Monday, April 3, 2017

Owl Be Seeing You

Note: I wrote this post in December and didn't get around to adding the picture until now.  Sorry.

I am a bad aunt.  My niece was born in October in 2015 (shortly after I got back from Germany).  I had purchased the fabric for her quilt several months before I left, but between making my dirndl and prepping for Halloween, there was no way I was going to get it done before she was born.  I figured no big deal, it would be a gift for her first Christmas.  Nope.  Okay, first birthday. Nope.  Second Christmas?  Yes, if for no reason than guilt!

Lydia helps test out the quilt

Her mother (my sister-in-law) is obsessed with owls, and decorated the nursery in that theme, so that was the fabric I picked for the quilt.  (Note: my brother, as is the whole family, is obsessed with Star Wars, and received several gifts on that theme at their baby shower.  The number of people who said things like "you can't use Star Wars stuff with a girl!" is really, really disturbing.)  Anyway, my choice was Riley Blake's Happy Harvest, in blue, brown, and green.  I used plain white muslin for accents.

Once I finally got off my lazy butt and got around to putting this together, it came together pretty quickly.  I generally do patchwork quilts with rectangular patterns, because I have a limited amount of patience; this is a variant of the nine patch.  I tied, rather than quilted, this project.  I think I accomplished this in two afternoons, spending the second one streaming Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency with The Boyfriend.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Ask Me about My Radical Feminist Agenda

March is Women's History Month and March 8th is International Women's Day; in the US, a women's strike was held on that day (for those that could).  As someone with a radical feminist agenda (the notion the sexes/genders should treated equally), I participated in the strike and decided to spend my day sewing.  I picked up this fabric from Spoonflower, and its coordinate in pink.  The pattern is New Look 6886, which was the coffee dress, but this time I did views B (gathered bodice with thin straps) and E (bolero).

I did the straps, sash, and bolero in the pink coordinate and the majority of the dress in black (big surprise, I know).  For the bolero, I skipped the sleeves and the ruffle, because I didn't have enough fabric for the sleeves and I didn't think the ruffle worked without the sleeves.  I'll come back at some later point and try the bolero the right way.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe

I'm a total cliche.  I admit it.  Which is why The Boyfriend and I hosted a Poe party last weekend for Poe's birthday (which is actually today).  And you know what me hosting a theme party means: ridiculous costumes!

I see you there, way in the back.  Mumbling that I have an Edgar Allan Poe costume already.  Most people didn't know who I was when I wore that costume, and you know me, any excuse to sew.  My first plan was to be Virginia Clemm (Poe's wife).  Aside from the ickiness of her being his cousin and only 13 when they married (whether or not they had a traditional marriage is debated; there is some argument that they were more like siblings than a married couple), she died during the Victorian era and I knew I wasn't going to have time to make a full-on Victorian costume.  The Georgian era, which proceeded it, had empire waistlines and simpler dresses.  So I decided to be Lenore, as the poem only states she's "lost" and not when.  She could have been dead for twenty years, right?

Yeah, I know no one would care about such things except me.

I went through the pattern stash to find something appropriate to the era.  Burda 2493 fit the bill.  I went with this purple linen so it would drape nicely and I could actually wear it in the summer.  I'm kind of disappointed in the color, which looked deeper and richer online.  If I knew it was going to looked so washed out (which is appropriate for a corpse, I suppose), I think I would have gone with grey instead.

This dress is pretty simple and came together in an afternoon.  Since linen likes to cease being linen, I had to finish every seam.  I had planned to replace the elastic casing on the neckline with ribbon to make the dress less plain; it ended up being necessary because I had exactly the amount of elastic needed for the underbust and sleeves.  Surprisingly, I did not have spider ribbon in the stash, though I did have spider webs, but it was white.  Straight-up black it is.

Since the dress looked so plain, I hemmed it with purple and black spider lace.  I didn't have time to do the sleeves before the party.  I also grabbed these cute spider buttons from my stash to sew them on.  I think these aren't enough, so I ordered more and I will add them at later date.

The bird here is the raven from my Poe costume a few years ago.

The Boyfriend chose to be Montresor; I purchased a ridiculous Mardi Gras hat and he carried around a cake server (which he has now started to call a "cake trowel").

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Wednesday's Child Is Full of Woe

Cobwebs of Shadow Manor celebrated her birthday last month, and I wanted to make her something cute and fun.   If you recall, she runs the Secret Pumpkin exchange every year, and a couple of years ago, I made an Edgar Allan Poe doll.  Inspired by this, I decided to make her a Wednesday Addams doll.

Her dress was modified from the Raggedy Ann dress pattern, though I made it longer and didn't do the gathering.  The dress, shoes, and scalp are made out of black polar fleece.  The doll itself and the collar of her dress are muslin.  Her eyes are blue buttons from my ex-husband's grandmother's vintage button collection; I had a bug up my ass that Wednesday should have grey eyes, and despite finding five or six different sorts of grey buttons in her stash, I only found ONE of each sort, so blue it was.  The buttons up the front of her dress are from the same collection.

Her hair is made of black yarn.  I'm not super happy with how it turned out; it ended up being as tangled and crazy as my own hair.

Happy belated birthday, Cobwebs!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Return of the Red Dress

So remember last Valentine's Day, when I completely lost my mind and decided I needed a strapless red satin evening gown?  Which was a total disaster and nearly ended up in the trash?  In another bout of completely losing my mind, I decided I was going to make the damn dress work for me, lumpy and flat-chested as I am.

First thing I did was kick up my exercise routine.  I was already running over 30 miles a week, but I kicked it up to 40+ and started lifting weights again.  On days I didn't run, I rode the stationary bike or did a combination of yoga and bellydance.  I didn't eat all that many sweets, but I cut them out entirely. Unrefined carbs are a rarity for me as well, but I cut those way down too.  I even stopped drinking orange juice in the morning, replacing it with V8.

Guess how much weight I lost.  Go on, guess.



No, I didn't lost fat and put on muscle.  No, I didn't end up being more toned; I was as lumpy as ever.  Yes, I did feel better exercising every day, and I would keep doing it even though I didn't lost weight, but it wasn't conducive to the red dress looking good.

I was despairing over getting to wear the thing to my company's holiday party (which was last week), when I came down with a nasty GI bug that left me eating nothing but bananas and rice cakes for a week.  Not how I wanted to get trim, but I'll take it.

The gloves are from Target, purchased from the costume section many years ago (featured in the coffee dress outfit), the shawl is from Charming Charlie, and the bag came from Amazon.  The shoes, which you can't see here, are from Leg Avenue.  I wore sparkly white jewelry, right down to my nose ring.  Crappy lighting, but my hair is orange here, and I wore it up in a sock bun.  I wanted to do something more elaborate, but I didn't have enough time and/or skill.

It seems like the dress was a hit!  But I think I will probably stay away from sewing strapless dresses in the future.  Unless I lose my mind again.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween from Cuz I Said Sew!

Guys.  I totally half-assed Halloween this year.  Everything from my party to the decorations to the costumes.  Especially the costumes.  Behold my tale of woe.

It starts back in 2014, the year of Wonder Woman and the pirate.  We were laying in bed, playing with our phones, when I came across color pictures from the Addams Family TV show from the 60s.  I made the comment to The Boyfriend that I had always thought Gomez and Morticia would be an excellent couples costume, but let's face it, Morticia is only a slight exaggeration of how I typically dress.  Then the fateful words came from his mouth: "Well then, next year, I will be Morticia and you can be Gomez!"  And so our fate was sealed.

Except that last year, we were not Gomez and Morticia.  Despite our best intentions, the trip to Germany took up so much time and energy that we wore our trachten (his purchased from a department store in Stuttgart).  We also wore those costumes to a 17th century market last spring and we have a Christmas market event his December, so we are definitely getting our mileage out of them.

Then we moved in May.  Honestly, the sewing room was the second room in the house to be mostly functional, with the first being the kitchen.  And, really, I promise, I was sewing, but it wasn't for me, so I didn't really bother to take pictures for the blog.  I made two cloaks for a friend of a friend of The Boyfriend, and did some upholstery projects for his boat.  I also seem to became the Baby Pumpkin Hat Crochet Factory.  I also threw a pretty big (and secret) baby shower for a friend of mine and his wife.

I will apologize for these terrible pictures taken at our party.  They were taken in dim light by an inebriated person.

So I was left with very little time to do our costumes.  I'm ashamed to say, the only thing I did for mine was make the smoking jacket.  And that started its life as a $8 velvet robe on clearance at Target.  I bought it on a whim, years ago, intending all along to turn it into a smoking jacket, because I am sure it shocks everyone that I would want to own a velvet smoking jacket.  So all I really did here was chop off most of the skirt of the robe.  I intended to do some trim it in burgundy or purple, if I had the time.  Which of course, I did not.

Everything else was in my closet or The Boyfriend's.  I had a black tuxedo shirt in the pictures above and the pinstripe suit.  I wore heeled saddle shoes that I purchased several years ago.  For a mustache, I originally used a stick-on one, but after I sweated that off in five minutes, I drew one on with eyeliner.

I ended up drafting the pattern for his dress from a long-sleeved t-shirt of his and a pair of pajama pants (to get the length and general shape).  My intention had been to make it out of cotton jersey, but he wanted velvet.  I was also going to make it as a two-piece, to make it more comfortable for him, but he said he wanted his dress to resemble Carolyn Jones' as much as possible, so we went with the classic Morticia style.

The tentacles on the bottom were just free-hand cuts and I zig-zagged over the edges to keep them from ravelling.  The organza drapes on the sleeves were also free-handed but I left them unfinished because I wanted them to look a bit distressed.  It ended up fitting him well, but he complained about the lack of pockets all night, and kept saying "how do you dress like this every day?"

I ended up buying a garish ring and a fake cigar.  His necklace is one of mine.  We ended up attending another party after ours and I wore a white button-up shirt and one of ties instead of the black shirt shown here (see below).

Gomez doesn't work as well without Morticia, so I wore a different costume to our work party: the Tenth Doctor from Doctor Who.  I bought the 3D glasses and Converse, but otherwise had the rest.  Believe it or not, this is a different suit.  The Gomez suit was double-breasted and this is single.  The shirt and tie here are the ones I wore for our second party as Gomez and Morticia.  I had the sonic screwdriver because I am a ridiculous fangirl and the psychic paper is just an old checkbook that I stuffed with some printer paper.

And for last party that we are attending tonight, I think I might resurrect my pirate costume.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Along Came a Spider

I'm slowly putting my sewing room back together, but I thought I'd share a dress I made two summers ago that I forgot to blog about.

The pattern is Butterick 5642, view C.  This is a super long dress; I could have not lengthened it at all and been fine, but I added three inches because I had enough fabric.  It's now long enough that I have to wear heels with it or it will drag on the ground.  The fabric is Marvel Ultimate Spider-man Spidey's Web Black (isn't that a mouthful).

I found the instructions for putting the dress together to be weird, so I didn't really follow them.  I also skipped a lot of steps, like enclosing things in a bias casing.  It was still pretty easy.  I had the pieces cut out and the major parts pins already, but I recall I managed to get it all sewn together while watching a Troughton-era Doctor Who series.  If I made this again, I might do a contrasting insert in the bodice, instead of using the same fabric like I did here.

These pictures were taken at The Boyfriend's marina.  Minutes afterwards, the sky opened and we got completely soaked.  Phones, etc, were thankfully not damaged, though I did spend several shivery hours with my dress draped over a fan, waiting for it to dry out.

I get a lot of compliments on this dress, probably more than most of my other clothing.  I guess Spider-Man is more appealing to the average person (or at least my co-workers) than Halloween?  Twerps.