Friday, September 30, 2011

Apron in a day.

An "easy" pattern that's actually easy.
This summer a few friends and I started up a small, regular crafting group. Ideally, we get together twice monthly to craft together, and we pick a different theme each month. The theme this month is "the sea," and I made this apron out of cotton with a fish scale pattern and a swirly blue batik ruffle.

I've never made something that took me such a short time to construct. I could totally bang one of these out in a couple of hours now that I've figured out the moon language in the pattern. I still struggle with the content-rich, description-efficient language in commercial patterns, so even something this simple had its "do what now?" moments. The teacher in me gets really mad at some of these instructions and wants them to be more clear, but I recognize that adding clearer steps would require each pattern to come with a small booklet of instructions.
My waist will never again be covered with flour. My torso,
well, yeah, that's still an issue.

I guess that there's a certain satisfaction that comes with figuring out some of the word-puzzles in these instructions. I admit to getting a very Dungeons-and Dragons-trap-solving thrill when I finally understand what the more complicated lines are trying to get me to do. Ohhh I see... step 3 wants me to pin the ruffle to the pocket with right sides facing, then baste on the pocket facing directly on top with wrong sides facing, and then fold along the basting and turn the top edge inside out. I get it! Is this what getting 300xp feels like?

I'm tempted to make more. Granted, I have no real need for multiple aprons or anything, but I never feel like I've really learned something unless I can reproduce my results a few times over and work out all the kinks. Maybe I can gift a few aprons for the holidays. I totally have friends who cook and bake.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Clothing construction class continues.

I do love a circle skirt...
I'm really glad I'm taking this class. It's so great to have help from someone who really knows her stuff when I encounter pattern problems.

Right now we're learning how to work from a commercial pattern, and we're supposed to pick something that suits our skill level. Some people have really simple garments like gathered skirts or wraps. Others with more sewing experience chose more complex stuff, like collared jackets and such.

I'm trying Vogue V8615, a dress labeled as "very easy" so I don't bite off more than I can chew just yet. My challenge for this dress is setting sleeves and fitting the bust on a garment with a higher neckline. The sleeves in my failure of a Maester's robe were such a horrible trainwreck that I want to try a second attempt under the guidance of a pro. Again, while this pattern says that these sleeves are "very easy," so did the robe one, and I know better than to assume that the company's definition of "very easy" jives with mine.
Seriously bro?

So far we've cut out our pieces and we're poised to start sewing. During the cutting process I ran into my first "Maritza please save me" problem. The shoulder of the bodice pieces looked crazy screwy. On the right, the dotted lines were labeled one way, but on the left, all the measurements were down a row and I had no idea where to cut. I was told to just keep cutting along the same line and that this could be a printing error, but looking at it now I just realized that the extra numbers line up with the little triangles. HAH! Reason from madness! Thank you, dear blog, for making me think about this again later.

The bust on this dress is also different than my previous dresses. The pattern is labeled as "custom fit," and it comes with a bunch of different bodice fronts for bra sizes A-D. I'm larger than a D, but the measurements on the package for the size I cut are actually exactly my measurements, so I hope it will work out. If not, Maritza tells us she can help us learn to make adjustments.

We have tomorrow off, so I'll likely use some of that time to cut out the muslin for my first version of the dress. I still need to get fabric, but since I'm in muslin-land, I can wait and think about what exactly I want this dress to look like.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I love you, King Richard's Faire.

Stolen from my husband's blog, Forgive me, honey.
We went to King Richard's Faire this weekend, and I loved every second of it. When I was in high school I was a total renfaire nerd, and I wore bodices and curly toed elf shoes to school. Yes, kids made fun of me. No, that didn't stop me, because I was too awesome. If I can find photos of any of these outfits I'll upload some, because they were epic.

You'd take me seriously if I wore
these all the time, right?
I still love this stuff, and seeing the Moresca booth this weekend at the faire was almost more than I could stand. Just like when I was 16, I wanted everything. I walked out with an extremely full skirt that I never want to take off because I love it so. Thankfully I managed to force myself to leave before maxing out my credit card on more skirts, a couple of bodices, at least two dresses, and a pair of shimmer-satin bloomers in every color they had in the store. My "fun stuff" budget is completely blown, but I'll have plenty of fun hanging around my apartment eating ramen in my new skirt.
These look like SO MUCH FUN  to wear.

When I was in high school I used to live for my yearly trips to King Richard's because it was the only place I could look "normal" while simultaneously finding more of the clothes I wanted to wear. It's weird to go again now that I'm sewing, because I can look at the clothes and figure out how to make them myself. Granted, a lot of these things are more difficult than I can handle right now, but there are plenty that possible with my skill set.

I reeeeeallly want to go back again before they close up for the season, and hopefully I can work out one more trip. If I can go again I want to really look at the construction of some of my most-wanted garments to see which ones to try to attempt. Unless, of course, someone wants to buy me a new wardrobe.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Clothing construction class: day 1

Pictured: not my first project.
Heck yes. I like this class. I'm too cracked out to post more than a few quick things, but here's why I'm looking forward to next Monday:

1. The professor is charming. She seems like she has a sense of humor, and she's easy to listen to.
2. The class seems to be full of people who want to be there.
3. I'll have an excuse to sew on the regular that will help me fight the siren call of Adventure Time.

We went over the syllabus and took very detailed body measurements. I apparently have a high waist, which is news to me. Our homework is to get the list of supplies and find a commercial pattern for our first project. I can't wait!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thought I was dead, eh?

Nope. Not so much.

The silence was due to four things. The first was a nasty case of strep throat (yes, it came back), a trip to Provincetown, the Goblin War, and the start of school. Because of these things I have started a bunch of projects and not finished any of them. Why have there been no pictures? Well, I haven't gotten terribly far on a circle skirt, and the maester's robe I was making for the Goblin War had me so angry I didn't want to look at it.

While I don't have any photos of finished things, here are the unfinished things I have going on:

These are the pasta pots I scavenged from around the house
so I could dye all the fabric in the universe.
"All the fabric" is a technical term. It means 9 yards of linen.
Fancy dyes + recently boiling water = blue fabric.
Recently boiling water also = burns.  Apparently fresh skin
takes dye better than older, more experienced skin.
Burned skin also takes dye better than 9 yards of fabric. 
More dye and tons of cutting time later, the flaws
appeared. For instance, this is supposed to be the
sleeve and the armhole. Yes, I cut them correctly.
I gave up and opted to wear a corset to the Goblin War instead.
Thus, I had more time to make favors. Yay favors!
I dyed and burned muslin all day. The whole house smelled
like coffee, tea, and burnt cotton/skin. Worth the stink.
There will be more photos and activity soon, though. I'm starting a clothing construction class tomorrow and I should have plenty to write about. I'm glad, too. I missed sewing and I want new clothes.