Week 25(ish) On holiday: Vacation Wear

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*Please note: This post was written in May of last year, and I am only just now sharing it. Please enjoy!

20140530_155950The Facts

Fabric: men’s button down shirt

Pattern: inspired by Threadbanger video about how to make a pirate costume

Year: recent-ish

Notions: ribbon and scrap fabric

Time to complete: one morning

First worn: To Ye Olde Cabaret – May

Wear again? Possibly

Total Cost: No idea

This week’s sewing challenge was actually made last Saturday. For those of you who don’t know, my current job has me working crazy early in the morning, which causes me to wake up moderately early on the weekends. So crazy sleep schedule combined with pre-show jitters combined into the opportunity to make this shirt. In case you were unable to attend Ye Olde Yellow Cabaret – May, the show was amazing. There will be another one in August so you can see what I’m talking about.

I have a variety of men’s dress shirts that are too big on me and too small for my husband. I have been trying to figure out the best way to modify them for steampunk and costuming purposes. For this one, I decided to try out a modification that I have tried on a different shirt previously. Threadbanger had posted this (http://youtu.be/hvopk72Bx3Y) video awhile back and I was able to recreate the modification with pretty decent success. I say pretty decent because the neckline is uneven and kind of poorly done. I’m not sure that it is especially noticeable, but it bothers me because I know that it is wrong.

This time around I made sure to be more careful about how I cut out the neckline so it would not be so uneven from one side to the other. Then I went to turn the fabric down to create a channel for the ribbon to go through. Things were going pretty well until they  weren’t. I got a cup of coffee and thought things over. I then found some scrap fabric and created a long tube for the ribbon to go through. I sewed the tube down at the top and bottom so it would be secure. After that was finished I ran the ribbon through. Since I wasn’t sure if it would work or not, I just left the opening on one side and did not have a place for the ribbon to come through on both shoulders. Please note that I did not have to make a tube, I just needed to sew a long rectangle down. I guess the coffee had not kicked in yet.

Here is what the casing looks like on the inside:

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Purple and green are the colors of my airship!

So there you have it. A shirt that I made from having watched an internet video over a year ago or more. There are a couple of videos where they show how to modify clothes to make them more steampunk, as well as multiple costume tutorials. I highly recommend them, as well as any other videos that they show. They are very crafty people.

Happy sewing!

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Week 16 – Mother’s Day – Inspired by an old family photo

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Mother’s Day- Inspired by an old family photo TAG: Family

*Please note: This post was written awhile back and I am just now sharing it with you all. Please enjoy!

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The Facts

Fabric: Mystery content fabric from stash. Unsure of original origins.

Pattern: Simplicity 2147

Year: 2011

Notions: Bias tape from stash. Unsure of original origins.

Time to complete: 20+ hours

First worn: Not yet

Wear again? Hopefully I will get a lot of wear out of this during the summer months.

Total Cost: Unsure as I am not sure when or where I got the fabrics and bias tape.

Mother’s Day was last Sunday. I celebrated by not bothering my mother. While she appreciates it when her family shows their love for her, she does not like it when we try to do it at the same time as everyone else in the area does it. So, sometime in the future, I will take her out for a nice meal that she can enjoy without having to plan a menu, shop for groceries, or clean up a kitchen afterwards.

My mom is the one who first set me on my path of learning how to sew and how to create my own clothes. It was her goal to make sure that I would be able to at least hem a pair of pants and fix a button. She has sewn for many years and while I was growing up, many of my clothes were ones that she made for me.

I am sorry to say that I do not have any of the pictures from when I was growing up. My parents are in the process of moving into a new house and the photos of me as a child are in a box somewhere, waiting to be put into a photo album. However, I can assure you that this top is one similar to one that i would have had as a child. It would probably have looked something like this:

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This is a random pattern that I found by doing an image search. This one shows the yoke front, basic tunic shape and a puffy sleeve. While I can’t confirm that this is a pattern that my mother would have used, it is similar to something that she would have made for me. I would have worn it while climbing trees or digging in the dirt. I was never really that much of a girly girl and to this day I sometimes struggle with my tomboy tendencies. I also blame my numerous Converse collection of my tomboy need for the most comfortable thing warring with my girly side for needing all the cute shoes. All the cute shoes!!

Ahem. Anyway. I am trying to use up the fabric that I have in my stash. I did not have enough of the fabric to make a tunic length shirt and have a front and back yoke. So I poked around for a bit and found this navy blue fabric that is a much darker shade of navy than I remember it being.

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In the spirit of Mother’s day, I decided to combine the two fabrics. My mom has said on many different occasions something along the lines of, “just because the pattern says to do it one way, it doesn’t mean that you have to do things the way that they tell you to.” It is a good policy to remember in the creative world, even if it makes the possibilities endless.

So that solved my fabric dilemma. It was after I decided to make this shirt that I realized that I also needed a seam binding. I excavated my crafting cave for a bit and I came up with this.

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I thought the package had been opened until I tried to get the bias tape out. It had apparently never been opened and worked wonderfully for this top. Bonus: I didn’t use it all so I have it for future projects!

I had some trouble when I was sewing the top together. The sheer fabric is prone to fraying, and the other fabric seems to want to fray as well, just not as much as the sheer. I had picked up this pattern because it seemed like a simple top that would be a good wardrobe basic. I forgot that pattern instructions are written for the level that the manufacturer assumes that the person sewing is at or near. This is a basic pattern that is meant to teach, well, basics to someone who is newer to sewing. I felt like certain things were glossed over while other things were repeated needlessly. It was definitely a good practice pattern for me as the fabric forced me to slow down and make sure I paid attention to details that I may not have otherwise paid attention to at all.

Here is the finished top from the front –

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And here it is from the back –

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I know it kind of seems boring and shapeless, but wait till you see it with a belt –

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I’m going to wear it with a some dark wash jeans and a pair of purple converse.

Happy sewing!!

Week 15 – City Inspiration

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The Facts

Fabric: black knit from stash

Pattern: McCall’s M6556 Fashion Star

Year: 2012

Notions: Thread, from stash

Time to complete: ½ pot of coffee

First worn: N/A

Wear again? Possibly

Total Cost: Um, $2-$3 for the pattern?

*Please note that this post was written last year, and I have only just now gotten around to sharing. Please enjoy!

City Inspiration. Like many of my challenges, the hardest part of this one was the getting started on the project. I was originally going to make a vest, but I couldn’t find a fabric in my stash fit the criteria that I was looking for in order to make said vest. Maybe I will find something and use it for a future post. Maybe I need to shop for new fabric…

When I think of what people wear in the cities, versus the suburbs or the country, I think of three things. One is an edgy, trend setting look. Two is business attire, tailored and polished. Three is what one would wear for a night out on the town. The vest that I was going to make would have fallen in between the first two categories. It would have been a tailored vest appropriate for the office, but with an edge. Just the thing for one to wear if they were working in graphic design or a similar field.

This pattern was picked out by Mr. Uncommon Geek on a trip to the local fabric store. I was feeding my addiction, I mean, stocking up on sewing patterns while they were on sale. Since he was bored, I gave him a book and asked him to look and see if there was anything that he liked. He picked this one.

The pattern itself is simple. There is one piece for the front and one piece for the back. However, the pieces are so big that you are supposed to attach the bottom pieces of the pattern front and back before laying out the pattern pieces on the fabric. However, the fabric I was working with had been used for a different project previously and there was not enough to make the full dress. So, the extra drapey bit at the bottom was not included and the instead of making a dress that is its own outfit, I made a long shirt that can pair well with some skinny jeans and sparkly accessories.

I’m not sure if I will ever have a place to wear this top. Most of my social activities don’t really call for trendy or fashion forward attire. They tend more toward steampunk events or casual get togethers. However, I have noticed that a large portion of my closet looks like it is from 10 – 20 years ago and is in drastic need of an update. I have recently began toying with the idea of having my friends come over and pull out everything in my closet that they hate seeing me wear, like how they do in “What Not to Wear.” However, I fear that I will end up with truly nothing in my closet and I will have to go shopping for new clothes in my steampunk attire. (Come on, my steampunk stuff would not be involved in the purge. I’m not completely crazy.)

To get back at the subject of this sewing challenge, I recommend this pattern as a beginner’s introduction to working with knits. There is only a front piece and a back piece to worry about and there are instructions for modifying the pattern to make different variations. If I ever do get up the courage to wear this out and about, it may give me the courage to try out some of the Japanese sewing books that have been translated and made available. Since they all seem to have pretty mixed reviews, I will definitely be checking them out of the library before I try purchasing them.

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Happy sewing!

Week 14 – Stash Busting (VIP Fabric)

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The Facts

Fabric: Mystery blend fabric. Unknown origin, unknown fiber content.

Pattern: Mashup of McCall’s 6819 and modified Simplicity 4046

Year: 2014

Notions: Thread, interfacing, ribbon, grommets

Time to complete: 30+

First worn: Not yet

Wear again? Maybe after some intense reworking

Total Cost: Unknown

* This is a post that I wrote last year, but did not get around to posting until just now.

I have had this fabric in my stash for quite some time. I do not know where I purchased it originally. Since it was cut by a previous owner, I probably got it from a charity shop/thrift store or an estate sale. I love the color and the pattern. I knew that whatever I made from it would have to be really special.

In addition to my hoarding fabric, I also collect sewing patterns. I have managed to amass enough patterns to open an Etsy store that sells nothing but vintage and gently used patterns. (Hint, hint.) Most of the newer patterns that I own are ones that I have bought on sale so I can practice making all of the tailor made clothing that I love so much, or so I can recreate some of the steampunk outfits that I covet. Most of the my vintage patterns are ones that I have collected from various sources and are unlikely to be made by me. So while it seems that most everyone I know has been furiously creating a costume for either the Steampunk Empire Symposium or for C2E2 this weekend, I have been working on this jacket. I was hoping to possibly wear it this weekend, but I have not finished it and I have made enough mistakes during its creation that it is possible that it will not ever be worn without a major overhaul. It may be possible to wear it as is if I make a bustle extreme enough, but that is unlikely to happen any time soon.

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I combined the top part of the McCalls’ pattern with a modified bottom of the over skirt from the Simplicity pattern you may remember from last week. I found out that fabric drape is an important consideration when making a full skirt. This fabric is very stiff, which is good for the top portion of the jacket, but not so much for the bottom. If there had been enough to follow the pattern exactly, I think it would have turned out alright. I was thinking a shorter version would work with the dress that I made previously. I obviously did not think it through well enough. You can see in the pictures that the front does not line up in the center front because the jacket front does not line up in the center. That is how this jacket was designed. You can see in the picture of the pattern that there is a choice of a peplum or some tabs. Either way, there is a visual distraction at the waistline of the jacket to hide the fact that it overlaps in the front and it is a fact that I did not realize until after the jacket was constructed. But, I am sewing to learn more about sewing and clothing construction. As much as I love this fabric and the idea of this pattern, there is a fabric that I have had since I began my fabric hoarding. When I feel more confident in my sewing abilities, I will cut into that fabric and make this jacket again (or one very like it) but I will match the fabric at the seams, I will understitch my seams on the correct sides, and I will know how to match things up better so I have a more symmetrical jacket overall.

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!