Friday, August 24, 2012

Pattern Explosion!

Yesterday, both Burda and Butterick released their fall patterns.  (Or rather, the emails about their release went out.)  Both have some delicious styles, like this sheer blouse, this vintage-inspired suit, and this retro dress.  The real surprise here is this dress by Gertie.  Don't know who that is?  She runs Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing and has kept the whole project under wraps, revealing it just yesterday in this post.  If you're a fan of sewing, then this blog is absolutely for you.

This pattern would look absolutely fantastic on someone with spectacular curves!  So if that's you, sew it up, take some pictures, and then send them my way!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My JoAnn's Haul

Featuring Lydia's whiskers
I've now featured my goodies from two shopping trips to Michaels (here and here).  (BTW, the hearse is now sitting on my desk at work.  My co-workers haven't cooed over it like I have, but they did say "yeah, it's cool" - for normally people, that's a pretty good response.)  But now, can I get a "hell yeah!"?  I stopped it at my local JoAnn's on the way home to purchase the remainder of my Halloween fabrics (and they had what I needed!), and Halloween stuff was out!  Still not fully stocked, but they had stuff!  Great stuff!

Now, I know that if I had waited a week or two, the price on all this would have been reduced 25%, but I COULD NOT WAIT.  No, don't point out that I already have orange stripy socks (and several pairs of tights too), or that I wall clings are a pain in the ass.  I DO NOT CARE.  I must appease my Halloween needs.

Oops, I didn't buy notions for my costume today.  I guess I'll have to return in a few days or weeks. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My Michaels Haul II

As August and summer draw to a close, Halloween fast approaches.  Stores are slowly, ever so slowly, displaying their Halloween merchandise.  I previously mentioned my endeavors this year in locating spooky merchandise, so I guess this is the second in the series.  Perhaps there will be more?  They better not all be Michaels entries!

Onto this shopping experience, which is actually two.  The first took place on Friday.  I was invited to a birthday party.  There was a gap between the end of my work day and the party, so I killed some time at JoAnn's (gotta buy fabric for my Halloween costume, of course!).  It wasn't my local one, and was quite a bit smaller, so I didn't really know what to expect.  Harvest/Thanksgiving decorations were displayed front and center, just as my local one the last time I was there.  As I walked past the first aisle, the next was nearly empty.  There were a few items at the end of the aisle, so a glimmer of hope blossomed in my dark little heart.  I went over to inspect - a few Halloween decorations (nothing to my taste), and loads of candy!  I grabbed some gum drops (I had been craving them all day, so I took it as a sign of fate), but nothing else.  That they had anything out pleased me greatly.  Sadly, their fabric selection was small and I only got one of three fabrics I need for my costume.  I guess I will need to hit up my local one after all.  I'll just give them a few days to put out their decorations. :)

The rest of my stops took place today.  The hubby casually mentioned that a Spirit store was opening by Michaels.  I figured it wouldn't hurt to stop in.  I almost never buy anything in these places.  It's usually of extremely poor quality, but I occasionally will buy decorative items or be inspired by their displays.  Mostly, they just convince me than ever that I'm better off making my own costumes.  Anyway, this one doesn't open until September, so I will save my judgment until then.  However, I did notice on the way there that my local Hancock is closing.  I guess the poor service I've always gotten there (except last the last time) finally did them in.

So now, onto Michaels.  Once again, they had so many fabulous items.  I have a Halloween tree (a gift from one of my sisters-in-law) that I have never hung any decorations from.  There were quite a few ornaments available.  While I didn't buy any, I think they'd be fantastic.  I'm waiting until later in the season so I can see what's for sale elsewhere.

The first picture contains two cat collars and a skulls and bones bracelet.  Yes, I am one of those horrible people who dresses their cats in costumes (incidentally, you'll see glimpses of them in the pictures - I guess they also have the Halloween bug).  Last year, Theora was a catfish.  I'll try to post a picture of it as we get closer to the season.  The bracelet is going into my jewelry box, because yes, I am one of those people who wears cheap Halloween jewelry on non-Halloween days.

The next picture features two hanging ghosts.  There's nothing too special about them, but they were cheap and I thought they'd look nice hanging from the chandelier.

Picture #3 is a set of haunted portraits (the kind that change from a normal picture to a skeleton, demon, etc).  Obviously, hard to photograph, but I had to give it a shot.  You kind kind of see the effect in the picture.  Lydia is sneaking in a peek.

The last two items are a hearse and what looks like a recipe box.  I call it a recipe box because that's the sort of box (with the rounded lid) my parents and my mother's parents kept their recipes in.  (My dad's mother seemed to keep all of hers in her head.  She's still going strong at the age of 85.)  I don't know if that's the actual term for it or not, but that's what I'm calling it.  I planned on using this to store my trivia questions, as every party I host has a trivia contest.

Theora is hanging out behind the hearse because she knows how awesome it is.  Look, it even has a skeleton chauffeur!  Even my husband likes it, and that's saying something.  I immediately took this out of its box and put it on display.  This puppy is going to be a year-round decoration.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Halloween Update

Well, the good new is that I finally chose a Halloween costume.  I plan on revealing it on Halloween and will run a contest for my readers to guess what I am (with prizes, of course).  Unfortunately, that means no new posts until November.  (There will be It Came from My Closet! posts.)

However, if there is no interest in a contest, then I will just reveal things as I make them.  So the ball is in your court, folks.  Which would you prefer?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hold Your Hearses

I must apologize for being AWOL most of the summer.  I've been posting, of course, but those have been mostly It Came from My Closet! posts (as is this one).  My only excuse is that my allergies this year have hit me the hardest of my entire adult life.  I don't know if it's the heat, or the drought, or something else altogether, but this summer has been an absolute misery.  I can deal with the sniffling, coughing, and sneezing, but I can't cope with the itching and extreme exhaustion.  Normally, I just pop a Claritin and call it a day; this year, one isn't even close to strong enough.  I've been taking two, but since it's a steroid, it severely interferes with my sleep, which only adds to my exhaustion.  And ragweed season is still to come.

Well, onto the post.  The quality of these pictures isn't so great; the batteries in my camera were dead, so I used my cell phone instead.  Also, light was poor and I was in a rush.  On top of that, I am a poor photographer to begin with, but you already knew that.

I mentioned this fabric back in His & Hearse - it's Eerie Alley by Robert Kaufman.  Pink isn't my favorite color, but when it comes to hearses, any color is acceptable.  The lining and underlayer comes from leftovers of the - you guessed it - Daisy-Head Mayzie costume.  I think everything I've made using the leftovers has been mentioned by now, so hopefully you won't have to hear about it again.  (Unless, of course, I post the actual costume.)

I can't remember if I bought this specifically to make Simplicity 3956 or not.  The pattern does not list cotton as a suggested fabric, but it does suggest handkerchief linen, so I figured that was close enough.  In retrospect, cotton is a little heavy considering that it is lined and layered.  If you want to make this in cotton, probably one layer would be sufficient.

On the printing of the pattern I have, nowhere on the outside of the envelope does it say the fabric is to be cut on the bias.  Once I made the decision to actually go through with this, and I had already deviated by using the "wrong" fabric, I wasn't going to let a little thing like a bias-cut layout stop me.  It might be prudent to go up a size, as I did, if you use this method.  (For those who don't know, fabric cut on the bias is stretchy, so the extra ease of going up a size makes up for losing that.)

This pattern isn't super difficult, but it does have some tricky bits.  The lining was finicky - more than linings usually are.  Due to the gathering and matching up the tailor's tacks, not to mention the ravelly nature of cotton, it was a bit frustrating.  I prevailed in the end, obviously, but I would suggest that only those already experienced with sewing linings and gathering tackle this one.  Probably good for an advanced beginner or an intermediate.

You think I would have learned my lesson after the trouble I went through with the other hearse fabric - namely, blouses like this are obscenely low-cut on me and gap in the front.  I hand-sewed in the privacy panel in the front.  Because it isn't sandwiched between the outer fabric and the lining, it doesn't look as nice as I would like.  It isn't worth taking the whole blouse apart to properly sew in the panel, but if I did this again, I would certainly take do so.

In other news, though I haven't had the energy to trek up to the sewing room, I did mange to work up enough to do something I have wanted to do for a while: I got my nose pierced over the weekend.  I would take a picture, but at the moment, my camera's batteries are still dead, and my phone's battery is nearly so.

Thanks for your patience over the summer.  I am hoping things will improve once the worst of the season has passed.