Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Acquisitions, Organization, and Future Plans...

So I haven't been updating this blog o'mine nearly as often as I should have, but there is a good reason for this... I haven't been sewing nearly as often as usual and thus had nothing write about. I chalk this up to post-holiday laziness and general malaise.  Of course it could also be that I'm busy admiring views like this:
That said, I did acquire some amazing new stuff to help in some upcoming projects.

Most crucially, I upgraded my iron with a nice new Rowenta.  This is not to say that the Hamilton Beach iron I inherited from my mother circa 1980-something is not perfectly lovely... frankly it's stood me in pretty good stead, but it was time for an upgrade and some Amazon vouchers for Christmas proved the ideal opportunity to get a great iron for far less than I would otherwise have paid. 

Isn't that pretty and shiny?  Particularly when compared to my previous equipment?
And I am pleased to report that my new iron is not only visually pleasing, and not covered in burnt crispy...stuff, but it also works far better.  Observe:

These two irons were on the same setting (upper mid-range heat recommended for wool with the steam on).  Just look at the difference!  The new iron created such nice crisp results, comparatively.  The lesson that I've learned once again?  Upgrading to better (sadly this often means more expensive) equipment is pretty much always worth the investment.
I also have acquired an interesting new pattern and some useful books. 
Over the summer, my younger sister was involved in field study in Mongolia and on her way back she stopped off in Japan where she picked up a pattern for her sewing obsessed sister.  Now part of me is deeply tempted to make myself an amazing new kimono, but the larger part of me doesn't want to risk cutting up a pattern in a foreign language I can't even read.  We'll just have to see what happens.
I also bought myself Patterns of Fashion 2.  As someone interested in costuming and historical clothing, I eventually plan on buying more from this series, but I started with the edition which focuses on my favorite era: 1860-1920.  This amazing book(s) diagrams and provides scaled patterns for period gowns from various museum collections. 
I also bought Bridal Couture by couturier Susan Khalje.  This book outlines the fabrication, construction, and application to design and build wedding gowns and formals.  The book details topics such as working with lace and constructing boned bodices.  It's fantastic.  And why did I buy this book you may ask?  Because I have offered to make bridesmaid dresses for my baby sister's wedding set for May of 2015.  It's really the least I can do as one of the co-maids-of-honor.


Early in the planning process, Caitlin and I discovered we had the same dress on our respective Pinterest boards.  Namely, Trashy Diva's Honey dress.


I noticed that this bore a striking resemblance to the Butterick pattern by Gertie (B5882) inspiring the reaction, "hey, I own that pattern!"  And the subsequent determination that I could make the dresses as a wedding gift for less than these dresses would otherwise cost. 
That said, I prefer the true under-bust look of the first dress to Gertie's version, which is designed more to de-emphasize the bust (dear lord, why would I want to do that?).  So I decided to draft my own version as well and figure I can let the bride (remember her?) to make the decision as to what she wanted to use.  So, last night, I busted out my cheap plastic tablecloths (best thing for first draft muslin-ing I've ever discovered) and drafted a 50's style cocktail gown that I'm actually quite proud of!

Pretty, no?  I've also drafted a circle skirt to go with this (you can see it in the back view), but it's ultimately less important to draft ahead of time than the bodice.  

Additionally, I've made some significat Ikea purchases to update the sewing corner of my bedroom and open up the space significantly. 

This new arrangement also gives me the ability to watch terrible reality television while crafting... and what could be better than that?

So to sum up: iron, patterns, weddings, and Ikea... all good things!  Discuss!









Wednesday, February 12, 2014

In lieu of the Superbowl...

Here is the best summation of my opinion of sporting events...

Thus Superbowl Sunday found me not watching commercials and eating wings, but rather at a costume workshop at RockIT CoLabs crafting it up steampunk style!

This amazing afternoon started with a tutorial in paper mache, something at which I am shockingly bad.  I somehow managed to make everything both exceedingly soggy and shapeless... it's not good folks, not good.  After that, we learned to fashion top hats from cardboard and fabric scraps.  I am pretty impressed with my quasi-Victorian efforts.

We also had a tutorial in the use of the 3-D printer.  This was actually really cool, particularly in that I think that sewing and crafting is one area where the technology as is, is  sufficient for current purposes.  While there are some 3-D printers which can work in metals or glass, the vast majority are useful only for polymers.  This restricts the use for many purposes but just think of the notions which are nothing but bits of plastic!  Think of the buttons!

So I spent a wonderful afternoon with cool people learning about some of the intersections between sewing and technology...  I can't wait for the next workshop.