I've been working on this dress for ages. It's one of those projects (I know most of you can relate) that I started, got frustrated with, and put down for a few months. It's my third commercial pattern (Butterick 6582). Honestly, I'm kind of upset with how it turned out. There's no ease in the hip area at all (my fault for not measuring and cutting more carefully), the neckline is way too high and strange-looking, and the bows sit much farther back than I would like. Still, I'm proud of it. The invisible zipper took a serious amount of time (primarily to make the bottom edge not look screwed up). I regret not sticking with the pattern's directions of sewing it such that there is a line of thread on either side of the zipper (showing) (does that make sense to anyone?). There's also a teeny, tiny hole near the seam at one point, and I pray it doesn't open further. I tried putting some iron-in interfacing behind it, but it didn't stay on. And I hope and pray the seams don't bust at the hip when I sit down after a few times of wearing it. I think I'll be okay if I slim down by running a couple extra miles the day before! I had to do some doctoring to the darts, which were a huge pain. I had obviously chalked them on unevenly, so they're actually much longer than they're supposed to be (lengthened some to match). It was for the better, though, because it tightened the bust area (there was way too much room for me initially). At least two of the darts look super wonky, but you can't really tell when I'm wearing it (I think). The bows took forever because of issues with the pattern and redoing them completely (done by the pattern, they're massive). Thanks for looking, and thanks to those who helped me in these forums when I got stumped!
Alrighty, next task for this dress I'm making (still on the bows, for anyone who saw my "sew invisibly" post). In the image below, I have shown the two bows for this dress that go on the shoulders. I bent out the outer edges of the top one to give it a dimpled effect. The bottom one is how it naturally sits, straight as an arrow. I very much prefer the top style better, but it absolutely does not stay that way for very long. Should I just do some long, taught stitches in the back to make it stay?
I'm working on a super elegant, gorgeous dress that I will absolutely post when finished. There are adorable bows that go on the shoulders, and that's where I am now. The problem is that it's telling me to "sew invisibly" on a couple of the lines. The only way I know to do this is by hand, picking up just a few threads at a time on the side that will be seen. I would like to avoid this, because I don't have much time left to finish this. That's also just really a lot of effort. All I can find online is for stitching a blind hem, which I'm pretty sure is not what this wants me to do. For reference, I've included an image of this page of the pattern below. Any suggestions? Thanks for looking!
The boyfriend and I went to a Halloween party last night (which was super fun), and now that the excitement has died down, I finally have the chance to post our costumes here! I was Daria Morgendorffer from the MTV series Daria (she's originally from Beavis & Butthead, so think back to that era if you can't remember her).
I'm actually somewhat pleased with how the jacket turned out. I didn't realize when I bought the zipper that it didn't have the part where you can unhook it at the bottom, so I had to pull it on and off my head like a regular shirt! It was pretty funny.
My boyfriend was Slenderman:
The jacket is one he found at a thrift shop, took the sleeves off of, and made super long ones. I'd been hassling him about finishing the costume for 2 months and, in his fashion of procrastinating, put it off until the day of the party. He had only finished one hand (actually pretty neat), so he just said forget it for that part. He also discovered he only had fabric for one pant leg, so he just had to sort of wrap some fabric around him for the picture. He's standing on drywall stilts, by the way.
You may or may not be familiar with the once-popular MTV cartoon series Daria. I watched her when I was very tiny, and I always looked up to her. I've wanted to be Daria for Halloween for many, many years (almost put together a Jane costume in middle school). Well, I'm finally gonna make it happen this year. So this is piece #1, and I'll start working on the green jacket soon.
If you don't know her...I'm just happy to have finished this skirt, and I plan to where it for other occasions as well. I'm pretty danged proud of it, especially considering I didn't use a pattern. Just my head. This is also my first experience with darts, which really took some time. Things I don't like:
The darts are still a little bubbly. The pleat-to-flat-band size ratio (I think I'll change that after Halloween). The zipper bubbles out at the bottom (see first photo, right side, top edge of pleats-hard to tell). I think I can fix this when I resize it after Halloween. Right now, the pleated portion starts exactly at the end of the zipper. I'll later move the pleats up.
For the Monster Swap 4, I sent a woodburnt plaque to my partner:
She seemed very impressed by the technique and wanted to know how it was done, so this is for her! Now, I expect that seasoned pyrographers will probably chime in after this. I expect and welcome that, as I really am a newbie.
You'll need a phyrography pen, which you can buy for about $15. They generally come with a small assortment of tips; the second picture shows the tips included with my Walnut Hollow pen as well as a few others I bought.
You'll also want some scrap wood to practice on before touching the pen to the official project. DO NOT try to cut corners here. It really makes a difference to practice first. As you can see in the picture above, the tree was originally supposed to look quite a bit different, but I found on my practice wood that that technique just would not do. This also helps you get a feel for how long to hold the tip at any one point. This makes all the difference in the appearance of a project. I dragged the pen tip extremely slowly across the wood to get deep, exaggerated lines that gave a dramatic, bold feel. Using quick strokes can allow for a gentle and wispy appearance, which is good for hair/grass/etc. The lines will also be brown rather than black and will not be very recessed. Make sure to pick up the pen as little as possible, because it is tough to hide each spot where you placed the pen down. Make continuous lines wherever possible. Another reason to use a practice piece is to get a feel for how the temperature is going to affect your method. On some pens, you can vary the temperature, but you cannot on mine (and it seems that way for most cheaper ones). For these, the pen gets hot. Really, really, really, REALLY hot. I mean it! At any rate, the amount of time you have allowed the pen to heat will make a difference, so test first! If your line ends up too dark, you can try to gently scrape or sand off some of the darkness. This technique will not always work, though, so start out light and then go darker if you feel the project needs it.
One key to remember is NOT to use pressure. Allow the heat of the pen to do the work. Pressing down will not only often result in an undesirable appearance (it's hard to regulate the pressure, so your lines will be of uneven width and depth), but it can ruin the tip. You can see in the image above that I had bent the tip of my leaf point by the end of the project (new one on the left). At times, I forget not to press down! Remember that the tips are much more malleable when heated. This effect will eventually be seen in this style of tip anyway, but using light pressure will prolong the tips' lives.
Next: the carbon layer. From the natural carbon in wood, the tips will get covered in a layer of carbon very quickly (used but slightly cleaned one on the right). This reduces heat transfer and, if built up enough, can cause ugly, black blobs of goo to come out of the wood. For this reason, keep a clean pen tip! Keep fine sandpaper next to you while you work, and clean the tip on it when it starts to get dark. Use very, very fine sandpaper, and try to minimize the amount you scrape off. This will dull and reshape your tips more quickly than you think, but it is necessary. Make sure you use sandpaper with a paper backing, rather than the cheap stuff with styrofoam in the middle (you'll know what I mean if you see it). This is because the tip will melt straight through that extremely quickly. Also, prepare for the improved heat transfer after cleaning the tip. You will not need to hold the pen in one spot as long until the carbon builds up again.
Okay, the last thing is SAFETY. I know a lot of people craft with cats running around everywhere or other roaming pets. DO NOT let them anywhere near you at all when you do this. I've dropped my pen on the carpet a couple times, and it melted the carpet in that one little spot in literally less than a second. When it comes time to change pen tips, be patient! I usually wait a bit (maybe 10 minutes?) after turning the pen off and then cool it the rest of the way with a thick, folded paper towel drenched in cold water. Do not EVER try to do this with your hands until the pen is completely cool (test the handle first, as this part gets very hot, then test as you would a clothing iron). Don't even try it with gloves that are not meant for heat. I tried this once with leather work gloves and even got burnt (although not badly) through those in an instant. Basically, I can't tell you enough how hot these pens get. Now, you probably will eventually want to wear gloves while burning, because the pen does get hot. Definitely work in a well-ventilated area. If you can, have a small fan positioned such that it can blow the fumes away from you.
WOW that was way longer than I intended it to be. I hope this helps anyone who is trying to get into pyrography! I've had so much fun with this hobby. In fact, it's very therapeutic at times!
I was super excited all the way through tearing into this package! I can tell she put so much effort and thought into these...
First, a neat monster cup that I'm going to use for crafty supplies like the scissors and paint brush in them now:
Next, ADORABLE magnets that will certainly prove useful (maybe my favorite item):
Way awesome sachets with apple cinnamon scent tarts (they'll be on display in my living room for some time before actually using them as sachets):
And soft, cute pillow cases that perfectly fit my pillows:
I'd also like to mention that jmiller said she wasn't really into cute monsters, but look how perfectly she pulled it off! It is so much harder to craft outside of your element, and that shows true talent!
And now to type her the mini-tute she requested on pyrography!
I wanted to post a tiny spoiler for my partner jmiller614...
This is the first of the three crafts, and it took me waaay longer than intended. It was super fun, though, and I loved getting back into pyrography. I'm super proud of it, and I hope she likes it, too!