Thursday, May 31, 2012

Juliet's costume

Well, I promised to show pictures of Juliet's costume when it was done. Here you go!
Juliet and I have very similar measurements, but I am much taller than she is, hence why the costume fits me widthwise but is far too short. I attached the sleeves to the underdress and drafted and sewed the gold overdress. I'm very pleased with how it turned out. Yesterday night we had a fitting, and the overdress fits perfectly (go me!), while the green underdress needed to come up a little bit in the shoulders, and maybe in a little bit in the back. I also have about 7 other small-to-medium jobs to complete by Sunday, so we shall see how that goes!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sewing weekend

Well, I'm off to NYC for the weekend. I promised to help K sew a toga and two tunics for his Latin camp, and we're also planning on running in a race. I'll bring back some pictures of the completed sewing projects, and I'll also post some more pictures of the costumes from H's play. I'm going to take this weekend to relax, though, so probably don't expect anything before Tuesday night at the latest!

(NB--if someone has figured out where I live, don't bother trying to come break in. All other eight family members, which at this point includes three brown belts, will still be home!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Of skirts and shorts

I forget if I've mentioned it on this blog before, but I do a little bit of running in my spare time. I run a few miles a few times a week. Now that it's getting warmer, the long running pants I got for Christmas weren't cutting it. So, me being me, and generally avoiding pants, and entirely shunning shorts, asked on a running forum for advice and recommendations about running skirts.

I must say, I was rather surprised by the response I got. The majority of responses were people asking me why shorts weren't good enough for me! Twelve people responded. Four of them were helpful as to where I could buy or how I could make a running skirt. Two responded to other people in the thread and were neither helpful nor unhelpful. The remaining six questioned why I didn't just wear shorts, told me wearing a skirt was a bad idea, and so on. The tone was, surprisingly, pretty defensive.

Does it really threaten these women that much if I wear a skirt while running? I didn't say shorts were evil. I didn't say they were immodest. All I said was that I prefer skirts to shorts and pants. Surely a modern "enlightened" woman should be able to be secure in her own choice of clothing (workout gear, no less! a place for function over form if I've ever heard of one!) without having to convert everyone else to her own preferences.

Now I'm wondering if this is just a small example of an aversion to things that are traditionally feminine. Is the reaction a reaction to me wearing a skirt to run in, or me wearing skirts in general? I haven't done much discussing of my clothing choices with the general public. What do other people think? For those of you who primarily wear skirts, have you received negative feedback about that? For those of you who don't, do you think other women wearing mostly skirts is weird, or wrong, or just impractical, or something else? Is this, in fact, a societal trend, or did I just run into a cranky bunch of people? Share any thoughts you might have on the subject!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A project so easy, you can't NOT screw up!

This tabard is a perfect example of a project so easy it's impossible *not* to screw up.You know the kind of project I mean? Four straight seams, people. Two shoulder seams, two side seams. It's so easy, you don't look at the ones you're copying, the pattern instructions, anything like that! So I breezed through it. It took me maybe half an hour. Then I looked at the other tabards, the ones from last year I was supposed to be copying. Oops. It was supposed to have slits at the side. Oh well, no problem! That can be added. am I supposed to get all that ribbon trim and the eagle patch on? Oh yeah! I remembered her suggesting that I put on the decorations before sewing the side seams. I had filed it away in my "things people tell me that I won't worry about because duh, obvious!" box. (Sadly, I rarely look in that box. I forget lots of obvious things.)

So, I tore out the side seams, added all the trim, and resewed them, adding the slits. It still didn't take long at all, but if I had turned on my brain before I started sewing, maybe I wouldn't have made those stupid mistakes.

What are the projects you've found to be so easy, you can't not screw them up?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Busy? Who, me?

It's interesting, really. It never rains, but it pours! In my last post, I mentioned how most of my fabric is now assigned to a specific project. Normally, I would have picked one of those projects up and started sewing it. Probably an easy and short one for motivational purposes.

Enter, instead, more costume sewing. The school year is over, and with it, my job in the costume shop, but I volunteered to help make costumes for H's summer play, Romeo and Juliet. I had thought that this would take the form of someone handing me a pattern and some fabric and telling me, "Here, this has four straight seams. Sew this!" Was I ever wrong! The lady in charge of costumes and I had a nearly two hour meeting today. I'm sewing a tabard to match two left over from last year's play. That's pretty straightforward. However, I'm also sewing an overdress for Juliet! Clearly this woman is more trusting than I am, especially since I will have to alter the pattern substantially because it is multiple sizes too big! Don't get me wrong, I can certainly do it, but I wouldn't give someone I'd never met a costume for one of the lead roles.

These projects are supposed to theoretically be done soon. Like maybe Sunday if possible. On to the sewing! Pictures will come as projects are completed. I hope. I still haven't found my camera from my move home from college.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


That was a successful purge! Two days ago I had 55 patterns. Now I have 26.

I had two boxes of fabric. Now I have one. (Ok, all you people with "real" stashes, stop laughing!)

Moreover, almost every piece of fabric I own (I think there are four exceptions) has a specific project attached to it now. Not "this would make a cute dress," but "I'll make this up with X pattern for Y person." This should help me to actually do projects, because the decision making has all been made already.

Now, where to get rid of these supplies? Obviously I could just freecycle them, along with instructions to take the whole box, but I'm hoping to find a way to get them to someone who's likely to use them. Some of the larger fabric pieces are going to a college friend, and some of the scraps are going to a mother I know who will use them to make sachets with her daughters. The other fabric I'll offer to a local children's theater company. As for the patterns, I haven't yet made a decision. Most of them are from the 50s-70s, in fairly bad shape, although complete, with a bust size between 31-34 inches.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why do I complicate my life?

Ok, so today I realized something. I collect complicated patterns and fancy fabrics. I also get overwhelmed by long projects and am often scared to start them. I have all these theoretical plans of making structured jackets, full-size quilts, and other heavily involved projects. As a result, I never get anything done. I'm overwhelmed by the amount of sewing supplies I have, the number of patterns that would be great if I could alter them so they actually fit, the yards of cloth that seem like they would be good for something someday, and so on.

This has got to stop.

I'm perfectly happy in a simple knit skirt, or one made out of quilting cotton. It's easy, pretty, feminine, and cheap. And it's not overwhelming. A simple dress I can pull on over my head sounds like magic to me--no fussing with anything.

I like things simple, but I haven't been applying this to my sewing life.

So--strict rules for a great purge. I'm thinking to get rid of all the patterns that aren't in my size, or the size of someone I'm likely to be sewing for (sister, mother, etc). Then get rid of all the pieces of fabric that I can't match to a pattern. I'll probably allow a few exceptions, to make my life a little easier. Nevertheless, this should greatly reduce my stash. Will it cost more money in the long run to not have all this stuff on hand? Yes, but probably not enough money to make it worth the amount of my mental energy that I waste on worrying about my sewing supplies. I'll talk this plan over for a day or two with my mother, so feel free to chime in--am I crazy? Are these rules too tight? Too loose? Any exceptions or other nuances you would add?