Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In which I vanquish a hole!

A beloved skirt (not so recently) developed a hole.   The fabric is so thin, and such an odd color I didn't dare patch it... so it sat on the sewing table for months (except the times I popped duct tape on the inside and brazenly wore it out anyway...)
the evil hole.
Anyhow, the other day I decided to try darning. For anyone unfamiliar, darning is basically reweaving a small section of cloth - usually mentioned with socks, but it works for anything.   I just stitched back and forth a few times vertically (going about a centimeter beyond the hole) and then across horizontally, weaving the threads in place. (Hand sewing, although I understand with sturdier fabrics, it can be done by machine, sewing, rather than weaving, the threads together.)

its effectively invisible when worn
The whole process took maybe 10 minutes, and a beloved skirt is saved!  Also, the repair is all but invisible, so I'm feeling pretty smug.
take that, duct tape patch!  I fix stuff!

Friday, August 23, 2013

black and white and...

I'm really not sure what to make of this dress - I really like it, without actually liking it at all.  (I know)  I was talked into buying the fabric, against my better judgement, and on its own, its a bit (a lot) much.  Since then, it's grown on me, and now gives me flashes of the destruction of the Death Star and/or  Speed Racer, depending on the angle I see it from.   ...and I do like the Death Star.   However, from time to time, I see crazy early 90s insanity, which I'm not so fond of.  But hey -- we're focusing on the Death Star.

Actually, its kind of a Rorschach test of a dress - so - what do you see?  hmm... very interesting...

I find I like it best toned down a notch or twelve with a sweater - I love black and white, but everything is better with color (and a nice section of solids, so one's eyes aren't fried out)

Anyhow - it is the fourth incarnation of the many-paneled dress that started out as an experiment with old bedsheets and immediately became one of my favorite patterns. (versions one, two and three - information on drafting here)  The skirt is enormous, far more than a full circle, and flares out straight at the waist if I spin fast enough.   (This can be slightly problematic when dancing, but then, that's what leggings are for...)

I'm starting to think it would also work really well with brightly color stockings....

Monday, August 19, 2013

who finally threaded her serger? this girl.

It took a lot of tiny squares, but I finally decided to stop being a lazy bum and thread the damn thing.   (Now, the fact that it takes less than five minutes to thread a serger compared to the amount of time I've spent cutting out tiny squares, and what it will take to get the whole quilt put together may not quite even out...  but yeah, sometimes I *really* can't be bothered.)

to the tune of Beethoven's 5th -- hem hem hem HEM.  six yards.

I'm also getting closer and closer to the day I buy a coverstitch machine.   I'm doing more knits, and I really hate zig-zag hems and always end up hand sewing them, so it would make a lot of sense, but I just don't have the space.   Clearly, the only option is to move.

Monday, August 12, 2013

the tiny squares cometh

Count is currently in the 600s --- soon... soon.....

I've also made some progress with chopping up old garments.  The sunflower shirt was one of my first attempts at copying RTW, from about 5 years ago.  The fabric is gorgeous, but the fit was pretty terrible (not that this stopped me from wearing it *everywhere* and proudly declaiming to all, that I had made it.)

The blue-tomato dress is from my senior year of high school (the pattern has since been lost to time) and still fits! ... for a given value of fit - I still didn't know what I was doing back then (this is over ten years ago now) so things are kinda wonky and the finishing is more than a little hilarious - It seems I was all about fold over and sew.   However, it too has joined the quilt as I don't think I've worn it out of the house since college.

Last but not least, the green shirt -- this was an early experiment with franken-patterns, from about 4 years ago.   I never quite got it to sit properly the the black trim was not one of my better choices - but it took so long to put on I couldn't bear to remove it - until now -- bum bum BUM.  It is next up for getting chopped into quilt bits.

I haven't really looked at any of these in years - at the time I thought I was hot shit, and compared to what the people I knew were doing (hello stapler) I was.   However, the quality of the garments is almost laughable - and the amount of improvement I've made over the past few years really shows when they are compared to my latest work.   Mostly, its making me think what I'll be able to accomplish with another ten years of study.  I'm still intimidated by fitting pants, woven sleeves, hemming knits and doing much of anything with slippery sheers....   ::crossed fingers::  mayhaps I'll get them too.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Free pattern drafting books from the 40s and 50s

from 'Practical Dress Design'

TJ, over at the Perfect Nose, has most gloriously and generously scanned and posted a number of pattern drafting books from the 40s and 50s.   (Copyrights have expired, so its all lovely and legal.)  I can't even begin to describe how amazing these are -- however, when I starting going through them the first time, I had to run around the apartment and scream for a little bit before I was calm enough to download them.

50s dress styles mid-century
these are from the survey offer below
AND...(I know, could there be more?) she is offering yet another fabulous book for anyone willing to give her their measurements.    She is putting together a bra pattern and is trying to get a sense of the range of people who might be interested in such a thing.  (She would like you to know this is intended as a 'thank you' for people willing to take the time to help out with this.)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

chop chop chop chop chop

pretty pretty squares. chop chop chop.

The scrap-busting quilt of awesome continues apace.   I've calculated that I need ~960 little squares (320 blocks) for the size I want.   I've got 318 cut out so far... so almost exactly one third of the way.  

 I've started to seriously envy quilters their rotary cutters and invisible rulers....

Anyhow, the real question now is if I have a sufficient quantity of scraps in the correct color scheme (bold/ saturated and either blue, green or purple) it may be a near thing -- but I also have the garments these scraps came from, some of which are rather old (think high school, college, etc) and don't get worn anymore. My skills at finishing have improved significantly over the past few years and my earlier (though beloved) projects look kinda.... home made.  And not in the good way.  Thus, I think they may take on new life in the quilt.  Seems better than rotting away in the closet or a garment bag under my bed, as I can't bear to get rid of any of them.

A question for you, hive-mind.  What do you do with old self-made garments?  Are you a pack-rat like me?   
bonus Pennicula.  Mighty Cat of Yore.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Catching up

I have obtained batteries!  It took repeating "go buy batteries" the whole way home one evening, but damn it, I did it.

But look! New fabrics! (because I totally needed them...)   As occasionally happens, I went in looking for something specific (6 yards of something thin, drapy, abstract and woven) and walked out with something else entirely.   The birds are a thin chiffon (I haven't done a burn test yet), the black is a gorgeous thin jersey that will be another many paneled dress (I've wanted a black one for ages, so this was the only justifiable purchase of the lot) and a tie-die gauze in purple, blue and teal that I lost my heart to, right as the heat wave ended....  

Currently in progress!  
The black and white many-paneled dress is almost done, all it needs is a hem....      Despite this, I'm not entirely sold on it - it keeps looking mid-90s workout - but occasionally, I see flashes of exploding death-star and I like it a lot.  So.... we shall see.     The other primary project of the moment is B4978 out of the chiffon birds.  Rebel that I am, I am not building the lining into the dress and will instead wear it with a slip.  (more on my various modifications in a later post), this has entailed lots of french seams.   I knew how to do them before, but, I am their mighty queen, and all the seams must bow down before me!

And finally, in a fit of bizarre laziness, I couldn't be bothered to rethread my serger last night (we're talking 5 minutes, tops) I decided to figure out and start cutting out everything I'd need for a tessellated card trick quilt.  

I've been thinking about this one for a while - I have a huge bin full of scraps and I've always told myself that I'm not a hoarder, I'm just saving them to make a quilt, because it would be a shame to waste so much fabric.  So-- diving in.   I imagine this one will be going on in the background for sometime, as according to my calculations, I need ~320 L-shaped blocks, of three squares each, to make a queen size quilt.   So far, I have 20 sets....

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