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Unintentionally Going Underground

Umm…hi!

I honestly did not mean to take such a long break (a full year!) from blogging – where did 2015 go??

For the first few months of the year, I was finishing up the second half of the season at The Dallas Opera and the long commute across town eats about 3 hours each day. So, needless to say, blogging at the end of a day didn’t hold much appeal.

When the opera season wrapped up at the end of April, I unexpectedly found the motivation to do a bunch of sewing for myself – I was whipping up a lot of things I had been wanting to make myself and didn’t want to risk losing enthusiasm by stopping to blog. (I did Instagram most of it though so I have a few crummy selfies & construction shots.)

2015-Makes

(as usual, click to enlarge)

My husband and I were also slowly working our way through a home office makeover on the weekends from the middle of February to the end of May. So the computer wasn’t properly set up at times during the DIY mess.

Home-Office-Makeover

We now have a large standing desk instead of two separate desks on opposite sides of the room.

And then the phone rang with a job offer and I was driving over to Louisiana on Memorial Day to work on a TV series filming in Baton Rouge.

Louisiana

I was promised a week of work. I packed for a month.

Television shooting schedules are a bit insane. I worked at least 12 hours a day and even worked one 18-hour day in the costume shop at the production office. (So glad I wasn’t working on set in the humid Louisiana summer heat!)

It was the middle of week 5 before I found myself driving home. I’ve worked in the film world long enough to know that once someone puts you to work and you don’t fail spectacularly, they will try to keep you as long as possible.

The day after I got home, a collarless pug showed up at my door. Luckily, I was able to track down the owner by the next afternoon thanks to DFW Pug Rescue. (If she had been chipped, it would have been easier – please have your pets micro-chipped!)

Wensley&VisitingPug

Wensley wasn’t pleased to have a visitor but he tolerated her.

I think I spent about a week just staring at the wall after everything got back to normal.

And a couple weeks later, I found myself going back to Baton Rouge. Good thing I hadn’t bothered to unpack my sewing machine from the first trip!

I only let them have me 2 weeks, and then I came home again.

I had about a month before the new opera season started, so I tried to finish up a bedroom makeover I had started between Louisiana trips.

Bedroom-Makeover

I recently made myself a new wool coat during daily breaks at the opera. And I even managed to get photos! I’ve been working on a blog post about the coat, but I decided to briefly put it aside because I found a TV promo of the show I worked on in Louisiana.

So here’s the first tiny (and I mean tiny) peek at a ball gown I miraculously cranked out in only 6 days, at about the 0:27 mark. You mostly just see the petticoat someone else made.

UPDATE 6/4/16: The original teaser I linked to disappeared, but I found a full length trailer instead. The ball gown is now at about the 1:48 mark:

Underground premieres March 9, 2016 on WGN for those of you who are interested in watching it.

Aside from a couple other projects that I’ll be able to talk more about in the coming months, that pretty much sums up my 2015.

I promise my next blog post will not be a year away!

Happy New Year, everyone!

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And My Resume Gets More Convoluted

I have so many things to share! This is going to be a bit of a hodgepodge post.

Some of you may already know from talking to me directly or seeing it on Twitter, I no longer work part-time at Fabrique Fabrics. It was fun for the year and a half it lasted and I’ll miss my coworkers, but since it was never really my “career” I’m not really upset about it. (I think everyone who knows the details is more upset about it than I am.) The short explanation is my boss decided to reduce my hours to “none” to save some money, so I’m moving on to other things instead of waiting around.

On to more exciting things (and LOTS of links)…

  • Something I worked on last summer will finally be on display at the Dallas Arboretum for the holidays! The 12 Days of Christmas exhibit is “an elaborate collection of life-size Victorian gazebos filled with the charming costumed characters made famous by the beloved Christmas carol.”** You can see it for yourself from November 16, 2014–January 4, 2015. Since the opening was delayed a year, I’m looking forward to remembering what I did. I can’t wait to see it installed and share some photos (and possibly video) once it opens!
  • I helped make some youth circus costumes back in May. Lots and lots of tiny appliqué (spandex on spandex) and ruffles… and thread! I really blew through the thread on this project:
Circus-Costume-Appliques

Circus costumes with detailed appliqué designs and what the trashcan next to my machine looked like halfway through.

And here’s a teaser video of this year’s show, in which you can see some of the costumes in motion:

  • If you will be in San Antonio this weekend (September 26-28), you can see some of the fun costumes I helped build this summer in the opera The Fantastic Mr. Fox put on by the new Opera San Antonio.
  • More of my summer sewing work will be in a Christmas parade at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri this year.

Hopefully, I will have more photos of both the opera and the parade to share later. (I’m crossing my fingers that someone will post a video of the parade on YouTube at some point!) Update: Post about the parade.

  • If you will be in Dallas, TX anytime now until October 5, go see the Oscar de la Renta exhibit at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. It’s fashion inspiration! I went and took a ton of photos a few weeks ago, so if you aren’t able to see it yourself, I promise a detailed blog post about it soon. Here’s a teaser:
Oscar-de-la-Renta_5-Decades-of-Style

Oscar de la Renta – Five Decades of Style exhibit

Recent freelancing has suddenly gone from “absolutely nothing” to “I’m booked into the beginning of next year!” Such is my career.

Keira-the-Mannequin

Meet Keira, one of the mannequins I’ll be making a custom dress for. She’s had a hard life and it’s time for new hair and better clothes.

  • Then it looks like I’ll be finishing out the year working at The Dallas Opera. They have a few new costumes to build. =)

And just because I’ve been looking for a place to share a couple of great costuming videos, I’m going to include them here.

I found the first video because of the second one. It is a really nice overview of what it’s like in any professional costume shop – whether it’s opera, theatre, dance, or film – when there are costumes to construct and fit. “Recreating a Tutu” at the New York City Ballet:

And if you have the time to watch (it’s over 26 minutes long), the following is a truly fascinating video on how a ballet pointe shoe is made (teaser-not-quite-spoiler: inside out!). If you don’t have time to watch it now, come back and watch it later when you do! I promise you will enjoy it.

They use some cool sewing machines and do an amazing amount of the work by hand. And to think that all shoes used to be made this well! “What’s in a Ballet Shoe”:

** What my husband/editor read at first glance: “An elaborate collection of life-size Vulcan gizmos filled with charred costumed characters made famous by the beloved Christmas carrots”  ??

Spearmint Pattern Winner

So, you may have noticed my previous post was a bit long.  But did you stay with me till the end?  Did you see there was a giveaway?  You did?  Well, it’s time to announce the WINNER!

And thank you for all the nice comments! It means a lot to me when I get some even from those who aren’t wanting to enter a giveaway!

As with my past giveaways, names were placed in the hat:

My husband drew the winning name, and the lucky winner of the Spearmint coat pattern is:

Congratulations, Fwaire! Please email me your mailing address and I’ll put your pattern in the mail. =)

I have plans for a second version of the coat thanks to Leila because she posted a photo of this:

So I’ll be drafting a new collar and adding some other details. I think I’m going to make this version unlined, with bias finished seams on the inside. It will be an olive-y cotton corduroy:

Cotton corduroy for another Spearmint.
Measuring tape fabric will be a fun skirt and possible lining if I decide to line the coat after all.

Of course I wish I had copies of the pattern to send to everyone else who entered, but you can buy a copy from Lolita Patterns in downloadable pdf or already printed on pattern paper. A sewalong will be coming soon on the Lolita Patterns blog.

Just One More Sleep ’til Christmas!

It’s Christmas Eve… so how about one more post for 2013!

What kind of costumer would I be if I didn’t dress my dog up for Christmas?

Wensley makes a cute Christmas card. It’s the Jack Russell in him. =)

You may remember last year’s card, which was his first. We didn’t try any dress up then because we didn’t know how he would take it.

This year we pulled out the Santa hat we had for our last dog and I shortened the elastic a bit to fit Wensley.

My good little Santa dog sits well on command this year. =)

We only pulled out the front window tree with its plastic ornaments this year (I’ll do battle to protect the special glass ornaments on the bigger den tree from the dog next year).

The front window tree is an iridescent white tree with colored lights.

I love how it glows like a beacon at night!

Coming up in future posts (in no particular order): the details of the Wonder Woman cape build, some handmade Christmas gifts I stitched up, pattern testing results, and a giveaway.

Merry Christmas, everyone! May you all have wonderful holidays with good friends & family!

See you next year!

How ‘bout Them App-…er…Mittens!

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!

Honeycrisp Mittens

I had just enough of some chartreuse polar fleece in my stash to eke out a pair of the wrist-length mittens.

Because of the puffy nature of the fleece, I found it easiest to trace the pattern onto the fleece with a Sharpie and then pin the two fabric layers together before cutting.

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.

Apple appliqué detail.

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.

I had to piece one cuff in order to eke out matching cuffs.

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.

I used the same stretch stitch for the mittens that I used for the Avocado Hoodies.

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!

I used the lightbox that comes free with every building to trace the larger thumb onto the correctly sized mitten palm. (I forgot I wasn’t the small when I took the picture and retraced it onto the medium.)

So anyway, here are a bunch of photos of the finished mittens. With a Honeycrisp apple prop, of course!

Wensley wanted a bite of apple so badly! He kept circling my hands while we took photos trying to figure out how to get some without getting in trouble. *Lick*

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.)

And you can even buy the conductive fabric in heathered grey or black directly from Mari! No need to go searching everywhere for the special fabric (and just in time for Christmas).

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:

Wristlet Pattern Winner

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:

I’m stitching the stars on a Wonder Woman cape!

Oh, sorry!

You wanted to know the winner!

Commenter number 46 is…

Chuleenan of C Sews!

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…

The Sorting Hat Has (Sort of) Spoken

Thank you so much for all the wonderful comments on the last post! I had a lot of fun reading about everyone’s sewing projects!

There were quite a few of you in need of a good press cloth and I really wish I had enough to send one to everyone!

I wrote all the entries on paper (I’m old school like that, plus it gave me something to take photos of):

As promised, for the small cloth drawing, I put everyone’s name into the hat:

And then my husband drew the names of the winners.

The first winner of a silk organza press cloth is:

The second name drawn was:

Winner number three is:

And the winner of the larger press cloth for her entertaining comment is:

But wait! There’s more!

Right after I published the giveaway post, I found a 5th press cloth! It had slipped off of my ironing board and into a stray bag of fabric, and I had forgotten the exact number of press cloths I had made.

So there’s one more lucky winner! The final press cloth goes to:

Congratulations to IngeMaakt, Bird and Bicycle, LauraHoj, The Seeds of 3, AND Karen!  Please email me your mailing addresses, ladies, and I will get them in the mail sometime this week.

And since I can’t send one to the rest of you, I will share this video with you (because The Seeds of 3’s comment got the song stuck in my head):

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