October 31, 2014

My Halloween Horror Story

Hello all!  Happy Halloween to you, especially if you have your costume ready to go (bonus points if you're already wearing it).

I have a tale to tell you.  My favorite 6 and 4 year olds are coming to stay with me this weekend (and their mom).  They're my nieces and I'm especially excited that they'll be here instead of me driving there.  These particular nieces are particularly spoiled, especially by me.  I make their costumes for halloween each year.  And I let them choose what they want, so they tell me all year long what they want to be.  

I enjoy it, but we all know I have this laziness thing that I also enjoy.  So putting these two things together- costumes with a deadline and laziness- never turns out well (only for me tho!).  I thought I would share with you my awesome phone pics of their costumes from the last couple years as I proceed to procrastinate longer on finishing those costumes.  Oh, didn't I tell you?  It's Halloween and my nieces will be here in under 7 hours and their costumes are not finished.  In fact (might be TMI here) I just started them last night.  Yeah, I've had 3 hours of sleep.  Here's to hoping my current Halloween Horror doesn't end up full of blood and gore and stained/ruined costumes!  But on with the cuteness...

This cutie is my older niece who was sooooo into "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" two years ago that she wanted to be a pirate.  I painted the fabric for those pants myself cause I couldn't find anything I liked for pirate pants.  She was truly adorable (and still is).

This cherub is my younger niece who was soooo into princesses...  Wait, she never outgrew that, she's still soooo into princesses.  Anyway, with her older sis being a pirate, she had to keep up but also beat the game.  She wanted to be a princess pirate.  You guys, I had (have) no idea what the heck a princess pirate is!  I totally just made a costume full of pink but hopefully a little edgy-ish (for a toddler) and piratey.  

This is last year.  They were both super heros, but little niece had to up the ante again because she was not only a super hero, she was also a princess (again).  Ladies (and gentlemen?) I present to you The Flash and She-Ra!  

They're definitely off to save the world here, pretty sure that's why we're all still alive.  I mean, who could live without this kind of cuteness in their life?

THIS year, they've actually chosen completely unrelated costumes, which kind of makes me sad.  At first they wanted to be Elsa and Olaf from "Frozen" but let's be real- who wants to sew an Olaf costume?  I tried to be as non-encouraging as possible while encouraging the older niece to choose whoever she wanted to be (I rock this auntie stuff, right?).  Then they wanted to be Princess Peach and Mario from the Nintendo game Mario Bros.  I was all for that- how awesome are my nieces?  But alas, their final unrelated choices are Elsa for the younger and Captain America for the older.  Not complaining or anything but Elsa...

Yeah, every other little girl out there is going to be Elsa too.  Haha!  At least my niece's Elsa will be different than every other Elsa.  I mean, who doesn't take creative liberties when sewing children's costumes?  Or is that just my laziness speaking...?

What do you guys have planned for Halloween?  Any fun costumes?  And are they handmade or store-bought?

October 27, 2014

Running and Dreaming

A few years ago I started running.  I hated it.  I knew it was good for me and I did it, but I hated it.  I started training for a half marathon when I moved to SoCal.  Then I hurt my ankle (like REALLY bad).  That half marathon was no longer happening (yes, I was totally relieved) but I told myself I would start running again after my ankle healed.  Yeah...  I kept telling myself that for the next year and a half.

BUT!  I FINALLY started running again a couple months ago.  And guess what?  I'm LOVING it!  Even while running.  Amazing right?  I ran a 5k at the beginning of October and I'm signed up for a 10k at the end of November.  I'm only up to running 4  miles (which realistically translates to almost 3.5 miles) but I'm following a training plan and am well on track to being able to run 6.2 miles before my 10k (hopefully).

I keep thinking that I should combine my new love of running and my love of sewing.  There are patterns for running clothes so why not?  I admit that part of me is fearful of working with the fabric running clothes use.  But conquering that fear might be as awesome as a running high, right?  

So, some patterns I've been looking at:

Fehr Trade Duathlon Shorts

These seem like the most practical of all the patterns I've found.  And what an awesome way to add my own spin with cool fabrics for the stripe down the side.  I'm discovering I like a certain weight of fabric while running and a certain fit, but somehow I can never find both preferences in a ready-made garment.

Papercut Patterns Pneuma Tank

I've been wanting this pattern ever since I saw Ginger Make's version.  I wanted it even more when I saw that Fabletics has a top very similar to it.  One of my friends (she's actually training and running with me) bought a running shirt at Target that also has a similar concept.

Greenstyle Women's Yoga Pants

I wouldn't run in yoga pants (even though that's what I started running in) but I need to start doing some cross-training (cuz I've got the weakest core (read flabby stomach)) and yoga pants would come in handy for say yoga or pilates.

Jalie Sport's Top (#2563)

On my list of to-do-someday is undergarments.  Sports bra seem so much less terrifying than underwire bras.  Also, the running tights/shorts are an added bonus to me.

Fehr Trade VNA Top

The design lines on this top are so cool!  To be honest, I prefer looser tops while running (cuz that breezey-ness they provide is a nice distraction when your lungs and legs are screaming at you), but maybe during the winter (HA! SoCal doesn't have winters) this top would be nice.

Your bonus photo for making it to the end- this is after our 5k (if you couldn't tell, it was a color run).  Our upcoming 10k isn't a fun event run like this, but it is right by the beach (I totally love the beach!).

What patterns are you dreaming of right now?  Any plans towards making those dreams reality?

September 27, 2014

Quick (as in not super long just normal long) Update

I didn't expect moving to keep me away and busy for a month, but I'm not even fully unpacked yet.  Ok- the real truth- everything is unpacked EXCEPT my room.  My books are still in boxes, my craft supplies are still in boxes, my fabric is still in boxes,  my patterns are still in boxes.  The only things I have access to (without digging thru more boxes) are my clothes and shoes.  Honestly, unpacking is even more overwhelming than packing and moving.  It's more than having to just clean up or put things away.  I have to find a place for those things first and I want that place to be established before I unpack so I don't have to rearrange things later (remember that lazy thing- still have it).  I'm working on it, but it's going very  S...L...O...W...L...Y...

The plans for today included photographing that garment I mentioned FOREVER ago but somehow I ended up with two naps instead of a completed To-Do List.  Can I just mention- naps are totally wasted on the young.  Anyway- back to productivity (if writing a post and watching "Call the Midwife" can be called productive- hehe).  I'll take photos tomorrow (unless a fun weekend happens instead) and work on unpacking so I can get back  to the real fun (sewing-duh).

A few days ago I went to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA.  It was SUPER crowded which I was hoping to avoid by going on a Thursday after school had started.  The park was only open for 8 hours and my roomie (the 1st) and I were there for 7.  We only went on 5 rides, but they were probably the 5 best rides there.  FYI- if you ever go the Magic Mountain- go on Tatsu.  BEST. RIDE. EVER!  I felt like a dragon twisting and turning and flying around the park.

YOU GUUUUUYYYYYYYSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!  Look who I met while there!  I'm a huge fan of SYTYCD (Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" for those who think I just made up some alphabet soup) and apparently the whole Top 10 were at Six Flags.  I saw one of them briefly early in the day and geeked out for a while.  THEN, right before we were getting ready to leave I noticed this huge banana and then noticed who was holding it and I totally became a fan girl and talked way too fast to them while grinning like an idiot and finally asked for a picture.  I present to you Serge (on the left) and Rudy (on the right) of season 11's SYTYCD Top 10 dancers.  Yeah, it'll be like the highlight of my year.

Sorry there's nothing thrilling or exciting in this post (even tho there is- look at the above photo!).  Hopefully I'll get back to a normal routine of life soon, even if I have no idea what that should look like.  Hehe.

So tell me, have you ever met anyone famous and were you a cool-cat or a fan-girl?  Or who would you fan-girl over if you got to meet that person in real life (as opposed to fake life, you know?)?

August 29, 2014

Moving On Up

DISCLAIMER: I was lazy (possibly this post's theme) and used my phone (and it's flash-GASP!) at something like midnight to take these pictures.  Whatevs tho, right?

Soooo, I went to visit my sisters and their little cuties (the nieces and nephew) last week and then took the nieces to my mom's house for their first rodeo (cuz cowboys are hot cute wear tight jeans awesome).  The next day the nieces and I drove to have lunch with my dad, effectively seeing all my family (except my brother- he lives in a different state- boo!) in a 5 day trip.  It was pretty awesome.  When I arrived home I found my living room did not look like my living room.  It looked like a packing factory with assembled and unassembled boxes everywhere.  

Oh yeah, I'm moving...  Bleh!

Dang it, no matter how much I hate packing and keep hoping it'll get done by itself, these empty boxes tell me they're not doing my work for me.  Lazy boxes!  I'm excited for the change I suppose, especially since a friend is moving in with my current roommate and me.  I'm not excited about all the physical labor moving brings with it.  Just think about the word- MOVING- it's implications are that you can not sit on your bum watching re-runs of "Reba" on Hulu or lie lazily on your bed reading your blog feed or continue to keep your crafting mess all over the living room so it's conveniently located for late nights of sewing.  Nope, for MOVING you have to MOVE.  Yeah, I definitely have lazy bouts (not ashamed of it, watcha gonna do?).

I finally decided to get to work on packing my room.  This is my bed.  Apparently if I want to sleep tonight (this morning) I'll have to actually pack these.  The fabric on the right is all washed and ready to sew with.  The fabric on the left needs washed.  Since we're moving to a place with a washer and dryer (goodbye coin laundry) I thought it'd be alot easier to pack the washed/ready separately from the not-washed/not-ready so as soon as we move into the new place I can get to work on washing everything that's been neglected up to now. I TRIED to organize them into cottons, apparels, knits, bottomweights, synthetics, etc...  The piles got unruly really fast, so in the end my goal changed to not letting the piles collapse on top of each other.  It's not settling, it's just changing my mind, you know- being a woman and all (and indulging in that laziness I so enjoy).

This is currently my photo studio, I mean living room.  This also all my roommate's doing, cuz why in the world would I put a printer (of PDF patterns mainly- hehe) in a vulnerable spot like that?  Also, that whole against-physical-labor-call-it-lazy-if-you-like-thing...  Anyway, back to the photo studio- since it's in such disarray and unusable, I can't take pictures of my latest make.  So you'll have to wait to see what my major mistake was that turned out totally cute.

The scariest thing about this move would have to be... we turned in our 30 day notice but don't have a place to move to yet.  Every place we were looking at was ready to rent right then and there, so instead of paying rent on 2 places for a month, we thought we'd turn in our notice then get a place.  It's really nerve-wrecking!  We've kinda found a place that we're not sure we want but are in contact with another place that might work better.  Who knows.  Three grown women who have all been on their own for sooooo long, well, we all have our own opinions and different budgets and lists of must-haves vs willing to compromise.  I suppose I can say it's not boring, so there's a plus!

Anyone actually LIKE moving or have great tips for lazy but neat and organized packing?  Or have a cleaning fetish and wants to help clean our apartment (cuz, you know, deposit and stuff)?

August 24, 2014

Orange Rabbits

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I have a great memory, but it's one that works best with repetition.  My roommate says she's having me be her color coordinator for her wedding cuz she doesn't know anyone else who can match shades of color from memory (she doesn't have a boyfriend right now, so I'll just take it as a compliment).  In college, I would memorize my modules for Anatomy and Physiology for each test, then discard that module to memorize the next one (bad idea- you don't actually learn anything this way).  I can usually tell you exactly where a recipe I read is located (which magazine, website, cookbook, etc...) or read through instructions for a project only once as long as I'm immediately working on the project next.

BUT!  I can't remember all the great blogs I like to read.  I find so many new-to-me blogs through links on other blogs and think, "Yes, I'll keep reading this one" but proceed to forget what the name of it was or what the URL is...  Yeah, apparently my memory only lasted until 27...  Yay to 50-60 years to come of only forgetting more and more stuff- hehe. All this to say that I FINALLY signed up for BlogLovin'.  I've never used a blog reader before, so I hope this at least helps with blogs names for my failing memory.

So I suppose this is the obligatory post saying "Follow me to the magical world of sparkles and lace and clouds and frosting and orange-awesomeness and-" Oh, I guess you don't get all that...  Well, I do but it's all in my memory which means it's going to disappear with the rest of my smart brain cells.  How boring would the world be without the color orange?  Sadness!  Umm, I think I'm off on a rabbit trail over here...  Bunnies are so CUTE!


August 18, 2014

So This is Love

I made a shirt.  I'm pretty proud of the finished product too.  I really wanted a loose tunic to wear over yoga pants (for the days I don't want to shave and therefore I can't wear a skirt).  We just had a heat wave and hopefully it's the only one of the year.  But living here the last two summers I've noticed there's one heat wave that's two weeks long and it's always in August.

This heat wave was in July, and lasted maybe 10 days with a few rainy/muggy days thrown in.  Because this is different than what I've assumed is the norm, I'm preparing for the worst- another heat wave.  It's impossible to wear jeans in a heat wave, they get so heavy and hot.  Skirts are nice, but ya know, I hate shaving more than once a week (underarms are the exception!).  

The only problem with wearing yoga pants is I only have one shirt that is long or tunic length and cool enough for summer.  I have no problem showing my rear end most days (I have the best one in our family ;-) true story) but I prefer to wear looser, longer shirts with yoga pants unless I'm exercising.  

Since I had an obvious lack of shirts I deemed long enough, it just seemed appropriate to make one.  So I did!  Hehe.  I used Megan Nielsen's Crescent Blouse pattern with the curved hum tunic option.  I made it over three nights, maybe working on it a couple hours each night.  It was an easy sew, but there's a lot of ironing involved.  Because of the thin/flowy fabrics recommended for this pattern, there are no raw edges, which means either you're binding with bias tape or making french seams.  

The curved hem option wraps the back part around the front, making a cute little detail.  Ignore my facial expression here, I'm still getting used to using the timer on my camera.  That combined with the window to my right makes for some interesting photos.  

The above picture probably is the most accurate depiction of the actual color of my shirt.  It's a bright, springy green- it almost looks neon in the sunlight.  I got the fabric from Wal-Mart yeeeeears ago intending to use it as a lining for one of my nieces easter dresses.  I ended up making something different that didn't require a lining so it's been sitting in my stash for all those years.  I think it's a blend of some kind.  I say this because I used a higher heat setting instead of using the synthetic setting on my iron.  I was determined to get good creases.  I kept adjusting the heat higher and higher, testing a scrap of fabric and watching for melting.  It never happened, so while there maybe some polyester in this fabric, I'm convinced it must be a small amount.

I like the way it turned out, but there's definitely some things I would change next time I make this.  The pattern says the seam attaching the bottom pieces should be at your natural waist.  As you can see above, the seam is about an inch and a half to two inches below my waist.  I think I would raise that, but I would need to adjust the tunic pieces then because I wouldn't want to loose length.  In fact, I would like it longer!  Changing the neckline to be slightly lower is another thing I'm thinking about for next time.

Ooh! You guys!  I did my first baby hem.  The pattern says it's a rolled hem, and it's only 1/8 of an inch, but it still seems bigger than what I've always imagined a rolled hem to be.  But I'm so dang proud of myself for such a small hem on a curve.

I chose these metal buttons from my button collection.  I had three different buttons I was looking at, but these ones were pretty much perfect for the casual top I wanted this to be.  As you can see, I need to re-think where I start my top stitching to hide my (messy) backstitching better next time.  It's not too bad, but now I know under the button at the top of the strap would be better.

This is a much needed garment in my wardrobe.  Loose and cool and easy to wear.  And I love the shoulder cut-outs- you hardly feel the weight of the shirt the way they're placed and they're so cute!  I have to wear an undershirt because the material is so thin, but that's no biggy.  I actually wore this outfit to go run my errands.  It felt wonderful, letting the breeze in and feeling like I was wearing the least amount of clothing possible while still being decent.  Better yet, it doesn't even look like I'm wearing the least amount of clothes possible!  I seriously need to make another one, maybe the other tunic option this time...

August 13, 2014

Playing Dress Up

At the end of July an event happened around here that a lot of people went to.  My roommate was one of those people, her brother flew out here to be one of those people too.  Me?  I continued on with my life, blissfully ignoring this event and not seeing my roomie while it happened.  Anyone ever hear of Comic-Con?

While my roommate was trying to figure out her costume, she kept trying to find things that she could do with stuff she already had.  She was going to go as a female grey Gandolf, wearing a grey sweater dress, grey tights, grey boots and  buy a grey robe and hat.  I told her that was boring.  So she next thought to go as a character in a TV show she watches who only dresses in regular clothes- no one would even guess she had dressed up.  I finally stretched my imagination really far in an attempt to understand this nerdy event (I'm a geek, not a nerd, so sometimes it's hard to relate- hehe) and suggested she go as a character in this really nerdy TV show that all my nerdy friends watch (and the watching of this show is what makes me lovingly call them nerds)- Dr. Who.  

She went as River Song from Dr. Who.  River Song is apparently Dr. Who's wife but from what I understand, it doesn't seem like they always both know they're married and she tries to kill him multiple times and spends her days in jail but not her nights and was kidnapped as a baby and whatever...  That's the best explanation you'll get from me.  Apparently there's this outfit/dress that River Song wears in a series of episodes and so I thought it'd be easy to recreate it...  Until I started looking at details.  

It wasn't so hard to sew up, it was adjusting and readjusting the pattern over and over that was irritating.  It's a sleeveless shift dress with an exposed zipper and an uneven hem.  Right below the zipper the skirt is attached in a curved shape and made of multiple pieces then somehow gathered at the bottom with what looks like bungi-cord...?

I did my best-ish (as shown by my laziness in not taking out the zipper basting stitches).  We found a pattern that had a similar silhouette for the shift dress part and I went to town modifying it and hacking it up and taping paper onto it to make new shapes.

I only made one muslin and found that it was too tight in the hips when she tried it on.  I spent a few more hours modifying the pattern again and added just a smidge more than needed in the hips cuz I wasn't making another muslin.  I figured I'd just take it in a little if needed.  

Instead of doing a curved seam to attach the skirt, I did two angled lines meeting in the middle.  I was quite proud of my matching skills, even if my roomie didn't really notice or care.  It's the little details, right?

I had made a skirt similar to a handkerchief skirt to get the uneven hem, but the roomie wanted "pick-ups" (I call them bunchy things- hehe). Having already spent three days pattern adjusting, muslin-ing and making her dress, I wasn't going to do hand sewing too. I told her she was welcome to make them herself and I'd even provide the thread and needle.  

So she did.  She made her own "pick-ups" and didn't even complain about it.  She really is quite lovely to live with (she even does my dishes!)

I laughed when I saw how she made them tho.  No needle and thread required I suppose.  She was quite appreciative of her costume.  She also spilled super glue on it before she got out the door wearing it.  That has yet to come out- any tips for getting super glue out of fabric?

These are the nails she did for her costume.  She  is amazing at painting nails and I thought this was pretty cool.  There's an exploding Tardis in there (I guess that's a Dr. Who time travel thingy).  The nails are based off a Van Gogh episode of Dr. Who where Van Gogh actually paints an exploding Tardis- or so I've been told (haven't actually seen it).  Unlike last time I made a dress for someone else (the maternity bridesmaid dress) this was not nearly as painful to make or as time consuming.  It's interesting sewing for other adults and not just other adults' children.  Who knows if there will be more (adult) selfless sewing in my future?

August 8, 2014

The First Dress I Sewed (for myself)

A few months ago while I was doing laundry I came across the first garment I ever sewed for myself (because I had finally gotten to the bottom of the laundry pile).  As I was hanging this particular dress up I was picking apart all the mistakes I now know I had made.  I made this dress over three years ago but it was a UFO until after I moved to SoCal 2 years ago.  All I had left was a zipper and the hem but it took me about a year to get to it.  It was the first zipper I ever put in and you can definitely tell!  But let's start with the beginning of my tattle-telling.

I decided to use New Look 6886 and make a dress.  The style is very much something I'd wear as I'm a big fan of fitted bodices and flared skirts as a result of a mis-proportioned body.  I had already bought material for a different pattern (this was before my fabric addiction turned into a fabric stash) and I decided to switch patterns since they both called for the same amount of fabric.  No big deal there.  My first mistake came in looking at ( or not looking at) the measurements for the body.  I decided to sew a size 14 because that was my bust size and I knew the skirt was flared so I wasn't worried about my hip size.  I had read on many blogs about the ridiculous amount of ease in Big-4 patterns so I thought I'd be fine.  After I cut everything and had started sewing my bodice I freaked out.  I finally looked at the finished waist measurement and measured my waist over and over again, coming up inches short (or too much, your choice).  So... I decided to add 1 1/2 inch panels to the back of the bodice on either side and the same amount on each side seam of the skirt, thinking this would cover it.

Obviously I had no idea about how to adjust fit correctly (I don't actually know that I know now either) and this dress ended up being too big...  By almost exactly the amount I had added.  Funny, right?  I readjusted the back by the zipper, tightening it up to fit with pins.

I had also  decided to add a skirt lining, so I cut my lining using the skirt pattern and narrowing it's volume.  After that I added gathered tulle in an attempt to make the skirt poufier (oh the days that I always wore something poufy!).  That tulle got cut off after the first wash- it became a mess.

Because I decided to add a skirt lining I had no idea how to insert the zipper since a lining wasn't included in the directions.  I tried tho.  I pinned it in and sewed it up and...

I had a totally un-matching waist seam and one top of the back higher than the other.  Oh dear!

I folded the excess on top down, topstitched over it and cut out the excess- total chaos.

As a result of my incorrectly inserted zipper, the bottom of it had a funny hole and pucker.

The inside seams aren't finished but they haven't frayed terribly too much.

The shoulder straps are too long for my short shoulders.  I even ripped out the seam once to try and shorten them, but they're still too big and fall off my shoulders.

Actually, considering  how little I knew about adult clothing construction then and how fearlessly I went about it, it's not that bad.  Nowadays I make multiple muslins and hope my adjustments will work, but I'm not so fearless like that anymore.  I could definitely use that again, if anyone finds some you-don't-know-what-you're-getting-into-fearlessness lying around. 

I didn't wear this terribly often until recently since the shoulder straps fall off my shoulders and the skirt caught on the skirt lining and bunched up when I walked- it was sooooo annoying.  Here's some advice- don't use quilting cotton as a lining for quilting cotton.  It just doesn't work.

I recently decided to cut out the lining so it wouldn't be such a pain to wear.  It worked (happy dance).  The shoulder straps still fall down, but at least I don't have a bunching up skirt.  Since the most obvious mistakes are on the back I figure out of sight out of mind- right?  The best part was the first time I wore it after this adjustment I had two complete strangers compliment me on my dress, one even asked where I got it.  It kind of made my day.  I wear this dress more often now. I love how it's fitted just for ME and I wonder why I don't sew myself more clothes.

I learned so much from this dress, especially since all my sewing before this was children's clothing and home sewing.  Even with all my mistakes, I still feel good wearing it and have pride in it being me-made.  I've recently decided to use this pattern again, hopefully with different mistakes this time.  Hehe!  Also, my roommate would love for our living room to be completely pink like that (and I'm totally amused by the pink filter!).