I've got a couple of modified commercial patterns to post tonight.
Some time ago, I bought this pattern, Butterick 4188. As much as I like it, I apparently have a genetic inability to leave well enough alone, so I decided to modify the front. I scanned the tissue pieces and voodooed the front panels in Adobe Illustrator to remove the overlap and allow the insertion of -- you guessed it -- a zipper. I found a very nice dark teal woven (which the cutter at Joann suggested be my "signature" color because apparently it goes well with my coloring) and, uh, some King Kong flannel in the children's department.
Oh who am I kidding? It all started with the King Kong flannel.
I wear a 16-18 in RTW and I made this in size 22. I should not be surprised every time something fits me, but I still am. It's such a crapshoot sometimes. But after it was finished -- and fit -- I had to satisfy the next question: What exactly does one wear with a teal King Kong detailed shirt? Why, a teal King Kong detailed skirt, naturally.
I started with Simplicity 5914, a simple gored skirt. To pull it together, I decided to insert Kong-patterned piping. Of course, I've never made piping, but part of the pleasure of sewing, to me, is building the skillset. Turns out, piping is pretty easy. In fact, I see a lot more piping in my future.
I wore the outfit to the annual Dirty Show with a pair of tights which were a slightly lighter shade of teal and black ankle boots with bows. (I almost wore dark red patent leather heels for the contrast, but was talked out of it at the last minute.) This time I think the testimony to the success of the outfit is the fact that very few people mentioned it. I makes me a little paranoid when people immediately ask me "oh did you make that?" Why, does it look like some hack stitcher sewed it?? This time around the couple of comments I did get were about how cute the Kong detail fabric was. Naturally, today's pictures are after I've worn it, so it looks a little wonky on the dummy because of the creases and whatnot, and the skirt isn't quite as stiff as it may appear, and that zipper is a nice lavender, blahblah excusescakes.
If you have extreme Beanie Baby sensitivities or tend to over-anthropomorphize the inanimate, you may want to look away. However, if you're only mildly sick in the head, you may find this as funny as I did.
I almost never dress up for Halloween because if I were to do a costume the way I want to do it, I would be way overdressed for any occasion I might be invited to. Then I'd either feel like an idiot or like a superior jackass. Either way.
This year, though, I decided to work the pun-as-costume angle, and also managed to work in something I've been wanting to do for years.
I admit, I had done the top a while ago. I was in a second hand store one day and came across this really hilarious devil Valentine plushie, complete with fuzzy red hair and a nice big red flaming heart on his chest. I walked around with that thing for minutes thinking, "What on earth would I do with a stuffed devil?" But I couldn't put it down. So I devised a plan.
He became bisected vertically and hand-stitched to a store-bought black top, with a little bit of padding for his body and keeping his arms and legs free. His giant feet flop around when I move, and grabbing his hands is rather irresistible, if in dangerous territory. ("Watch it, buddy.")
For this year's costume, I decided to take the concept one step further -- well, actually, about 10 steps, as that is how many teeny beanies gave their lives for the project.
Let me tell you, those things are sewn together like crazy. To represent the tortured beanie souls, I picked each one apart, bear-rug style, removed the guts, and hand-stitched them all over a store-bought black skirt. I used red embroidery floss and intentionally made the stitches rather ragged, in an Ed Gein inspired way. And you know, it took me twice as long to sew sloppily as it would have to sew evenly. Damned OCD.
Below that whole mess I wore flame-printed tights and some nice Cenobite buckled boots and became... Mephistuffoles and the pits of Beanie Hell.
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!
At my trusty local Value Village today, I found two (sealed in boxes) Xyron 850 refill cartridges with magnet on one side and laminate on the other for $3 each. Of course, I don't have the machine, which are apparently about $150. So I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for using the refills without the machines, as I am about to try that and don't want to reinvent the wheel if someone else has already gone through this. Anyone?
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.
I've seen a couple of discussions about painting cork for a cork board, but I was thinking about using a wood stain on the cork. Has anyone does this? I assume it will work, but you know what your fifth grade teacher said about assuming. I don't want to obliterate the cork, I just want to change the shade. I thought stain would be good because you wouldn't wind up with a bunch of little brown holes whenever you removed a pin, or peeling or warping like you might with paint.
Anyone tried this?
ETA: Nevermind, I painted the cork. It worked better than I anticipated. I'll post pictures in the finished section once I get the grid installed.
Holy cow. If you think sewing patterns for larger WOMEN are sparse, try finding a pattern for a man who wears a 3X!
I have a friend who just got a gig in a new band, and I'd REALLY like to make a couple of stage-worthy shirts for him. I'm thinking classic bowling shirt style. I've checked my usual suspects -- Simplicity, Butterick, McCall's and Vogue -- and none of them have what I'm looking for (or even close).
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!