Friday, July 30, 2010

five days in which I make two dresses

Monday I got overly excited at Walmart and bought a pattern and some fabric. Which turned into this:

What a hot fricken mess. Like the awkward girl who made her prom dress the night before even though she'd never touched a sewing machine in her life. The fit is pretty terrible, perhaps because those damn lanky models on the pattern have no hips and I have enough hips to choke a horse.

So I gave it another go yesterday and ended up with this:

Better. I took the waist up and decided short cutesy sleeves are never going to be a good idea for me.

That is 200 inches of unhemmed skirt right there. Waiting to get back to JoAnn's to pick up bias tape to match the neck and arm openings. So much easier than what the pattern called for -- lining the bodice and flipping it inside to finish the neckline/arms. Which is fine and dandy and nifty... except it made the bodice of the red dress lumpy and horrible.

And this bodice is not so lumpy. And I just happen to have a decorative stitch on my machine that matches the vines on the fabric. Which means of course I had to use it.

I did line this second one, but in my own little way. As in... I lined it for modesty but attached the pieces as I did the seams. So it's not perfectly clean on the inside of the bodice, but it's so much better fitting this way.

Pattern: McCalls 6027, the red dress is view B, the blue dress is view A

Fabric: red dress is basic cotton from Walmart $2 a yard, blue dress is calico print from JoAnn's on sale for $2.79 a yard

Modifications: Red dress I did what the pattern said. Blue dress... I ignored the pattern completely other than cutting out the pieces. I constructed it differently for the skirt and the bodice lining and did my own thing.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

You have no idea how surprised I am at myself...

Yesterday evening I looked at my poor lonely sewing machine and realized I haven't even uncovered it in more than a month. I have a few skirts that I want to make... but not enough room right now to cut them out without causing stress and chaos for everyone. So I'm putting those off until we move and I have room, glorious room!

But small things I can do. And so I set about making a purse. A patchwork purse. Awhile back I bought two batches of those "100 squares of random fabric!" off of ebay. And got some pretty cute stuff. Among those 200 squares were about 50 that kind of matched -- they were the same pattern in different colors.

So that's the beginning of the plan and the mess involved.

And the finished purse, outside. It's a bit floppy because I like squishy bags, so pardon the microwave holding it up.

Here's the lined inside, complete with zippered pocket that is as big as one side of the purse for hiding girly things, plus two little pockets with the same patchwork material.

Little blue pocket for... cell phone maybe? Dunno, I wanted it.

Little purple pocket perfect for pens and such.

Pattern: None. Just kind of whipped it together. It's not a perfect cube, as the smaller sides are two squares wide at the bottom of the purse and decrease down to one square so the mouth of the purse is narrower than the bottom.

Fabric: The outside are squares I bought on ebay, no idea what they are. But it's one of those shops that has a million packs of 100 4"x4" squares on sale, so easy to find if you're interested.
The lining is some fabric I bought off WalMarts $1/yd sale rack when I first got my machine and wanted something to play with.

Time: Started it yesterday at probably 7 p.m. and finished today at 9 p.m. Probably worked maybe 6 hours on it, most of that sewing the patches together and picking out seams when hindsight led me to a more clever construction.

Overall I'm pleased. I was originally going to put a zipper on the top and I even put it mostly in... but took it out because the only other zipper I had that isn't destined for something else is only 7" and would greatly reduce the bulk of things I could fit into the mouth of the purse. Too lazy to go out and buy a longer zipper, this was a spur of the moment project that would have had its momentum broken by going out to buy supplies.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Now only do I get room... but I get a WHOLE room!

With new jobs and financial aid for school in place (and the fact that the apartment complex we're currently in is turning into a shithole), Alex and I went apartment hunting for when our lease is up in September.

And we found a place we liked. And at the time... they were running a special that made a 2 bedroom apartment the price of a 1 bedroom.

And so... in 2 months time we'll be moving. To the above apartment floor plan. The second bedroom (on the right) we'll use for the computer desk... and a giant table with my sewing machine and knitting stuffs. Hello freakin' jackpot. I'd always dreamed of being able to have an extra room, and now we can. And it comes with an extra bathroom, too.

So for about $120 extra a month (split between the two of us), we get the following upgrades from our current place:
- extra bedroom
- extra bathroom
- screened porch
- outside storage
- dining room (yes... we currently have no dining room)
- washer/dryer in unit (we have our own now that we can sell)
- walk-in closets
- dishwasher
- double sink
- complex amenities like: pool, gym, basketball court, volleyball pit
- our neighbors won't all be drug dealers/unemployment collectors

I'm so excited. Now I just have to wait 2 months and 2 days to MOVE. And I'm going to start saving up for a sewing cabinet. Anyone have brand/model recommendations?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Look, Ma, I'm knitting!

Last night I decided I needed to knit something. So I started on this Vernal Equinox Shawl and am using some of my recycled, hand-dyed yarn. I'm near the end of Clue 2.

I'm using two different colorways and alternating at the pattern's suggested color change rows. Not sure if I'll like it, but oh well... the point is to get knitting and do something. I haven't knit in a long time and just need to again. I haven't sewn anything since the brown polka-dotted skirt (though I have ideas and fabric) because of the sheer lack of space in our apartment for cutting out.

Our lease here is up in a little less than 3 months, and we're probably moving. A combination of just not enough space and shitty management. Hopefully I'll have some space for a desk for my knitting... and maybe even save up for a proper sewing machine cabinet. If that happens, more sewing and knitting and crafts may commence.

Alex just started a full-time job this week, and I started a part-time weekend job this past weekend. Extremely relieving, considering two weeks ago we were realizing how close we were to being evicted if we couldn't find some money somewhere. Just goes to show how shitty this economy is when two able-bodied people who are pretty much willing to do whatever work available can't get jobs.

And this is Sakura's newest obsession... sleeping half under the bathroom cabinet and half in the hallway.


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