Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Smoke On The Water

Ha.  That has absolutely nothing to do with this post.  I just have that riff stuck in my head.    It’s seriously annoying.

Anyway, here’s a brief little post.  Seriously.  I’m just phonin’ it in today, people.  I have had a Bad Day.  I work with what are quite possibly the stupidest, laziest, annoyingist (it’s a word) people in the world.  Ever.

TLo has been begging for “jean shorts” (and no, Big In Japan, not “jorts” which yes, is totally eeeew). 

I finally broke down and made her, uh, some.  Sort of.  Ok, fine.  Technically they are made out of denim, so they are therefore “jeans shorts”.

Well.  Technically.  Strictly speaking.  If you squint your eyes…

Don’t judge me!!

1) Ottobre Design, issue 1/2009 #23.  For boys.

1-2009 #23

2) Bad denim (yes, that same bad denim from this post and this post).


3) Well, what do you expect for free?


side IMG_2420

Yeah.  This is what ‘free’ gets you.

Complete with tacky pocket detailing.




And no, in case you are wondering: our doorknobs are not suddenly and spontaneously moldering.  We have… some doorknob issues.  And apparently at one time the entire interior of our house was painted pistachio green.  Yay.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Despair. I Like It.

Need some demotivation?  Despair.com is your place.

This is one of my favoritest ever websites.  I peruse it occasionally when I’m bored.

These are in my Top Five:

Priorities Poster @ www.despair.com

Wishes Poster @ www.despair.com

Inspiration Poster @ www.despair.com


And of course, the best present ever for The Husband.

Destiny Poster @ www.despair.com



What, like you’re surprised that I like snarky sarcastic humor?  Do you read this blog?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gifts. I like them.

I’ve been meaning to show you a recent gift for some time now.  I just keep forgetting to take the pictures.  Last month, Big In Japan sent me a present!

First off, here’s the envelope:


Here’s what the envelope says:


Um…. right.  That’s what I always think.

Oh how I love the Japanese obsession with funky stationary.  For example, here are some file holders that my sister brought back for me one year (knowing that I love love love anything Tintin):



Anyway, inside the mysteriously-worded envelope from Big In Japan was this totally awesome piece of fabric. 


I’m going to let her describe it in her own words (with her gracious permission, of course):

“Enclosed, a souvenir for you from the spring festival I attended in early April…. This is a tenugui – a Japanese hand towel - “te” = hand, “nugu” to wipe.  They are an art form dating back to, I believe, the Edo Period…. They’re usually 100% cotton, like this one, and sometimes backed with gauze.  They are used for a multitude of purposes: hand towel, sweat rag/scarf, bandana, headband, wall hanging, dish towel, fan (good to wear at a concert), computer keyboard cover, shelf runner, advertisement…  This particular one is given out at the festival to participants or as a thank-you for donating something – in my case, a big bottle of sake.

Pink sakura – the cherry blossoms are usually full-on during the festival.  The waves – the town is on the coast and fishing/seaweed are still important forces in the community.  The birds – honestly, I’m not sure, but they are cute!  And the bell – it’s the festival bell, the mark of the town  (the town is Kosogaya) and the writing in black says Kosogaya Festival Group.

So there you have it.  A real deal textile-souvenir from Japan that can’t be purchased.  Tenugui – I could ramble, but then this package would be delayed even longer…. I have a lot of them.  A lot. Thought you’d be able to appreciate and understand – oh the sickness….”

Yes, I most definitely understand.  People with the same sickness can recognize each other.   That preppy tall girl that I had to sit next to in 8th grade German class?  That’s so working out for me.  (And yes, Big In Japan I’m-covered-in-tattoos-and-play-in-a-doom-metal-band was a preppy.  Big time.   I have pictures to prove it!  Well, ok, I don’t have actual pictures.  But I do have vivid memories.  Ha.  Maybe I can blackmail her into sending more gifts!  I’m heartless and cruel like that.)

In any case, here’s to Big In Japan.  Thanks! Mwah!


PS. Perhaps someone could convince Big In Japan that she should start a small blog with photos of the stuff she makes.  Right?

Monday, June 21, 2010

A-shopping We Will Go.

So besides shampoo, Saturday we went to Golden D’Or.  Plus, someone else paid for my stuff so I don’t really see how a day could get any better.  (I did try to pay for my own stuff, but my mom wouldn’t let me.  Twist my arm!)

I was on a mission to find some knit prints in colors that weren’t intended for pasty-pale blond people (I will be so glad when the color trends swing away from the “spring” and “autumn” color groups… I. Am. A. Winter.)

I managed to find these pieces (I could probably have found more, but my mom wasn’t totally interested in spending multiple hours in the fabric store):


From top left: raspberry-red slinky (3 yards), GORGEOUS midnight blue slinky (4 yards), black/white polka dot poly blend (2 yards), black/white grid pattern poly blend (1.5 yards), multi-colored square poly blend (2 yards), pink/white/black (1.5 yards)

The color on the slinky just does not translate in photos, it is absolutely dense with color and totally beautiful, especially the blue.

In the bargain room I got:

fabric-haul-4 fabric-haul-5

Ultra-fine deep red lawn/batiste—so thin it’s practically gauze (4 yards for $10!) and  black sequined border lawn—the border is on both selvedges (3 yards).  Tunics ahoy!

We also got two things for the Evil Monkeys (even though they have tons of fabric already):


Black/white and orange/orange poly knit with velour circles.  Black for Goth Girl (that would be The Big One) and orange for red-headed TLo (despite her refusal to admit she is, in fact, an autumn). 

My mom suggested making leggings for winter.  I suggested a short jacket.  I think she ended up buying enough to do both.  It’s pretty cute.

And then we got this:


Poly/cotton scrub fabric with kittens.  Since the Husband refuses to let me make scrubs out of this for him, I guess we’ll go back to the original plan which was to make pillow cases for the Evil Monkeys.  They will love them.


So much fabric (and not so cheap, either) but now I wish I had MOREMOREMOREMORE.  Uh.  More. 

Don’t you?

Saturday, June 19, 2010


OK, so some people apparently get all whiney and needy and stuff if you don’t, you know, tag them or something. 

No no no.  I’ll stay up into the wee small hours of the night to tag you all.  No no, really, I’m not at all tired from driving to Dallas and fabric shopping and buying shampoo and stuff.  (No.  Seriously.  We drove two hours to Dallas to buy shampoo.)

So here are my tags.  If your name is on this list, you have been tagged.  Please feel free to answer the questions as listed in this not-in-any-way-self-centered post and then tag, uh… oh, let’s say five people.  Go!

1) Angie A.

2)  uh…

Ok, see?  I can’t even figure out now who’s already been tagged and who hasn’t.  My head hurts just thinking about it.  So here’s the plan, people:

If you read this blog and you would like to be tagged to share info about yourself, PLEASE DO!  We would all like to hear about you.  Especially ANGIE A.

I Always Said, “It’s All About Me.”

Judy tagged me (me! me! me!) for one of those talk-about-yourself thingies.  Since she’s so nice (and I love nothing so much as expounding about myself), I have graciously agreed to participate.

Yeah.  It was a real struggle.

1.  Which pattern/vintage style have you been thinking the most about lately?

This question presumes a lot, most notably that I actually think about my sewing beforehand and don't just jump in willy-nilly like a deranged butcher waving a cleaver.  But if I were to think ahead, I would have to say that the thing most often floating around at the back of my mind is: tunics.  I have always (and I mean always) been a tunic kind of girl. And this summer I'm hoping to get a few fitted and made up in cotton lawn (you know, before it's winter again... which is probably asking too much).

The other presumption made by this question is that patterns are the pre-eminent focus of my sewing.  Which they are not.  I am a fabric-lover of the highest order.  I. Love. Textiles.  Sewing is just a convenient excuse to continue purchasing fabric.  I firmly believe industrialized society has grievously lost something essential by no longer wearing textiles that have been ornately hand-embellished.  If I could, I would wear clothing that was completely and unabashedly textile-driven, like for instance saris.  Nine flippin' yards of gorgeous fabric for one garment?  That you just drape around you?? Sign me up.

Unfortunately, I also firmly believe that a) it’s rude to appropriate other people’s cultures for  your own personal benefit and b) sari's are not a good look for me.  To reconcile myself, I'm currently scouring the web for (relatively) cheap sari and border-print fabric to make myself some... tunics.

2.  What's the one place that you want to visit that you've never been before?

The year 2167.

3.   How do you relax?

I do not relax.  Ever.  I am an extremely anxious person.  Relaxing doesn't really figure in. 

Well, I'm closest to relaxed when I'm reading a book.  I love love love to read.

4.   What is your favorite holiday?

My favorite holiday as in "a sanctioned day of rest and/or observation" or my favorite holiday as in "we went on a trip somewhere"? 


January 13 - International Skeptics Day.


5.   What is one sewing skill you want to learn/try out?


6.   Can you knit? crochet? other crafting talents?

I can:

anything else that is sewing with a needle and embroidery thread
quilt (hand quilting)
quilt (piecing)
bead (jewelry)
paint (in all fairness, this is my former profession)
draw (ditto)
sculpt (if forced under threat of life and limb)
book binding
pottery (if it was the only thing standing between me and certain doom)

Here's what I can't do (yet):

quilling (not sure why I'd want to)
stained glass
small engine repair

7. What garment/accessory do you wear the most?

My glasses.

8.  How much time do you spend reading blogs? (per day or week)

Way too much.  I like a good procrastination.

9.  Your motto/mantra?

Hmmm.... I would like to say it's "Do unto others as you would have done unto you."  But probably "Doh!" is more accurate.

I’m supposed to tag some people (I forget how many) but I think everyone I would tag has already been tagged. Maybe.  I have to think about that… If I have more time tomorrow I’ll post some tags.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Call Me Quasibeangirl

I've completely given up trying to get a photo of myself with decent hair.  It's apparently just not possible.  Um.  I guess it would help if I quit taking pictures of myself with wet hair.  But at 6:30 in the morning, time is limited and you have to grab two minutes with the camera when you can.  

Bonus: I also look like a deranged serial killer.  (Now you know why most of my pictures don’t have heads, Angie A.)

These are photos of my second attempt at version 2 of my Perfect T-Shirt Pattern (the one with darts-converted-to-smocking).   It was pretty clear from the outset of my first attempt that the fabric was going to be difficult.  The results proved that. 

holy hell that's ugly

For the second attempt I decided to try sturdier fabric, so I used a very pretty cobalt blue ITY that I found on sale at Hancock's.

next on America's Most Wanted

This was helpful in terms of fit and drape.  Unfortunately, this fabric is nigh on impossible to hem without a coverstitch machine, which I couldn't be bothered to set up.  Mostly because I didn't have matching thread.  So I didn't have anything to set it up with.  Hence, I hemmed it with my sewing machine.  Rather disastrously, as it turns out.  Clearly I'm going to have to pick out that hem and do something else with it.

hunchback error

That photo also points out the major flaw with my Perfect T-Shirt Pattern: namely that because I am a hunchback (i.e. I have to do a rounded back and rounded upper back adjustment) I ended up with my usual extra 1" at the neckline.  Normally in a woven I would either take a smart dart under the collar or do a center back seam.  Neither of which is so great for a t-shirt.  I was hoping I could ease the extra into the neck binding, but as you can see it didn't work.  I'm going to have to rethink my plans for this.


Otherwise, this top drapes much better than the other one which is all the result of fabric... since they're otherwise identical. 


I'm willing to keep working on it, at any rate.


I still hate hair.  I think baldness is highly underrated.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Even Genius Takes a Holiday Every Once In A While

You know how sometimes you think "Damn!  I look good!"?  And then some evil person shows you a picture of yourself?  And you realize that you are hopelessly delusional?  I just did that to myself.

I was hoping this second draft of my Perfect T-Shirt Pattern would come out, well, perfectly.  And when I put it on, it certainly felt perfect.  Silky-soft cotton jersey? Check.  My bestest color, hot pink? Check. Low-but-not-too-low neckline? Check.  Perfect fit? Che-- uh.  Well...

Not so perfect.  This shirt is the perfect example of how choice of fabric really does make a drastic difference in overall fit.  I was hoping that this fabric wouldn't be as clingy and unflattering as I suspected it would be.  My hopes were, alas, dashed to the ground like so many shattering crystal vases flung from the hands of distraught and frustrated housewives.

Sorry.  I've been ready trashy romance novels this week.

Anyway, here is the second version of my Perfect T-Shirt Pattern.  I decided to rotate the dart up into the neckline and then convert the dart to smocked gathers. (I have a BWOF top- that I have literally worn to pieces- that has this same treatment, so I foresee making this version in about twenty different fabrics.)


For those of you playing along at home who aren't so up on your drafting techniques, here's how you do the dart-to-smocking conversion (I totally made this up myself, so if it doesn't work for you I take absolutely no responsibility for it):

original draft with side bust dart

1) rotate the dart up to the neckline (see various sewing books on how to rotate a dart)

2) measure the total width of the dart at the widest point (distance x)

3) multiply distance x times the amount needed to make up the difference in width when gathered (I didn't do a test strip on this, I just guessed that the gathering would need to be about two times the width of the dart... this ended up being slightly too little gathering, so I'm going to try 2.5 times on the next one).  This is distance y.

4) measure distance y from the center front and draw a vertical line parallel to the center front

5) draw a horizontal line (perpendicular to the center front) down from the neckline equal to about 2/3 to 3/4 of the length of the dart

6) draw in your stitch lines for the smocking/gathering (I chose to do five lines of smocking)

 second draft with rotated dart

Here's the end result (warning! giant boob picture ahead):


Everything else in the pattern is the same as my first version

And here it is, in all it's unflattering, clingy glory.   Absolutely enhanced by my half-wet hair, of course.  And the fact that I should have pulled the top down at least an inch in the front  before I took the pictures.

front view, ugly tummy bump and bad bra side, ugly tummy bump

back, not pulled forward enough and good grief



Why the hell my husband let me walk out of the house like this, I have no idea.  The only explanation is that my husband's version of a "good look" for me is exclusively one that he can see down the front of.  And hence he probably thought this top was... perfect.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Who Wears Short Shorts?

Seriously?  I just spent about twenty minutes trying to find a video clip of one of the old Nair “Short-shorts” commercial.  Twenty minutes, people.  I mean, I have a life.  I do not have endless spare time to find these things just for your entertainment.


I don’t care that you didn’t ask me to find it.  Sheesh.

So last week I went through all the girls’ clothes again in order to finally, once and for all, cull out all the miscellaneous unwanted summer clothes… you know, the size 3 t-shirts that are too small even for The Big One… the size 2 (I kid you not, size TWO) shorts that The Big One wore through the end of last summer… the totally cute tops made out of adorable quilting fabric that no one would wear…. that kind of stuff. 

Then, as is my wont, I bagged up all the discards into a big ol’ yard bag (or in this case a medium ol’ trash bag) in preparation for sending them to the Mission.  And of course, because I’ve been working like a crazy woman all this week, the bag has continued to sit in the laundry room to this very day.

Apparently The Big One has had the sudden realization that I do, in fact, GIVE AWAY HER OLD CLOTHES.  She never noticed this before?  Even when I routinely toss clothing into giant bags and then explain in a loud voice, “I’M TAKING THESE CLOTHES TO THE MISSION”?  Based on her behavior over the past week, I’m going to have to go with “No.  She had not.”

Every day this week an item of too-small or never-worn clothing has mysteriously appeared in The Big One’s dresser drawers.  I, being the Mean Mom that I am, immediately transferred said items back to the Mission Bag.  And the next morning, a new item would find it’s sad, weary way back to the dresser drawer.

Finally, I decided to take pity on one single item.  And this is it:

Ottobre-3-2008-3-front Ottobre 3-2008 #3


I made these two years ago.  No one would wear them.  Ever.  Until today.


The fact that they now fit so well might (maybe) explain why no one wanted to wear them two years ago.  Maybe.

And this image below is  (rather typically) what I got when I instructed The Big One to “turn sideways” so I could get a side-view shot:


She is so literal. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Genii R Us

I finally have had a chance to get to some sewing this week.  I really just can not tell you how much I hate May.  But now it’s June and we’re all ready for summer to start--  oh wait.  It’s been over 100 degrees for the past week.  I guess summer started a while ago.

In any case, I finally got around to looking at my custom-drafted t-shirt pattern ala Cal Patch’s Weird Custom Drafting Book, a.k.a. Design-It-Yourself Clothes.  Which I wrote about in this post.  To recap, after some serious fitting adjustments I basically ended up with a sloper with side bust darts.  And that’s where I left it.

This week I picked up that pattern and decided that I would try adding some wearing ease (not present in the final pattern), some adjustments for my hunchback (always present on my body) and see what happened (usually a nerve-wracking experience).

What happened is I created the perfect t-shirt.  No.  Really.  It’s perfect.  I am a flippin’ genius and you must bow down and worship the ground I, uh, sew on.

Don’t believe me?  Fine.  Be like that.

Here’s the final (blurry) result, in which I added a more scooped neckline and left the bust dart in place. T-shirt-draft-1-front

I  used a light-weight poly knit of some mysterious type which I bought from Emma One Sock about four years ago.  It is awesome.  Here’s a more color-appropriate swatch:


Here’s the (burry) side view and the (blurry) back view.


OK, so it’s maybe slightly too loose around the middle.  I wasn’t sure how the fabric would hang and I didn’t want it to be clingy.  I could take it in a quarter-inch on both sides probably.

And OK, it was really hard to get a good picture on my own (but significantly easier than trying to get The Husband to understand what qualifies as a “good” picture). 

So you might not, in fact, be able to appreciate my genius sufficiently.  But trust me when I say that this top is the best-fitting and most flattering top I’ve owned in a while.  Plus, because I have the darts in place, I can now move those around into gathers or pleats or whatever and make about a bajillion different styles.

Genius, I tell you.  And now I’ll have time to do some more.  I love June.

The month of June.  Not, you know, June Cleaver.  Although she could wear a mean pearl choker while, you know, baking cookies. Or whatever.


Right.  So when I Googled “June Cleaver” this is what I got:


Plus, this:






I think “yummy” pretty much covers it.  I don’t know who this woman is that’s posting this stuff, but I loooove her.  She is my new hero.  Clearly, she is a genius. 

Takes one to know one.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Pants Are, In Fact, On Fire


I lied.  There are no clothes.

There is this.

I think my mom may have literally peed her pants watching this.

EDIT: Well, I don’t know about my mom, but The Husband claims HE almost peed his pants watching this the first time, he was laughing so hard.  So you know that’s got to be some funny stuff.  Also, I originally had a link to this video from the creator’s webpage, but it’s offline now.  In a moment of inspiration, I decided to search YouTube and Lo! someone else had posted it up.  But I would just like to say, if I could I would totally credit the guy who made this.  He is a flippin’ GENIUS.