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: Red

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The Facts

*Please note: This post was written last year. I have only just now gotten around to sharing it. Please enjoy!

Fabric: Scraps of t-shirts from stash and leftover from epic quilt of epicness.

Pattern: From picture shared on Facebook

Year: 2014

Notions: Thread, polyester fiberfill

Time to complete: 30 hours? (it is still not completely done as I still need to finish the tentacles.)

First worn: n/a

Total Cost: Everything is from my stash, so I’m going to count this as free, but if I had to make one new, it would be somewhere around $10 – $15 just for the fiberfill, not to mention the headache of turning and stuffing all of the legs. The entire process took way longer than I thought it would and I battled with them for a long time.

Oh, Valentine’s Day. So much consumerism so close to Christmas. Is it so much to ask for a simple glass of wine with dinner every now and then? Flowers for no reason except to say “I love you and don’t need some calendar date to remind me to say so?” Do we really need to have a holiday set aside every year to remind single people that they are in fact, single?

I don’t wear much red in my wardrobe, so I wasn’t immediately inspired by this color to make something to add to my wardrobe. I am trying very hard to use the fabric that I have instead of buying new, so that limits the things that I can do based on the yardage that I have on hand. Around this time last year, when I was trying to complete the challenges, I made some red bow ties. For this year’s attempt, something so simple feels a little like cheating, especially since the last project was simple as well.  Besides, what says love better than the Elder Gods?

I saw a picture on Facebook and thought it looked cute enough to try. I already had a bunch of fabric scraps from previous projects. I cut them all into somewhat uniform pieces and laid them out to check color placement. I soon realized that I had too many scraps to make just one, so I divided the pieces up and started to make two of them.  I sewed the pieces together, then I sewed up the sides and turned the tubes inside out. Then I stuffed the tubes. Then I stuffed some more. Then I realized that I had finished off my 5 pound box of fiberfill and had to open up another box to be able to finish stuffing both creatures.

The figuring out the pattern for the head was a process that took some time. I wasn’t sure if I wanted it to look more like a squid or an octopus, so I just tried to make it not look horrible. I’m not sure that I succeeded. I decided to make it more like a squid in order to respect the kraken. In following this I also decided that they needed yellow and red eyes. I’m pretty happy with how the eyes turned out.

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The benefit of making this out of t-shirt scraps is that it is super soft and cuddly. It is a good companion when sitting on the couch as the head can sit behind you and you can move the tentacles around you until you have it just the way that you want it to be comfortable.

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Happy sewing!

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!

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!!

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 – 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!