Monday, November 23, 2009

Dye Received

Big box o' dyeing supplies was on my chair at work when I got in today. Not sure if this will be happening until after Thanksgiving... but Mom did ask if there would be any dyed items during her visit and so I might press her into service!

Here's my latest color inspiration picture:

How gorgeous is that? She even has dark red hair like me! (Although I think my groom is much cuter!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Buying the Dye

After some advice from Lakeside Linen and some random research online and some evaluation of the materials I have on hand at home, I have purchased my dye.

And it's been shipped.

I continue to work on the sleeves and will be dyeing my swatches first as a test.

And dyeing a bunch of extra yarn as well.

Fingers crossed.

Cute Little Sleeves

I think it'll improve a lot with blocking. For some reason I didn't take a picture when it was done. Worked up fairly easily in just a few hours spread over two nights and I took copious notes, so I have fairly high hopes about making the other one with little trouble. Hopefully those aren't famous last words.

This dress sews up fast

Which is really good, because I don't really like it.

Justin had a long day at work on Sunday - shifts at both jobs - and I was recovering from a cold and didn't want to go out, so it was a perfect day for sewing. And in the end - I finished the dress mock up.You can see that the Halloween decorations are still up.

Okay, actually I didn't set in the zipper b/c I really didn't think I liked the dress. In a word, it is too big. Well, two words. Not too big for me - it fits just fine. But there is too much fabric in general. The skirt, as I expected is much too full to go under the lace. It doesn't exactly look bad, but doesn't have the sleek, flowy look that I had envisioned. More of a sausage kind of look. I didn't think I was going to like the ruching over the bust either, but that wasn't too bad once I put the dress on.

Anyway, I thought of many things and alterations... I think first thing will be to try the same top with a slimmer, A-line skirt. I promised Mom that I would change nothing until she came up for Thanksgiving and could see it and give me another opinion. Then I think we'll try to make another skirt out of the large pieces of the first skirt.

Oh and the train's not nearly long enough.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

In which I baste

These are the myriad pieces of my bodice. The bodice has both a lining and an underlining.

Step one is to baste the underlining to the fabric pieces. Of course, I cut all the pieces out of the same fabric, so it doesn't look like much. But I did a whole lotta basting.

Here it is with the flash:

And by the light of the sewing machine:

These are steps that usually annoy me and I rush through or skip. But I am trying to use my hard won Halloween costume lesson of patience (and pinning. and basting.)
And now I'm going to take a nap.

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.