Spring Updates

Well, it’s been over a month now since I’ve posted, and reasonably down here its decidedly summer, not spring anymore. Which pains me to my core.

And I’ve decided not to apologize that it’s been so long. This semester has been busy, with two work related trips, and two part time jobs in addition to my research. Something had to give, and making things was not gonna, so the blog (and a bit of research… oops?) did instead.

Yes, I just said that I didn’t stop making things… It’s my sanity people!

But what I’ve lacked this semester is daylight and mental preparation (and a clean living room) to take pictures of the stuff. This really hasn’t changed… I intend to clean my living room soon, but I also am going to move in August, so…

What I can tell you is that I’ve got a backlog of things to post. I’m not sure that I will actually post them all. It seems pretty weird to say that, as I did post absolutely everything I made for a couple years, but now that the majority of my wardrobe is me-made, and that I’ve made or altered many things that I use in daily life, I don’t entirely need this as a reminder to myself. It’s become more of a project lookbook and a writing exercise.

Here is a picture of a prop that I recently finished, which is the culmination of so much work that I stopped counting…

Maybe I’ll write the post associated with that soon, maybe not! That isn’t even a final product, and I haven’t taken other pictures yet! I’ve got some costuming projects in the works, as I’m planning on getting to DragonCon again, so even if I don’t post much of the backlog, I’ll still have fun things to show!

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Top 5 of 2016

I’m joining in with the Top 5 posts again!

But I’m doing it all at once, since I’m both lazy and out of time… Since it’s now 2017 and all. Be prepared for an epically long post.

Top 5 Hits:

hits

  1. My Ginger Jeans. I have been wearing the last two, as well as my first real denim pair, pretty much nonstop for the past month. It helps that it’s jeans season, and that I don’t own any RTW pairs anymore, but the sheer amount of times these have already been worn and loved is extensive.
  2.  Plum Drop. Not only did it win me a contest in Indie Pattern Month, but its gotten a lot of wear. In summer at least! The fabric is pretty terrible, but I can always make it again in a better quality knit when this craps out!
  3. Chambray Shirtdress. This one looks terrible on camera (and yes, to the person who wrote an nastygram on my IPM post, I understand why you’d think it needs so many alterations… But it does fit well in real life. Thanks to the Monthly Stitch moderator who saw the comment, removed it, and sent a sweet note to me about it. I appreciated it, even though I never did respond…) In real life, it’s basically become my favorite dress. As soon as it comes out of the wash, I iron it, and wear it basically the next day!
  4. Amber Julia Cardigan. This one is fairly recent, but I have worn it at least once a week since I made it. And there was that one week that I may have worn it 4 of 5 workdays… I only didn’t wear it that 5th because I realized how often it had been worn…
  5. Whale of a Coat. This one is certainly the newest, but it fills a massive hole in my wardrobe, and should get a lot of wear this season and hopefully beyond. I’ve worn it in the unfinished state at least 5 times, and once now that it’s complete. It’s comfortable, it doesn’t ride up a lot when I raise my arms. I can pull my arms ahead of me easily, driving in it is a dream, etc. And it’s warm!

Top 5 Misses

misses

  1. Party Skirt. I made this early 2016, or maybe late 2015, and I wore it the one time. I’m not a fan of wearing glitter, shiny things, etc. (Though shiny things will always distract me from my focus), and I don’t know why I think this’ll be any different.
  2. Black Nettie Tees. These get worn all the time, so why are they a miss? The fabric I bought for these is so poor a quality that they took less than 6 months to become translucent (which I realized in 2016, so I’m counting it in this round up). I need to make these workhorse shirts in a higher quality fabric, so I can get an equal amount of wear without the downside.
  3. Ariel Skirt. This fabric was too light for the task at hand, so I shouldn’t be surprised that it didn’t work out overall. I want to make another skirt like this, but I’ll try a new pattern variation, and a heavier weight of fabric. Meanwhile, this skirt is going to become a shirt, if I can fit it.
  4. Handmade Sandals. These worked for my Nausicaa and Kaylee costume, but they aren’t comfortable enough for usual wear. I’m not getting rid of them for now, but they probably won’t get worn much.
  5. 2016 Goals. While I did finish 3 of the 5 goals, the two that would really have helped my sewing overall did not get completed (drafting real slopers and buying quality materials over cheap and crappy ones)

Top 5 Non-Crafting Highlights

  1. DragonCon. There are no words to describe how much this convention meant to me. For being my first and having it be so wonderful and successful, it was perfect. I hope to go back next year!
  2. Dancing. I’ve been ballroom dancing for between 5 and 6 years now, and since I started social dancing, my skills are improving as both a follow (typically the woman’s part) and a lead (typically the man’s). I’m spoiled that the ballroom and swing community around here is robust, and it’s led to both dance-friends and real friends for me!
  3. Friendships. My two best friends in the entire world I met when I was abroad. They’re my musketeers, and the three of us have never since lived within the same five hour radius since, which makes it difficult to hang out as a trio. When they were able to join me for DragonCon, it made it a wonderful experience. But since these friends live so far away, I obviously need alternative companionship. My first year in my grad program, I got close to a few people, and then most of them moved to a satellite campus (I was given a choice and the more intriguing option was to stay at the main campus), so I had a year with few close friends, though in 2016 spring I started to become close with some ballroom friends, and now I’m especially close with one. Definitely a best friend contender. It’s nice to have friends and companions with similar goals and interests! I’m definitely happier!
  4. End Date for Master’s. I’m a third year in my program, which is already slightly strange for a Master’s but now I know that sometime in this calendar year I’ll be graduating.
  5. My new bike! I’m not one for exercise, but I know it’s a big part of keeping healthy, so I opted to buy a bike that I’ll actually use to get places, so I’m not just exercising in place. I’ve made some bags to go on my back rack, and I’m looking into making long term versions, now that I’ve had a few months of wear. Cardboard and cotton do not do well in the rain… and uncovered bike seats don’t either.

5 Reflections

  1. I wear my makes when I don’t get to adventurous with them. I’m okay with trying new silhouettes, but at the same time, I’m not going to wear miniskirts, or full circle skirts made out of fabric that will fly up easily, etc. I know what I like to wear, and what I like to sew. If I stick with that and work to create variety within that, I’ll enjoy both creating and wearing garments.
  2. Costuming is a rush that I can’t shake… I had my first real experiences of wearing costumes I’ve made this year. I never really got to experience Halloween when I was younger, and I wasn’t comfortable being in the spotlight on stage, so costumes were something I made, but never really wore. Now, it’s nice to know that I can wear them with pride, and get noticed! I’d like to get better at emulating characters that I’m attempting to look like, but that’s something I may be able to work on with practice. How to get that practice, I’m not sure, but I’ll be working on it.
  3. Spending money on quality material is a good goal, but one that I’m still not quite ready to do yet. I’m still a student, so when I have the chance to splurge on quality, I want to do so, but if I have to buy cheap stuff to learn on, I’ll do it. I’m still learning myself, my skills, and my interests, so I’ll size up on a case by case basis.
  4. I’m probably never going to want to sew bras and underwear. Camisoles either. I bought the Watson bra pattern, and I’ve made up a version (that needs to be fixed… I didn’t stretch the elastic enough.). But it didn’t make me want to make another. At least not enough to make a real bra, and I’ve had an underwear pattern printed for a few years now, and I keep not making them. So I’ll never have an entirely me made wardrobe. Sometimes its good to admit that I “need help,” or rather that quality RTW still has a place in my life. Similarly, I will not be able to make Italian Wedding Soup as good as Wegmans brand, and Spaghettios are delicious on special occasions. Even though I know neither are the best things to put in my body. But sometimes nostalgia wins out.
  5. I like sharing my skills with others. When the musketeers decided to do DragonCon together, and we decided on a few group costumes, I was able to share my sewing skills with them, and help teach one and advise the other on sewing techniques and tricks. Then the makerspace in my building opened up, and apparently I’ve become the resident sewing “expert” and I’ll be teaching the intro to sewing machine classes for a bit of this upcoming semester.

5 Goals for 2017

  1. Start/finish my costuming projects in a timely fashion. I’m big on dragging out projects. And I can finish things quickly. I’m just not good at following through with it. So I have plans to make or update or finish six costume this year, and I’d like to follow through.
    1. Make a fascinator for the TARDIS, and make/obtain a sonic screwdriver, etc.
    2. Create more accessories for my Nausicaa costume. I’ve got Teto, but I’d like to make the flare rifle, the gloves, the hat, the boot covers, etc.
    3. I’m working on the prop from the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode The Moment, and I’d like to also make the costume Billie Piper wore to go with it!
    4. I’ve been working on the Cinderella ballgown from the live action version, and I’d like to finish it before summer.
    5. The movie Penelope has been a favorite of mine, despite some flaws, and I’d love to have a costume for Penelope, especially because some of it will work in real life too. I’ve already thought a lot about it, and I’ve started practicing with prosthetic making, but I have a long way to go…
    6. The Doctor Who episode Face the Raven is a hard one to watch, since it involves the death of a companion, but I love what Me/Ashildr wears in it, and I want to go all the way from a collection of clothing/jewelry to costume.
  2. Learn to smile and become more loose in photographs. I will freely admit that I was a stick in the mud in early college, and I’ve been working on becoming a more free person in life and at heart. I smile a lot, but I’ve learned (from what other people tell me, and what I see in my own photographs) that when I think I’m smiling, it doesn’t always show to the real world. Now, I’m fine with that for interactions with people. If I get to know them, they’ll start to get it. But I don’t like having to sift through all the photos I take to find the one with a smidge of a smile. It would be nice to be able to take a few and be visibly smiling in more than half!
  3. Work on props and accessories in addition to sewing clothes/costumes. I have enough clothes. Not that I’m going to stop making them, but I’m not desperate to make anything right now because of a void in my wardrobe. So if I shift my focus to making things that will help my life or my costumes to get easier or shine, that will be best overall for my life and plans. Also I got a Dremel for Christmas, and it’s so fun to play with!!! I need more excuses to get sawdust all over my dining room.
  4. Work down my stash. It’s started to overflow my space. Some of it has plans attached, some is marinating while I think over plans, and some of it is meant for muslins only. But the overload needs to be dealt with.
  5. Attempt to address fitting issues before finishing a garment. Muslins should help with this, but also fixing or attempting to remedy these issues before “declaring” it finished should help these kinds of issues from causing garments to end up on the alteration pile.

Here’s to 2017!

Next Few Weeks of Winter

People. Winter is here, even in my area (which means rain and below 60’s temperatures right now), and it’s only going to get colder.

And I need a coat. Not necessarily a super heavy winter one, but at least a wool warm coat. I bought a pattern at the pre-Thanksgiving Joann’s sale.

And I could use another pair of jeans. I’m thinking bootcut this time. The Ginger jeans pattern just needs an alteration or two.

And I want to make another sweater. I’ve got this sweater knit, and I should have a pattern to work with (but I need to check my “muslin” again). I’ll show you the first one soon, I promise.

For that matter, I should really finish this sweater I’m knitting. I’m almost done the two sleeves! After that it’s just the fronts…

So there’s two weeks before I head home for the holiday break, and I’d like to accomplish this short list… I know I can make jeans in a day, and the last sweater did not take more than a few hours (not the hand-knit one, the other one). So the coat is the big time suck that I will be working through… I’ll try to keep you posted, so I stay accountable… With some extra posts from previous makes sprinkled in, I hope it doesn’t end up to monotonous!

Me Made May 2016 in Review

May is over, and I’ve started taking stock of how my month went.

day1

This year I did manage to wear something me made every day, and had many all me made days to round it out. I even took pictures for about half the month, though not even all of those made it to Flickr.

day4

My workhorses this month were my denim Ginger Jeans and Hudson pants. I’ve been working myself up to making another pair of Gingers, and now I’ve got the pattern traced out and ready to cut any day now. But I was surprised about how often I wore the Hudson’s. They got a lot of wear in the winter, but I don’t think about them much in spring and summer. But I see now that I really need a second pair. Preferably a bit more summery.

I didn’t keep track as I was going which me mades I was and wasn’t wearing, but looking back I think I hit all of the summery spring ones.

Here's the shirt in a MMM14 post!
Here’s the shirt in a MMM14 post!

There’s a couple that I really need to retire, like a shirt I made in early college that I love the (self drafted) design but at the time my execution has left much to be desired. It’s a little too short in bodice length, and I didn’t yet understand ease, so the band at the bottom of the bodice doesn’t meet, even with the buttons and elastic that I had added. I think I’m going to make a second version, but updated from all the experience I’ve gained in the past five years.

day20

One of the other makes that need to be retired is one of my black Nettie shirts, which has been washed so many times that it’s become sheer…

day21

Really, this month has come down to two thoughts. I need more Gingers, Hudsons, and realistically Netties too. And I’ve got enough (casual) office appropriate gear to last a full month. Not without repeats, but I love having a small wardrobe, so that’s fine with me!

day10

Thanks to Zo for organizing the event again!

How did your May’s go?

Year 3

WordPress informed me that yesterday was my 3rd blogiversary.

The past two anniversaries, I wrote a post celebrating the year, and especially because this is also my 200th post, I figured I’d give it another whirl.

This year:

storybook back

I finished my Susan dress! Woohoo!

My self imposed ban of new clothing has kept up really well, and the only piece of clothing I’ve bought was jeans from a thrift store.

ponyfront

I’ve self drafted a few items, including the shirt for my Peggy costume (with more full costume photos to come).

right after wash

My first pair of jeans were not entirely comfortable (so not wearable), but my second pair is so comfy that I practically live in them.

sweater

I’m working on a knit sweater that will actually look like a real sweater, which is definitely a first. And I’m another pair of socks and a half into my sock knitting journey.

back side

Real photos of my Belle from Once Upon A Time (casual style) costume were taken, and though I realized I forgot the necklace, they certainly look snazzy! I do need to figure out how to make the extensions better blended though…

cute

The time I spent embroidering this Merida skirt was ridiculous, but I love this skirt to death. It’s whimsical and subtle and awesome all at the same time!

I’ve also realized that my planning skills are rather lax, and that sometimes I’ll completely change my mind and take on ridiculous projects. Case in point, even though I don’t have real space in my apartment to make a ballgown, I’m planning to make Ella’s ballgown from the live action Cinderella.

First though, I’ve got to make and finish my TARDIS skirts. After three years it’s really time.

Here’s to year 4! Thanks for reading!

5 Goals for 2016

#sewingtop5 - The Top 5 of 2015!

It’s time for the final post of the Top 5 of 2015, the goals post. Some of these were easy to propose, but I had to think about the last two. Real hard. I guess its time to go ahead and share my crafting resolutions!

1. Draft real slopers.

I’ve drafted things on my own before, namely my Claudia vest and Belle dress, both of which have their flaws. I haven’t shown you my Peggy blouse in full yet, but I showed a pic yesterday… It went through so many iterations and muslins to get to the final point, but I can raise my arms and the blouse doesn’t come out of a tucked-in position. Isn’t that great! Now I just need to go through the mess of pattern pieces I made in order to find the last drafted and final pieces. That’ll be… difficult. But if I have well fitting slopers, perhaps I won’t need to make so many muslins!

denim

2. Make 3 pairs of jeans.

I’ve got the denim for 3, so that’s my goal. I’m thinking one “low rise” Ginger, which will probably not be terribly low rise on my short torso-ed body, one high waisted, adjusted so its more comfortable than the last pair, and to round it off, a bootcut/flare pair that’s got the same rise as whichever of the above was most comfy…

unknowns

3. Only buy fabric that I have a distinct and thought-out plan for.

I have a ton of new fabric that I got on the shopping trip with my mom, and most of it I’ve got plans for (excepting those pictured above), but I need to work on making sure of that in the future. Otherwise I won’t be able to work down my stash, since I’ll just keep adding to it.

fabrics
Fabric for the skirt and a new blouse for the TARDIS

4. Finish my TARDIS build.

It’ll be three years in March since I first planned the costume, and I haven’t made any progress on it in a year and a half… I did get some more fabric for the skirt, so that may be the boost I need to actually make the bustle and petticoats and skirt.

ashildrkayleelink and link

5. Work on at least 2 other (big) costumes.

I’ve got most of the work done on Hatter, Claudia, and Peggy’s mission outfit (though I’m making another Peggy shirt). So those can’t count. I’m thinking about perhaps Kaylee’s jumpsuit outfit and Ashildr’s Face the Raven outfit. Maybe I’ll spring for a larger costume, but I still probably won’t have enough space in my apartment for a ballgown… It’s unfortunate.

And then there’s always the life resolutions, like brushing teeth more often, cleaning dishes the week I use them, that sort of thing. But you don’t need to hear about all that!

Thanks again Gillian, for hosting the Top 5s, and I hope you all have a great year!