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)
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)
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: (dream gown)
Sucks living on the sunrise side of a small mountain in the winter. You lose usable sunlight by 2:30pm or so. So, I didn't get out in decent sunlight. But by the time I did get out, Mogwai, our cat, came running up to the front door and we quickly realized he had a mole in his mouth. We wouldn't let him in the front door (we were standing outside on the front step), so what did he do? Jumped to the deck and before Chris could get inside and shut the dog door, ran in the house with a live mole in his mouth. *sigh* 30 minutes later, between Mogwai and myself, we got it corralled into a dust pan and I tossed it outside.

So, I got all of like 5 blurry pics of me in my costume. We'll try again tomorrow, but in the meantime, here are the pics for what they're worth.
mellymell: (dream gown)
Oh, why don't I just lay down and die! )

I'll definitely have to get some better ones. A scan of an already poor quality pic. But aren't Janice and Sarah's costumes great?!
mellymell: (dream gown)
Well, I'm back. The overnight was great fun! I wore my unhemmed Dream gown. It was a good thing because the museum was rather warm. I had taken my mantle to wear with it and wound up taking it off while waiting in line to get into the IMAX movie. We had PLENTY of time to hang out in the exhibit and really take our time with each piece.

My trip, rather long )
mellymell: (gaia's jewel)
I just ordered 10 watch faces and findings for Christmas presents. When they get here, I get to inventory my bead stash and order more stuff, yah! I've come up with a color and style scheme for each person on my list and I'll need to fill in the blanks where my current collection may be lacking. I've got 5 pocket watches to make, 2 bracelet watches (one will double as a charm bracelet) and 3 pendant/necklace watches (10 watches in all). That'll leave maybe 5 people on my list that will get other things. I've been saying I was going to make watches for people for 3 years now. Next year, I'm going to be at a loss.

Yep, Thanksgiving's over, so now I can think about Christmas without a disgusted sigh. We'll probably go get a tree this weekend and start decorating. I'm looking forward to it this year.

I spent the long weekend doing very small things on my Blood Red gown, mantle and Dream gown and working on refinishing a water stain in our hardwood floors in the study (thanks to our cat, Mogwai).

I ripped the sleeves out of my undergown because I've decided two things were wrong with them. One, they're bunched/gathered too much at the sleeve cap and I want the seam flatter there. Two, I need more forward movement (didn't have a problem with the mockup, but the velvet sleeves are heavier, not sure if that has anything to do with it). So, I"m going to make the armscye smaller and add a strip of fabric to the back to help remedy that.

I also got two of four hems in the neckline of my Dream gown (the back two layers). They're nearly invisible. I just did a narrow hem, but after ironing and such, it flattened out so nice, I can't really tell it's there.

I also started pinning under the edges of the trim for my mantle. Sounds like I've been busy, but really, it's just a bunch of little things.

Last night, I started sketching out a design for my headpiece for the wedding. I've decided instead of making a replica of the ever recognizable Butterfly crown, that I'll save all that PMC work for later when there's not a deadline. Instead, I want to take some aspects of that, and the line design that's on Hadhafang and make something out of all wire and bezel stripping that might not look so heavy. I'm taking the center front piece of the Butterfly crown and incorporating it into the lines of the Hadhafang design. Then I'll find some key places to put the beaded strands. I've got four very small amethyst crystals that I bought over a year ago to wrap with wire into tiny drops for the head piece. It's been fun to work on thus far. I've got these little paddle pins that the ends look like leaves that I want to incorporate into the design, too.

I'm starting to think more on the wedding gown and I'm going to really follow the pattern I have, maybe only changing the sleeves and adding some open back lacing. I found out with the Blood Red undergown that princess seams really flatter my figure. I'll probably wait until after Christmas to start the mockup on that.

Not sure when we'll get the crinkle metallic stuff in for the Angel gown, but it's all paid for as far as I know.

Yeah, I've got a touch of that costume A.D.D. that's going around. ;]
mellymell: (moonfairy)
K, so after just leaving it sitting for weeks and weeks, I finally worked on the dream gown again this weekend. All I have left is to finish getting the invisible zipper in and hem. Really trying to get it done before we leave on Friday. I want a clean project plate when I get back so I can get started on the Blood Red gown and Chris' Council Velvet.

Speaking of, I finished sketches on the Council Velvet this weekend and submitted for the fiance's approval. The more I look at them, the more I want to make something similar for the wedding for him.

Figured out about what size buttons to use on the surcoat and how many I need (4). I think I'm going to buy 4 moonstone cabs (about 10x6 mm) and set them in an oval bezel setting, then solder a sterling jump ring on the back (a really small, like 1-2mm one). I looked at only a couple of sites, but all they had in the way of glass or translucent buttons either had flowers on them or weren't the right color or shape. You would think oval clear/translucent buttons wouldn't be that hard to find. The buttons are going to cost me about $15. But, I thought, moonstone, being the "traveler's stone" would be an excellent choice for a Ranger's nice garb.

I've been avoiding studying the yoke decoration on it. I know it's going to take long hours of squinting and sketching to get it and even then, it'll probably not be accurate.

Still on the search for a strider belt and boots. I emailed the guy (Matt) who had the incredible Strider costume to find out where he got his and if he has suggestions on them. I'm not opposed to making the belt, but I don't want to mess with boot wraps or anything like that.
mellymell: (moonfairy)
Yah! The shoes I got a few weeks back on ebay came today! They're considerably more grey in person than they appeared on the listing, but they were listed as grey after all. They look fabulous though! They're a slate blue-grey satin looking material with metallic blue embroidery, clear seed beads with blue centers, and iridescent sequins. There's even embroidery on the sole. Beautiful work. The soles and structure of the shoes are leather. There's a tiny 1/2" padded heel on them. Now to break them in. Wonder if some leather oil would help.

Worked much more on the Dream gown today. I've got the shoulders all done and starting work on the zipper. Then all that'll be left is the other side seam and hemming for the rest of my life. I'm thinking about being lazy and leaving the selvage edges as they are. That would mean I'd only have to hem the top and bottom. Any thoughts?
mellymell: (dream gown)
Work has been complete hell this week, so I've been trying to take it kind of easy at home. Almost got the dishes caught up and have vowed to never allow Chris to do dishes again. They either a) never get clean on the first run through or b) are consistently put away in totally wrong places. Yeah, I'm nit-picky, but I hate trying to find things. I also hate realizing something's in the dishwasher, only to open it and notice everything has been crammed in and nothing is clean. *sigh* You'd think I'd be used to it after 5 years. ;]

I have worked some on the Dream gown this week. Mostly 30 minutes here or there. Not much to report, and I'm sad that it's taking me so long for such a simple dress. I guess I really am taking my time at it though. I'm just ready to move on to the next thing I guess. So looking forward to that Blood Red gown next!! Hoping to at least get to start on the mockup before we leave for the west.

Chris will have to work some this weekend, he's way behind on a project that should have been done for work. He's taking the same kind of attitude I'm taking with my dress I think. Then there were two programmers who switched from Windows to Linux during this project, and Chris, being one of only two Linux users here (the other being on vacation at the time), was bombarded by questions from these guys. Puts a big kink in projects when you have to spend a week helping people set up their boxes.

Anyway, he gets to work from home, incidently in the same room where I'll be working on my gown (our office/hobby room). So we'll be productive and get to spend quality time together this weekend (heh, as if we spend so many hours apart, he works across the room from me at both work and home).
mellymell: (dream gown)
I pulled apart the basting I had done since the fitting wasn't working out the same with the outer layer on. I refit the under layer first, then the over layer. I steamed the fabric so that it would hang right. I wish I would have taken pics last night before I packed it up for bed because this morning it was wrinkled of course and not quite as flowy. This gown looks and feels awesome freshly steamed.

Pics start here and run to the end of the gallery. These pics are kinda crappy quality since Chris' parents have the huge memory card and so we're just using the built in memory on the camera. Can hold like 15 pics at kinda crappy quality. Most of them seem washed out to me.

I really like the look of the two layers together. I never thought it would make that much of a difference, but it really does. I'm considering just attaching the outer back panel under the arm and only sewing it into the seam for a few inches (maybe 4 inches or so). Looking at this ref pic, it seems as though the back panel hangs rather freely, and that's not something I'm going to get from attaching it all the way down the side. I'll baste it that way and see how it looks.

Also, as I threw the outer front panel over the back to fit the front, it hung about the same distance below the outer back panel that the outer back hung from the inner back (if that makes sense). It made sort of a graduated effect (each panel slightly longer than the last). I stood and looked at it for a minute and I kind of liked it like that. Then I thought, this gown would look awesome with a lightweight cloak or mantle!! So, now I know what my fall project will be. :] I found a printed cut velvet in my thai silks swatches that I thought would be perfect, but unfortunately it's not on their site anymore.

Now, what's left to do is baste it together to try it on, adjust any fitting issues that remain and sew up the side seams permanently, then get to work on that hemming practice so I can call this gown done in the next week or so.

I've decided to stop putting deadlines on myself because it only gets me stressed out when I don't meet my own expectations. And this is my hobby, something I should enjoy doing, not get stressed over. I've got enough stress at work with deadlines set by others. Don't need it at home when I'm doing the stuff that's supposed to help relieve my stress. The only deadline I'm putting on myself now is to try to get the Blood Red gown done in time for the October 14th Taste of New Zealand dinner. If I can get that and a Aragorn Council Velvet outfit done for my fiance by then, we can go eat shwanky foods and drink shwanky wines in our shwanky costumes. :P He agreed, but only if he was assured there would be someone else there in costume. I'm hoping someone else from the group decides to go. I told him I was going [in costume] regardless, even if I had to find someone else to dress up with me, heh. It would be pricey ($120 just for dinner for the two of us, plus lodging for at least a night and of course we couldn't go to Indy without stocking up on dank beer), but sooo much fun!
mellymell: (dream gown)
I got the outer layer attached last night. Working on fitting now. I'm about ready to just rip out the basted seams on the under layer. They're not helping, in fact, it's making it harder. I just need to pin everything together at once. Lots of work for a gown I took on as an "easy practice project". Oh well. Gotta learn somewhere, right? I really do like the look of the two layers now though. I'm going to love this thing when it's finally done!

Unfortunately, I can't leave the outer layer hanging there for any amount of time or my cats immediately attack it. With the ceiling fan on in the room, the chiffon blows quite a bit and they like to pretend there's something on the other side of the gown and attack through the fabric. I can just see kitty claws going through my gown and me fainting in panic. If I leave the room for ANYTHING, I have to drape both the front and back outer panels over the shoulders of my dress form. A little annoying, but better than returning to a shredded dress. They are, however, un-phased by the under layer. But, it doesn't drag the ground (more like ankle length, or maybe slightly higher).

Practiced more with the rolled hem foot last night. I started to work on a poly satin skirt that needed a hem. I got about 6 inches of decent looking hem before I gave up (and another 6 inches of crappy looking hem). I decided I wanted to keep working on the gown, ignoring the hems for now, so that I can get everything done except the hems while I practice more with the foot. Hoping it gets at least a little easier. I'm willing to accept that it's going to be hard work.
mellymell: (dream gown)
I swear, every time I sit down to work on this gown, I run into a brick wall. Either something's not working right, I need something else that I don't have, or something else happens that draws my attention away from it.

I spent Saturday doing yuck work around the house with Chris (cleaning out gutters before the "hurricane" hit, reattaching a duct under the house, redoing some insulation down there, running out a massive rat so he won't eat our brewing grain, etc.). So all the things I had planned for Saturday got pushed to Sunday, and half of those things just sort of fizzled into nothing.

So, Sunday, I spent a couple of hours just "getting to know" my sewing machine better. I've been trying to practice with my rolled hem foot so that I can use it for hemming this gown when I finally finish it, but I'm not having much luck. I just read something that might help me out that I'm going to go home and try tonight. Hopefully, it will work out better than what I've tried so far. I just can't get it to keep rolling like it should. The fabric keeps slipping out and flipping back to flat after a couple of inches. I read a site with some tricks and emailed Yvette at to see if she had any tips (since it was her pics from the Lavender Beaded Gown construction page I was using for reference yesterday and since she uses hers in combination with a zig-zag stitch for most of her hems to get that "fluttery effect). If anyone else has tips on using a rolled hem foot, I'm more than willing to try any advice at this point. I'm soon going to be ready to start endless hemming (8 yards of fabric!!) kinda wanted get the hang of it before I start tearing up my chiffon.

When I got frustrated with that, I just started playing around with scraps using the feet I haven't used before and trying out stitches I hadn't used. That was educational and kind of fun. Played with my double needle some, too.

On to the gown. . .

I started on the outer layer last night and, yet again, changed my mind on how I wanted to do it. Luckily, I haven't sewn my side seams yet, so it's easy enough to make alterations. I'm still working on getting slack out of the upper back. It's going to take altering the seams just under the arms to get that gap out of it, not just a simple take it in a half inch on each side at the shoulder straps. There's more of a gap than I thought there was. I'm finding myself in need of a full length mirror now for things like these. But taking in the shoulders is helping to keep it on my shoulders, rather than slipping off down my arm. I'm fighting a battle between my nit-pickiness and my laziness on this project. It would look just fine if I left it, but I'm not satisfied since it seems to go nice and straight across her back without any sagging there.

What I've decided to change, now that I've got the outer back panel pinned on, is to leave the two layers of flowy seam allowance there. First, I feel it drapes more vertically (if that makes sense) with the two layers there. It's still floaty like it should be, but hangs better with the extra weight of the second layer. Second, as if the first reason wasn't enough, I started looking at my ref pics again last night and looking at these three pics and comparing to how mine looked with just one layer, I'm feeling like there really is more than just one layer there on those sides. This changes how I do the side seams just slightly, specifically the side with the zipper. Now that I'm looking at it, it's a really good thing I hadn't done the side seams yet. I'm now thinking of doing them together (two layers into one seam), where before I had thought of only attaching them at the shoulders and of course the zipper.

Another observation here (easier to see if you click on the full size link under the pic), is that the outer layer hangs more loosely across the upper back, confirming to me that most of the fitting is done on the under layer and the outer layer just sort of attaches to it and drapes where it needs to. There across her back, it hangs a few inches below where the under layer hangs. Looks like a really wide hem there too, where the fabric wrinkles and pulls, looks like a 1/2 inch or so, but maybe that's not the hem. If it is, it's only like that across the back. The front looks like a narrow hem, but again, maybe it's not. My eyes aren't yet trained on all the things to pick out. Any thoughts from anyone who might have time to take a look at pics and give me feedback?

Other than that, when I cut the fabric for the outer layer, I wound up with a shorter train than was on my mockup. That's really not a problem though. My mockup had about a 10-12 inch train and this only has about a 4-6 inch one. Just enough fabric to drag the ground, but not really enough to step on (without stepping on me too).

When my 4 year old nephew was over yesterday, he was intrigued. He's seen the gown before, the weekend before last actually. He's in this phase (maybe it's a phase, we're not sure yet) where he likes to walk around in high heels and wear dresses or pieces of fabric tied around him like skirts. So, he glanced down the hall and looked at me asking, "is that your princess dress?" I said yes (we had a conversation the weekend before about how it was going to look like "Princess Arwen's" dress, because he's familiar with her and the movies). He then asked, "are you going to wear high heels with it?" Being 6 feet tall, I explained that I don't wear high heels because I'm already tall enough and they would make me a giant (I love conversations with 4 year olds). So then (at this time, we were in the room with the dress and talking about it), I asked him if he wanted me to make him a dress like that. He said, "right now?" I said no, but sometime. He said, "ok, but you'll have to make it fat". I reiterate, I LOVE conversations with 4 year olds. I asked, "make it fat?" He said, "yeah, I'm fat." I laughed, really hard, and said, "no, you're not fat." Then he asked if I was fat and I told him "sort of, look at this belly!" He laughed, then he asked if Spiderman was fat (since he had an action figure in his hand), and I said, "no, look at all those muscles, he's not fat." Then he changed the subject and got occupied elsewhere. Too cute though!
mellymell: (dream gown)
Man, it's been a busy weekend. I've had all sorts of motivation though so I can't complain (I use it when it's around).

Yesterday, I managed to clean up the office, including my drafting table and desk, not to mention Chris' desk (somewhat).

I also managed to get a couple of jewelry pieces done (yah, my Fire Mountain package came). I finished Steff's necklace and fixed Holly's too. Now to fix the matching bracelette).

Also, Friday night, I came home and worked exclusively on the Dream gown. I got the under layer all basted together, shoulder "straps" done, and tried it on (yah, it fits perfectly on the first try). Then, as I was going to sew the side seams and begin on the outer layer, I realized I didn't have any new needles and definitely not any lightweight enough for chiffon. But here's what it looks like thus far (from that point to the end is what I did Friday). Still pretty much looks the same as when it was pinned I guess.

So, today, I went out and got what I needed (and then some) and hopefully will get some time to work on it tomorrow. We're having some friends over tonight and today has been non-stop cleaning. Tomorrow, the only commitment I have is to go to my dad's and hang out for a few hours (probably the afternoon). Then I'll come home to a clean house and clear mind and can work on my gown until it's done.

I've been having to do some work from home this weekend too. Good thing it's at time and a half. For once, I'm actually not stressed out that things are going awry. Even still both customers should be able to go live on Tuesday without significant problem. We might just have to update them later in the day as we fix the bizarre problems I've run into.


mellymell: (Default)

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