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.


Jul. 13th, 2007 09:09 am
mellymell: (Default)
For those that don't keep up with my other journal, I posted some pics of Jonah's progress over the past 7 months. You can see the entry here.

I got my Chase lace a couple of days ago, but with in-laws here Monday and Tuesday, I'm just now getting caught up for the week and it's already Friday! So, yesterday, I pulled out my dye supplies and noticed they recommend 2 boxes of Rit color remover for a small to medium washer load. So, since I'm only dealing with a yard, I think I might try it in a plastic tub instead. That was the way I did my very first dye (the Dream gown) and it worked out pretty well. I do need to go get some rubber gloves though. Reduran works great, but works even better if you at least attempt to protect your hands in the first place. We need some more gloves in the kitchen for cutting up hot peppers anyway. The last time I cut up a habenero for our jerk recipe was quite painful to the eyes. . . later. . . when I forgot I had cut up a habenero earlier. So that's on the plate for today for sure. I kind of hope the lace shrinks a bit. Seems to me like the space in the "cells" is way too large. It'll still work regardless and I won't be disappointed if it doesn't shrink, but it would be nice if it did.

Also, I took measurements the other day for drapes in Jonah's room. I've decided that's what I'm going to do with the rest of the navy cotton velvet left over from upholstering the rocking chair in his room. Since the fabric is 60" wide, I should be able to cut a length in half, parallel to the selvage to make two, ample panels. I'm doing tabbed tops since the valance is tabbed and I'd like to hang them both from the same rod. The dark, heavy velvet should help to darken his room during the day, which will be nice for naps. And as he gets older, we can just take down the pastel valance and the panels should still work for quite a while.
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)
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)
So, instead of impulsively buying a bolt of silk velvet and blowing all my Christmas money on one thing, I decided to think about it a bit and look around at things I really need or might be a bit more practical. At first, I was thinking, hey, silk velvet drapes for the living room we just painted, to try to justify the bolt. But calculating for what I wanted to do would have taken at least half of it. No fun.

Then, in looking around for other fabrics, I ran across a burnout silk velvet at Fashion Fabrics Club. So, I bought 10 yards of that spent the rest of the money on badly needed new clothes. My plan for the fabric is to use it for a different style of drapes for the freshly painted living room.

So, I'm excited to get that. Another simple project to try to help ease me into sewing again. Still want that bolt, but another time perhaps. I just need to start making money again, that's all there is to it.
mellymell: (titania)
Saturday I received 5 yards of luscious navy blue cotton velvet from syfabrics for upholstering a rocking chair and a vanity seat, and there should be at least a yard or so to make a pillow or two out of when that's all said and done. I'm throwing it in to prewash now. When my mother-in-law comes up once we have the baby (due date is today and still no baby), she'll take it back with her to have the rocking chair done and return the rest of the fabric to me later for the other projects.

In addition to that, I got a yard of some really cute celestial print fleece to make a baby blanket out of. I may actually pull out my machine today and bind the edges to give myself something to do. I swear, this waiting game is starting to get old. I'm not wanting to stray too far from home for fear I could go into labor at any time, but at the same time, I still feel mostly fine and able to do stuff. Makes for a lot of boredom and feelings of perpetual limbo. I'm afraid to start too much for fear of it being a bad time to be in the middle of something. I'm also trying to take all the advice I've gotten and save my energy for labor and delivery. I have an appointment with my midwife tomorrow, so we'll see how I'm progressing, if at all. They'll let me go two weeks overdue before they induce labor.

My mother-in-law asked me today if I could start on a wish list for Christmas. She talked us into doing it last year and I actually really racked up on jewelry making tools and what not. I should just ask for fabric this year, heh. I just hate making Christmas lists. It makes me feel guilty and materialistic and like the person doesn't want to put effort or thought into what they're getting me. I kind of felt the same way about registering for wedding and baby gifts. I know it's really that she just wants to make sure she's getting stuff we actually want and will use, but I still feel strange about it. I kind of feel like if you don't know me well enough to get a well intentioned gift, but just insist on getting me something, there are gift certificates. But, we'll probably do it anyway because it makes her happy and I really can't complain about getting gifts I really will get a lot of use out of.

I said Saturday that I might try to get a few pieces of jewelry made and start working on a portfolio to take to a specific jewelry store in Hillsboro Village. I didn't get to do that because, well, Chris had other plans for our weekend I suppose. But, if I get the blanket done today, I might just pull out jewelry making stuff and start working on some things to keep me busy and keep my mind off of waiting for labor to start.
mellymell: (looking up)
Chris' mom is having a rocking chair recovered for us for the baby's room, so I get to pick out some fabric. I think I've decided on navy cotton velvet to go with the celestial theme of the nursery and still be something we could use else where later. There's a bench that goes with the vanity in there as well that needs to be recovered (something I can do myself) and I think I'll get enough of the fabric to do it too.

In reading the other day, breastfeeding is a great way to burn off excess fat reserves to get back to prepregnancy weight quickly (and even burn off some excess fat you had before pregnancy, too). Maybe by January I can get back to work finishing up some of my half done projects. I really can't wait to get finished with that silly blood red gown so I can move on to other things.

Any day now we'll have a little bundle of joy arriving. My due date is now 8 days away.
mellymell: (Default)
Discomforts increase as I inch closer and closer to the big day. Lately I've been having a lot of bruised feeling pelvic pain (which I'm told by the midwives is normal) and just general difficulty getting and staying comfortable when sitting or laying down. Other than that, things are going great. At my last appointment (last Wednesday), they said everything is going so "textbook perfect" that there was no need for me to come in every week until delivery. Instead, they set up my last two appointments 10 days apart. I go back tomorrow and then not again until the 28th (that is, if I haven't delivered by then). We've gone through another growth spurt, I believe, as I've been extremely exhausted since Monday. I've gotten some good reading in though and finished up What to expect when you're expecting this evening. It may seem a bit late, but the book carries you through labor and delivery, breastfeeding and some postpartum care as well. We may get their other book, What to expect the first year as well. Seems it has some more information about breastfeeding and other things of that nature, probably much more in depth.

The MIS group at Vandy threw us a baby shower yesterday. It was really sweet of them, especially considering how many of them don't even know Chris. The crib construction is underway from what I've been told. We might be cutting it close, but then it wouldn't be a Moore's project if it weren't procrastinated until the last minute. We need to go ahead and get some bedding as well as a carseat so that we at least have the essentials should we be given an early surprise.

Despite moderate discomforts increasing, I'm still relatively active (or was, before this week's slump). In the last couple of weeks, we've worked on painting the dining room. The first weekend of work on it was pretty much all stripping wallpaper boarders (yes, two of them, one right on top of the other as we found out when we started peeling off the top layer), patching the wall from stripping off wallpaper boarders and repeated sanding/patching until all was smooth enough for a base coat of paint. From Friday night to Monday the week before last was just spackle/sand/spackle/sand/etc. We had a nice thin layer of drywall dust all over the first floor of the house. Finally, I think it was Monday or Tuesday night, I managed to get two coats of our base color on while Chris made dinner. The next day, I spent most of the day laying out a grid for harlequin diamonds and taping off the first set. I managed to get half of one wall's diamonds painted in the second color that night. Then the next day, (guess that was Wednesday morning, since it was the day of my last appointment and the day I met Brandy in Franklin for lunch), got the other half taped off and painted. Alas, I haven't done any more work to it since then. There are a few places where paint pulled off from the tape that need to be touched up, but other than that, they look fantastic. We've done a deep, though bright red below the chair rail and above, the diamonds in two shades of yellow-gold (the darker called Sunflower, the lighter, Butterfield). I'm debating whether to paint the chair rail itself a dark brown. I think it would add a touch of much needed sophistication from the white trim that's there now.

This weekend though, I'd like to take time to get the baby's room set up as much as we can. Chris put up a solar system mobile we got the other day. It's remote controlled and has a sun that lights up and the planets orbit around it on varying lengths of wire. It's not a baby mobile, but it's pretty freakin' cool. The motor is a little loud, but not too bad. It came with an audio CD that's supposed to have some neat information about it, but I haven't taken the time to listen to it yet. We've got various posters of satellite pictures of nebulae, planets and moons that we need to get framed and hung. There are also dragonflies on the back of the bedroom door to be painted over (probably with some moons, stars and a sun or something) and the closet doors need to be hung as well. Not to mention carpet scraps we need to do something constructive with (we had a lot of leftover carpet from the installation). We found a really neat lamp at Lowe's the other night. It's got a blue cylindrical shade on it with several constellations and a mode where it blinks from constellation to constellation, one where just the constellations are lit and then just a regular lamp. We keep trying to brighten up the room (there's no overhead light) but we keep winding up with just dim lamps so far. We picked up what we thought was a halogen floor lamp, but turned out to be incandescent. We're debating on whether to take it back and exchange it or not.

Well, I have more, but I'm being coaxed to bed.
mellymell: (Default)
So, I'm up, can't sleep (clown will eat me). As I laid there trying to fall asleep, I kept thinking of my unfinished projects (costuming projects that is), prioritizing them in my head and ripping through visual details. Too much activity in the brain for falling asleep. But sometimes, that's when I get my best ideas and I just have to get up and get them written. Unfortunately, I decided to waste time by checking email and such before starting to write, so naturally it's all gone. Or at least most of it is anyway.

I think I've come to terms with the fact that I'm not going to feel completely comfortable spending more (or much) money on my hobbies until I have some sort of income myself again. I'm just not used to not making money. But, I've got a lot going on already without really having to buy many more materials. I may need a few minor things here and there, but overall, I think I've got most of the fabric for at least 2 costumes (off the top of my head, all I need is lining and trim for the Angel gown and velvet for Aragorn's Council Velvet outfit). Other than that, I've got the unfinished Blood Red gown and a Dream gown that needs a hem still (granted that's a small job, but it's on my list regardless). I've got plenty to keep me busy for quite a while without having to spend more money. It's a given I need to finish all of that before I proceed with new projects.

Still, I've got this unrelenting urge to set up goals to have completed by next Dragon*Con. I expect after Christmas, I'll be committing myself to going for sure. But, I still have no idea what demands on my time and energy to expect from motherhood. From what I'm told, I shouldn't be expecting to even finish the above list, let alone anything in addition to it. Still, there are two costumes I'd like to add to it, but I don't want to even list either one here. Guess they'll be my secret projects if I get to them. ;]

Still nothing on the home decor projects we have planned. I'm waiting for some checks to clear to see if we even have money to do that this month.
mellymell: (looking up)
Got a bunch of swatches in on Monday for home decor projects. I'm doing drapes and valances for the den, drapes, sheers and valances for the master bedroom/bathroom and just valances for the kitchen (though those are going to be Mexican blankets so no swatches there).

For the den, I found a taupe dupioni that looks fabulous with the swatch of brown microsuede that we're having a loveseat and armchair custom made in (we have a sofa in a brown/black pebbly sort of print and needed to match it with any new furniture). Unfortunately, I do have a budget to consider and $17/yd isn't within it. So, I've opted to get a bolt of some beautiful linen/rayon blend fabric from Dharma and dye it a similar color. It'll cost me less than half as much (the linen/rayon fabric is $6 something a yard if you buy a 17 yard bolt and it doesn't need to be lined like the dupioni does). And since I'll have plenty of extra fabric, I can make some throw pillows and just have a stash of undyed linen/rayon laying around for a rainy day.

For the master bedroom, I am going to splurge on a dupioni, but not the original one I wanted (which was another of the $17/yd ones). Instead I found an $11/yd color that is similar (a chocolate brown, though it's called chutney brown, "you can really taste the chutney"). Looking at it, I don't think I'll miss the turquoise cross weave in the more expensive one at all. I've cut way back on the yardage I'll need on it because I've decided not to use it for the valance, just the drapes. Instead, for the valance, I'm thinking of doing a scarf sort of thing with a sari. I'm watching a few lovely ones on ebay right now. If that doesn't work, there's a lovely brown and blue Indian looking print cotton fabric on that would match perfectly and is only $7/yd. I also found a lovely poly crinkle chiffon in turquoise for sheers that's only $3/yd at Denver Fabrics. Since I ordered $6 worth of swatches there, I can put that toward my purchase and basically consider two yards already paid for. I'll definitely have to get lining fabric for those drapes and dye for the lining as well. But we have nice dark blinds in the bedroom now, so there's no hurry on all that. I can do it gradually. The den, however, we decided to go with bamboo blinds to play up the tropical feel of the room. Unfortunately, they only offer moderate privacy at night, so that room is a priority.

I'm also doing new cushions for the four chairs at our kitchen table (bright yellow vinyl isn't going to cut it anymore). For those, I got a bunch of brightly colored dupioni swatches and have decided on a lime, a bright orange/red cross dye, a turquoise and a purple/fuchsia cross dye. Three of the four are the expensive dupioni from and the other is their cheaper, "promotionally priced" dupioni. Since I need so little of each color though, I can get away with paying $17/yd for 3 cushions and $11/yd for one. Then the Mexican blankets, along with a set of four matching placemats will run me about $50.

Chris thinks this all sounds expensive, so I have to keep reminding him of the cost of store bought drapes. He was thinking like $100 for two rooms (a total of two 70"x72" windows and four 35"x72" windows). It's going to cost roughly $100 just for the den.

I'm just excited to get back to something resembling one of my hobbies.


mellymell: (Default)

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