28 December 2012

HSFN #0: Tunics and Turbans Part I

Historical Sew Fortnightly #0 (the bonus challenge): Starting Simple – due 31 December NZT.  Finish a project, make a very simple garment, or something you have made before.

I had an entirely different sewing project in mind for this until I was given a deadline for The Fundamentalist costume for "Chad Deity".
That's my original rendering...next to him is Che Chavez Castro, mexican revolutionary. In the play, they are wrestling characters created as enemies of the beloved, All-American wrestler Chad Deity. Che is of course, not actually mexican and The Fundamentalist is a young indian man. The show deals a lot with stereotypes and racism.
The Fundamentalist is modeled by the wrestling company's owner after Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda terrorists. However, since he's so politically incorrect and misinformed I decided he would have chosen the most theatrical and "evil" looking aspects of middle eastern dress, without actually putting out a lot of effort (The Fundamentalist career starts off as a trial run without a lot of expectations).

 I present to you the first part of the costume, the turban. Not exactly intimidating when modeled on a blue-eyed white girl!
Fabric: One fitted bedsheet, slightly shiny, 100% cotton
Cost: $2.70
Time: 30 minutes
How-To: I cut off all the elastic and then sliced up the sewn corners, like in Step 1 of the diagram below. Then I cut off the two side rectangles, like the cartoon scissor is doing. So now I had two long strips and one very large rectangle. This I cut in half the long way to end up with four long strips. These two were a little wider.  I was a little lost on how much fabric to use for the turban. According to the video tutorial below he uses lightweight cotton/linen 34 feet by 30 inches. The Al Hannah Muslim clothing website turban cloth listed 10.5 feet by 43 inches.  So mine was somewhere in between the two after I sewed all my strips of cloth together. It ended up being 28 feet by 15". Easy-peasy!
 Source|Daisy Janie Blog
The Research
 There are plenty of video tutorials showing how to wrap one, but I went with this one because, frankly, it looks the scariest.  
His is for a turban for dressing up like Abdul Alhazred, an HP Lovecraft character. However, it seems to be more in the style of a Berber turban (see image below) than those worn by Al Qaeda.

26 December 2012

Christmas Sewing I: Boxers

I really had no idea what to make my boyfriend for Christmas until I remembered that he jokingly asked for knitted underwear, after finding out that I knit. Well, I thought to myself, that would be both amusing and practical for New England winter. After some research on Ravelry however, I decided that knitted underwear was not the best choice - mainly because there's only one un-sized pattern for it, unless you're looking for some rather unusual men's knitted lingerie!
Men's Ribbed Boxerbriefs Pattern by Kevin Williams | ravelry.com
So I moved on to a set of boxers, because, in his words it is "flannel boxer season!" My fellow sewists, I have now made this pattern 5 times and am going to be doing it twice more...I have one unfinished pair for him and I'm also using the pattern for a costume for "Chad Deity". I was just getting a little sick of this pattern when my dad sees them and decides he wants some for his next gift. *Sigh* a sewist's work is never done!
Pattern: Simplicity 9958
Fabric: All from JoAnn Fabrics; Rock n Roll - novelty quilter's cotton, Fishing and Camping/Caliente Peppers - snuggle flannel prints, World Map - quilter's panels, Red/Black Southwest Print - flannel shirtings.
Time: 3-4 days
Review: 4/5 - Once I'd sewn two pairs, I didn't even need to consult the directions anymore. I took away one point because the layout has you fold the fabric the opposite way from normal layouts, so I really had to think when I was buying directional prints. Of course, I messed it up and bought too much of the ones I didn't need to and too little of the ones I needed more of, so there's one unfinished pair!
Notes: I did the red and black pair first and they were a nightmare! I was using the industrial machine at work and my friend had just replaced the needle - BACKWARDS! So the thread kept breaking, but we didn't know why. Finally, I just sewed any thicker parts by hand. The rest went much more quickly because I sewed them on my own machine, but I almost ran out of thread a few times because I pulled from my stash. I finished them at midnight, Friday and gave them to him on Saturday!
I had a lot of fun picking out the fabrics, because I tried to pick things he liked or that meant something; for example the peppers fabric references an inside joke and I did the southwestern fabric because he used to live in Utah.
In case you didn't know what boxers look like, I will model them for you. Stay tuned for my final Christmas gift post!
P.S. - He loved them :)

24 December 2012

New 2013 Simplicity/McCalls Patterns

Yes, the new spring Simplicity patterns are in! It is like Christmas came a day early, because whenever I see new patterns have been released I jump up and down and squeal with glee. Yes, I really do.
I know I'm just dreaming when I think about making these since I'll be returning to the theatre I worked at for the past year, only this time for scenic painting. Huzzah! Employment for another year! Truthfully I'm really excited to try something new and learn, learn, learn. I miss 2D art a lot. Since I won't be sewing for my job I'm hoping my leisure sewing will be much more pleasurable.
I really like the skirt out of the three garments offered. However, since I like fullness on the back of my skirts to give a little volume to my flat white-girl behind I'm wondering if I couldn't put all those lovely ruffles on the back? Would that look weird? Like a goose with her wings tucked back over her tail?
After sewing from other similar "multiple top option" patterns I'm not particularly enthused by them. They're usually pretty shapeless. Here though, I think the peter pan collar blouse could potentially be something I would sew and the one they've photographed has a cute, Lilly Pulitzer 1960s vibe. Those 1970s sleeves are pretty bad though!
I have less use for skirts now than ever, but that yellow one with the peplum is really cute.
Um, I have a bicycle. So of course I want to sew for it! I already have a basket, and oh! Look! The basket liner pattern is free!

Speaking of bicycles, they are prominently featured in the photos from the McCall's shoot.
Pretty, basic shirtdress pattern with lots of skirt options, and it has different cup sizes! Those are my favorite because I am two cup sizes above the standard pattern, although I have yet to make any I've bought...maybe this year!

And that was all I liked. There were a few patterns that had potential, but overall they were nothing to my taste or looked like they were cut to be shapeless which never works on me. Then we just have these. WTF?
This line drawing is ADORABLE. I would make this in a heartbeat. Then I saw the photo.
Shapeless, sagged out jersey.
I'm stuck on this one. I know there are people that would totally appreciate some of these as gifts. But I just can't help but laugh at the beer bandolier and the cooler tablecloth.

20 December 2012

Video Tutorial: Serging Inverted Corners

Folks, this is the week of many, many, many boxer shorts. Besides sewing a set of 7 for my boyfriend for Christmas (which I need to finish before Saturday morning!) I'm using the same pattern, Simplicity 9958 as the base for a pair of Apollo Creed-inspired wrestling shorts for "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity".
 Photo from Wikipedia

This has meant a LOT of serging and I think I have finally mastered how to do an inverted corner. It does appear to have a pucker, but that is from me folding the fabric. it will smooth out when ironed. Hopefully at some point I will have time to edit the video and put instructions directly into it.
1. Start at top of shorts and work your way carefully around the curve of the fly.
2. Once you have turned the fabric for the last time, fold the excess fabric that would otherwise get cut off over twice to line up with your serging line.
3. Hand crank serger until you can see the tip of the folded over fabric.
4. Lift presser foot and release the already serged fabric that is behind the presser foot to the right.
5. Serge slowly into final curve!

14 December 2012

Christmas Knitting Part II

For my dad, a hat:
Yarn: Lion Brand Vanna's Choice
Cost: Free pattern, yarn approximately $4
ETA: 1 month, knitting on and off
 This is the same pattern as the hat I made for my mother. Since hers ended up too short I extended it another 1/2". It still seems too short, but that's how it goes. I hated working with the yarn, it is 100% acrylic and I prefer natural fibers, but wool makes my dad itchy and it was hard to find good colorways in other yarns. I later added a big ol' pompom, but it's wrapped up now, so you'll have to wait to see it.

07 December 2012

Thrift Shop Music Video

If you love thrifting, you will love this music video (language warning!)

My cohort in crime, Anna, introduced me to the very talented Macklemore. She loves him so much she even cut her hair like his and reproduced a bit of the video as a photo to send to him.

03 December 2012

WRESTLEMANIA! Luchadors, an Ice Princess and Spandex

Well readers, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would spend an afternoon watching WWE's Top 50 Wrestlers, but I did! And it was fascinating and all in the name of research for my next show...

To really understand why I'm so excited about this, you should check out this article: The 50 Greatest Wrestling Costumes Of All Time. The costumes these people wear are so bizarre and varied, they use everything from feather boas to boa constrictors! When I was doing my renderings I would feel like I was making a character too ridiculous until I re-referenced that article and then it was clear they were not actually ridiculous enough.
 So without further ado I will present them to you:
Mace/Chad Deity
EKO/Che Chavez Castro/The Fundamentalist
The Bad Guy/Billy Heartland
Old Glory

And for good measure, Happy Holidays! I attended an ugly holiday sweater party last minute, so here is my "1980s Ice Princess" ensemble.
Giant hair bow? CHECK.
Leggings? CHECK.
Beaded acrylic snowflake sweater? DOUBLE CHECK!

Folks Serv