week 45 – Aprons

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The Facts

Fabric: mystery cotton

Pattern: McCall’s Easy Stitch & Save M5358

Year: recent, yet anachronistic

Notions: thread, snaps

Time to complete: a week

First worn: for Halloween party at work

Wear again? Hopefully

Total Cost: $25 for time and materials

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As I have stated before, my coworkers told me that I would be Alice for our work Halloween party, because I have the hair for it. I knew that I had this pattern, and I knew that it would be perfect for an Alice in Wonderland apron. I was planning on using this pattern to make a pinafore for a long time. Now, I no longer had any reason to put off making it any longer. This is the first thing that I made for my Alice costume.

I was expecting a super quick, really easy, beginner level sewing pattern. This is not a super quick, really easy, beginner level sewing pattern. The other aprons featured in this sewing pattern might be beginner level, but this apron is more along the moderate level of sewing capabilities. It uses things like button holes, narrow seams, gathering and basting stitches, and ruffles. I know, I know, ruffles can be used in beginner sewing patterns. This pattern just did not feel like a beginner level pattern. I’m glad that I started with it, because I started on the apron about a month before Halloween. I gave myself plenty of time and I took things slow. One day, I cut out the pattern pieces. Then I put everything aside and started construction the next day. Whenever I got to a point that was too frustrating or confusing, I just laid everything to the side and walked away. Sometimes I would come back to it in the same day. Other times, I would come back the next day. It all ended up working out in the end.
The only modification that I made was that I did not add the ruffle along the bottom of the apron. This ended up making me miss a step where I was supposed to hem the side and bottom of the bottom of the apron. As I have already said, it all ended up working out in the end. I was able to finish all of the edges, hide all of the seams, and make both the front and the back of the apron look good. I knew that the apron would be the main part of the costume that everyone would be able to see, so it was very important for it to turn out well, and it did. There were several people who did not believe that I had made my costume, because it did not look homemade to them.

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While I am very happy with how different pieces of the costume turned out, overall I think I could have done better. Maybe next year, my group will win first place instead of second! What do you recommend for four coworkers to dress up as for a work Halloween party?

Happy sewing!

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week 34 – Collared. Making something with a collar. TAG: Collared

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The Facts

Fabric: mystery cotton blend

Pattern: made from approximating what other internet patterns were doing

Year: 2015, also – timeless

Notions: ribbon, thread

Time to complete: 1 hour, approximately

First worn: for work Halloween costume contest

Wear again? Possibly

Total Cost: $5.00, figuring time and materials

My workplace loves to celebrate the holidays. Every year for Halloween, we have a costume contest. There are prizes for the best individual costume, as well as for the best group costume. There are also prizes for the runner’s up. My coworkers told me that we are going as Alice in Wonderland, and that I would be Alice. I looked in the thrift stores for a dress that would be suitable, however I was unable to find one. I then looked for a pattern that would be simple, and capture all of the elements of Alice’s dress. I was unable to find one of those as well.

So, I made an Alice costume. Her dress in the movie includes a full skirt, puff sleeves, and a peter pan collar. I had trouble with the bodice of the dress, so I made the peter pan collar separate. There are a multitude of free patterns for all sorts of cute different peter pan collars. I somehow managed to miss the start of the trend of the peter pan collar necklace, but it seems to be still going pretty strong. I used the same fabric that I used for the dress, cut it, and sewed it with ribbon used for the closure. I’m not sure that I like how it looks on me. It seems to be too big to just wear as an accessory, but it works for the costume.
More pictures of the rest of the outfit to come soon.

Happy sewing!

Sewing Challenge: On Trend, Summer

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The Facts

Fabric: thrifted t-shirts

Pattern: from YouTube videos

Year: 2013

Notions: embroidery floss, bamboo skewers, spray paint, thread

Time to complete: I don’t remember

First worn: N/A

Wear again? No

Total Cost: Used items from my stash, so probably under $10 for everything.

I know that after the last post I haven’t really been available online. Turns out that it takes some time getting used to and settling into a new life. I had forgotten what it was like working a 40 hour work week and what it means in relation to time for everything else. Basically, there is none. I go to work in the morning, then I come home, eat dinner, unwind a little and then I realize that it is time for bed. Since moving into my new apartment, I have not been able to organize my creative space at all because I have too much fabric to be able to, well, to do much of anything. Also, I have found that I have a bit of a social life. It seems that people like me and want to spend time with me. Since hanging out with other people is more enjoyable than cleaning, I have been choosing to spend time away from home. I’m hoping that in the future, I will be able to find the balance and be able to do it all, but I get the feeling that is something that everyone hopes for and few achieve.

What this means is I am going to be blogging about some of the things that I have made previously, and counting it as though I made it this year. For this week, I am doing four things in one post.

About this time last year, Threadbanger had a contest of sorts that was inspired by summer camp crafts. If you made the items that they showed in their YouTube videos, then they would mail you a patch showing that you made the item. They did a tie dye, a friendship bracelet, a God’s eye, and a t-shirt reconstruction. I had mostly forgotten that I had done the projects, but one of the items, the tie dye shirt, surfaced.. I was pricing things that I am going to be selling at my parent’s yard sale, and I came across the shirt. I showed it to my mom and she really liked it. She actually liked it so much that she claimed it as her own shirt, which was actually a good thing as I had run out of hangers for the clothing for sale.

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The friendship bracelet that I made for the contest was actually the first friendship bracelet that I had ever attempted to make. I knew many friends in elementary school who would make them, but I never took the time to learn. Thank goodness for the tutorials on YouTube. My bracelet isn’t perfect, but it isn’t terrible for a first attempt. I don’t think I ever appreciated how much time goes into them, and because of that, it is possible that I won’t be making another one.

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The t-shirt reconstruction that I did was to take a t-shirt and turn it into a tube top. I try to avoid wearing tops that require faith to stay up. I did the reconstruction because it was the example given. After I followed the tutorial, I saw that I could have done any of the t-shirt reconstructions that Threadbanger has a tutorial for. I am pretty sure that this shirt ended up going to the thrift store, but I may have kept it because I like the olive drab color.

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The God’s eye was pretty quick to do and used up some embroidery floss. I picked some colors that looked pretty together and were at the top of the pile of embroidery floss. The only downside was that the floss had already been cut so I had to tie the end of one string to the beginning of the next more often than I would have liked. I used a skewer for the wood base as I have many of them for use with my grill.

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The tie dye shirt that my mom fell in love with was done using a white shirt from the thrift store and some spray paint that I had on hand. I scrunched the shirt, sprayed it with paint. Then I unfolded it, rescrunched it, and sprayed with the second paint. Then, I shook it out, rescrunched it again, and sprayed it with the last color. I would like to dye some shirts and other fabrics with liquid dye at some point in the future. I have some tie dye kits as well as some dye resist. I have many plans for what I would like to do, I just need to schedule and plan for when I am going to do them. Maybe have a tie dye party? That would be fun.

 

I took the pictures, posted them on Instagram with the appropriate hashtag. I wasn’t sure who to contact with my information, but they contacted me, I gave them my address, and I got my summer camp badges in the mail. I love them and need to figure out what really awesome thing that they can adorn.

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

Week 12 – TV Inspired: Based on a character from TV, past or present

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The Facts

Fabric: Old pair of jeans

Pattern: Self-drafted

Year: 2014

Notions: Thread, fabric paint, fabric markers

Time to complete: 3+ hours

First worn: N/A

Wear again? I hope so.

Total Cost: Most of the materials I had on hand because I had originally purchased them for other projects. To make this new, it will cost from $5-$20 for materials, depending on if you are purchasing new fabric and if you are buying studs instead of using fabric paint.

Someone had shared an article on Facebook quite some time ago that showed cats wearing classic punk denim jackets. (http://www.buzzfeed.com/sbkasulke/look-at-these-19-adorable-cats-in-punk-vests) I shared the article and asked the general question of what punk jacket would be best to make for a cat and my friend Kevin said Vyv from the Young Ones. Thankfully, this show is much loved and there are many research options available for reference pictures as I did not see the Young Ones as I was growing up. Scandalous, I know. I watched Are You Being Served?, Mulberry Days, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Black Adder, Red Dwarf, All Creatures Great and Small, and Fawlty Towers. Oh, and Doctor Who. It was alway fun watching an episode of All Creatures Great and Small and then watching Doctor Who and going, ‘wait, didn’t I just see him?’ But I did not know about the Young Ones existence until much later.

Anyway, this project presented many challenges. As I do not have easy access to a cat for pattern fittings, I had to guess on the sizing and shape for the best fit and cat comfort. My research shows most pet harnesses and jacket type items are kind of hourglass shaped and close in the back. The article shows jackets fitting the cats like they would on a person – closing in the front and pretty much a straight, somewhat boxy shape. Most of the measurements that I could find for cat jackets were somewhere around 16 inches long with a 9 inch neck/collar. So, I measured and I cut 17 inches off of the bottom of a leg of a pair of jeans, the extra inch to allow for seam allowance. I realized that the fabric was very long. I laid the cut fabric on my lap and realized that if a cat were to wear a jacket that was that long, it would probably not make a very good lap cat. Or it would be mad at its humans for putting it in a thing that interferes with the glory of its beautiful tail and would start destroying anything it could, provided it could get over the disdain of moving in such a monstrosity.

So, I cut the giant piece of fabric into two, more manageable pieces so I could make two jackets instead of one. Then I decided which side I wanted to be the front and I cut it straight down the middle. Then I guessed on where might be the best place for the front legs and cut out the sleeves. Then I cut out four collar pieces, using the tops of the jackets as a guide. I tried to make sure that I included the seam allowance, but I made the one too short. Then I sewed everything up. I did a straight stitch on the sleeves to help maintain the shape and to make sure that they will only unravel to a certain point, and I sewed the front of the jacket to create a clean edge and to prevent unraveling.  I sewed the two collar pieces together and attached them to the jacket, for each jacket. For the jacket that I made the collar too short on, I folded the front of the jacket in and hand sewed it down to make everything fit. Then I started the decoration process.

I elected to not use actual studs on these jackets for two reasons. One, I do not know if the cat who may one day wear this will decide to try to chew on the studs. Two, the studs that I was able to find that were not iron on, were $10 for a small box. I think there may be 90 or so studs in the box, but they are of a mixed variety and there is no guarantee that there would be enough of the same kind to complete one jacket. Plus, I am poor and did not want to spend that much money on a thing for a test prototype. Once I perfect the pattern, then I can justify the expense.

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The first patch shows the paint pen after repeated coats were added. It shows up better in this picture than it does in person. The middle one is what the fabric marker looks like. The final one is me practicing with the fabric paint. I painted a star because I was tired of doing anarchy symbols. Bonus: I now have three denim patches for future projects.

Thankfully, I already owned silver fabric paint, as well as fabric markers in various colors. Unfortunately, I could not get the white paint pen to work well, so I used glue. Once it finishes drying, I can attempt the same technique shown in this Instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Vyvyan-Basterd-The-Young-Ones-Costume/#step0

There was some conflict in what Vyvyan’s jacket said. The reference picture that I was using said “Love Your Dead,” while the instructable shows his jacket saying “Love You Dead.” I feel that if I had watched the show I would know which one was correct. I’m mostly ok with my choice and too lazy to look up screenshots again. Of course, if I really wanted to make a screen accurate jacket, I would have included front pockets and chains on the back.

Anyway, here are the finished products, as they lay drying. Notice, the one that I made the collar too short on does not have enough room for the words on the front. Should the day come where I figure out the measurements to make a kitty coat, I will make sure that the jacket is more square and less skewed. However, for these I will say that it is entirely intentional. It was surely not laziness on my part. It was definitely an attempt at making the jacket as punk as possible. Right angles are for the man. Don’t follow the rules that society laid down for you. Blaze your own path! And such.  

 

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This is the shorter one.

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This is the longer one. I’m still worried that it is too long and that it has too much fabric in the front. I’m not sure that an animal that wears this will be able to move easily.

 

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This is what the little one looks like on a space buffalo. I’m hoping that it will fit an actual cat better, but it gives an idea of how it will look.

Happy sewing!

week 47 – Color Challenge: Black & White

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The Facts

Fabric: t-shirt from stash mountain

Pattern: comfort corset no sew project 7 from “Generation T – 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt”

Year: 2006

Notions: none

Time to complete: one cup of coffee

First worn: for pictures

Wear again? Possibly, as it is pretty comfortable

Total Cost: Less than $1 for the shirt

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I was at a loss for what to make this week as my crafting space is still in quite a disarray. I need a rather large space for the circle skirt, plus my rulers and tape measures so I can draft my own pattern. Sadly, those items are currently disguised as cardboard boxes. This wouldn’t be such a problem, but I am pretty sure that the boxes reproduce whenever anyone leaves them alone for long enough, and the standard work day seems to be long enough for breeding to occur. I am hoping to make progress this weekend, however, I am thinking it will take some weekends beyond that to do any lasting changes.

For this week’s challenge, I looked along the list for something that would fit the materials that I had accessible. I know the point of doing challenges is to make it more difficult for yourself and to push yourself into doing things that you wouldn’t normally. I decided that making anything this week would be challenging enough and I threw out the idea that the challenges needed to be done in any order except for what would work best for me. My eyes alighted on this challenge. Black and white. It was perfect as I had this black shirt with the white lettering. I had hoped to do something a little more elegant for this challenge, maybe something where I use two different fabrics to achieve one creation. Beggars can’t be choosers and I am pretty happy with how this creation turned out.

To make this t-shirt refashion, there are a couple of easy steps. First, start out with a shirt that is a little big, maybe a size up from what you normally wear. Then, cut off the neckline, the sleeve ends, and the bottom hem. Then, cut a large scoop out from the back. Then, cut some holes equidistant and symmetrical along the scoop back. The book recommends 4 on each side, but it is up to you how many you want to do. Just make sure that the holes that you make are at least half of an inch away from the cut edge to ensure that they don’t rip. Then, take the fabric that was cut off from the bottom hem and use that (or some ribbon, or a shoelace, or the bottom hem from a different shirt refashion) to lace up the back. Voila, you are done!

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I like how comfortable this shirt is to wear. It would be good for any outdoor festival or summer activity. The shirt was one of many in a bag of shirts that I had purchased awhile back from a thrift store. It is one of only a few that I actually like pretty well. While I have not been to Colorado yet, I would like to go someday. It has been many years since I have been out west and I forget most everything about it. It feels like it was a thing that happened to someone else. It would be nice to go out west and make some new memories and see if I can rediscover some old ones as well.

Until then,

Happy sewing!

Week 12 – Mad Men Inspired

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The Facts

Fabric: socks

Pattern: self-drafted

Year: current

Notions: buttons and thread from stash

Time to complete: I think I finished this one while watching Skyfall

First worn: N/A

Wear again? N/A

Total Cost: $5 for all materials

Interesting fact: Not directly related to the week’s theme. I mean, there are several characters that could have inspired this, but not quite like how it turned out. Also, I apologize for these challenges being out of order. I am trying my best.

I  have watched and enjoyed the show Mad Men. However, I tend to binge watch shows on Netflix and Mad Men can get to be a little intense if I watch too many episodes at once. With this in mind, I tend to choose shows with a lighter hearted storyline over the darker tones of Mad Men. In fact, I initially had heard about this show because of the sewing blogs that I follow and I ended up watching it a lot because of the fashion that the characters wear. I love seeing the styles evolve as the years go by and I love the matching ability of Betty Draper as well as the plaid ensembles that Peggy wears.

So while I have seen the show and drooled over its fashions, I have neither watched any episodes recently, nor have I done any research to see what I could find as inspiration to make an outfit. On top of that, I have been making items for the show that I will be vending at on May 24. I also managed to pick up additional hours at work, so my time that I would be using to work on the sewing challenge has been sucked up by everything else that I am working on and finishing up.

On the other hand, since I have been making items, and most of them seem to involve some sort of hand sewing, I felt that I had to share some sort of blog post this week. I don’t want to look back and think that I missed a sewing challenge because I did something silly like choosing sleep over sewing. So here it is, my sewing post for this week.

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This is a view from the center front. The thing sticking up in the middle is its dorsal fin. Not visible in the picture is the tail. I do realize that it looks nothing like any shark ever.

I started working on this plush awhile back. I’m not sure what I was thinking I was making when I started, but when I saw the components together I heard a voice in my head say, “I’m a shark!” I guess this means that I am officially addicted to that webcomic that I have been reading and the next step is to make a tinfoil hat. I will spare you the emotional rollercoaster by not telling you the title of the webcomic. I know it seems cruel, but I am trying to help you. However, if you feel like you can handle the flowy capes, the science, and the city on fire, then comment on my facebook page (either Sew Late at Night or Mrs. Uncommon Geek) and I will tell you which webcomic I am talking about.

If you like my plush and want to see more of it, or some of my other creations, then come on out to Ye Olde Yellow Cabaret tomorrow, May 24 in Dayton, OH and see what monster or minion you want to take home. I will also have books, old photos and other things available for purchase. If I have some time before the show, I may even refashion a new top for the event. I hope to see you there!

Happy Sewing!