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 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 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!

Week 9 : Make Do, Make Anew

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The Facts

Fabric: dress from sample sale

Pattern: self drafted

Year: current

Notions: Thread, elastic

Time to complete: about 2 hours

First worn: Not yet

Wear again? I should get a lot of use out of this skirt this summer

Total Cost: $10 for the dress, thread from stash, elastic reused from dress

First, some history. Back when I was in high school, my mom worked for a women’s clothing catalog. Every so often, there would be a sale where employees could bring up to 2 guests and they could purchase clothing from the catalog at a super discount price. Selection would vary as the stock would include samples, overstock, customer returns and defective merchandise. For anyone willing to dig through racks of clothing and tables of shoes, deals could be had. Years passed. The catalog company got a new CEO. The clothing sold began targeting a younger crowd. Most importantly, the outside company responsible for organizing the associate sales discovered e-commerce. The associate only sales became more and more open to the public. Not widely advertised, but that is why it is important to sign up for their mailing lists. The merchandise decreased in quality and it was much harder to find the really good deals that had previously been available.

In present day, things have balanced out. My mother has retired and has been for a few years. The outside company that does the associate sales has expanded and there are a few brick and mortar stores in the Columbus, OH area, pop-up sales that happen in the Dayton and Cincinnati areas, as well as the ever successful online stores. I purchased this dress for $10 at one of the pop-up sales. Not bad for something that retails at $88. Anyway, since my mom doesn’t work for the catalog anymore, and since I can’t afford their clothes, I am really not familiar with their merchandise. So I did not notice that this dress was missing its halter neck piece. All I noticed was that the dress, for all its supportive elastic, did not want to stay in one place. When I tried it on at home to confirm fit, I had to constantly pull up the top of the dress.

I did love the idea of this dress back.

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I threw the dress into a pile of things to modify later, and today it got transformed from a dress that doesn’t quite work into a maxi skirt for any occasion. I cut off the top of the dress and removed the elastic. Then, I reattached the elastic in the cut portion of the bottom of the dress, creating a waistband. Thus, a skirt was created.

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Happy sewing!