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!

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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!

Snow Day!

And when I say snow day, I actually mean ice day, but it doesn’t have the same sort of ring, does it?

This weekend I learned a few things.

  1. I own no items of red clothing. I mean, my Kaylee dress has a little red in it, but its not a winter dress by any means. I own and elastic red belt. So much for getting a raffle ticket for wearing red (at a dance on Saturday)!
  2. Trying to carve wood will bring on instant flashbacks to Brave.
  3. Even when I own a plethora of food, I don’t like seeing an empty fridge, and I’ll set out to fill it. Which will inevitably lead to buying other stuff too. I’m dubbing it the Valentine’s food run of 2016.

Because its rather cold outside, and therefore inside too, I’m holding off on taking garment photos, because I’m unwilling to take off my knee socks to change into tights. Or to put on jeans. My pajamas are just too comfy. Plus then I’d have to comb my hair.

So once it warms up later this week I’ll be able to photoshoot.

But to catch you up on my wintry day activities, beyond the research I’m also supposed to be doing, I’ve been working on the following projects:

sweater

I cast on the back of the Vale Cardigan last year, sometime in the fall I believe. I’ve now progressed past the armscye shaping, and I might be able to bind off tonight. I’m then going to make the sleeves, and then the fronts, to see how much yarn I’ll have left.

My fingers have been twitching on the interwebs some more, and I spent a few nights lost on the RPF looking at builds of Claudia’s mini Tesla pistol. So I immediately (and slightly regrettably because it was unplanned and hasty) went to work on it.

tubes
and there’s more tubes…

I got some vacuum tubes, bought a dial which is way too big for the build, but may work for the TARDIS, and bought wood carving tools from a craft store.

tools

At first, I only bought a set of chisels and some wood blocks. I got the one I’m currently working with for 25 cents, on clearance. It’s pine, which is not recommended for absolute beginners, but it was cheap. I’ve got some other pieces of wood, of the more beginner variety, so maybe I’ll return those, or I’ll use them for another project.

After some trouble with using just the chisels, I went back to the craft store (on the Valentine’s Day food run of 2016)  and bought an x-acto knife with some extra blades. Things have gone much more smoothly since then. Although I’m even more scared of cutting myself.

pattern

After all, my hands are angry at me enough after working with the chisels and my hand saw. They don’t need any more reason to hate me. For instance, blood. Blood would be bad

In other news, I’m mulling over drafting and making a sweater out of some lovely navy blue sweater knit…

Plenty to keep me busy on this wintry day!

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!

Top 5 Reflections of 2015

#sewingtop5 - The Top 5 of 2015!

This post was more difficult than the previous three. I reflect on my work all the time, whether we’re talking my job-work, or my blog/costuming/making in general-work. But to boil all that down to 5 is more difficult.

Here we go!

skirt

1. I’ve learned to fit my body better.

It’s still not perfect, but as I learn which fitting techniques and tricks to use, it’ll go better. This holiday break I had an opportunity to try on some clothing in a RTW store, which I avoid in normal life, since I rarely need to buy anything anymore. I was reminded yet again why I really started sewing my clothes, and how much of a self-esteem boost it is to wear clothing that actually fits. For instance, the shirt above that I made for my Peggy cosplay that fits so well in the sleeves that it doesn’t move much even when I move my arms up.

left1

2. My posts and my makes are not always… simpatico.

It’s not that I don’t always want to post (relatively) on time, but I just happen to procrastinate on pictures… a lot. Looking back at the year, I had all these posts on TARDIS progress in February, but really that all happened last October. And once again, my Halloween costume will be posted (in full) in the new year, not this year when it actually happens.

3. I’m not as terrible at makeup as I always thought.

I wear glasses daily. It’s taken nearly 4 years to get through a box of contacts containing 45 days worth. So with glasses, I don’t like to wear makeup, because they already exaggerate any undereye bags… I don’t need them to exaggerate undereye concealer mishaps. Plus my eyes get itchy a lot, which doesn’t bode well for eyemakeup. I’d been improving, but this year my knowledge took off. I can now do more than just basic eyeliner and vaguely acceptable lipstick. As in, I can put on fake eyelashes and can leave the house wearing full face makeup and not feel (entirely) overdressed. Plus there was the time when I walked into my local grocery store with full costume makeup including those aforementioned false eyelashes… Oh wait, I’ve done that twice now…

4. My me made wardrobe has overtaken the RTW… It was a slow crawl, but now the rolling stone has picked up some speed.

There are days when I wear head to ankle me mades (I can’t count the shoes… sometimes the socks). And I get nearly all the way through the day before I figure that out… I still can’t give up my RTW undergarments, but now I will be able to make jeans (3 pairs worth of denim is now in my possession), as well as my shirts and skirts and dresses and such.

haul

5. Solids are still my jam.

In fact, I went fabric shopping with my mom last week, which is an all day endeavor involving multiple stores, and only one of the fabrics has a print. I’m interested in large scale designs though, and may have to look more closely at Sew Red’s tee embroidering. And not just because of the Little Mermaid design.

Also, to update on where my goals last year left me, I completed 2, and partially others. I did improve fit, and have been actively trying to buy better quality materials. Most of my garments are at least somewhat subtle cosplay inspired too, so that makes me super happy. I only got around to making two quilts, not three. My serger is still finicky,and I didn’t work with much specialized crafting things. I did do a lot of knitting, and fabric painting, and doodling though. And finally the stash. It would be hard to tell, but the old stuff in my stash has mostly been either used or trashed, just more has been added to even it out.

Top 5 Highlights of 2015

#sewingtop5 - The Top 5 of 2015!

This post is all about what happened to me this year!

This year I did not graduate from college or study abroad or anything terribly exciting, so it’s more about the little things for me this time…

storybook back

1. My Susan costume was finished!

I’ve been dreaming of making this costume for years, and this year its finally done! It took a long time, and a lot of frustration, but I’m very proud of it.

2. I truly succeeded with my clothes buying ban.

Last year I did a pretty good job, but this time I managed to succeed in buying (if anything) only things from thrift stores. Excepting undergarments (bras, underwear, camis), all my newest clothing was made or thrifted by me! I even resisted it at one of my favorite stores ever, when it came to the States (because Primark is a surprising wonderland) but I managed to prevent buying actual clothing.

3. I worked in an office all summer (well, at least most of the summer), and I didn’t hate it.

This might sound terrible to people who do work in offices, and I’m sorry for that, but for as long as I can remember I wanted to do scientific research so I wouldn’t have to work in an office. So now that most of my work is on a computer, an office building is the logical place, which didn’t occur to me until this summer. My work is really cool, and it makes up for the setting.

4. At least three costumes have been finalized.

Peggy Carter, Susan, and Belle have been finalized, and if not finalized then photographed. Woot!

5. I moved into my own place, and I love it!

Nobody can tell me to do the dishes or eat something other than candy (other than myself… when I run out of dishes or candy, respectively). In all seriousness, I love having my own (rented) space, and its definitely improved the quality and time frame of my projects.

Well, that’s it for highlights! Check back tomorrow for the reflections on the year!