26 February 2013

1970s "Obi Sash"

This post is long overdue. I completed the belt in late January and now it is nearly March! I'd been using James' neckties as belts for the vintage robe he bought me and that really wasn't ideal.

Fabric: 51% Nylon/49% Poly butterfly brocade from JoAnn Fabrics, given to me by a co-worker (stash-busting!)
Notions: Black satin ribbon
Pattern: Butterick Something-or-Other...now I can't find my picture of the pattern!
Total cost: $1.86 (the ribbon)
Year: 1974?
Hours to complete: 1 because I really took my time after my first screw-up.
Notes: My first attempt at this pattern ended in an angry fit, where I stabbed a dowel through the ties while trying to turn them. The original pattern has you make the ties. I was sewing with costume satin and all the pieces looked terrible, mainly because I couldn't even get them turned inside out. Am I the only person that struggles with this? Forget shoestring ties, these were an inch across and I still couldn't do it. What is the magic trick to this?!
So when I was cataloging my stash and came across a few brocade and sari scraps I decided to give it another go. James voted the butterfly brocade over a black and brown paisley and as usual he was spot-on. He has an excellent eye for this sort of thing it seems. This time, I was smart and used ribbons for the ties and that worked much better.
Rating: I'd give it a 6/10. The belt is "one size" and doesn't really wrap all the way around my waist, something I should have realized earlier. Using ribbon instead of the ties looks much better and is way easier. It is a great quick project and would be good for gifts. Wait, didn't I have a goal this year about no handmade gifts?

15 February 2013

Bringing Sexy Back: Sew Sexy Sew-Along

Suzanne over at Beau Baby wrote a great post today...why all the conservative (or even downright dowdy) patterns? Even with the independant pattern companies a "sexy" style is rare. While I'm aware that most of their patterns are based on the fact that in the last few decades most people who sew are a) women of a certain age b) religious (remember all those matching sunday school outfits?) c) ecologically-minded, and therefore more interested in a hippie caftan.
But now you have a whole different group moving in...modern gals AND guys who yes, are quite often still more into the cutesy-vintage-librarian-hipster look than clubwear and bare-all outfits. We also like a good fit and that doesn't necessarily mean our cleavage hanging out or skin-tight everything.
But every once in awhile, it would be nice to sew something a little more fiery, right? What about date night? What about girl's night out? Cocktail parties? Sewists who do burlesque or roller derby? Sew Weekly's Pin-Up Challenge? Or in my case something to wear on the back of the motorcycle?
Vogue 1304
BurdaStyle 01/2012
There are "sexy" patterns. They exist, we just got to look a little harder. Sometimes it is a matter of shortening, tightening or picking a slinky fabric. So I'm proposing a little Sew-Along. I made a flickr group for it as well. The parameters will be pretty loose, but the general goal is to sew (or knit) at least one sexy item this year. You can do more if you want, of course and "sexy" is however you define it for your project.
So grab a banner, and start looking for patterns!

11 February 2013

Snow Deep In Storm Nemo

Like every other New Englander, my weekend got taken over by Storm Nemo. We're OK - no power lost or anything. This meant lots of indoor activities though, since the snow was really too deep (3 feet!) to sled or make a snowman. Unfortunately my sewing machines are back in RI until I can pick them up this weekend so no sewing was done. I attempted starting some fingerless gloves that I've been commissioned to make, but I can't find a good pattern! I'm getting the feeling I may be making my first attempt at pattern-writing for knitting soon. Eep!

My poor Little Red was totally snowed in.

06 February 2013

Stays and Bustiers

I had just moseyed over to Simplicity when HUZZAH! According to the front page, their new Spring 2013 collection was up for viewing. I clicked, I clicked again and I even right-clicked to open in a new window...some dolt has updated the front page without the link having anywhere to go to. Way to get my hopes up.
 Thanks to blizzard Nemo I may be moving out a little earlier than expected. As in tomorrow instead of Sunday morning. Good thing, since I haven't done almost any packing! Ack! As such I have only gotten as far as basting the layers of my short stays together. They seem like they'll fit pretty well. However, this means the boning, cording and lacing won't be done for awhile, especially since I have none of those materials. The irony is that I started this project for the HSFN UFO challenge and it is ending up a UFO.

I'm just going to keep clicking until those patterns finally show up. 

On a bit of a tangent, I'm really inspired by these novel pleathers from Fabric.com
1. Bijou Faux Leather Textured Burgundy - $9.98/yd
 2. Faux Leather Gator Black - $11.58/yd
3. Sparkle Vinyl Jade - $15.98/yd

I'm thinking a bustier (or two)?
 Burda Style #113

04 February 2013

Sew Grateful Week

It is the beginning of Sew Grateful Week...and the beginning of my week of packing up because I move back to Connecticut on Sunday, so there probably won't be much sewing or blogging. I knew this pretty far in advance, so as to my part of SGW, I opted to send several other bloggers whose blogs I enjoy a pattern.
It's not exactly a giveaway but I figured it was close enough.
Thanks for reading my blog and thanks for blogging so I get to read about your own projects and ideas!

01 February 2013

Disco Goddess Shines and Sews

The first day of February was celebrated by finishing my gold leggings and a trip to the thrift store. I was mostly looking for overalls and was frankly surprised at the lack thereof. Salvation Army was a bust. I made a donation at the Savers but came out with one pair of jeans, two t-shirts and one summer dress, for about $20. The t-shirts and dress will be well used, but weren't exactly necessary. The jeans on the other hand were very justified as I am about to explain.

The three pairs of size 6 Gap jeans I own have stretched out no longer fit. I can actually take them off without needing to undo the button and zipper. My new jeans are also Gap, but a size 4. We'll see how these fare. Lladybird got some locally-made, really decadent (I'm referring to fit, price and quality, I don't mean their bedazzled with Swarovski all over) that she blogged about and then made two t-shirts. So now I feel like a bum for having resorted to the thrift store for these things.

Oh yes, the gold leggings. I'm sure you're not interested in seeing those old things. How boring. How blah. How banal.
JUST KIDDING!
Who can resist the tacky-fabulous that are gold leggings? After using this fabric for Chad Deity I knew I needed to own something made from it. I was largely inspired by Oona's own go at '80s leggings so I blame her for any eye injuries that may occur to onlookers at the dance club. You also get a bonus previously un-blogged top. Ooh, aah!

P.S. Excuse the blurriness for as we all know, winter = indoor photos = blurry. Plus an impatient teenage sister as photographer meant I was lucky to get anything usable.
Pattern: Simplicity 2364 (D) size 12, McCalls 6173 (B) size medium
Rating: S2364 - 4/5, M6173 - 3/5
Fabric: Gold Mystique same as for Chad Deity's shorts poly/spandex, cotton/spandex Swim/Dance knit both from JoAnn
Cost: About $11 apiece
Time: More than expected on both :(
Notes: I made this top about a year ago. I had to take in a bit from the sides, particularly at the waist to give it shape. I didn't like it when I first made it but it's grown on me. It's a little Grecian and I can dig that.
The leggings on the other hand...TOTAL NIGHTMARE! The finished hip measurement for a medium was listed as 35 3/4", which should be a nice snug fit on my 36ish" hips. How wrong I was! When I put them on they looked just like a pair of wide leg dress pants...except in totally inappropriate fabric. 
I took the leg seams in. Then I took them in again. And again and again. I also took in the center seam twice! A project that should have taken an hour took up a whole morning because I also went back, opened them up, re-cut them and re-sewed them so I wouldn't have a bunch of extra fabric in the legs.
I was very disappointed. I would guess I should have made an XS and next time I will!  Yes, there will be a next time because when I go to NYC I most definitely need to hit up Spandex World because at the very least, I need a pair of Charlie Brown leggings. Very appropriate for this wah-wah, wishy-washy blockhead of a pattern, non?

Folks Serv