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Craft Rage

...Making a mess of things since 1973


Shortcut Skirt


Well, Smooshy's surgery went well, and outside of being treated like a leper by our other cats for two days, she's just fine. Still on the outskirts of the cat family, but fine.

Yesterday at around 3:30, I decided to take a sewing break. My mind was mush, and I needed something that wouldn't require a great deal of thought. I put on my MP3 player, loaded a book to listen to, and by 7:00, I'd made this;

I have a bin full of short-cuts & remnants of 1 metre to 1.5 metres in length. This was a 1 metre cut of 60" fabric - it's brushed rayon or something, it's got a lot of body, but it's very soft to the touch, and fairly drapey.

I ripped up 6, 6" strips, and used three for the bottom ruffle, two for the middle ruffle, and one for the waistband (not shown). I used my ruffler foot to make the gathers in the bottom ruffle and middle ruffle, then sewed the two levels together. The top of the skirt is essentially the rest of the fabric, sewn in a tube up the back, with an invisible zipper at the top. I fit the waist by pinching the excess and marking it with chalk, then darting and cutting as necessary.

I'm really pleased with the results - this is definitely a skirt I'll wear in public. It's far from perfect - the centre seam on the middle ruffle is REALLY obvious, though I don't really care - that's easy enough to fix.

It would have gone much faster if I hadn't spent so much time fiddling around with my ruffler foot - that thing is just so darned much fun! I made ruffles out of every scrap of fabric laying around, just to figure out the length and depth of the ruffles for this skirt. I think this might be a 1.5 hour skirt, start to finish, and less if I just put in an elastic waistband, which I might do the next time around.

Note to self; wear more skirts.

And finally;

We put the towel down so that Smooshy would have someplace cozy to sleep - for whatever reason, she loves terry cloth. Unfortunately, Boobah (the black cat) and Bonzo (the fluffy one) also like terry cloth. And each other. Like I said, Smooshy's still on the outskirts of the cat family.

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Too busy to sew

Not too busy to stop by random garage sales, but I haven't done any actual sewing for more than a week, now.

Since my fiance and I decided to get married at home, we have a lot of work to do in terms of making our yard into a place people might actually want to hang out. Our house was built in the early '70's, and essentially, when the builders were gone, the owner just figured "Meh, who needs to landscape?" and let grass grow over the damage the heavy equipment done.

Then, just before selling to us, he'd rented the property to some really awful tenants. As an example, our first Halloween (Oct 2006), we had a HUGE swarm of mothers come to the house along with their kids, hoping to catch a glimpse of the house, to see if we still had a functioning meth lab in the kitchen. I'm not kidding. One lady actually pushed the door all the way open and pushed past me, and said that we'd done a good job erasing evidence of the "crack fire" (her words, I kid you not!).

Questions of the interior of the house aside (seriously - there is still a large 2x4 BOLTED, not screwed, to the wall in the basement, to which a six foot length of chain is also BOLTED. I still call it the torture room)...as I was saying, questions of the interior aside, they were also kind of yard pigs, and when my fiance brought in a bobcat last weekend, he made the discovery that some of the lumps on the lawn were, in fact, garbage bags that had simply been pitched off the front stairs, and allowed to grow over with grass and dirt.

So, our front and back yards are really torn up, and I spent the weekend digging up all the lilac trees I planted last year, to make room for a new fence, as well as putting out some bedding plants, to make the deck look less like a junk sale and more like a place to bbq. Amazing what some petunias will do!

Tomorrow, I have to take Smooshy in to the vet to get her spayed - I've never, EVER had a kitten before - I've only ever rescued/adopted adult cats, so this whole "in heat" thing kind of took me by surprise. I didn't realize that it would happen so soon, or that one small animal could manufacture so much noise. And urine.

Anyway, I'm off to cuddle with her for a little while - after tomorrow, I think it will be awhile before I get any more kitten lovin'.



Did I mention my love of garage sales?

I only went to a few this weekend, because I was a little pressed for time, but I made two scores. One, which I haven't taken a picture of yet, is a necklace and earring set which probably contains Real Artificial Rubies, along with a few Real Industrial Grade Diamond Chips, but which is a cheerful bright red, with a few of the little details you normally only see in high-quality jewelery, like security clasps on the earrings and such. Have I ever mentioned that I'm a crow, and I'm unnaturally attracted to shiny things?

Anyway, my ultimate score was this;

It was FREE!!!!! Yes, free. In fact, the lady who gave it to me told me that she'd give me five dollars to get it off her property. I was already sprinting to my car in a very ungainly fashion as the words were coming out of her mouth, though, so obviously I missed out.

Turns out, it's both a lovely, working sewing machine, AND a mystery. When I got it home, I Googled the brand name, Castle, and came up with nothing. Zilch. Zero. Nada. Seriously - until today, I didn't belive that it was possible to acquire an item that doesn't have any information posted about it on the internet, but it appears that my freebie is just such an item.

I'm really curious about it's heritage - it clearly says "Made In Japan",

So it's clearly not a Singer. Question is, what IS it? There's got to be a blog out there that I can get info from; any ideas?

And here's this post's token cat shot;

All this cuteness is going to make me barf. Or buy another cat.



One Of Everything

I thought I'd post a quick update on my One Of Everything project.

I was all in a bother to get some sewing done this weekend, but decided instead to sit back and get all the prep work done, first. I cut out a number of the patterns; I always cut my patterns on the outline of each piece, rather than to any size, so that I don't lose size markings for smaller sizes. I then spent a bit of time staring at my stash, figuring out what fabric I'd use for what item of each pattern.

I'm really excited to sew from my stash - now that my "fashion" fabric is where I can see it, it's much more fun to play with.

When I did my last stash sort, I surprised myself by having a lot more fabric than I thought. I had been storing everything in clear plastic bins, but that wasn't a very good solution, because I couldn't actually see everything unless I pulled it out of the bins first.

When I reorganized, I basically left all the "formal" fabrics in bins, and stashed the bolts of taffeta under my cutting table, put all the under 2m cuts into a bin, and put all the regular fabric on the shelves. Notice that I have room for more fabric;

This project has given me a chance to review what I have on hand in terms of fabric and notions, and try to put together packages so that I can see if I actually need to buy any more fabric. HAHAHAHAHA!!! That makes it sound like I'm going to NOT buy fabric - it's funny 'cause it's not true!

Anyway, this is a good exercise for me - pretending that I'm going to pare down my stash and keep it pared down is great fun! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go to town - Simplicity pattern sale. I have no intention of buying fabric. Let's see how that works out for me!

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Pattern Rescue

I'm not sure if you've heard of Pattern Rescue, but just in case you haven't, I wanted to say a quick word about it. These folks collect and GIVE AWAY sewing patterns, many of which are vintage patterns. FOR FREE! And if you donate a bit of money (like, the cost of postage, or more if you can), or send in patterns you no longer want, you get to select more free patterns as they get posted!

From what I can tell, they started off as a sort of swap site for vintage patterns. That's actually where I picked up these two patterns, which are part of my One Of Everything project;

Also, if you have a vintage pattern with pieces missing, they'll help you locate your missing pieces, or find another person with that same pattern who would be willing to trace your missing piece from their complete pattern!

They do other perfectly nice things as well, so I strongly suggest that if you have a minute, you should check them out at http://www.patternrescue.com/.

You know, recently, on another blog with a large following (y'all know which one), there was a huge kerfuffle between a much-respected sewing blogger and a...well, troll, I guess, for lack of a better word. Essentially, it's this troll's person's belief that there is a vast sewing conspiracy, and that all sewing blogs are maintained by one single minion of those evil fabric corporations. My sewing conspiracy name, by the way, is Kiki Caswell, but my cape is at the cleaners right now, so it's just me and my platform boots posting today.

There were a few pretty pointy digs about the mutual supportiveness of the sewing community at large - essentially, it appears that we're all a bunch of phony, sappy morons; a pack of stupid lemmings. Aye caramba! This actually led me to nearly post a crazy, rambling rant about people who don't like to see other people happy. Thankfully, I refuse to publish angry posts without a day to cool down, so y'all dodged a bullet, there.

If we're all a bunch of sappy, moronic lemmings because we enjoy being kind to one another rather than electing to be nasty and waspish all the time, then I'm a lemming, and I'm okay with that. I'm nasty and waspish enough in my non-sewing life; I'm terribly glad to have e-met you and all the others whose blogs I stalk regularly.

In any case, as far as I'm concerned, Pattern Rescue, the vintage pattern wiki, Pattern Review, and many other great community sites, embody the essence about what's so great about the sewing community. Because I'm so new to the community, I'm sure there are a lot of sites I'm missing? Any suggestions from my readers? Uh...reader, maybe? :)

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Garage sale season is here!


Okay. I'm one of those people who tries to be careful about throwing the word "love" around. I know, it's weird. Put it on the list of the many things about me that are unexplainable. I tell my family and my fiance, and yes, my cats, that I love them, all the time. I even have a super-duper high-school friend whom I love greatly, and have told her so, without any creepiness. Well, maybe a bit of creepiness, but then we laughed hysterically and went to the thrift store.

There are people (pets count here) I love, and things I love, and I never mix the two up. It's always people first, then things. At least in this, I have my priorities in order. Now if only I could remember that it's groceries first, and THEN fabric, not fabric first, and THEN groceries, I'd be much more popular at home.

Many of the things I love are both mundane and ridiculous - "The Cutting Edge" is a great example of that. I can't explain why I love this movie, I just know that when I wipe out, or see someone else wipe out, the urge to scream "TOEPICK!" is almost crippling. In addition, I love peridots, and The Thomas Crown Affair, and corsets, and containers - oh, how I love things that hold things! Many years ago I took a solo trip to the southern US, and on my last day, I stumbled across The Container Store. I nearly cried when I realized I had no room in my luggage to bring some containers home.

Even above the container fetish, though, is my complete and utter love of people who lay their castoffs out on their lawn, driveway, or garage, for me to paw through. That's why Garage Sale Season is probably my favorite time of the year. As soon as the weather settles, and the last snow is a couple of weeks behind us, everyone in the city I live near cleans out their closets and attics, and lays everything out on their lawn, or in jumbled heaps in their driveway and garage.

They spend the day sitting in their driveway, smiling at strangers, chatting about the weather, joking about whether or not we've really seen the last of the snow, and complaining about the government (that's how we roll in our prairie city).

I enjoy jockeying for a parking spot and getting out of my car, pockets full of change and small bills, and pawing through stuff that people have held on to, sometimes for fifty years or more. I'm not kind - sometimes I laugh right out loud when I see that someone (other than my dad) actually bought a Thighmaster.

I also get a kick out of people who attempt to sell used items at nearly the same price as you would pay for a new one - witness, the woman who had a stack of really dirty old curling irons tagged at $10.00 each. What? You can get a brand new, cootie-free curling iron for $9.99, and I, for one, will not pay extra for clumps of someone elses' hair.

I bought two of my favorite sewing machines this way - a Singer and a White. I paid $10.00 for the Singer and $8.00 for the White, and both of them work like a charm - I recently gave the White to my mom so she could sew heavy tent canvas, and the thing runs like a freight train - the best $8.00 ever, maybe? I bought a large stack (14 in all) of sewing books, including a number of volumes of the Singer Sewing Reference Library, for $3.00.

This weekend, I got everything shown here for $4.75; (click for larger view)

There are a few things I don't even know how to use properly, like the transfer patterns on the top right, and the two yards of drawcord elastic. The clip-on garters I understand, though what I'd clip them to is beyond me - I wonder if there's a market for them on ebay? Some of the zippers in the pile were obviously removed from other garments, but at least 3/4 of them are brand new and unused, or appear that way.

I've been looking for a pattern for a jewelery roll, without much success - my plan is to pick apart the one in the picture, and make my own pattern, once I understand how this one is assembled.

In that same vein, I got this for $4.00;

I've been struggling to make my own crinoline, and I've assembled and disassembled one a number of times, not really sure if what I was doing was correct. Now that I actually have one in my hands, I know! Plus, this one actually fits me, so I have one to wear while I try to make another!

In addition to all that, I occasionally find some really great vintage patterns. Lately, I've come across a number of patterns for little girl dresses, like these;

I don't actually have children, and when I do, it's likely it'll be a boy - my fiance's family has had nothing BUT boys for three generations, and if I remember 11th grade biology, the sex of a baby is decided by the father, but even so, I couldn't resist picking up these patterns. I'm not normally a very acquisitive person, but really, since I started sewing, all bets are off. Plus, when the lady offered me the whole box (there were 16 in total, most of them 50's and 60's dresses and blouses in sizes 10 and 12) for $2.00, I could NOT say no.

Now that I have them at home and have had a chance to stare at them, I want to make the little sailor dress (bottom right) SO MUCH. Maybe I can adapt it to fit one of the cats. I'm never sure - does dressing up your cats count as animal cruelty, or is it just cute? In any case, I'm off to check the newspaper - that's where I'll find out where all the good sales are going to be next weekend! I'll leave you with this;

Hee hee! They're spooning!

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OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!

Last week, I wrote about entering the contest Jenny at Three Kid Circus was having.

The prize was a Wii and a Wii Fit Kit, which my fiance and I have been coveting for some time now. Okay, he's been coveting the Wii because he has nephews and can't wait to play games with them online, and I've been coveting the Fit Kit because I have both a very large bottom. And a death wish.

Anyway, I won!! Wooooo!!!!! I mean, WOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

I'd been blogstalking TKC all morning, even while I was doing some actual work (the cats must eat, after all) and then checked my email, only to find that Three Kid Circus had sent me a message, letting me know that I had won.

Here is my graceful, ladylike, polite reply;

OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!

You're freakin' kidding me!!! Ohh! Holy cow, I'm crying! Oh, don't post that! Oh, whatever, I don't mind - shame and I are only distant acquaintances. Oh, I'm gonna feel like an even BIGGER dork if this is the online version of Punked! You should have heard the sound I emitted when read your email - somewhere between a squealing pig and a whistle - EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! The E's don't do it justice. Oh, I'm rambling.

My address is xxxxxxxxxxxx. My phone number is xxxxxxxxxx.

Yay you! Yay me! Yay Nintendo!

Thank you so very much - this means an awful lot to me! I never win anything - no raffles, no lotteries, not even free coffee! I'm really, really grateful! And now I'm going to go blog about my gratefulness! I'll post pictures of the injuries I'm certain I'll sustain - I'm not sure if I can post video, because my ass will not fit comfortaby across 600 pixels, but I'll try!

Geesh, Rachelle - gush much?

Seriously, though, I'm incredibly grateful to Three Kid Circus and Nintendo for offering such a great prize, and for choosing my submission out of such an incredibly funny group of entries.

Here in Canada, this is the first day back to work from a long weekend, so this is a quasi-Monday. I hereby label this The Best Quasi-Monday I Have Ever Had! Once again, note that I cannot resist Using Too Many Capital Letters!

Woo hoo!!!



One Of Everything

I am heartily inspired by those on my blogroll. It's actually a much bigger roll than what shows on my page; I haven't yet mastered the art of importing from Google Reader yet, so if your blog was on there before, it will be again, once I get off my duff and get it in.

I digress. I always get very inspired by reading what everyone else is up to. Most interesting to me is watching people build their SWAP wardrobes. Next year, I think I might sew along while everyone's SWAPping, or maybe even enter myself, though I'm not sure if my skills will be up to the challenge at that point. In the meantime, for practice, I've come up with an idea that will likely sound ridiculous to you, but makes perfect sense to me!

It's my own personal Un-SWAP-SWAP.

Since I made the committment last month to drop 10 dress sizes by next April, I have begun to shrink a bit. Not a whole lot - fast isn't the answer for me, personally - but I'm shrinking nonetheless. When I started this, my dress size was somewhere between 22 or 24, and my measurements equated to a 28W or 30W, on pattern labels. Size 24 dresses no longer fit me properly, so I'm a solid size 22, right now, which still equates to a 28W.

I have a number of patterns in my pattern stash that go up to 28W, but at some point, I'm going to shrink out of these patterns. Since I bought these patterns because I liked them, I'd really like to sew them up before they "expire".

Here's my plan;

I pulled all the patterns in my stash that either go up to 28W, or that I feel I will be able to upsize properly. There are 15 in total, and more may be added when the summer patterns go on sale.

Of these 15 patterns, I will sew one garment from each pattern envelope, be it a dress, or a skirt, or pants, whatever. My preference is to use fabric that's already in my stash, but I'm not crazy enough to swear off buying fabric or patterns while I do this.

Here are the patterns - you can click them to see larger versions, if you wish;

In addition to these items, I'm also trying to frankenstein a retro swimsuit, so that I don't have to go through the hell of swimsuit shopping this year.

Now, I'm not a total kook - I know that the patterns above are multi-size patterns, and that I'll have more of a window to make these than just the next few months. But this isn't a project one can complete overnight, so by the time I'm done with this, it will be time to start over, with my smaller patterns. Hopefully, anyway. And in the meantime, I'll have cute, flattering clothes to wear, to get my friends used to seeing me in something other than jeans and T's.

I'm calling this project "One Of Everything", and if you look along the right side of my blog, you'll see a progress list. I feel good about having a plan, even if it's not a plan to make matching outfits - I'm not very good at coordinating this with that anyway, so likely the jumble will suit my personal style (or lack thereof) perfectly!

Enough rambling - I have some sewing to do!

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Loose tooth, anyone?

Okay. I don't normally enter blog contests (the exception that proves the rule happens when Summerset raffles off her art garment postcards).

In this case, though, since my fiance and I have been in the market for a Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit kit for the last little while (they can't keep them on the shelves in our town), and the prize for this contest IS a Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit kit, I figure, what the heck!

Jenny at Three Kid Circus wants us to tell our readers about...well, about the dumbest purchases we've made in the name of fitness.

Sadly, I have more than one.

First off, I am oldish. Not old, but oldish. I remember when the Thighmaster first came out, and Suzanne Somers was all over the TV, hawking these miracle machines. My stepdad, bless his lovely, kooky soul, bought me one for my birthday when I was 16. He didn't buy it 'cause I was fat, or he had any particular idea what my thighs might be like, he bought it because it was a gadget, and who doesn't like gadgets!?

I thanked him graciously, and hastily hid it away. Fast forward two years, and I'm packing my room, getting ready to go off to the military. I come across the Thighmaster that's been residing in a box under my bed, and think "Hey, why not give it a try?"

I sit down on the side of my bed, put the thing where it seems like it's supposed to go, right between the knobby parts at the sides of my knees. I start squeezing. First few reps - easy! Next few reps - still easy! By 50, I'm straining a bit. By 76, I'm done, but won't allow myself to quit until I reach 100. At 89, I start to lean forward, really putting myself into it.

At 94, I shift my knees slightly, and go for a big push, really hunching over to get as much leverage as I can. The whole Thighmaster shifts and rotates, and without warning, the big, hard red knob in the middle of the thing flies up quite rapidly, and hits me square in the mouth.

Ladies and gentlemen, can you say "Split lip"? And one slightly loose front tooth.

My second ill-conceived purchase was the Tony Little Gazelle. I was 22, and really, it's the only thing I've ever bought from The Shopping Channel. That I will tell you about. Or admit to.

The thing that made me want to buy this is how fun Tony made it look. I enjoyed his screams of "YOU CAN DOOOO EEEEEIT!" even though I was harbouring the secret belief that I could not, in fact, do it.

The thing arrives in a box, mostly assembled. I read the directions, put together the last few bits, and hop on.

The first few strides, I'm smiling like a loon. This IS fun! I CAN do eeeit! Faster and faster I glide, taking larger and larger strides. There's no resistance and no bumping, and it takes a while to break out in a sweat, but when I do, I take my hand off the handlebar and reach for my towel.
When I'm finished blotting, I drop my towel, and realize that I am not coordinated enough to grab the handlebar again without stopping. I make a few half-hearted attempts to grab it anyway, and the idea of stopping so I can grab it DOES cross my mind. But instead, I decide that I'll take my other hand off the other handlebar, and rest my hands on the sides while I glide.

I do this, but soon realize that the quality of my workout has dropped, so once again, without stopping, I start grabbing for the handles.

I am REALLY uncoordinated. REALLY. I manage to grab one handle - that is, I put my hand out and the handle miraculously smacks right into my palm - and I lunge for the second, and overshoot. I'm off balance, and lunging, and the whole apparatus shifts microscopically, because my stride is now off. This panics me a bit, because really, it shouldn't move, should it? But do I stop? No, I lunge forward again, and the handlebar I have a grip on comes shooting back, and I punch myself in the mouth.

No split lip. Just one slightly loosened tooth, and scars on the back of my right hand where I poked myself with my teeth. Plus, I fell backwards when I punched myself, and hit the back of my head on the coffee table. And got one foot caught between the support structure and a moving pedal, so I had a nice bruise on both sides of one leg.

And last but not least, my Carmen Electra Fit To Strip series.

I got the whole series from Ebay, and I'd be lying to you if I said I never used it. In fact, I used it this morning. The thing is, I've adapted it to the point that it probably no longer resembles "Carmen Electra's Fit To Strip" and looks more like "Big Bird And Snuffaluffagus Go Dancing".

The first time I tried it, I reviewed all the disks, then jumped right in to try the Lap Dance. I dragged a kitchen chair into the living room, and danced around a bit (I'm not coordinated, but I have a fairly decent sense of rhythm - go figure), and at one point, I got so into the spirit of it that I started to bend over and let my hair down, shaking it out in my very best impersonation of Carmen Electra.

Except I forgot that the chair was there, so when I bent over with great energy and enthusiasm, I slammed my head down on the chairback. Luckily, it only caught me on the forehead - no blood at all, just a very embarassing bruise right between my eyes, effectively linking my eyebrows into a monobrow. No matter how you cut your bangs, you can't hide a monobrow.

Actually, now that I think of it, I've done other stupid things in the name of fitness, but maybe it's best if I attempt to keep a little bit of mystique. But I will say this; if I win the Wii, I WILL post pictures of whatever injuries I give myself while using it. That should be good for a laugh. Or stitches.

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Much better!

Okay, now that the blog isn't pink, surrounded by pink swirlies, I can get back to posting. I completed three projects this week (yay me!). Okay, in truth, the projects don't merit a "Yay!", because honestly, they're pretty simple projects.

First up, the Orange Skirt. Made More Important With The Inclusion Of Capital Letters!

This skirt was made without a pattern, which isn't surprising, since it's a simple straight skirt with an elastic waist. It's very...orange. Orange and I play well together, far better than pink and I do - I'm a "fall", or so I learned from Chatelaine, circa 1989. Even so, this is probably one of those skirts I'll only wear if all my pants are dirty.

Of everything I've made so far, this is the one I paid most attention to. I made flat-felled seams on both the lining and the fashion fabric. I found the process to be absurdly simple, and quite gratifiying, since it results in a really nice finish. See? Lookit me, talkin' about nice finishes and such!

Here's a shot of the inside. Again, I didn't use a pattern, so if my lining is way too short, that's 'cause I got overenthusiastic with my rotary cutter. Seriously, I have a love affair going on with my rotary cutter. It would love to cut off my fingertips, and I would love to throw it away. It's just that I have a sense that it would come back, like that movie with the doll - that woman kept throwing it away, and giving it away, but every time she came home from work, it was sitting in her living room, looking at her.

Funny story. Okay, not really funny. Strange. I got the lining fabric from the Salvation Army. It was new, unwashed, and folded, and by the fade on one of the folded sides, was in someone's stash for a good long time.

I bought it because it was shiny (I'm a crow - shiny things attract my attention). When I was at the checkout, there were two ladies at the till - one ringing things in, and the other folding and bagging. They finished with the woman in front of me, and as she walked away, I set this 2m length of fabric on the counter. The bagger actually CRINGED away from it, and said "Oh, my!" as though it were printed all over with naked female parts.

The lady at the till stood there and stared at the fabric for a few seconds, then gingerly reached out a hand to flip the tag over, careful not to actually touch the fabric, and murmured "How interesting." Both ladies tried to rally gamely - the bagger asked me what I might make out of something so...orange..., and the lady at the till smiled uncomfortably and said that it looked as though it would take an iron well, obviously straining for something kind to say.

So anyway, apparently the lining fabric is cursed. Or so horrifically ugly that it shocked these women out of their shoes. I'm betting on cursed, because then I get to call this the Orange Skirt Of Evil. I really like to Capitalize Things To Make Them Important.

Anyway, on the elastic casing, I think I cheated a bit - I sewed bias binding around the unfinished top edge of the skirt, then folded it over and eyeballed it to one inch all the way around, then sewed it. I think I was probably supposed to do something fancy that wouldn't include bias binding at all, but by the time the elastic was going in, I was getting a bit bored.

Second project - vintage top, made with a real vintage pattern! Well, if the '70's or early '80's is vintage, at least. Not really sure where the line gets drawn.

So, I have more vintage patterns than I should have, and only about four of them are in a size that I could sew and wear today. This is not one of them. As you can see from the package, it's a size 12, 34' bust. My actual bust is 50", so a small adjustment was necessary.

Since this pattern was comprised of two pieces cut on the bias, and some bias binding, it was an easy one to edit, although I'm not sure if I did it the "right" way. All I did was measure the distance across the top of the pattern, where the top seam is supposed to sit, then measured the same spot on my actual chest. The difference was six inches. I was supposed to cut the piece flat, not on the fold, but figured I'd take a shortcut - I carefully folded the fabric on the bias, folded the pattern piece down the middle, and slapped it down. Instead of lining the edge of the pattern up with the fold, I shifted it back three inches from the fold, which gave me six inches of extra fabric, right down the middle, but didn't change any of the other dimensions.

I actually like this little top - I got the size just right, so it fits well and is quite comfortable. However, if I make it again, I'll likely change it so that I can have straps over the shoulders, to hide a brastrap. Because honestly, a 50" bust isn't perky enough to carry this top off without some serious support. We won't discuss the fact that it's pink. It was a remnant, so it was cheap. I'm not down with pink, but I'm down with $1.20 for 1.6 metres!

And finally, the blue skirt I talked about in this post.

Here's the thing. I finished this skirt. I stitched all the rips closed, put a side zipper in, bias-bound the hem, and tried it on. I liked it. Now, however, I can't find it. I've looked all over the house, in all the spots that these things usually end up, including the laundry and the closet in my office, but I can't locate it at all. So either the universe is trying to save me from wearing the saddest little ripped skirt in the world, or Smooshy has stolen it and hidden it with her trove of black socks and spools of thread. Either way, no pics today!

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Bear With Me!

So, the pinkness was killing me.

I couldn't even look at my blog, much less post to it. Thusly, over the next little while, you might see my blog go through some kind of wacky changes - as I write this posts, there are little birdies all over the page. Cute, but not me. Now, if they were kittens...

Anyway, just bear with me - I'll make up my mind soon, I'm sure!


I'm serious - I don't like pink!

Is there a scientific term for someone who truly believes she doesn't like a colour, but then buys everyting IN that colour? Honestly! I thought I was clear about my feelings regarding the colour pink. I am not a pink person!

Still, I went to the store to pick up some thread for another project, and left with this:

Honest to Betsy, I didn't buy it because I was in love with it - I bought it because it was cheap, and this is my first foray into sewing a stretch fabric - I have 10 metres of heavy, chocolate brown silk (or very silklike) jersey just waiting to turn into something pretty.

In any case, I'll probably start on this dress later today, if only to purge myself of the pinkness. I'll let you know how it turns out!

Oh, and this has been happening a lot around here. Smooshy is a thief, and she's been aided and abetted by Boobah on more than one occasion. Usually she only steals socks (but only black socks!) but lately, it's been spools of thread, right out of my sewing room. Now she's taken to napping with it, apparently.

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Because I felt like it

Well, as you can see, a few things have changed around here! I enjoyed my old brown/green combination, but it didn't really say "WOO HOO - SPRING IS FREAKIN' HERE!!", so it was time for some sprucing up.

One question - can any of you see the swirly background that's supposed to be showing along the right and left hand sides of the screen? I can see it when I'm in edit mode, but I can't see it when I check my page. Not a big deal, but kind of a head-scratcher.

**UPDATE** Disregard that question - I fixed it!

I'm not sure which blog I read it on, but somewhere, I came across a tip to use heavy steel bolts as pattern weights. This weekend, I picked up these;

They're super-huge, heavy galvanized steel washers, which work equally well. (The Razr is just there for scale. And yes, it's pink, even though I dislike pink - I was trying to be ironic. I think maybe I'm just in the closet - secretly, I think I love pink. )

There's definitely two sides to these - one, the top, is rounded and fairly smooth. The bottom has a fine grain, but no snags, so it ought to help keep the thing from slipping around too much. I'm not sure if you can make out the detail in the picture...

Anyhoo, I'm all Bloggered out for the day - time to go read my blogroll!



Yeah, I'm that dumb

I had a real "DOH!" moment yesterday. I cut and assembled the simplest circle skirt ever;
I LURVE this skirt, 'cause it's simple and pretty, and can be made out of anything, and also because from cutting to wearing is an hour, tops, if you're paying attention. I know this because I've gotten into the final ten minutes TWICE, then made the most ridiculous mistake ever, and ended up with a whole lot of circle-skirt-shaped scrap fabric.

For me, the final ten minutes would have been wrapping the hem with a fun contrasting bias binding, but I decided to make a slight change to take in a few inches at the waist - I didn't NEED to, but I decided I wanted to. So I started to unpick the narrow waistband with my seam ripper.

I don't enjoy listening to music while I sew - I find it very distracting, because I tend to sing along, loudly. It's difficult to sew when you've got your head thrown back, belting out the words to Kathy Mattea's 455 Rocket - "Did you boys come here to race, or just kiss?". Also, I can't sew to Metallica, because I am always driven to do the white-girl head-bang - sort of a really enthusiastic nod. And forget Top 40 - there's no need to be dancing around my sewing room, trying to perfect my booty pop.

Instead of listening to music, I listen to books on CD, or audiobooks I've downloaded from various sellers online. Normally, it just sort of plays in the background, and I don't pay a lot of attention, just absorbing it by osmosis, but for some reason, I was listening more than sewing. Mistake.

Not even thinking about it, I picked stitches on the waistband I intended to remove, freeing up about 5" of the band. Then, for some reason I cannot explain, I decided to rip the rest of the stitches by giving the waistband a good yank. Uh, yeah, note to self - don't do that. About four inches into the rip, the waistband stitches held, and the fabric itself ripped, down about six inches into the skirt. Oy vey!

So there I was, shocked and dismayed, but figured, what the heck, in for a penny, right? I shifted the fabric and gave it another tug. Another length of waistband stitches came free, then held again - a second rip, about 8" into the skirt. Well, what the heck - one more tug can't hurt, right? The third and final rip extends about 6" down, and I still have to unpick the stitches on the last few inches of waistband.

I'm not too worried - the print is such that I can easily stitch the fabric back together with no great loss in the volume of the skirt, though the rips will likely sit funny. Still, I'll have a cool and comfortable skirt for bopping around town, so whatever. But really - I think maybe this pattern is cursed, and I shouldn't make another attempt until I'm willing to think about nothing BUT the skirt I'm sewing.

Off topic - in an earlier post, I mentioned that I had bought a fabric called Peony Garden almost compulsively, in two of three available colors, red/green and purple/green. Well, I finally broke down and bought the last of the three, yellow/gold, and I've already decided to go back for more. What's wrong with me?? Sheesh!

Honestly, I don't know why this particular fabric speaks to me - I'm not a floral person at all. But it's so crisp and weighty, and the colors just...pop. Well, except for the yellow/gold - it's much livelier in real life than it is in the picture. Still, what an odd choice for me!

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Stalker Sewing

Well, for the last few months, I've been hemming and hawing over the fact that once more, swimsuit season is coming, and once more, I hate all the suits I currently have.

I'm a plus-sized gal, but I carry my weight pretty evenly all over my body. Unfortunately, most suits in my size are either styled and built to hide a large tuchus, or prop up a sagging bosom, which means I'm usually swaddled in yards of excess fabric at the bottom, and busting out of the top.

Jenny, over at Chronically Uncool, is creating a retro swimsuit for herself, so I've been stalking her blog for updates on her progress. I'd already decided to do something retro, in this basic shape:

but with ruching at the sides, and wider straps. And, uh, more chest coverage.

This isn't a project I'm starting right away; it's sort of something I'm doing in between other projects, because I'm really set on making my own pattern. At least I've finally chosen some test fabric, which was on sale on Friday. If all goes well, my swimsuit will be made of this material, and if all doesn't go well, at least I didn't spend too much on the "muslin".

Plus, of course, I intend to blogstalk Jenny ruthlessly - not really so I can copy her swimsuit, but 'cause her blog is a good read!



Rebellion for geeks

I had appointments today, but guess what I'm doing right now? Right now, I mean, not right NOW, when I'm writing this - I mean ten minutes from now!

I'm playing hooky! Hookey? Hookie? Whatever - I cancelled my appointments, put on sweats, slathered on a big green spa mask that smells like honey and sulphur, and am preparing to spend the day playing with fabric.

I'm a rebel! Woo hoo!