Friday, November 27, 2009

Fabric Extravaganza

Hi, all! No, I didn't die, I promise- I've just been super busy the past couple of weeks.  I'll actually post real project photos in the next couple of days, because my brother the photographer is out and I'm going to bully him into taking pictures of me. I really do sew things, I promise; I don't just post pictures of patterns and fabric. It's just that it's easier for me to get pictures of the patterns and fabric than pictures of me in the finished product. In the meantime, may I make amends for my long absence by posting pictures of the loads and loads of fabric I bought today at the Black Friday sales? As well as a couple of really awesome thrifted RTW items I snagged at Arc Thrift in Greeley? That's what I thought. First off, they had their flannel prints for $1.50 a yard (!!!!) as a doorbuster at JoAnn's, so I went kind of wild:

It has giant music notes! Giant rainbow-colored music notes! It is awesome. I don't know what I want to make with it yet other than it will be a dress. 

More giant music notes, this time in brown on ivory. I got four yards of this, because I really want to make another version of Vogue 2960, with big brown buttons. (I'll post pictures of my striped version I made for the Forensics meet soon, I swear!) 

And here is one with sleepy frogs on it. I think another dress, possibly one of the '60s style princess-seamed, moderately full-skirted New Looks I've bought in the past few days.

And this one has the best of both worlds: frogs and music notes! I didn't think such a cool fabric could exist, for fear that it would rupture the space-time continuum with its sheer awesome, but it does! Yes, I am dorky enough to think that fabric with frogs and music notes is the coolest thing in the universe.

This one isn't a flannel print: it's a cotton print that was on clearance for $3 a yard. There was only about 1 1/2 yards, so I'm going to make it into a short, ruffly skirt with some black lace trim. It is awesomely girly,and I lurve it muchly.

This was the most expensive fabric I got today; it was on sale for $5 a yard, normally $10. I got 2 yards, and I'm going to make a blouse out of it for my SWAP, since it fits my colors and will let me have a relatively easy pattern to match, since one of the requirements is matching a pattern and my only patterns are abstracts that would be hair-tearing-ly hard to match.

Finally, my last fabric from JoAnn's was this gorgeous black lace, $2.50 a yard with a 50% off coupon. I don't have a specific plan for it, but I can always use more black lace in my wardrobe. Apologies for the crap picture, but lace is really hard to photograph and I'm lazy. :)I also got three colors of crushed panne velvet, red and black to make dresses and silver to make a blouse. I didn't take pics because I think you all know what panne velvet looks like, and see above about my laziness.

I also got two fabrics at Hobby Lobby. This is a great little white/blue stripe I want to make into a sweet Lolita dress, probably New Look 6699.

This is a lovely, sort of wooly baby pink/black plaid that's also destined for a Lolita dress with lots of ruffles and cute buttons.
And, because this post wasn't long enough already, here is some of the great RTW I snapped up at Arc, where practically everything was 50% off:

This is a long leather skirt that I got for $12.50, if you can believe that. It looks a little lame in the picture, but so truly awesome on. I intend to wear it with lots of Victorian style blouses, including the above dragonfly fabric one once it's made up. It's so very steampunk vampire hunter, I think that the combination will make me feel completely badass!

Lovely lace-lined blazer from Plato's Closet, that was only $6. Since the thought of making a lined jacket or blazer makes me break out in hives, I went ahead and snatched it up, since I had been longing for one for ages.

These were my two biggest steals of the day, even more so than the leather skirt. The top is a black lace formal with red beaded trim, floor length with spaghetti straps. I'm going to have to do a little surgery on it, since it is very tight in the bust- I'm going to separate the bodice lining from the outer lace and add some extra black satin panels to give myself some breathing room. The bottom is a silk suit with faux pearl beading- it has an ankle-length skirt and matching jacket. It is very elegant, and I think it will be great for future job interviews and other times when I need to impress people. They were $10 apiece, and both in pristine condition- I don't even want to think what either one cost originally! Tune in tomorrow for some excellent vintage patterns I picked up for a song at Arc as well. It's kind of a pain in the butt digging through the cramped bins of awful '80s patterns to find a couple of good ones, but so worth the effort when you get some real gems.

Monday, November 16, 2009

SWAP Part 2

Ok, so it's a day later than promised, but here are some of the fabrics I'm planning on using for my SWAP. After browsing through my stash, I changed my mind about my color scheme. I found some really lovely blue and grey satin-types, so rather than black, white, royal blue, and red, it's black, white, royal blue, navy blue, and a couple of complementary greys. I think this won't be quite as splashy as with the red, but a little more elegant and sophisticated. I hijacked my mom's computer to get the pics uploaded, so here they are:

This is a royal blue crushed velvet. I'm going to use it to make the blue corset top with the drapey sleeves. The picture really doesn't do it justice; the color is much richer and it has the most heavenly texture. Unfortunately, I only have around 1 1/2 yards of it, (it was a remnant) so I needed this fabric to complete the top:

It's just a simple, cheap black sheer from Wal-mart. I'm going to use it to do the side panels and the sleeves. I was thinking about using some black lace, but I decided on the sheer so that the velvet would receive the attention it deserves. It has a nice, subtle sheen to it, so it will look dressy enough to be paired with the velvet but not make the top look fussy.

This is going to be used for the frilled blouse that is red with blue trim in the storyboard. Again, pictures don't due it justice: the colors shift from steely grey to blue-tinted to red-tinted as you look at it in different lights.

This is a pretty black print that will be used for the black blouse with red trim in the storyboard. I am simply going to sub out the red trim for a soft dove grey and it'll be gorgeous.

This is a simple navy-blue satin that I will use for the button-down blouse with the ruffled collar. I've been wanting a nice button-down for a while, and I've never made one before, so I'm really looking forward to constructing the garment!

This is a really lovely white print satin with roses and polka dots on it. I'm going to use it to make the white tiered skirt, though I think I will just put black trim on it rather than the colored, since the colored might limit its use, since I'm pretty anal about stuff matching.

This is a faintly pinstriped silvery grey satin that almost feels like taffeta. I'm going to use it to make the gored skirt that's red in the storyboard, and as an accent fabric in the blue velvet corset top if I need it.
The other fabrics I'm using- plain white, blue, and black satin and black velvet- aren't really worth posting pictures of- I think you all know what those look like! I can't wait to start sewing these items- sewing begins December 26th, but pinning and cutting can be done beforehand, so I might get started pretty soon here. Right now, I'm doing a new dress for my second forensics meet in Strausberg on Saturday- I'll probably post about it tomorrow or Wednesday, so stay tuned!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

SWAP Ya For Some Blouses and Skirts

This year I've decided to take the plunge and participate in Stitcher's Guild's annaul SWAP, or Sewing With A Plan contest. More than anything I'm doing it to force myself to sew some blouses and skirts, something besides dresses. :) I will need some separates for when I go to college, so I picked a plan that would allow me to sew coordinates- six tops, four bottoms, and one "your choice" piece. I never really thought of myself as a SWAP person, mostly because the directions given when I googled it seemed staid, boring, and pretty much entirely opposite to my personal style and sewing philosophy. However, when I looked at some of the SWAPs Stitcher's Guild members have done in the past, and saw the beautiful and unique garment sets that came out of it, my mind was totally changed. I've been wanting to add more Victorian and Lolita-inspired pieces to my wardrobe, so I figured this was a great opportunity to do so. I browsed through my stashes both fabric and pattern, pulling out pieces that I thought would work together well. I actually have all but one of the patterns in my stash, and the one that needs to be purchased is a New Look, so it shouldn't exactly require a large financial outlay to get it. I might need to invest a little bit in fabric if I decide to change my mind about the color scheme, but that remains to be seen. Here is my plan as it is now:

A lot of my focus is going to be on trying new techniques and using things I have never used before, like boning, hook and eye tape, and corset lacing. I'd go on and on, but it's midnight and I probably ought to go to bed. :) Tune in tomorrow for some pictures of my potential fabrics and some more discussion about my plans to start SWAP 2010!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Sewing Success

Arrgh! I can't believe it's been over a week since I posted, but time flies when you're filling out scholarship applications and going to Forensics meets. I did as I had threatened earlier and made Vogue 2960 out of my striped fabric, and I think this is my first solo project that I can basically say was an almost unqualified success. Other than a tendency for the straps to slip off my shoulders (which I think will be easily remedied by deepening the darts in the back by about 1/4 inch apiece), the dress was awesome- it fit really well and I had so many compliments on it at the forensics meet! I wore a homemade petticoat underneath to properly plump the skirt out, and looked appropriately retro. I'll get some pics this weekend and borrow my mom's computer (with cardreader, which the machine I am currently on lacks. My other laptop has been in the shop for FOUR WEEKS, and every time I call they say they're still looking for a part...argh!) to upload them. I wore it with a semi-sheer peasant blouse underneath, which turned out to be a mistake because the blouse was too small and the elastic bisected my armpits all day. Which might not sound so bad, but the bus left the school parking lot at 5:30 A.M. in order to get to the meet on time, and by the time the meet was done, we got supper, our bus broke down by the side of the road at 9:30 at night and the district had to send another bus 50 miles to come get us, and my mom and I finished our 25-minute drive home from town, it was a LONG day to have elastic bisecting your armpits! Oh, well- I looked and felt really good all day. One of the judges even wrote on my score sheet "Rockin' Dress!" I was one point away from sixth place (which is, of course, where they start handing out awards!) and got an "Excellence" ribbon. Considering this was only my second time doing Creative Storytelling, not too shabby! It was an insanely fun day and I wore an insanely fun dress to match it.

I'm already plotting my dress for the next meet, in two weeks. I like performing in a dress I have made for myself- I feel like I am 100% me, and that certainly helps my confidence when performing! When you are given prompts like "Mr. Clean and Pigpen from Peanuts are street corner preachers trying to convert each other", "A high school choir and football team work to put on a beauty pageant that garners national attention", and (my personal favorite) "Elvis and Michael Jackson meet in a Starbucks and plot to take over the world", you have to have as much confidence as you can get! All of the above prompts were the ones which I personally performed on Saturday. Others included "Cinderella and Snow White make peace in Iraq" and "Hermione Granger discovers that Harry Potter is actually Lord Voldemort in disguise." Creative storytelling is not for the faint of heart! Neither, I discovered, is wearing a nylon net petticoat for close on 18 hours. Note to self: wear long bike shorts with petticoat next time.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me!

Yay! Today I am officially an adult! At 5:43 p.m., I officially hit the big 1-8. I'm getting three new sewing machine feet for my beloved Brother: a ruffler foot, a rolled hem foot, and I'm debating between a piping foot and a pintuck foot. I'm leaning towards the pintuck foot, though. I started cutting out a pattern for a new dress today as a treat for myself. It's Vogue 2960:
image of V2960I just loved this dress the moment I saw it. It's so quintessentially fifties, and it's the kind of dress that I think really flatters my figure. I have this great stripey fabric that I'm making it in- it's navy with thin white, red, hot pink, lime green, bright yellow, and bright orange stripes. It's really wild, and really cute. (Pictures soon, as soon as I find my card reader.) I'm shortening the skirt to knee-length and cutting the blouse front on the fold and making my buttons decorative rather than trying to make a placket and buttonholes. I want to try and have it by Saturday for my forensics meet (Creative storytellers represent!), so I'm going to be sewing as much as I can over the next few days. I want to whip up a petticoat too. I got the net yesterday at Wal-Mart and found a great, simple tutorial. I can do the gathering while I watch more Supernatural- I'm so glad I finally got the first season through Netflix, it is so good. As my birthday present to you, here is the picture of the lovely, lovely boys of Supernatural:

You're welcome. Please mop up the drool before leaving the site.