Life, man. It gets away from a person.
I just HAD to share a new dress that I made for
my birthday Valentines Day the upcoming Joanna Newsom concert (March 29!!). I have some other projects that I have not yet shared in cyberspace, so let’s get reacquainted!
My 30th birthday was in December and I was toooootally confident I could finish this dress in time for my cocktail hour, which happened to be occurring in…two days. Can’t say I’m proud of rushing through one of the rare times I make myself a SILK DRESS. In the end, I had to wear another ensemble but REALLY HERE, I had cocktails to drink so whatever.
Plus, it has a cape-like thing on the back and that makes up for any mistakes. Such as, the not-great yoke attachment:
I’ve pressed it a few more times so it’s getting there, but for now, most people’s point of view will be here:
Not too bad, Brad. It also helps that the front doesn’t matter much, look at this BACK:
[of the dress]
Not my most creative work as far as deviating from the pattern illustration. Try to guess which version I made:
I wanted to add some contrast, so I lined the inside of what I’ll call the cape-doublet (Frenchified!) with a gray kimono silk print that is just so delicate and lovely, I had to work up the courage to use even the small bits for this.
The pattern had the cape just dangling in the wind, and I thought that was just asking for embarrassment (let’s say, a gust of wind throwing it into someone’s face. Most likely mine and yes I think about these things). I decided I’d cut the dress a few inches shorter than the cape and baste the ends to the raw hem of the dress. I cut out a lining with the front and back pieces, a few inches shorter than the dress. Attaching the lining along the hemline and basting the necklines together, the hem was lifted into place and the cape curved around it. It makes just a hint of a bubble hem and just a fun photo opportunity!
To keep with the no-hem theme, I cut out a mirror-image sleeve and folded it over into a double-layer that I basted as one piece. In all likelihood, I’ll be very overdressed at the concert as Seattleites tend to wear North Face and jeans everywhere. But I like being overdressed, so I CAN’T WAIT.
I finished this last October or November when I was still working on my STOUT projects. I assume I never blogged about this one because…well it’s a skirt. It was easy, it has elastic, it has pockets and an attached tie belt. There.
I worked some pattern-mixing in. Both fabrics are very polyester stretch wovens, making them perfect for skirts (only way to keep things breathing).
I love the elastic panel across the back. The pattern includes options for pants and shorts, getting me closer to having the confidence to attempt pants or shorts again. Beginners: GET ON THIS PATTERN. You can do it!
I wish I had counted how many baby booties I’ve made in the last year. This is the only pair I crocheted. I’m currently on a shopping fast and am challenging myself to use what I already own instead of buying everything I think I need. I’m a firm believer that constraints make me more creative. But it doesn’t necessarily make things easier.
I almost went out and bought some new yarn, thinking I didn’t have anything that would work. I searched through my bits and pieces drawer (DIFFERENT from my yarn drawer!) and found these forgotten-about skeins: one is 100% cotton and the other is 100% silk. YES THAT BABY DESERVES SILK ON HER FEETS. I think the colors look great together and are not a combination that I would usually choose. See? More creative already.
There’s a sweet little Wednesday Addams-style dress I’m working on next. And about four saved drafts that I want to post. I suppose that means I’m back on blogging! Later!
Here’s a secret (not really) for you: you can make the vest yourself with vintage Simplicity 9261 (figure out how to make the baskets by Googling “crochet baskets tutorial,” natch). Realized halfway through that if I had lined the white lining to make it less transparent, I could have made a reversible vest (DUH!!). Please take advantage of my lesson learned.
More important to me than having my own Etsy store/clothing line is to encourage people to just make stuff. The ability to make things with my hands feels so freeing from the constant temptation to buy buy BUY. Although some might argue that I’ve only concentrated my blatant consumerism to a particular interest (I did recently admit to having almost 400 sewing patterns), I do find it easier to keep my money in my pocket when I’m out shopping with friends when focusing on finding sewing inspiration, therefore giving less of my money to some rich homophobe and/or encouraging the cycle of exploitative labor. It’s my way of fighting for the Big Issues in my small, individual way.
That being said, I also feel that sometimes a person just wants to see what a garment looks like IRL before jumping in and sewing. In my fantasy world, I would be able to shop off the rack AND sewing patterns at the same time. WOULDN’T THAT BE AWESOME??!!! Imagine all the times you’ve tried something on and it fits great but is made from the most awful print. What if, next to the rack is the same pattern on sale so you can sew it up instead? The closest realization of this fantasy I could find is The Makehouse in Victoria, B.C. which holds a sewing pattern borrowing library and is making physical samples of the patterns for folks to thumb through (WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT??).
Basically, I just want to be transparent about how I make what I make. I’m a librarian by trade (if not in practice at the moment), and we’re all about the beauty of sharing. We’re also all about navigating fair use.
If you’re left wondering whether or not selling a vest made from a vintage Simplicity pattern is copyright infringement, I would argue that my decidedly non-legal but informed research shows it is not (at least in the States):
…copyright protection for the designs of useful articles is extremely limited. The design of a useful article is protected under copyright “only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.”
– Statement of the United States Copyright Office before the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, Committee on the Judiciary http://www.copyright.gov/docs/regstat072706.html#N_13_
A more readable interpretation of patterns and copyright is provided by the University Libraries of the Ohio State University. I encourage you to read more if copyright fascinates you as much as it does me.
I just love making shit. It’s pretty much all I ever want to do. I love matching a fabric with a pattern or choosing a yarn or finding some cool beads at a thrift store. I love watching my hands create something useful and pretty. And I want to share that with as many people as possible, whether it’s through encouraging others to create for themselves or making something for someone else to enjoy. Sewing is way more important to me than selling. So, hopefully through Etsy and this blog I can give someone the motivation to start being a producer instead of simply a consumer. At the very least, I have a virtual space that allows me to just keep going about my nerdy endeavors.
Pattern: Simplicity 2451, view D (+1/2)
Fabric: garage sale
I can’t imagine this is going to be a very long post. My Little Red Skirt was one of those projects that I whipped up without a problem. I got the fabric from a friend of a co-worker’s fabric garage sale back in 2008 or 2009. The woman was a fashion designer on top of that, so it was a magical garage indeed. She was selling vintage and new fabric for like $1 per yard and let’s just say I spent more than $50 there. Then, I became way too scared to use up most of the fabric I bought because that is a fear that I have. But I love those Sudden Clarity Clarence moments when I match a pattern to its fabric, which is what happened here.
The fabric is so busy that I thought only a mini-skirt would do it justice. You may have noticed above that I used view “D 1/2.” The pattern offers a longer version with a vent and a mini version, cut off above the vent. I cut out the longer version so I could hem it at just the right length, and ended up with a mini vent in the back. Juuuuust right.
The zipper!! I’ve had this stashed away for some time. It belonged to my step-grandma. She died when I was a baby, but my mom inherited her insane amount of sewing, knitting, and crafting supplies (THREE SEWING MACHINES) and I have spent the last decade pilfering these supplies from my mom.
Even though the fabric looks like a woven (and I guess it technically is, I don’t know these things), it has a substantial amount of stretch to it. Like any Mad Men fan, I love pencil skirts, but my baby-making hips make them feel too constraining. This pattern is great because it’s wider in the hips and then slims down at the hem, so not exactly a pencil skirt but close enough. The stretch in the fabric makes it that much more comfortable. I usually wear skirts that fit higher around my waist, but as long as I have pockets, I am a happy skirt-wearing camper.
Pattern: Simplicity 9958
Fabric: from Hong Kong
Boxers are the only sewing project I can think of that live up to the “1 Hour” promise. That is, as long as you are making them for folks with testicular spacial needs. Otherwise add about 10-20 minutes for crotch seam adjustment.
Em’s lounging shorts were looking more than a little sad. She still has them, even though I made these for her but some people just like to use things until the bitter end. I have about 4 1/2 more yards of this chambray and I’m thinking about making some shorts for myself as well (and a dress, and a top, and maybe some cigarette pants am I going overboard?).
So anyway: boxers. Great beginner project, great weekend afternoon project, great gift. How can you go wrong?
It seems I’ve got some catching up to do! And what better way than sharing three of my most recently finished projects (“recently” being relative).
When I say recent is relative, this is what I’m talking about: not long before I saw the Portlandia skit for Artisan Knots, I checked out a bunch of knot-making books. This is not the first time I’ve had that experience (example: We Can Pickle That). That show sometimes hits a little too close to home.
ANYWAY, I went ahead with my hipster endeavors and made a bumblebee knot using a YouTube video (sorry, library books). And in my usual way, I could not commit to where I wanted to wear my bumblebee knot. Should it be a necklace? A belt? Should I wrap it around a Mason jar (jk- I like to think I’m not that much of a hipster). Months pass and I’m browsing through my knot book and come across a sliding knot and inspiration/commitment hits! A headband!!
Which is exactly what fuels my commitment problems– “if I settle for making a necklace and then later have a eureka moment I CAN NEVER MAKE IT AGAIN!” Clearly my fears are irrational.
ANYWAY, the great thing about this headband is that the sliding knot prevents the usual headband headache. And even with my short style, the sliding knot hides under your hair.
I dipped the ends in melted wax from a candle to secure it, but pretty much what you’re looking at is all macrame cord. I was thinking I could paint or dye other projects (in fact, that was another reason this was lying around doing nothing– I couldn’t decide if I wanted to dye it).
Knot to mention (heh heh), knotting is a meditative activity and makes a great gift. I want to try the Celtic Heart Knot knext.
You might remember from my last Finished Project post I was in an instant gratification phase. I don’t think I have much to add– this is the same fabric and an equally easy pattern. Perfect weekend project: two pattern pieces, bias neckline, fold and sew sleeves & hem. Yep.
Not much to it, but I still LOOOVE this t-shirt. I saw the DIY Colorblock Tees on Pinterest and it fit nicely into my instant gratification projects. It’s pretty much as easy as it looks: cut a shirt in half, swap tops, and sew back together.
These shirts are like butter. I want to buy them all. But I started with Light Red and Maroon here.
Ok! I already have an idea for my next post, so I promise I won’t abandon you for another month (ok, I won’t promise– I can only do so much!)