17 August 2014

Bloglovin

In order to claim my blog on bloglovin I am required to post this and since I'm doing it for That 70's Sew I thought I would do it here too. That way if I come back it's already set up.
In the past I've used the blog roll here on the right side of the page, but James very wonderfully got me an Ipad for my birthday so we can Skype while I'm in China and I figured I'd give their app a whirl.

12 August 2014

Goodbye WWNDW?, Hello New Blog VLOG


You can find new posts at That 70s Sew...

Hello dearest friends and readers,
This is a farewell post in some ways, since I'm not planning on blogging anymore here at WWNDW?...you see, during my year of travel which has included stops in Chicago, Maine, Rhode Island, Switzerland, Austria and Germany (and eventually China) I have had very little time to sew and a lot of time to meditate and cogitate and agitate over blogging, sewing and life in general. I've read some wonderful books, met wonderful people and really been able to disconnect from the sewing blog-osphere long enough to figure out how I feel about it.
While I love our community, I sometimes let it affect me negatively. Blogging itself is my least favorite part because I don't enjoy writing, but sewing too had become something that felt like a chore. I had allowed all my blog reading to overwhelm me and become overinspired. Just about every new project I saw was so cool that I wanted to make it too, yet I was uninspired to actually make any of it!  That's where I knew I had to start backpedaling, because looking at all the garments I've made and never wear, I knew I wasn't being true to myself in some ways.
Between my no new new year project last year and my learning to live out of a suitcase this year I've really gotten a good handle on my wardrobe. I donated a car trunk-full of clothes, gave away two big bags of me-mades to my sisters and mom and as of right now I have about 80% of my vintage collection stored away in bags, waiting to find a new home (the store that was going to buy it went out of business). I finally invested in basics that fit perfectly, new insoles and several pairs of shoes that are good for my back and feet, rather than the numerous high heels, cheap flats and flip flops I used to own. I feel like my wardrobe is almost in balance and it is amazing.
Part of this is also from my commitment to living in a way that is low-impact on the environment. I've spent several years now working backwards from my hoarding and mindless consumer habits. I'm trying to buy only natural fibers, and if I can, organic fabrics and yarns to fuel my sewing and knitting (my interest in knitting has sky-rocketed so I'm hoping to have more knitting projects on the blog now). That means a higher cost per project, so I need to focus on spending extra time on making clothes that really fit well and are useful.
This segues nicely into how it was affecting me financially. Folks, I believe in being honest about money, so here it is: I make $15,000 a year. Well, that's what I made last year and it is the most I've ever made. That is halfway below the poverty line and sounds like diddly, but after reading Twelve By Twelve I know that it is certainly enough as long as I budget wisely. This means no more blowing money every time I go fabric shopping or buying patterns willy nilly. After trying to organize my fabric stash this year I've realized I really need to budget my craft spending just as much as anything else, which I've not done in the past. Especially since sometimes I let my personal sewing be a priority over looking for work. Besides, do I need 100+ yards of fabric stash? No. I probably won't even ever use most of it! It is that hoarding instinct taking over again.
Well, I've run out of steam and if I had more to say, I don't remember it since I'm still burnt out from jet lag and on a noisy train home.
Best wishes,
Lisette

19 July 2014

My 1950s Bathing Suit Part II: Review and Construction

I am going to do my best to give construction details here, seeing as I did most of the sewing on it years ago. The review will be about its general functionality, since I figure there are sewists out there curious about how well these suits actually work (hint: not too bad!) Also, forgive the dog hair in the close-ups.


Here you can see the deep darts I had to take opening out into the bloomers.



The boning placement seems bizarre, but works acceptably.

The rick rack was sandwiched between the lining and gingham, alas, the zipper was not.

Pattern: McCall 9705 ca. 1954 $4
Size: 12 Bust: 30", Waist: 25", Hip 33" altered to fit a Bust: 36", Waist: 39", Hip: 37"
Rating: 4/5
Fabric, etc.: 1 1/2 yds. gingham, 1 1/2 yds. white quilter's cotton for the lining, 1 1/4 yards fabric covered featherbone, 1 yd. 1/4" swimsuit elastic, 16" nylon zipper all from Joann Fabrics
Needle Size: #14 and #12
Cost: Don't know
Time: 4 years!
Notes: 
  • I did not use cotton jersey as recommended for the lining, I used quilter's cotton.
  • I also attached the bodice lining differently. I completed the lining and outer shell separate of each other, sewed them together at the elastic leg openings and then topstitched through all layers at the waist. Then I folded in the seam allowance at the top of each and hand sewed it shut. The instructions have you assemble it so that the bloomers lining is flat lined. You attach the bodice lining to the bodice (right sides together) at the top and center back seams and then turn it.
  • I did do the zipper as recommended, where it is exposed inside rather than have it sandwiched between the lining and the bodice, but I wouldn't recommend this, it is a bit scratchy.
  • When applying the boning, it was already pre-bent from being stored in a loop. You don't want to apply it with the curve  follwing your own body's curve because the ends will point out from you too much. It is counterintuitive, but you want to apply it opposite from your body's curve. This way it sort of fights a battle with the fabric and ends up hugging you in properly. My professor had told me that when I started this project and I'm glad I managed to hold on to that tidbit for so long. The boning, being from JoAnn's wasn't exactly top quality so it felt like it was already giving in to body heat after the photo shoot. I wouldn't necessarily run out and buy metal stays, but I might spring for something better if I continue to wear this and it bends too much.
  • All in all, I would totally recommend this to an intermediate sewist, maybe even an enthusiastic beginner who has a few projects under her belt already. The fit is not as hard to achieve as you might expect and it is nice that it doesn't require much yardage. It also solves the problem of not liking to be seen in something so exposing as a modern swimsuit.
Functionality: I was actually very surprised at how easy it was to swim in this. Perhaps it was the fact that you get a giant air bubble in your bloomers that counteracts any feeling of being weighed down by waterlogged fabric!
When you get out of the water, it is a different story. It is droopy, clingy and doesn't dry quickly. The worst is that the leg openings sag out, so I might tighten the elastic up. I would be curious to know if doing the lining out of jersey, as recommended, would have made any difference.

09 July 2014

Sewing Full Circle: My 1950s Bathing Suit Part I

Dear friends and readers, this swim suit has been a long time in the making. Four years to be exact. Here is the original post stating my intentions to make it from 2 January 2010. This was back when my blog was La Petite Costumiere, WWNDW? did not even exist yet!

 
Courtesy of The Vintage Pattern Wiki

It all started when I ordered McCall 9705 (ca. 1954) on Etsy for a whopping $4 on 15 May 2009. Thrilled to find this gem at such a great price, I failed to notice that it did not have the instructions. That problem was solved through my wonderful job at the time at the Commercial Pattern Archive. The director allowed me to photocopy the instructions from their copy.
I began sewing it sometime in spring of 2010 for my final project in Costume Construction class, due the 8th of April. My wonderful professor and mentor, David, recognized it as being inspired by Claire McCardell's "bubble" swim suits of the 1950s. It was something of a nightmare to start with since it was a size 12, bust 30" and at the time I measured 38" at the bust. I did a lot of rather uneducated widening of the pattern which would come back to haunt me later. Even after that the bodice wasn't big enough around so I added some panels at center back. If you look in the photos, you will notice they're not the same size and slightly crooked. This was a shame because everywhere else I worked very hard to make the gingham match up. Not being so good at time management, I pulled an all-nighter struggling with the zipper right through to the morning it was due. I finally got it in around 5 am and put it on...and the stitches holding the zipper in ripped clean out! It didn't fit at all.
I had a good cry and then got ready for class, prepared to accept a low grade with no zipper, bad fit, no boning attached and the top not even sewn shut. I got lucky that out project really ended up being more of a lesson to ourselves of our weak spots (procrastination, anyone?) rather than a strict grade on completeness and construction skill. Let's just say I was relieved that I wasn't the only one who didn't finish.
I really did intend to finish it, but then graduation rolled around and working several jobs to pay off debt and well, I just never got back to it. It sat in a bag for four years in a closet wherever I was living, waiting. I swear, over that 4 years I have gotten better about not procrastinating. Enough to finally finish the darn thing. I pulled it out about two weeks before we left for our Fourth of July vacation in Maine, deciding that I needed to finish it because that would be the perfect backdrop for the photoshoot.
As some of you know, I weighed quite a bit more in college than I do now, almost 20 lbs in fact. I assumed the fit would be okay, since before it had been too small. At some point I must have worked on it again because there was now a zipper in it. Not very well sewn in, as you'll see when I write the construction post. However, those two panels in the back now made it too big. When I put it on, it was the saddest sack ever and I almost gave up again! Then I thought, I'm being an idiot! I do alterations like this all the time at work! So instead I spent a grueling afternoon hand sewing in some very tricky hidden darts in the side seams. To my surprise, it finally fit. And it looked pretty cute, actually, Wonder Woman waistband and all. Another afternoon was devoted to hand sewing in the rick rack and closing up the top of the bodice with the top of the lining. Finally, during the drive to Maine I sewed in the boning.
It is finally finished. I'll let the photos speak for themselves.




















And in case you were wondering, here is an accurate photo of the colors!

27 May 2014

Completed: Lacy Mocc Socks

I tried really hard to take a vacation from "making" while here in Chicago because after my bustier project I was in need of a recharge. Well, that lasted a week and then I had James mail my sock project out to me! I needed something to get me through the daily commute. I'd tried journaling, but man, I really don't like writing, so I stopped doing that altogether.
I'd finished one, and hadn't yet started the next. I got down to work, but I was a little worried. You see, Lee gave me the yarn when she moved and it was split into two small skeins. I had no idea if it would be enough! The yarn itself is discontinued, and while there is some ravelry stash for sale, I didn't want to buy more of some yarn I got for free only to have more left over. The above photo is how much I had once I started the toe decreases.
Success! I had a very tiny ball left over. They're wool, and a little chunky so they'll be perfect with my stretched out moccasins come autumn. I also owe a big thank you to Clio for giving me "Hand-Knit Socks - Threads Selects", from which the pattern came. She's got me addicted to socks now!
Pattern: Women's Lacy Footlet by Kathleen Taylor
Size:Women's 7-8
Rating: 5/5
Needle Size: #2 dpns
Cost: $0 - STASHBUST!
Time: March 16-May 23 2014
Notes: This was a good challenging pattern. There are definite screw-ups in the lace, but I don't think you can really see them. The k3tog were hard with a heavier yarn than called for. I love the heel construction, I want to do flap and gussets forever!

Folks Serv