February 1, 2015

Oh Hey....

So...been a while, done some stuff, you're all here for sewing, right?  Onward!

What have I been doing with myself?

Making a Ruby Slip: (All my pictures thus far have turned out terribly, so none for now)

Biggest issue is containing the chest region in this one.  I ended up moving the crossover MUCH higher than indicated on the pattern, otherwise there would be some wardrobe malfunctions, if you know what I mean.  I know this is only an around the house thing, but I still don't want to be completely falling out of my top every time I lean over to pet the cat.  #bigboobproblems.  Otherwise it's nice, it was something different for me, and gave me a chance to burn through some of the ridiculous amounts of lace I own for no apparent reason.

Helping with Halloween:

I'm going to say it was about a week before Halloween that the BF decides he wants to be Green Lantern for Halloween.  Not just a generic Green Lantern, mind you, but specifically Guy Gardner. BEHOLD THE 80's IN ALL THEIR GLORY!
source: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/green_lantern/news/?a=34850

During this time, I was working ~15-16 hour days in lab doing revisions for a journal publication, so I was essentially available only to consult on how to put it together and not for actual sewing.  That boy freaking drafted his own pattern by looking at someone's vague tutorials on the internet, made two muslins, and finished the dang thing.  My biggest contributions were explaining general pattern concepts (like that if you need to sew two pieces together, they should probably be the same length) and finishing the armholes and the hem the morning of.

It's ugly on the inside, just like my first real sewing project (also a costume for him; sensing a theme here?) but I was pretty impressed for sure.  The giant upside of this is that now I can tell him he can sew his own costumes!  I just don't get motivated by costume sewing, to be honest.  They look great and are really fun when they're done, but it's so much work for something you're going to wear a few times.   Meh.

Learning knitting:

I blame this on the stress.  As I said, there was a period of really intense work (with one really frustrating coworker) and my two go-to crafts when I'm really stressed are knitting and latch hooking.  Easy, repetitive movements that still get you a result at the end.  Except I've gotten to the point with knitting where a random garter stitch scarf wasn't going to cut it.  Craftsy to the rescue!  We're not going to talk about how much money I've spent on that website; we just aren't.  But it's the best thing ever for yarny crafts. Certain things I can learn from books, but yarn crafts I need someone to show me.  So I've gone quickly past the just knit/purl patterns and am onto lace, increases and decreases, and soon, colorwork.  It's really hitting the spot for now, and I may end up digging into my fabric stash for scraps to make some project bags.  So still inspiring some sewing in a roundabout way.  At this point, I figure any creating that keeps me sane is a good thing.  Maybe one day this blog will be "Knitting for Real Life."  But for now, it's still boring scarves and hats mostly. (Finished 3 or 4, but they've all been given away) Working up to the sweaters.  Slowly but surely.

Anyhoo, that's how things have been going up in here.  My ironing board has decided it wants to bend at the point where the two legs are connected, so I really need to get a new one before I can do much more sewing.  Anybody have recommendations for a brand that can take a beating?  The cats love jumping up there and I'm generally pretty hard on things as well.  Stay warm out there!

September 22, 2014

Lady Skater Hype Train

.....is not stopping here, unfortunately.  At least not yet. The Lady Skater pattern was essentially the entire reason for buying Perfect Pattern Parcel #1.  Then I remembered how much of a hassle PDF patterns are for me.  I finally got this printed, trimmed, assembled and traced recently.

I have really been digging wearing skirts and dresses more regularly, so I really wanted my first Lady Skater to be a staple. This navy blue medium weight knit seemed to fit the bill, and I wanted to make the 3/4 length sleeve version to make it a little more wearable for Wisconsin.

Problems I have with it:

Fit at the waist: Totally not the pattern's fault, just that I have a huge difference between my waist and everything else.   The problem is, I actually like leaving things a little loose in the waist to camoflauge some of the difference, but with the way this waist seam works, it really needs to be close to the body or else it goes all wonky.

Back view weirdness: This is half swayback and half me sewing the clear elastic to the wrong side and therefore stretching out the bottom of the back bodice more than was necessary.  Again, it also doesn't hug my body so with the clear elastic in there it looks funny.

Too short:  Also my fault. They told me it was drafted to hit at the knees for someone 5'5".  I'm 5'7" so I should have added length.  Duh.  Although it did allow me to be extra lazy and leave it just serged at the hem because I didn't want to lose any more length.

The waist seam:  This is actually my dealbreaker right now,  I understand the logic of having the waist seam in this dress, but with absolutely no other seaming present, it looks weird to me.  The BF who notices nothing clothes-related asked why I'd put the seam there, and it just bugs me.  I thought I might be alone, but one might notice if one googled Lady Skater pictures that ~2 of 3 versions are worn with a belt.  This is all personal preference, but I'm just not diggin' it right now.

In conclusion, this is a perfectly functionable lab dress, especially with a sweater worn over top as I'm likely to do anyway.  But this is not a likely TNT for me as it stands.  The waist seam means I'm not likely to do the tweaking needed to get it where it needs to be fitwise.  Live and learn and onto the next pattern!

September 6, 2014

#OONABALLOONAPALOOZA (just a little late)

    So I actually completed this dress BEFORE oonaballoonapalooza happened, and if I'd had my shit together, I might have entered.  But I didn't, so whatevs.  Too busy doing important chemistry things, yo.

Last round of hotel selfies, I promise.  Next time we'll be back to my equally bad normal photos. :)

     This was basically meant to be a test run of Vogue 8379, and a way to use up this crazy fabric that I got in the massive auction haul of 2013.  It's not all that well finished (for instance, the self-facing on the wrap side is just raw), which I think could be part crappy instructions, part me ignoring said instructions.  But once I got it all put together, I liked what I saw.  I'll be honest, it took a  bit of working up to it to wear it in public, but once I did, an amazing thing happened.  No less than seven complete strangers came up to me and told me they loved my dress.  This has never ever happened to me in the history of ever. I even went to get my hair cut and got talking to a woman who was in the process of making her daughter's wedding dress who told me it looked nicely finished. No, I didn't let her look at the inside, otherwise she would have backtracked so fast it would have left skid marks.

The only real change I made to the pattern was to extend the sleeves by some random amount that was as much as I could squeeze out on my fabric (I know, the precision is astounding).  I really hate cap sleeves so I knew I would want more length there.  I could use a little more bust room, but the wrap style is pretty forgiving in that regard.
Guys, taking a picture of your own back? Hard.  But I wanted to prove this is all one print. One eye-searing print.
    The test run being a success, hopefully sometime soon you'll be seeing version #2, in something a little more subdued.  However, there's already a Ruby Slip in progress, and I finally got the Lady Skater cut out.  If the Lady Skater works as well for me as it seems to for the rest of the blog world, there's a distinct possibility you may see nothing but those for a good long run.  I am really making an effort to use both patterns and fabric I already have, because I've (hopefully) got less than a year before graduation, and the less boxes of fabric I have to pack, the better.

   Speaking of real life, I'm in the highly stressful stage of starting job interviews for jobs next fall. So far, I am 4-for-4 on getting first round interviews, but that still doesn't get me great odds for getting an offer out of it.  If you all would like to cross your fingers that I can get a little bit further in the process, that would basically be the best thing ever.  I'll have been in school for a solid 21 years at this point (oh god, that's depressing), so the idea of finally getting a job where I can use what I've learned to solve real world problems is massively exciting.  Not to mention getting evenings and weekends off. (As I write this, I am eating breakfast in my office at school.  I had to get in early because there's a football game and the buses are completely overloaded with drunk people later in the day.)

   Anyway, any opinions on this garment?  My real life peeps have a pretty wide range of opinions about this print, and I'd be curious to hear what you think.  Off to lab!

June 22, 2014


So what up everybody?  Been a while.  Over the summer I lived in a hotel room and tried desperately not to mess up the fancy instrumentation at my internship.  Unfortunately, the stress of being in a new place and being out of my element mostly balanced out the lowered work hours.  I have gotten a few things sewn though.

 For every single summer weekend since I finished it, I have basically not taken this black jersey skirt off. (I have to wear pants during the week for safety reasons)  This sucker is basically the same as my tiedye skirt in that it's the main skirt pieces from Simplicity 1888 with a self-drafted waistband (see, when I say it all nice like that it sounds better than "I hacked something together that worked).  In this case, I tried to use a self fabric waistband, but that the skirt fabric was too heavy so I continued the hackery and inserted thick elastic into the waistband and called it a day. Then there was the moment when I thought I'd ruined it at the last minute by doing a double turned hem after interfacing because I didn't know what else to do and I'm too afraid of leaving knits unhemmed to just leave it.  Luckily, after a little bit of wear and definitely after the first wash, everything loosened up enough that I could deal.  Mostly because this fabric is pretty much the softest nicest stuff ever.  It's a jerk to cut out, but dang does it feel nice.

That's right, we are so classy on this blog that you get hotel mirror selfies (also, what is going on with my other hand here?).  It's really not much to see, it's a black knit gored skirt.  You could probably imagine it from just that description without the pics, but whatevs.
The spots are the mirror, not the skirt!

So...yeah.  Black skirt.  Woot.  More exciting things are to come.  Also, I went to Vogue fabrics for the first time this summer, for my birthday, so I will post pics of the fabric goodness before I wash them (the hotel washers and dryers were $3.00 a load for tiny loads, so I had to wait until I got back).

*If you're wondering WTF is up with my title, you need to check this out: http://textfromdog.tumblr.com/

May 6, 2014

More Non-Sewing: Life Update

So nothing fabric-y to show you, for several reasons.  First, I will be running in turbo mode at work until I leave for my internship on May 17.  After a 15 hour day, I can barely manage to shower and flop into bed, much less sew.  On my free Sundays (though I've been working for at least a few hours on those too) I've gotten back into an old love: the Sims 3.  Although I will admit that playing dress-up in Create A Sim has given me a few ideas for new clothes when I get some time...

In other news, the BF started his new job last week!  I can't help but imagine it as the Mad Men secretary pool, as he is the only male, and of his 4 coworkers, 3 are heavily pregnant!  One of them is leaving and staying home after the baby is born and the BF will be her replacement.

When I leave for my internship, I'm not going to be taking my sewing machine with me at first, because I'll be living in a hotel room.  However, I'm only 2 hours away from home, and will have full weekends instead of just Sundays off, so going home to sew is not out of the realm of possiblity.  I'm thinking pattern stuff and cutting fabric (no kitties to jump on the fabric!) while I'm at the hotel, and then I can bring them home and sew on weekends.  I'll basically be playing it by ear, as I'm not sure how much I'll have to do outside of work hours to make sure I'm up to speed, but in terms of total amount of free time, it will go through the roof.  I have to make sure not to waste it on cable TV and video games.

So most likely until then, not a lot of action here, but it will be coming!  Maybe I'll post some screenshots of the Sims outfits that are making me want real-life versions....Hope everyone's getting nice warmer weather now!

March 14, 2014

Vogue 8670

Yet again, I needed something easy to break up working on the steampunk costume. This is a new pattern to me, and according to Vogue it is a "close-fitting, straight, below hip top". It's a pretty basic raglan sleeve tee pattern.  I made view C, which has a scrunchy turtleneck collar and long sleeves.  Of course, the weather is starting to warm up finally, but I'll get a little wear out of it yet.

This is also a stashbusting project. For financial reasons, I'm sewing completely from stash, and it's very likely I can sew all year with what I have right now.  This particular fabric was a tube knit that just barely fit all the pattern pieces, so there are no leftover chunks to figure out what to do with.  It's also a lot heavier and nicer than the crappy polyester knits I usually use, so I know I'll get a lot of wear out of it.

For doing absolutely no pattern adjustments whatsoever, I got really lucky with the fit on this.  Esepcially after looking at the pictures, I can see that the fit is definitely much looser than intended (considering the neck is supposed to be a regular turtleneck, not a funnel) but it works for me.  Big 4 sizing strikes again, but now I at least have a starting point, and I love that it's nice and long out of the envelope.

I'd like to say that after this, I'm going to power through and finish the steampunk coat without any other projects in between, but I think at this point that would just be dishonest.  I'll try to work on it some more (have I mentioned lately how much I hate gathers?), but I've already got another few easy projects stewing as possible things to cut out next.  Actually finishing this is such good motivation, I'd rather run through a bunch of fun easy projects and enjoy myself than tackle something crazy complicated and get stuck.
All that was left of the fabric after cutting - I'd call that stash-busted!

March 4, 2014

Real Life Hits Home...

Fair warning: this post is only tangentially sewing related.

My boyfriend got laid off yesterday, out of the blue.  This still leaves us better off than many people (and thank goodness we just got tax returns), but the grad student salary is designed to barely support one person, let alone two people and two cats. He has a lot of good experience on his resume now, but there still just aren't that many jobs out there.  I have faith that he'll do whatever he needs to do to keep us going, but it hurts my heart to see him so stressed out when this was no fault of his.

Of course, this obviously means no spending money on anything except necessities, which of course includes fabric.  Hopefully necessity proves to be the mother of invention and I come up with some beauties from the stash that I wouldn't have otherwise created.  I've got about $5 left on a JoAnn's gift card from Christmas, and that's my sewing budget for the foreseeable future.

Luckily, this has really put things in perspective for me about what is really important.  If it came down to it, I'd sell all my sewing supplies in a hot second to keep everybody warm and fed (and warm is not cheap this winter!). As much as we drool over huge fabric stashes and fancy machines, there are things that are far more important, and once we get back on our feet, I think I'll be diverting some of my sewing budget to provide for those that don't have the basics.  It's amazing what a little perspective can do.

Besides, I wouldn't be a real twenty-something if I didn't have to exist on ramen for a while, right? Right. :) Hope everybody's staying warm!