Monthly Archives: June 2012

Fantasy Sewing: Spidey Dress Throwdown

Spidey and New Look

Ok, so a little bit ago when I shared my find of two metres of Spiderman fabric (probably quilting cotton, but oh, well), Cindy of Cation Designs (yes, she of the infamous Original Star Wars Dress, not to mention the Superman Dress and the Batman dress), suggested a super-quick Spidey sewalong, something we could wrap up in time for the movie’s release on July 3.

Dude, I totally want to wear a Spiderman dress to go see that movie. Almost more than I want to see the movie itself (which I do want to see, but I wasn’t going to sweat over, haven blown most of the summer movie budget already on stuff like The Avengers and Snow White and the Huntsman.)

That being said, July 3 is less than a week away, AND there’s Canada Day in the meantime, so the odds of this getting stitched up in time for opening night have become vanishingly slim. So maybe this is less of a throwdown and more of a forfeit, but anyway. I guess as long as I get the dress made in time to actually *see* the movie it would still be awesome…



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Simplicity Blues, or, ElleC’s Revenge


Remember this pattern, Simplicity 6710? No? I don’t blame you. I probably wouldn’t either, except that it’s been kicking around the corners of my sewing room, leering at me, for three months. Well, in the wake of the Fishing Vest, I’ve been in a light-weight, puttery sort of mood, so I’ve been trying (in my half-ass way) to tidy and clear some things out in the sewing room. I finally stitched up the Young Image racerback tank in Syo’s size, which I cut out (at Syo’s request, I will emphasize) weeks ago. I’d blog about it but it looks basically identical to Tyo’s. Tyo is not pleased about that, by the way.

So, why did this project slip into UFO-dom? Well, it was a combination of factors. The single biggest is that, when I decided to make it up, I wanted a mini-dress length. I figured adding a couple of inches to the tunic length on the pattern should be good. When I got to the point pictured above and could actually tried it on, I realized we were still well within tunic territory, and at lest three or four  inches shy of mini-dress length (and that’s without considering hem allowance.) All of a sudden my excitement for the project went down the toilet.

Expecting, much?

Aside from that, this is that poly crepe and holy &*($ does it piss me off. It’s got gorgeous drape and I love the colour, but damn—it shifts, it wriggles, it slips, it frays, and it DOES NOT PRESS. Urg. Obviously there was a good reason it was at the thrift store. Also, while the drape is beautiful, it has a bit too much body for the gathers on the front (the photos are after I pressed the crap out of the gathers to flatten them). Anyone looking for a gorgeous 70s maternity dress, I think I have just the pattern for you. Which is probably at least partly the pattern’s fault—I’m thinking this is a case of excessive gathering.

And then there was the zipper. Part of a gift from ElleC this spring (I also got the pattern from her, way back when. Do I sense a pattern? ElleC, are you out to get me? Wait, don’t answer that.), it was the perfect colour, so I figured it was kismet. Or some other mythical force. Anyway, I already knew I could wriggle into the dress top sans zipper, so obviously I was just looking to make my life difficult. It was a disaster. It’s been a while since I tried to insert a centred zipper, and the crepe wriggled and slid and bubbled and bulged and, well, by the time I got it all unpicked I was thoroughly pissed off and chucked the whole thing in a corner.

The good?

But now that I’ve whinged thoroughly about the bad, let’s move on.

I made my usual changes for fit:

  • petite bodice (1.5 cm) (this required petiting the sleeves as well, which I did by just taking a fold out of the middle, on grain.)
  • square shoulder (1 cm)
  • swayback (2 cm straight across the CB piece, angling from 2 cm to nothing in the side-back piece)

That vintage look (courtesy of Picasa filters)

I even remembered to add the length I took off the back in the swayback adjustment, back on to the hem of the back pieces. Now if only I’d added a few extra inches of length all around. (And even more in the back…)

Apparently my square-shoulder adjustment was, for once, unneccessary. *headdesk* There’s some distinct drag-lines from the shoulder that go away if I pull upon the outer edge of the shoulder. I blame this at least partly on where the pattern (which has really narrow shoulders, as you can see) sits—right at the base of the neck, over my trapezius, which is the one part of my shoulder that does slope.

Back view. Definitely not dress length.

I wasn’t convinced about the sleeves, but figured I’d give them a try, and it turns out I quite like the long, swingy flutter-shape, and how they’re inserted forward of the side-seam, which I think is rather slimming. There is possibly a bit of the linebacker look happening.

Linebacker look?

I opted to line, carefully modifying the front panel so as not to add bulk, but the  broadcloth I used (because it was the right colour and handy) was not a good choice, either. A remarkable number of bad choices for one garment, don’t you think?

Not feeling like messing with the rolled hemmer, I used Sherry’s handkerchief-hem method, which worked astoundingly well aside from the fact that my hem edge was distinctly uneven and very ravelly after three months on the floor. If I had trimmed it first so it was nice and even, it would’ve been awesome. As it is, like so much of this project, there’s room for improvement.

So, in the end? Not sure how I like it. There’s a lot of little  things that annoy me, which may or may not fade after some time in the Magic Closet. But a lot of the issues were self-inflicted. With the right fabric (a scrumptious lightweight silk or rayon or even cotton gauze, maybe) and a bit less fullness in the front, this could still be an awesome dress.


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My baby

Those of you who come here just for the sewing, feel free to skip this one. I’m taking a moment to mush out.


Dear Tyo,

When you were born, I looked at you and was overwhelmed by how much love there must be in the world, if every mother feels this much looking at her baby for the first time. I was young, and scared, and excited, and uncertain of just about everything,  but my love for you was instant and immense and unremitting, and being your mother has been, and continues to be, the most exhilarating adventure of my life.

Today, you graduated from grade six. In a few weeks you’ll be twelve. You’re not yet a woman, but the shape of your childhood is changing, and everything about you hints at the changes that are coming. You amaze me, challenge me, and drive me nuts every single day, and the privilege of watching you grow is the most amazing gift you could ever have given me. You are strong and confident, passionate and compassionate, vulnerable and astounding. I know you’re going to have to work hard in life—as you already do—to overcome your particular challenges, but I also know that you have the will, determination and, yes, the charisma, to do just that. You are already becoming  the person you dream of. And I can’t tell you how excited I am that I am privileged to watch you, be there for you, and probably even get in your way from time to time, on this journey.

I love you to the moon.

I know you’re sad to be leaving your school and moving away from so many friends—and you have wonderful friends—but I am so excited for the things that you are doing, the person you are becoming, and the adventure that lies ahead. I know that wherever you go, whatever you do, you will shine like a beacon. You are one of those people who lights up a room, whose smile gets under the skin, who inspires us just by breathing, and if you choose, I know you’ll change the world, just as you’ve already changed all of us who know you.

As the story says, I love you to the moon

and back.


Ok, I’m going to go blow my nose now. I’ll be back with some sewing stuff later…

PS, if anyone asks, I’m blaming this whole post on K-Line.


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Inordinately Pleased With Myself


Yeah, that about sums it up.

Which I suppose is why I take on these ridiculous, intricate projects. Especially at times when I’ve been claiming I need all my sewing to be brainless and easy because my brains are occupied elsewhere.

The Fishing Vest is finished. (For those of you paying attention, the missing front lining piece showed up on the cutting table, underneath about three layers of other crap that I swear I went through twice before)

Back & Front

So, as fishing vests go, this one is fairly simple, meaning there’s only eleven pockets instead of umpteen bajillion. And I forgot to pick up D-rings, so there’s no little D-ring doodads, and there’s only one snap tab because apparently I only had one heavy-duty snap left (well, I had 3/4 of the second one, but that last 1/4 is kind of critical. Osiris had asked that the back pocket be deep enough to hold a water-bottle, and I think it probably isn’t. I interfaced the upper back yoke for a bit of extra strength, and possibly I should’ve interfaced the front of the vest as well, but oh, well.

Bias tape “maker” (actually folder)

I waffled back and forth about how I was going to finish the vest, but in the end went for a bound finish, which is common (yes, I’ve spent a depressing amount of time in the last several weeks looking at pictures of fishing vests online) but not universal. I tried to convince myself this was a perfect opportunity to use pre-made bias binding, but couldn’t quite make myself go there. What is it about pre-made bias binding? I have a shitload of the stuff, and every time I go to use it I talk myself out of it. So I made my first denim bias-binding. Fortunately, it’s a pretty darn light-weight twill. I used my jumbo bias-tape maker, possibly for the first time, and it went better than expected, especially considering I totally eyeballed the width of the tape when I was cutting it out. The application went relatively well, as well, despite not always remembering which side I should start on. And after stitching on four cargo pockets (albeit teeny ones) I feel much more comfortable with them than I did last time. The exposed zippers are still a little rough, especially the ones on the pockets.

Details (view at own risk as there’s at least five screw-ups visible in these photos alone…)

Actually, the whole project went better than expected. There were a few inevitable snafus, like forgetting to sew the velcro tabs on the upper pair of pockets before attaching them (actually the hand-sewn finish looks much better, if only because I use black thread to match the velcro that time) and forgetting to make the two zippered cargo pockets on the front mirror images of each other, and there are minor imperfections at every single point along the way, but I’m not going to dwell on them too much because, y’know what, it’s DONE! And, what’s most important, it’ll work. And it’s pretty cute from even a foot away

Oh, and the playing with the grain of the stripey almost-camo-print on the pockets was intentional. I’m kinda proud of that.

Comparing fit

It fits Tyo snugly and Syo more loosely (I did mention their shoulders are almost identical…), so I think the next one should be a little larger. It won’t be hard to grade the vest up a bit (and maybe do a teeny FBA  with the dart incorporated in that horizontal seam above the zipper), and I think I’ll just use the same pockets.

But not yet—I’m going to wait until they have a chance to road-test this one.


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So close…


And yet so far away. I manages to keep track of the eighty million tiny pocket pieces, (and even velcro bits) and have managed to mislay the front lining. So close…


June 23, 2012 · 10:17 pm

A pain worth sharing.

I know most of you care about as much about the intricacies of making fishing vests as you do about, oh, sewage treatment plant design.  Nonetheless, if I’m stuck with it, I’m bloody well going to share.

Cargo pockets and back piece


I made some pretty good progress a couple of nights ago when Osiris’s best bud called him out for an airport-layover hangout, but then stalled out over lack of zippers. The vest requires five zippers. Fortunately (?) for me, Fabricland had their Canada Day sale early this year, so today I headed out there with a friend.

I got zippers.

I also made the mistake of looking in the clearance section. Which was fifty percent off.

Stuff that’s just kinda cute at $3, becomes really irresistible at $1.50/m.


And then the awesome cutting-table lady kept getting to almost the end of the bolt and going “Ah, that looks like two metres to me…” when it was really, ah, well, let’s just say the cuts were generous. Er, so the spiderman print I got at Value Village a wee bit back, but I figure it was worth sharing (and it’s actual fabric, not an old bedsheet!). It probably cost more than any of the other fabrics, which are all fairly thin but really nice-feeling knits. And, polkadots!

Pink & green camo lycra

Oh, yeah, I forgot to photograph this one because the children had absconded with it. This was also like $1.50/m, and it was worth it just for the squeals when they saw it. Few things make my kids happier than slightly-girly camo. It’s lycra. Not good quality lycra, either, but thin, run-prone, easily snagging lycra. Ah well, they’ll be over the moon for the five seconds that it lasts…

New Look 6789

My friend bought a couple of metres of the black polkadot, too, and we spent a little while this evening altering the the pattern for New Look 6789, which will be her first “real” attempt at sewing a dress. She’s one of those short, round shapes that can never, ever find anything to fit off the rack, so I really have hopes of getting her hooked. Assuming I can figure out how to fit a body that’s about as different from mine as possible while still being the same species. We did some tissue fitting, and I made my first ever attempt at an FBA.  We won’t be able to try actually sewing for a few more days, though—but here’s hoping it works! (And since the fabric was a whole $2/m, no, we’re not making a toile. And no, the pattern’s not for a knit, but it’s a pretty stable, not-very-stretchy knit and I think as long as we interface the upper band and shoulder-straps it’ll be fine.)

I really like this pattern. I’m kind of jealous she’s going to get one before I get a chance to sew it up…


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For science!

Waist to Hip Ratios

Ok, so I have nothing at all of my own to blog about today since yesterday’s down-time was spent exclusively playing Dragon’s Dogma (which is not as awesome as Dragon Age or Skyrim or Kingdoms of Amalur, but is at least in the right ballpark if you are, as I am, a sucker for an open-world fantasy RPG), so instead I’m going to throw some links around.

First off, this is a neat article on some body-proportion research that I totally cribbed off Ali of the Wardrobe, Reimagined. Can I just say it really drives me nuts when news articles report on some kind of “scientific finding” and then don’t include a reference to the publication? Other than that it’s a fun read, however. Spoiler alert: apparently almost half of us (at least in the UK, which is where the majority of my genetic material and cultural traditions come from) are “rectangles.” But my “rectangle” shape also fits their parametres for a “spoon” (aka pear) shape. Hmm.

In a similar vein, Steph of 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World is collecting waist/hip measurements for her own arcane pants-fitting research, so if you haven’t already, please grab your tape measure and bop over there with your measurements in cm. It’s anonymous, so don’t duck out because you don’t like your own ratios! (I know I sure don’t. 😛 ) So go contribute!

Oh, and Sigrid of Analog Me wrote this neat post on the history of measurements used by the pattern companies. Not reassuring, that’s for sure.

Anyone else know some cool links on body proportion research? Or just a good RPG?


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