Monthly Archives: September 2010

Bleeeuuuuuaauauagh…

Yeah, that about sums it up. Sorry for the no-post yesterday… I have about enough stamina to run downstairs and heat up some tea before collapsing back into bed right now. Probably I’d be doing better if I could actually sleep, but the general malaise and sinus-balloons aren’t helping there, either. So, anyway, enough whining.

Yesterday, I did manage to take in the white Lydia and hem the sleeves, but not the bottom as I like to iron in some wash-away stabilizer for that, and I’m not up for that much running-up-and-down of stairs. I also spent some time working on The Coat—finishing the hem and making chain tacks between lining hem and shell hem out of some silver embroidery floss I happened to have handy. I have a small

Chain-tack to keep lining and coat hems from shifting too much.

stash of embroidery floss, mostly dating from high-school, when I enjoyed cross stitch, before I realized that if you do cross-stitch, what you end up with at the end of the day is a piece of cross-stitch.

Man, I’m a pack-rat.

Anyway, the exertion of sitting upright for a whole three hours or so was enough to send me back to bed for the evening too wiped to even write, much less photograph my accomplishments.

Today, by contrast, I lay in bed. I did bestir myself enough to open up my Lady Grey pattern, unfold the tissue, separate the pieces, and mark out the size 2 in a felt marker so I can trace them off more easily later. I napped, or tried to. In a fit of boredom, I took another stab at designing labels, this time using Inkscape (since I have it on my laptop, whereas my elderly copy of

Labels made in Inkscape. Also a cooler font.

Illustrator only runs on the old XP desktop). Inkscape is another vector graphics program, rather like Illustrator’s awkward, ungainly cousin. It has one huge advantage over Illustrator—it’s free—and one smaller one, which is that although its user-interface is fairly clunky, I actually find it more intuitive than Illustrator’s, which has to be the least-intuitive graphics program I’ve ever messed with*.

Anyway, you can see the outcome. The illustration actually printed out quite nicely… I was a little worried about

Label, v. 2.0

that. And here is the label in place in my coat:

So that’s where I’m at.

Oh, Self-stitched September.

Self-Stitched September, day 20

Yesterday

Lydia v. 4

Today.

All right. Off to bed.

*I’ve never actually had any formal training in graphic arts. All of my photoshop prowess, which is passable, and my Illustrator and Inkscape and GIMP fu, which are rather less, come from messing around. A lot of messing around. If you have actual training in any of these programs, my hat is off to you and you can undoubtedly make them dance circles around what little I can do.

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Shirted

New white Lydia shirt

Today, I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a load of bricks. Also my sinuses are pressurized balloons. I officially have my first cold of fall.

This slowed me down a bit, but I still managed to almost finish another Lydia shirt (still needs hemming, but as

Holy swayback, batman!

Zena said, “wearable is climax. Done is denouement.” I guess this explains why I always have to post stuff before it’s quite done. I shortened the back through the armscye, (to match the front) which I think you’ll agree looks pretty good. This white fabric, although nice and stable,

has very little recovery so I think I will need to take the whole thing in a bit. It would probably be perfect for a drapey, tunic sort of a top. Of course, I have no patterns like that.

The poses are a little uninspiring due to the aforementioned hit-by-bricks feeling, and I definitely need to hit the hay, so I’m going to keep this pretty brief.

Self-Stitched September Day 19

Danielle layered over Lydia #2

My supervisor was having the annual lab wine & cheese at his house, so I got a wee bit dolled up. My supervisor suggested I should start selling clothes on Etsy. As a frame for this, he sells chainmail and his wife sells jewelry there. I refrained from asking if he would prefer I did that or write my thesis. πŸ˜‰

All right. The bed is calling. Anybody out there care to swap respiratory systems?

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Halt!

I hung the coat from my upstairs railings down into the kitchen below to facilitate hemming it.

Erm, y’know that coat?

Yeah, the one I’ve been cracking away at all week?

That I was hoping to finish today or tomorrow?

So here’s the thing.

I don’t have any buttons for it.

Yeah, I know. Wee bit of an oversight, there.

Um. I’m forgetful that way?

I do have the button insta-stash now, but while it does have a few large buttons, it has nothing like the eight to ten matching ones I need for this coat.

Now, in addition to having no buttons, I have no money. Zero cash. As in, bank overdrawn, credit card maxed, parents already hit up for money this month. Ouch. September always bites this way, and every year I swear I’m going to plan for it, and every year it whams us like a frying pan. I had tuition to pay, kids have school fees (most of which I put off but I kinda have to pay for Syo’s school bus fees up front because… well, it’s a long, ranting story better saved for the non-existant “Kids school blog.” And I had to register and book a plane ticket to the big yearly conference I’m presenting at next month. Speaking of which, anyone know any good fabric stores in Pittsburgh?

Anyway, next installment of money comes soon, we are not about to starve or lose the house or anything, but it does mean I can’t justify buying buttons until at least next week. No coat for me. 😦

However, that didn’t stop me from spending most of my Saturday (between ferrying hubby to work and Syo to buy a birthday present

A whole lotta coat!

and then later go to the birthday party) working at the coat. It’s almost entirely hemmed now. The front facings still hate me (or each other). I swear by the time I’m done the front panels are pretty much going to be pad-stitched to each other. It’s like some part of my brain is convinced that if I throw enough hand-stitching at it, it’ll all turn out alright. I think I need to coin a new word for this… basse couture? Pauvre couture? Whatever it is, it’s like the opposite of haute couture, but still with all the hand-work.

Also, I spread it out on the floor just to see, and the skirt is almost a full three-quarter circle. That’s a whole lotta coat!

I really hope this coat ends up gorgeous at some point. Because on the hanger it just sorta looks bleh. And I was not going for bleh. Not at all. 😦

I think tomorrow I need a quick, satisfying project. Another Lydia or something.

In Self-Stitched September news, the outfit is a complete, item-for-item repeat of the ninth, so I decided to accessorize.

Self-Stitched September, day 18

The backdrop of my crummy garage really doesn't do us justice, I know.

I know, you can’t really see the clothes.

Self-Stitched September, day 18

In real life the skulls are actually a medium grey. They reflect the flash from the camera, however.

Sadly, I don’t actually ride this myself. I do an awesome job of looking cute on the back, however (or so my hubby assures me). I hope we get at least a few more days in before the season truly ends.

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Remember what I said about the north wind?

Yes, that's snow on my neighbour's roof this morning.

It didn’t stick, but it still sucked.

Canadian winters are sorta like childbirth. They really suck when they’re happening, but then when they’re over you feel all macho and tough for getting through it (why no, I didn’t have an epidural. Either time.). Except that I only had to go through childbirth twice. Of course, this isn’t winter. Winter’s still a good couple of months off, though with La Nina developing it will probably be a nasty one, unlike last winter, which barely counted. It was nice, but not nice enough to make up for the cruddy summer.

I never have understood why people like fall. It’s my birthday season and I still don’t understand it.

Anyway, that’s probably my year’s quotient of weather-whining for a sewing blog, so I’ll move on.

Other than needing to vent over the snow, I might as well have skipped posting today. The outfit’s a repeat, and the only “sewing” consisted of pulling out most of the seam holding lining to coat to re-position it. There was a lot of swearing involved. It may end up not being possible to wear this coat unbuttoned, because I’m not convinced I can keep the front sides from swinging out. Though I guess if I have to tack down all the inside seams, I will. Grrr. Well, I’m definitely learning a lot. I’m sure if I went to make it over again, I would screw up way less.

Anyway, the daily outfit is a repeat, so bring on the goofy poses:

Self-Stitched September, Day 17

Walk like an Egyptian!

Self-Stitched September, Day 17

OMFG it's freakin' cold out here!!!!1!

Self-Stitched September, Day 17

This is what happens when you turn around to see if the camera's gone off yet.

Have a great weekend!

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So close…

Zig-zag butted edges and twill-tape covering

And yet so far away.

The interlining is assembled. This was interesting and kind of fun, but not very tricky. I cut it out sans seam allowance, butted the edges, and stitched them together with a three-step zig-zag. Then, just to make the join stronger, I covered it with twill tape stitched down on each side.

Then I ran out of twill tape.

Unwilling to be delayed or sacrifice the two hours it would take to get to Fabricland on transit to get more twill tape, I

My space suit!

sacrificed some nice ribbon instead. Sorry. If I’d had crummy ribbon I would’ve used that. Well, at least it’s pretty.

I actually have gotten quite a bit further… I have lining inserted, collar attached, and am currently fighting with the hem. It’s not going well. The front panel has an edge on the bias, which stretched out when I hung it up. Now, I’m pretty sure the instructions included a part on hanging before hemming… but anyway, it threw off the fit with the front facing, which is interfaced so didn’t stretch… I was suppose to interface the front itself but I messed it up… actually the instructions didn’t say which until AFTER, I guess assuming your front and facing pieces will be interchangeable. Sine I had to piece together my facings, that wasn’t really an option. So anyway, I’m having some issues there. I’ll take pictures when it’s looking a little more kick-ass than it is now, hopefully by the end of the weekend.

In Self-Stitched September news, here’s today’s outfit:

Self-Stitched September, day 16

I am a goddess of compassion.

As you can see, it’s only one piece (the pants… ok it’s actually the other Lydia shirt but really, the arms are identical) off from this much better pic from last week.

Self-Stitched September 6

But really, I'm just a goofball.

Taking pics outside is WAY more fun, I think.

Anyway, having sewed more than I ought to today (even if I don’t have much to show for it yet), I will take my leave… hopefully when we meet again I’ll have a coat to show off!

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The north wind doth blow…

And we shall have snow. Apparently by tomorrow morning.

pause for a lengthy insertion of expletives.

Okies, moving on. Or, not really moving. The kids-in-school thing is definitely turning into a stranglehold. Tyo had homework, dictee (spelling in French… yes, my children are receiving their education in French), and a bunch of forms for me to fill out. Between that, running to the grocery store, and making supper, somehow the evening flew and I barely got anything resembling sewing done at all. Here is my progress:

What will be the interlining of my coat

I traced around the pattern pieces with marker because I was too lazy to pin them down. The plan is to cut them out (minus seam allowances) and butt the eges together and stitch with a 3-step zig-zag, possibly reinforced with twill tape. We’ll see how this goes.

But, in happier news, I opened my mail this morning and look what came!

Ceylon and Lady Grey!

Colette patterns! Are those not the cutest little pattern booklets you’ve ever seen? (ok I’m sure they’re old news to everyone else in blogland, deal) You open them up and there’s the instructions in a little booklet on the left, and a pocket with Β the folded tissue on the right.

Inside: instructions (in booklet form) on the left, pattern on the right

I got to admit, for a $20 pattern I may prefer the Jalie way of printing it on real paper, but these are adorable anyway, and more compact.

Now Gertie’s officially starting the Lady Grey sewalong tomorrow (cutting muslins) and somehow I’m thinking I’m not going to make it. Especially since I don’t have my original winter coat done. Which I need, and soon, if it’s going to start freakin’ snowing on us.

Speaking of coats, I decided to photograph today’s ensemble with mine, since otherwise it’s an incredibly boring repeat (Lydia and Jalie jeans, OMFG). This is not a self-stitched piece, it’s thrifted, ages ago (but if I started counting thrifted and hand-me-down items for the challenge, well, that’s almost everything in my wardrobe except some of my jeans). I’m liking the cozy thrown over one shoulder under the coat… it works like a big red scarf, and keeps my belly warm since the coat itself doesn’t have any closure. It’s a lovely coat, though, as long as you’re wearing it for purely fashion-related purposes. Which I’m not.

Self-Stitched September, day 15

Speaking of which, it’s officially halfway through September. Crap. Well, I got SOME of what I needed to get done accomplished. Anyway, I have done it “all” Self-Stitched. Barring, y’know, socks and undies and sweaters and coats. But pretty much all self-stitched. Hurray! Thanks for the encouragement, you guys, because I would not have had the guts to step it up if you hadn’t.

And, y’know, it’s not so much that I’m bored of wearing the clothes, so much as I’m bored of recording the same ones over and over. Yet on some level I’ve bought in to a must-photograph-to-document-my-participation kind of mentality. Kinda weird. Anyway, what do you think? Continue with the daily outfit or let it slide? At least it gives me something to blog about on the days like today when I got almost nothing done. On the other hand, it’s pretty boring. Which is worse, no post or boring post? πŸ˜‰

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Twinkle, twinkle, little bat

More edgy photography by Tyo... if you tilt your head right you can see a few under-arm wrinkles left.

How I wonder where I’m at?

Hrrrmm. Working on this coat definitely does not produce the kind of instant satisfaction sewing a Lydia or a cardi-wrap does. But, I have conquered the sleeves of doom. Or, at least, we’ve fought each other to a standstill, an uneasy cease-fire marred only by occasional skirmishes as I tug futilely at the remaining wrinkles under the sleeve. It’s not perfect, but considering my limitations in the no-dressform department and my idiotic abandonment of the idea of using pieces from the same pattern that actually match… well, I can’t really complain. It took many rounds of pinning, basting, and ultimately a felt-tip marker, but they’re in.

Oh crap. Now I have to do that all over again with the lining.

MOVING ON…

I tackled that touchy subject, the shoulder-pad. Now, my original pattern called for 1/2 shoulder pads. Can we say 80s, anyone? I generally

Believe it or not, this is the inside of my coat (sleeve to the bottom). The blobby half-circle thing is the shoulder pad, the white thing is the sleeve head.

don’t think my shoulders need much additional breadth, plus I’m pretty sure I removed most of that ease when I petite’d the jacket bodice, but I figured I’d give some thin pads a try. I took two layers of my coat fabric, cut into half-circles and zig-zagged along one edge, with a smaller half-circle inserted between to give it a bit more substance. And, y’know, it really does smooth out the look of the shoulder. I also did my own improvised sleeve-heads, which I may even have inserted properly, and they seem to help, too, with giving a nice, smooth line to the shoulder. So I may be half-ass, but I’m only a half-ass half-ass. Or something. For some reason in the picture above one side looks pointier than the other, which is certainly possible but I don’t really see it in the real coat so I’m going to hope it’s an artefacte of the monster’s photography.

Anyway, here’s the front view:

Gee, I look short. That's kind of amazing, actually.

And the back view:

Coat back. I look less short, for some reason.

And this is the inside where the pocket is hanging out (Tyo figured you needed to see this. I’m mostly including it because it’s the closest we got to photographing my clothing today—the

Coat inside, and today's outfit.

Manequim cowl top and the black Jalie jeans again. I believe I’m wearing them both in this original picture, anyway, which is much more flattering than anything I can pull of today. I won’t lie, I came close to cracking and putting on RTW jeans today… but I gritted my teeth and got another day’s wear out of the black jalies. The nice thing about this overly-stretchy fabric-store denim is it doesn’t bag out as badly at the knees as the RTW does, which is usually my cue to change my pants. The ex-capris are washed now and assuming they’re dry by tomorrow I’ll be back in them. Isn’t this exciting?!?)

Ok, the hubby is whining that I’m not spending time (aka watching TV) with him, so I’d better go bum around support my marriage. Tomorrow… lining sleeves! And interlining.

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