mellymell: (Default)
Jumping on the bandwagon here and since I need to get my thoughts in order on what's coming up for the next, oh, 5 months, I need to pull all this together now. Wedding sewing is taking priority (even though [ profile] branflake's wedding is not until November), so there won't be any new costumes except for perhaps what I can finish with minimal effort and purchasing of materials. Which basically means my list should look almost exactly like last year's.

I'm not going to make a wearing schedule just yet (or maybe even not ever). I'll figure that out once we get closer to time or wear whatever suits what's going on once I get there.

Things that are done and going for sure:
Arwen Blood Red gown
Arwen Dream gown
Pirate (though I might need to do some repairs to my corset, bones are poking out)

Things that are "almost" done:
POA Hermione (pink hoodie outfit): All I need is to dye my shirt, put my belt together and buy a wand and time turner.
Elseworld Batgirl - I still have a lot of work to do on this one, looking at it in list form, but not a lot of stuff I expect to be very time consuming and I have most all of the materials, so I'm still going to try to put it together.
Holyhead Harpies fan - I nearly forgot about this one, I don't think I ever picked up my shirt from [ profile] sailingwest, need some accessories but since I've not noticed a Harpies group mentioned this year, I might not bother (apart from the shirt being comfy geeky day wear).

Long shot maybes:
Arwen Angel gown - I think I've got everything I need for it squared away except the embroidery I'm doing for the neckline. It would just take putting it all together (it's even all cut out) and finishing the embroidery, which really is a lot of work I suppose.
Steampunk - I've got so many steampunkish jewelry parts and pieces, I could definitely make myself some accessories and I found some lovely stripey lightweight cotton in my stash that's begging to be a blouse or chemise. I'd also need a skirt/pants and possibly some shoes. I'd use my pirate corset/bodice for it.

Those long shot maybes will get no attention until all wedding sewing and the almost done costumes are completely done. I'm going for the Dave Ramsey "debt snowball" approach to my costuming this year. Pick off the smallest projects first and work up from there.

I know I want to do the parade with Arms of Middle Earth.
I'll probably want to go to the Evening at Bree, because I'm sure I'll see lots of ALEP folks there.
If Batgirl is done, I'll probably want to do the DC photoshoot.
I'm going to try to hook up with [ profile] amaz0n_princess for her video at some point.
I'll probably wind up at the Yule Ball.
Apart from that I'll probably find either writer's panels or costuming panels to fill my days.
The only "celebrities" I think I might want to see right now are Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick (of Venture Bros. creators/animators fame) and I'm not even sure what they're doing there yet (panel, signings, whatever?). If it's a panel, I'll go hear them talk, if it's signings, I could care less. But that's only after a very quick cursory glance over the guests as they stand now. I know, I know, Sean Austin, but I'm not going to kill myself to see him. Also, Stan Lee would be cool, but I can imagine how crowded any area he graces will be and I'm not such a fan as to put myself through that for him. Sorry, Stan.

Stark difference from last year's apprehension and "OMG what do I do?!" anxiety, eh? I think because last year fizzled into me not going, I'm a lot more casual about it this year. My roommates are squared away (which is nice to have worked out so easily this year) plus they're local and they're veterans, so we can probably coordinate beforehand and they can help direct me when I get confused. I just need to get my membership (yes, I'm a procrastinator and shall pay my share of procrastination tax in the form of rate hikes the longer I wait to get it). Then I need to start squirreling away money for it so I don't run into the same issue as last year.

ETA: Have acquired membership and procrastination tax has been paid. Pokes, friendly or otherwise, may cease... for now. ;)
mellymell: (Default)
So, I've scratched Celeborn from the list of Dragon*Con hopefuls. I just don't have the budget or time to get him done and I don't want to kill myself trying or cut corners on fabric. I've still got a lot of work to do on the Angel gown (which, honestly, if I had the budget to start on Celeborn, I'd be more than willing to set the Angel gown aside to work on him). Celeborn isn't getting scratched from the list forever though, I promise. He's just getting postponed a little. I'm hoping maybe some things will turn around monetarily and I can work on him later in the year and maybe have him done in time for the unofficial ALEP gathering in the Smokies next March. But what does that leave?

I'll continue working on the Angel gown, definitely.

I've got the Blood Red gown and the Dream gown ready to go, more or less (couple of minor things to do that no one will notice but me).

I've got pirate garb, though I still could use some boots or rather better boots. But I don't think I'll be able to afford it before Dragon*Con. My hat blank for the tricorner should be here today and all I'll have to do to it is tack it up and distress it. My new sword should be here later this week or early next. It's a replica of Elizabeth's sword from At World's End, and unfortunately, I'm starting to love her Chinese battle outfit.

I'm also thinking about throwing together a Hermione pink hoodie outfit. I've been wanting a pair of Golas anyway. ;)

So, that's 5 costumes, which is a decent number for me.

I could possibly put together a steampunk outfit as well, but it would require some more money and potentially some more sewing. So, I'll just have to wait and see on that one.

But the point is, I'm thinking about costumes again and I'm starting to feel some motivation to work towards finishing up the ones I've got up in the air. However, I'm a little irked every time I go into the office and see the mess Chris left in there months ago now and hasn't cleaned up. He decided to pull all of his boxes of computer stuff out of the closet and go through them to weed out stuff he doesn't want or need anymore. That's great, except he left it all where it was and I have no idea what's keep and what's throw/give away. So, I can't really do much about it other than just pack it all back up and put it back in the closet. Since he's willing to get rid of so much of it, I really don't want to do that, in the interest of more storage space in there. I guess it's a good thing we're not going anywhere this weekend. I might will just make him get up there this weekend and help me clean it up. ;)
mellymell: (Default)
Last week, I had a dream just before I woke up. I dreamt I put my Dream gown and Blood Red gown in a charity auction of some sort, certain they wouldn't sell for some reason, but curious as to what response they'd get. I left where ever it was I dropped them off at and went to another part of the building (I think I was working on the event or a related one in the same building). Then, in talking to someone (no one recognizable), they assured me they would sell and that if I didn't actually want to lose them, I should go pull them out of the auction. About that time, I went back to where I had dropped them off, only to find sold signs on each of them. The Dream gown for $27 and the Blood Red gown for $50 (I remembered the totals specifically for some reason). I remember saying to someone who seemed in charge, something about how that wasn't enough so I was taking them. For some reason that was perfectly acceptable. Then I woke up.

Then, last night, I dreamt that Brandy's mom asked me to bring my costumes from childhood to Christmas Eve. But I don't have any of them, and I nearly woke up when I answered her to say I could bring my adulthood ones if she wanted to see them. It was a weird perspective though. She was talking to Brandy and it was like I answered from a distance. As in me in Nashville and her in Huntsville.

I think all this is telling me I should work on my costumes again, even if just for the few spare moments I can grab.
mellymell: (Default)
Since I've sworn off costuming and jewelry work until after the turn of the year (no matter how much I'm itching to fidget with the Angel gown on the dress form), I'm likely not going to finish anything else before December 31st. I don't think I made a public list of what I wanted to accomplish this year at last year's end and I'd probably only be embarrassed by the overly ambitious goals I'm sure I set for myself anyway. So, I'll just start this tradition now, since I actually managed to finish some costumes for once.

2008 Accomplishments )

2009 Wishlist )
mellymell: (Default)
All the sewing I needed to get done is done except handsewing the trim to the Blood Red gown. I'm taking that with me to work on as I plan to sit up with [ profile] sailingwest this evening on ghost watch. It took me about an hour to do one sleeve last night, so I'm sure I'll have it done in time to wear to the Hall of Fire on Friday night. The Blood Red overgown and Dream gown are in the wash right now. Holding my breath, knocking on wood and crossing all possible appendages that nothing tragic happens in the wash. I prewashed everything and even dyed the Dream gown myself, so I know the fabrics have taken a beating before becoming garments.

Between nerves in trying to get everything done and plenty of caffeine to keep me going, I'm pretty bouncy right now. Need to go jump in the shower, throw my stuff in a bag and run to the store to get some last minute things, then I'll be ready. I've never packed this much for a weekend trip in my life! Clearing the card on the camera so there's plenty of room. Promise to post a full report and pictures when I get back (probably Monday).

My Evenstar even arrived in the mail today. I took a minute to pull the bail off that it came with and made a more accurate one with some wire and Swarovski bicone beads I had on hand. Now I just have the box chain to replace and I'll be set.

Well, everyone have a good weekend!
mellymell: (Default)
So, I just tried on the Blood Red gown undergown and as it turns out, I'm going to have to let it out in the bust area if I want to zip it up and not risk ripping it. Some of the seams are already looking stressed from me trying to zip it up as is. I'm a sad panda that I've got to let it out. Examining the seams to see where I can get some extra room, I'm thinking that one of these days I'm going to buy some more navy habotai and maybe even more of the brocade and remake the stupid thing. It's so atrocious! At least you don't see most of it. I'm wondering if I've got any fabric scraps of this habotai that I could possibly use for a gore under the arms. If the overgown needs letting out as well, I've got plenty of seam allowance to work with. I'm working on hemming the overgown now. Or rather I was this morning and will be again after this lunch break. With all this extra work to do on this gown, I'm really glad I stopped working on the Angel gown. I'll still be doing well to have all of this stuff done.

To do list for the Blood Red gown:
  • Hem overgown

  • Insert zipper into side seam of overgown

  • Let out bust area of undergown

  • Move neckline higher on shoulders

  • Check fit on overgown and let out if necessary

  • Handsew trim to neckline and sleeves
  • - taking with me
  • Cover shoes in brocade and/or velvet to match dress (if there's time, I have black velvet slippers I can wear otherwise)
  • [Black slippers it is, one day I'll make these shoes, I swear. Probably about the same time I remake the undergown.]

To do list for Dream gown:
  • Reattach all panels on the one side seam that's just pinned

  • Finish hemming neckline, front two panels

  • Hem loose ends at top of all panels

  • Hem bottom of all panels

I think that's all. My work's cut out for me. Now back to it.

ETA: When I made a comment about apparently being fatter than last year since I'm having to let the bust area out on my Halloween costume from last year, Chris said: "That just means you have bigger breasts now. That's a good thing right?" Heh.
mellymell: (Default)
Just finished the Angel gown mockup. I only went through one revision of the overgown sleeves (needed to be wider than I originally thought). It really wasn't that bad with the petal wrap sleeve instructions on Alley Cat Scratch. I set in the sleeve and tried everything on and it looks good, though not nearly as drapey as the stretch knit is going to be. So, I'm having to imagine out the creases in some spots, but I think it's going to work well. I didn't even stay up all night to finish it (though I'm immediately going to bed after this). I feel like I'm back on track again, though still very much in crunch time.

Tomorrow, I cut the final out and get back on that embroidery. Still need to measure and see how much I need. I've got just 10 days until I leave for ALEP. EEEK! Was feeling good with all the progress I've made in the past three days until I looked at the calendar tonight to hammer out a costume to-do list. I may very well be sewing right up until I leave on Thursday.

After having cut down the center back line on these two mockups to insert seams/zippers and seeing all the fitting issues that ensued, I'm thinking about inserting the invisible zipper I wanted to put in my Blood Red overgown in the side seam instead. I think that will be much faster and will serve the purpose I need (easier to put on over the huge sleeves of the undergown). I'm going to skip the zipper on the Dream gown for now, since it fits over my head fairly easily. That will save some time. Still have lots of hemming to do on both of these gowns and had even discovered that one of the panels on the Dream gown is just safety pinned together. I've even worn it that way and didn't realize it. D'oh!

Pulled out my wrap shirt I was working on over a year ago. All it needs is the trim sewn on and a few snaps to close it and it's done. Thinking about finishing it up to take with me, since it looks quite elvish, but I'm not sure what I'd wear it with. Also, the hem on it is kind of atrocious. I was attempting to lengthen it for my long torso, but the hem is very curved and I didn't have my design curve then. That's one tool that's been a life saver! Anyway, it came out quite fluttery (not nice clean lines like I wanted) and still a bit too short. Maybe I'll just hang it back in the closet for another time.

Think I'll take my green corset and a couple of skirts and my chemise blouse for just a general hobbity/peasant outfit.

If I can get my paypal account problems worked out (it's locked right now, they suspected a third party accessed it so I've got some hoops to jump through to unlock it), I'm going to go ahead and get an Evenstar and I think I'm going to get one of those 40" wavy, dark brown wigs I've been eyeing for a while. I'm just not entirely happy with the wig I've got. If the codes I need don't come in the mail tomorrow, I might just use Chris' account.

My new copy of the Alan Lee illustrated Two Towers arrived yesterday. But I'm in so much crunch time on costumes that I really think I'm just going to give up on trying to reread The Lord of the Rings before ALEP. I got through Fellowship. Stupid booksellers. I would have finished this if the first copy I ordered hadn't gotten lost in the mail (supposedly).
mellymell: (Default)
So, the night before last, I finally finished the final fitting to that pesky zipper seam in the undergown. Last night, I reworked the sleeve for the undergown to make it more fitted in the bicep (to hopefully reduce bulkiness under the overgown sleeves). I set that in and tried on the dress with one sleeve and all is looking well. The sleeve pulls the neckline a little wider, which is what I wanted. Today, I'm hoping to get the short little cap sleeve for the lining dress cut out, fit and set in and start working on the fit for the overgown. If I can finish all but the overgown sleeve today (which I think is going to be tricky with that wrap and the fact that it's so long), I'll be happy. Then I can spend all of tomorrow working on that sleeve (which I think it will take at least an entire day and possibly several revisions). Then perhaps, just perhaps, I could actually cut out the final gown on Sunday. I'm really hoping that since I've been so painstaking with the fit on the muslin that the final gown will go very quickly with few if any adjustments to be made. This has been a problem in the past. I get tired of fussing with the muslin and just think, "it's close enough, I'll fix it on the final" and then spend twice as long messing with the final.

I'm starting to get into crunch time here. Just two weekends left before ALEP. Doubts of finishing are starting to keep me up at night. I've got things to do on the other costumes I'm taking, too. Hems on several things, a zipper to put in the Blood Red overgown, and I'd like to adjust the neckline on the Blood Red undergown (I think I set it too far down on the sleeves). Plus I've got trims to handsew on the Blood Red gown. Not to mention embroidery still to do for the Angel gown and all that beading for the edges (which actually I think will go quickly if I can do it how I'm thinking).

I might need to stay away from the computer for the next couple of weeks.
mellymell: (Default)
Our hillbilly themed booth at the National Homebrewers Conference was a hit. We even had genuine moonshine on hand for authenticity. A lot of the work we put into gathering props kind of got wasted. We were sharing a 10x10 space with another club that had as many kegs as we did (about 10), but luckily no food and no props. We spent time putting together a weathered looking sign out of a slat from our privacy fence and a piece of particle board. I got some black paint and sloppily painted some mountain peaks with smoke rising from them and the words Smokey Mountain Breakdown at the top. At the bottom corners, I painted banjo in one and a set of three moonshine jugs in the other. The idea was to use duct tape and cardboard scraps to make a list of the beers we had on tap at the time. The plan was to set it up in a paint can full of pea gravel, but the sign wound up not getting used. It wouldn't stay standing and couldn't really be seen from behind us. Not to mention the lights kept going out on it. I couldn't find any pink plastic flamingos, but did find some lights that looked like they might have been stolen off someone's RV trailer. I also picked up a small garden gnome, some really cheap and crappy looking silk flowers, and a small toy banjo and guitar. We had bluegrass blasting from an ipod the whole time (though you couldn't hear it much over the dull roar of the crowd on club night). Hickerson had picked up some fake beards for the guys (as in ZZ Top looking beards, down to their waists). He also snagged some toy riffles and a few extra corn cob pipes. Chris had gotten some straw hats and corn cob pipes as well. We all went barefoot and rolled up our jeans a bit. We actually didn't forget our camera for once. The only problem was, we forgot the batteries. I've only found one picture of us up on Flickr so far, though I know lots were taken (well, we posed for a lot anyway).
Here's the result )

A bunch of hillbilly (our club name is Antioch Sud Suckers). Top left is me of course, then moving right is Chris, Carl, Tom and Kyle is on the bottom row. I'm not sure where Hickerson was when this was taken. Possibly manning the booth while we ran around acting like idiots. In Carl's hand you can see the jar of moonshine. We had a piece of duct tape labeling it "Light American Lager". The jar was empty by the end of the night. We had a blast and are planning to go again next year, even though it's in San Francisco. We might not bother with a booth (trying to get props across the country would be nuts), but we'll at least attend.

Now, to focus on ALEP )
mellymell: (Default)
Well, I was sewing right up until about 6:30 last night and still have a little bit of trim to put on the neckline, but nothing was missing that anyone but me would notice. I've decided to insert a zipper in the overgown as well, it's quite difficult to get on, though not quite as hard to take off. At some point today I plan to add the last bit of trim and wear it again this weekend to the Drachenburg Folklore Festival Sunday. At that time, I'll get pics. Last night by the time I got dressed, it was just too dark. Eventually I want to use something else to sew this trim on. The metallic thread I used is very scratchy against my skin. In fact, I had little red marks on my arms where it rubbed. Other than that, it was fairly comfortable to wear, and perfect weather for it. I could see where if I tried to wear it in warmer weather it might be a little less comfortable. I'd like to get a different shaper to wear underneath too, maybe one of the one's with shorts at the bottom instead of just the skirt type one I have now. It tends to ride up and become uncomfortable and I find myself adjusting it frequently. I definitely want to put skirt hitches and probably even sleeve hitches in eventually as well, especially for things like trying to eat, or hold a squirmy infant.

After some trick-or-treating, we went to the Warner Parks to join up with some of the Tennessee Fellowship and Nashville Smial. They're a great group and very welcoming. I'm glad to live in a city where there are people that do things like this. In Huntsville, there just wasn't much outside of the SCA group and I was just never very interested in joining the SCA there. Marie, Kathryn and Rebecca I met a couple of weeks ago when we went to see Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Everyone else was new to me. Louis was wearing a chain maile shirt that he made himself that was really fantastic. They had a nice roaring fire going and lots of great food. Jonah was a big hit in his gnome costume. Chris got some pictures before we left the house. His entire outfit was thrown together yesterday evening. I was gluing his pointy hat at like 5pm or something. Hopefully someone will post the pictures they took from our gathering last night. As I was talking to Kathryn as we were leaving, she mentioned wanting to do something like this every year about this time, to kind of balance the year's events with the Ren Faire in May. I think it would be fantastic, especially if we could do it on a weekend to utilize some daylight hours for things like maybe a nice hike or something. The parks are really lovely, and bonus, they're like 2 or 3 miles from our house!

Steffany and Lilly came up as well. Lilly was dressed as Nagaina from Rikki Tikki Tavi. Steff did a fantastic job on a tough costume to accomplish. She used a baseball cap with styrofoam and covered it with black sequin fabric to make it look like a cobra's head. She put the little swirl markings that Nagaina had and painted some eyes on the top, then using pipe cleaners formed a forked tongue and attached it to the bottom of the bill of the hat. She wore a black leotard and Steff made a cape-like attachment out of the sequin fabric to look like a snake. Steff brought a corset and raided my closet to come up with a gypsy costume. She looked great, too! Chris wore a peasant-type shirt I made him a few years ago and the vest from our wedding. We threw together a "cloak" out of 3 yards of black silk velvet I had in my stash. It wasn't even hemmed, just a clasp at the neck and that's it. I had a hemmed piece of navy silk velvet to use as a cloak, but I never felt the need. I was quite comfortable in the dress itself.

We had a really fun time and even though there are still a couple of stray things to finish, I'm so glad to have this costume crossed off my list! Now, on to the Angel gown. . .
mellymell: (Default)
With just 2 days left before Halloween, I'm almost certain to finish my Blood Red gown in time. This morning I pulled out my old overgown to sew it together and check the fit. I intend to use it as a pattern for my new one (since my muslin is. . . well, I just don't trust it). I slipped on the undergown (which just needs the sleeves and trim sewn on and it's done) to try out the fit on the overgown. With the exception of needing a little extra fabric under the arms, specifically in the front, just to get closer to the correct angle from the neckline, the fit is perfect! It hugs every curve, which actually isn't a bad thing on me for once. And it's actually rather comfortable, though I could definitely use to tack the overgown in place once I'm completely finished. But after putting it on, I can't help but feel that perhaps I was a bit too hard on my velvet before and could have used it after all. But then, looking at the syfabrics stuff hanging in the closet, I just think I'm going to be happier in the long run with it rather than what I dyed.

So, I'm going to go make those adjustments and get my new overgown cut out and put together. Then I just need to measure the neckline to see how much bias tape I need to make from the brocade and get that done and sewn on, hem the overgown, and put the sleeves and trim on the undergown and I'm done. I just had to pause to post because I'm so incredibly excited about it! After two years, it's finally about to be done. In fact, I don't think I'm going to be able to sleep tonight until I finish it. Which is probably good since I could use tomorrow to get Jonah's costume together and possibly make some accessories for myself (I have a pair of kung fu shoes I wanted to recover in the brocade to match, and possibly make a bag to go with it out of scraps of the velvet and brocade). A trial run of my elf ears, make-up and wig would be a good idea as well. If I have all of tomorrow and most of Wednesday to do those things, I think I'll be in great shape.

Even once it's finished for Halloween though, I still have a couple of things I'd like to do for it. One: I'd like to embroider trim from the pattern on the actual gown (using the sketches Jess was so kind to share). The trim I'm using is lovely, but I don't have enough to go completely around the neckline (I'm using some bullion appliqués to fill in the void in the back). Two: I'd like to line the sleeves, just an added something to make it that much closer to the original. If I get those things done in time for A Long Expected Party next year, I'll be extraordinarily happy. Photos when it's done. :]
mellymell: (Default)
Still plugging away on the Blood Red gown, though I haven't made as much progress as I'd like, I'm still making progress and that's really what's important to me right now. Regardless, I'm not letting the looming date of Halloween put me in a frenzy of sewing where I'll compromise quality to have it done, as I have with this gown before. I've had to undo so much that I did wrong because of that before. All in all, I'm going to be much happier with the result this time than I would have been had I finished it in a hurry two years ago.

Unfortunately, I haven't made any forward motion on gathering items for Jonah's costume either, though. I need to pick a day next week to drag him around town to do just that. Luckily there's a strip of Charlotte Pike that has like 3 or 4 thrift stores within a mile or two of each other and I should be able to gather most of the stuff there. Other than that, a trip to Party City for some beard hair (wonder if the new one on Charlotte is open yet, that would be awesome) and a trip to Michael's or somewhere similar for some felt and that should do it.

Thursday night I joined some of the lovely ladies of the Nashville Smial of the Tolkien Society and the LOTR Tennessee Fellowship to see Elizabeth: The Golden Age. I would LOVE an opulent Elizabethan gown, but my skills are no where near there yet. Her armor was fantastic too! Definitely a drool worthy watch. It was fantastic to meet some of the local Tolkien fans as well. I look forward to so many more outings with them all!

I registered for A Long Expected Party and they'll be receiving my deposit check shortly. So now, I'm looking in my stash to see what pieces of costumes I have and what I can attempt to get done in the next year for that. I'd also like one or two outfits to wear to the Ren Faire in May that do not have trains (I couldn't bear dragging silks through all that dust and dirt, or if we're unlucky, mud). I've got one meager piece of the Chase outfit (just the lace for the collar, that still needs to be stripped of it's red and overdyed with grey). Another one I thought about was the Shieldmaiden. It's something I wouldn't have to wear a wig for which is fantastic, especially if it happens to be hot. And although I'd really love to have Galadriel's Mirror gown done by next September, I just don't see it happening, not within the budget I have to work with anyway. Perhaps if I get enough Christmas money to pay for the beaded/embroidered fabric from Bindu, I could pull it off. But then I'd want to make the crown and the brooch and such and I'm not sure my soldering and cutting skills will be up to par. I think I could pull off the brooch, even already have the mother-of-pearl disc(s), but the crown intimidates me. I suppose I could always do without the crown for now though. I also have an "inspired by" idea that will turn out to look similar to the triad of Arwen jumper gowns in ROTK. I've got that overgown I dyed that turned out not dark enough for the Blood Red gown, but it really is a lovely shade of dark blue/navy with a purplish cast. Bindu has this gorgeous ivory/gold/silver brocade that I'd love to pair it with and Dinesh has a lovely jacquard trim in similar colors that could be beaded. That same trim is what I thought I'd get if I decide to try a Starry Mantle. That would be another sort of simple Eowyn gown I could try to have done for ALEP. The Victory gown would be another trainless one to try, but not cheap and not easy (with those raglan sleeves). Of course there's the Refugee, but I've just never been very drawn to that one. As far as what I already have on hand, all I need are lining and trims for the Angel gown and it can be done. I think I might need more muslin as well, and that goes for anything I attempt unless I've already got a pattern worked out somewhere.

So, there's a lot of "maybes" in that list. I guess I need to look at what I really want, what I already have and what I think I can do and/or afford. I don't want to make a long list of unattainable goals. But first, to finish the one at hand. . .
mellymell: (Default)
In the interest of not getting too bogged down on the computer, I'll try to keep this short. . .

Of course Halloween is upon us, and once again, I'm attempting to finish my Blood Red gown. At least a lot of the work was already done. I did opt to scrap my overgown (will be used for an "inspired by" version using a gold/cream brocade for sleeves and a gold cream trim that I'll add faux pearls and other beads and maybe embroidery to, at a much later date). I've got some of the syfabrics navy silk velvet that everyone else has used on the way. Although more work for me, there's good news in that I have to take in the undergown pretty much everywhere. I started working out daily (well, weekdays at least) the first week of September and in that month lost 4 inches from my hips, 2 from my waist and 2 from my bust, also lost 2 inches in bicep girth (speaking of, I need to hurry this up and stretch and run my mile for the day before Jonah passes out on me for his morning nap). I still have a lot of work to do on myself, but I'm making good progress. I guess it's better to have to take something in than let it out (especially since I had already trimmed the seam allowances and there's no way it could be let out without adding extra fabric, which I don't have). I put together the sleeves yesterday and am still so enamored with that brocade from Bindu. I'll be plowing forward on it today, after my run. If I have the undergown done by the end of the week, I'll be ecstatic.

Anyone remember the cartoon David the Gnome? Guess what Jonah's going to be for Halloween, heh. I think I can find most everything in store bought clothes (hitting up thrift stores for a blue coat, or even one I could dye the right color and brown pants). We've got a pair of shoes I think could work, I just need to color them tan. I have a black leather narrow belt I never wear that I can cut down to size easy enough and probably find a little buckle somewhere (come to think of it, the 1.5" gold ones we used on the groomsmen's vests for our wedding would be perfect, and those were at Hancock's). Then just make a red pointy hat out of felt with some starch to it, add an elastic chinstrap to keep it on and maybe even attach the beard to the chin strap so it's all one piece and maybe a bit more comfortable too. I wouldn't even think of trying to use any adhesives, that's for sure! Find a large stuffed fox to work as Swift, and there you have it, our 10-month-old son as David the Gnome. He's probably going to hate me for this one day. I originally thought a hobbit, but that can wait until he's bigger, maybe next year.

My wrap shirt is still in progress as well, though so freaking close to finished. I stopped working on it to put away all my sewing stuff when we were hosting a brew day back in the last weekend of August. Unfortunately, I didn't drag my sewing stuff back out. Fortunately, I worked on the office enough in the month of September that I can sew in there now, meaning that unless people are spending the night here (it's also our guest bedroom), I don't have to put everything away when people come over now. Unfortunately, the shirt too is subject to some sizing issues now that I've lost some inches (don't have a scale so I don't know if I've lost weight) but for the most part I think I can take it in at the shoulders on the front panels and fix all the fitting issues. It's just a matter of doing it. Then once I get that done, I need to put in the neckline and the sleeves, then sew the trim on and it's done.

Well, before I waste anymore time away from my sewing machine and the many other things I'm juggling right now, time to get off the computer and get something tangible accomplished.
mellymell: (Default)
Ok, so over the years I've searched and searched and searched for brocades suitable for the Blood Red sleeves. I bought a few that I thought would work, but ultimately none of them satisfied I even tried overdyeing and handpainting one, but just wound up ruining what was once a beautiful piece of fabric.

So, I've been watching this fabric on Bindu's site that first caught my eye over a year ago. The pictures looked right, but I couldn't be sure until I saw it in person. I finally have a sewing budget again and was able to get some this month. I bought two yards of it last week and it arrived today.

IT'S GORGEOUS! I pulled it out of the package and I just went breathless, I almost hugged it! I'm going to get it washed and take some pics and I can't wait to get started on my Blood Red gown again. If anyone else is interested, here it is. It looks a little orange and/or pink in the pics there (at least on my monitor), but it's just perfect in person.

In other news, the wrap shirt is going well. I just have one sleeve to hem, the shirt to hem and the neckline to put in. Then, I'll wash the garment to get all the markings off and sew on the trim and it'll be done, at last. Then, I think I'll start in on the Blood Red gown again.
mellymell: (Default)
Sewing is a LOT more fun without a looming deadline. I used to sew for a specific event or holiday, making unrealistic goals and rarely if ever meeting them. It was a vicious cycle that just made me feel defeated all the time. But lately, I've been working steadily on a mockup for this blouse, all without a deadline, or even a personal goal, for completion. It's hard to fight the urge to say, "I'd like to have this done by the end of the week" or something, but I am for now and it seems to keep me a little more productive on it. This is the only aspect of my life that I know of where I do better without being pressed against a deadline or goal. In everything else, I feel like I work even better when I've got a little pressure from a completion goal.

As I mentioned I'm working on what I was calling the kimono shirt. That's what pyramid collection called their original, and the pattern I picked out to replicate it has a woman holding a bamboo parasol on the front. But the shirt is nothing like a kimono. Really, I think I'd call it a petal wrap shirt if anything. The more I work on it, the more it evolves into an elven style. It's going well. I need to widen the neckband to accommodate the trim I decided to use, take in the back collar seam about 1/2", lengthen the front panels at the center front line. . . again (third time). I swear, I really do need to stop all other projects and get my dress form altered once and for all. Commercial patterns just don't accommodate for torsos as long as mine. And for as many times as I've altered this pattern in all sorts of places, I could have just draped it to begin with.

I had some trouble deciding on sleeves, too. I mocked up a two part sleeve, kind of like a simplified Arwen-type sleeve, and I tried taking the same triangle shaped piece I used for the lower sleeve on that as the entire sleeve. I like them both, but since I have two fabrics to utilize in this version, I decided to go with the two part. I promised myself I'd revisit it with perhaps a burnout velvet or a lightweight fabric like an embroidered chiffon or something for the one part sleeves. About a week ago I dyed some paisley jacquard that I've had for this shirt forever. The color came out beautifully, though it could have been just a tad darker. I used 2oz. of orchid and probably close to 1oz of lavender dyes (fiber reactive dye powder from Dharma Trading). While it was wet, I was concerned about it being too bright. The whole time it was in the dryer, I was fretting that I'd have to buy more dye and do this all over again, but it turned out lovely.

Once I finish this mockup, I might go ahead and mockup a skirt idea I have to go with it. It's a petal wrap skirt, long and full, and will use up another 4 yards of silk velvet out of my stash that wasn't intended for another project. I might actually be able to fit all my fabric in one box soon. Which means I need to buy some more fabric, heh. Once these two projects are done, I'm going to pull out my Blood Red gown again and see what I can salvage. I looked at the red velvet the other day and forgot how much I loved the color. The navy velvet I think will get replaced, and since it's already cut into the shape of the jumper, I'll just have to do an "inspired by" outfit with it. I happened to have a swatch of the syfabrics navy velvet and compared the two and I just can't say I'd be satisfied keeping the stuff I dyed. Kinda sad, but oh well. The color I got is lovely, just not dark enough for the gown. And if I tried to dye it again, I'm afraid my pieces would fray into nothing (or at least parts of them would, like the shoulder area where there's not much to begin with). Bindu has a gorgeous paisley brocade on her website that I might just have to spend part of this month's sewing budget on.

The past couple of days, I've been doing a lot of sketching. I keep having ideas pop into my head for everyday clothes. I've got three pages of sketches, front and back, shirts, coats, skirts, and I have some ideas I haven't started exploring yet for pants. Oddly enough, all of it looks like it came out of an elf's closet. Maybe that's not odd for me.

I just realized how long it's been since I posted and what I posted about last. So to update, I finished Jonah's drapes. They're awesome, nice and dark and full. I also worked on the Chase lace redye, but to no avail. I got it a slightly lighter shade of red. Kind of a mauve now, but still not light enough to dye. Part of the rest of this month's sewing budget will go for more color remover. I tried 1 box in a plastic tub in the sink with the hottest tap water I could get plus 2 liters of boiling water. Nothing. Then I tried two boxes in the smallest load my washing machine will do with the hottest tap water I could get plus 2 liters of boiling water. That's what got me to mauve.
mellymell: (Default)
Last week, I was determined to get these drapes done. I have finished them all but the bottom hem. I'm still working with the rolled hem foot, trying to get the hang of that. I hope to finish them today. I'm going to redo the one I had already finished. It's just too sloppy for me to be happy with it. I keep thinking about just doing a regular half inch hem, but I'm really trying to practice this rolled hem since there are so many things I'd like to use it on. I really need to learn it and the best way is just to keep trying. The only problem is, it seems like if I get a lot of sewing done, the housework suffers. I've got to figure out how to make time for both.

So, now that the sewing bug has bitten again, and while Jonah is still content to sit in his high chair across the kitchen table from me and watch me sew, I've been thinking about what's next, when the drapes are done. I have a couple of unfinished projects and several that never got started that I have most of the materials for.

The one that comes to mind first is the Blood Red gown, but I'm considering replacing some of my materials on that and I'd like to keep from having to buy anything just yet.

I still have a hem to put on the Dream gown, another rolled hem project to get some more practice.

I also have a shirt I had planned to make, but I think I might need some lining fabric for it.

I contemplated continuing on with the drapes and doing the navy velvet ones for Jonah's room. I have to check and see how that looks with the valances that came with his bedding set. I think it might be a good way to tie the set in with the upholstery, but I'm also afraid it might be too much dark, heavy fabric for such a small room.

Aside from all that, there are our kitchen chairs that need new cushions. I have the old ones to make a pattern from and I can even reuse the foam. But I've been waiting because I wanted to do each chair in a different color of dupioni and the stuff is just a little expensive to buy on a whim. But Discount Fabric USA has a sale going on until Friday. I think all their dupioni is $12/yd. They have tons of colors, several that I was looking at getting for this. I'm also still on the hunt for a good red/black cross dye for the dining room drapes, but I might wait until we get a table and chairs for in there, since I might want to recover cushions to match (the table we like has navy cushions and the room is yellow, gold and red).

I think I might try to do Jonah's drapes next. I really felt out of practice when I started these and I'm already feeling a lot more comfortable, so more drapes would be more easy work to get me back into the swing of things. Plus, I'd really not like to start anything wearable until I finally alter my dress form cover. I never got around to that and I really think that was a lot of my problem. Maybe that'll be my next project.

Oh, and another thing, syfabrics has restocked their silk velvet! They've got the navy again, also the white as well as a ton of new colors including a deep rose that I think would be gorgeous for the Rose gown and a gorgeous deep red that I love despite not having a project for it. It's a little more expensive than I remember it being (like maybe $1 or so more per yard), but it's still one of the cheapest places I've seen for silk velvet.

Well, off to throw some laundry in and finish these drapes. See, balance. ;]
mellymell: (looking up)
Still busy with everything but sewing. Since Jonah was born, I've had time to sew exactly one hem down the side of one drapery panel for our bedroom. There's just so much else that seems to come first.

I've been mostly gardening lately, as far as enjoyable work is concerned. We rented a Mantis tiller from Home Depot back in February or March and cut three new beds in back and extended the one in the front by about 10 feet. We've since filled the front bed with 4 flats of annuals (2 impatiens and 2 petunias), replanted the liriope that was already there, planted some gorgeous cannas and bulbs for daylilies and caladiums that are just peeking out of the ground.

In the back we built a two level raised bed for our veggies. Still have to plant squash, zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers and some melons, but so far we've got 9 peppers and 9 tomatoes (each a different variety) planted and thriving. We're trying out a method called square foot gardening where you plant a crop in each square foot of the plot. We have three 4'x4' plots we're working with. I've never tried it, so we'll have to see how it goes.

Another one of the beds we're going to fill with sunflowers so there will be a long row along the fence blocking the view into the neighbors' yard. And the last garden for this year, we're going to fill with more cannas and a bunch of cosmos that match the colors we painted in the dining room (red and yellow-gold), since it is just under the big double window in there.

So, suffice it to say that every spare moment I get, I spend it with my hands in the dirt somewhere. It's a hobby I had to put off for the past 4 years or so while we lived in the woods and had little to no sun to work with. But of course we had the beauty of the woods, so I didn't feel the need to garden as much. It's also something I can do with Jonah by my side. I put him in his bouncy seat in a shady spot and he's content to watch me, or the birds, or whatever.

I've decided against using the navy cotton velvet I have for a starry mantle, though I might still bead it with some starry looking beads or something and use it as drapes in Jonah's room. In looking at the pictures again, I'm convinced the original is a wool, not a velvet. Not to mention I never could get this velvet to soften it's drape much more. It's soft now, but still breaks in angles more than it needs to. But I did find a great trim for it. You guessed it, Heritage Trading. There's a gorgeous cream and gold brocade sari trim he's got. I have a couple of yards of the same pattern in a red almost magenta with gold. It's a bit too wide as is, but I would consider just using the middle of the trim and either cutting off the borders for use on something else or just tucking them under as a hem allowance.

Still eyeing a paisley brocade for the Blood Red gown. I'm just not happy with what I did, despite the hours of hand painting it. It's too rough looking. I wasted a lot of time in the wrong directions on that gown. Live and learn I guess. I've got a little bit of birthday money left and I might try to go ahead and buy the fabric and see if I can squeeze in that project somewhere soon.

I think the yard is just about done, so maybe I can focus on other hobbies for a while. I've done absolutely zero jewelry work since I left Huntsville. The Tennessee Ren Faire is going on right now until the first weekend in June. I'm fairly certain I'll have nothing interesting to wear to it, but I might go anyway, since it's just across town.
mellymell: (looking up)
Has it really been almost two months since I posted?! So, what's happened since I last wrote? Lots! Jonah is so much fun. I think I'm finally getting the hang of this mom stuff. But I'm relishing this time because I know it's about to get a lot harder as he starts to move around and such. He's actually pretty easy right now. I have anywhere from 4-6 hours during the day to get stuff done while he sleeps. And some nights he passes out at 6pm or so and doesn't wake up until maybe midnight or later.

I'm mostly spending any extra time I have right now trying to finish up painting projects, mostly touching up in several rooms. The theory is that I've got this stack of paint cans in the living room that need to be put away, so I'm using my desire to get rid of them to wrap up all the painting.

It occurred to me the other day that I've got roughly 4 yards of 60" wide navy blue cotton velvet leftover from the rocking chair Chris' mom had re-upholstered for us. And it hit me. . . Starry Mantle! I just grabbed it to check the length and such and I think it's perfect! A little stiff right now since it's upholstery weight, but I think I can beat some softness into it. I've got it in the washing machine in a warm wash along with my slippers and my Teva sandals. I prewashed it in synthrapol before I sent it to the upholstery place, but I'm just using regular detergent this time. I figure I'll keep running it through washer/dryer cycles until I think it's soft and drapey. Like interior designer Sera Hersham Loftus says, "fabrics look better when they've had the newness beaten out of them."

Aside from that I may have found a better brocade for the Blood Red gown and I'm thinking about getting a yard or two of it to try to start that project again, and maybe actually finish it this time. I've got some different trim to try too, that I bought around the time of the wedding last year, I think.

Speaking of costumes, Chris bought a 42" LCD monitor for the den with his Christmas bonus. We moved the server I was using for a desktop machine down there as well. So now, I'm using a 42" monitor. :] But I went to look through some of my reference images the other day and I'm amazed at the detail I can see in even poor quality images at this size. And the ones we've taken with our 5 megapixel camera are amazing! Like the one I made this icon from, I can see the tiny hairs on the flower and leaves (on the full size image that is). It's funny, I'm getting a lot more jokes on The Simpsons because I'm able to read text in the background, heh. Like the other day they were in the attic looking for something and behind them was a box of Simpson and Son's Revitalizing Tonic. Fun stuff!

Oh, and the burnout silk velvet I bought in January turned out to be totally different than I expected. I thought it was lavender and olive green vines on a periwinkle background. Turns out, it was a navy background. It looked terrible in the living room. However, I carried it upstairs to our master bedroom and it matches our bedspread as though it were made for it. I've got those panels cut and hanging on the windows with thumbtacks for now, just to see how they'll look. I've been waiting for the weather to warm up enough to spray paint some drapery hardware. I might go ahead and try to hem the panels this week. The weather is supposed to be nice so I might find a day or two where I can spray the hardware and get them up. We finally replaced the ceiling fan in there yesterday. I need to make some beaded pulls for that as well as some tiebacks for the drapes. And yesterday at Marshall's we found a couple of end tables. They were perfect size and shape, but the tops are covered in red pleather, not exactly a match for our blue and brown bedroom. But, I think I'm going to find some brown faux leather and recover them. For as cheap as they were, I don't mind doctoring them up to make them fit in.

I've got a massive list of things I want to do around here, but I figure there's no hurry. It's likely we'll be in this house for the next 10 years or so. As if the interior stuff isn't enough, there's gardening and such to be done as well (we're starting some seeds indoors right now). I told Chris last weekend that he's not allowed to watch HGTV and DIY on the weekends anymore, heh.
mellymell: (looking up)
*yawn* I didn't get home until 11pm last night. Couple that with the awful sleep I've been getting lately and I'm one tired cuckoo. Went to Pat's house (my volunteer wedding coordinator) to work on wedding day schedules (when people need to get there, list of things to be done and in what order, when the vendors are showing up, how people will walk in/out for the ceremony, etc.). When I left the house, I thought, 2-3 hours would do it. Over four hours later, I was on my way back home. *sigh* I suppose we got a fair amount of loose ends tied up and details worked out though.

I got my trim yesterday as well. It's very narrow. I'm skeptical on how well it's going to work, but it's so pretty! I'm wondering if I could put it on something just a bit wider perhaps (like 1/2" wider) and make it look a little bigger. I don't know, we'll see. I'll just have to play with it after the wedding and see what I can do.

Today I ordered the buttons, cording and some lovely hand dyed silk ribbon from M&J to finish up the embellishments on the wedding gown. I want to try to have everything ready for that stuff by the time it gets here (in other words, finish up the beading and get the trims on the gown). Since they only use UPS, it'll be at least a week. I still need buttons, snaps and buckles for the vests. I'll probably run to Handcock's tomorrow or something. On the lookout for some fabric to drape off the mantles, too. Otherwise, I'll be stuck with the horrid looking pale yellow table runners Pat and Martha had planned to use. Oh, and a shirt for the ring bearer. I'm thinking anything I need to order should be done this week, just in case, you know, shipping snafus.

I keep forgetting to size our fingers for wedding rings. My sizer is at home, but I always think to order rings at work. The plan is to buy sterling silver ones for now (since the ones I want only come in silver or yellow gold). Then, after the wedding, I'll start working with metalsmithing and get some white gold bezel and remake them. Might be 6 months before I feel comfortable doing it, but at least we'll have the rings we want, and even better, they'll be made by me. I'm not sure why the jeweler doesn't work in white gold, but she doesn't. And that way, we can take all the "artsy" rings on the hands pictures and you really won't be able to tell they're not the finals (since they'll look exactly the same).

Oh, and Maggie, you'll be happy to know, we're actually going to do the "To a whale of a wife" groom's cake, complete with Sunday Best Homer and Marge figures on top. Marge is on the way and the Homer auction ends this week (*fingers crossed*). I found a screen cap, I just need to meet with our baker again and make sure she can do it (I'm sure she can though).
mellymell: (blood red gown)
Ok, so I REALLY shouldn't do this, but I'm finding it extremely hard to resist. I've been watching this trim in Dinesh's inventory for months now. Pretty much ever since he started putting up new auctions again at the beginning of the year. My thoughts were, though it's a little more narrow than I'd like (1.5" wide instead of 2"), I think it's a really nice trim for the Blood Red gown. It's got the right kind of shapes and colors, that's for sure.

I've got this great trim from Suomynona Couture, the same trim that Maggie used on hers, that I was using, even cut it to shape and all, in fact I think it's already sewn to the sleeves. But I'm about 4"-6" short on it because it was the last piece she had and I've been trying to find anything to fill the gap. I even bought some paisley shaped bullion appliqués, but they were all just a little too small and didn't seem to blend well with the trim I had (it being overdyed and "vintage" so it's got that washed, used look and the appliqués being brand new and sparkly). Sure I could age them and probably make it work, but something about it was just unsatisfying.

So, finally, yesterday, I got this feeling of urgency. Since I've been watching this trim for so long, seeing piece after piece get bought up and a new one relisted, I felt Dinesh had to be getting low on it, or would be soon. So I emailed him on the latest auction (listed above) and asked how much he had left. He's got 6 pieces, I'm guessing that includes the one listed. So I asked him if I won the one that's listed if I could get a second piece in the same order. The piece of trim I originally bought was 60" and was too short. These are 58" and so I'd need two pieces to cover what I need. So, he emails back and says, "why don't I just sell you two pieces out right without having to mess with an auction for $48+$5.98 S&H". So, I told him send me an invoice, I'll take them. *sigh* I'm really feeling like I shouldn't have, but I feared if I waited until after the wedding, he might not have any left (on average, he sells a piece of this stuff every week or so, I've never seen a piece of it that went up for auction not get at least one bid). Guilty conscience for sure. But on the plus side, I paid the same amount for the 60" piece from Suomynona Couture and I'm getting nearly twice that much from Dinesh. Yeah, trying to make myself feel better for spending $50 on something not wedding related when we still have so much to spend on the wedding. *sigh*

So, if anyone else is interested, that leaves 4 pieces still available. A smaller person might be able to get away with a single piece of it, too. And once I'm done with mine, unless I find something interesting to do with it, I'll have extra I'd be willing to part with. As soon as the wedding is over, I plan to get back to work on this gown. I'm feeling ready to do it now. I'm so close too, it's just ridiculous. I'd like to have it done to maybe go to GARF and/or Dragon*Con.


mellymell: (Default)

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