Monday, August 28, 2017

Fashioning My Cyber Microcosm: I've Been Tagged! -- Darkling Tag

I was tagged by the ethereal Vulcan Butterfly with questions provided by Graveyard Kitten.

I tag the incredibly talented and fellow spooky sewist Mary Mourning (Autumn Moon Enchantment), the mistress of the Gothic Cottage in the Spooky Forest Mrs. Insomniac (Insomniac's Attic) and last but not least, the ever inspirational Luna Von Bat (Batshit & Lipsticks).

Honourable mentions include:
Frykitty -- Frytopia
Sarah -- Tales From A Geordie Goth
House Cat -- Domesticated

Prepare for a long winded affair my friends; questionnaires (and reading them) are such fun for me-- and a great way to procrastinate on my current project list, haha! ...

Simple Questions
What is your favorite candle scent?
I prefer burning incense.
Do you have a favorite book?
Favorite book-book will always be Frankenstein, but I'm more of a comic book and graphic novel kind of gal. My current favorite is the Dark Crystal series published by Archaia. They also have the Labyrinth series which I'd love to read once I finish my current batch of comics.
Are you a tea or coffee person?
Could never acquire a taste for coffee in any of its various forms. I do like a good cup of tea... but it still wouldn't be the first thing I crave.
What's your favourite perfume/cologne?
My own blend? Heh. Perfuming would be one of my hobbies... current combination is heavy woodsy, and a touch of spice.
Song of India makes sumptuous perfume oils that I've used for years, but they don't make many blends.
Do you have a celebrity crush?
I respect Lupita Nyong'o, she's very talented and graceful. I guess also Crispin Glover and Jim Carrey. These three view the world with such amazing depth and complexity that at least for the latter two, seemed to be a detriment to their acting careers.
If you could change your name to a stereotypical 90s/2000s gothy name, what it would be?
I'm using it...
What are your top three tips for surviving hot weather while black clad?
Only you can judge what you can wear based on your tolerance to heat.
What song will always make you happy (doesn’t have to be a goth band)?

Dignificada by Lila Downs

and one more for good measure...

Isobel by Björk

Are you active in the arts (ex. play an instrument, paint, write, etc)?
I'd say sewing is an art, especially at the level I aspire to... but for this example, I do paint and draw fairly well, it just isn't that often. I am also quite fond of writing haiku's every now and again.
What is your number one non-gothy hobby?
Gaming. I always say that if I am not sewing or crafting, I am gaming; I share this hobby with my husband who I met through a game.
I am mostly a PC gamer, but we own several consoles ranging in Gens from current to old-- including handhelds. My computer rig is now dated down to about a mid range by current available hardware; I built it two years ago. I can still run many games on ultra settings maintaining a nice FPS, but it can always be better. Keeping up to date isn't cheap, and lately we've had a lot of expenditures that put off upgrading our PC's back up to high tier. We're looking at AMD for our next cards; we sported EVGA currently and in the past; my current card is a GTX 970; hubby's is a GTX 980 Ti-- he gets the better gear since he has no other hobby he spends his dosh on. It's only recently that AMD have been competing enough to turn our heads, so our future builds will include them.  Love Corsair for keyboard and mice-- I have never had better-- had a couple Razer's but I never enjoyed them. I have a vengeance k70 cherry mx brown keyboard and a vengeance m90 mouse to match-- the mouse is no longer available, and the complaints people had with it are my pluses; has a smaller profile (good for tiny gamer hands like mine) and it has some weight to it (that a combination palm/fingertip gripper like me appreciates). Currently I have a Thermaltake Overseer RX-I snow edition case... would have preferred a Cooler Master since they generally have a wider profile, but aesthetically, none matched my vision at the time; my hubby's rig is black and red, and mine is white and blue... red corner blue corner as in most games, black and white as in chess... yeah... Looking to change that now and adore the idea of tempered glass or the open air ones.
Well... I could continue, as there is much more to be mentioned... but I will stop here before I make this post longer than it needs to be... heh.
If you're interested in reviews of games or a full post on my equipment, let me know-- I usually leave it out since it always seems like a thing best suited to video reviews... and I am nowhere near that level of comfort, hehe.

Thought Provokers

If you could be a supernatural creature, what would it be and why?
Dr. Manhattan. Here's his wiki to understand why. Look at the side info bar of his abilities for the tl;dr version.
What horror monster super-powers would you have?
All powers of a typical witch. I may not live to forever, but I can extend my time and of those around me damn near long enough through potions and arcane knowledge. Plus flying on a broom and conversing with my cats? What's not to love.
Do you feel confident or comfortable interacting with other goths or gothy people (online or irl)? Why or why not?
If my stats were laid out in RPG format, Charisma would be in the negative.
Which is more important for a look: great hair or great makeup?
Well since I am adept at neither... least of which would be hair...
I guess that would make makeup my answer.
Is there something you wish there was more of in your subculture?
I wish more goths of color would pound out content, as we are still lacking in general representation. It's a trickle, but if we involve ourselves more we can make an impact to help curb the stereotype that goth belongs only to those who are white enough. Never heard people more vehement against goths of color, than people of my own ethnic background. That said, it pains to me admit I know no goths of color in person or online (though I subbed to a few on youtube very recently)... I want to change this, so comment your favorite goth blogger who happens to be a person of color (comment your blog if you are a POC as well, don't feel badly about self advertisement!). Heck, I'll follow IG alternative model accounts if you got 'em-- the only real stipulation is that the site is maintained a least semi regularly.
Care to share an embarrassing story related to your "darkliness"?
My life is a series of embarrassing stories related to my darkliness. I blunder through all things.
How are you at DIY?
There isn't much inside my house or on my persons that hasn't been made, repaired, refurbished or installed without my direct involvement.

Confessional (aka True or False)

I love watching cheesy romance films.
True/false. I pop them on as background noise mostly.
I always remember to wash off my makeup at night.
True. When I wear it, always.
I sleep with plushies.
True. I have a plushie that I had since I was 4 that rests at my side of the headboard-- Charlie, a little Dalmatian that barks when you boop its nose. Never far from where I sleep.
I wear non-black pyjamas most nights.
False. I can count on one hand the number of full color garments in my revolving wardrobe, including undergarments...
I think Andrew Eldritch is overrated.
I don't think about Andrew Eldritch outside the music.
I don’t like vampires.
I don’t like clubs.
True. Only been to one club and a handful bars in my life (neither by choice). In general I have a hard time enjoying myself in those environments-- I get easily overwhelmed by external stimuli.
I don’t enjoy graveyards.
True/false. I love looking at them from afar, but again... I get overcome with all kinds of emotions when I linger too long. Sometimes filled with good in which case I'll stick around a while, and sometimes filled with bad, and I'm gone.
I'd sooner faint than pet a spider.
Depends on the spider. I would rather not pet one that has the ability to necrotize an appendage with a bite.
I don’t like haunted houses.
True/false. For the same reason as graveyards.
I’ve never read Dracula.
I think “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” is a long and boring song.

Thanks for the tag, and I look forward to reading those whom I tagged!
Spook you later!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Spooky Basket: Killstar Stuff.

So earlier in the year I was given a couple Killstar goodies by a friend for my birthday.

...Well, 'given' is a loose term I'm using to feel better about the circumstances, hehe; I made an agreement and gave only half of it at the time but since my birthday was close by he said to consider it a birthday gift... though I technically still owe him the other half of our bargain to this day.

Tangent aside, I received the Cult Ritual Hood and the Grave Digger Skull Bag; a picture of me wearing the hoodie can be seen here: IG @ mari_mortem, along with a couple scattered ones of the purse incorporated in a couple outfits.

The hoodie runs very big-- it's for men after all. We initially ordered a medium, and I was drowning in it in the most unflattering way. I know it's supposed to be kind of baggy, but this was very comical.
Exchanging it was a relatively easy process for those living within the US... but I hear it's kind of pain for those outside. One of my friends was charged over $200 CAD for customs fees-- quite ridiculous.

I exchanged it for an XS and now it fits the way it should. I'm very happy with the material of it, it's a nice thick sweatshirt fleece material; one side is smooth like jersey almost like a ponte, and the inside/wrong side has fleece. I think the seams could be reinforced by looking at them, but I don't fully expect a major malfunction... however, living in San Antonio, I don't have many days I can wear it for any length of time to be certain of this. Regardless, I am a seamstress, I can fix whatever may rip on it... it would just be very unfortunate to discover major flaws for the price you're paying.

Which seems to be something I'm good at doing it.
Finding flaws.

The Grave digger purse... how pretty it is! ...

Sad to say that I found its flaw.
It's no surprise the bag handles awkwardly. It's not soft, it's hard and somewhat cumbersome-- although I could also argue that part of the reason I love it was for the size and amount of room within it.

Nothing technically ripped off like the case of my eyeball bag from Kreepsville which was an incredibly infuriating shoddy craftsmanship discovery, but rather for the grave digger bag it was merely a bad choice of notions.

These appeared to be actual rivets that are originally installed into the bag, but after a few occassions wearing it out I was unfortunate to discover the hard way that these were actually the screw-in type.
My bag fell off my shoulder-- d-ring, tab and all-- because the simple sway of the awkward bag managed to unscrew the rivet from its seating. Since this doesn't have any other handle, I carried it like a basketball back to the car.

I thought, maybe it was a fluke maybe I just need to tighten it better because it wasn't fully done so in the manufacturing process. But again on a different occasion, it eventually unscrewed itself in the sway and I carried it back to the car the same way as before.

So, frustrated, I took a little knife and slit the lining, removed these stupid screw ins and replaced them with real, heavy-duty-for-leather-rivets.

I haven't had an issue since. Knock on wood.

Have you bought anything from Killstar?
What was your experience like?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Best Laid Plans-- When Love Isn't Enough.

You all know I love sewing; it's my passion, it's my hobby, it's basically a synonym for me.

It's with that in mind that I tell you this, not every time I sew means I'm happy. Sometimes, I am so miserable but I do it because I must... much like some sharks must keep moving in order to live; sewing is my soul's primary life source... even if at times like with this project, I resent the necessity.

So, back in late June I began this escapade (or rather lesson in patience); I was happily working on a pair of velvet overalls and it was while I was digging through my stash room for certain notions needed, that I was suddenly and irrevocably struck by an intense urge to use this spiderweb cotton material I had purchased during my time working for Hancock's Fabric... which inevitably got me digging through my pattern stash.

This hard diversion of my plans landed me on McCall's 6503:

I remember picking this pattern up a couple years ago and thinking I was going to sew view C; I began a muslin and had everything lined up and ready to go for it, I just didn't have a fabric choice to marry the dress to and so it was stamped with a big UFO label. It would have been C too, but my mind changed course once more, as it tends to do, and I found myself utterly smitten over view A.
Ironically, view A was my least favorite view when I had initially purchased this pattern.

I was still feeling the web lace vibes from my last dress, even though before this dress I wasn't working with it at all. I overlaid the collar and belt portions with a layer of lace that admittedly made them very bulky, and I was worried I would have issues later since I did use interfacing also.
Yet I continued...

As much as my gut was telling me not to use the interfacing, I was worried it would not be crisp enough to maintain the shape after laundering. I opted to compromise and use a featherweight interfacing. However, going through my stash of interfacings, I quickly realized I had nothing but scraps of featherweight left.

Instead of seeing this as a red flag, my stubborn ass franken-stitched the pieces together.

My heart was telling me I solved the problem, while my brain was in overdrive panic mode because although they were technically symmetrical... aesthetically, they weren't. My brain was yelling at me profanities and the myriad of reasons what could go wrong in the garment.
Yet I continued...

The interfacing and lace in, the bodice was actually going as planned. This pattern had an insane amount of ease in it that I drafted out during the mock up-- all in all I think I removed an entire 1/4 yard of material from this dress.

So came the lower portion, I sprung a creative leak and motivation was gushing out of me. I couldn't decide whether or not I should continue with a lace overlay on top of a solid or over top of the print.
It sat on my form, just as it was above, for days.

I was helplessly watching unable to continue my life, sometimes starring at this dress for hours while I sat in my chair with Netflix going on in the background, trying to fall back in love with it. I couldn't even work on those overalls or things I had promised to make others... I just sat there obsessively trying and failing to be enamored.

It wasn't until last week that my brain finally kicked back on, and I became decisive once more. I think part of that can be attributed to a recent commitment to my well-being that managed to get this brain train going again. I said fuck it to the solid and the lace and went a more simpler route, going completely with the print AND I even went so far as to redesign the skirt into a hi-lo hem.

Sadly I was reminded again that this dress is cursed. I was two steps from being completed, and just as suddenly as before, things went awry. Instead of a lapped zipper, I wanted an invisible zipper. I put it in, and off the dress form and off myself it got a little hung up at the waist but still went up. Now bare in mind, it was during this time when mother nature paid her visit and I was incredibly bloated and irritable... logic and reason fly out of the window with the tiniest provocation when I get it this bad.

I tried on the dress despite my better judgement, and it just didn't want any of this hot mess. It barely zipped up, let alone come together at my waist where the bulk of my bloating was highest. I struggled with this zipper for hours on end, so close to tears of frustration when I got a call from my SO, who at the time was away on business.

He barely helped, I'm sad to report. I got angrier and angrier as he spoke, but I did manage to sift and process a grain of reality from what he said and that was the fact that when my bloating gets bad, nothing will ever fit.
Meanwhile, I tugged and pulled and squeezed that zipper so fervently, I managed to give my forefinger and thumb blisters. Actual painful blisters: puffy, angry and filled with fluid... like me.

I sat in my room, feeling completely defeated and sweaty after wrestling the zipper. I grabbed a bag of almond kisses and streamed the most disgustingly cute Korean drama I could find and binged that shit during the following days.
While I sat watching the last few episodes, it dawned on me, that bloody bulk on the waist I was worried about earlier? That was what the zipper must be getting hung up on, it had to be. I grabbed my scalpel style stitch remover and very carefully removed the inner most line of stitching and moved it over the tiniest mm's to the side. I also tacked down the remaining flap of adjacent bulk down to help ease the runner a little more too.

After completing these minor fixes, and going back in to readjust the armholes because they puckered oddly, there I was in front of the mirror again, ready for round two. I put the dress on, grit my teeth and prayed... the first portion went up smoothly, and there was a certain satisfaction in feeling that graceful zip, but then it momentarily hung up at the waist again. I cursed, and buckled down for yet another struggle... but a little tug and all the way up it went. I was speechless, the bulk was the problem, and I solved it. I startled my cats when I exclaimed 'fuck yeah' with intense glee.

Pattern Overview:
  • With a combination of major and minor tweaks and adjustments, this pattern can look as intended by the envelope line work.
  • Adjustments will be primarily done on the bodice front piece, as it carries an excess of ease due to the gathered feature.
  • The armholes for the sleeveless variations do not come with a piece for a facing, and instead bias tape is suggested for use en lieu. I used bias tape and there were puckering issues since I opted to hand stitch it in as opposed to having an exposed top stitch on the exterior. Adjustments must be made for this course of action, and my solution was barbaric but resulted in a pleasant looking armhole-- simply chop the excess ease at the top where I deducted was the ailing source of the tugging. and gradually narrow down. If I had to make this again, I would draft a suitable facing to make things easier.
  • The envelope reads easy, meaning good for beginners. I would heavily debate to the contrary. However, the instructions were clear and concise.
Additional Comments on Pattern: 
I have a hunch that some of the problems with this pattern might be solved by simply having a lining. I can't confirm that, though, because it is unlikely I will use this pattern again any time soon.


Looking back, I can't believe how much I struggled with this dress in every aspect of it-- from the beginning to the end, it was quite a journey that I won't soon forget. So much for it being labeled "easy", hah! Perhaps I should dump this post under my Trials & Tribulations!

Till next time, fiends.
Spook you later!

Necklace: handmade by yours truly
Spider brooch: gift from my youngest brother
Shoes: flea market buy
Fascinator: upcycled by yours truly

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