I have become a dress convert. I made this one yesterday, Simplicity 3775, View D, size 20. I'm about a size 16 in RTW, which makes the measurements for size 20 realistically a bit small, but since the whole thing was going to be made out of a slinky Japanese swimsuit-style fabric, I knew I could get away with it (and 20 was the biggest size, the jerks). And let me tell you, I LOVE this dress!
The problem I have had with dresses, especially the clingy type, is the... lumpiness through the midsection. You know, if you're wearing tights and a bra, stuff gets squished around (if you aren't wearing a one-piece, which I rarely do). The GENIUS of this dress is the gathered midsection.
There was a problem that the pattern envelope did not give yardage for 45" fabric, and that's all I had. Luckily, I had a ton of it, so ultimately there was enough. The widest pattern piece is the skirt (which is two pieces cut on the fold) and it just barely fit on the folded 45". I don't know how much yardage I ultimately used, but if anyone really needs to know, I'll figure it out. I had had this fabric in the stash for years, so I'm thrilled I could finally make something out of it. I knew last night would be one of my last opportunities to wear something like this before the weather turns, so I made it yesterday -- start to finish in about 4.5 hours.
I tried like crazy to get a decent picture of me IN the dress, but the best I could do was this blurry shot:
This view dips pretty low in the front, but I'm learning to love my cleavage (and finally got some good bras!), so I don't mind. If I make the dress again (and I hope to), I will lengthen the bodice to accommodate the extra boobage, but this fabric is stretchy enough to bring the seam down to a reasonable location. Just remember to take out all that basting!
I've been fiddling with shrink plastic a little bit, and the other day I did this big red flying swallow that I wanted to be quite focal. I was watching it shrink away in the toaster oven and YEEK! it started curling up and getting sticky and not letting go or flattening out! And then I realized, WAIT! I like it! So I pulled it out and let it cool in its twisty configuration.
First the twisty tail detail:
Then the finished necklace, modeled by the tree next to my deck:
I tried to take an action shot so you could get an idea of the scale, but it was IMPOSSIBLE to photograph on me. It's a fairly fine silver chain, so it's not huge, but it definitely has presence. I like it a lot. I really like how the standard hole-punch punched hole shrinktizes. Also the reds match better in reality. This thing was a beast to photograph, really!
I'm a bit of a spaz, so I flew on with a second try. I went with a lower temperature for a longer time. When they had gotten shiny, I decided it was time. I still flipped over the inverted bowl, but I also used a lot fewer soldiers and pressed down a lot more gently. And presto! Almost exactly what I was after!
The inside, where they look nice and tragically puddly, all circle of hell-like:
The smooth, shiny outside:
I like the gaps. I've got enough to make another one, so maybe I will try laying the tinfoil inside the bowl next time. I keep forgetting to mention, I cut the bases off of all the soldiers because I didn't want them sticking out or getting in the way.
I just remembered it's someone's birthday this week, so I know what I'm doing with it. I have to think what I'm going to put IN it, of course.
I replaced the headliner in my early 1980s Mercury hearse. How DO those things get so shredded up anyway??
When I got up into it and started pulling the old fabric out, I found a giant cardboard insert, as Penlowe already mentioned. I pulled the whole thing out, stripped it, and then Super 77ed new fabric to the cardboard. The fabric I used was a lightweight silky polyester in a bright pink leopard print. Of course. Wish I had a better picture, but here is the view at the top of the windshield:
Once the fabric was all glued and wrapped to the cardboard, the entire insert just basically pushed back into place. (I don't remember exactly, but I'm sure some interior trim pieces would have had to have been removed and replaced in the process.) I didn't have the car long enough to attest to the long term viability of the process, but for the year+ that I drove the car, the headliner was perfect.
I spent last weekend finally giving my so-called "dining" room completely over to my crafticularity. I never eat in there anyway, and it's the best place for crafting because opposite the wall is a big sliding glass door for lots of light and fresh air.
I had always wanted a corkwall, but I don't much care for cork itself. I asked in another section here whether anyone thought I could stain cork rather than painting it, but I decided to paint it anyway, using my favorite color palette, "Whatever is in the drawer."
It's always difficult to capture pastelly colors, but it's a fair representation: Red, orange, lavender, dark teal and mystery mint green (courtesy of the mistint table at Lowe's). A couple of pattern tissues are already pinned up with my Badtz Maru pins.
Those are 4" x 4" cork coasters with radiused corners from -- where else? -- Ikea. They are a little thin for this application, but usable. I adhered them to the wall using a lighter duty version of Liquid Nails. Directly below the cork wall are two magnetic knife bars, holding my skeezers and pinchyclamps. Above the cork are three red desk/wall lamps, which are plugged into a central power strip, hidden above the drop ceiling (and into which I wired a switch so I can turn all three lights on at once without crawling under the table). Those lights are so cool because the little grilles over the lamp openings (which you cannot see because the lamps are on in the pic) are actually spiderwebs, complete with little spiders.
Here's an overview of the room at midnight on Sunday under incandescent lighting:
Through the Ominous Darkened Doorway is my living room. On the short wall you can see the new cork wall and the fold-out table which supports Nigel, my sewing machine. My rolling cutting table now has room to park against the wall, allowing me to walk from the kitchen to the living room without having to turn sideways any time there is a project in the works (i.e. 90% of the time). The giant Dali has always been there as it was a housewarming present from a friend. Sadly, the print you cannot see in this view is Fuseli's "The Nightmare" which is mounted above the black frame supporting the fold-down table. I love that painting and it actually resides at the Detroit Institute of Art (where I live).
Directly below the big Dali is the new floating shelf for additional WIP-parkage. It's a pretty "beech" effect laminate which really called out for some lettering:
A little bit of Sade always brightens a room.
Nothing groundbreaking going on in there, but I really wanted to share it with you guys because I know this is the place where people would understand why I would spend an entire weekend shopping, painting, moving furniture by myself and GLUING 108 COASTERS TO MY WALL.
In this post I asked for help picking a dress pattern. I wear skirts pretty often, but I never wear dresses, and I was looking for help to find something flattering for a busty girl, which also made an impact.
After a lot of input from people here and at Pattern Review, I made a choice and as of last night finally finished the dress! I'm starting a new thread because I wanted to address the specific patterns I used.
But first, pics! Even though I wore the outfit out last night, I only photographed it on Heddy my dummy. It fits me better. I wore it with mid-calf lace-trimmed black leggings and black/white polka dot wedge heels.
I chose Simplicity 3741 view C, which I probably wouldn't have even looked twice at if someone else hadn't pointed it out to me. After picturing it in the Alexander Henry "Born to Ride" fabric I chose -- and recognizing how simple the pattern would be to sew -- I picked it up.
I wear 16/18 in ready to wear, and I picked size 22 for this pattern. I was shocked to find that it fit me just about perfectly! I did make a couple of changes, primarily the width and location of the straps. I made them wider and angled inward at the back in order to follow along with the bra I intended to wear with the dress. Oh I also ditched the lapped back zipper because it seemed over-complicated and unnecessary. Once I had the straps in place, I also found that the length seemed kind of short to do a regular hem. I probably wouldn't have anyway because I hate hemming and I love bias tape, but this will be something for people to keep in mind -- I'm about 5'5" and BEFORE hemming, view C hit just above my knee.
Also, there's that little gather in the front there. That's not originally part of the pattern, but after I got the facing in and topstitched (maybe I shouldn't have?), the top edges were doing this weird sticky-outy thing. I started pinching the dress in various places to see what I could do to get it to flatten out, and gathering that little bit in the middle did the trick. As an added bonus, it gave me about another inch of cleavage.
The bolero jacket is from Simplicity 3748 also made in size 22. I have slightly disproportionately larger upper arms (at least I think so) and I'm very happy to say that this jacket fit me beautifully and I believe sits just as it's supposed to. It's an extremely easy pattern EXCEPT for when it comes time to line the sleeves. More than likely, this is cake to people who have done this before... but I never have, and the instructions made ZERO sense. I just kind of hacked around with it until it made sense, though, flipped it around and voila. Marvelous.
I'm very pleased with how this came out. It's a topic a lot of people have been talking about lately -- flattering summer dresses for bigger girls, which don't look either blobby or holly-hobby. I think this one does the trick!
Oh, I should add that I didn't use that tattoo fabric because I was going to have to order it online at full price, so I went with something I could get at Joann for 40% off. This is what I chose, and honestly I think it may work better because of the scale of the print.
I know it's difficult to tell from the picture, but I would say that skull cluster is about 3 inches wide, if memory serves (and it so rarely does). And anyway, while I do love that tattoo fabric (and will eventually almost certainly order some), it was a bit on the nose for a tattoo convention.
I made this database a little while ago, but last night as I was modifying it for some additional information, it dawned on me that the only people who would probably find this project as amusing as I do myself reside here.
And so, my sewing patterns dbase, as running on my iBook:
It's from scratch in Filemaker Pro, which is a pretty friendly program. The dbase tells me I own 140 patterns, of which I have sewn 26, and there are an additional 119 patterns on my wish list. I made space for 4 pictures -- this particular record shows two from the maker plus my own pic of the green skirt I made in the #3 picture spot. Clicking on any of the images swaps it into the main picture view. Everything is searchable and sortable, and the notes area scrolls forever and ever.
It's MUCH better than the three-ring binder I was keeping printouts in before.
I bought an Epson Stylus inkjet and use Epson Colorbrite ink. Using plain white woven paper adhered to regular paper (with temporary spray adhesive), I've gotten excellent results. I have even thrown pieces through the gentle cycle in my washing machine. I've had a couple of pieces for more than a year now, and they still look good as far as I can tell.
This is an example of a piece I printed and made into a pouch. The colors are quite good, while not as vibrant as on paper. To be expected.
Easy cuff and one of my favorites. I'm wearing a red and black striped shirt today, so it's a perfect match.
And flat, so you can see the snaps:
The dollar store has these tubes of animals, usually in themes -- snakes, bugs, sea creatures. They're really wonderful and detailed and fun. When I pulled out these crabs, I could immediately see them sparring with each other. The base is a piece of regular 1.5" webbing with a woven red stripe (I think I pulled it off some sacrificed messenger bag) and it closes with two black snaps. The crabs themselves are stitched in place with monofilament (fishing line). The big claws are free to fight it out!