Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It’s Not A SWAP. It’s a SWHAP.*

So I finally got around to making one of the items on my Fall SWAP.  This week.  The last week of February.  In which it's been, on average, 76 degrees during the day.  (Tomorrow is supposed to be 86.)  So that's been super-useful, wardrobe-wise.

Here's my inspiration garment:

anthro top

Here's what I made:

needs to tighten the shoulder straps

Um.  It looks better in person.  Honest. 

It's a little hard to see because of the bad photo.  And the black fabric.  Which, by the way, I salvaged from a CP Shades tent-dress that I bought circa 1993.  Yes.  I am that thrifty.  And when I say “tent” dress, I mean, “Three people and a small dog could sleep in it.  Comfortably.”  There was some sense in saving the dress.  Once upon a time it was a really nice rayon brocade fabric and as mentioned above there was a lot of it.  In truth, it’s a little too worn and pilly to really be very nice now.  However it made the perfect wearable muslin.  Since it made... a muslin.  And I'm wearing it.  HA! 

(insert smug in-your-face happy dance here)

So to make the above garment I decided, against my deepest inclinations and sense of morality, to purchase a pattern for a pillowcase dress.  Yes.  That's right.  I purchased a pattern for a pillowcase dress.  With money.  Real money.  American.  Dollars.  Moooooooneeeeee.

McCall 6115

I feel... dirty.

But, I just couldn't be bothered to draft my own pattern from scratch.  And if truth be told, I only paid $1.99 for it.   Which is about the limit of what it’s worth, I might add.

As it turned out this pattern was a good basis for my further design modifications, which mostly was to change out the simplified (and rather unflattering) gathering on the front yoke to nice, deep, stitched pleats and to make facings for the casings instead of foldovers.  I think both features add character to the inspiration garment.


Clear as mud?   Here’s the actual muslin muslin which shows the pleats a little better.


You can see where I added 1.5” for my usual FBA at the center front and then just spaced the pleats evenly to make up the distance of the original gathered pattern.


All around, I like this top.  Of course, I can only wear it in the winter because frankly, ain't no way in hell I'm wearing a sleeveless top without something else underneath it.  Seriously.  People do not need to be subjected to my upper arms.  I'm pretty sure there's something in the Geneva Convention specifically about that.

However, as it's supposed to only be 70 as the high next week, I think I'll make another version using the color-blocking idea from this inspiration set… er… that I made... er... last summer.

polyvore fall swap

Some day I’ll actually sew a garment the season before it’s supposed to be worn.  Some magical day.


*Sewing With Half A Plan.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Seriously. I Said Rotate. So Let’s See Some, People.

So there was another dart rotation pin floating around the interwebs a while back, which Lin3arossa pointed us to in the comments last week.  I'd been eyeing that one with trepidation as well, because it's pretty interesting but also highly pixilated.  I was also a little more concerned about the copyright issue on this one, as it's clearly from a book, it's not just some sort of reiteration of common knowledge but an actual illustration, and so far I haven't found anyone who's credited it.

I mean, I don't want to steal something from someone.  Especially without credit.

On the other hand, I really hate pixilated images.

So here you go:  dart-manipulation-for-blouse-variations

I actually redrew this one by hand… with a pen.  You know, pens?  Those pointy stick things that people used to write with?

No really.  People used to write things by hand

I know.  Shocking.

This is the same as the last one, just click on the image above to download or print.


PS:  If anyone knows where the original image is from, please let me know and I’ll add a credit.

PPS:   If you clicked to download or print the file from last week sometime before yesterday afternoon, you probably have a piece of text on it that says something like "Ruby's Super-hot Salsa Dancing".  Or something like that.  Just FYI.  You might want to re-click and re-download that particular file, which no longer sports that particular mystifying piece of text.

Don't ask.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lift… Lift… Lift… Aaaaaand… Rotate.

M’kay, so several people have pinned a nice little copy of a dart rotation chart on Pinterest in the past couple of weeks.  Which is, y’know, what I just said: nice.  However, it’s a small image and pixilated and hard to read and just plain annoying.  In that respect.

So I made a new version.

I’d say I was worried about infringing on someone’s copyright or something but I mean… c’mon.  It’s a dart rotation chart.  I have one in at least four different sewing books.  It’s not exactly the Colonel’s Secret Recipe or the formula for making yellowcake uranium.  Which actually you can get at Wikipedia. 

My blog suddenly just jumped up on someone’s “This Might Be Dangerous, Watch This More Closely” list.  Right?

You know how cloak-and-dagger those international food companies are.

My point being, this is all well and good except that I can’t ever seem to find a rotation chart when I’m looking for one.  This actually happened to me just last week.  Again.  It was irritating.

So I made a new version.

click to download a PDF of this chart

If you click on the image, you can download a high-res PDF.  And then print it out.  And then keep it in a binder labeled “Dart Rotation” so you can find right away instead of digging out six different books and sobbing in frustration for an hour because not one of the books has that chart in the “dart” section or listed in their index but you know they are in those books.

Um.  Or, y’know.  Whatever it is you want to do with it.

I really didn’t have anything else to say about all this.


I guess go rotate something. 

Shoo.  Go. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

At Least My Head Didn’t Spin Around. Yet.

Sometimes I wonder about my mental capacity.  (Trust me, so does The Husband.)

A few weekends ago I wasn't feeling very "sewy" but I wanted to do something that would give me a sense of accomplishment.  Mostly because I'd created yet another hideous garment.   (No.  You can't see it.  It's hideousness would burn the very eyes from your heads.  Really.  I'm thinking of calling in an exorcist next week.)  Anyway, my point is that I needed to do something that would result in an actual sense of achievement (instead of needing holy water and a priest).

Enter The Pattern Collection.

I have been downright hoarding patterns.  I'll admit it.  I started sewing clothes about six or seven years ago and I have never, ever, no not ever once thrown away a pattern I've purchased.  Literally.  I have four or five patterns that I bought over 20 years ago in a mad fit of considering garment sewing and I even still had those.  (I recovered from the mad fit pretty quickly and went back to quilting until after the Evil Monkeys were born.)

But for the past two-three (even four) years I really haven't sewn much for myself.  And what I have sewn has been mostly from basic patterns or from my personal sloper.  The large bulk of the patterns in the hoard are either untouched or disasters.  Or both.

Because seriously.  Why did I buy these???

Or these???

My only excuse has to be mental deficiency brought on by the lingering effects of multiple pregnancies.  Er... which is pretty much my excuse for anything that happened for the first six years of the Evil Monkeys' lives.  But now I've hit the magical Year Seven Return To Normal Hormones and really... there is just no rational excuse for owning these:


Yes.  Those are two different copies of the exact same pattern.  Apparently I didn’t think I could figure it out from the first one?  Clearly dark forces were at work here, people.

But I am brave!  The evil pattern demons can’t bring me down!   So I bucked up my courage, dove into the battle and dug through all the pattern boxes.  And ended up culling out 100 patterns.  Well, 97.  Whatever.  These are bundles of ten patterns each:


That's a lot of patterns, people.  I really didn't expect to get rid of that many.   But I've come to the conclusion that between my five years of BWOF back-issues and my current Ottobre subscription... I really don't need any other patterns.  Ottobre more than covers all my kids' sewing needs and Ottobre Woman really covers all of mine.  Ottobre is certainly easier to deal with and better designed than the Big4 generally are.  Plus, quite a few of these patterns are simply the wrong size range for me and there’s not really any point in holding on to those.  (I have no idea why I own so many patterns in size 20-28.  I currently cut a size 12-14. The mind boggles at what I might have been thinking.)

I did keep some patterns.  Mostly Big4 that are still in the Evil Monkeys' size ranges and any independents that might be useful or that I just enjoy owning.  I have a ridiculous collection of HotPatterns and vintage Folkwear, for instance.  Because I will persist in the delusion that I might have lost 45 pounds when I wake up tomorrow.

It could happen.

Well.  At least I achieved my sense of accomplishment for the week.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Minkied. Again.

Here's the second version of the Valentine's Day Coat


This one is also a size 122, then I widened it based on the measurements of a 146.  That wasn't wide enough apparently, it's snug across the chest on TLo.   Who admittedly is basically shaped like a barrel.


A really melodramatic barrel.



Um.   Yep.  That's all I have to say about the whole project.  Except that I'm extremely glad it's done.

Oooo, but look what came in the mail this week!


A gift from Big In Japan.   I should say, a really really AWESOME gift.  It's a Tintin file-folder.  Because seriously, you can just never have enough things with Tintin on them.  Especially office supplies (or at least, this seems to be the basic premise in Japan… and I’m totally willing to go with it).

The real kicker is the day my gift arrived, The Big One had pulled out this book to read for the very first time.


So imagine our surprise when I opened the mail that afternoon and my fabulous folder was in it!


I am not giving it to The Big One.  I am not that nice.


Next time: What to do with 100 extra sewing patterns.

No.  I'm asking.  What to do with 100 extra sewing patterns??  I cleaned out my pattern boxes.  It was... disturbing.  I'll tell you more about it when I've sufficiently recovered from the trauma.