Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Planning vs. Doing

There are times I am just not motivated to sew. Since posting about my dress, I've sewed one seam. I am going on vacation fairly soon, and I know I won't have time to sew during the vacation. But I don't have time to finish the dress before the vacation, so I'm not very motivated to do it.

Instead, I am planning.

I have bought four new patterns from Jalie. A running skirt pattern, a knit dress pattern, and two shirt patterns. With shipping included, the order cost $55, which is the most I've ever spent on one order before! I have plans for five other patterns from Simplicity and their umbrella companies (one advantage of having teacher parents? Cheap patterns twice a year!) Now I am looking at fabric online. I don't have the energy to sew, but I do have the energy to spend money I shouldn't be spending instead!

This isn't good. No more buying fabric until I am done this dress! (Unless something should go wrong and I need more fabric for this specific project.)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Next project!

Ok, so after the stress of my last project, I wanted a project that fit three criteria. I wanted it to be easy, I wanted it to have no deadline, and I wanted it to be for me.

So, I splurged a little. I bought myself three yards of Eric Carle printed fabric:
This fabric has made me so incredibly happy. I have been carrying it around the house with me. I have decided to use M5800 to make it, which is a pattern I have made before. The last version was awesome but didn't fit very well. So I got an old sheet, and made a muslin. Then I laid out my altered pattern pieces, and cut them out:
My major pattern changes were to take in the seams along the bust, and narrow the center front. I also took in the sides. The length seemed fine to me. Next up--construction!

Friday, July 27, 2012

In praise of mothers

Last night, I was close to a meltdown. It was about 9:00 or so, which is about the point in time where I begin to stop being rational. After about 10pm, it's just downhill all the way, and I either use the internet, chat, or go to bed. The skirt was almost done, but not completely. I had everything done except the eyelets.

Then, disaster struck. I couldn't get the eyelets in. There were too many layers of fabric to get them through. I tried everything I could think of. There were sewing tools, and non sewing tools, scattered all around me. I needed advice, but didn't know where to turn--my mother, my usual go-to sewing helper, was out! Normally, I would have packed everything up and waited, but I had to finish the skirt that night so my cousin could wear it the next day. So I kept struggling with it.

Then, Mama arrived. Everything became instantly so much better. I don't know what special gift mothers have, but somehow they can fix anything. Or my mother can, anyway! It's actually kind of amusing--I sew much more often than she does, and am willing to attempt much harder things than she is, but I have never yet run across a sewing problem she couldn't solve.

We decided to make buttonholes by hand, and resigned ourselves to a long night. Then, an offhand comment made by my father gave Mama an idea. Instead of making eyelets for my cousin's ribbon, we just sewed lacings out of the fabric we had, and sewed them on (neatly covering the holes I had made trying to get the eyelets through).

I drove the skirt over to her, and was in bed before one. Of course, I had done no Greek homework at that point, but you take what you can get.

I made my cousin promise to get me a picture of her all nicely suited up in her costume, but I did get a few snaps of a sister holding up the skirt. Here they are:

What's the moral of this story? Don't embark on new sewing techniques that you've never done before an hour before a project is due. Or, maybe, Don't accept sewing jobs that involve drafting patterns in a week while taking Intensive Greek. Or, Don't leave the hardest part of a project to the last step.
But, if you do....make sure your mother is around!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Slowly but surely...

...the cosplay skirt is coming together. I am sewing my cousin a skirt which I think is the casual outfit of a character named Saber. I know nothing about anime or cosplay, so this is an interesting experience. So far, it's been going okay. The main design elements of the skirt are two pleats in the front, one is the back, and lacing in the center back of the waistband.

I borrowed the waistband pattern from a pattern I had lying around, since it didn't seem worth it to draft it. Then I altered it to leave a gap for the lacing. The actual skirt part I drafted myself. The two pleats in the front are 1.5 inch box pleats, and the one in the back is three inches.

I'm really struggling to get a picture. The fabric is dark blue, and my phone camera doesn't have a flash, so all the photos I try to take are blurry and dark. I will try to track down an actual camera and take a photo. However, if I don't succeed, my cousin's brother is a (good) amateur photographer with a real camera, so I will enlist him to take photographs for me.

I have been pretty busy with Greek, so this skirt isn't coming together as fast as I had hoped. However, it's due tomorrow, so it will be done by then! So far I have the following steps left:
1. Sew down the waistband
2. Put in the zipper
3. Sew the left side seam (which is the seam I plan to put the zipper in)
4. Hem it
5. Add the eyelets for the lacing in the back
I intend to work on steps one and two this evening, as we are going to a baseball game and I can sew there, and both of those are handsewing steps. Step four I could probably also do some of. Step three, of course, is going to take about ten seconds, but I want to do that on the machine.
Step five...hmmm...I'm pretty apprehensive about that one, because I've never put in an eyelet. The tool should arrive tonight, and I will practice, but in the meantime, any tips?

Friday, July 20, 2012


Some of you may have wondered why, after getting input on more Romeo and Juliet posts, I haven't posted any. The truth is, I haven't had the heart. Just a few days after posting the poll, we received word that the rest of the run would be canceled because the boy playing Romeo had been found dead. No one was expecting this, and we still have no information on how or why he died. This took a lot of the fun out of Romeo and Juliet. I will still probably do some more posts, but it will take a while.

RIP, Tyler. You will be missed.

Pattern drafting

Sorry for the radio silence, I've been busy drafting a skirt pattern. My cousin needs this skirt for an anime convention. So far, my drafting has been going well. I have a muslin made, and she's coming on Sunday to try it on.

All I seem to be doing nowadays is costumes! I need to sew myself a dress, stat.

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's not you, it's me. Or maybe her.

Apparently I kill sewing machines. I own two vintage sewing machines, for some reason I don't really remember. My first one, Marianne, developed some timing issues which I attributed to taking her on a long car trip in a car whose shocks were dying. Charlotte was doing fine until yesterday. Now she's having the same problem that Marianne was. The faceplate (I think that's the correct word?) is getting all scratched up around the hole where the needle goes in.

I'm getting frustrated. I seem to be terrible for sewing machines, but I don't know what I'm doing that's screwing them up. I wonder if this could be related to the fact that my little sister likes to use my sewing machine (without permission) and doesn't know how to thread it and usually uses the wrong kind of needle. Is that likely to have been causing a problem? Or have I just had bad luck? I don't know what causes timing issues, but I'm reluctant to go spend $150 to get it fixed if it's just going to happen again and again. On the other hand, I can't exactly keep sewing on a machine that works like this...

Argh. It hasn't been a good week. Any advice?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Make This Look

I ran across this fun site, Make This Look. The author takes a dress from Modcloth, matches it to a sewing pattern, finds appropriate fabric, and then completes the outfit with shoes and an accessory, such as jewelry or a handbag. Click on the photo to find links to the pattern, fabric, etc.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Greek and graffiti

Well, Greek class #1 is done. Of course, class #2 starts on Monday, and we have homework over the weekend, so it doesn't feel like much of a break, but I am still celebrating. I have a few sewing projects going (which are all on hold because SOMEONE TOOK MY PINS grrrr), and may be in the process of nailing down a commissioned skirt for a cosplay person.

I noticed this graffiti driving to school last week. Someone in my city thinks he's very funny, and I'm not a big graffiti fan, but this particular one made me laugh pretty loudly.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I was itching to sew something recently, but I have no time to sew large projects due to Greek class. So I decided on a bit of an impulse to sew myself a headscarf. I could have drafted a pattern myself, but I did not want to put in that much effort. So I bought a pattern from Cam. The one I bought isn't there anymore, but it is a convertible pattern. You can wear it as a headscarf or fold it into a wide headband. This is my finished project:

I don't have any better shots, because this was really a wearable muslin. I have a small and oddly shaped head, and as a result hat patterns tend to be too big for me. This ties, so I knew it could stay on, but I was worried that it would cover too much hair and look like I was covering my hair for religious reasons or something. (I actually really like that look, but it's not what I was going for at all.)

It didn't. It looks (in my opinion) quite cute, without any alteration at all. Do you know how long it's been since I followed a pattern to a T and the finished result fit perfectly and was flattering? A very long time. I want a dozen of these. Well, not really, but I am going to sew several more in different colors. Next up for this pattern is a flowered silk that used to be a badly designed wrap skirt.

I would recommend this pattern to anyone looking for a head scarf that's different from a hat, but doesn't look frumpy or strange. Since this one folds into a headband, it's really like getting two patterns for the price of one. (Actually, it's like getting four, since the pattern provides two different ways to assemble it depending on whether or not you will be wearing it with a bun.)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Honestly, now...

...if in fact anyone cares: how much information about Romeo and Juliet costumes do you guys want to read? I have enough pictures and musing for maybe three or four more posts, but if no one cares about costumes for teenagers I can talk about other things.

So, since people don't comment here very often, I'll make it easy. Here's a poll. Two buttons, people. You can do it!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

This Week's Work: Romeo and Juliet!

 Cam at A Woman's Place....Depends on her Vocation! is hosting a link-up of the work people did this week, This Week's Work. (Note: Cam is one of my favorite bloggers. She is a gifted seamstress who sews beautiful things for herself, her children, and her Etsy shop, but her blog also contains many posts on Catholicism, morals, and politics. It is not a sewing-only blog by any means. If this doesn't sound like your cup of tea, you have been warned!)

Anyway, the work I have been doing in the past week is mostly translating Xenophon's Anabasis, and recovering from getting sick over the 4th of July vacation. (No, not that kind of sick...the flu or something!) What was that about it never rains but it pours?

So I will share some pictures of the last month's worth of work...the Romeo and Juliet costumes! Due to the aforementioned class and the fact that I am going to Virginia tomorrow and can't work, I don't have a whole lot of time, so I will show four pictures, with more to come.
Benvolio in his doublet, which I sewed myself, after adapting it to fit him.

H, as the nurse, with Juliet.

Juliet and her father, Lord Capulet

Romeo and Juliet in the tomb
Flash photography was banned, so the photo quality is pretty poor! I will have to do some substantial editing to get other pictures blog ready, and that's saying something, because you can tell my standard of blog-ready isn't very high!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It never rains, but it pours!

First week of classes + tech week of show = no blogging.

Along came the weekend, when I could relax, and what happened? A giant thunderstorm that knocked out power (and came a little too close to knocking out me and H as we were driving home from opening night!). We didn't get power back until over 60 hours later, so the weekend was not spent blogging.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, so I could relax tonight, and blog, but my sister has the camera, and so I can't post all my beautiful costume pictures.

I'm trying, people. I really am.