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161  Brocade Half-Vest Thingy: A Solution for Those With A Bosom *Added Tut* in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by graverobbergirl on: March 18, 2008 11:15:19 AM
Problem: Fitted shirts sized to your waist squish your boobs. Or you lose curves when choosing a top that fits your bust.

Solution: The Half-Vest Thingy...now you can prove that you have a waist while still retaining the ability for your chest to do its respiration thing.

"Aww, I have no waist...(and look retarded in this picture)"

"YAY! Look, Curves! And my chest isn't being crushed!"

Back (Stolen from a simplicity vest pattern. I drafted the front and front-side pieces myself)

Laces up, using my favourite new technique, hand-sewn eyelets made with tailor's awl. I used stretchy cord which is awesome, because I never have to completely unlace it. Although getting it over the bustline can be somewhat difficult.

Side-View, demonstrating the reason why shirts that fit my bust rarely fit my waist. (I feel sorry for girls larger than me. It must be impossible to find anything fitted that you don't make yourself.)

The Vest By Itself.

I got to finish off (except for a few minute scraps) the brocade I bought on sale to make my duster, which I also had enough to make a skort out of...and this vest! SCORE!

I may have seen something like this in real life before, but not that I can recall. I was honestly inspired-as I often am-by sci-fi television. This time, it was the half-vest thingies that are adorned by the women in Earth 2, most notably the character of Bess Martin (see above). Mine is a little more pirate-y with lacing instead of buttons, red brocade and my white blouse.

*Semi-Helpful Tips and Tutorial*


I have a 42" bust and 33" waist, so I understand the top-heavy issue. But it doesn't look that intense here, right?

Well, I'll tell you why...

First off, my tricks for demphasizing:

-I love my sports bra, not the kind that gives you a uniboob. It keeps everything nicely contained while still giving you some normal-looking shape.

-Layers! Long-sleeved undershirts with moderate to high necklines conceal all that stuff your sportsbra is keeping in. Black is recommended, and works even under a white blouse!

Finally, IMHO, a busty individual looks more top heavy in a t-shirt that has no form. They cling to the bust and just sort of hang from there, obscuring the rest of the curves and making her look like an inverted triangle. Showing the waist reveals/emphasizes the curve and presence of hips (even if they are smaller than the bust), which in turn creates a more hourglass shape rather than the top-heavy triangle.

So, even though your breasts seem to be more out there, so are the rest of your curves that give you more shape and make you appear less top-heavy.

What you need (for my cheater's method):

-a vest or shirt pattern you like/want to base your half-vest upon. I used Simplicity 4079. (unless you're keen to draft a pattern from scratch)

-I used brown packaging paper in this instance, because the cat kept pouncing and ripping up the regular gift wrap. Plus if you use a pencil, it will just go right through the wrapping paper if it's on a soft surface, say like the living room rug where I do most of my crafting.

-Fabric: I'm not precisely sure of the yardage, because I used leftovers, but my vest pattern calls for about 2-2.5 yds including lining. I feel that much less is actually needed.

-Sewing paraphernalia

-For eyelets: embroidery floss and a tailor's awl.

-lacing or cord, etc. Unless you opt for buttons

Here's How I went about making my Half-Vest Thingy: (sorry didn't take in-progress pics)

1. Because I'm a cheater, I first dug the vest pattern out of my collection. Since I wanted the back of my half-vest to be vest-like, I took the relevant pieces out and put them aside. For hardcore drafters, you probably already know how to go about designing a vest back (two center pieces in this case, and two side-backs, as well as two strips that serve as ties).

2. Again, because I am too lazy to to do all the measuring and designing,and too anal to trust my own judgment (in particular the under arm seams are unpleasant), I took the vest's side-front and front pieces as a basis. I traced them onto my brown packaging paper, in order to establish the curve around the arm.

3. In order to lower the "neckline", I basically did an educated guess sort of thing. I measured from where the shoulder seam would sit to my underbust, along my side so as not be skewed by said bust.

4. Ultimately, you should have pieces that look something like this:

5. Cut Fabric:
-back: 2 of fabric, 2 of lining
-Sideback: 2 of fabric, 2 of lining
-Strips for ties: 2 of fabric (double desired width of finished ties plus extra for seams)
-front: 2 of fabric, 2 of lining
-side front: 2 of fabric, 2 of lining
-2 strips of fabric for eyelets: 2.5" wide by length of front piece

6. Assemble pieces for back (make sure you place ties between back and sideback pieces). Attach side fronts to fronts.

7.Attach front pieces to back at shoulder seams.

8. Assemble lining in same manner.

9. With Right sides together, completely sew garment to lining, only leaving sideseams open.

10. Turn through shoulders and out sides. Press.

11. With right sides together, sew side seams as much as feasibly possible. You will have to hand sew the few remaining inches closed after turning seams inside. Pressing with iron will make this easier. (Sorry I can't describe this better...I'll see if I can locate/make an illustration).

12.For eyelets, sew two strips and turn so that you have two tubes. Press flat.  Hand sew ends closed.  Mark out desired amount of eyelets (I used 5 on each side). Sew eyelets- This is where I first learned of the technique, and they probably describe it better than I could:


13. Lace however you prefer (there are a surprisingly large number of variations).

14. Try on and feel stylishly geeky.

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162  Geologically Correct Earth Cake in Dessert by graverobbergirl on: March 07, 2008 07:54:28 AM
I made this last fall in celebration of the earth's birthday, which can be calculated from the Bible down to the minute or something crazy like that.  It's on October anyway.

The Crust is the frosting layer, blue of course, with icing outlined continents and glaciers (maybe they should be smaller by now).

(the bottom of the pan was a bit messy, as were my cake-cutting skills.)

The inside was the tricky part, especially since we don't have any fancy cake making devices in our house, beyond the basic 9" rounds, bunt and springform.

I used the springform and put a metal dish/bowl in the middle to bake the chocolate Mantle layer.

Then I used that metal dish/bowl to bake the Outer Core layer (yellow cake died neon red-orange) with a smaller one inside of it, to make it a ring like the Mantle.

The Inner Core was the easiest, just fill up the small bowl with yellow cake (with extra die for neon status) and bake.

Putting them all together was a bit tricky, as was figuring out how much batter would be enough without overflowing (needless to say, there was some oven scrubbing involved later).

But it was an awesomely fun cake to have around/eat!
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163  Because every girl needs a Death cloak... in Halloween Costumes by graverobbergirl on: December 19, 2007 09:31:18 PM
This was my Halloween costume (a little late in posting, I know...especially since I made it in August).

It is constructed from modified pieces of four different patterns I had in my stash. I used grommets to make it lace up in front and it has a sort of built-in corset with boning to give it form.

With Scythe:
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164  My First Attempt at Medieval (and entirely by hand) in Costumes: Completed Projects by graverobbergirl on: December 19, 2007 08:43:28 PM
"Are you crazy?" you may ask.

I would have to say "yes." But sometimes I find hand-sewing that much more enjoyable.

When I saw that Jo-Ann Fabrics has some fabric wicked on sale (50% off already low red-label stuff) I couldn't resist finally trying out the medieval pattern I had bought so long ago for about .99 (McCall's M4492). I love period costuming but previously have never been able to afford a ten-yard endeavour.

I went with the vest option rather than one of the belts because this gorgeous red brocade was on sale, so much so I even lined the vest with it as well. I love this Vest pattern with its entirely hidden seams.


Detail of vest front with decorative gold trim.


Detail of back. Both the vest and gown lace up (actually down) with eyelets. The method I used to makes the eyelets is described below.

This is the gown by itself. A little bit on the see-through side (good thing I wore my slip). And you can see that the sleeves are a white color and the body of the dress is cream-colored (there wasn't enough of either fabric left on the bolt).


This baby has an intense train. It took forever to hem!

Classic medieval sleeves

Detail showing ribbon (with casing sewn on inside) used to cinch otherwise baggy sleeve tight to arm.


I'm not really sure exactly how you're supposed to hand sew garments, but I used a running stitch down each length, then came back to fill it in solid, so that it resembled the type of stitch you get off a machine. My mom, veteran seamstress and quiltmaker 'tested' the seams for me, aka grabbed it and tugged on it as hard as she could. She was impressed, so I felt satisfied they would suffice. I reinforced the shoulder/arm seam with several layers of stitching.

I couldn't find eyelets that I liked, online or in shops, but I did find out about a traditional method of making eyelets (from a renassaince costumer's site that I cannot remember now). A tailor's awl is used to make a hole in the fabric without breaking the fibers, then thread is used to sew around it like with a buttonhole to make the eyelet. Because the fibers aren't broken as with using metal eyelets (which you cut/punch a hole for), the eyelets last as long as the garment does, unlike with metal eyelets, from which the fabric will eventually pull away. I had never heard this before, but decided to give it a go, found an awl at Jo-Ann's (ergonimic one at that), busted out the embroidery thread, and forty-eight eyelets later, I am convinced.

I loved doing this and envy those who make a living this way!
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165  Black 40s-esque Dress w/ Neon Skulls in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by graverobbergirl on: December 19, 2007 08:22:52 PM
I should have finished this for Halloween, but didn't get it done until a couple days after (and am just now posting it almost two months later). I also already had a Halloween costume. I just loved this pattern (Simplicity 3877). It felt kind of 40s-esque. But of course, being me, I had to add a twist: "Let's make it black with neon skulls and bones!"

You can't see it well in the pictures, but there are ties that wrap around the waist. I put a skull on one and a green bone on the other.

Pink bones for the collar

I even made special buttons out of polymer clay, which look much cooler than in this blurry picture.
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166  Necklaces: Pirate, Pac-Man, Mario 1UP Mushroom, TARDIS & Shattered CD in Polymer Clay: Completed Projects by graverobbergirl on: September 23, 2007 08:06:12 PM
Necklaces I have made featuring my own hand-crafted beads (from Sculpey II).

Pirate Necklace:

I made the skulls and dubloons.

Pac-Man Necklace:

Normally, I like colors to be spread out evenly, but this layout seemed more logical for Pac-Man, being chased by the multicolored ghosts, chasing the blue ghosts.

I painted the details with acrylic craft paint.

Mario 1UP Mushroom:

One of the few experiments of using more than one bit of clay (white and green)to form a complete piece. If you don't meld them well, they'll fall apart.

These seemed like the proper accent bead to make. I'm not sure what they're actually called. We always called them question-mark boxes.

TARDIS/Blue Box/Doctor Who:

I made two of these; one with blue accent beads, the other with red.

I made the beads with blue Sculpey and a sharp knife. I painted the details with acrylic craft paint. (I absolutely LOVE these!)

Shattered CD:

I recently went through all our old CDs (useless, out of date computer software-we got a new PC), and now they're in my "To Be Recycled in Crafts" pile. So, I figured, why not make some beads. I cut triangles of various colors of Sculpey, and cut a few strips from the CD into little pieces, pressed them into the clay, baked them, strung them, voila! I don't know why, but it gives me an 80s vibe.

Anyway, thanks for looking!

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167  Olive My New Olive-Green Outfit!! in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by graverobbergirl on: August 29, 2007 06:38:37 PM
Okay, I couldnt resist the word play. Again, I had made the pants quite awhile ago, but never got around to posting them, but looknow theyre part of an awesome outfit! I couldnt resist the sari-style material (it was on sale).

The material for the shirt/tunic fades from light to dark and then has a paisley-filled border, so I had to do quite a bit of thinking/fussy cutting to get it to work. I also had to cut the border out separately and attach it to the pieces where I wanted it (because the edges of the pieces curve and cutting them out directly on the border would truncate the design, whereas I could ease into place by stitching it on where I wanted). I chose to use the wrong side of the border and inset for contrast.

It ties in the back, but the pieces were so small, they were impossible to turn, so I used ribbon from our stash (thank god Mom has an insanely large amount of craft supplies), and it matched perfectly-olive green with gold!

Overall, this pattern is not too difficult (Simplicity # 4180), if you dont pick a crazy material like I did!

I cant remember the pattern for the pants, besides that it too is Simplicity. If you really want to know, I can dig it out. Theyre a nice style and fit, but because I used a knit, kind of clingy.

Because knits are so crazy-difficult to use sometimes, I decided to make the yoke out of a different, stronger material (easier to maintain shape when sewing curve) I had left over from a dress I made, which just happened to match pretty well!
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168  Brocade Duster and Matching Skort (IMG heavy) in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by graverobbergirl on: August 29, 2007 06:13:30 PM
Ive wanted to make a brocade duster since I first found this pattern (Simplicity # 4962 ). Brocade was finally on sale at Jo-Anns so I seized the opportunity. I was going to go for black with gold dragons (the same pattern, only black not red) but there wasnt enough yardage (you need something crazy, like six or seven yards). I like the red, too, and since there was a flaw (slight discoloration) in the last yard or so, I ended up getting extra for even cheaper.

So here is the awesome duster (I think I should have went a size smaller, because it is supposed to look fitted and doesnt):

(I have to put my hands on my hips in order to make it look fitted)

Oh! And I had so much extra that I was inspired and made a skort (of my own design) to match. It is super comfortable and I love to wear it! (Sometimes I wear it to town just because)

The zipper is hidden by the wrap-around bits! (okay, I was proud of myself for figuring this out)

Action shots:

I wanted to make a black top to match (hence why these have been finished for over a month but I hadnt posted them until now) but I havent had time, and have a different project for my black material (I got for wicked cheap several months after Halloween-rockin!).
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169  90s Jumper-thing Revisted through Wrap-Around Pants in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by graverobbergirl on: August 28, 2007 08:30:10 PM
(I made these several months ago, but never got around to taking pictures of them.)

So, my mom made me an outfit (one of many) when I was about five years old (ca.1990) from this crazy blue fabric and she's had the leftover in her stash ever since...

Here is the original 90s pants-jumper thingy:

Is it 90s or what?!

Wow, I was a dorky child...I guess I still am (a dork, not a child).

It even had a bow!

So, I had this pattern for wrap-around pants (Simplicity 5508) and thought "Hey! Why not?"

Unfortunately, I didn't have enough fabric to make the entire pair of pants. I decided that I would make the front solid and the back out of the material, and since the pattern pieces were labeled "front piece" and "back piece" (although they are the same piece, just reversed, as per usual). Come time to figure out how to assemble the pieces, and Oops! the two pieces actually each comprise a leg when all is said and done! Stupid mislabeled pattern! Therefore, I had to cut the pieces up and fanagle them (add another seam) so that the back would be out of the crazy material and the front out of the blue when assembled/worn.

That being said, the pattern is otherwise quite simple and these pants are the best lounging-around pants in the world, especially on hot summer days. Although, for some reason (or maybe just my legs are fat) you start to show more leg as the day wears on (when you're sitting). Maybe the way they sit changes as the ties get looser or something...

Step One: Fasten ties of front in back.

Step Two: Straighten out back

Step Three: Fasten ties of back in front, bringing back overlapping front.

Back view of fully-fastened pants.
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170  Terry Pratchett & Paul Kidby Inspired Clutch and Pouch in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by graverobbergirl on: August 10, 2007 08:40:50 PM
These, I made in my usual techniue of paper and fusible interfacing (and lately laminate), but instead of magazines, I've used scrapbook paper and was inspired by the artwork of Paul Kidby, based off from the writings of Terry Pratchett (one of my all-time favourite authors).

I made the Feegle (Daft Willie)out of pieces of scrapbooking paper.

I cheated with the lettering...I used pre-punched scrapbook notions. :-)

The clutch velcros shut.

This pouch is also made from scrapbook paper with a Paul Kidby-style Dragon I transfered.

I added beads for fun, I mean a decorative accent.

Does anyone know these things, or am I completely alone in my adoration of Discworld paraphanalia?

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