Tag Archives: applique

Hallowe’en (Epilogue)

Y’know, that slow bit after all the exciting stuff, only read by the true fans who love the characters more than they love good storytelling? That’s kinda how I feel posting this so long after Hallowe’en, when all the excitement, and even most of the candy, is long gone.

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Regardless, because it’s my blog and I’ll blog late if want to ;), here’s some quick and not terribly organized glimpses of my Hallowe’en outfit. It’s not really a costume since I’m not actually anything in specific, but I still had a lot of fun making it and wearing it. Even if I did work the whole damn day AND evening so the only pictures I got were crappy bathroom mirror pics and staffroom selfies. I am obviously not a real “Millennial;” I suck at selfies.

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Man I miss my basement-bedsheet-photo studio! These days even if I might have time to take some decent pics it’s a gamble whether I’ll even be able to FIND my tripod, and that doesn’t even address the complete lack of any thing approaching appropriate space in our current home.

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You can’t have a circle skirt without a petticoat (ok, I can’t, anyway), so of course I had to make a crinoline. As it turned out, I had to make two—the neon green tulle one I made first was, unsurprisingly, woefully inadequate. So I pulled out the black crinoline fabric and ribbon I bought last spring to make a black petticoat, which worked really nicely, although I fear it’s more costume-grade pouf than everyday pouf. I may have to make another, not-so-fluffy one for every day wear. Which means I’ll have four crinolines to store. My husband may leave me, just so you know.

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Also, no circle skirt is complete without horsehair braid. I covered the join in a scrap of my fashion fabric, which, if you can’t tell, was an awesomely over-the-top acid-green taffeta with black spiderweb flocking. Don’t ask me why it needed to be a circle skirt, but can you really imagine it being anything else? Short of a complete eighteenth-century ballgown, anyway. That would also be awesome.

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I constructed my circle skirt EXACTLY the same as my old grey one, even using the same waist template from Elegant Musings. This is the facing for the slit I made for the not-invisible zipper.

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Of course poodles are traditional for circle skirts, but this one had to have a spider. I wish I’d had enough of my green thread to go around the applique a second time so the black edges didn’t stick out—I wasn’t really thinking about that when I bought my thread and only got an itty bitty spool. I used a supplementary (acid-green) cord of embroidery floss under the zig-zag to give it a bit of dimension, and because, ah, the manual for the Rocketeer (on which I sewed all of this) suggested it. I love the little techniques old manuals suggest. Although somehow they never mention all the massive amounts of actual skill it takes to use most of these techniques. So, y’know, your black velour fabric doesn’t stick out on the wrong side of your zigzag.

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I used a skirt hook and a thread-chain loop. We’ll pretend this was a couture touch, and not because I couldn’t find a bar to match my hook. It needs a second hook & bar, too… I confess day of I just used a safety pin. Do you see how wide that waistband is, by the way? I think it was around three inches, finished. Which pretty much brings the top of the waistband right to my underbust. Fortunately I’m fairly cylindrical in that area, so I can get away with a straight waistband rather than a contour one.

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Because I’m bored of detail shots, here’s a slightly naughty pic of my layered petticoats. You can see clearly the sheer inadequacy of the green one (sheer… snork… see what I did there? hyuk, hyuk.), but the black filled it out nicely and the green was still a nice touch of colour.

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And this eye-searing green is actually the little tank-top I made to wear under the black lace blouse. I used my brand-spanking-new walking foot to sew it, and while I don’t sew enough spandex to really compare, it sure handled it nicely. I didn’t get any actual shots of the tank-top, (I used my old pattern… the real miracle is actually that I FOUND all these old pattern pieces), without the ruching, of course, but it went together fairly nicely until I got to the straps. They are ugly. But I can always cut them off and do better at some point, I suppose, and they weren’t exactly a prominent part of the costume. I cut out bikini bottoms at the same time, should I someday wish to own an acid-green tankini.

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I decided, rather belatedly, that what the ensemble really needed to finish it off was yarn falls. Pushes it a bit into anime territory? Anyway, it only took me three different yarn shops to find what I was looking for, which turns out to be 100% wool superwash, whatever that is. It certainly was warm, and the texture was great, although a bit fluffier would’ve been nice. These are ridiculously easy to make, just cut a bunch of lengths and tie them on to a hair elastic. I’ve been trying to look up the knot I use but I can’t seem to find it…

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Oh, look, here you can actually see me edging the applique! (which I adhered with Steam-a-Seam, by the way) I forgot I took this one. I’m using the “Special Purpose Foot” on the Rocketeer, which has a little piping-hole. It seems like a really flimy, cheap little foot, but I guess it’s held up for fify-some years already, so it can’t be too bad. It worked fine, anyway.

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The blouse was made out of a spiderweb lace. This pattern, McCall’s 6467 (view D), was not the best choice. WAY too many seams, all of which had to be finished super-neatly, in this soft, floppy, annoying-to-sew lace. Of all the frilly blouse patterns I possess, why did I pick this one? *headdesk.* To make it worse, the pattern had hella crazy ease and I did not want it to be a sack on me (the way it looks on the envelope model). I made the size 8, a full two sizes smaller than usual. I went a little easy on my usual bodice shortening because of this, but apparently not easy enough because I had to cut down under the armpits to make it fit. In the end it looked fine and the sizing was about right, but it really wasn’t the best pattern for the job. And did I mention that’s a lot of annoying seams to sew in an annoying fabric?

Ah, well. Deep breaths. A week later, it’s all water under the bridge, right? It was a really fun outfit when it was all put together, and I have at least a couple of pieces that will (maybe?) be useful in the future.

Hope you had a scary Hallowe’en!

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The Lotus Lady

So serene... so contemplative...

Perhaps “Lotus Lass” would be more apt, but it just doesn’t have the rhythm, y’know?

Kimono front. Pay no attention to the broom handle sticking out of the sleeve...

Tyo’s robe is finished and has been worn pretty much every day, so I’d say it’s a success. Although now she wants those loop-over-the-arms tie things that keep the kimono sleeves from dragging in everything, because, well, they drag in everything. Fortunately we’ve watched enough Miyazaki that she knows all about them.

Kimono back.

It’s really long, which is what she wanted, but quite narrow. Not so much it doesn’t close, but it certainly doesn’t stay closed while walking. This is the downside of rectangular construction, I guess. Godets at the sideseam might’ve been effective (if not particularly kimono-accurate).

Hem lotus

I quite enjoyed laying out all the applique, which I did after cutting the fabric but before assembling anything. There are two full lotuses, one on the upper back, one at the hem on the front right side. The sleeves and the front left are decorated with individual petals.

Back view---worn

The belt is a simple sash. I opted to stitch it down with an X on the centre back, so she can’t lose it. (I could’ve added belt loops, but in my experience that’s never enough to keep a kid’s belt with their housecoat.) Most of the time it’s trailing along behind her elegantly, but at least it’s there if she decides she needs it.

Front, worn.

The other morning she came down for breakfast wearing her cream bunnyhug* under the robe, which threw me for a loop as I couldn’t figure out how she’d gotten a hood onto the robe.

All in all?

1) new technique learnt (applique)

2) new construction methods

3) used up stash fabric

4) garment is getting lots of use and love.

WIN.

Your robe fu is strong, but mine is stronger!*

*yes, I know Kung Fu is not Japanese. Hush.

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Newsflash

Skull Applique for the Monster's bag

I still suck at freehand machine embroidery.

Actually, I probably still suck at all embroidery (I haven’t tried any hand embroidery for a few years, but last time I definitely sucked. Oddly, it was on another piece using this same blue/black coating, too)

The Monster, AKA the ten-year-old, has been working away on her bag. Well, occasionally. When she’s not off camping or having sleepovers or watching her dad play video-games in the evening. Yesterday she managed to topstitch the strap and flap. Today I worked on the applique. I suck at applique.

I feel the need to mention, briefly, my introduction to machine embroidery. Not computerized machine embroidery, which I still have experienced only from afar, but the freehand kind. It begins with my mom’s sewing machine, a gorgeous Pfaff dating from the late sixties. This is the machine I learned on, and in its day, it was the shizznitt. It was an Embroidery Machine. It has settings for about a bajillion different embroidered stitches, all variations of the zig-zag, but every variation you could think of! Scallops, crenelations, triangles, blocks… the list is endless (or at least very long), and there is a large, circular plastic chart you turn to show the stitch you want and all the settings to get it. Width, needle position, number of stitches to motif, all completely adjustable. And the controls were actually far more intuitive than the ones on my much simpler modern Janome. Anyway, in addition to the chart, there was the manual, with extensive examples of things you could do with the embroidery stitches. Monogrammed letters, eyelet lace… I can’t even remember all of their suggestions. It was staggering. Everything was gorgeous.

Of course, nowhere in all of that did it say anywhere how hard it was to get them looking that nice.

Needless to say, I don’t think my poor little skull here would be appearing in that book. Or anyone’s book. But the kid is happy enough, so that’s ok by me. In hindsight I should’ve placed it much further down on the flap (I was

And, the strap, adorned with skull ribbon.

actually going for bottom-to-the-side placement, but the kid wanted it centred, and i moved it up too much when I centred it. So if the bag is full half the skull is going to be on the top. Oh, well.

I also used some of the ribbon from this splurge, finally,  sewing it along the strap. This is actually the first time I’ve adorned anything with ribbon. Not super hard (though I wasn’t particularly scientific about it). I still worry about putting it on clothes, though—would it shrink? Hold up in the wash? I am doubtful. On a bag, though… should be fine.

And that, except for hemming some de-cuffed pyjama bottoms for the ten-year-old (apparently they are totally uncool if they have cuffs, but just fine if they don’t), has been my sewing for the past few days. Bleh. Wasn’t I resolving to sew stuff for me?

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