Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fashioning My Cyber Microcosm: The Life of A Bat

As a self proclaimed Halloween-aholic, it comes to the surprise of many that I actually have no plans for Halloween this year. I didn't even give much thought to a costume.
... Well... I didn't last year either, but anyway-- at this point I would have at least been looking forward to doing something.

Luckily, one of my husband's colleagues threw a pumpkin carving party over the weekend, and gave me a damn fine reason to celebrate the only special holiday I look forward to each year.
Sadly, I forgot to take my own camera along in the frenzy and excitement to get ready for the party... but my friend gave me permission to use some of the ones she took of the event.

It was just the occasion to wear my pretty eyeball dress to, but I spent the majority of my time baking bat cookies with my friend to put much thought into what to accessorize the dress with. Happily she came to my aid with a pair of bat wings, which was just enough for this batty gal to be happy with.

You might notice I am lacking my second pair of eyes, aka spectacles... that is because I finally took the dive into wearing contacts. This is the first time in what feels like forever, that I've seen without the weight of glasses on my face. I vaguely remember the same foreign feeling when I was first prescribed glasses at age 14... I never thought I'd get used to them on my face, and now I can't really remember what it was like never having them, even though it's only been 11 years!
Anyway, I like them despite that nagging little thought that perhaps I am forgetting something...
Now I have to pick which color I would like-- I narrowed the choice down to violet or honey colored yellow.

Either way, I would like to make my gaze as interesting as I'd like to believe I am...

Again, usually I have meticulous plans for what I would like to do during this joyous holiday...
Last year I carved a sugar skull onto my pumpkin. This year I decided to wing it, and came up with something along the traditional lines of jack o'lantern carving.

It reminded me more of Jack Skellington than I initially intended... we even had someone carve the pumpkin king himself onto their pumpkin.

I was far more impressed with another friend's pumpkin. It was surely the party favorite among the lot of carved goodness; hers was the headless horseman that sits right beside the Jack face. Up close, you would easily see why-- this does not do it enough justice!

The pumpkin that belongs to the friend I went with is the one that says 'boo' in its mouth, that I also find all kinds of cute. And of course, the Star Trek one is near to my heart, too-- though I don't really know who carved it... I myself was debating whether or not I should do something similar, but my love of Halloween far exceeds my love of the United Federation of Planets.

There was a surprising amount of Trek love in this party, besides the pumpkin. The friend who carved the headless horseman was wearing a Star Trek command shirt; she also gave me a deck of Voyager cards to gush over. Oh what joy to find two of my passions in one place!

And so to wrap up this exceedingly wordy post (feels a little more than usual), I and my fur babies bid thee a happy halloween! (even if in reality they hate dressing up!)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Skeleton Closet: Attack of the Killer Copy 'Bat' + Pattern Review

And by 'killer' I mean awesome... hahah!
I should make a sectional of my blog for my copy cat dealings-- hmm.

So in one of my previous posts, I wrote that my mother sent me some money for a little retail therapy during my health issues. In it, I expressed the desire for a couple Hell Bunny dresses, but one seems discontinued while the other is not viable financially.
For the price of both of these dresses, I was able to purchase everything I needed for all the dresses I planned for in that post-- a total a 4, including the one I didn't mention much.

Last post, I revealed a sneak peek of the dress I was working on, but did not mention which one...
Well, dear readers...
VoilĂ !

Sporting my broken spare glasses...

This is the New Look pattern 6457 in view A.

From afar the pattern of the fabric merely looks like multi colored polka-dots... but when you come up close, it reveals itself to be eyeballs on a faint spiderweb background. This dress is meant to somewhat mimic the simplistic but outrageously awesome Hell Bunny eyeball dress.

As some of you know, I currently have a "thing" for eyeball things... this dress was an inevitable contribution to my wardrobe.

Knock-off dress with my knock-off hair bows
The dress itself needed some fit adjustments around the curvature of the bodice side front pieces, since I am not as well endowed as your average woman-- I still have the body of a teen that just barely hit puberty. And believe it or not, it can sometimes work in as an advantage.

Another adjustment to be done was the length of the skirt. It wasn't a huge deal since the pattern inadvertently lays it out for you.

The line which you're supposed to sew your ribbon trim also works in shortening the skirt overall. I chose to cut on the highest line-- on me, it creates the perfect length just a bit above my knees since I am merely 5 feet tall.

It goes without saying that the straps needed adjustment also. I have excruciatingly narrow and short shoulders, disproportional to my torso-- meaning nothing off-the-rack with straps ever fits properly.
The instructions mention only overlapping the front of the straps, while keeping the back untucked.
I didn't think that looked clean enough for me, so I simply did the same at the back as in the front.

Once the band is stitched on, the inside looks super clean and tailored. It would be even better if this dress was lined, but I didn't buy any fabric be able to do that.

The only disappointing factor was the difficulty I had matching the pattern of the fabric with seams; it's an absurdly random pattern, and I just couldn't find the magic formula to prevent cut offs-- I did my best, but it wasn't enough! Ugh. Guess that is my penance for mismatching my husband's shorts, heh!

Pattern overview:

  • View A is a simple silhouette, there was little to no road blocks in dealing with adjustment issues; basic level knowledge. Great for the beginner.
  • Optional extras: tailor's ham to press around curves for better sewing results.
  • I would sew this dress again; it's fun, cute, and works really well with busy prints.
I'm pretty stoked that I now own an eyeball dress-- huzzah!
Also, you must check out my awesome tights, as I'm equally stoked about them, too! I found them at Dollar General... isn't that crazy?!

What I'm wearing:
  • Dress: New Look pattern 6457
  • Anatomical heart necklace: self -made
  • Eyball hairbows: self-made knock off
  • Tights: Dollar General
  • Belt: Fairweather Co.
  • Boots: K-mart

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Creepy Craft Crusades: Emotional Brew

Such a mix of feelings this month has brought so far.
A mix of several inconveniences, and one giant wallop of good news.

The good news is that government shutdown is officially over.
My husband went back to work this past Thursday from his two week and a half furlough. What's more, we've received news that the whole time will be back-paid to us... at least the federal employees. 
I wouldn't call the lost time a "vacation", because that would mean ignoring the worry and anxiety of waiting for a conclusion, for the perception that this time was somehow enjoyable...


Since it was an emotionally taxing month, it seems only natural that I would immerse myself completely in my sewing... it's the best way that I can wind down or blow off steam, and it works oh so well.
I admit to being slightly surprised that this sewing streak is still going strong despite having lost a great chunk of worry-- at this point my fingers and brain would be telling me to slow down and enjoy the "victory"... but no.

I have begun yet another commercial pattern (from my latest pattern haul) which will later be reviewed upon successful completion. For now, all I have to offer is the muslin stage of the bodice from one of the said dresses, and a semi-panoramic view of my sewing room in its current state:

Before this pattern and after the shorts I created last post, I (reluctantly) drafted the pattern and already sewn a pair of Star Wars shorts for my husband. They feature my very first attempt at seam pockets-- which came out beautifully.
The reason for my reluctance was purely because it's Star Wars, and I'm a Trekkie.
I think it's safe to say that love hath no boundaries.

However!  I am allowed one petty act, I think, heh...
The miss-matched pattern of the fabric was an intentional but subtle jab.
I didn't want the shorts to be the very best that they could be, even though it really really disturbs my inner seamstress.
As I've finished mentioning, we may be husband and wife, but I am and was always a Trekkie... at least the rest of it has my best efforts, hah!

He's also sporting a bleach dye shirt I made him, too! It's one I made him months ago, but I just never blogged about-- there's a lot of projects that go unblogged. It's a Spinal Tap shirt!
Here's the back of it:

If you haven't seen the mockumentary that started a real band, then I suggest you watch it ASAP. It's quite funny, and surprisingly catchy.

And so comes the part where I let you in on a couple bits of bad news...
One of the issues that caused the shutdown was really only postponed... meaning this all could potentially happen yet again!
And for extra fun, both my main and spare pair of glasses suffered unfortunate accidents...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Skeleton Closet: Simplicity 2367 Review -- Reader's Choice

After months of planning on creating the shorts from one of these patterns (view D--simplicity). I finally got around to sewing it.
Since it isn't my pattern originally, the first thing I did was to copy each individual piece onto tissue paper... although, I really feel like that should be done no matter what; it extends the life of the pattern.

Anyway, in the post I linked, I had a bit of choice in front of me that I left up to my readers-- which one was I to make first? It wasn't a unanimous choice, but the shorts ended up being it.

And here it is. I changed my design decisions a bit from the initial plan-- it wasn't a large deviation, but instead of the intended venetian lace trim around the leg bands, I chose to create an overlay on the pockets; a little more subtle, just so I can easily match it up with anything in my wardrobe. It has a side zipper closure, and the pockets are quite deep and roomy.

During the mock up, which is too ugly for photos ( pale yellow satin marked with purple felt tip) I noticed some errors on the pattern and on the directions; I hope they were found and quickly fixed... but in this copy, they are present.

The mistakes are concentrated around the waist band; when you're piecing the 4 waist band pieces (2 front, 2 back) together you end up with 2 completed waist bands; one is your facing. Quite regrettably, I didn't take any photos of this, so this is going to sound profoundly confusing... I will create an example and update this post in the future.

The confusion comes when you're stitching them together; it directs you to stitch each band at the right side seam, which I assumed was the right sides of both front pieces because it did not specify.
When I started piecing the completed bands onto the shorts, I noticed that the facing wouldn't line with the base band; it ended up front with back, instead of front and front. So, you'll need to stitch to the left seam of one of the bands and it'll be correct in the end-- the one with only one side of interfacing so that the front won't be too stiff.
Next, the dot marks on the pattern piece of the front waist bands needed to mark where the front tabs go is not printed in for size 14-- which is the size I am. I took my seam gauge and approximated the distance between each dot for each size and then made the dot mark for my size.

Once again, I deeply apologize for not taking photos of this-- it's rather important if you're going to undertake this pattern.

But anyway. Near completion I realized I only had 14 inch invisible zippers, and this pattern needed a 7 inch zipper.

Since I don't have zipper stops, I had to DIY it. I first thought of melting the teeth together at the length I needed, but then I remembered I didn't have my soldering wand for precision melting...
Using super glue will fall off after a few washes, and stitching an overcast stop tears apart after enough wear... next best thing? Nail polish coated overcast stitch.

I figured this method out after a few bad trials with most DIY stop methods. I deduced that since nail polish makes a great fray check that stays nearly indefinitely, why wouldn't it work for protecting the overcast zipper stop. Best idea ever, I tell ya... and yes, I'm tooting my own horn.

As I mentioned, the pockets are done with an overlay of lace, and binded with bias tape-- although the pattern calls for folding under and top stitching all around. I liked the look of the bias tape.

All in all the pattern needed very little alteration-- I just added a bit of length to the leg bands because they were a touch too tight when I sat down. But yes, it was a nice weekend project... and luckily we are still of the weather to wear shorts down here in the deserty south.
Oh and the buttons! Can't forget about the buttons... they're my favorite! They're metal skull shank buttons that I picked up on Etsy several months ago.

What I am Wearing:
  • Top: K-mart
  • Shorts: Self-made with Simplicity pattern 2367 in view D
  • Shoes: Hand-me-downs from my momma's old wardrobe

Friday, October 4, 2013

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Things To Do While Waiting.

My husband has been home every day since Monday when the news was announced that the U.S. government shut down, and most everyone in federal jobs were sent on leave without pay until further notice. Without going too far into it, things don't look good for many of us, and it's quite shocking to see the negative responses of such an event-- it's been quite stressful with how sporadic the government has been. First the sequestration happened, which destroyed the chance to move those months ago... and now this. It feels like we can't catch a break.

We are biding our time until then, pooling and squeezing each resource available to us since town living is not as cheap as one may think. We're not hurting yet since we've been able to make the best of what we have... that is, everything aside from entertaining ourselves. Squeezing pennies means we don't have the luxury of even taking a drive, since anywhere of note will likely cost $40 in gas... and well, the only place of note nearby is a National Park-- go figure, it's closed because of the shutdown.

On the brightside, my health has been doing alright (knock on wood)-- I haven't needed the surgery as far as we can tell since my gallstones are still mobile; I've been getting the hang of which foods don't trigger a severe attack... I still wonder the long term effects taking all these pain meds means, though.

Enough of depressing realities...

After a comment from Lynoire regarding the eyeball hairbows... it got me to thinking, what else can the crafting of eyeballs be used for? Other than jewelry and, well, hairbows.
As a self-proclaimed seamstress, the answer should've came to me right away! Better late than never, right?

Pattern weight decorations!

I'm constantly in need of pattern weights since I somehow end up losing them.
Remember my post regarding DIY Notions? Well I was never able to find good enough buttons for my pattern weights, so they have always been rather unfinished looking-- I save my good ones for when I feel like shooting progress shots of my sewing (heh!). Well, now I don't have to! These were two crappy turn-outs from before, but on they went onto two of my weights.

The good and the awesome.
I love novelty sewing notions... I'm such a sucker for anything that can reflect my tastes-- especially my tools!
On a side note.. copper BB's would add considerably more weight than just washers glued together; they end up as heavy as the store bought ones shown in purple. My husband happens to own a BB gun, that's the only reason I was able to acquire them... otherwise, it's too expensive a material.

In other crafty news,yesterday my husband and I finally got around to building the foundations of a cardboard cat condo. It's not as grandiose as I would like since we lack the space, but well, the cats love it.

I even built in a staircase.
And yes, you read and see correctly... cats.
This past Sunday we made the adoption of our latest beautiful bombay boy: Khan Edgar. He came to us already fixed, chipped and updated with shots-- which is nice because the day after adopting him, the news hit us.

We wondered if it was a good idea to have two rambunctious boys, and worried that the integration would be hell, as so many have warned us it would be... 
Luckily, Poe is the sweetest most welcoming soul and has accepted his new stepbrother with open paws. After some initial hissing and sniffs on the first day, by the second day they were already snuggling each other... and it hasn't faltered slightly since... or maybe I should say yet? Heh.

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