Friday, September 30, 2011

Seriously Project Runway?


I am very disappointed in you. 

Okay, so yes his ensembles were an ill-fitting snoozefest, but seriously you liked Josh's ridiculous acid-leopard-80's-plaid-tuxedo absurdity better?  REALLY?

Also, I hate Josh.  I'll say it.  He's awful.  He is untalented and awful.  Dear Josh... you know the classic advice that you should get dressed and then remove something before leaving the house.  Think about that...please?  And Nina Garcia is concerned about Laura's taste level?

And those plaid pants?  They may be the most horrific garment I have seen in my life.  Seriously, if you can make a model look lumpy and chubby and weird just think about what those would do on to the bodies of us normals!

I did legitimately love Anya's jumper although I firmly believe Victor deserved the win for creating beautifully tailored seperates that a) the average woman would wear, and b) inspire me to actually try some of those 70's patterns I inherited rather than mocking them.  Also I did love Bert's dress which was the "bonus" winner.  I am certainly not going to spend money to buy it on, but I may create my own (slightly more tailored) version. 

But, do you think Anya is ever going to design something that is wearable by anyone who needs a bra?  Because that draped v-neck to the belly-button thing is fine and good on models but the average American woman wears a 36C... just something she may want to consider.  The jumpsuit was pretty but it would look vaguely pornographic on me.  It would look vaguely pornographic on Heidi for that matter. 

This season is making me sad and afraid that it will soon be time to mourn the passing of my favorite reality show.  Because it has not only jumped the shark.  These season's designers are chum in the water. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Further attempts at sewing machine repair...

All to no avail.  I am really at a loss. 

I figure I'll take the machine in to the repair shop to be looked at this weekend but I am still sad that I won't be able to put the finishng touches on my Mary Poppins coat in time to enter them over at Pattern Review.  And I didn't bother adding the blouse and skirt because why bother when I haven't finished the whole costume yet.
So in the interim I have gotten started on some knitting.  I'm not doing anything too fancy.  Just a simple ribbed scarf out of some gray wool that we picked up at the Yankee Peddler this weekend.

And of course I enjoy any chance I get to use my knit picks! (Seriously? Best knitting needles EVER!)

Not to give anything away, but someone may be getting a nice Christmas gift!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


My sewing machine seems to be broken... I am most unhappy because I still need to finish up my Mary Poppins jacket before the Pattern Review costume contest closes on Friday!  Why? Why does this happen to meeeee?!

And yes, I am aware that the melodrama is unwarrented and absurd but I DO NOT CARE!  I have a head cold and a BROKEN SEWING MACHINE!

I think my main frustration is that I can't for the life of me figure out what is wrong.  When I turn the wheel forward the needle is hitting an unidentified "something" in the bobbin assembly.  Weirdly I do not have this issue if the turn the wheel backwards.  I have unassembled and reassembled the bobbin assembly multiple times in past several days.  There is probably less lint in the machine than when I brought it home. 

I'm starting to wonder whether this machine has just seen it's last days.  I mean, I suppose you can't expect a $150 machine from Walmart to last more than 5 or 6 years?  My dear Brother C6000i has served me well but it may be time to consider an upgrade... hmmm...

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Brief Foray in Home Dec Sewing

So to go with my (relatively) recently refinished dining room set, I decided I needed some beautiful throw pillows to scatter along the bench and add to what I am going to dub my "modern cozy cottage" decor.  With this plan in mind I purchased fabric months ago but never brought my vision to fruition until recently...

But I finally got my act together and  made my pillows.  (I still plan on making an upholstered cushion for the bench in a kahki tan I picked up at the JoAnns clearance.  I'm picturing something with covered buttons... this may be a disaster so stay tuned!)

Being on the lazy side, especially when it comes to "boring sewing" (aka things that are straight lines), I did purchase pillow forms, utilizing my weekly JoAnns coupon. 

To begin creating a throw pillow you want to start by cutting fabric squares that are smaller than your pillow forms... Yes dear reader, I know this is counter-intuitive, but it is the essential trick to creating a throw pillow that seems professional and finished.  The forms I purchased were 18" x 18" so I cut fabric squares that were 17" x 17x. 

I then pinned the front and the back of the pillow together (right sides together of course!) and sewed the two sides together.

I left about eight inches open and unsewn on one side.  For those who are real "beginner beginners" you want to assure a really sharp corner by sewing right to the edge of your seamline and making sure the needle is peircing the fabric when you make each 90 degree turn.

Then trim the corners and clip the seam allowance before turning the pillow right-side out.

Then for the fun part!  I stuffed the pillow form into the newly created cover and slip stiched the cover closed.

The result? Several beautiful new throw pillows which are not only perfectly matched to my decor but cost only approximately $8.00 each!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Boogie down with more 70's fashion...

You'll be lookin' goooooood....

Because nothing says sexy liked striped pjs and a pipe.

The perfect look for a Bond villain on the go...

Why don't men today wear patio jackets with thier swim trunks?  And more importantly, what is a patio jacket?

Because nothing can set off a brown vest and mustard blouse quite like a jaunty turquoise scarf!

The man on the far right wanted to wear his gold shoes today but it didn't match his blue outfit.  Luckily he had his gold belt to tie it all together!

I don't really want to mock this one because it speaks deeply to my long burried hipster heart.

Is he stabbing her for making fun of his boots? 

Ah yes, the blue denim quilted suit: a necessity for every stylish man

This may be the weirdest his and hers ensemble I've ever seen...

An Exceedingly Steampunk Adventure

I recently had the pleasure of being invited to a Steampunk themed masquerade benefit.  Of course this sent my artsy crafty mind a whirl and I had to get started right away considering my costume options.  
Of course, I considered picking up Simplicity 2172 or 2207.  However, I thought it would be more fun to design my own ensemble.  But of course, for a masquerade I started by designing my masque.  It is not yet completed, but I am pleased so far.

I started by covering a very basic masque from the fabric store with brown faux-suede.  I then glued down rivets and sprockets before attaching a fan of peacock feathers.

I plan to pleat some cream colored silk to attach as a fan shape behind the peacock feathers.  I also plan on attaching a stick and some hanging ribbons and brass chains.  Alternatively, I may insert a rivet on each end, weave some cream grosgrain ribbon through a brass chain to create a strap for around the head.  I haven't decided yet. 

I also am still thinking about my costume and sketching options...

Finishing the Hat

Because I have always believed that I am "practically perfect in every way," this year I will be clad as Mary Poppins for Halloween!  (Congratulations to those who guessed correctly... aka, everyone who guessed!)  I still have to finish the coat, but this weekend I was in more of a "crafty" rather than a "sewy" mood so I set my mind to accessories.  I picked up a pair of gloves at a vintage store for $6.00 (I didn't want to wear those chintzy, shiny gloves that are sold at the costume stores so vintage seemed the way to go) and made myself a black straw boater with daisies and cherries.

I started with a large, floppy straw hat from the floral department of Pat Catans.

I then began peeling away the brim, layer by layer, to reduce width of the brim down to approximately half it's original size.  

I then cut off the excess and stitched the remaining brim in place.

I painted the hat black.  I did one coat in "soft black" and let that dry.  I then painted a top coat in a high gloss black.  The combination of the two paints added some texture needed to make the hat look more worn and natural.

 I then glued on some cheerful daisies and cherries.  After the glue dried I stiched the flowers and berries into place to assure that they were secure.

Next I will finish the coat and draft my pattern reviews for the blouse, coat, and skirt so that I can enter the costume contest.  Once that is complete I will still need to purchase shoes and the umbrella.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Butterick 5455

So I have completed Butterick 5455.  This lovely fitted dress has a pleated neckline and a midriff front as well as self-fabric piping trim.  The best quality of this dress though, is pockets!

I have made this dress several times, most recently in this jewel toned watercolor print. 

I plan to wear this tomorrow with my mega-sized pearls and a blue cardigan:

I like the fit of this dress and have learned to make some minor alterations.  I lengthened the hem by about 3 inches and declined to include the back skirt vent.  I find I don't really need the back vents and they always seem to make my skirts ride up awkwardly and innapropriately.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Productive Evening...

It's the weirdest thing... anytime I bring home work from the office I manage to be SO PRODUCTIVE in the evening.  Not that I complete any so-called "work" but I do tackle a lot of personal projects.

This evening for intance I painted my table and bench.  Something I have been planning on completeing for several months. 

I also practiced the guitar and started a new dress that I hope to have done in time to wear to work sometime this week.  (With help from my lovely assistant of course.)

I'm making Butterick 5455 in a watercolor print cotton sateen. I've made it before and love the pattern but I'm still unsure how the dress will turn out.  It will either be gorgous or I will wander around looking like a really colorful Rorschach test.  

Here is the bodice as constructed so far.  I probably would be almost done if I hadn't bothered with the piping.

I'm also a bit concerned about the lining material.  When I've made this dress before I've lined the bodice with cotton or with the fashion fabric.  This time I'm attempting to use up some of my stash and found a black synthetic something or another that I'm pretty sure I stole from my grandmother's basement at some point.  I don't usually use "lining" fabrics for lining, generally prefering anything that is going to be touching my skin to veer on the luxuriously silky side.  So we'll see.  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Costume Progress

I have made quite a bit of progress on my costume.  I self-drafted a navy blue skirt with princess seams and a simple bias tape waistband.  I then used Simplicity 2339 as the base for making a Victorian/Edwardian-esque blouse.  It's not "historically accurate" but it is appropriate for my purposes!

The blouse turned out well but because I'm a big dummy and made two of the same sleeve.  Seriously.  So that's annoying but since it will be under a jacket anyway and I'm out of fabric I decided not to attempt to fix it. 

I've also started on my coat. I had major problems with the flap welt pockets. I've never really figured out welt anythings (pockets, button-holes, etc...) but as this is a costume I made do with my lackluter skills. I considered pulling out all my stitching and starting over, but again, for costume purposes I figure it doesn't need to be perfect.

Any guess as to what I'm going to be yet?