Saturday, December 29, 2012

Halloween 2011, 2012

To start off a series of posts about garments past, here are costumes from Halloween 2011 and 2012. In the spirit of just about everything I do, these were both started at the last minute (perhaps days before hand) and finished the day of an event (perhaps minutes beforehand). I think I actually skipped one or two events I would have gone to because the shark costume wasn't done. Oh well.

For my costumes, I like the idea of wearable garments that imitate or give the impression of some idea/concept/thing. I want to be able to use my costumes again if I'm going to put all the work into it. With that in mind, I came up with the cupcake costume.

Two things to keep in mind:

  1. I've never made a button down top before. Ever. I've never done sleeves, I've never sewn a shirt from a pattern, I've never looked at the actual construction of a peter pan collar. When I started making the shirt, I looked at a few technical drawings but didn't do much research beyond how to shape a sleeve.
  2. I'd never made pants before this. I once attempted pajama pants from a pattern more than 10 years ago, but never finished them.

That said, here's a cupcake:

I have no idea what the pink fabric is, but it's pretty heavy. I found it in the roll end bin at Dressew, which is where I've gotten most of my fabric, so I don't know the fiber content. It was the perfect shade and shine, though, which is why I picked it out. The brown fabric is a basic woven cotten cannibalized from a thrifted duvet cover.

The hat was made by stuffing a circle and stitching on a gathered tube with exposed seam. There are also really large sequins stitched on as "sprinkles", with elastic attached to keep it on my head (it was too heavy to just make a fascinator out of it)

I wanted the feel of soft, fluffy icing on top, so I chose a peter pan collar, gathered sleeves at the top and elastic casing at the edge, and some slight gathering underbust with a corset shaped bodice area. 

Hellloooooo, camel toe. Like I said, I hadn't made pants before this, so I made the rise WAY. TOO. SHORT. For the bloomers, I followed a youtube video (after googling "bloomers tutorial") which was really informative, but really... that rise. Dear god. I still wear these under dresses in the summer when I need something so I don't chafe. I should have redone these, but I couldn't determine the fit too well without doing the elastic casing. After having the most frustrating time feeding the elastic through, I was done with these and decided it would have to do.

You can see how ill fitting the top is here, but without a pattern and without ever having made a button down before, I'd say it's not entirely bad. It could definitely use some darts. Because the top fabric doesn't have very much movement, I added a vent... thing?

I have mixed feelings on these pieces. I'm proud that I was able to come up with these on the fly with almost no experience sewing garments, but I'm starting to realize I need to use patterns. 

For Halloween 2012, I wanted something tight, easy, and low maintenance. Taking inspiration from the Femme Shark Manifesto, I decided a shark would be perfect for the mindset I've been in.

I used a really heavy silver something (no idea what it really is) I got at an Our Social Fabric sale. It's a 4 way stretch but heavier than bathing suit material. No pattern used, just my measurements. I made a mistake on the hood because I made it too long and trimmed from the bottom - forgetting to add extra length so the front would lay flat - instead of the top. Ah well. I used a banded hem to add a little length - it was SHORT - and to give it a more snug fit at the bottom. 

The limp shark fin after I hand stitched it on. There is a small squared off hole in the seam at the top where I snaked a metal coat hanger through to give it shape.

There are my Halloween costumes! One thing I've realized after writing this: the downside of being completely self taught without books or patterns is that I don't have a feel for material except through trial and error and I don't know the technical name for anything. I suppose more research and practice will help, but expect a lot of "thingies" and "maybe?"s for a while.

First post!

First post! Awkward times! Talking to myself! What to say to an empty room?

Maybe an introduction? I'm M. I've been sewing for yearsandyears. I started out sewing small square bottomed bags and pouches, quilted totes, and various whatnots. I didn't start learning to sew clothing until recently - maybe in the past 5 years - and even now I think I'm an advanced novice, though I can sew a straight line and I'm pretty intuitive about construction. I ditched sewing for other fibery crafts - crocheting, spinning, and more recently, knitting - and moderated a major crafting website for a while. Learning other crafts taught me how look at the shape of my body and how to construct clothes without a pattern. I've never been one to work from patterns, so I've been self-teaching drafting to fit my body by looking at RTW. And guessing. A lot.

That doesn't really work out if you don't understand basic construction and technique. So.

With my first semester of grad school over, I realize I need to find a better balance between constructive (har har) self care and school work. In addition to work-goals, I've set a few self-care goals for 2013:

  1. Do not wear a single pair of jeans. I hate the way they look on me. I hate the way they fit. I hate the way they restrict my movement. 
  2. Follow up to goal 1: Make 1 skirt or dress per month, even if it takes the whole month.
  3. Complete 1 copy of every pattern I bought last year, and at least 2 patterns from each book I own. Thankfully this is mostly skirts, dresses, and knitwear.
  4. Learn how to fit to my body and find a style that works, not just trends (holy hell, baggy shirts? Look like crap on me. Need. Fitted. Waist.
  5. Actually blog. Really, the blog is motivation to complete my first 4 goals because it provides some level of accountability. Hopefully it should also help me think about what I am doing and why.

There are my goals! Wife and I are in Michigan right now visiting family. We've been here for the past two weeks and we are ridiculously excited to go home and love on our babies (of the fur variety). In addition to some clothing shopping while we were here, I also managed to snag 5 yards of matte jersey at half price. Even full price was still several dollars cheaper than most of the fabric stores in Vancouver, so I'm pretty stoked. The fabric in this blurry Photobooth picture will eventually be leggings:

Expect more posts after this one to catch up on what I made in 2011 and 2012 - which isn't much at all.