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Craft Rage

...Making a mess of things since 1973

 

Pink Abomination - Part 3

Well, the Pink Abomination (PA) has taken a turn for the worse. The Crap Sieve kicked in last night, and when I cut the hemline so that it's shorter in the front than the back (per the pattern, I might add - this isn't just me getting creative!), I decided that rather than cutting straight, I'd use the flowers on the lace as edging. Suddenly, the whole thing has taken on the appearance of a skating costume. A large, two-toned pink skating costume. For an ungainly skater, or a transvestite lounge singer. I'll post pictures later, but I just wanted to prepare you for a little bit of amusement and/or dismay.

I myself am quite amused. After all, I have no intention of wearing this dress, though I fully intend to finish it and bead the lace. It's a muslin of a muslin, after all - if I don't practice my technique somewhere, I'm going to end up getting married in a reasonable facsimile of a gunny sack, since the option of just buying a dress is now completely out. If I don't follow through with making my own dress now, I won't be able to live with myself.

Karen, whose blog I stalk all the time (moi-ha-ha-ha!), commented on my last post about how she wouldn't have thought to buy fabric she didn't like in order to jumpstart a project. She's completely right - what sane person would actually buy fabric in a color they detest? Ha! The answer is a NOT SANE person!

The thing is, I have all this fabric I totally adore, but until this dress, I hadn't even managed to make myself cut out a real purchased pattern, with the exception of the blue abomination, (which I made from fabric I have to wear gloves to touch).

I was afraid to cut up any of the stuff I liked, just in case I really, truly sucked. Like, what if I couldn't cut out a pattern without ripping it with my big bear paws? What if I couldn't read the pattern at all? What if I couldn't figure out how to work the iron correctly? Stupidest fear ever, since I've been ironing military uniforms of one variety or another since I was 13 - seriously, I can pull a long-sleeved cotton uniform shirt out of a ball, from the bottom of a cold dryer, and have it on and ready to pass inspection in less than three minutes. I have many useless talents - this is one. Still, ironing a 100% cotton shirt is different from ironing pretty much anything in my stash. Other than my 100% cotton. Wow, Rachelle, ramble much?

Anyway, the PA is probably only half finished, but I already consider it a success. I cut out the pattern, which I've never done before, I cut up some fairly fancy fabric, which I've never done before, I sewed darts, which I've...well, you get the picture. I even successfully set in an invisible zipper, edited the pattern a bit so that the skirt and bodice fit better around my middle, still managed to line up the darts on the bodice and skirt (more or less), and stitched all the pieces together, all while using two very slippery fabrics. As far as I'm concerned, even if I chuck the whole thing now, I'm light years ahead of where I was seven days ago - I'm practically a whole new me!

Before PA, I was scared of every single step. I truly worried that I'd cut up some pretty fabric, get stuck somewhere, and lack the foundational skills to get unstuck. Now, I know that if I DO cut the nice fabric, I might still wreck the project, but I CAN figure it out, and I WILL be able to finish.

Anyway, as far as what's left to do, I'm going to finish the hemline, and if it DOES end up looking like a skating costume, I'm going to embrace that as a theme for the finished product, and I'm going to embellish accordingly. I still want to finish it properly, inside and out, because I need the practice, and when it's all done, I'm going to photograph it extensively, and then find someone to give it away to.

One last point - it's more to console me than to assure you - I got the fabric for the PA off the bridal fabric sale table at Fabricland, and I only needed six metres for this project - three of each fabric, though I did end up with an extra half metre of the lace, because it was destined to become a bolt-end otherwise, and the lady at the cutting table recognized me from the day I bought 66 metres of taffeta because it was on for $1.00 per metre. That's a whole other post, though. Anyway, both pink fabrics were 70% off, so between the fabric, the zipper, the bias binding, and the thread, I only spent $22.62 on this project, including tax. As far as waste goes, I can live with that. Plus, six metres in, six metres out - the stash remains in balance!

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Pink Abomination - Part 2

As I promised in my last post, here are pictures of the pink abomination!

The front isn't quite done - the dress is supposed to be cut higher in the front than the back, but because I decided to leave myself lots of room for error, I didn't cut the whole front out yet. I figured I should concentrate on the top, and leave the easy part to the last.

A close-up of the front. The gathers are wonky, but the front is just tacked together at the waist seam, so I'll be able to pull it and redo them with minimal effort.

I'm especially proud of the back - the darts line up perfectly. Yay me! Also, there's an invisible zipper, which I bought a special foot for. Worked like a charm!

Here's a closeup of the back. I haven't ironed anything yet, so it's not as crisp as it should be.

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Pink Abomination - Part 1

Every day, I put at least one hour aside to browse through a rather huge number of blogs, 95% of which are sewing blogs. I read all the time about UFO's, or unfinished objects, but when it comes to my own projects, I had to make up a category all of my own for USO's - unstarted objects.

I buy patterns like a demented woman, and have built up a decent stash of fabric and notions of all varieties, but have been absolutely petrified of cutting up a pattern, or, worse, cutting up fabric.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I finally figured out what my problem was - until this point, all I've ever bought was fabric I actually liked. Since I actually liked it, I was scared to cut it out, for fear that I'd ruin it, or waste it. So yesterday, I went to the fabric store, and bought fabric in a color I'd never wear, for any reason.

My fiance and I are getting married in our home town, and we're having our official wedding reception here as well, but the following weekend, we're going to his family's cabin in another province, where we'll have a second party. I figure that since I'm having two receptions, I should have two dresses, and somewhere along the line, I decided that I'd make them myself. Since I have no sewing skills, it was a risky decision, but one I've been pretty happy with.

Last year when I decided to make my own dresses, I bought all the fabric I'd need for both. One is a moderately poofy ball gown with a corset top, and the other is a simple summery dress, this one to be exact, view D;

The fabric I bought last year is two tones of light, silvery green - a bridal lace and a stretch satin.


I actually bought more than double what I need, because my original intent was to make my test dress out of the same fabric as my real dress. But because I actually like what I chose, I was always hesitant to waste any of it, even though I bought extra just for that purpose.

So the fabric I bought yesterday had to be the same fabric, only ugly. This is what I bought;

Yes, that is hot pink stretch satin, and baby pink bridal lace! Heee!

I'm not saying that pink is ugly, but on me, pink is a travesty, a poke in the eye, an abomination of epic proportions. My personality and size are all wrong to wear pink, to say nothing of my coloring. But when I got this stuff home, I ran to the ironing board, ironed and cut out my pattern without giving myself a lot of time to think it over, then started to lay everything out.

I cut the largest size of the pattern, because I figure I can always cut it down, but adding stuff back on really isn't an option, and started sewing everything together. Unfortunately, I am kind of dumb, and didn't realize how slippery stretch satin is, and so I've been hand-sewing every seam for the past two days. Later, I should have everything tacked together, and I'll post a picture of myself in it, just for giggles.

I'm so proud of myself - even if it's pink, at least it's started!

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Glass Houses (A Rant)

In conversation with an acquaintance, I spoke about my recent penchant for vintage sewing patterns. She asked a few questions, and I found myself explaining the concept of "the stash". I mentioned that I was thinking of reorganizing it, because it was hard to figure out what fabric I had on hand while it resided in bins. I get a little excited when I talk about organizing things - let's face it - I'm a giant geek, and I would rather organize things than do pretty much anything else in the world. That doesn't mean my house is clean, but it does mean that I can find pretty much anything I need, at any given point in time. Except my car keys, but that's more of a cat/gremlin/cosmos problem.

Anyway, I told her about some of the stashes I've seen on other blogs, and about one blogger's nearly 1000 m stash (O! I am green with envy!), and she was...well, she was horrified. She wondered why one would accumulate so much fabric, and moved quickly into judgement about my rampant consumerism, and this dreadfully expensive habit I call sewing/butchering fabric. I must admit, I was both moderately amused by her huffy tone, and a wee bit offended, in the way that I think everyone gets when they talk about something they're excited about, but the person they're talking to dismisses the subject as lame/dull/unworthy of further discussion.

After a bit, she went outside to have a smoke and silently judge me, (it was -38 degrees celsius, with a windchill that brought it to -49. That's -36.4 degrees Farenheight for you US folk, with a windchill of -56.2 - and she thinks I'm the nut job!!)

While she was outside, diminishing her lung capacity, freezing her ass off, and mulling my spending habits, I did some mulling of my own, whipped out the calculator I always carry in my purse, and crunched a few numbers - I am, after all, an accountant.

When she got back, I was actually ready to drop the subject - it was obviously a topic that wasn't going to go anywhere good, but she had the urge to wade back into the fray. She talked about how the world was going to hell in a handbasket because of people like me - people who buy things for the sake of buying things. I stared at the Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses perched on top of her head, thought about how she has three other pairs, each virtually indistinguishable from the others, but said only that I didn't really agree, and attempted to change the subject.

She talked about how it was probably negatively impacting my financial situation, because it sounded very expensive. I looked out the window of the coffee shop at her ridiculous truck, and I thanked her for her concern, and asked how her eldest daughter was doing in university.

She talked about how my fiance and I must fight about money all the time, since I had such expensive habits. I thought silently of her bitter divorce, surveyed her coldly, and told her that I'd had pretty much enough.

I reminded her that she has a pack a day smoking habit, which here in our town, costs her just under a hundred dollars a week, just under $5000.00 per year, and that I don't smoke. I reminded her that she just leased a new pickup truck, on which she's making lease payments of over five hundred dollars per month, or just over $6200.00 per year, but I drive a 1992 Chevy Cavalier because I know how to fix it myself. She doesn't actually use the pickup truck to haul anything - she bought it because the thinks she looks cute in it, and she complained that she's spending nearly a hundred dollars per week to put gas in it. I reminded her that that's another $5000.00 per year in fuel expenses, while I spend about thirty five dollars a week, myself.

I wouldn't know about any of this, except that she's the kind of person who likes to talk about what she pays for everything she buys, but only when she pays a lot. Where I am likely to say "I got this cute buttonholer at Value Village!" she's likely to say "I bought a new breakfront for the dining room, and paid $2200.00!"

Then, I reminded her that she is a "foodie" and...whatever the correct term is for people who pretend to know all there is to know about wine. Jackass? Oops, sorry. Anyway, I reminded her that she'd just finished telling me that she spends an average of $150.00 a week on dining out and wine, and I informed her that this adds up to another $7800.00 per year. I assured her that I wasn't even going to bring up her expensive tastes in sunglasses and brand-name clothes that never really look quite right on her, or her weekly mani-pedi, or her monthly cut/color/style at the most chichi salon our little city has.

I told her that my current weekly expenses for fabric/patterns/notions/beads, etc, average out to about $25.00 per week, or around $1300.00 a year. That's less than three payments on her absurdly oversized vehicle.

I told her that my fiance and I don't ever fight about what little I spent on craft materials, and that, in fact, he's very supportive.

We ended our conversation very awkwardly, and both left the coffee shop in a bit of a huff. I don't think I'll be seeing her again, and frankly, the idea of not laying eyes on this woman pleases me greatly.

As I walked to my car, I thought about how I could have handled that better. I could have just kept my trap shut, and said nothing at all, or tried harder to change the subject. But after a few minutes, I ended up thinking about all the things I actually didn't say. What I did NOT say was that if she quit smoking, started cooking, got a vehicle more in keeping with her lifestyle, and got off the sauce, she could probably afford to live quite comfortably off her salary once the child-support cheques from her ex-husband stop rolling in. Hooray for restraint. Oh yeah, and all that tanning is making your skin look leathery, honey!

Anyway, here's the thing - my fabric and pattern stash is my one guilty pleasure. I don't smoke, I rarely drink, and I don't do drugs (I hear a meth habit can really take a bite out of the personal finances!). I color my own hair, do my own nails, and occasionally indulge in a nice pedicure, because I'm not a very girly person, but having hot red toenails makes me feel just a little pink and fluffy. I don't judge those who have any of those habits, because I'm not them, and I'm not capable of bending my little pea-brain around the things in their life that make them need to smoke, drink, do drugs, whatever.

I DO feel a bit guilty that I'm a novice sewist, and I have a massive stash of patterns and fabric that I'm scared to cut up. I DO feel a little wasteful, but I also feel...like there are possibilities all around me. When I go in my craft room, I feel like I have options, an outlet. I probably enjoy just poking through everything, and reorganizing it, as much as I'm going to enjoy actually making things.

Anyway, the bottom line is this; I'll eventually use up everything in my stash, and I'll constantly buy more to replace it. I take comfort in the fact that I have a creative outlet, and don't feel the need to waste a bunch of my time making people feel bad about their own lives. To each, their own. Also, don't tell an accountant that she's spending money injudiciously, unless you want your own spending habits fed back to you in hard numbers.

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Blue Abomination

Well, the walkaway dress never materialized, which I'm sure you already assumed. I pulled it out of the envelope, ironed the entire pattern sheets (too scared to cut the pattern), laid out my test fabric on my cutting table, laid the (whole!) pattern sheets on top, and stopped, scared to death. Scared to cut the fabric, more scared to cut the pattern. I don't know why I'm worried abou the fabric - it's just cheap stuff that I bought at Fabricland during a "half-off-the-lowest-price" sale, so I only paid $1.00 per metre - I can afford to screw up less than $5.00 worth of fabric - what's wrong with me??

So anyway, I hyperventilated for a few minutes, then went and made a pot of coffee, just so I could have coffee and Baileys - I'm actually not much of a drinker, but when I want some good soothin', a cup of lightly doctored coffee goes a long way.

I came back, stared at my cutting table for awhile, and then carefully folded the pattern back up, folded up the fabric, and went to my computer, as always, so I could read the blogs of the truly talented, in hopes that I would absorb some of their talent by osmosis.

In the end, I ended up back in the sewing room, plowing through my pattern bins, until I came across a pattern I got from...I'm not sure where - I've been collecting patterns for awhile, and they normally come in little lots. Anyway, it has a notation in black sharpie that says "+ size cowl neck, loose sleeve", and it's made out of plain old waxed paper.

I pulled out some stretchy blue knit fabric that is so disagreeable feeling that I was tempted to wear rubber gloves in order to cut out the pattern. The pattern pieces are small enough that they fit on my biggest rotary mat, so I laid them out there, pinned a little, used cans of soup to weight everything down, then cut the pieces out, sewed them together, and voila - this is the result. Painful!



Rest assured, it actually looks worse on me than on my dummy, who currently has no name. Actually, I rather like the cowl, but the "loose" sleeves make me look like I've been doing battle with a weed wacker.

On a happier note, I FINISHED something. It was horrible, and will be unwearable until I hack off the sleeves - it actually looks okay under a light cardigan, but again, the disagreeable feeling fabric will probably discourage me from actually wearing it.

To reward myself for my quasi-success, I took myself shopping at my favorite source for vintage patterns, which is the local Value Village. While there, not only did I find some more cute 50's and 60's patterns (not in my size, of course), but I also found this:

What excited me most, of course, was that it still has the original manual, and everything looks just like new. The whole kit and kaboodle was in a plastic bag, laid out much as it is in the photo, except that the extra bits were sort of rolling around in the bottom of the bag.

I brought it home and popped the bag open, and was moderately horrified at the smell rolling out of the bag - it smells like mothballs and despair. Oh well, a good airing-out should fix that. It's currently stinking up my sewing room, but since the sewing room already smelled faintly of despair anyway, it's really not so bad.

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