Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Bloody Potential.

It's been a mayhem infused May for this gal.
Frankly I'm surprised I'm still here to continue my sarcastic tirade on life.

But here I am! Still stitchin' along, but also still pondering 'Y, tho' in true nihilistic manner.

Here I am, on the doorstep to 29-- just a little over a month from now-- and the only thing I can think of is 'sexual peak'. I think I read somewhere that 30 is the 20 for women's libido. It just may be, because I would never in my teens or early 20's ever would I have sewn, let alone worn, a crop top, and yet this is my second iteration of one.

Like a champ, I made Simplicity 8386 in between a little slew of projects on my chopping block-- I think if my plans ever went along in a neat little line, hell might serve orange smoothies and tacos.

But let's talk about this pattern cover for a minute-- how utterly boring can a pattern look? Dear Simplicity cover designers, wtf mates?!
Thank the gods I can see past a bland-looking pattern, and see its beautiful potential... but let me tell ya, I had a hard time not overlooking this pattern. I think I put it back 3 times before I remembered I had a sh*t ton of knit materials these may look good with.

I landed on this beautiful textured knit material which I have 8 yards of, and bloody hell I can't remember where I bought it haha. Must have been a big sale for me to buy this amount of it.
I dug it up trying to look for another knit material for another project-- felt just like a new discovery! What a feelin'.

I cut out view C in size 12-- it has a whopping two pattern pieces in total. This is about as easy as a project can get, and it suited the need to procrastinate while still satiating a misguided desire for productivity in a life of chaos. There wasn't much to it, but in case you needed it the instructions were crystal clear.

I'm a sucker for proper pressing in order to get the most out of garment appearance, even when it comes to using knit fabrics.
Pro tip: a tailor's clapper is your friend for pressing these kinds of tenacious knits. You get a nice fold, without the risk of your knits falling back into its previous drape or accidentally overheating your material in an attempt to use the iron's weight to press the seam under a press cloth-- which for specialty knits can be a real danger.

Instead of using packaged binding for this top, that the pattern calls for, I made some binding from a few strips of the material-- so I could retain the natural stretch of the material and for it to also match nicely.

I tried experimenting with the neckline by using a binded casing, instead of using the method they use in the pattern instructions; I ended up hating what I did and painstakingly removed all the woolly nylon overlocked stitches I did. I reverted back to their method, it turned out to be the best for reduced bulk; I carefully hand-stitched the casing closed, as I liked the idea of an invisible seam there.

I finished this in just a mere couple hours, sufficed to say in good timing. I wasn't feeling great about my body; bloated, blemished like the pox, grumpy, nauseous, and hair that was so kinked and frazzled a bird mistook it for a nest. All courtesy of mother nature and her visit that went unimpeded by birth control. I'm not sure why I thought it was a good idea to get off of it, but in a bid to figure out my reluctant health... well, desperation is never a pretty color to paint with.

All's well that ends well, though-- I'm about the end of her visit this month and my body is going back to relative normality... whatever that really is, all things considering.

I had further design plans for this top, like adding more texturing to the surface through meticulously designed stitches... but alas, as a rather unlucky sewist, I broke the key needle player in that game before I even begun to chuckle towards completion.
It'll just have to wait, because at $3 for one needle... I'm in no rush to get it out of my drawing board yet, heh.
By itself, it makes a great goth summer staple article; simple, buildable, sweet... and that seems like enough.

Till next time, fiends-- spook ya later!

What are your sewing or crafting plans for the summer heat?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Ghost With The Most.

What do we got 'ere tonight, kids?

I'm on a roll, my fiends, sewing like tomorrow the bells will toll. Better yet, all these projects are made using fabric from the stash, and not just any stash... the good stash. The stash I didn't think I would ever cut into. So bold, so ambitious... so freaking scary.

I would be remiss if I didn't say I have (had?) ulterior motives to getting back into sewing so voraciously. Contests; contests are very good motivators. McCall's Pattern Company has such a contest of interest, for the construction of M7542.

The prizes are $100 gift certificate to Vogue Fabrics plus a 1 year sub to their fabric catalog, and $100 worth of McCall's patterns. I was so excited for those prizes, but the ironic thing was this was a pattern I actually passed on during a pattern haul (doh!).

Luckily I have have a really awesome friend here in San Antone who didn't mind buying the pattern after telling him I've been having withdrawals and wished I didn't pass it up so I could participate; I haven't bought fabric in a few months, partly because we have been heavily cutting down on the outgoing cashflow, but mostly because I made a very substantial bet with my significant other that if I managed to make it to October without purchasing fabric, I would get a "within reason" fabric/hallowe'en shopping spree in return.

Anyway, so I found this rayon challis at Walmart, and in a black and white stripe print some odd years ago now when I lived in Arizona (?)-- such an odd almost out of place good quality too that I ended up buying the rest of the bolt at the time. When I find fabric this good, I tend to get very greedy and buy entire bolts; bad for the wallet, but hella satisfying.

There isn't much to say about the actual pattern itself. I cut out a 12 and extended the back opening about an 1 1/2" down from the original ending point-- partly because I couldn't get my head through in the mock up, and partly to have a subtle skin reveal as I moved. Other than that, it fit as it should-- not too tight, not too loosely. It's semi-loose fitting with bust and shoulder darts for the tiniest bit of form fit. There was an excess of ease on the upper sleeve pattern piece, but nothing you can't just chop off after you've set it in with a baste stitch; I know, I'm a filthy savage.

The hook and eye is meh, it catches my knotty hair every time I take it on and off.
I would've added a loop closure with a fancy button if I didn't mess up that plan by serging the facing on before sammiching a loop between that and the outer fabric.
The hemline sits a touch higher than what's typical, ending right at the high hip point-- I didn't know I would like this cut as much I as do, it's flirtatious!

Sample dress #1, WIP
I used an applique bib that initially I was going to use in a dress I was designing around a dual sided lace fabric that was purchased for me from the same friend. There's a little regret in doing so, the material and the bib went so well together but when I get to designing without a clue as to what I want... I didn't know if it would ever see a use... individually, they are quite pretty.

There is one good thing that came from my indecisiveness, I mean, other than using it in this top... I started drawing croquis again . So there's that. This hasn't been a usual practice for me for the past 4 to 5 years, mostly because I now sew and design as lark rather than as a meticulous planned endeavor. Keeps things fresh and satisfying, I lose steam as quickly as I gain it anymore these days... but it feels good to be going back to my roots.

Back to the blouse, the bib didn't seem like enough and I struggled with the idea of adding more embellishments to, well... an embellishment. I landed on the idea of spikes, however, this being a rayon challis and a mesh bib, it would not stand the weight of conventional metal spikes or studs; it would sag rather unflatteringly. I remembered Hobby Lobby had some acrylic sew-on spikes with a chrome finish that turned out to be perfect.

A little dab of well placed fabric glue on the bottom of each spike and placed in their appropriate spots ensured I would get the perfect sew-down every time.

A beetle pendant makes my 'Beetlejuice chic' work properly.
I alternated the way I cut the upper and lower sleeve portions, because it can't be Beetlejuice inspired if the stripes weren't horizontal on the sleeves... but the pleats I don't think would have had the impact they do if I continued the horizontal pattern.
I guess it is worth noting that the sleeves are the hardest part of this blouse. I don't like how they have you close up the upper portion and hopefully you've accurately transferred your markings that you may or may not have drawn on the wrong side of the material; if like me, you did the latter, you might run into a little hitch because those pieces are meant to fold up and close as a kind of self-lining feature, I guess.

Because I didn't want to mess with reopening the lower portion and potentially marring such a large piece of rayon in the process, I just picked out the small seams of the upper sleeve portion and marked out the seam allowance so I could pleat along the flat length and hope for the best haha! It took a couple tries, pinning and unpinning, but inevitably I persisted into a successful even fit.

With the temps getting warmer and warmer now, I feel great that I have a top to head on the incoming weather. My latest wardrobe purge left me without many good summery tops as I've come to realize; thankfully I sew and have no shortage of things to sew... as I haven't been much in the mood for clothing shopping in a while now.

I actually think I will attempt to sew another one of these, in a different style of sleeve offered-- I'm just in love with this pattern. I fail to understand why I nearly passed on this pattern; don't be like me in this regard, my spooky friends. Get the pattern, you'll love it too!

Spooky you later, fiends! 

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