TnT (n TnT n TnT n TnT)

I count four TnT’s in my arsenal. And my trusty circle skirt. Though that’s more of a formula than a pattern.

I count a TnT as a pattern that I’ve played with and probably altered to fit me better, and that I’ve made over and over with no intention of stopping.

So first a quick overview, and then I’ll do some more explaining.

The Nettie bodysuit pattern is my go to t-shirt pattern, though I do like the bodysuits too. I just wear them less. I’ve been playing with it for about 3 and a half years now.

The Onyx woven shirt pattern is much newer to me, but I made just a couple of alterations to it, and I’ve made so many since! I think I’ve been playing with it for about a year.

The Ginger jeans pattern has given me four pairs of great jeans, and I’ve now got an idea on what I like in jeans fit, and I have an idea of what options I like best for what type of denim.  I’ve had the pattern for about three years.

The Belladone dress pattern is so chic and comfortable for me, and I’ve made about 5 variations, with others planned out. I’ve been using it for about 10 months.

So starting at the beginning…

A small selection of the Nettie’s I’ve made

When I was a newbie sewist at the end of college/beginning of grad school, I spent a summer unemployed in an unfamiliar new city/town and basically learned how to live with myself. And living with myself means I made a fair amount of clothes. But because I was unemployed, I treated myself to one pattern, and otherwise drafted my own. And that one pattern was the Nettie bodysuit from Closet Case Patterns.

I made two bodysuits, then a t-shirt or two (after I saw someone else hack it into a shirt and fell in love). And then another bodysuit, and then some more shirts. Most of them didn’t even make it to the blog. Then there were the hacks. I hacked it to be colorblocked, like the Little Mermaid corset outfit (twice!). I hacked it into a cross-back, semi cut out dress. I hacked it into a sleeveless dress with a handkerchief hem circle skirt. I hacked it into a tunic for my Nausicaa outfit with a high mandarin collar neck. I then hacked that last hack into a sleeveless mandarin neck shirt for my TARDIS costume (2016 DragonCon MVPattern).  Last summer I hacked it into a Kiki’s Delivery Service dress for a friend, and recently I hacked it into basically the same dress for me, though I don’t have pictures yet. I do have another hacked dress cut out, though.

Basically the Nettie has been such a powerhouse pattern for me that my friend (with a keen eye for detail) realized that most of the things I wore to my first DragonCon were made with the Nettie pattern in some part.

After spending time making so many knit tees, I knew I wanted to try out a woven pattern, so I compared every boxy woven tee pattern that I found on the internet, and chose the Onyx one. I had made the tutorial Jade skirt from Paprika right before she made the company, and loved it. Though I loved the act of making it more than wearing it, since I had forgotten that I don’t wear tight skirts, especially out of knit. I made one out of lace last fall, but I had sized up since I was worried and it didn’t fit nicely. Lace ones will be revisited in the future.

The first real one was made out of the skirt I used for Ariel at my first DragonCon, once I realized that was not the proper material for a skirt. I altered the pattern to take in the shoulders, and then I made another. (And then there was the fail). And then I cut two identical black Onyx’s and embroidered them both (pictures of the second to come when I really finish the embroidery).  I also hacked it to have longer and slightly fuller sleeves for my update to my Ariel costume, with embroidery. For my updated TARDIS costume this year, I also used a hacked Onyx for a more boatneck front with a  deeper back, and long sleeves with ruffles. And when I made a costume for the Moment from Doctor Who, I used the Onyx pattern. So I guess this year’s DragonCon MVPattern was Onyx.

Then the Ginger Jeans pattern. I’ve always struggled with jeans, going straight from kids to misses, because I’m petite and curvy. So making mine seemed to be logical. I’ve learned which type of denim will work best for me for the super skinny (thinner) versus my favored bootcut look (thicker).

My first pair was terrible, due entirely to the lack of stretch in the denim. RIP. The second, third, and fourth pairs still serve me well, and I have plans to make jean shorts with it too!

Belladone is a pattern I received from Deer and Doe as a prize for a Monthly Stitch contest, which I was excited about because at the time it was only available printed. I had been wanting to make it, and being unable to afford the cost plus shipping, for almost four years.

It is the newest of my TnT’s to me, but I’ve made two versions with the cut out back and a skirt version out of my favorite (and only up till now) wax print. Then I hacked the solid back version into my Peggy Carter dress (though I only have a post of my muslin). I already have the fabric and plans to make the skirt version in one or two fabrics, and really, I could wear this pattern nearly every day.

Much like every pattern talked about thus far.

Circle skirts, though not a real pattern, make up the other segment of what you might call my “daily uniform.” If not wearing jeans and a shirt, then I tend to be wearing a skirt and a shirt, and that skirt is either a circle skirt or a Belladone skirt. So mostly 3/4 to full circle skirts. I think I have about 4 of them, and they’re my favorite thing to add to bodices for dresses as well. Because swingy skirts are my jam.

I’m never going to say that again.

That’s a lie. I’ll probably say that again, but each time I’ll regret it immediately. Unlike making any of these TnT’s probably ever.

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NOLA Shawl

A while ago I told you about my fabric I bought in Seattle, and how that was going to be a thing when I traveled.

I’ve not yet done anything with the Seattle yarn, but I was lucky enough to go on a road trip with some friends last March and bought some lovely tencel yarn in a gorgeous colorway.

We visited four cities on this epic road trip, but New Orleans was the one that hooked me on the trip. I study hurricanes in my real life, so I am fascinated in part because of the geological conditions, but the fact that I hear a lot about it from my favorite food blogger who moved there, and see pieces of it (even if they might be fake) in shows like NCIS NOLA, I was pretty interested. So even though this colorway is not quite indicative of the NOLA people know, it is definitely more my style and wearable in my life. Though I did waffle over some Mardi Gras colorways.

This is not the first time I fell in love with these particular colors together. A few years ago when I was beading as much as I breathed I bought a bunch of beads in that colorway with the intention of making a necklace for myself, which has still not come to pass. Maybe soon? But I consider this colorway Van Gogh colors, since they really remind me of Van Gogh’s sunflower painting.

Officially this is yarn from the brand Prism, and its called Delicato, 100% Tencel, and this is the colorway named Sierra.

Back to the shawl.

The yarn was so soft and I was looking for a low key distraction at the time, so I decided to use it right away. I looked at a bunch of patterns, and ultimately decided on the Good Day Sunshine shawlette pattern from Knitty by .

I really liked the pattern. I didn’t take notes as I went (story of my life), but I seem to remember having to fudge some parts of rows to get it lined up, but I don’t know if that was a careless mistake on my part or if it was the pattern (probably the former). Overall, easy to knit up and the lace kept things interesting!

And then I knit for a month or two. I finished the shawl just before a wedding I attended in early March, but because I had made an outfit with sleeves for that I didn’t need a shawl that night. Until a week or two ago, I haven’t really worn it, but that is not without precedent.

A few years ago I made the Knitty Wavedeck shawl from Kate Atherly which gets worn occasionally, but not enough to be called often. It doesn’t help that with the DK yarn weight it feels more like winter, but we haven’t gotten much winter weather, and that it ended up being more of a shawlette. And shawls are less conducive as scarfs when biking when they need to be attached to something to prevent them from falling off. I’m debating keeping safety pins with the Wavedeck shawl so I can pin it to my clothes before I start bike riding.

With this fingering weight one it’ll get more fall and spring wear, and has already proven so! I wore it three times this week, which was great. I wish the weather agreed with me wearing it though…

Shawls are so pretty, but I need to get more in the practice of wearing them. Especially since I love knitting them!

This was finished in very early summer, and other than a project I started knitting and abandoned for time, I haven’t really been knitting. I got a little bit of a start when I saw Blade Runner 2049 (so pretty) with these socks that I’ve been knitting since I saw Deadpool in theaters. I think I’m calling them my movie socks, since they’ve seen me through about 6 movies, both ugh and awesome!

What are you all knitting up right now?

 

Backpack with some Awesome Whales!

Once upon a time, a girl traveled to Seattle for a work conference, and made the bad decision to enter a fabric store. Specifically this one.

You see, she had decided a year or two before that instead of knick knacks to memorialize a trip, she’d choose fabric or yarn.

Let us note, dear reader, the word “or” in that sentence. It is not the word “and.”

So what is this girl to do, but buy both fabric and yarn. Not on the same day, of course, as she has some amount of restraint, but both were purchased during that fateful January trip.

The whales you see before you are the direct result of walking into the fabric store without a hint of a plan. But aren’t they adorable, dear reader?

The whales festered in that fall hole of a place commonly referred to as “stash” for three months, set which point the girl realized that she had too much variety in her daily life to keep everything in her daily purse, and she very much hated casting anything bigger. She used her backpack from high school a few times, but missed having easy pockets and containers for those items that are not quite junk solely because they’re regularly necessary.

So she designed her perfect backpack. When she began looking through her stash to find the perfect material for her perfect backpack, she saw the whales, and rescued them from the dank hole of stash.

But alas, this material was too flimsy for such purposes! How would she move forward?

Then she made the decision to make bags for her bike, and not knowing the quantity required, she accidentally ordered extra, which turned out to be exactly what she needed!
(Seriously, she has maybe 6 tiny scrap pieces now.)

So she constructed this perfect backpack with a lower zipper pocket for sundries, pocket sized for her laptop help keep the structure nice and sturdy, and a section that nicely fits sketchbooks and journals and lunches and maybe even dinners. Dependent on the amount stuff packed in there.

She was so happy that she managed to construct the monster that she didn’t add real closures the first day, and made a simple not quite drawstring closure later.

A couple weeks and a rainstorm later reminded her that further closures would be ideal, so she dug into her button stash until she came out with two sets of three matching buttons that matched brilliantly. So she attached some thin elastic and the buttons and they’ve held fantastically so far.

Right before taking pictures for this post she changed the cord on the “drawstring” so one can actually leverage the thing closed.

And she sewed on that handle… And seconds later pictures were taken.

Tada!

She still has over a yard left, which had been sent back the stash until the next perfect project arises!

That’s enough third person for now…

Belladone Opposites

Remember the contest I talked about early this year?

I also picked up the Deer and Doe pattern Belladone, which I am in love with!

(Granted, I fall in love with a lot of patterns…)

But seriously, I’ve made 2.5 of these in the first quarter of the year…

The ice blue one is version 2, and the green skirt is version 1, but I am combining them for this post, along with the bonus of the skirt I made from the same pattern (Version 2.5). Because they’re all done, with almost no changes between the versions, so why not? And though I know I should make some more adjustments, I didn’t pause in between making these.

The Belladone is one of those patterns that I’ve seen around for so many years, and yet I haven’t gotten my hands on it mostly due to the shipping from France thing. And I don’t have many paper patterns from indie companies (read: none), so I couldn’t really see buying the paper patterns. But so many people have made fantastic versions, and I wanted to join the legion!

I made the cutaway back version for both dress options, and I had to make one (rather large) adjustment, which I assume has to do with my broad rounded back. I had to sew a huge dart from just underneath the overlay to the armscye. And now the back lies smoothly against mine! The hem was also “very long” on me, meaning at knee length, but I prefer my skirts to be a bit higher, so I went back and hemmed each version a couple inches.

Version 2 (which was finished first) is made from an ice blue cotton with neon slubs woven in (that aren’t visible from more than one foot away), and is fully lined. Granted, that means its mostly interlined for the bodice, and then actually lined for the skirt. Version 1 has a chambray bodice (woot for scraps!), and what I think is a cotton/poly lawn (woot for scraps part 2!). And then I made a skirt version out of the same wax print cotton that I made my Uganda dress out of a few years ago. I had just barely enough to make it happen, but it’s infinitely more wearable than the dress is, which is a great thing!

I made up Versions 2 and 3 for my this big conference in Seattle, since I don’t have much of what you might call “business casual” and then decided to alter them. The skirt only got hemmed a bit higher, but the ice blue dress got a stencil treatment. I laser cut a stencil with a vaguely floral geometric design, and I used silver Jacquard Lumiere paint to put it on the waistband. The design is not terribly visible, even though I used a Micron pen to outline it a bit, but I like the small amount of definition it gives to the dress.

Because Version 2 was fully lined, I didn’t need to bias bind the neck or armscyes, but when I finally finished Version 1, I had to bias bind them, which I did in a lovely green, and I’m considering stenciling the waistband with a gold fabric paint. We’ll see what happens in a couple weeks.

These are wonderful dresses/skirts though. They worked well for the transition from winter to summer, and so far are doing well for actual summer too! Wait until I show you my hack of this! It’s going to be awesome (judging by the wearable muslin, at least)!

Bike Bags

Last September I bought myself a bike. I live in a college town rife with bike lanes, and I can park at one place of work, so biking onto campus makes a lot of sense.

But I am not an efficient cyclist, and my back gets really sweaty before leaving my neighborhood if I’m wearing a backpack. So after doing some research on how and what attaches to the back of normal bikes. I determined that a rack was essential, but that i couldn’t afford any reasonable bags after the cost of bike and rack.

After much internet searching, I decided to use some scrap fabric and cardboard and just make some. They were… Useful. Not fantastic, but they certainly worked. They were a basic bag shape without a lid, one for each side of the bike, and connected by a couple inches of fabric over the top the rack. I had turned the top edges under to prolong its life, but forgot to put in buttonholes to thread bungee cables through, so it was slightly torn, which only got worse over time. To stiffen the cotton fabric so it didn’t get caught my wheels, I used some cardboard, effectively making these super bad in the rain.

But I used this version for probably 6 months. Somewhat because I was too lazy to do it again, and somewhat because I didn’t have the right fabric.

In April I finally gave up looking for cute fabrics and settled on some black water resistant utility fabric.

This time I altered the bag pattern a little so that the bag bottom slanted upwards, and I added flaps to help cover the contents. I also added pockets to the back so I can add stiffener like a sheet of acrylic. I’m still working fitting that acrylic into the pockets, but i think it’ll fit if i shave off an inch.

I’m finding the bags a little difficult squeeze things in, but they’re secure, water resistant, and easy to retrieve things from when reach my destination.

Out of the same fabric, I made a cover for bike seat, and does its job even its not pretty. I’m learning not leave it on when I ride bike, though, as it often is more slippery than the actual seat, but it has helped when I had wore a skirt from a rather slippery fabric.

Alright then. That’s all I’ve got to say on this subject right now. Reasonably effective, highly useful, probably will get remade if I end up in a bike friendly town post-degree!

The Moment

When I posted Spring Updates I wasn’t sure if I’d be posting again about this prop, at least not until I had completed the costume to go with it. But that has been postponed for a smidge, so I think its time to share!

If you don’t recognize this prop, you probably didn’t see the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode. That’s okay! What you should know is that it’s central to the storyline, as its the most dangerous weapon in the universe, so dangerous that it has a conscience, who just so happens to appear as Billie Piper’s character Rose, or rather her image, but calling herself Bad Wolf. If you find that a reasonable thing, then you should definitely join the Whovians!

Anyway…

Last October I fell in love with a (relatively) new technology: LASER CUTTING!

And when I say fell, I mean I fell hard.

The panels of this prop were the 2-7th things I ever laser cut.

So I was completely new to Illustrator, but this project (and everything I’ve designed since) has taught me so much!

Back to the prop… I used photos found on the RPF (here and here) as references, and then designed all the sides. 5 of them were reasonable, since there would good references, but the one with all the Gallifreyan was more difficult. Only half-ish was ever visible, so I made a lot of fake Gallifreyan… Which was entertaining. And some of it looks reasonable, and others… Don’t. Luckily it’s only about 12 by 6 inches of ridiculous.

And I’ll probably be one of the few that cares.

I went on a week long “bender” of designing and laser cutting. I would design something one night, cut it out the next day, and then turn around and design the next one that night!

Then came time to take them all home and paint them. All the metallics are Jacquard Lumiere paints, and I used some cheap acrylic paint for other bits.  I think I had everything painted by December. And then my project brain stalled. (In January I found myself working 2 part time jobs, plus my grad school research so everything shut down. Like this blog, for the most part.)

In March, when things had mostly settled, I found myself with the inkling to get in the wood shop to make the frame. I ended up splitting two by fours for the final product, and creating an empty cube. I spent a lot of time sanding it down and trying to get many of the imperfections out. Some of the wood I had used had some kind of black paint on it, so I had to sand it down a lot in places.

Then I made the bad decision to wood burn the frame by hand. In the show prop, it was probably laser cut, but I wanted the deeper worn look. I spent 6 hours over 3 nights working on it (from 10pm to 12am) which was not my finest decision…

I borrowed some stain from a friend, and stained the entire thing, which was a kinda messy affair. My bathroom looked like a crime scene for a few hours. The stain was oil based Zar, in color Rosewood.

Then came Easter weekend. The laser cut panels were “installed,” meaning pressing them until they fit and attempting to glue them together cleanly. I had installed a small “door” into the corner of one of the sides, so I installed hinge hardware, and used some foam board leftover from a friend’s project to fill in some gaps between panels.

I was marathoning the project at this point, so I managed to get on Tinkercad and designed the corner caps, which are essentially 3 sides of a cube with a half sphere, and printed them. For a first 3D project, they turned out unexpectedly perfect! I primed each with some cheap primer spray paint and then painted the corners grey with acrylic paint mixed with some silver Lumiere paint. Then everything got glued together and I used a clear coat over everything, from the wood to the 3d to the laser cut stuff.

But this thing is huge. It’s bigger than the actual prop, and I can hardly hold it. So it takes up a remarkable amount of floor space. So I laser cut an acrylic topper, and I use it as a coffee table!

The intention was that this would be a prop useable for DragonCon, but as I said it is huge. I think it measures 16 inches cubed. I have trouble picking it up, due purely to the dimensions, though the weight would be a problem an hour in…

I’m thinking that it might be worth it to make a smaller one. I’ve only got two months, but I think I can cut down the working time to a two week period, if I do it again, since I know all the steps, and the only real thing I’ll have to buy is stain for the frame. I would definitely laser cut the frame though, before assembly, since it was way too much time to burn it by hand…

We’ll see what that idea comes to!