Sunday, December 21, 2014

Yes, this is another circle skirt.

One of the stores I go to regularly has a large selection of this shiny spandex that I keep using. I've posted 5 projects with this fabric already, and can tell you there's at least one other I didn't get pictures of. (For the curious: these skirts, this fitted dress, and these two circle skirt dresses.)

Recently, they had this variant of it that has dots cut out. I know I make a ton of circle skirts, but I really wanted to make something I would definitely wear with this awesome fabric. I had some trouble deciding what color to line it with, and eventually went with this bright yellow/green.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

How many times have I said I'm not making another hat?

Every time I make a new type of hat I tell myself, "never again." I've even started telling my friends to stop me. It's always a crazy fiddly mess.

No matter how many times I say it, I inevitably make another hat. Half way through this one my serger just quit. It was also my first time working with PUL fabric. Great!

One of my friends asked for a warm, waterproof winter hat and sent me a bunch of pictures of helmets (the armor type) and some knit hats. From that we came up with an actually technically possible design for a sewn knight helmet hat with a movable visor.

(I asked Bria to help model again since she was available)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Vertical stripes > horizontal stripes

After I made the catsuit in my last post, I had a bunch of leftover striped fabric. I combined that with some leftover black spandex from this project to make a quick color-blocked dress. The whole thing is serged together, and I used my standard fitted knit dress pattern. (You can find the tutorial for it here).

You'll notice a strange collar in the photos as well. I saw some cool collars and other accessories made out of boning a couple weeks ago and wanted to give it a shot. More on that later.

Back to the dress: To figure out the color-blocking, I traced my plain dress pattern and eyeballed a line where I wanted the center panel to be. It follows the curves of the side seams on the dress, but slightly exaggerated. I cut on the line and made a note to add seam allowance on the new edges.

Friday, December 5, 2014

I'm longer than I thought.

This project was sort of a personal challenge. I've been making a lot of quick and easy spandex items on my serger this year, and wanted to see if I could make something more complex. A catsuit seemed like a good candidate, and I can use it for costumes, as long underwear, etc.

I own a catsuit in plain black so I started by tracing it to make a pattern. I figured tracing would work because there's a lot of leeway in getting the fit right with a stretchy fabric. The basic suit is 8 pieces: two front, one back, collar, a crotch gusset cut in half for a zipper, and sleeves. You might notice my suit has a couple more pieces, but I'll get to that in a minute.

Since this was sort of a "trial run" of this pattern, I didn't want to spend a lot on fabric. This was the best I could find that didn't have an obnoxious print and was reasonably priced, even though the stripes made it a little more challenging to work with.

[Some of the following pictures might be a bit nsfw.]

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Starry starry skirt ~

As you might recall, I posted about a ruffled star print chiffon skirt a little while ago here and also on Reddit. One of the commenters there mentioned using a sparkly fabric under the chiffon for a different effect. I've done something similar with other clothes, and I had the same fabric in some other colors, so I figured I'd try it out! For the lining, I used the same holographic print fabric as in this top from earlier in the year.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Are these panties really high enough?

I tried making underwear once before, and it didn't seem worth the effort (time + money) but was pretty fun. This time I made high-waisted panties since those are more difficult to purchase (and by making them I can use whatever cute fabric patterns I want). I wanted to make them out of lace for that pin-up look, and tried to match the front panel fabrics to lace I already had around.

I was inspired by one of my friends who mentioned buying a cheap pair of plain high-waisted undies to use as a pattern for some pin-up styled ones. This seemed like a good idea, so I also bought a pair. I then remembered some posts on Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing about making high-waisted panties, so I looked those up for reference. I like the pattern Gertie uses more than my sample panties, but it wasn't available when I made these.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Update: Galliano pirate jacket and vampire vest

I posted about finishing the Galliano Pirate Jacket quite a while ago, and also about making this sweet vampire inspired vest. The photos I had of them back then aren't the best, so I thought I would do a little update.

Bria modeled the jacket for me so I could take a couple better photos.

She also took some photos of me last month, and I wore my long vest:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I'm not sure what to call this - A dress? Overalls?

Back in August, a Reddit user was giving away a couple vintage patterns and I snagged this baby:

It's Le-Roy/Weldons number 9135, which is a brand I've never even heard of. I love the overall bib type top - it looks a lot like the backless dresses that were super popular this summer. I wanted a skirt that was a bit fancier, and had also recently acquired this Japanese sewing book (Otome no Sewing). It includes a pattern for a super cute gathered skirt with a yoke.

I then found this great flannel at the $1.99 fabric store. Put all that together, throw in some lace, and here's the result!

I had to get someone to help me fit the back because trying to do it myself when there's so little fabric was quite difficult.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

This chiffon fabric sat in a pile on my floor for months.

I knew I wanted to make a ruffly skirt out of it as soon as I got it, but it's a pretty intimidating project because of all the hemming and gathering.

I took a while to figure out the easiest way to hem the chiffon. Eventually I settled on a serged rolled hem with wooly nylon thread. Wooly nylon thread is not twisted, so it spreads out and fills in some of the space between stitches. I hadn't done this before, but thought it would make a nice little border (and it's fast!) Once I decided on this, the skirt seemed less intimidating.

I didn't have a pattern (this type of skirt really doesn't need one since it's all rectangles) though I based the measurements on another skirt I own. They ended up as follows:

waistband 38" (with elastic 28")
first ruffle 54" (one width of the fabric)
second ruffle 108" (2 widths)
third ruffle 216" (4 widths)

each ruffle is 7" long and the overlap between them is  about 2".

I used a white base fabric for the ruffles. Since the chiffon is sheer, it creates light and dark stripes, which I really like.

The waistband is a simple elastic waistband.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

There's some cool stuff at "clothes by the pound"

If you have a "clothes by the pound" store near you and want to practice sewing, go there! In about twenty minutes, I found these two great pieces that were in pretty rough shape, but didn't have any stains or holes in the body of the fabric (this is important - things with popped seams, ragged hems, ripped sleeves are all good candidates for fixing, things with big mystery stains and holes in the center of a panel are not). With a couple hours of work, I have some awesome new dresses that I would have struggled to put together from scratch. I wouldn't normally post about "fixing" clothes, but I also thought these dresses were really awesome designs.

Friday, November 7, 2014

How many tries does it take to make a minky top?

Apparently, it's three.

After making tentacles for my friend Bria, she said I could have the leftover pink/peach minky fabric. I thought it would make a cute and comfy top that I could put together super quickly using a simple kimono sleeve top pattern (the one I used for these fishnet tops). It's just two pieces - front and back.

This is a story of what happens when I get too excited and lazy and don't think through what I'm doing.

I cut out the top and sewed it together, as easily as expected. Put it on and...
It's too tight. Dammit. I had enlarged the pattern some since this fabric is less stretchy than the fishnet, but apparently not enough. I serged the seams so there's absolutely no seam allowance to let out. It actually looks great in photos, but it's not comfortable.

Ok. Try again. The second time, the neck came out too wide because I foolishly added width at the center front and back (on the fold when cutting) without making the neck opening smaller. There's technically nothing wrong with this version, I just didn't want such a wide neck. Bria didn't mind so I passed it on to her.

 Third try, finally what I wanted... now that I've used up all the fabric.

(If you like this skirt, I talk about it in a previous post)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I've never carved a pumpkin before though, until some friends got me to do it this year. Came out pretty neat!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

There's always ghosts touching you

I found this super cute ghost fabric the last time I went to the $1.99 Fabric store, which is soon to be $2.99.

Nooooooooo ~

I mean, that's still good.

The fabric is very soft and sheer, so I decided on one of my usual designs - a bubble skirt. Once I had the skirt, I thought I should have a matching top... and (what a surprise) I made one.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

"What is your favorite color of kitty?"

"Sage or lime?"

Ah yes, the classic sage colored cat.

One of my friends always says he wants a kitty when I ask him what I should bring to his house or buy when I'm out shopping. His birthday is coming up, and since I can't bring him a real kitty, I thought I would sew one.

I spent a while looking for a cute kitty plush pattern or tutorial. I found a couple, but they weren't really the style I was looking for, or were too pricey for how simple they were. Eventually I came to this one on Etsy. It was sold out at the time, but the seller was great and re-listed it when I messaged her. This pattern is so cute! It's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for, and it was only a couple bucks. If you want to try it, know that the instructions are in Japanese. Some parts took some figuring out, but it went together pretty well, especially considering I've never really made plush toys before.

For my kitty, I started by printing the pattern at 125% because it seemed a bit smaller than I wanted. The pattern suggests a woven fabric without stretch, but I wanted to use fleece, so I backed it with iron-on interfacing to add some structure. I stuffed it with poly-fil and embroidered the face instead of using fabric for the features. I completely spaced on adding the face before putting everything together, so you can see my thread ends, but I don't think it looks like an obvious mistake. I also used buttons for the eyes.

You can see how big it is based on my hand. It's about 6 inches long, and 6 inches tall.

I worked on this late into the night, as I tend to do, and when I went to take pictures of it later on I noticed the buttons were two different sizes and slightly different colors. Well, dang. You can kind of see this in the picture below:

At least it was an easy fix... except now I've stared at this cat so much I'm not sure I like the button eyes at all...

Ah, there we go. Just Photoshop those things out.

"What's a good way to get some tentacles without making too much of a production of it?"

One of my friends recently had a "crazy" idea to dress up in tentacles. She drew me a picture, suggesting that this is probably a weird thing that won't work out the way it looks in the picture.

It really didn't seem all that unreasonable to me, so I offered to make them. I looked around at "squid plushies" to get ideas for construction and we picked out some fleece and minky fabric based on what I'd seen. The house got pretty thoroughly coated in minky fluff (if you've never worked with it, it sheds like crazy when cut) but the tentacles came together nicely.

As you can see in the drawing and in the final costume images, the outfit consists of a tentacle belt or skirt (whatever you want to call it), sleeves/arm warmers, and a collar.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

"You have to wear a bell so I can find you if you run away and hide under a car"

You know, like a cat would.

Since I put together this witch outfit for myself for a Halloween party, and my boyfriend likes it when I dress him up, I wanted to make some sort of matching "costume" for him. We decided on kitty ears and a tail (he also has a collar with a bell on it, so he doesn't get lost of course.)

This isn't my boyfriend, clearly, but he wasn't available when I took the photos and Bria here agreed to help (thanks Bria!).

I used the same pattern for the ears as I use for my animal hats, for example these or this one. They are a layer of fleece, interfacing, and faux fur, sewn together then attached to a headband. For this set I also added little bows. We have a bit of a joke going about having bows on everything.

I free-handed the tail. It's a rectangle with rounded ends, about 24" by 7". There's a belt loop on the end that can also be safety pinned on if you're not wearing a belt.