Monday, March 31, 2014

Skeleton Closet: Turning A New Leaf

Well, here I am!

No new house yet, but I am currently typing within my new town, in a motel.

We've been running into a lot of trouble since we first step foot into the town,
In a nutshell; the house we want has a big likelihood of not working out anymore, usps lost some of the clothes I sent down, the motel is constantly having problems (toilet, shower, water in general...), my acne is coming back fiercely... lots of bad juju.
I'm actually quite lucky to be on the internet at all, because the connectivity is weak at best.

But this is not hindering our determination! Once we actually have a home, things will start looking up... I hope...

I remember being ultra proud of the outfits I wore when we came to look at houses on our list, and since the postal service lost some of my favorite handmade articles, I decided to show off one of those outfits that featured one of those lost pieces. I only managed to take a photo of one of the three outfits before I left, but maybe when I finally have a house, I'll put together the outfits again just so I can show them off.
Missing: handmade shorts
I made these shorts as a part of a reader's choice post. Since I made them, I can't actually prove their worth, so I don't know if my claim for the lost articles will go through-- even though I bought insurance. Well anyway, at this point all I can do is hope that this big move inevitably falls into place.

You might notice I am actually wearing black lipstick...
Call it my new leaf; I decided to hell with the rules, or what others may deem as attractive.

As a 20-something, I am still allowed to be young and slightly carel free .
I have always loved black lipstick, but so many have told me it just doesn't work with darker skin, or it's never practical except for Halloween, that I actually started to believe it. I allowed the poison in... but now, I'm going to expel it all, as a part of my BatFit detox.

It's time for a fresh beginning.

What I am wearing:

  • Jacket: Fairweather
  • Top: "Too Fast", gift from best friend
  • Shorts: Self made from Simplicity pattern 2367
  • Boots: Gift from younger brother

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: The Galactic Existential Crisis

During the last month or so, I was collaborating with a friend from High school; she came to me with the desire for custom made costumes to attend the Calgary Comic Expo this year.

I was reluctant at the time, as I usually am when people approach me to make something for them; I have exponential commitment and focus issues, so I tend to pardon myself from most anything of the sort. But y'know, I grew tired of turning people down, and she caught me at just the right turning point in my way of thinking... so what the heck, I committed to making her a costume! I figured if I can complete this, I have a an inkling of hope yet to start a clothing business.

It first began with one costume-- I should say, one part of one costume. She requested a wonder woman costume, but with a vintage Airforce twist. She told me the only thing she wanted from me was the corset, so I sketched a few ideas and she agreed to a concept. For a brief time, I was meeting the drafting and mock up deadlines after the decision had been made.

During the process, she came to me yet again with another idea, for yet another costume. She wanted a Storm Trooper pinafore apron.
I began feeling that ol' reluctant feeling again, but this time for different reasons... my inner Trekkie was screaming 'NO'... but my heart and my mouth spit out 'okie dokie!'.

I did some research into pinafores and sketched a concept which I haven't come upon in my searches; I have seen darth vader, and I have seen trooper helmet on the apron, but not the suit completely adapted.

Yeah... so, after I sketched this, it turned out that I was super proud of the concept...
She was pretty excited about it, too.

I found feelings within myself that couldn't possibly come from a self-proclaimed Trekkie.
The worst part about it, is this costume didn't give me as much grief as her first request... it was easy, and painless.

I was making it completely from scratch; I had no pattern to really work with, I was just piecing it together when I could find the time to work on it. I made small templates for the side "flaps" and the breast portions, but only to keep proportions right. I honestly don't know why this felt so right. Scary.

Of course, when I finished, my room didn't quite appreciate the spontaneity of its construction...
To think, I'll be moving in a week, and I have only made matters worse in my sewing room.

But here it is! And yes, the pride is still very present...

The back pack was actually an after thought (sketched in last minute), and it was supposed to be a mini... but it turned out to be bigger than I had really intended. It's supposed to mimic that detail on the back of a troopers suit. The shapes on it are also reversed, which I noticed after the fact...
Well, at least the straps are fully adjustable!

I've been working on so many Star Wars related things, I have started suffering a geeky existential crisis...
Just a couple weeks ago, my husband came to me complaining of back problems due to his computer chair, and asked that I make him a cushion. It came to no surprise that he requested it in Star Wars fabric...

At least I got to bomb his Wars happiness...
For a self-proclaimed Trekkie... I am sure making a lot of Star Wars related goods.

The things one does for love and friendship...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Fashioning My Cyber Microcosm: Thrusting Forward, Full Speed.

It would seem that many of the bloggers I follow are experiencing a sudden influx of things gobbling time.
Mostly good news, as I've been reading!

I too have been utterly busy in the best of ways.

It must be the spring winds upon us.

Most of you know about the house hunting I've been doing, and the prospects of moving. However, an itty bitty handful of you are actually privy to certain monumental-completely-life-changing news that I've been holding and holding back to announce until the process is good and well underway.
Well, the time has come to unveil...

I am about to become a first time homeowner. This weekend we had looked at 17 houses in one day, and put an offer to one of those.


This is why my posts have been a little dry; very minimal traffic than usual, this is how I came to that conclusion. There's not much going on in my head dealing with anything aside the sea of papers, and hopes, and expectations... and everything that comes with such a task.

Ok, so that's a lie. Before we first got the news about moving, I was working on a few projects for two ladies-- one of them is a friend from high school, and we've made an arrangement between the two of us that I shall make her some costumes for the Calgary Comic Expo this coming April. It's becoming more and more star studded as the years progress-- I bet in a few more, it can rival those you can visit in Vegas! Just look at the line up for 2014! I really wish there was a possibility of attending myself...

Unsurprisingly, it's been a little difficult meeting the deadlines I set for each part of each costume-- it should've all been done by the end of March, but since we got the news I haven't had the free time I was expecting to have. I'm making her a total of two costumes, and I only have one about half way done.
This is pretty horrid. If she were a stranger, they'd have fired my ass but quick.
Though I have definitely learned a valuable lesson in time management between the commitments I have with her, the other acquaintance, and house buying.

I probably shouldn't even be spending time writing a blog post... but I can't contain my excitement!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Skeleton Closet: Two Brains, One Body

It's been a little over a month since I posted any outfits.
There's a reason for that, and it's that I've been in a 'uniform' of pj pants and large t-shirts in all that time.

... Well... a great majority of it, anyway.
But I haven't exactly put a lot of effort into looking interesting when an opportunity does appear.

The day before yesterday I, yet again, dressed up purely to break free from the status quo I always seem to end up in.

I really don't know why I keep allowing myself to fall into this trap-- probably because it's so much easier not giving a damn than it is to give a damn.

Or maybe because I've always been living with two very argumentative brains; one that likes the idea of never leaving home and playing games all day, and the other that wants to experience life and accomplish tangible goals. Another likely reason why my speech is exponentially different than my text.

Obviously, it's the latter brain that's responsible for writing my blog, because it's always been the best excuse to just do something. Even defying my husband's wishes.

He doesn't particularly like this outfit, and I consider it one of my favorites.
He says it's too revealing, and hates the collar.

The blouse is all lace, and has two drapes of chiffon on the front. I don't like wearing a camisole underneath because I feel it really detracts from the beauty of it. It's a really great blouse to feel sexy in, while hiding my triple tiered belly very well. An unfortunate consequence of the culmination of no exercise, and bad posture on a computer, game console, and sewing machine-- too, too many years spent slouched.

Luckily it's not too late to change that... but I wonder which of my brains will win the argument for that decision.

Also, check out my relatively  new kickers.

My youngest brother bought me them for Christmas last year.
Lace and studs on a boot?! Hell yes.
They're a touch big (size 6-- I'm size 5 to 5.5), but apparently they didn't come in smaller sizes. Oh well! I padded them to feel a little more snug.

What I'm Wearing:
  • Blouse: Sirens
  • Skirt: Second hand
  • Boots: Gift from youngest brother
  • Spike collar: Self made

How many brains does it take to make a decision...

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Your Machine and You-- Part 1

As with all things in the pursuit of sewing knowledge, we first want to begin with knowing which way is up and down on our machines.
It can be a very daunting task having to acquaint yourself with your machine-- especially if it's a recent addition. Most will advise you to read your manual thoroughly as soon as you unbox.

But picking up the manual and reading it page for page, is probably the worst thing for the psyche of a beginner.
I say this because manuals often portray your machine to be this overly complicated piece of NASA equipment, which it obviously isn't.

These days manuals can be the size of a fat magazine-- there is such a thing as too much information, and this is a good example of that.

In order to prevent the overwhelming sensation from being confronted with so much information, it's best to locate and read the very basic stuff:
  1. Threading & tension
  2. What button/dial does what, machine anatomy.
  3. Care & maintenance
Pretty much in that order, when you start out.

What I mean by #2 on that list, is finding out what a dial/button changes-- you don't necessarily need to know right away when you would actually use it. For example, the side dials on my overlock are responsible for adjusting the differential feed levels (we'll get to this later), but I haven't even needed to adjust them until I started working with intermediate fabrics, such as jersey or canvas.
Tip: Quilting cottons, and fabrics of similar type usually don't need any other setting but the basic factory setting, so you may not even need to worry about tension settings unless you're working with a specialty fabric.

One is 20 years old, the other is only 2. 

The sections mentioned above are comparatively shorter than all the rest, except if your machine is 20+ years old-- but then again, they didn't have the excess of information like we do today, so the manuals look(ed) thinner, despite containing more relevant information on the machinations. You can see in the photo above the difference in the size of the two manuals-- the oldest one, the juki (roughly 20 years old), was written in 3 languages, and I've never felt the need to supplement with additional information; it contains everything basic I need to know. The youngest is the brother manual (about 2 years), and it's only in English. The machine comes with another one in Spanish; that's a lot of paper!

The rest of the information can be used as needed, so if you encounter a problem in your sewing one day, it's always a good idea to check your manual however unlikely it may seem that it has a solution-- you might be surprised.

Use sticky tabs to label the appropriate section, so you are be able to find it quickly in the future. It's also a good idea to add a label to the cover with the serial number of the machine it goes to, should you ever need it when contacting dealerships or going to get your sewing machine maintained.

If your machine came with discs, it's likely they came inside a paper sleeve. To ensure the longevity of the data, it's best to transfer that disc into a hard case, such as those you get in the mail from H&R block during tax time...

There's always a way to recycle cases.
Use the cover sleeve of the case as a template to create a neat cover to identify the disc inside.
I do this with any and all discs that come with any machine or book I purchase. I just so happen to still have the paper sleeve my disc came in, so I could show you how it originally came-- along with an unused case I got in the mail again, eheh.

Safer, and a littler prettier.

I know this post was kind of short and sweet, and contains nothing really new...
For that I am sorry, but for the sake of starting at the very beginning, I will be writing these not only to introduce lesser known concepts and ideas, but to reiterate the well known ones too.
I am splitting this section into parts, and discussing the shorter topics first-- so you'll have to bare with some redundancies at first.

The further we get, the more in depth it will all become...

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