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)
I knew asking about sewing notions here yesterday was a great idea. I got a lot of fantastic suggestions and thanks to those of you who made them. My sewing experiences will be a lot more pleasant after the holidays. Even if I don't get any of the things on the list, I'll be picking up little random items like that myself periodically in the coming months, I think.

I'm really hoping the rain will slack off in the next few minutes. I'd like to go check the mail (the trim won't likely be here yet, but I'd like to get the mail regardless) and I've got to run to the grocery and get the two dishes we're taking for Thanksgiving started (candied sweet potatoes with blue cheese and spinach casserole, yum!). I'd really rather not do all that in the pouring rain. But if I must, I must.

There's so much around the house I could, err, should be doing right now. But I just don't feel like doing any of it. I managed to work on the adjustments to my wrap shirt a little this morning. It would be nice to get it finished today so I could perhaps wear it tomorrow or at least some time this weekend.

I worked on the wrap skirt design last night and I think I've got my pattern shapes down and my cutting layout figured out. It really helped to have a store bought skirt to work from. Helps to see the finished product and kind of pick it apart, visually that is, not literally. The only thing is I need to keep in mind I'm working with silk velvet, not stretch knit fabric. The bought skirt has an elastic waist which if I tried to replicate with the velvet would bunch up and not be the look I wanted. So, I'm thinking about doing a tailored waistline and putting an invisible zipper in back.

Looks like two of the three things I have listed on ebay are going to sell and the other has a watcher that hopefully will bid before it's over. Dinesh also somehow overcharged me for shipping (not by my calculations, but whatever, not going to argue!) and I've got a $6 credit with him. I noticed this morning that the trim he said he didn't have any more of is relisted with 10 yards. I'll be getting those extra yards I wanted after all! I guess things sometimes work out if you don't worry about them. I better go ahead and buy them before I miss out again though.
mellymell: (Default)
Friday, I ordered 2 yards of a lovely lace for the neckline of the Angel gown from Lace Heaven. I was afraid they might run out and I really loved the look of it, not to mention it was only like $5.50 for the two yards, so it's not at all as though it's going to break our budget. I'm hoping it'll get here in the next day or two, not that I need it, I'm just excited to see it. She's in LA (Lower Alabama as we liked to call it) and I think first class mail only took a couple of days the last time I ordered from her. Of course, there was the holiday with no post running yesterday, so it will probably take a little longer this time. I plan to get some sequins and beads (or maybe use some beads I already have) to make it sparkle. I'm not certain the original actually had much if any beading to the lace. In the costume stills from the dvd, it just looks like plain lace. But with the sparkly nature of this costume, I think it needs it.

I know I'm retarded, but the more I think about it, the more I think I want to do the beaded edges myself, rather than paying ~$10/yd for the edge trim from M&J. I just can't rationalize paying that when I've got a huge bag of the bugles already and just need the seed beads. I know that would be the most expensive part of the whole gown if I went with the pre-made trim and I'm trying to keep the cost down a little. If I bought this stuff, it could possibly even equal what I've already spent on it (which is around $100 or so). Since I don't have any immediate plans to have this costume done (just ALEP next year), I don't mind taking the extra time to do this hand work. I've thought about doing much worse things (like beading/embroidering my own fabric for the Mirror gown, yep, I'm insane and I'm sure I won't do it).

I took some time yesterday to play with a pattern for a wrap skirt. I've got a store bought skirt I want to use as a base for the design, but change a few things. For one, I don't think I've got enough fabric to cut it on the bias, but I'm doing it out of silk velvet so I think it'll drape beautifully regardless. I played around with miniatures of the pattern shapes and cutting layouts with some paper and muslin scraps. I couldn't seem to get motivated to do much else. It's all dreary and rainy here and turning cold again, it seems.

I still need to adjust the way the wrap shirt fits and get the trim on it. Probably just a couple of hours of work, but I'm just not feeling motivated to do anything since Saturday. Maybe I'll get up there and do that now. It's stopped raining and the sun is out and it's turned out to be quite a lovely day, so maybe I can actually get something done now. Sucks that my moods are so dependent on the weather.
mellymell: (Default)
Friday I managed to get the neckline and the sleeves sewn onto my wrap shirt that I started back in August. It got set aside because I was sprawled out on the kitchen table and in the dining room and at the time I packed it up was cleaning up everything to host a brew day and four house guests for the weekend. Since I packed everything up so well and the house was so spotless afterwards, I never pulled it back out for fear of making a mess again. Then it got thrown on the back burner for the Blood Red gown, which seemed a more immediate necessity (not that any of it is really a necessity). But the other day when I decided to put all new projects on hold for the next two months, I decided to try to wrap up all the little things on several unfinished projects so I could cross them all off my lists. Since the machine was already threaded with invisible thread, I decided to move forward on this one first.

I just want to say I HATE SLEEVES! I used to hate zippers, but I think I've learned enough on those that I don't seem to screw them up as much anymore. The one on the Blood Red gown went in very smoothly the last time I had to put it in. Even if I don't have a ton of trouble with sleeves, they're nerve wracking to put in because I just expect to have trouble with them. The first one was a lot worse than the second. I was cursing up a storm and ready to rip the thing out of the sewing machine and throw it out the window! Good thing Jonah was asleep at the time and couldn't hear me fuming. But some good did come out of it, I learned how to fix a wrinkle in a seam without having to take out the entire seam. I'm going to have to apply that to the Blood Red gown now. I've got a wrinkle in each sleeve in the seam that connects the lower sleeve to the upper sleeve. I didn't fix it before because I thought it would require me pulling the entire seam out and I didn't have time for that when I was putting it together and figured I'd pull it out later when I go to add the lining. It's not terribly noticeable, but it bugs me and that's enough to make me want to fix it.

Unfortunately since I fitted this pattern before I started exercising and lost some weight, it's fitting a little weird now and the hem is all fluttery where it shouldn't be. I'm hoping that by taking in the darts in front I can fix that and get the hem to lay flat, or at least flatter. I hope to get the shirt finished today, if I can get today started. It's nearly 10:30am and I have yet to start brunch (a Sunday tradition for us now). We were out late last night at a bonfire/going away party for a member of the homebrew club. I didn't drink much, since I was driving, but still, I'm very sluggish this morning just from being up late.
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.


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