Thursday, October 31, 2013

This is Halloween

This is the song stuck in my head right now:

This is a skirt that I made a couple years ago, but I pretty much only get to wear it during Halloween time, so here it is! The fabric is an amazing print that was available at Jo-Ann's and I should have gotten a ton of. It was out of my budget though, so I only got enough for one little skirt. It is quite the usual skirt - gathered rectangles with a double elastic waist.

It's a simple project, but one of the reasons I decided to share was because I did some matching makeup and wanted to sneak that onto the blog. shhhh.

I got the idea for this from some ladies over on

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I like cupcakes. It's not obvious at all.

I made this a couple months ago, but we all know how good I am at posting things in a timely manner (I'm getting better...)

Apparently, I was making a cupcake skirt while watching a tv show about cupcakes... I didn't even notice until my boyfriend came in and pointed it out. Alright, so maybe I like cupcakes.

This skirt is two layers with lace on the hems. It has my usual two-rows-of-elastic waistband, and is super full. The bottom layer is like 140 inches around.

 The back isn't significantly interesting (it looks the same as the front) but hey, have a close-up!

Here you can see how the bottom layer attaches.

I had originally bought this fabric intending to make a dress. It didn't happen for a couple years though, so I decided it just wasn't going to happen, and made the default, a skirt. I would probably like a cupcake dress better, but I just wasn't willing to deal with making a bodice. I still can't do it efficiently, without redoing things a dozen times. Patterns just don't fit me at all, and I don't have a perfect self drafted pattern either. Even though I have patterns I've adjusted and made garments from, none of them are quite right yet. Good enough for people not to notice, but not good enough to use repeatedly as perfectly fitting patterns.

I recently acquired a crate full of sewing patterns

Okay, I know I don't need more patterns because I've never used many of the ones I have, but someone was throwing these away! 80 different clothing patterns (and 3 for crafts), many from before 1970! I also know most of these aren't my size... and I rarely use patterns anyways... but... did I mention there's a bunch of patterns here from before 1970? Just looking at the envelopes is awesome. I mean, check out this lady:

Or these sassy girls hanging out in their nightgowns:

So good! I want to write little stories about the cover images on a lot of these patterns. Maybe I should. It could be fun? I don't particularly have time to do such a thing, but perhaps.

Here's the full album for anyone interested.

Most of the patterns are in very large sizes (such as pattern size 18 or 20... four to six sizes too big for me), but there is enough here in my size to create a little excitement.

A couple more of my favorites:

Check out that skirt in the top row with the gathered butt, and the red dress flasher below it! She's so excited to show you her under-dress.

That is one intense collar happening on the bottom left. This lady could be in a matrix movie. Maybe in some white outerwear cult with the lady on bottom right.

Oh yes, of course, the classic Polynesian style. I also quite like that yellow crop top on the bottom. It's pretty simple, but what a cute outfit.

This housecoat bottom left, how luxurious! It looks so heavy! I wish it was my size because I would wear the hell out of that thing, especially in that floral pattern. Also the top right, totally a mullet dress (an awesome one at that). Business in the front, party in the back with that gathering.

This isn't the best photo, but if you look closely you'll notice an interesting detail on the dress second from left, top row. There's a tie pulling the front of the dress towards the back. I didn't even notice until I was looking at the photos. So simple, but a nice touch.

This is the last one I'll include in the post, but there's a couple more in the album. These patterns stood out from the group for being the only ones pre-1900s (though they are modern reproductions).

I should really break into some of these and sew, but eh... following a pattern is always so tedious! Maybe I'll just make up those stories about them instead...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Digimon anyone?

Digimon was one of those shows I watched every week when I was younger (along with Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Yugioh...) I don't really remember much about it, but I know I'm not alone. So, when I saw these curtains at a thrift store, I thought, "Hey, that would make a pretty nice skirt." Everyone needs some childhood nostalgia in their wardrobe!

I will be putting this skirt up for sale in my shop once I take some measurements.

It's a pretty straightforward gathered skirt with two rows of elastic in the waistband. The fabric is a bit sheer, which is kind of annoying, but it's also slightly stiff, so the skirt doesn't need any support to make it poof.

I made a matching bow, which was some sort of strange thing because normally I am very good at not making bows unless I absolutely have to.

"It's like something nordic warrior women would wear"

A couple weeks ago, I ran into a pretty awesome outfit photo on tumblr. Of course I didn't save it or anything... I wasn't particularly amazed by it, it just stuck in my head for a while. The girl in the photo had a pink furry circle skirt that didn't seem to have directionality to the fur (it was short enough to not be obvious.) I thought about the fur I had laying around and it's mostly too long for this effect. Oh well. Like I said, I wasn't completely convinced I needed this skirt.

And then I went to the fabric store because my boyfriend needed a Halloween costume (he's going to be a slutty beetle, heracross style, hopefully more on that some other day). They had the silky soft fur I used for this animal hat in a couple other colors, including pink. Sweet! I'm running out of storage space for fabric at this point... but eh...

I actually got this project done pretty quickly. Often my fabric will sit for a while, but here's the skirt! Done!

It's a simple circle skirt with an elastic waistband. I considered making it just out of fur since it's pretty stretchy on it's own, but without the elastic, the weight of the skirt stretched out the waist and would pull the whole thing down.

I added some horsehair braid on the hem to make the waves stand out more. The skirt in the tumblr photo had very pronounced waves, but I think that fur was less slinky/silky. Like my last skirt, I also had to trim this hem while it was hanging on the dress form because of the bias areas. I'm still getting used to doing this. With most of the other circle skirts I've made, the fabrics were sturdy enough to not cause noticeable problems.

Perhaps this isn't the most practical skirt (I'm just waiting to spill something on it...), and everything in my room is covered in fur bits (maybe this is it's natural state?), but my lap is so soft!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Something about a bustle and a beard.

Some long time ago I put together a vaguely burlesque outfit for a themed party. I don't actually remember what the theme was, but apparently it gave me an excuse to make a tie-on bustle, shorts, and fascinator.

The bustle is a pretty simple design. It's a large gathered rectangle on a waistband, with two short straps and D-rings on the outside  corresponding to much longer straps on the inside. To wear, you pull the interior straps under the bottom of the rectangle and up through some loops on the surface (to keep the straps in place), then thread the straps through the D-rings near the top. It can be adjusted to be more or less gathered up.

Unfortunately I don't really have a good picture of the shorts. They're basic bloomers with some lace on the leg openings and pockets (because all party outfits need pockets).

The headpiece is a buckram oval with a small wedge missing to make it sort of the shape of a spoon head. I covered that with fabric, then added some net and ribbon decoration and a hair comb to keep it on. It's pretty simple but worked to keep my head from looking too plain.

Why am I posting about this now? I used the bustle a couple days ago for a bearded lady costume. I wore this to work (retail does have some perks once in a while). This was my first time applying a fake beard. One customer explained he kept looking at me because he thought I was a dude in a dress (not a girl with a fake beard) and was trying to figure out whether that was true. Children were confused. I got to joke around about forgetting to shave. My manager kept announcing that people should find the bearded lady if they need help. I got laughs and double takes. With all this, I say the costume was a success.

I have a love-hate relationship with circle skirts.

I make a lot of these things. A couple years ago, I didn't really like them that much. Gathered skirts were my favorite by far. Well, they still are my favorite I guess, but the circle skirts have carved out a nice space in the clothes liking sector of my brain. So, I like these things, but whenever I make one there's always this layer of frustration that makes me not want to do it again. And then I do it again a few weeks later.

It's not that I'm bad at figuring out the math (which tends to worry some people making circle skirts). My problem is with hemming them. I'm not exactly the type of person who can hang a project overnight and wait for it to fall into shape. Even if I do that... well... I admit I don't really know how to trim the hem while it's hanging up. Trimming the skirt while it's down flat doesn't actually help. I often work with sturdy fabrics that don't stretch noticeably on the bias so this isn't a problem, but not always.

Here's the latest circle skirt in my collection: a hot pink linen-look rayon (probably... maybe) that wrinkles like it's paid to do it (but so pretty! ugh).

 It is a full circle wrap skirt made of two half circle pieces. The seam ended up in an odd spot, but that's just because I wasn't really thinking about it. I could have probably cut this as one piece and not even had a seam. I decided on the length because of  an old denim skirt that's just a bit too tight, that I really like the fit of.

 I hemmed it with some lace to keep it from wrinkling up too much on the curves. You might have noticed the hem is pretty close to even all the way around. So what was I complaining about above? This is what the skirt looked like when I first hemmed it:

Fail. I had to rip the hem out, wait in case it stretched even more, then trim and hem again. I'm still not sure how to do it easily. I used the hem length gauge on my dress form but that doesn't touch the parts hanging closer to the dressform, and pulling them to touch the gauge distorts the hem. I don't know.