Saturday, May 26, 2012

Butterick Fall/Summer 2012 Collection

New summer/fall patterns by Butterick are out.  I can sum it up in one word: meh. B5767 is the only one that really appeals to me at all.  But let's be honest here: it's not like I really need more sewing patterns.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Well, That Didn't Last Long

Last time, I posted about how someone's extremely unprofessional behavior on Etsy left me steaming, stewing, and vowing to not purchase anything there for quite a long period of time.  Er, well, I guess "quite a long period of time" is only a few days.  I had forgotten that in mid-April, I'd emailed someone I'd previously done business with, asking her to do some custom work for me.  She had been on vacation (and, as a professional, put up a notice on her shop and auto-replied as such).  I'd forgotten about it, until she got back to me last night.  Since I have experience with her custom work, which is excellent, I decided to go ahead with the purchase.  So, I guess my self-imposed exile has ended.

I never intended to stay away permanently, nor do I want to imply that I don't support the DIY community (which would be pretty stupid, because that's the entire point of this blog).  I'm just going to employ a great deal more caution in the future.

As a shout-out to those sellers on Etsy who are absolute professionals, I'm providing a list of sellers that I've used in the past (some of them multiple times) that I've been truly impressed by.

  • Birdz N Beez sells beautiful lockets.
  • Kasket Kustoms motto is "jewelry to DIE for!"  What else needs to be said?
  • Melissa Dawn Arts combines my love of kittehs with my love of pixies in the form of compacts, tins, and other media.
  • The Mighty Squirm provides a wonderful selection of spooky t shirts on organic cotton.
  • Purrfect Knits by Catmother is a shop I've gone to many times when I'm in need of a gift for a niece or nephew
  • SobeBotanicals creates makeup (mostly veggie-friendly) in a fun variety of both natural and unnatural colors.  I don't wear cosmetics, but this is where I went when I needed green lipstick last Halloween.
  • Sweet Anthem sells vegan perfume that she makes in her shop in Seattle.  She does have a long turn around time, but she's quite up front about it and trust me, it's worth the wait.
  • Sweet Heart Sinner creates weird (in a good way!) pillboxes, business card holders, jewelry, and more!
  • Teaman sells various blends of herbal, black, green, and white teas.  I can only speak for the herbal tea, but it is excellent and addictive.
This is just a small selection of the great sellers on Etsy.  As I said previously, 99.5% of the DIY community is truly spectacular.  I encourage people to use Etsy and local artisans all the time.  Just be careful who you buy from.

I'd love to hear back from the community on this.  Does anyone have any great shops to share?  Any horror stories?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Cure for My Etsy Addiction

Like just about everyone everywhere, I am utterly addicted to Etsy.  Or perhaps I should say "was."  Despite nearly every transaction, from the now-defunct Alchemy, to custom requests, to binges on in-stock items, going entirely smoothly, it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch.  I have just had a thoroughly unpleasant and unprofessional transaction that I think is going to keep me away from Etsy for a long, long time.  It's sad, because though 99.5% of people in the DIY community are completely awesome, it's jerks like this that give DIY a bad name.  Srsly, anyone that resorts to threats for following Etsy guidelines is an asshole in my book.  I would advise anyone using Etsy to be extremely careful from whom they purchase from.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Triumphant Return

Hi everyone. I will apologize, once again and hopefully for the last time, for my absence. Things are finally starting to fall into place and it looks like I might have the energy, motivation, and time to get back into sewing. I haven't returned to my former level of vigor, but I'm tryin', peeps. I'm out of the blogging habit, as you will see from the post, and completely forgot to take in progress pictures.

But despite my lack of outgoing projects, my desire purchase large quantities of fabric was only slightly diminished. So when has one of their clearing out sales, and I have coupons, and I feel the need to do therapy shopping, well, you can imagine what happens.
This beauty was on sale for $4.95/yd and I had a 15% off coupon. I couldn't find any designer information, and the only title I have for this was "Halloween Words and Motifs on Black" - quite creative, right? I didn't realize until after I'd purchased and washed the fabric that "scary" is spelled as "scarey". actually has an entry for the usage on the fabric, so I guess it isn't strictly an incorrect spelling, per se, just non-traditional. I harrumphed a little, but in the end, I decided that if it had taken me that long to notice, no one else ever would. I valiantly resolved to press on.
I purchased this a while back. I picked it because it seemed simple enough to knock off in an afternoon (and it was). I sewed up view A. Despite its easy nature, this pattern did have its odd aspects. The facing had darts, but the dress didn't; it did, however, have gathering that the facing did not.
The facing was not understitched. You can see it that picture that it doesn't lay as flat as it should. I didn't press it, which is part of the issue, but if I made this again, I would certainly understitch. The only real modification I made was the length (I did a 5/8" hem instead of 1 1/4", as I usually do) and instead of creating a button loop out of thread, I cut some leftover fabric on the bias and used that instead. The button here came from the stash. I know it probably shocks readers to know that I just happened to have jack o'lantern buttons laying around.
It has become apparent to me that Azzurra and I are no longer really the same shape. While she is adjustable, I think the waist is at the smallest setting and is still too big. She also bulges in places I don't. I'll have to adjust her and she how much I can fix. I've heard of people taking these forms apart and adding or removing foam, but I think that might be beyond my skill level (and certainly is beyond my current level of motivation). She also doesn't stand straight, though that might be the carpet.
Since I am much less curvy than she is, the dress doesn't cling so much. I'm still pretty happy about how it turned out and I'm looking forward to starting the Halloween countdown. Less than six months to go!

As I previously mentioned this dress was pretty easy. I would say it is a good pattern for a beginner. The challenges include:
  • darts, but in the facing only, so they don't have to be perfect,
  • gathering, but only the small amount I showed above,
  • facings, which I never thought were difficult, but some people do,
  • and inserting a zipper, which is something a sewing enthusiast is going to need to master early on anyway
This could probably be tackled as a first garment.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Brief Update

Hello everyone. I once again apologize for my absence and thank you for your continued patience. The last few weeks have been quite a whirlwind for me. Briefly:
  • I started my new job on the 16th of April. The first week had me on a rollercoaster of emotion, but things have improved greatly since then. While I still miss my friends from my old job, the new one is shaping up nicely. I think I'm going to like it there.
  • Amazingly, now that my stress is beginning to evaporate, I am able to sleep better at night. This does wonders for my outlook. While I'll never be considered perky, these days, I am far less morose and pessimistic.
  • I've lost about three or four pounds (without intentionally changing anything). This is again due to the comparative lack of stress. Being stressed makes my cortisol levels skyrocket (which makes me gain weight by itself) and also tends to make me eat tons. Not necessarily junk food, but large quantities of food. I hate that I react to stress that way.
  • I got a new car! It's a 2012 orange Challenger! I haven't decided what to name him yet (he's definitely a him), but I'm leaning towards Bruce. One of my aunt suggested Orange Krush, and things like Pumpkin and Jack o'Lantern are always an option.
  • My birthday was Monday. I didn't really do anything to celebrate, but I am have a secret birthday party this Saturday. (Not that the party is secret, it's that people don't know the party is a birthday party.)
While I haven't been able to hit the sewing machine for a while, I do have lots of project lined up that I'm itching to work on. With the party this weekend, I will not likely have another post for this week, but I think (fingers crossed) next week should bring a new post. Again, thank you for your words of support and patience.