Tote of Wonderful IKEA Goodness

My former roommate brought me this fabric one day last year and said, “I bought this cause I was thinking of something like curtains for my house and then our color scheme changed. Would you like it?”

Of course!

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It’s a decorator weight fabric, definitely. Strangely, I made a dress out of this stuff once. Much too stiff.

But it’s the perfect weight for a bag!

I recently came into temporary possession of a second laptop, for work. I’m trying my best not to do anything personal on it, which is moderately working, so often I bring in my personal laptop for lunchtime and when MATLAB is taking its good old time.

But if I shoved both laptops, both power cords, a lunch, a snack, my purse, a notebook, and other little bits into any bag I own then I would never be able to find anything.

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I’m not a big bag person, but this thing is massive.

It’s a rectangular prism shape, with nice thick straps. There are individual pockets for each laptop, and each powercord. In height, it’s about two inches taller than my bigger laptop is wide. There’s two bento-box shaped pockets in the remaining area inside, one roughly the shape of each of my bento boxes. That way, either box would fit for lunch, and the second pocket holds the purse, snack, etc. And on one of these inner pockets, I

The entire bag is lined, since the lining is where I constructed the pocket frame.

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All of these pockets are free floating, though, except one that is sewn down. I didn’t have the patience to continue after the pain that one caused me.

In hindsight, it would have been better to shape the sides as trapezoids (or trapeziums if that’s your fancy), but I wasn’t thinking that far ahead. To keep the sides from gaping open uncontrollably I attached two lines of a thin elastic across the long side. This thing holds everything I need to survive a day at the office.  Or two days on occasion.

Super duper handy.

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Peggy Trousers

Peggy Carter is my hero.

Granted, my favorite Avenger is Iron Man, and I only watched the first Captain America a few times, but I knew during the first watch that Peggy was awesome.

And then they gave her a show. Cause she’s brilliant.

My costume situation is currently… complicated. My Claudia was basically finished, but I wanted to switch out the zipper on the vest for a separable one, and that’s when I saw the massive pit stains. Why must white be so terrible? Belle is essentially finished sewing and stuff-wise, but I’m deciding/working on the hair. I’m keeping my hair shorter, and its just to short to be both curly and Belle-like, so I’m working on a hairpiece to assist. Susan is being painted, and the TARDIS needs a skirt, so I’m currently fully booked on costuming.

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But I couldn’t resist starting another costume.

I have a problem.

I’m rationalizing it in this case by saying that these are work appropriate, surprisingly comfy, and very fun to swish around in.

Cake Patterns has always been a favorite of mine, even if I haven’t made much from them. I love the designs, even if I don’t want to wear all of them. So when they put out a woven pants pattern, I knew that I had to have it. Plus, they’re wide legged, and I wanted to try that style.

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I had just cut into some fabric for a Ginger Jeans muslin (the fabric of which was a bad choice because it had no stretch. Trust me, you want some stretch for that.), and after getting some whiskering, I wanted to take a break before cutting into my really expensive denim.

There’s been this brown twill sitting on my shelf for at least half a year. I’m not even sure where I got it, but it was perfect for the Endeavor Trousers. Just a little stretch, and its quite a lovely bottomweight. I realized that it was the perfect color for a Peggy costume, and these wide legged trousers fit into that theme too. So on the 4th of July, I started this Endeavor. Hee hee. Puns.

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I made up the pattern with the side zipper, and pretty much followed the pattern exactly. It’s very high waisted, which is a lot on my small frame, but that made it a little easier to fit, since the way the waist laid made the crotch drop just a smidge, and that solved the fitting problems there. I did take off around 3 inches from the side seams, and the pockets are much too deep for me, so I’m going to need to shorten them on future pairs. The side seams might have been because of the stretch, though. And I had to use a normal zipper, so eventually I’ll need to find a heavy duty invisible zipper. It bubbles a bit, which creates these weird bumps, as you can see on the right side below.

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I was also getting some creasing at the back yoke, so I ended up making a horizontal dart. My swayback game seems quite strong.

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The waistband and pocket lining are the same quilting cotton as my project satchel, and I love it!

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The hem requires some sort of heel, though, since I knew I’d want to wear heels for a costume. It doesn’t limit them, but it does limit my comfy footwear. Gave me a chance to wear my original Belle heels! The hem is only held up by Steam a seam, though, and it might not be holding up well, so I could shorten it if I want.

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I also did a makeup test, and it was my first time contouring. Not sure it worked/was worth the effort, but I think it’s a snazzy face. The red lips are definitely fun, at least. I’m working on pin curls, but I will probably want to do one of her ponytail styles anyway. This was not a good hair day, and without pin curls, but it is generally what I’ll probably be doing. The makeup might also work for Belle, though I need to decide if a more costumey contouring could give me more rounded cheeks… Choices…

The week that I decided to do this costume, I found a lovely red fedora on Ebay, and I couldn’t let it go, so with a blouse and a satchel, I could complete this costume. Sure, the red hat would be a little out of place for that outfit, but it would be a valid way to identify as Peggy! Once I get a bit further into the costume, I’ll show you the hat… AKA I forgot to take a picture…

Blouse draping is hard, though, so it might be awhile before the next update on this costume. But is that news for anyone?

Evolution of Me

The past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about my style, and how its evolved over the past few years.

There’s some things that haven’t changed.

I still don’t wear much makeup. Much is even an overstatement. Really, if I’m wearing makeup, its because I was playing with makeup and couldn’t get it all off, so I had to compensate. Or I was dressing up for something. If you see me wearing contacts, that’s even more rare, but often overlaps with these same reasons. I am better at makeup, but that’s because I’ve been practicing for cosplaying reasons.

I still love jeans. I need to get better at either picking better fitting ones, or just suck it up and make them. I’ve got the Ginger Jeans pattern, and the denim, so its a matter of time. Maybe I’ll be motivated when it isn’t summer.

But it is summer, and even though its my second summer in the South, I still can’t handle it. Granted, last summer I spent it hiding in my house making stuff. It was a productive summer, but it was nice when I left the house before 7pm, or more often than twice a week.

I’ve mentioned it before, but this summer I’m kinda working in an office, and unfortunately, shorts are not exactly appropriate attire. My boss wears them, but he’s the only one I’ve seen in the whole office building in them.

Skirts and jeans are my go to choices this summer, which I bet are not surprising, as its kinda (casual) office attire. But it was a revelation for me. Why, I’ll never know.

But two years ago, when I was really starting to get going with this blog, I would never have dreamed of wearing a maxi skirt, or a short skirt really, or dresses half the week. I knew I started this blog for costuming, but by now its been a few costume pieces, and lots of other clothing and stuff. And I’m okay with that.

I definitely never thought I’d be making myself t-shirts. I do think that culottes are pretty resourceful. Who doesn’t like “skirts” that don’t have Marilyn moments? And last year’s bodysuits? Rarely worn, but for all the shirts I’ve been making from the same pattern, totally worth it.

I have two distinctly different looks during the school year. Either really put together on tutoring/presentation days. The days where I’m really making an effort to look my age. Instead of teenager-college aged. Because that’s the other set of days. Jeans and t-shirt days. Or snuggly sweaters, when the weather is appropriate.

And my wardrobe is evolving to reflect this.

I haven’t bought clothes (excluding undergarments) from a (non-thrift) store in over a year now, and I’m extremely proud of that. Until I remember that I have some shorts and jeans to replace.

I’m learning, and loving it. My knowledge of sewing comes from quilting, so I still have a problem remembering seam allowances bigger than quarter inch. My knowledge of clothing, though, comes from costuming, so the inside of my makes may not be pretty, but if my shape fluctuates, I know I can fix it. I will say that I miss costuming weekly, if not daily, which has led to binge watches of musicals on Youtube.

Let me tell you, Legally Blonde the Musical is perfection.

My average backup is 5 projects that don’t make it to the blog ‘on time.’ It’s even better when I get them posted in the same season.

So what is my current 5 project backup? You should expect to see these soon:

1. A tote bag to rectify my two laptops situation.

2. A second maxi skirt. This one is closer to satisfying my wearable blanket ideal.

3. Wide legged trousers for a new cosplay/Halloween plan

4. Two black t-shirts again made from the Nettie pattern

5. A knit Dandelion dress. Also a subtle Merida based dress

And a bonus:

6. My first pair of Tania culottes, which I still haven’t managed to show you.

These are all made, but its the photographing and writing stages that I haven’t quite gotten to.

Okay, reflection time is over. I’ve got a shirt to fit, and some (paying) work to get to.

But I hope you enjoyed the ramblings!

Miter by the Sea

To end the old backlog, I’ve come to show you my awesome shell.

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In March, about a week before Spring Break, I was on Facebook well past my bedtime, and I saw that Cake Patterns was looking for testers for some of their new tops. I jumped at the chance, especially because I knew I’d have some built in sewing time. I jumped on board with their Miter Shell.

Of course, then the envelope with the pattern arrived and I sat there staring at it.

Firstly, I was facing the fact that my perfect week off had to include a Chemical Oceanography take home midterm, as well as a math program in Matlab that I had been already putting off for a week.

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So of course, after putting off all of these things until the end of the week, I spent the Friday before school started back up not doing homework, but instead working on this new pattern.

I made the Espresso leggings a few years ago, and it was lovely. I’m not a leggings person… at least not unless their a pajama replacement. Or a replacement for tights in winter. But I still wear these leggings, and as soon as the inspiration strikes, I’ll take the pattern out again.

This means I was already familiar with the type of pattern, with the sizing and the connecting the dots loveliness.

I connected the appropriate dots, pulled out my roll of IKEA drawing paper that I use for patterns, and I traced and cut to my heart’s delight.

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First I made it up in this orange mystery athletic wear knit that I had just received in a mystery fabric bundle thing. To be honest, the stuff had very little recovery, I used a stitch that was waaaaaay to small, and I found the back “laces” too large, so along with the lack of recovery, they were sagging (and they felt even more saggy).  Also, with the square neckline, and my arguably large bra cup size, and therefore high “cut” of a bra, there was an inch of bra showing at the corners.

At that point, I kinda hated my creation. In a Frankenstein sort of way. Let’s start with the fact that it was bright neon orange. I’m not a bright orange kind of person. So I had very little interest in making this draft work, especially fiddling with it all day. (Also my day probably started at 11am. So all day may be misleading).

I went back to my homework until Sunday.

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After spending all that time musing, in between chem and math, I realized that the only thing that I really needed to do to fix this was raise the neckline. I did that a little bit in the drafting, but mostly by taking up the shoulder seams. After that I shortened the neckline and arm binding to match, and cut the fabric. (I cut this one, the top of my Nettie dress, and my Nettie top all at once, so I knew for a fact that I didn’t have enough for the back weave, since I was eeking out everything I could just to get all three). I still needed something for the back weave, so I pulled out my collection of vintage notions, and found these lovely seam binding laces in the perfect colors. Of course, I didn’t have enough of either color, but I did have enough for a cool looking pattern!

This is such a comfy shirt. In reality, the weave rarely sees the light of day, mostly due to my cardigan obsession no matter what the outside temperature, but I think its such a nice touch. In the future, I might take in the back a smidge, to reduce the draping a bit. It’s nice when I’m not standing straight, which if I truly face it is most of the time, but it looks so loose in pictures. And the shoulders are quite wide on my uber narrow ones, so I might skinny those up too. Who knows, though. I might forget!

I’ve been waiting to share this with you for over three months, but I can now share that all of the Tidepool Collection, including this one, the Miter Shell, is up for sale on SewingCake.com. I’m definitely getting the Endeavor Trousers soon.

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**I’d like to reiterate that all of these opinions are based on the testing copy, and I am unable to make remarks on the final product. But I’m sure its fabulous!

Dinglehopper

Today I made this lovely cardigan and it makes an awesome topper to a Little Mermaid Disneybound/subtle cosplay.

If you want to read about the details on the cardigan, you can read them here, on the Monthly Stitch post.

But if you want to see my impromptu Ariel cosplay, here are my dinglehopper friendly pictures!

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So this is my first Syrah skirt, a nice bright green, my Bronte top (or a RTW one), and my new Jenna cardigan!

P.S. This is probably just something weird, but these are honestly the only two pictures where I didn’t look at the camera, which definitely ruined the “illusion.”

The Whole Package

So it’s now June.

That means it’s hot in the South. At least, anywhere that isn’t mountainous.

I was walking home from a ballroom lesson at 9:00PM, and I was still too hot, wearing jeans and a thin blouse, because it was still 85*F.

Any thought of taking up running this summer is quickly fleeing.

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But that means that when the separates challenge at The Monthly Stitch came up, I knew that there would be no hope of Ginger Jeans, or even Ginger shorts (too tight for the weather). It had to be something skirt-like. Flowy and preferably breathable. And some sort of top.

It’s been windy, though. And windy plus skirts does not always make for a good combo.

Since I lost my pattern for culottes, which was arguable fatally flawed… (Butt length after creasing from sitting is not the best idea), I bought the Tania culottes pattern from Megan Nielsen.

And I love them.

I haven’t shown you my first pair yet, but rest assured its arriving soon.

This pair, though, exists because I went into Joann’s to get fabric for curtains… And came out with this loveliness.

Let’s forget for a moment that I’ve never really patternmatched. Because pattern placement to avoid flowers on boobs is not quite the same  idea. And that I don’t really use patterns with very linear placements. Because it’s been engrained that I would need to be extra careful with those.

But I bought it anyway. Does it help that it was on sale for 50% off? I think in total the fabric cost me 15 bucks for 3 yards…

It might be a deep navy, but I’m considering it black. With the creamy offwhite, it was a warm black tone to it… Or so I’m telling myself. And it’s sheer enough that I wanted to line the culottes. Of course, I decided this after I got home from the store.

Tania culottes with a pocket

So this is my pair of self lined Tania culottes!

I measured a large for these, which surprised me a little, but my tummy did grow a bit from end of semester bad eating habits, so I trudged through it. Like many others, I cut the extra large length to go with the large other measurements. I did have to shorten the crotch curve, which I did uber-scientifically on my last pair (which was already finished) by sewing a larger seam allowance. Since that worked, I just transferred that to the pattern. I also followed the recommendation to raise the seam even more for the lining, which did bring about much confusion with the then four large skirt like pieces, but I think it worked out. Also I don’t have invisible zips handy, so I just put in a regular one. And a pocket. I added a pocket. Because it was very important.

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Once I had put it all together, before letting it hang for a few days, I tried it on and immediately hated the wide waistband. It just looked so… wrong. Thinking back on it, I remember a pattern that suggests against stripes for the waistband since it was curved. And I’m guessing this was why. But also I’m a fairly short waisted person, but most of my belly fat exists in that lower region below the bellybutton, and with the high waistband, I was going to have to do some excessive fitting to get it to sit close to my body (stay tuned for that in my first version). So I decided to hack off half of it, and pulled out my bias binding collection and used some lovely green to deal with the seam. You can see a peek of it above. Also, look at that pattern almost matching. The lines are at least correct!

Then I let it sit for more days than I care to admit. You see, this week I’ve been having trouble getting to bed before 2AM. But instead of going with that flow, I’ve been still trying to sleep starting at 1, which cuts out a significant amount of available sewing time. As is the waking up late, BECAUSE I WENT TO BED AT 2!

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I used my rolled hem foot. I think this marks the third time? And this is probably the first time with the right kind of fabric. It was not easy, and the hem is not even. The lining might even have been peeking out a smidgeon. Shush, don’t tell! But it’s pretty darn good for the first time on miles and miles of fabric.

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And then the top. I love the Dandelion top/dress, and I figured it was time to make it again. Especially because I’m planning a “super secret” version. But first this one.

My fabric choices were easy. I had just made a Tania pair out of this linen, and it was a perfect amount to use for this shirt. And this lace, I love this lace. I used it on my last Dandelion, to accent the side panels, and the amount used for the yoke here didn’t take away any more yardage. Just into the scrappage from the previous one! I still have quite a few yards, and I’m not sure what to do with it.

Dandelion shirt detail

I cut a medium, like I had done for my first one. The first one is nice and comfy, but it is a little loose above the bust, which I should’ve realized would  become a problem in a sleeveless version. So there were quite a few alterations, including taking in the back, taking up the shoulders, taking in the side seams, changing the back yoke shape, eliminating the zipper, and taking in a wedge of the lace.

It’s still not perfect. I might need to readjust the bias tape, and I should take the shoulders up even more when I do that. But I’m kinda in love with it. It should also get softer after a wash, which’ll be nice. It’s not scratchy, but its also not soft. But soon. Soon it’ll be soft!

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I like these two options together. We’ll see how much wear they get together. But they will certainly be mix and matchable! In fact this is the first intentional post on the beginning of a little capsule wardrobe. I’ll talk more about it later, I promise!