Thursday, 31 May 2018

Ramblings on the Lost at Sea UFO dress

One of the procrastinatory reasons is that along with the dress losing it's mojo when I took apart the dress and separated the dodgy bodice from the workign skirt and salvageable sleeves I misplaced the bodice buttons. Ahem.

So when I emptied the 50 litre tub of sewing "stuff" and found the vintage button stash I not only got buttons for the martini print dress but more of the blue buttons for the Lost at Sea dress. I'm aiming to finish that dress this weekend.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Using the gifted button stash

I reminded myself to shop from the vintage button stash I was gifted by re-enactor friends. I have 3 sets, his mum's stash (that I got a few weeks ago) and her mum's 2 stashes that I got last year.    

The martini print fabric that I'm finishing to wear at CoCo - using a different bodice pattern - was incredibly difficult to find buttons for 18 months ago, and now I'm using a different bodice that uses more than 1 button.  I was going to psych myself to catch trains at lunchtime to go to Buttons Buttons Buttons at the Dymocks Building but reminded myself to look in the stash buttons first.

I looked in the 1940-1965 buttons and there were 3 that I really liked, but the 2 larger button designs are all in the photo and I need more than 1 or 2 for this bodice.  The other button has more than enough so I'm really excited to use them.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

trying to clear the UFO dress projects

I've realised that as well as making costumes for JAFK & CoCo I need to finish some UFO dresses so I can pack them to wear in the states as it'll be summer there (and midwinter here at home).

One that isn't the oldest unfinished dress is the martini print, and it's unfinished because when I packed (like a drunken sailor) to move house somehow the front bodice pattern piece+cut out piece ended up not with the rest, and haven't been found so far. There's one tea-chest that's still unpacked and it will stay that way cos I'm still trying to downsize all sorts of things. Once I've got room to unpack the teachest, then I'll explore the contents.

On Sunday it finally dawned on me that I don't need to wait any longer if I change my pattern idea - and I have enough fabric for 2 dresses so I can still use the original bodice pieces on a second dress.

I've decided to use this half size Simplicity pattern and get the dress done.

My next problem is getting buttons - I didn't make any notes about where I got them and will have to try all the button options again. Including going to a button shop that relocated closer to Town Hall Station.

Friday, 11 May 2018

my lack of posting is from, UGH tendon

I've done zero beading or sewing since Easter, and sulked a lot too.

Having a new mattress has been great and helped me sleep better and my ankle tendonitis finally stop flaring up.  However the turn the mattress frequently in the first few months resulted in me getting not tennis elbow, but tendonitis in another tendon near my right elbow. The same result being that I've had to let it rest and recover. It's finally calmed down enough that I can start sewing all the things I need for my costume events in the USA.  I've some new and some half made things to finish between now and then.

This week, final version of my regency stays, and starting the journey on my corded petticoat.  I plan to have two sewing machines set up, so that I can leave one threaded in white for the corded petticoat.  I'll sew a row a day on that project while still sewing other things for the events.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

progress with my weedy beading project

I'm loving the weedy seadragon, although I hit a snag when the background blue was too distracting from the beastie itself. The sudden change is how the light was in the photograph used for my custom pattern, but it just wasn't working as a beaded design.

I had to very slowly undo around 30 rows as there was a trail of the darker blue along the fins that I needed to also work back to. Undoing this was slower than making it, as the body is what I refer to as 'alphabet soup' due to the close colours in the pattern. I had to add the beads back to their respective work piles one or 2 at a time, as some are so close that with my imperfect sight, even with my close work specs on it takes a magnifying light to separate them accurately.

I looked at the colours in my stash for the next couple of projects (Van Gogh's Starry Night, and a beach scene) and found a galvanised dark aqua that works well. I will need to buy more to finish this cuff bracelet and for the project that it's from, and all the work undoing the rows was well worth it.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

An expedition to the sewing room approaches

I need to tackle the mess that is my sewing room. I dumped sewing stuff - unfinished projects and ephemera that I came across as I unpacked my less than strategic moving boxes.  It looks like that exploded or was tossed by burglars so the room isn't functional.

I also need to find my cotton drill to mock up my regency stays, and find the semi-firm cotton organdy that I bought about 5 years ago to make a corded petticoat.  When I was tempted to re-buy both rather than face the sewing room I knew it was ridiculous.  Especially given I'm on a fabric diet and trying to downsize my stash by using it. So this Saturday I'm going in and told a friend I may need an emergency evacuation team by late afternoon.  There may or may not be before and after photos.

I've started my next beaded cuff bracelet - this is wider and of a weedy seadragon (in the seahorse family) and native to Sydney harbour.  I custom ordered the pattern from an Etsy seller who's patterns I've bought and will use, although after this is finished.  It has 22 colours, and I stuck labels to the lids so it's easier on my brain when I need to get the next colour out of a tube.

I've got about 12 at a time out on my work tray, and am enjoying working on it.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Sad truth - no sewing, I'm bead loom bracelet obsessed

I'm starting to get twitchy wanting to sew, which is only ever a good thing.

My custom regency stays pattern arrived months early (not questioning it!), although I've taken it to a copy shop to get a back up in case I lose any pieces.  I know myself only too well. I'll be starting the mock up this weekend.

The hobby I took up in the Christmas holidays has been a little addictive.  I now have Miyuki Delica 11/0 beads in colours that I have no project for - they're small, pretty and comparatively inexpensive.

If you're interested the 11/0 beads are 1.8mm so I had to add a dozen extra rows to make it the planned length. I'd worked on 2mm graph to start with (though scaled up to 4mm graph paper cos my eyes hated the smaller graph). I finished the strawberry and thought, "whaaaa why is this shorter?" I worked out the maths when the penny dropped about calculating the number of rows based on 2mm when they're 1.8mm.

Here are the two that I've already done the first stage for. The first one - strawberry bracelet was a learning curve so had some stops & starts and reversing as I realised that I didn't like the colour combination.

Getting the lighting right with my phone camera is a minor challenge, but I'll get a better one once it's turned into a cuff bracelet.

My second project was a shadow of a mermaid, and I completely changed my bead selection. I'd thought that the Lagoon Mix would be great as a background and #2 Blue Iris as the mermaid however the mix included a dark blue that was very close to the Blue Iris, and the blue Iris wasn't opaque but translucent with green lustre that depending on light made it to similar to the lagoon darker green.

So I put both those beads aside and used #83 Silver Lined Aqua as the background with #1 Gunmetal as the shadow.

The chart was found by a google search although I didn't like the background, however while obsessively looking for mermaid cross stitch patterns as inspiration I found one which had heart shaped bubbles in the back ground.  I used #629 Silver lined dyed Lavender as the bubbles as I'd tried white or pearl and that disappeared. The Lavender is subtle but not invisible. Her eye is #608silver lined blue - again not a high contrast choice. Finishing this part of the bracelet is making me want to finish my mermaid dress. That's now a higher priority.

I need to learn the next steps, how to turn the loomed piece into a bracelet and then I'll be wearing them.   I also worked out a different design for a mermaid bracelet (with Orca!), inspired by a mix of cross stitch patterns, and I'm planning to use the lagoon mix so it's not going to sit in my stash for ages.

The weedy and leafy seadragons have fascinated me since I first heard about them, and they are in Sydney harbour.  So I commissioned a couple of patterns and am about to start my 3rd bracelet. It's wider by half as much again and has 23 different colours so I'll need to focus and carefully mark off my rows.

After that I'll make a Van Gogh Starry Night bracelet - yes I have the pattern and 3 of the 11 beads already. The original strawberry seeds, a jet black and the Blue Iris.  I'm also going to do the second mermaid, and work on graphing up a Q*bert design. I loved that game and as it's an old school arcade the images I found are pixellated not modern more realistic images.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

2017 - year in review and planning til mid 2018

Last year was a mixed year personally. It started with me having just being diagnosed the hard way (unplanned trip to hospital emergency) that I have a new chronic health condition. Not curable but manageable and so so far I've managed it pretty well.  I had also recently moved home after 19.5 years in the previous place and although I love where I live now and it's so much better in many ways (more space, close to where my friends now live) it was enormously stressful.  About half way through the year I realised that I had low level depression. That's a sneaky sucker and recognising it has helped me structure things so that it doesn't get worse. It's slowly lifting but not completely gone.

I'd decided earlyish in the year that I wouldn't make any new costumes but concentrate on sewing real life clothing. That's not been entirely productive, but I'll get there.

I finished my lobster print dress - though I don't like the fit of it - and the skeleton cat+fishbowl dress which I love wearing. Both these dresses get compliments whenever I wear them, although the lobster gets a little side-eye as well.

I'm not beating myself up for what I haven't achieved - that would only enable the depression.

I do have grander plans for 2018, which are mostly costume based.  Mainly because I'm going to the Jane Austen Festival in Kentucky and Costume College in LA, both in July.

The reaction when I say I'm going to Kentucky, Cincinatti and Detroit before Los Angeles has most people confused.  Unless they're a costumer or understand how much I love making and wearing historical costumes. Then JAFK makes perfect sense as does CoCo.

I'm trying to set up new habits for sewing, so that I'm productive. If I wake up early, I'm going to do half an hour sewing before heading into work. I'm planning to do 30 minutes of something/anything sewing as soon as I've eaten after getting home.   I'm going to focus on underpinnings first. The less exciting side of things being a corded petticoat for 1830s wear. I have the cotton organdy, and piping cord and pattern/instructions. First I need to find the organdy.