where I am. My husband and several other friends assure me my appeal has not dwindled, so we'll go with that. I'm happy, and loved, and I make my own damn clothes so there's no need for me to feel bad. Now, on to the rest of the pictures!

If you are thinking to yourself "Wow, that doesn't look anything like a pair of Clovers" then you are right. This was my 1 hour maxi skirt I made on a whim.  I wanted something that wasn't yoga pants to lounge around in and it turns out I get a lot of "hey, nice skirt" compliments.  Which is weird cause its literally a tube with one seam up the back and elastic.  Its a really nice rayon knit so I didn't even have to put a seam at the bottom. BONUS.   As it turns out, my sparkly black sweater knit Renfrew is the perfect companion and its also my go-to Sunday work outfit because its perfect for sitting in a chair for 12 hours and knowing no management is going to be there.

Back view. La de da, kinda boring. I will note that I did do an FBA on this a la Vicki Makes.

Dramatic LadyKatza is Dramatic
Bonus dramatic pose.

Next Up!

This is me loitering on my own porch. I'm such a rebel.

Here I am completely breaking the rules and wearing horizontal stripes. Whatever. I love this sweater to death so I'll wear them if I damn well please! This sweater knit is a rayon/lurex blend.   The Clovers are made from a  Windsor cotton/lycra stretch cord in olive green.  This is actually my third pair, and I'm still not completely happy with the fit, but they are better than the first one, for sure.  I got ride of the crotch sag, though you can't see it here.

bootylicious and jiggling

What I STILL don't like is this bagginess that happens under the posterior region. I did, however, finally figure out what was causing that. I shall be removing length between the crotch and the knee and giving myself about a 1/3 of an inch more room for the calf width. That should give me the perfect straight leg cigarette pant look I've been wanting. I haven't done any pockets yet, I'm going to add some patch pockets on the back when I make the next pair from a denim.

So, that's it for now!  I do have a quick tutorial on an easy way to transfer an FBA from v-neck to cowl-neck Renfrew. Its pretty straight forward but thought it might help everyone. That's it for today. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Yes, D*CON Planning Already

I attempted a River Song like costume for last D*CON, but really, it wasn't. It didn't MATCH anything she wore on the show (yet).  However, I had something of a revelation today.

This dress was in the second Weeping Angels episode.  And I love it.  Then it dawned on me I had already planned to make something similar to it from a BurdaStyle magazine pattern. 

Source: via Lady on Pinterest

This dress, I want it in black with chiffon sleeves. I wanted it before I ever saw this episode. You know what that tells me? Its totally meant to be! There's even a statue in this photo. DON'T BLINK!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Science of Pink

Did you know there is no pink in the light spectrum? That its a trick of the eyes?  I didn't until yesterday. Which I actually found somewhat comforting since I've really taken to the color pink of late, buying variations of it in fabric form.  My Goth alter-ego is crying a bit because it feels like I'm cheating on black. And red.

You know what though? Pink looks awesome with black.  But lets get back to the science of pink. Its not on  the light spectrum, its actually a trick your eyes play on you.

This is a great little one minute video that explains what I'm talking about. It sparked a somewhat interesting debate among science types in saying "pink is not a real color". Which its not, in the light spectrum. It does exist, however, as a pigment.  Popular Science has a very good article on that difference here.  The author, Rebecca Boyle, has this to say:

Thinking of pink the way we think of transmitted light is confusing, hence the controversy. Here's the thing: When you look at a pink object — that is to say, a thing that contains pigments or dyes which render it pink to light receptor cells in your eyes — you are not seeing pink wavelengths of light. An object appears pink because certain wavelengths of light are reflected, and others are absorbed, quenched, by the pigments. Pink is a reflective color, not a transmissive color — you can perceive it because your brain translates light bouncing off it. Color is a construct of our eyes and brains.
Cool, huh?  I love learning new things and this one (wait for it...) tickled me pink!  This pleases my inner geek in a way that makes me not feel so bad about falling in love with this color as an adult.

What Does Bangladesh and NYC Have in Common

Answer:  Women burned alive in a garment factory fire.  

source ABC News

Many of you probably have seen a tidbit of news about the Bangladesh Garment Factory fire that happened the Saturday after Thanksgiving (USA). And if you are a long time sewing blog reader you've probably heard of the Triangle Shirt-Waist Factory Fire that sparked (pardon the pun) a labor rights movement in the early 20th century United States. Both of these tragedies share a common story of lack of safety standards for the facility, along with grueling working conditions of those employed there.  With workers being locked in the building for 10-12 hours a day  and told they should be happy just to have a job.  This is even the PR schtick you hear from companies that use these factories. "We're bringing jobs to poor countries, we're doing a good deed!"  Sorry, I'm not drinking your kook-aid anymore.

I think, in this modern world where its just so easy to go to the store and buy a new shirt because the button popped off the old one, we forgot that actual hands sewed those garments together. There is a human cost in every item of clothing you own, not to mention material and environmental.  Sewing is one of the most common professions in the world (Overdressed pg. 659 kindle version) because of its very labor intense nature. For a majority of  Western society we have become disconnected with what this means and have failed to recognize the value clothing really should have. Here was a statistic, also taken from Overdressed, that had me reeling in shock:

"Every year, Americans throw away 12.7 million tons, or 68 pounds of textile per person, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which also estimates that 1.6 million tons of this waste could be recycled or reused."
Every bit of that clothing was made by people, most likely in a developing nation in conditions similar to the two factories mentioned above. And from this statement I have several points that I could make but they are all things that deserve their own blog post(so... brace yourself). And according to ABC, this brings the number of deaths due to garment factory fires over 600 in the past five years in Bangladesh alone.  Unsurprisingly, we're starting to see workers band together and protest for better working conditions.  Chinese workers have been doing this too, and not just for the garment industry, for several years now which is why production has started moving to even poorer countries.

So, what should I say in conclusion?  I say question the label and the price tag. I say educate yourself on what it is that you are buying and why. Just like healthy food its possible to do the right thing on a budget, it just takes more effort on  your part. Learning to sew a button back on that shirt can't be so bad if it saves a life in another country, right?

Now excuse me while I take my soapbox back to the kitchen. I gotta reach something on the top shelf.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cool Things

This is suppose to be a sewing blog and I'm suppose to write about sewing and maybe crazy things that my kids do.  And to be honest I have notebooks and scribbles of ideas and things I want to write about here.  Including focusing more on beginner information since, while I have plenty of veteran sewists following, I also have friends and somewhat random people following that are not and have expressed interest in these kind of things.

And, you know, I'll get to that soon. I will.  But you know what time of year it is? Yeah. Me too. And it makes me crazy.  So I'm going to post fun or pretty things here. Just cool stuff I found to take your mind off the holiday insanity.

Oh, she's brilliant. Go check all her violin stuff and you won't be sorry.

Another young lady with a budding movie making career ahead of her.

  Oh, also. One of my long time friends called to tell me he's working on a movie with Nicholas Brendon.