Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What I've been up to lately...

So I made that skirt at the beginning of the month and then wedding dress sewing went on hiatus so I could focus on Halloween costume sewing.

Halloween is like a high holy day to both Justin & I and it doesn't seem like a real holiday to me unless I make at least some part of our costumes. A purely store bought costume seems like a cop out to me. I've done it before, but I do always try to make some portion of at least one of our costumes.

This year, I outdid myself a bit. I made both. Completely. From scratch.

I did have an old bathing suit pattern that I partially used for mine, but the whole top is improvised. And Justin's was completely made up, with some vague guidance from a shirt and a pair of his pajama pants. It was very interesting and I learned a few things.

First - although least useful in terms of wedding dress construction - I did some cool things with boning. A whole lotta infrastructure went into make that collar stand up, including an elaborate skeleton made out of zip ties. There were back supports that hooked into his tunic under his robe. There really should have been an extra hook on the front of the robe to keep the collar from turning on itself, which it had a slight tendency to do when he moved (which he kept doing all evening long. Silly man wouldn't just stand still and be admired! He wanted to enjoy his own party!) I was very proud of myself, since all my knowledge of using boning in this way comes from a 10 second clip from Season 4 of Project Runway where Chris March was making one of his elaborate gowns which had a huge collar and it showed the model being buckled into a harness underneath her dress to support the thing.

However since my plans for the dress do not include a huge collar, this was the least practical of the lessons I learned. And really, I don't think I technically "learned" anything, since I knew all this stuff already, but it was good to have it driven home to me yet again.

1) Slippery fabric is a real pain in the butt to deal with. You must be patient.

2) You must pin EVERYTHING.

3) Basting really is a good idea, especially for tight fitting things (the legs of my bathing suit almost brought me to tears one night).

4) The sewing machine knows when you're angry. I was told this by a professional costumer in college and it affirmed all my previous sewing experiences. If you are angry, frustrated or tired the machine knows. You will make more horrible mistakes and you will then need to spend an epic amount of time picking them out (one more reason it's good to baste). It's always better to stop and not try to push on to some artificially imposed stopping point (I will stop after I set in this zipper - yeah, it's a great idea to try and set in a zipper when tired and cranky.)

5) When you're sewing and you're really on a roll, it's awesome.

6) Also awesome - compliments. Got a big bunch of them and am starting work on the practice dress full of confidence in my own sewing prowess. Just confidence mind you. Don't want to bring down the wrath of any sewing gods.

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