I didn't get any responses, but I thought I'd update this as it seems a few other people have had the same problem.
I decided to go with a new brother, the one I mentioned in my previous post. I fired it up this morning and started out on lycra with a zig-zag pattern. It was glorious, until I tried to use the backstitch. Every time I pressed the backstitch button, the machine just stopped. Egh.
I'll be calling Brother's customer service tomorrow to try and get it sorted out.
I have a Janome My Excel 4023. It is a basic sewing machine, and has stood up well to the abuse I have but it through for many years. Many Halloween costumes, renaissance costumes, hems, repairs, and alterations have been made with this dear friend.
However. I am pretty sure it is at least 15 years old. The back stitch no longer works, and just last night I discovered that on the top side the stitch looked great, but the bottom stitch looked very messy. I tried playing with the different stitches and different pieces of scrap fabric to no avail.
My dilema is this: There is a local sewing machine repair shop that will fully service my machine, including fixing the backstitch, cleaning and oiling the inside, re-setting the tension, just basic over all tune up of my machine, for $60. If I invest money into this I would also buy a new manuel (My mother gave me this machine when she stopped sewing - I'm sure I had the manuel at some point but I have no idea where it ended up) for about $10.
My dilema is that a new basic brother machine (CE8080PRW) I've had my eye on is only $150, comes with a 25 year warranty, has way more stitches, etc. I showed my SO's parents how to use theirs, and it really is a nice machine for the price. All the reviews I've read have been good. So while the old machine has been tried and true, fixing it at this point would cost me half of a new machine. I will especially be kicking myself if something else goes wrong in the next few months.
Advice? Had anyone else had particular experiences with either of these machines?
I usually don't go with costumes that are skimpy. I don't think this one is too revealing, especially since it is actually similar to wonderwoman's outfit, and not just taking some random idea and making it slutty, like skanky snow white or goldy locks or a skanky cat. I recently lost about 15 pounds though, so I'm excited to wear a form fitting costume for a change.
The top is a 10 panel corset with spiral steal boning. The material was from an old raincoat I bought at a thrift store, I bought the gold trim from jo anne's and tacked on. I am over all pretty happy with it. It could have been more detailed with either the W logo or the bird, but I wanted to be able to take the gold detailing off after halloween and just have a red corset. The grommets aren't very even, but thats alright.
The shorts I made from a dark blue thicker knit fabric. The stars are just acrylic paint.
The crown is a double thick sheet of foam cut and painted with acrylics. There is a piece of elastic holding it in place.
The arm cuffs were stretchy swim suit material.
The boots are black stretch pleather boots I got from a thrift store. After an adventure in trying color stretch material, I ended up using a textile medium and red acrylic paint. The first time I put them on, no cracking or anything. When I put them on to take these photos, they started cracking along the back. I don't have any money I can spent on trying to fix these/make new ones, so I'm just going to not wear them until Halloween and hope they hold up.
I know its not perfect, but I think its turned out pretty well!
Lemur, you're right in that the boots aren't shiny, they are pretty matte. I'm not a big fan of the super shiny stuff. The only thing with the krylon spray (which I have used before) is that it might take away a little bit of the boot's capability to stretch, which is essential for me getting them on and off. If I have some lying around I might do a light layer to give them a tiny bit of sheen.
This year I'm going to be Wonderwoman for Halloween!
My goal this year for my costume was to make everything myself and use as many recycled items as possible. I also wanted to keep this on the cheap, at least compared to what I usually spend. The goal was to spend less than $100 on my entire costume. That sounds like a lot, but as Halloween is my favorite holiday, sometimes I go crazy.
I bought these boots for $4 at a thrift store. They were completely black and flat across at the top. The first thing I did was cut the top into an upside down V. My first go at coloring included spray paint and tape to do the white part. They looked great . . . until I put them on! The red spray paint began to crack and chip off. Not okay! My next step was to ask all you crafty ladies for advice - which helped heaps. I ended up mixing bright red acrylic paint with a tiny bit of black paint and liquitex textile medium. I did two layers of a fairly dark red, and then decided I wanted them brighter, so I added another two layers of bright red.
Then came the moment of truth . . . I put them on and walked around. No cracking! No peeling! Even better, the top of the boots stiffened and stayed up, where as before they had slid down occasionally.
I took them off and painted the white on. I didn't use tape because I was afraid it might pull some of the paint off. It was a slow process, I was terrified of messing up.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with them. Considering the cost of the boots and cost of paint, they cost about $15 to make. The only thing I dislike is that the color is very slightly pinkish in real life, and there is a little bit of a funky texture to the paint. This was my first adventure in shoe alteration, so all things considered I think they turned out well!
Girl, there are a ton of things you could be for Halloween on the cheap. I think being a voodoo doll is a great idea! You could use eye liner to draw stitches on your lips, like your mouth was sewn shut. I would get an old dress from a thrift store, and grunge it up by burning it, staining it, stomping it in the dirt, etc. Maybe sew a large, bright felt red heart on the chest and attach a knitting needle? It would look like a voodoo doll with a needle through its heart.
Another fairly simple costume would be classic catwoman. Get a pair of grey leggings and a grey turtle neck, and a big gaudy gold-colored belt. Then just wear black boots and black gloves. You could sew the mask and or hood pretty easily with black or grey fabric.
If you really need to do Halloween on the cheap this year, I suggest working with what you already have to make a costume, or going to a thrift store and seeing what they have. You might find an item of clothing that really gets your idea going for a costume. I found a huge old red jacket at thrift store this year, and cut it up to make a corset for my wonder woman costume. Even if you don't have time to really sew, you could still find some great stuff. May you'll find the perfect waldo sweater, maybe you'll find an animal-print skirt that could be easy to turn into a queen-of-the-jungle costume.
Whatever you end up doing, I hope things pick up for you soon. Let me know if you need any more help with the costume specifically!