Sewing that's Retro, Geek, and Chic
November 30, 2013Posted by on
I’ve been super busy bouncing from job to job in the last couple of months (where did November go??). I can’t believe that today is my blog’s 3rd birthday!
(Sadly, the detailed posts about the Wonder Woman cape and boots will not be happening exactly as I’d planned because my cell phone was stolen & I lost all the detailed process shots I was going to use. I’ll still be doing a post about the construction, but not nearly as detailed as I was hoping to write.)
In my time off from work, I’ve been doing some “secret sewing” (aka pattern-testing) and I can finally share one of those hush-hush projects with you now – the Disparate Disciplines Honeycrisp Mittens!
I had just enough of some chartreuse polar fleece in my stash to eke out a pair of the wrist-length mittens.
I really love the longer, elbow-length version of the pattern because it has really interesting seams, but since I didn’t have enough fabric, I decided to appliqué my own interesting details with contrasting polar fleece.
Yeah, so I went a little literal with it and put apples on my mittens. I blame the name of the pattern because all I wanted was a Honeycrisp apple every time I thought about them.
The pattern is a really quick and easy make (especially if you don’t have to plan for eking like I did) and only took me about an hour, even with my self-inflicted complications. It would be a great beginner project, but sewists of all experience levels can have fun with it.
This pattern was good at reminding me of my freakishly large hands. Everything about me is usually a small or even extra-small, except my hands. (I have skinny fingers, but BIG hands.)
I cut the main mitten body at a size medium and the thumb in XL! No wonder I have trouble finding gloves with long enough fingers!
So anyway, here are a bunch of photos of the finished mittens. With a Honeycrisp apple prop, of course!
The best part of the pattern was a feature I couldn’t even test. There is the option to make the fingertips conductive! Meaning, you can use your smart phone or any touch screen without having to take them off!
As payment for being a pattern tester, Mari is sending me some conductive fabric made with real silver in it. I look forward to trying it and plan to make an elbow-length conductive pair for myself.
If you are interested in buying your own copy of the pattern, here’s the link to the PDF pattern in the Disparate Disciplines shop. (Also available as a limited-time paper pattern.)
As it is, my non-conductive wrist-length pair of Honeycrisp Mittens is perfect for walking the dog. =)
Thanks, Mari, for another fun & practical pattern!
See some other people’s Honeycrisp Mittens:
October 31, 2013Posted by on
Remember the Wonder Woman cape I had fun modeling? It looks so much better on AnnaMay, its intended wearer!
Jen posted some wonderful photos of AnnaMay wearing her Wonder Woman costume on EPBOT recently, and said I could share them on my blog as well. You can also see the boots I made to go with the cape in the pictures. =)
Here are two of my favorites (read Jen’s post to see a few more pictures including a group shot of superheroes!):
I got the best email from AnnaMay’s mom earlier this week:
We went to camp this weekend in the mountains. All of the families that go have at least one child with autism or sensory disorders like AnnaMay. We shared our cabin with another family who had 2 children. One of them was a 5 year old little girl. We were getting ready for the Halloween carnival and I was helping AnnaMay with her costume. We went to put the cape on and the girl came over with huge eyes and asked AnnaMay if she could fly. AnnaMay told her no. The girl leaned in and very earnestly said, “I bet you could with that cape if we got you up high enough.” I thought you might enjoy knowing you made a cape so awesome it made a 5 year old believe AnnaMay could fly…
And here’s a great shot taken by AnnaMay’s mom of the whole costume:
So the job I’ve been working for the past few of months for a holiday display has been postponed for a year. (Bummer – I have eleventy-million pictures I want to share!) This week, I’m helping finish some costumes at the University of Dallas for a friend who wasn’t able to complete the job due to health issues. And in a couple more weeks I’ll be helping in the Southern Methodist University costume shop for 2 weeks. So I’m keeping surprisingly busy this season!
The detailed posts on how I made the Wonder Woman cape & boots will be coming as soon as I have time to sit down and go through my photos.
And Happy Reformation Day!
October 17, 2013Posted by on
I finished building a Wonder Woman cape!
As much as I wanted to keep it, I didn’t make it for myself (which is why it’s so short on me). I made it for a special little girl named AnnaMay.
I first heard about AnnaMay on Jen’s EPBOT blog and was inspired to help make her geeky dreams come true – she wanted to be Wonder Woman for Halloween. (Thanks, Jen, for being the instigator and letting me be a part of the fun!)
I was given the task of building the cape and the boots (both of which will have their own posts about how I made them later) while someone else made the top & skirt, and Jen
made bought the accessories (original plan was her making them).
Before I mailed it off to its intended owner, I had fun wearing the cape for some blog photos taken by my mom (Thanks, Mom!). I think we should all wear capes – just because!
I was trying to get a good shot of the back as I spun for the camera, but there was such a shutter delay, my mom and I had trouble timing it. We kept getting the same angle over and over!
So I kept spinning. And spinning. And I got really dizzy. Which gave me the giggles. Which made the whole thing just spiral into silliness.
I don’t think I’ve been that dizzy since grade school when I would turn in circles until I collapsed to watch the ceiling keep turning above me.
There are two ways to tie a cape.
One way is the standard bow in front:
The other is a way to avoid the bow riding up to choke the wearer by wrapping the ties over the shoulders & under the arms (like a backpack) and tying it behind the wearer’s back but under the cape:
It makes me happy that AnnaMay will never outgrow her cape, which is part of the reason I spent so much time on the details.
She will be wearing it tonight at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. I can’t wait to see (and share) pictures!
(UPDATE: See pictures of AnnaMay in this post!)
Enjoy your cape, AnnaMay! I hope you proudly wear it to shreds! I certainly had fun test-driving it! =)
* “No capes!” (on YouTube)
September 21, 2013Posted by on
Thank you, everyone, for all the wonderful comments on my last post! I’m glad you liked the wristlet bags I made (it seems the shoes print was the most popular).
I had tons of fun making them and using some of the novelty fabrics I’ve had in my stash for a while! I have plans to make many more. =)
I promise anyone can make great little bags like mine using Erin’s amazing instructions!
I’m currently in the middle of building a special Halloween costume during my time off from work-sewing, so please excuse the fact that I skipped the actual hat drawing for this giveaway. Afterall, there were 75 comments! That’s a lot of writing and folding to put names in the hat!
So I used a random number generator and it gave me the number 46.
I counted twice and my husband counted once. (I skipped my couple of reply comments in the count.)
The lucky winner…
with comment number 46 is…
Oh, here’s a photo of that costume I currently have under the needle of my machine:
You wanted to know the winner!
Commenter number 46 is…
Congratulations, Chuleenan! I will make sure that Erin has your email to send you your PDF pattern!
And for those of you who didn’t win, I strongly encourage you to buy a copy of the Dog Under My Desk Essential Wristlet pattern! You will not be wasting your money! I promise. =)
Thanks again to Erin for having such a fun blog hop (there are still more pattern giveaways happening elsewhere!) and for letting me give a copy of your wonderful pattern away!
Now, I’m off to sew more stars on that cape…
September 19, 2013Posted by on
Sometimes, I just need a break from projects that require me to think. I’m constantly engineering, prototyping, and problem-solving when sewing – it can be exhausting and burn me out.
I knew from talking to Erin on Twitter that she was my kind of perfectionist because I’ve seen how meticulously she tests her patterns before offering them in her shop. And I knew that she would be giving me the gift of a fun little project where all the brain cramps had been suffered for me.
I was not disappointed!
Erin’s instructions are amazing. A detailed supply list. Full step-by-step, with beautiful color photographs. Multiple options and ways to customize.
And her pricing is hardly charging what the sewing instructions alone are really worth!
Yeah, I can make a bag pattern, but why bother when Erin already has, and has already tested… and tested… and perfected?
Anyone can make professional looking bags with instructions like hers, truly. (When he saw it, my husband actually thought the first one I made was retail merchandise! “Where’d you get this?” was, in fact, uttered.)
I have plans to make other versions (especially when I need a break from thinking!), but here are the three I’ve made so far in more detail:
The best part about all of this is that I have a free copy of the wristlet pattern to offer to anyone who comments on this post. But you have to be quick!
Drawing for the free PDF pattern is closed
only open until 3pm on Saturday, September 21, 2013 United States Central Time (GMT -6). I will announce the winner in a short post that evening. Winner announced in this post.
I already have a 4th bag (another large version) cut out and ready to assemble.
So leave me a comment for a chance to win the pattern and make your own. And check out all of Erin’s other great bag patterns too!
Thanks, Erin, for the great pattern!
September 10, 2013Posted by on
(Warning: Major geekery ahead.)
Personal log, Stardate: 67158.4
Captain Mari Miller of the USS Disparate Disciplines contacted me via subspace with a request to test another one of her new sewing patterns. (See my last test for her Avocado Hoodie in this post.)
I’m honored for my blog to be the last stop in her Blog Hop for the Dandelion Dress & Top.
The previous stops have been as follows:
- Rhonda of Rhonda’s Creative Life
- Wanett of Sown Brooklyn
- Winnie of Scruffy Badger Time
- Velosewer of How Good is That?
- Lizzie of Sew Busy Lizzie
- Joyatee of Joy and Smiles
- Lisa of Idle Hands- the Ms-Fits’ Workshop
I started with a mockup of the sweetheart neckline top to check the basic fit. I’m pretty close to being an exact size 0 according to the pattern’s measurement chart, so I cut everything at that size.
The main alteration I needed to make was dropping the underarm seam just a bit because it felt a little high to me. (I’m picky about my armseye fit, and I will avoid wearing something if I feel like it gives me an underarm wedgey.)
The unusual style lines make this pattern perfect for color blocking, and I wanted to make sure I showed them off.
I decided to make two versions – a solid color sweetheart top (B2) and a color-blocked sweetheart dress (B1).
The pattern recommends using a woven fabric (aka non-stretch) but I wanted to see how it would work with a thicker t-shirt fabric (I was hoping the darts would fit me a bit better in something with some stretch), so I cut up a men’s 4X tee.
I eliminated the pattern’s center back seam and cut the back on a fold since the fabric had stretch. I also added a few inches to the length of the top.
The end result was a TOS inspired shirt with a black rib-knit edged neck. Unfortunately, the darts were still too pointy and not quite right on me.
Then I made the dress – TNG style, because Leila inspired me with her skant from a few months ago.
I made my dress out of a drapey polyester suiting fabric that came in both red and black. (Yes, I know, expendable crewman. I’ll just avoid any away missions while wearing it.)
I stitched the triangular side panels in as I do when sewing inset points and completely left out the darts.
After everything was assembled, I discovered that I needed to alter the back neck a little because it was gapping. (One of the disadvantages of fitting yourself – it’s hard to catch those back issues in the first mockup or two when you can’t really see your back!) So I reshaped the seam connecting to the back sleeve.
I fussed and tweaked for a long time with the front bust. Ultimately, I decided I needed the tiniest of darts, and put one in that was less than half the width printed on the pattern. (I could probably eliminate them altogether if I messed with the pattern some more.)
I had fun taking photos in my new Dandelion skant. And now I actually have a Halloween costume this year because of my Star Trek inspired dress!
I kind of want to make this dress in a less geeky color-blocked version, but I haven’t found the right fabrics yet. (I’m thinking bright green & grey, or orange & grey.)
To show that it can be styled a little less Trek-like, I paired it with some pointed pumps and a necklace. Behold the power of photo editing software (even in my amateur hands):
In conclusion, I think the silhouette and style lines of this pattern are wonderfully interesting, and once the fit is perfected, it’s magic. Both the dress and the top are super comfortable.
I enjoyed sewing this because the pieces were so different from normal. The instructions were easy to follow and because of its unusual construction, I would be sewing along, and suddenly, I would be finished! It was sort of strange not being able to anticipate the end.
The only real difficulty lies in the fact that it can’t be altered in the standard simple ways if it doesn’t fit exactly right – there is no side-seam to take in, etc.
Everyone who wants a fun and different construction challenge should definitely give this pattern a try!
Buy your own copy – here’s the link!
And make it so sew!
=/\= Personal log, supplemental: My husband loves my new light-duty uniform and says I could pass for a secretary on a starbase.
August 23, 2013Posted by on
My coworker sent me a mesmerizing video about the making of a Dior dress for a couture fashion show. I can’t stop watching it! I’ve shared it on Twitter a couple times already but everyone should see it, so I’m also posting it here on my blog.
If you’ve ever wondered why fashion is expensive, just try to count the number of different people who have a hand in making this gorgeous dress!
And even if you don’t particularly like the style, you can’t help but be amazed by the amount of work and engineering that goes into such a build! Those pleats! (And those heels! Want!)