Friday, August 23, 2013

I have some kind of aversion to making bows...

...which is weird because I like bows a lot. It's quite a problem. Things sit unfinished because I don't feel like making any bows.

One of these things was the polka dot dress I started back in March 2012. Yea... a long time ago. I finished it a couple months after that, then it sat around in a pile on the floor because it needed bows. Cue sudden desire to finish things. I made those bows dammit!

I did do more work on the pattern as well since the original post, but honestly, it was so long ago I don't remember everything. You can see from the photos that I took in the center back at the waist, and also the sides at the bottom to give it a more wiggly silhouette.

Aw yes, look at those bows! They're all on pin-backs.

 I took this opportunity to play around with some hats, if you haven't noticed.

Here's the inside back, and outside front without bows. 

 I wish I'd made the swoop in the back hem higher up. Live and learn.

Bonus: Need your lawn aerated for free? Host a "high heels only" party. My thighs still hurt from re-distributing my weight during the photos to avoid sinking into the ground.

Can I be a crazy cat lady without owning any cats?

I'm a fan of Gertie's blog for better sewing, and saw her kitty cat dress a few months ago. I wanted, needed a kitty cat dress. Why didn't I have one already!?

Then I was looking for some thread for another project and ran into a cute kitty fabric. Score! I wasn't sure about using it for a garment at first, it's a bit too quilt-y looking on the bolt, but I went for it anyways.

I wanted to use the top from Butterick's B5603, but it just wasn't going to happen. I don't know what in the world to do to patterns to make them fit me without having to go through a thousand iterations of mockups. The top ended up being some odd combination of princess seam pattern pieces and drafting.

Look at this pattern matching. I am so happy I got everything to match up. There's some headless cats sure, but in the horizontal direction, no half cats, no two headed mutants, and they all line up across the pieces.

This dress made me question my sanity more than usual. It's pretty close to impossible to fit a back like this on yourself. The dress doesn't fit on my dressform at all, even at the smallest size, because of the shape of my upper chest/back and shoulders.

I had sewn the zipper in perfectly the first time (since when can I manage that?), put the dress on and... can't zip it. AH! it's too tight. I had to re-do the zip, and made every mistake in the book in the process. I sewed it with the top of one side on the skirt seam instead of the top at one point. How does that even happen?

 I used a bias binding on the arm holes and on the hem. Light colors don't look all that great on me, so I thought adding this would make it stand out from my skin-tone a bit more.There's also horsehair braid on the hem to give it some poof and help it hang in smooth waves, though I am wearing a petticoat in all the photos.

I also added pockets, albeit they are misplaced. They're too far center front because I didn't account for gathering correctly when I added them to the skirt panels (there's 5 panels total). Only the bodice is lined.

Like I said, I was a little iffy on the fabric being wearable at first. It took me a while to decide on the style of dress to make, but I'm pleased with how it turned out.

Ready to see one of the first skirts I ever made?

I was going through some of my closet the other day and found this sad looking skirt I never wore. It's one of the first skirts I ever made. I remember I dyed the fabric because I had leftover dye after doing some shirts (I'm even wearing one in the "after" photos). I also remember my mom helping me on the ruffle and some thread belt loops. I never wore the thing because the waistband just didn't fit right. It was my first time doing a partial elastic waist, and well, it was pretty obvious that I hadn't done this before.

Okay, here is the before, without a petticoat (I should have used one since I knew I would in the "after" photos, sorry).

I had tried to add some waist ties, but they were too long, so I tried to wrap them around the waist like a belt first, but that just looked lumpy, as you can see in the first photo.

I made this skirt right when I started learning about lolita. I think I knew even back then that it didn't fit the style, but was more "inspired by." It was kind of a test run for some fabric I had only a small quantity of, to see if it would be enough for a loli skirt. I believe the answer was "no" since I never made one out of that fabric.

Here's what it looks like now:

It's not that much different since I just re-did the waistband, but what's important is that now the waistband fits! I just did full elastic for simplicity's sake. This skirt isn't nice enough to be worth the effort of half elastic. At least now I might actually wear it, probably when I need to quickly throw something on since it's relatively casual compared to a lot of my other clothes.

I also turned the failed attached waist ties into a separate belt. There's thread loops holding it on. It's short enough to tie gracefully now, which I think makes the whole skirt work.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Commission update: Naomi from Monsters University

I posted a while ago about some costume commissions. One of the customers got back to me with some photos! (I did not take these)

As the title states, the costume is for Naomi from Monsters U. I did end up having to make some alterations after she tried on the skirt I had made in my previous post, but it turned out well in the end and she was happy with it (yay!). I always worry things won't fit right when making items for people I can't see in person. Since my experience mostly comes from theatre, I'm used to having people try thing on while they're being made. In this case, I had interpreted the reference image differently than her and her husband and had made the skirt too A-line. Easily solved though!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

There I was, artery clamp in hand, holding fabric over a candle flame.

 This is a weird thing.

I used this video tutorial to make some fabric flowers to match a dress I bought recently. The process is, um, a little sketchy looking. I didn't have tweezers like in the video, so I improvised. Why do I have artery clamps but not long tweezers?

I also sewed my flowers instead of gluing them, though I did use hot glue to attach them to a headband and some clips. The headband is to match my dress, which is cream, gray, and green checkered/plaid/I'm not sure. There's pearls in all the centers just in case, but they're not all that visible most of the time. Here's how the flowers ended up:

PS. New wig! Always a fun time. This is the only one I have that is human hair. It creeps me out a little bit, but eh...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What animal has blue ears and white fur?

I don't actually know. I'm going with arctic fox... dyed blue >_>

Hey look! I made another hat!

I had a hell of a time getting the ears to not be super floppy because this fur is silky awesomeness which makes it not stay up very well. Some well placed hand stitches fixed the ears, though they like to sit towards the back like in the first photos. You can get them to point out to the sides if you fiddle with them a bit, but they'll pop back if you take the hat off. It's completely lined with fleece and the pockets at the ends can be flipped to either side.

I had originally gotten this pattern from a tutorial on, but since then have edited it significantly. It's still not perfect, but it definitely gets the job done.

Hey, I think there's something on your head...

Oh, it's just a monster, how cute!

I had some fur left over from my last costume commission and wanted to play around with it. I've seen this super simple hat "pattern" (if you can call it that) used often enough and decided to try it. It's really just a long rectangle with two seams. The hat is lined in fleece and has a hand-sewn fleece face. I had hoped to just sew the face on the machine but that was pretty impossible. The hat also became a bit small after adding the lining (I have a pretty small head - it doesn't fit my boyfriend).

Oh god, I made a store.

Alright folks! Here it is!
Ambrodust Clothing and Accessories

I would love it if you checked out my shop. Any comments, criticisms, tips, etc. are definitely welcome!

A lot of people have been telling me to sell the stuff I make. Well you've got your wish! I've finally come to terms with the risks and created a little Etsy shop of my own. I spent the past couple months making items to list, and it's still not much, but it's definitely a start. I'm pretty fond of everything for sale at this point, and would/do use pretty much the same items myself.

I'm not sure how to price items. I've tried to aim somewhere mid-range for the types of items I'm selling. Hopefully that's about right. I don't want to make it look like I don't value what I do, but at the same time, I'm worried things won't sell if I price too high (especially considering I'm a new seller).

The most difficult pricing is probably shipping. How does anyone know how much shipping will cost? Unless I bring every item down to the post office in the packaging I will use to ship it, I don't know. I've aimed low on this, but consider that a cost I'll suck up if necessary to give an incentive for people to buy items until the shop gets going (*hope*hope). I'll still be making a profit at this point on any item that sells, after subtracting item materials, labor/time (on the low end of hourly wage unfortunately), and gas/shipping materials. Perhaps I sew too slow? It seems like things would cost way, way too much if I charged the seemingly typical seamstress rate of $20 + per hour.

Now for a little not-all-that-interesting story time. I am soooo bad with names. I could never come up with a brand/shop/whatever name. My boyfriend came up with this, and well, I'm considering it a business decision. It's nondescript enough to give me flexibility with what items I can sell, hasn't been used by someone else for anything as far as I can tell, and has a little bit of a whimsical quality what with the dust and amber? ambrosia? yea... that's not what my boyfriend was talking about at the time... but hooray for coming up with explanations for why something is after the fact!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Is it plaid or tartan?

I'm never quite sure which one is correct. In any case, this is one of the items I mentioned making in my last post. I finally got some photos! It's pretty straightforward, with some extra finishing I don't do all the time because I made it with the intention of selling it.

The skirt has two layers of ruffles, with the bottom one sewn to a lining. It has some black venise lace on the hem, and an elastic waistband. I like using two channels of elastic because it keeps the waistband flatter, so most of my skirts have this kind of waist.

This is what the inside looks like - it has french seams and I used some twill tape (not visible because it's on the other side) to cover up the gathered edge of the bottom ruffle (hence the two rows of stitching above it).  I'm pretty happy with this finish, not sure why I don't have a photo of it.

I didn't have any major problems while sewing it, though I used my relatively new ruffler foot and had a little trouble getting the ruffles the correct length. It's hard to know how to set it to get the right amount of ruffle for whatever you're attaching it to, if that makes sense.

On an unrelated note, I got this super raven-esque vintage hat the other day:

I'm not really sure where to or how to wear it, but ah! It's so awesome!