slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
A lot of people I know, both online and off, when I mention a new project I am working on, say things like, "Oh, I wish I could do that." As in, they wish they had the skill(s) to accomplish whatever harebrained crafty thing I am attempting.

Well, I'm here to tell you: you do.

My success in various forms of crafting comes from my confidence that I can figure out how to do any project, as long as I am armed with a reasonably clear set of instructions and Google. Think of it this way: my mother taught me to knit and purl when I was eleven, but not to cast on, because she knew how to do it but she didn't know how she was doing it. I have since taught myself at least four other cast-ons, yarn-overs, how to knit in the round, how to cable, how to read a chart, different methods for joining yarn, various forms of increases and decreases, a couple different methods of seaming, the invaluable skill of "reading" my knitting, and a little bit of crochet.

I have also taught myself to embroider, although some of that I'm still working on.

I have taught myself hand sewing. I have taught myself draping and pattern drafting. I have taught myself to make Elizabethan pairs of bodies, hand-bind eyelets, and make lacing cord. All with the help of the internet and the cheerful refusal to quit.

If you say to yourself, "I can't do this," you are right. But if you say, "I will figure this out," you are also right. That really is all it comes down to.

And so I embark upon the task of making my first rag rug, knitting my first throw pillows, sewing my first window treatments, secure in the knowledge that I will figure it out and that I can take it apart and redo it if it sucks. That's the most important thing to remember: if it sucks, you can always do it over. And always buy more fabric than you think you need.

If you are not a crafter yourself, but you know and love someone who is, the thing to repeat to yourself is, "Just because zie's swearing at hir work doesn't mean zie isn't having fun."
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
There are a few final areas of clutter, all belonging to Nigel, which are his responsibility to clean up but if they sit there for more than a week I will probably lose my patience and take care of them myself so I can vacuum. Other than that, the last frontier of pigstyness is the living room, which is good because it's right there by the door and it'll be quicker taking things down to the dumpster.

The dining room is clear. The table sits--clean--surrounded by open floor with the two chairs, two clean placemats, and a bowl of fruit. There are still pictures leaning against the wall, where they will remain until I sort out how and where to hang them.

My computer armoire is no longer home to as many candy wrappers and bits of paper as I could shove into it rather than getting up and throwing them away properly. It, and its contents, have been dusted, sorted, and put away properly. In this room, too, there are some pictures on the floor which belong on the wall--little store-bought prints of things on dress forms and a framed Victorian fashion plate--and they will go above the sewing machine. Projects currently in progress have found their home on the rocking chair; those waiting in the project queue are in boxes in the closet. Labeled.

The kitchen is in a reasonable state of disarray. Nigel has committed himself to doing the dishes, on the basis that I am doing so much else. Yesterday he offered to trade them for the task of taking out the enormous pile of trash waiting by the door. I declined, feeling that I would rather take out trash than do dishes. He proceeded to take out the trash anyway and then get started on the dishes.

I can't dust anything else until we go shopping this afternoon; I have run out of spray. So that will get finished up tomorrow. Today will be sorting out everything in the living room and determining how many bookshelves we need to buy--it's beginning to look more like two than one. And taking out the last of the trash, which is in the living room and unsorted. Then, I think, I will clean the windows.

When everything is clean, I will have to sort out the stuff in my sewing boxes and find storage for the knitting needles where they will not wind up in the incomprehensible jumble they have been. Then I will only have to maintain the system, which should be a piece of cake with the new medication, since I find myself seeing things that need to be done and doing them rather than just walking past.

I feel like a human being again. This is difficult to explain, but I have lived for so long in complete--not filth, the worst it got was merely dusty, but just such a jumble of clutter--that I had forgotten how it feels to live in rooms where there is more room on the floor than a little path from door to chair, or door to bed. How nice it is to walk into a dining room and see a clean table with a pretty bowl of fruit in the middle. It's not about taking good care of the things (at least not entirely), and it's not about making guests comfortable if and when they come over. It's about respect for myself. It's about my deserving to live in a clean apartment, to be able to find things when I'm looking for them (and not because they're visible spread all across the floor). To look around and see things looking nice, as cheap as most of them are.

We have decided to stay here at least two more years, unless something happens that forces us to move (which would ideally be one of us taking a good job somewhere else and not loss of job forcing us to move in with my dad). With that knowledge, I have begun planning a balcony garden. I intend to grow two or three rose bushes in really big pots, treating them as annuals since it will be too difficult to transport them to my dad's shed for the winter, and some herbs and strawberries and ideally some carrots, peas, beans, and bell peppers. I hope also to purchase a little table and chairs so we can sit out there with a glass of lemonade and enjoy the garden.

I am choosing my roses carefully. I want them to be among the most fragrant varieties so we can open the window in the bedroom and smell them. I want them to last decently in vases so I can cut them and bring them indoors. I want them to bloom continually or at least repeatedly. All these things are available to me. The hardest part is choosing the colors, and deciding whether to have two or three of the same rose or grow different varieties. Possibly the chance to give yellow roses (her favorite) to [ profile] aprilmayinjune on her birthday is insufficient reason to grow them the entire summer. I am currently leaning toward two of the same variety for the front corners, and then maybe a peony for the other corner, opposite the door.

Whatever I choose, I hope also to grow violets in the rose containers, and some other pretty flowers to fill in the edge around the balcony. I don't want any bare spots if I can help it, except for walking.

Meanwhile I will also have to find a way to protect my kitchen garden from the little brown birds (they appear to be house sparrows who hang out in the tree in front of the balcony. They fly up to the railing occasionally as if to say, what, no strawberries yet? Let us know when the buffet opens, won't you? I think if I can get something to cover the plants that they can't get through, and then also perhaps provide them with something to snack on if I can find a bird feeder on a stand of some kind, that will probably work out.

I also have to ask the maintenance people to remove the hornet nest from the tree. They are going to become active soon and I don't know but that they'll be very interested in my flowers, which is the last thing I want. I wouldn't mind it if they were bumblebees or honey bees but they are yellow jackets, and those things are absolutely nasty; I was stung once as a child and do not care to repeat the experience.

And of course when I go to buy my containers, tools, soil, etc., I will have to ask the nursery staff how bad the Japanese beetles and Rose Chafers are in this area. I don't know how likely it would be for them to come all the way up to the third floor to bother my roses, but I certainly want to be on the lookout.

Other future plans for the apartment include purchase of some area rugs if I can find them for an affordable price; sewing some custom panels, sheers and maybe valances for the windows, which I consider, since there will be so much straight sewing and the seams will not call attention to themselves, an excellent first project to get acquainted with my sewing machine; throw pillows, which may wind up being knitted, embroidered and sewn; reupholstering the cushions on the dining room chairs (which will be very simple if Nigel turns out to have a staple gun); and a new comforter (or at least duvet cover) and shams for the bed, since what we have are hand-me-downs from my parents and are torn, stained and ragged from the attentions of various dogs over the years. I do intend, eventually, to make a few sets of linen sheets--I have found an online source of 108" wide linen sheeting--which I will adorn with whitework and possibly monogram, but that's far in the future.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
So in my digging through the various boxes with yarn in them, I finally found my feng shui book (Feng Shui Step By Step by T. Raphael Simons) and so obviously I have been leafing through it.

Now, let me first just say that I have always thought that I am very much like my dad, which is one of the reasons I was so freaked out when his Behavior came to light when I was 20--I didn't want to end up fucking up a relationship the way he has--and it was especially scary because even then I knew in my heart that I was addicted to pornography my own self.

And I have always thought my mom and sister were basically the same person.

Well. I don't know if I had done this when I went through the book before, but in the process of figuring out my and Nigel's birth stars (planets) and (interestingly enough) that we are both in each other's "most compatible" category, I thought, for shits and giggles, let's see if my parents were ever compatible. And they were in each other's "least compatible" category, which is probably why they made each other so miserable.

(Kids, don't get married at 19. It almost never works out. I know of one or two cases where it has, but those people would still have been fine if they had waited.)

And then I was like: wait a minute, my dad has the same birth star as me.

And it turns out my sister has the same one as my mom. Go figure.

So anyway, Nigel is insisting that I take a day off from all the cleaning and stuff because I wasn't feeling the greatest yesterday (I think it was caffeine withdrawal, to be perfectly honest), so today I am making up a bunch of floor plans of our apartment and trying to figure out what-all we need to do to make the chi of this place flow harmoniously.

Possibly all the clutter on Nigel's side of the bed that's in our money point should go away.

Meanwhile both our bathrooms are in a bad place, so I need to get that figured out; they are already painted white (hello, apartment) but I should get white bath mats and put mirrors on the outsides of the doors. Or maybe just the one, because the other one would be putting a mirror in the bedroom and that's supposed to be bad. But yet it would be an ideal place to have a full-length mirror for dressing because I can get a lot of natural light in that room. I don't know.

I'm supposed to put a mirror over the fireplace, though, and I know I can do that. I need to get those little removable picture hanging thingies, is what I need to do, because we have a crapton of art that could be on the walls but just never got there, and I need to get some curtains. Also possibly rearrange the living room. I might move the hamsters over and put the recliner sort of where they are so it's not blocking the fireplace and balcony door so much.

Planning doesn't count as "not resting", right?

Also I'm going to take some of the cheap acrylic yarn I bought when I was still learning to knit and make some throw pillows. I think I have enough of the winter white to make two for the couch and one for the chair. Also I need to get the rest of the super bulky yarn I need to finish this crochet afghan I started all that time ago. I had worried that it wouldn't go with the color of the new couch but it does. And I need to find the hook for it. If I can't, I'll have to buy a new one.

And I need to get a bunch of white crochet cotton and get on this Victorian bedspread I keep meaning to knit. And also finish the projects I have going. Once I know where all my needles are I can finish my Cherie Amour that I started back when that issue of Knitty first came out. Serendipitously, I had started it in a size that at the time was far too big for me; now the body section (which is finished--I just have to do the sleeves) fits me like the pictures.

Meanwhile, last night I actually finished organizing all the yarn that was in the closet. Plus, actually, a box that was outside of the closet, because I knew I had more of some things and that they were in that box and I am trying, when I can, to keep the same yarn together. Tomorrow (when I am not raiding with the Mostly Ladies) I will get through the pile on the right side of my computer desk, that's blocking off the rocking chair, the bookshelf and part of the sewing machine table. I will clean the inside of the bottom drawer on my little plastic thing that I'm keeping current projects in and put my burgundy linen project in it. Then on Monday I will get through the pile on the left of the desk and, time permitting, get started on the fabric portion of all this.

Actually before I do the fabric it may be better to sort out all the other crap--papers, candles, Nigel's army hat, books, I don't even know what-all--that is currently in boxes behind the couch, all of which had some yarn or fabric in and were therefore put in the closet when we moved, and all of which can find better homes, some of them in the trash. And then I will have some empty boxes for fabric storage. Although I think some of it can go into my mother's antique sewing chest. Well, mine now. But I won't be Scotch-taping a label onto that! (Sellotape for our friends across the pond.)

Then I will sort out all the fabric. Then I'll clean out the computer desk itself, and the file folders in the drawer underneath it. Some of them need to be relabeled. Some of the stuff in there (like pay stubs from high school) can probably be thrown away.

But today! Today is for resting. And to that end I will log onto WoW and get my new tanking chest piece gemmed and enchanted. I finally broke down and respecced from dps/pvp to dps/tank so I can off-tank for the Mostly Ladies. I think this chest may bump me up to def cap, but we'll see.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
So yeah, I haven't been using my computer much recently. My ass has been untangling yarn, winding it into neat balls, putting the balls in boxes and (zomg) labeling them with lists of their contents so I will actually (gasp!) know where the hell things are.

You guys, I have found so many sets of needles I had lost.

I think by Monday I will be done with the yarn portion of the craft closet and can get started on the fabric portion. Then I can go through the piles in the rest of the room, and those won't take nearly as long, maybe a day for each.

Meanwhile, I have done a little bit of shopping. Taking the time, on the days I have the car, to scour Goodwill has paid off with two dark knee-length skirts, one pair of black trousers, one pair of beige linen trousers, three sleeveless shells (black, red and turquoise), a green silk long-sleeved blouse and a black-and-camel tartan short-sleeved blouse. Still no sign of a decent-fitting black blazer. I will probably have to break down and make one myself, which will mean taking that tailoring book back out of the library. I also have to put some shaping into the green blouse and take the waists in on the skirts and trousers.

I also need to alter three or four button-downs that I have, remove the pleats from the charcoal wool trousers I have for my Hogwarts uniform, and find another white button-down that doesn't have that split V-neck thing going on that women's button-downs always seem to have, because you can't wear a tie with one of those things and my old Hogwarts uniform shirt has been donated. It was a medium. It is to laugh. Also I should suck it up, frog my mostly-completed Hogwarts jumper, and reknit it in a 42" chest. When I started it, 40" had some ease. It doesn't anymore.

And I need to find a half slip to wear with the unlined skirt. And probably also find a summery printed type of skirt and make a light-colored blazer I can wear with that and the linen trousers. And maybe take the pleats out of the front of the linen trousers because seriously, pleats do no one's gut any favors.

Also I need new hose. Whether they will be stockings or pantyhose I have not yet determined but I need new ones; the old ones are too little, except the fishnet stockings which are remarkably elastic. And if I do stockings then I need a beige garter belt. I have a little white one, but it is really too small and makes a strange dent in the sides of my hips.

Also: shoes. I almost spent $35 on a pair of taupe leather almond-toe mid-heel pumps at T.J. Maxx today. They were so classic and sophisticated. But I just cannot spend that much on a pair of shoes until I get a job. I do have a pair of low black pumps but the toes are slightly damaged and they really don't fit well enough to be worth repairing. They will work for interviews for the time being.

And I need to get four links taken out of my watch. Did I mention my wrists are still 5 1/2" around? Yeah.

Anyway, I am also trying to find a couple pairs of shorts, because the last time I bought a pair I was a size 10 so those are gone. And I should probably get a belt and a couple pieces of cheap jewellery.

Anyway, all of this stuff has to be put off until I have the craft stuff organized. There is no point in trying to figure out my sewing machine if I can't actually get to the chair to sit down at it. So tonight I will be in front of the TV some more, untangling and rewinding some more yarn.


Feb. 10th, 2010 02:18 am
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
My yard of hanky-weight linen came today. In other news, I still have some mojitos left from the Super Bowl.

Hey, guess what? Trying to do drawn thread work while tipsy sometimes means you yank on the wrong thread. I smoothed it back in though. XD
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
When I can manage it, I intend to get some nice linen and make a new set, but in the meantime, I am handsewing and embroidering myself some monogrammed handkerchiefs in the white muslin I had lying around.

Hemstitch is lovely but an enormous pain when there are so many threads per inch you can't even stand to focus your eyes long enough to count them. The satin stitch monogram was the easy part. But I soldier on: I am determined to produce at least three or four of these things. It is high time I started carrying them, in order to desist sneezing into my sleeve without also having to carry around a purse full of used tissues.

I do, however, have another length of muslin with a looser weave, and after I finish this first hanky I will use it to make the rest.

A List

Jul. 27th, 2009 06:13 pm
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Purchased Today
- 1 package Dritz silk pins, 200
- 1 size Small flexible thimble, blue
- 1 small seam ripper,* blue
- 2 skeins DMC six-strand cotton embroidery floss, white
- 1 antique sewing machine cabinet, hardwood, good condition
- 1 antique Sterling DeLuxe Precision Manufactured Sewing Machine, attached, possibly working

I bought an antique sewing machine, which might actually work, in its original cabinet, at Goodwill, for $20. This is one of the heavy old black machines; from what I can find out online, it seems to have been made somewhere between 1910 and 1959. It is shiny and happy and someone has left it threaded (but kept the bobbin, from what I can see). Even if I can't get it working, it's still worth a lot more than $20, and looks nice in my sewing corner; and I can always shut the top of the cabinet and put my Brother on it.

The whole thing was well within my budget for a used desk or table to plop my machine on. I expected to end up with a folding card table. Instead I got this. Thank you, Goodwill, for never knowing what it is you've got. Thank you, someone in Battle Creek, for donating to Goodwill something worth (if eBay is any indication) approximately $300.

And thank you, Nigel, for figuring out how to get it in the car. If I had had to take it back inside and exchange it for my $20, I think I would have cried.

* This makes the third or fourth seam ripper I own. Possibly I might not lose this one.


Jul. 25th, 2009 06:21 pm
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
I'm trying to decide, when I make my slips, whether I should use charmeuse or habotai. Thoughts?

A First

Jul. 23rd, 2009 07:30 pm
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
I am currently assembling my first piece of modern (by which I mean contemporary; not historical) clothing from a pattern I drafted myself. It is a green poly satin camisole, and is actually going a lot easier than I had thought; but then, I haven't got a sewing table yet, so I'm doing it by hand, and we all know I have a lot more luck with that than with trying to wrangle a machine.

I cut out my fabric this morning. It was interesting there for a while as I tried to figure out how the heck I was going to transfer my pattern onto my satin without it sliding all over the place and becoming a pain. What I wound up doing was pinning the fabric out onto a bunch of sheets of lextramax that I had left over from that graphic design degree I didn't finish, and tracing around my pattern with a pencil.

I tried one of those blue fabric marking pencils. Possibly because it was a cheap one from Walmart, it did not leave a mark and also kind of distorted the weave of my fabric. So I wound up using a regular No.2 pencil. I am confident this will come out in the wash, as it always did when I was a kid and wrote on my jeans.

Anyway. I don't put seam allowance on my patterns--I always write this on the pieces so I'll remember, but I find it easier to have my tracing lines be the lines I'm actually going to sew along, partially because, doing everything by hand, I don't have the little guide on the sewing machine to help me find 3/8". It's much easier for me to trace out my actual seam lines, then cut a little generously around them and trim everything up later.

So I traced out my pattern, and then I basted along all the lines so I would have them on both sides and also so that my bias edges (read: pretty much all of them) wouldn't stretch out of shape.

I cut everything out, basted in my darts, and pressed them. Then I backstitched the top back to the bottom back--this thing has an empire waist, and is based on the construction of the camisole I was ripping apart a week or so ago. (That didn't go well. It turned out there just wasn't enough fabric across the front bust for me to make it fit me. I wound up drafting this one from scratch.) Now I am trimming the seam allowance between those two pieces so I can self-bind the seam--something I plan to do to all these seams as I go along, because this stuff frays like hell--and then I will sew the darts for reals and put the front together. Then I will do the side seams, hem the thing, and at last tackle making bias tape for the neckline and straps.

I have never made my own bias tape before. It will be an Adventure.

I have no idea where or how I'm going to wear this thing, by the way. If I had a bit more fabric I would make a matching pair of tap pants and use it as a set of summer pajamas, but I don't. It is mostly a test of the pattern so I can be sure it's going to work for the actual nice lingerie I'm going to make later. (If I'm right about this pattern, I'm going to be able to lengthen it and turn it into a full slip.)
slythwolf: (BULLSHIT)
I keep forgetting to post about this bullshit.

When I was a kid, my mom had a Singer sewing machine. She taught my sister and me to sew on it and it remains to this day the only machine I can successfully use. It was from, like, the 1960s, and had three or four stitches, and was very basic, but I knew how to thread it and how hard to push down on the pedal and I could usually make it work out okay for whatever it was I needed to do. It had a table, a nice antique sewing machine table with--okay--kind of sticky drawers, some of which locked? Or something? But it was a nice table, a happy table, a table, I mean to say, with whom I got along. I knew the trick to unstick the drawers and all of that kind of thing, it was of the good.

When my mother moved to Florida, she did not take her sewing machine or its table with her. It was bulky stuff, she didn't feel she was going to be doing a lot of sewing and indeed she is not; she is much more with the painting (on shells and giant palm seed pods and whatnot) and selling objets d'art to random tourists. But she did not bring along her sewing machine or its table, is my point.

Did she give them to me, her loving daughter, who plans to sew for a living, who already sews recreationally a large amount of the time?

Of course not.

She gave them to my sister, who does not sew.

Now, the two of them and also [ profile] aprilmayinjune did club together to buy me a brand new sewing machine as a wedding present, for which I am not ungrateful. I'm sure it is a very nice machine and will serve me very well when I can figure out how the hell to set it up but I have no table to put it on. So here I am wandering the landscape hoping to find, you know, whatever, even a folding card table at the Goodwill, which is not going to be as useful, obviously, as an actual sewing machine table with the little cubby for the machine so that I can be sliding my fabric along a flat surface while sewing, but at least would not be the floor.

And my sister has the tough old Singer (which as I may have mentioned--did I mention this?--she does not use) and the antique table sitting in her attic.

This is some bullshit right here.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Cut out the muslins today to check my bodice and skirt slopers for fit. I have the bodice one put together and am wearing it right now and--omg--it doesn't need any adjustments.

Is it me, or am I awesome?

I'm just going to take a pen and doodle princess seams on it so I can go ahead and take that apart and trace it out. And then I'm going to take the original sloper and chop it up to give it an empire waist with vertical bust darts, and use that to make camisoles and full slips.

I have some satin with an Asian-inspired jacquard design in this nice green color left over from when I made my bridesmaids' purses, and I'm going to make a test camisole out of that. Cutting on the bias is something I haven't done before, so definitely a dry run before I start ordering silk. And oh yes, my slips and camisoles will be silk. I cannot be having with polyester; it doesn't breathe. I can get silk charmeuse from Fashion Fabrics Club for something like $9 a yard, so: win.

I need to get me a table for my sewing machine or this all is going to take about ten times longer than it has to. And I need to get me some silk pins, but I'm sure I can pick those up at Hobby Lobby.

Meanwhile I still have to put my skirt muslin together. I'll probably try it by itself and then attach it to the bodice to make sure my waist is where I'm fairly sure it is.

Anywho I had better get going on this seamline-drawing thing; sitting up straight in this thing is starting to hurt my back, because all my bras that fit are starting to fall apart. I have no support and my tits want to pull my shoulders forward.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
So apparently if you are trying to measure yourself for pattern-drafting purposes it can be helpful to mark various points on your body, so that you're not guessing where you measured from before and winding up with all the wrong stuff.

Which was what I did before--the guessing. It didn't work very well.

So now I'm walking around the apartment until shower time with little blue eyeliner Xes all over me. I'm almost hoping I will forget about them and Nigel will ask me what the fuck happened when it is bedtime.

Anywho, I have all new measurements and am ready to draft all new slopers. This time in front of the TV so I don't kill myself with boredom.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
So once in a while I'll post about some garb I'm making or something ongoing I'm working on but the thing is, there are a lot of other little projects I work on that you, the readers, never get to hear about.

Today I finished a work of cross-stitch bearing the legend "EAT COLD STEEL PIGDOG". The Discworld fans in the house will probably know what that's all about.

Additionally, I've been drafting slopers for myself--it's a strange and frustrating process, because with my enormous breasts, my tiny waist, and my short torso (not 7" armpit to waist as I had originally thought, but six and a half omfg), the angles are just not at all something the available instructions anticipate. For instance, it's pretty much impossible for me to make a sloper that's going to fit with only one dart in it. I need to have the waist dart--wider than is generally standard--and then I need about a 3-4" underarm dart. Most likely I will just change it to a princess-seam sloper because I'm pretty much just going to put them in everything; I think they look better than the waist-and-underarm dart combination. One with standard princess seams, one with shoulder ones, maybe? Hmm.

I have to do a lot of fudging and retracing and so I start with tracing paper. I'm not going to put anything on the more durable paper I have until I've fitted some muslins and know it's right.

So after about five, six hours' work last night, I have a preliminary front bodice sloper. The back is going to go a lot more quickly, but I just cannot face spreading all my crap out on the floor again to get started.

When I do a skirt sloper that will also probably be easier; while I do have a tiny waist and enormous hips and ass, the nature of the darts and whatnot in skirts is such that it's not going to be as weird. Although I did realize something the other day.

[ profile] bloodchan gave me a bunch of clothes she didn't want anymore, fairly recently, that are cute and happened to fit me. I took a grey plaid pleated skirt that is a little big in the waist on the basis that it was going to be easy to take it in.

Well, easy, yes, just a bit of sewing, anyone can do it.

The trouble is, when I pin the waist to where it needs to be, and unzip the zipper, I can't get the skirt down over my hips. That's how big the difference between my waist and hips is. That's how much of an hourglass I am. I am such an hourglass that when I make skirts and trousers that will fit me, I'm going to have to use a longer zipper than standard.

Maybe I can do a standard zipper in the normal place, and also insert a hidden zipper into the side seam on one side. Things that already take hidden side zippers--well, I can put another one on the other side, or I can use a longer zipper. It needs thinking about.

Anyway. My plan is to make two wool suits (jacket, skirt and trousers) and two linen ones; some other pairs of trousers; some other skirts; a couple day dresses; a bunch of shirts and blouses; a bunch of camisoles; a black silk dress for Little Black Dress purposes and a matching jacket in case of funerals; three full and two half slips; and a bunch of sweaters for various purposes. I'm going to make all this stuff as classic and basic as I can, but make it all fit incredibly well, put extra room in the seams in case I gain more weight, and take really good care of it. I will be set for any possible job interview, most special occasions, and any job I manage to get (unless it provides a uniform in which case I would be set anyway).

Then I will buy some good neutral shoes in classic styles and a good-quality purse that I can carry year-round that will look professional and also be at least twice the size of the one I have all my crap crammed into now. And every season or so, I will change my accessories.

I have a color palette. My fall/winter suits are going to be black and charcoal, the summer ones will be white and navy, and I have a list of six or seven colors that everything else will be that I can then wear with any of those pieces. I have it written down somewhere. What I need to do next, really, and as soon as possible, to really get this project rolling, is drive over to Jackson and get fitted for some new bras. I know my 30Fs aren't fitting right anymore. I've been estimating that I wear a 30FF now, but I have never actually been fitted, and I should do that, and buy some bras I can try on first instead of ordering them online. Then I can make sure everything fits over, you know, properly fitting undergarments.

Then I have to buy all my fabric for each suit at once, and preferably for all four at once, but I'm going to leave the jackets until last to make because I'm going to have to disappear into a couple of tailoring books before I get started or they will turn out like something out of the Simplicity catalog. (Do not stiffen your suit jacket collars with fusible interfacing. And please, please do not bag line them. Just: no.)

But so okay, here's the other thing. I have these two poly satin camisoles that I picked up from Sears a year or so ago because they were on sale for $5. They don't fit right, obviously. I am currently sitting with one of them on my lap with a couple dozen pins in it, having determined what kinds of darts and tucks I need to take in it to make it fit. And I am basting them in to check the fit, and then I am going to dismantle it and put it back together again--properly--and when it fits and is happy I will then take it apart again and trace out a pattern from it. Because? It is probably the best way to figure out what shapes I need if I'm cutting something on the bias.

It is empire-waisted. Taking bigger bust darts and moving things around makes it a lot lower cut than it was probably intended to be, but not indecently so, and there is enough fabric there to cover my tits all the way to the bottom, which was a pleasant surprise. Plus I can build whatever underarm dart I need into the underbust seam. I am probably going to base my full slip pattern on this as well, just flare it out over the hips.

Also, I have cut out my burgundy linen and my black linen to make two more basic early period tunics. The black one is going to be knee-length (I had not quite three yards of 55" fabric) but the burgundy one will go all the way to the floor. When I have those constructed, and have finished the blue wool one, I'm going to cut out my green wool twill and make another floor-length one. Four tunics, no waiting. I can layer them in different ways for temperature control. Eventually I'm going to need several more, but it's not a bad start.


May. 29th, 2009 09:32 am
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Some of you may be aware that I'm working on knitting myself a winter jacket. It's in a bulky (or possibly super-bulky) wool I picked up on eBay a couple of years ago and suddenly got inspiration for, that cost me about $10 IIRC, and is in linen stitch. The neat thing about linen stitch is, at least from my experience with this, it's not as stretchy or stretchy in the same way as stockinette; it's a slip pattern, and those horizontal bits you see in the image of the right side of the fabric are what knitters call "floats", basically places where you pull the yarn across to the next stitch instead of making a new one right there, and in essence when people talk about linen stitch "mimicking" a woven pattern, what they're overlooking is that it is partially woven. Which means it has a grain, and bias, sort of in a similar way that regular woven fabric has. Which is neat, and helps me out with how I'm going to cut a woven lining. (This is pretty scratchy stuff, it needs a lining.)

I am hoping to be able to pick up some Thinsulateā„¢ to interline it with, because as Nigel rightly pointed out one layer of wool is not as hardcore as Michigan winters really need. But the two yards I found on eBay have expired, and me too broke to pay for them; and most of my Googling has turned up those pre-made jacket liners, which will not in any way fit into the jacket I have designed.

It's going to actually fit me, you see.

Standard, commercially available jackets--and liners made for them--don't.

In light of that, some lessons I have learned in the process of designing this thing:

- just how short my torso is (armpit to waist: 7"--and I'm 5'8")
- just how big my boobs are
- just how enormous the difference really is between my waist and hip measurements (28" and 42", respectively, but now I've seen it in the "skirt" of this jacket, and holy crap)
- that my "hip" measurement is mostly ass, which is why my pants never fit (for both meanings of the word "pants")
- that I apparently have a knack, an instinct, for draping patterns
- that flying by the seat of my pants in knitting flat pattern shapes works better than trying to work out all the math ahead of time
- that I can totally crib these same pattern shapes and use them to make, like, linen summer dresses

I am almost finished with the "skirt" pieces, at which point I'll have to tackle the sleeves. I want to put the seam at the back like in Elizabethan clothing, because I have side-front and side-back seams rather than an actual side seam and I think it would be attractive to line it up with the back one, and because it works with the kind of cuff I want to do. But we'll see what I come up with.

Then I have to baste the whole thing together and figure out where, along the side-front seams, I want the pockets to fall. And whether I should bother putting in an inside breast pocket.

Then eventually I have to start thinking about buttons.


slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)

October 2012



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