Sunday, August 28, 2011

Muchos Bebes


I've been busy making more baby robes lately.  Mis amigos are having muchos bebes.  Muchos, muchos bebes.

I've made five more and I'm working on my sixth, currently.   It's a great shower gift.   I love making each and every one of them.

But one robe was sewn up and...... sold.

Yes, sold.  I sold something that I made.  Tee hee!

Now, I have done jobs for friends in the past where I was paid.  But this is different.  Those jobs were simply carrying out the customer's wishes.  I was just manual sewist labor.  Not that I didn't enjoy doing them, but you know.

This little robe is something that I have total creative control over and someone wanted to buy it!
Someone trusted in my design.  Someone had faith in my sewing skills.  Someone has affirmed my self-drafted labor of love.  Can you believe it?!

Ok, so maaaaybe the someone who bought it was my dad (he needed a baby gift for a coworker) but still.
It feels good.

Also, my mom says I'm beautiful so it must be true.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back To School Skirt

Oh boy, am I tired.  I've been back to school for a few days now.  I love the beginning of the year.  Everyone is so excited (including me!) and the year is a blank slate, totally fresh and new.  But let me say this again-- man, am I tired.  You fellow teachers out there know what I'm talking about.

I used my self-drafted a-line skirt pattern block extraordinaire to make this back to school skirt.  But it's not an a-line.  I straightened the side seams to make a pencil skirt.  In fact, it's slightly pegged.  The hem circumference is just a tiny bit smaller than the hip circumference.  I usually avoid pencil skirts because I'm bigger on the bottom.  I've always heard that a-line skirts are more flattering for pear shaped gals.  But this skirt may have changed my mind.  I actually think it's one of the more flattering skirts I have in my closet now.  Maybe the print helps masquerade, but I think the back view looks pretty good.  Proof that great fit is worth it.  Makes all the difference.  I've had such great results with my self drafted skirt pattern that I'm convinced making my own trouser pattern is the way to go.  That will be a project for this fall.  I desperately need some pants.

 Had to put my glasses on for the teacher photos.  I used a leftover bit of quilting cotton from the quilt of doom. I blogged about my unfinished quilt almost a year ago---  it's still just quilt top.  Still unfinished.  (Hold me accountable, people!  Make me finish it.)
Not much else to say about it.  It was quick and easy.   I underlined the quilting cotton with a layer of cotton broadcloth.  I like the way the extra layer of cotton makes the whole skirt feel like a heavier twill.   I used a grosgrain ribbon as a waist facing.   Great skirt.  All there is to it.

Wishing everyone a fabulous school year!
It's nine o'clock and I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sayonara Summer


 sensational sandy seasides

surrounded by side-splitting silliness.

So long stainless sunshiny springs


   startlingly striking sunsets
(slightly saturated)


 and scads of stupefying slothfulness.

See ya later summer.

School's sprung.

Until we meet again.

This post brought to you by the letter "S"
Beach feet picture taken by my awesome sister-in-law

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fun With Resin a.k.a. The Art of Procrastination

So, what I should be doing and what I am doing are two very different things right now.   School starts back this week for teachers, next week for kids.  I should be lesson planning and preparing for the school year. 

But instead, I'm playing with polymer resin and fabric and making jewelry.
I'm a master-of-avoidance when I really put my mind to it.
I spy Liberty!

I'm tickled with how the simple, empty bezel pieces turned out.  Some of the other things I tried did not turn out so well.  I thought I'd share the process and also the what-not-to-do if you are interested in trying a small polymer resin project.   I'm tagging this as a tutorial but it's really just a hey, this is what I did.

Self-explanatory step one. Cut out fabric and glue inside of empty bezel.  I found these ring and pendant bezels at Hobby Lobby.  That was when I originally thought about using the polymer resin.  I spent a lot of time picking out the little scraps of fabric I used.  You have to look at your fabric in a whole different light since you only see a small portion of the pattern.  I thought the Liberty worked really well since it's such a small scale print.  This is the same Liberty from that thrifted dress I found a while back.
In the photo below, you can see some of the other things I tried that didn't work so well.  I tried a couple of flat pendants- one has the black and white fabric and one has the miniature spool of thread and buttons.  I also put several mini spools of thread in to an oval bezel.  I was most pleased with the pieces where the bezel was filled with the resin.   The fabric becomes magnified, like it's floating in water.  I knew the three-dimensional pieces wouldn't have that same "floating" effect because they wouldn't totally be covered with the resin.  But I thought I'd test it out anyway.  

Now here's my free advertisement for EnviroTex Lite. It's pretty neat stuff.  It's a clear liquid plastic that hardens to create a thick, glassy surface.  You can put it on anything.  I first used it a couple of years ago for an art lesson I taught.  I was apprehensive about it at first but it was so easy to use.  No need to be wary of it.  You can find it at craft stores.  Read the directions and follow all the instructions for mixing.  Mix and pour outside.  My two cents is that you only need to mix a teeny-tiny little bit for small projects like this.  This is actually the same stuff I used a couple of years ago.  The leftovers have been sitting under my kitchen sink ever since.  There are other resin products out there but this is the only one I've tried.

This was my set up.  I used a shoe box top so the loop at the top of the pendants could dangle over the side and they could sit flat.  I cut holes in the box top for the rings to sit in.  And I propped the flat pieces up (on those little spools) so the resin would flow off the sides.


Mix, mix, mix.  Mixing properly will make sure it hardens the way it is supposed to.  There will be lots of bubbles.   I poured the resin outside in 90-something degree weather and I had about thirty minutes before it set up.  During that thirty minutes I popped the bubbles that floated to the surface by breathing very gently on them.  Really stubborn bubbles I popped with a sewing needle.  I didn't get all the bubbles out, but nearly.  I'm sure with a little more finesse I could get them all, though.  In about four hours it was hard to the touch but I think it's at least twenty-four hours until it's totally cured.

Here are the fails.  The pink and orange pendant should have been a good one.  But the glue was still wet when I poured the resin.  The others had been glued the night before but I did this one so I could take a photo right before I poured the resin.  It created a filmy white residue on the fabric.  I quit trying to pop the bubbles when I realized it wasn't going to work.  The spools of thread are too three-dimensional.   You can add several layers of this stuff (letting it dry eight hours in between), but who has the patience for that.  The flat one would have been nice except I put my finger in it after it had set up and messed it up.  But the other two rings and pendant came out well. 


And there it is. 
Jewelry for the fabric lover.
It would be fun to put little trinkets in that aren't taller than the bezel.  You could put anything in the bezel.  I'm going to use this resin for an art project this school year where the kids are going to paint miniatures (so, see? this is lesson planning).   I've seen some cool tutorials for making resin jewelry using silicone ice cube trays around the Internet, too.   Apparently when it hardens it just pops right out.   I'll have to try that out.

Hard to resist those mismatched paws... even when they mess up my photo op.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Far Out, Man

Knock, knock Oona!  I'm coming to the party but I don't have an uber-glam dress to wear.  Instead, I'm coming in total tree huggin', earth mama, groovalicious fashion.  Right on.

This may be one of the wackiest dresses I've made yet.  I'm not sure what possessed me to make up my altered version of Vogue 9668 in tie-dyed cotton--- It could of been that Furthur concert I went to last week.  Which was an awesome concert, by the way.  Furthur is the remaining members of the Grateful Dead (plus new bandmates) playing their old songs.  Total feel good music.  It was wild, man. Wild.
Awesome, awesome place to people watch

Anyway, this is not the dress I envisioned when I originally planned to make this pattern up earlier in the summer. If you recall, I made up one version in a pretty batik only to discover some fit issues through the back. Then I went on a muslin making adventure and tried out a few alterations to see if I could come up with a solution. I ended up making this dress using my third alteration from that post-- adding 5/8" to each side seam below the armhole seam, also adding the same to the sleeve seam. I also lowered the back neckline one inch and did a square shoulder adjustment.

The result is... alright.  It's okay.  I hate to say it, but I don't actually think I need the width in the back.  After making up this new version, I think the problem was with the sleeves not being roomy enough and causing the back to pull tight.  Not necessarily the back being too narrow.  I don't know, though.  I actually feel more confused than I did before I made all those muslins.  I do think the square shoulder adjustment is one I will use often, though (thanks, Tanitisis!)

See how the back pools a bit where I widened it?  Humph.
But it is comfortable and I have full range of motion in it.  I'm starting to realize that I prefer things with a little more ease.  I'm uncomfortable in things that are super fitted so that may be part of the issue, too.

I wish I could say that I tie-dyed the fabric myself, but I didn't.  I bought it at Hancock the other week because it was on sale and cheaper than buying muslin.  Only $2.50 a yard.   I still don't know why I used it to make this dress.  I guess I figured if I messed it up again it wouldn't be a huge loss.  But it's kind of growing on me.  I like the contrast of the prim and proper cut of the dress with an unusual fabric.  The lace was found at the thrift store the other day. I added it on a whim at the end.  It's attached to the skirt lining.  The whole dress is self-lined.

I've noticed zig-zag stitching on hems here lately.  With all the other funkiness going on I figured why not try it out.  I love how it looks.  Just something a little different.

 Where in the world will I wear this?  I struggled with deciding what shoes to wear.  I think I like it really casual with sandals the best, but you can see that I tried a couple different ways below.  One is very cowgirl and the other is sort of psychedelic bridesmaid (and the most ridiculous pose ever).   But I played dress up for you, birthday girl.

So back to the virtual partaaay--  as the girl in the tie dyed dress and in keeping with the original inspiration for this shindig, I'm bringing the tipi.

You have high ceilings in that New York apartment, right Oona?
Happy birthday!

Wishing everyone else peace, love and never-ending bobbins.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm a Knitwit

I decided to give Zoe's bustier line t-shirt tutorial a go.  I wear my knit tops often so I thought it would be nice to add a few more.   I pulled out my TNT Burda 2-2011 long sleeve tee pattern.  I made my first knit tee from that pattern and it was perfect.  I don't think I've ever tried any other tee shirt pattern for reference but this one meets my wants-and-needs for a knit tee.  Is there any reason to look for another?  I did initially lengthen the pattern three inches through the waist and chopped the sleeves off just above the elbow.  I like the length of the sleeve.  Kind of in-between.


Now, I made up the black lace version first.  I traced my pattern pieces and free-handed the subtle sweetheart shape.  I cut the pieces at the sweetheart neckline and just added seam allowances when I cut from the fabric.  The lace is a stretch lace I've had in my stash for ages.  I have lots more of it, too. (What to make with it?)  The knit is actually a double knit, so there's a little more structure to the top.
Anyway, I sewed it up carefully.  I pressed seam allowances and top stitched to keep in place. I just baby hemmed the neck and sleeves.  I think that worked because the lace is pretty substantial.  Not a lot of open weave.  Didn't try it on once until I was totally finished.

It is tight.  Really tight.

I have, ahem, gained a few this summer but I was quite taken aback by how tight this top is.   I couldn't have gained that much. I decided it was the knits' fault.  Double knits have a tighter weave and therefore are more snug, more recovery....  That was my logic.

So I decided to make another version from a loose, drape-y t-shirt knit.  Not as tight as the black version, but still- um, clingy.  Still smaller than I imagined it would be.

I was starting to feel really bad about myself.

Then, in a moment of clarity while taking these pictures, I remembered.

Burda patterns don't include seam allowances!
Ha ha.

I made both of these tops without any seam allowances (except where I added them at the bustier line).
Hence the title-- I'm a knitwit.

They are still wearable and I'm sure I'll still get plenty of use from both.  But there is less ease than I'm generally comfortable with.  If I wear something with a higher waist, like the turquoise skirt, they both look fine.  In the future, I think I'll add seam allowances when I trace Burda patterns.  Or write nett pattern really large on the pieces (learned that from Metric Pattern Cutting).
No need to be so hard on myself :)