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Craft Rage

...Making a mess of things since 1973


One! Day! Left!

I love being an accountant - I find numbers soothing and logical, and I actually kind of enjoy doing other people's taxes. That said, I'm pretty glad it's April 30th today.

I cannot WAIT to get into my sewing room.


Pink Abomination Update

Well, three posts in one day, then nothing for a week! Go figure!

I spent part of the weekend tackling the Pink Abomination - there were some issues with the front of the bodice. The pattern shows the dress with a round neckline, which I normally find quite unflattering, so when I cut the pattern, I made an attempt to redraft the bodice to give it a more square neckline. Since this was my very first attempt at ever sewing anything from a pattern, I really shouldn't have tried. I kind of neglected to remember that the front attaches to the back, and cut from the existing shoulder into a square, resulting in this;

It actually looked all right on me, but the shape of the neckline didn't support the shoulder enough, so it kept slipping off my actual shoulders, like a giant, creepy brastrap.

Luckily, I bought enough fabric to make at least one big mistake, and since this was it, I recut the bodice front. I still changed the neckline; I made it a bit scoopier than the original, and I may yet change it one more time, but here it is now, at least;

Another change I made was that instead of the front gathers, I put in a dart, and then another dart at the sides to eliminate any gapping.

Neither of these darts are probably "correct" as far as technique goes, but the fit is sort of all right.

I think I'm going to re-cut the front again - thankfully, I have enough fabric that I can do this without rushing out to buy more, but I think I'm going to return to the original bust gathers instead of the dart - my bust dart is pretty pointy, and I don't want to fiddle with it anymore. And I also need to figure out how to eliminate the gapping at the edges near my arms - I think I know what to do, but I'll probably cut the new shape on a muslin first, to make sure. That should eliminate the weirdness at the armhole.

Wish me luck!



Three posts in one day! Woo!

I couldn't wait to start sewing up some of my new fabric, but I wanted to start small. Here's my first effort at an accessory;

This is the Retro Tie Bag, which is a free pattern available from Butterick.

I didn't follow the directions, mostly because I couldn't really understand them, which is probably my fault rather than the fault of whoever wrote the instructions. It was simple enough to figure out my own way, though it probably would have been better if I'd actually followed the directions.

I made this to go along with my walkaway dress - now all I need is a pair of vintage sunglasses and cute shoes, and I've got an outfit!



Shortest Wagon Ride Ever.

Remember my last post? The one where I said I was off buying fabric for awhile? The post I originally put up yesterday, then had to repost this morning due to some spamming issues?

Well, I went to Fabricland to pick up a bunch of patterns I've been ogling, because they're on sale, and somehow, I ended up buying another 10.7m of fabric!!!

In my defence (not that I actually NEED a defence, but...) I truly adore this fabric. It's called Peony Garden, and it first hit the shelves last summer. I happened to be in the store when they got put out, and I was absolutely transfixed - it's the first time a fabric has actually called to me - at that point, I didn't know that fabric could DO that!

You might recognize the red from my walkaway dress, which I hope to finish this week.

Anyway, I circled those two bolts of fabric about ten times, before finally breaking down and buying three metres of each. Remember, at this point, I hadn't sewn so much as a stitch; I was just starting to get ideas. I had no idea whether three metres was even enough to make a garment (I was glad to learn it was, once I finally taught myself how to read the back of a pattern envelope).

Then, about six months later, I saw the fabric again, and even though I had six metres at home, I just felt like I needed another two metres of the red, which was obviously fate, since I needed just that much for the walkaway dress.

Today, when I bought my 10 patterns, I found both fabrics again, on clearance. I bought the last of each bolt. 3.4 metres of the purple, 7.3 metres of the red.

Pros and cons? Well, cons - I've discovered that I have no willpower, but only as it pertains to this fabric - there were a lot of really smashing prints, and while I wanted many of them, I only NEEDED these ones. The pros - that fabric will no longer taunt me, tempt me, make me crazy. I have it all. The colors of both suit me very well, so I'll actually wear what I make from them. Both were very cheap.

Of course, this pushes my stash over the 400m mark. 404.9M, to be exact. I think I'd better go sew something!



Stash Surprise


I've been mulling over a reorganization of my fabric storage for the last month or so, but this weekend, I actually decided to get started. I measured, laundered, ironed, and folded my way through my stash.

I thought I had about 200m of fabric on hand. According to my measurements, though, I am sitting at 394.2m of fabric, 176.5 of which is fabric I purchased with my wedding dresses in mind. Of that 176.5, just under 100 is taffeta in a rainbow of colours, which I purchased at an incredibly heavy discount ($1.49/m, down from $21.95/m),but still.

This number doesn't include the amount I've started to work with in the last week or so; a sundress, three skirts, and a walkaway dress, as well as a mock-up of a wedding dress, of which another 9m remains uncut.

I realize that this is nothing at all, compared to some of your stashes, but I am...frankly, I'm both horrified and excited. Horrified that I didn't know how much fabric I had on hand, and excited because I found fabric I'd forgotten I had. Plus, when it comes time to start making up all those formal dresses I bought patterns for last week, it appears that I won't have to buy any fabric, at least.

I think I'm on the "no new fabric until I sew a bunch of my stash" bandwagon for awhile. I don't even have a bit of desire to shop, which is weird, for me. But Butterick and McCall's patterns are on sale this week, so...hey, gotta go!



Sneak Peek!

Okay, this is the least exciting sneak peek ever. EVER!

Remember the Walkaway dress that I was afraid of back in December? Well, fear no longer rules me. Plus, seriously, I'm ashamed that I was ever afraid. This was WAY easier than the Pink Abomination, and that was pretty easy.

It's not done, and my dress dummy is wider than I am through the waist and hips (yay!), so it doesn't close properly, plus I want to make some edits, AND I need to redo the bias binding around the neckline, but it's a start!

I edited the neckline to drop down a bit lower, basically about 2", because according to everything I've read, the weight of the dress pulls the back down a bit. I finished the poppy fabric with bias binding in the green, and am planning to finish the green with binding in the poppy.

Also, I need to edit the darts that run horizontally at the sides - there's some serious gappage going on. And, I think I'm going to add a strip of fabric about 2" wide along that top inside edge of the poppy fabric, because right now, my bra shows in the area under the arms. I think I probably should have lengthened the bodice, back and front. Next time! And oh, yes, there WILL be a next time.

You know, I'm not really a dress person. Or at least, I wasn't. The only times I've ever worn dresses or skirts in the past, quite literally, were when I was a bridesmaid, and when I was in the military and had to be in full dress uniform, which included a skirt.

At the end of February, my fiance and I both had a block of time empty, and we had $2000.00 set aside for fun stuff that we never got around to spending over the last year (we have no kids, which is why we have disposable income, not 'cause we're rich), so we decided to go on a last-minute trip to Mexico.

We had about a week from the time we made our decision to the time we boarded the plane, and on the second day, I stopped at my favorite fat-girl store to pick up a couple of pairs of shorts. It's an outlet location, so every couple of seasons, they have a huge, Take 70% Off The Lowest Marked Price! sale, which means that items that have already been marked down are basically free.

I picked up an entire wardrobe of dresses, skirts, and tops, for $50.00. That's four pretty, floaty, summery dresses, three skirts, two denim short-sleeved jackets, and four tops. I figured I'd surprise him with an all-girly vacation. In typical male fashion, he was mostly oblivious to the difference, until the first night I dressed up for dinner. Well, really, I did everything I normally do, but instead of putting on jeans and a t-shirt, I put on a dress. He was poleaxed. Best fifty bucks I ever spent.

Back to my sewing room!

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A Quick Thank You

I've noticed that I've been getting more comments on my posts lately, and I wanted to take a moment to thank you all so much for reading, and for sharing your thoughts with me.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is sort of a "secret" blog - none of my local friends know I do it. Like Karen, when I talk about sewing, most of my friends' eyes glaze over, or else they openly laugh at me. Which actually, I'm okay with, even though it sounds like they're being very mean - it's my own fault for telling them about the first garment I ever made for myself. I was 13, and it was a dress for a Christmas party. It started to fall apart around 8:00, and by the time I went home at midnight, it was held together by staples. I'd laugh at me, too, if I were them.

As you all know, blogging is a strange blend of personal and private, and while you'd do it no matter what because its lovely to have an outlet, it's the comments that make it fun.

Luckily for me, the crowd of commenters I have to thank this time is relatively small. My thanks go out to Cidell, Amanda, who posts at Sew Retro, Brooke, Karen, Moxie Tonic, Kristin, Jemimabean, Keely, Shannon, and Jenny, as well as those I can't seem to find a link to, Karen, Shar, and Cantor.

As well, I sincerely appreciate those who visit but don't comment - I read all the blogs on my blogroll first thing every morning, and then again late in the afternoon, and I don't always get to leave comments either. Your presence is enough!

Two recent comments I wanted to reply to, though;

Jenny, thanks for your kind words about my patternless corset outfit! I'll post new pictures once I get the outfit completed, and show before and after - it's already changed a bit, for the better, I hope! Make sure you post the swimsuit fabric you decide on - I don't want to be TOO much of a copycat! :)

Kristin, I actually appreciate unsolicited advice - if I haven't solicited it, it's likely because I'm not sure what questions to ask, newbie that I am! I've heard that Vogue patterns can be...uh...well, awful to put together - I checked Pattern Review and got the scoop on a couple of the patterns I selected, as well as a few others I'd originally chosen, and they said exactly what you did - OUCH! In the end, I culled a list of 22 Vogue patterns down to the ones I posted, just because of that, and I'm glad I did.

I'm still a little stunned that I bought the V2928 - it's the only advanced pattern I bought, I think. The fact that there were no reviews of the 2928 on PR before I bought it (or now, for that matter!) makes me feel a bit scared, but what the heck - maybe I'll become the Crazy Cat And Pattern Lady - I'll walk around town with a purse full of cats and sewing patterns too advanced for me to attempt, muttering to myself and throwing empty spools at passing children. It's nice to have goals!

Anyway, thanks again, everyone!

Oh, and one last thing - you haven't seen Smooshy for awhile, so I thought I'd leave you with this;

I often have to remind my fiance that ugly kittens still have a hope of being handsome cats! Meh, we didn't get her for her looks anyway, we got her 'cause she's got a funny personality. Well, that and because she was probably two days away from a sack in the river.

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Planning REALLY far ahead

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've decided to drop 10 dress sizes, because I've been buying up every cute vintage pattern I've come across, and they're all in sizes 12 to 14. I LOVE these patterns, and though I've always been a fat girl, and have always sort of liked BEING the fat girl, I've decided that by this time next year, I'll be a size 12.

I made the decision on Saturday, and I've already started down a path that will take me there. I don't believe that a traditional diet is the right option for me, because I loathe dieters. Well, that's too strong - I loathe going for lunch with someone who has to flip through a little calorie counting booklet for twenty minutes before she can place an order, or eats her Atkins fare in the car before we go inside, where she sips ice water and watches me have relations with a beef dip.

In the past, I've shifted down two dress sizes easily, in a very short period of time, simply by following the plan at the end of this post. It's only there if you're interested - as I said, this isn't going to become a place where I blog about my daily relationship with food.

Anyway, now that I'm on the path towards being able to sew the cute clothes in my pattern stash, I decided that I should also stock up on the few patterns I REALLY love, in case they're not in print when I'm ready.

This week, Vogue patterns were on sale at Fabricland, for $5.99, so I bought a number in my current size (20 or 22, depending), and I also bought these in a range including 12 and 14;

I LOVE this dress. I can't explain it - the shape of the neckline and the little sleeves, and the sheer amount of fabric... Oh my! Honestly, I think it's a bit overdone, but even overdone has it's own charm, sometimes. And no, I don't think I'll ever have an occasion to wear this dress, but hey, I wasted $5 on a dream - is that so wrong?

I cannot WAIT to have a go at this pattern. I know that by the time I'm able to sew it, the world will be long over the galaxy dress, but it won't matter to me. I will make view D and view E, and wear them, even if they are not in fashion!

Ohh, the neckline, the full skirt. The GLOVES! Oh!

I must confess - I bought this pattern in two sizes - my current size AND the size 12-14-16. I really enjoy the simple look of this dress, and I like that I can add straps without ruining the neckline. I may be wrong, but I think this is actually a newer pattern, so it will probably still be around next year, but I didn't want to take a chance, and at $5.00, why wait?

And finally,

Okay, this dress is NOT a style I would ordinarily wear, but I tried on a wedding dress similar to this one,

and even though I'm not slender, it still looked surprisingly pretty. I think that at size 12, I might be able to pull it off. And again, if not, oh well. There's always ebay. :)

Oh, and here's my plan to drop 10 dress sizes in a year;

1. Walk every day for 30 minutes (already doing)
2. Work out twice a week (already doing)
3. Eat breakfast (starting Monday, after shopping)
4. Switch from an extra large Tim's a day (coffee, for you non-Canadians) to a small Tim's. (This is the only thing that truly makes me sad)
5. Carry a water bottle everywhere, and keep drinking. (starting Monday)

I have, on more than one occasion, dropped two dress sizes in between three weeks and a month by doing this. It sounds too simple, but the first couple of dress sizes are always easy when you're already quite large - it's the rest of them that take a lot of time. I think I can drop ten in a year by doing the same, and doing a bit of portion control as well. For me, portion control is six cookies, not ten, and no eating until I groan. Which means I still eat all I want, but not extra, which I have a habit of doing - both my fiance and I hate leftovers, so if I'm not careful about how much food I actually cook, we'll eat ourselves sick in order to avoid having the same meal twice. If I'm careful about the amount of food I actually cook, all should be right with the world.



Corset/Skirt Combo

EDIT: Yes, I know the picture is creepy - now I know that photoshopping out my arms and legs makes me look like Boxing Helena, so I won't do it anymore, I promise!

Finally, back to sewing!

I've been working on a number of projects lately; a corset, a sundress, and a skirt with strange box pleats that aren't making a bunch of sense to me.

I'm finding as I'm going along that I'm REALLY bad at following patterns. I need to work on that, because as the complexity of the garments I make increases, I'm going to need some experience with actually following the rules. Sometimes, though, not following the rules works out all right.

I made this corset and matching skirt without a pattern. I'm pleased that I was able to construct this garment at all, though I'm not totally pleased with the details.

The bustline is messed up, and the whole corset is just a teeny bit twisted, likely from lack of care while cutting. I didn't straighten it before I took the picture, so it looks a bit worse than it actually is. Still, once I fix the strange humps at the bustline, and get the correct boning in place, this outfit should end up about as good as any RTW piece. See, that's a measure of my sewing skill (or lack thereof) - all you experienced folk out there are sewing because RTW quality is sub-par, and I'm just pleased that I managed to make something of RTW quality!

As I said, I made this outfit entirely without a pattern. Both pieces are lacking finishing, but already, I have to admit to being pretty pleased with myself. The fabric I used was a moderate weight denim - it would have made great capris for spring, which is what I originally envisioned when I bought it. I still have enough to make a matching bolero jacket, although, while I LOVE the fabric and am pleased with the outfit, I do wonder if adding a bolero in the same fabric would be a bit of pattern overload?

The corset is fairly basic; three layers plus a waist tape, it just needs to have the proper bones inserted in the boning channels; I'm waiting on my order from Farthingales, but when it gets here, I'll be adding black exterior boning casings, and adding black along the seams to the skirt; they're just tacked together right now, so I'll probably remove them and add some black piping or something.

Even if I never wear this piece, I'm still glad I gave it a try. Now I know that I can make reality match my vision, if I go slowly and talk to myself a lot.

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Some wedding news

Well, it's been a busy couple of weeks; I've sewn a corset and a (pink!) sundress, but haven't had time to post about it, because we've had a lot going on. I'll do that in the next few posts, though, I promise!

For the first two weeks of April, Dear Fiance was sick as a dog. I mean, SICK. We've been together for six years, and every year about this time, he picks up some nasty flu virus, but he's one of those gung-ho types who refuses to take a sick day. He'll go to work anyway, and just work on his own so as not to infect anyone else, but come hell or high water, DF does NOT take sick days!

Well, this time around, he missed four days. Bedridden the entire time. There's a fairly bad strain going around our city right now, and all doctors are doing are taking swabs and calling you if it turns out to be strep - other than that, unless you have fluid in your lungs, you're on your own.

Anyway, between nursing him and working, I've had time to sew at night, but no energy to post about it.

As to the title of this post, well, here's the thing; DF and I have been engaged since August 2006. When we got engaged, we had just purchased our first home, and decided on a long engagement, ostensibly to allow time to plan things properly. The thing is, along with not being very crafty, I'm also not much of a party planner. And then we started to do some minor renos around the house, and the wedding fell by the wayside.

The bottom line is, the wedding we were going to have this August remains almost completely unplanned.

When we got back from our trip to Mexico in March, we started idly chatting about putting the wedding off for a year, so that we could finish our renos and get married at home, but we both felt like we've already been waiting so long that neither of us really wanted to make the decision. Then, last week we learned that my future sister in law is pregnant, and her due date is a couple of weeks before our our original wedding date. Decision made!

Our new wedding date is August 15, 2009, and I think I'm actually more excited about this date than I was about our last one. The big reason, I think, is that now we have a firm plan to have the reception at home. Our house is situated on about an acre of grass, backing onto pasture and farmland on two sides.

It's lovely and green, and only really needs a fence and some planning to make it look really pretty. It's more than large enough to host our small, informal (read incredibly casual) gathering. And along with everything else, we're situated about ten minutes away from a Provincial Park that has a lovely lake with a pretty little beach - perfect for pictures!

I love the idea of getting married at home. Of course, there's a lot of work to be done - this summer, we need to put up a fence, do some grading to even the grass out a bit, and put in our second bathroom downstairs, as we've been planning for some time.

Anyway, enough rambling about the wedding. Next post, I'll show you a picture of the wedding dress I've decided to make, as well as tell you my deepest, darkest secret. Cliffhanger!