Sweet Betty Blue Kimono – Part 2

Good morning!! Well, okay, maybe it’s not morning. But that’s not the point.

The Betty Blue Kimono

I actually did it! I made progress on the kimono! I’m so proud of myself. As I suspected, the body of the kimono went together very quickly. However, as you can see from what I’m trying to make vs. a kimono I happen to have on hand, there are some differences in the construction. The main one is that the red kimono has open sleeves, that do not close up under the arm.

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The kimono… okay, from now on I’m going to call it a negligee, since that’s what it’s referred to in the book, and since I really strayed away from a traditional kimono pattern to get it the way I wanted it… the negligee doesn’t have open sleeves.

Drafting out new sleeve shape

Drafting out new sleeve shape

So I directed myself to my trusty pattern drafting book, and looked up how to make “western kimono sleeves”, and continued on from there.

So nice and warm.

So nice and warm.

 

Oh. Am I in your way? I thought I was just holding the fabric for you!

Oh. Am I in your way? I thought I was just holding the fabric for you!

 

Let me move out of your way and be as cute a possible!

Let me move out of your way and be as cute a possible!

Pickles helped me with the drafting process, making sure my fabric didn’t move

Look what I made for you!

Look what I made for you!

And then she inspected it once I had cut. She thinks she did all the work- I was just in the way!!

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Before the front was cut open. It's finally taking shape!

Before the front was cut open. It’s finally taking shape!

The front opening of the negligee follows the same style as the kimono, where the fabric is slashed open, and then the raw edges are either turned under in the lining (I haven’t gotten there yet, but I have some nice light blue satin that I think will do just fine), or in the collar band (which I also haven’t done, since I’m having trouble deciding if I want to keep the red from the image, or make the robe all light blue.

What do you think? Keep the red, or ditch it?

Confessions of an Unapologetic Caffiene Freak

The facts were these-

Three months ago, I RSVP’ed to my cousins wedding. Of course, I had to come up with something stunning to wear, and any old clothing store wouldn’t work- I have an IMAGE to maintain; a standard of (neurotic) excellence to uphold in the eyes of my family. So I decided I was going to make a dress. I had three months. No problem.

I settled on a stunning 1930’s evening gown pattern (not one of my own, shockingly enough, although I did have to size it up from a size 6 to a size 18), and with two months left, I picked out my fabric. I had two months to get it done. No worries.

And then school came along like a rider of the Apocalypse, and gobbled up all my time. When I wasn’t desperately cramming in as much Japanese and Chinese vocab as I could before a test (a test every week??!! That’s pure sadism!!), or maniacally hammering away on my laptop to crank out ANOTHER anthropology essay, I was either folding origami for First Friday until my fingers were numb, or was flopped out in the house in a state very similar to that of a human vegetable. I was exhausted every day, and felt like I’d been run over by a truck. A big rig truck. Multiple times.

Well, my cousin’s wedding is tomorrow.

I started the dress on Tuesday.

For four hours, I sized out the pattern, sewed together a muslin sample, and with a quick prayer, cut into the fabric.

On Wednesday I had a nervous melt down.

On Thursday I worked on the dress for six hours, around a full day of classes and two tests.

On Saturday, I finished the dress, jumped into the car, and scampered off to the wedding.

Is it 100% perfect? Well, to me, no, it’s not. I always struggle with satin, because I don’t actually have a good workspace for laying it out and cutting it. And I skipped the very necessary French seams completely in deference to my limited time.

But that’s not really the point. The point is that with the assistance of seven energy drinks, I managed to put together a stunning evening gown in four days.

Working around five classes, three language exams, and two anthropology assignments.

The moral of the story is this: Caffeine makes the world go around. When you’re at the eleventh hour, line up a few cups of coffee, and get to work! 🙂

Impulse Control Issues

Sometimes, I just can’t help myself. I’m sure a lot of people have this problem. Maybe you see the perfect pair of jeans in a store and you buy them for 110$, ignoring the fact that they look EXACTLY like EVERY, SINGLE, OTHER pair of jeans in the WORLD. Or maybe every time cellphones go on sale, you buy five of them. Not because you need them, but, because, c’mon, they were on SALE!

Actually, maybe most of our problems with over buying would be solved if stores stopped offering “buy one, get X” sales… You can ponder this for today and get back to me!

As I was saying, this impulse control issue with spending is perfectly normal. I myself am known to spend almost beyond my means. And it always comes back to bite me in the tush.

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My most recent splurge was the result of my throwing a tantrum at the fabric store over the cutting counter gremlin. I happen to love Halloween, and this fabric is just so PERFECT. SO I bought ten yards of it, with absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it.

I did the same thing with a bolt of creepy haunted house fabric…

And a bolt of Dia de los Muertos fabric…

Always with no idea what I was going to do with it. I just knew that I wanted it.

But this time, I came up with a genius idea. I sketched out this dress idea-

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And that was when it hit me. I don’t really have the time to do a full scale, 500000000000 piece collection… but why not a Limited Edition Halloween collection?

I ran this idea by my Friend-Who-Remains-Anonymous.

“That’s a wonderful idea!” he said. “You should start creating a buzz about it now.”

And, yet again, I was stumped. How does one “create a buzz”, I wondered.

“Let me guess,” he said, blandly. “You forgot that you had a blog, and haven’t updated it in three months.”

Ha! that’s where he was wrong! I showed him my posts.

“Very good,” he said approvingly. “you told them that you hate the only fabric store in your area because the people are mean, you told them you are a starving artist, and you told them you are insane and think the DEVIL possessed your sewing machine.” Maybe “approving” was the wrong word…

“Now,” he informed me, “you are going to tell your readers all about you idea for this mini collection, and show them your adventure in the creative process.”

I think he was expecting a little too much from me. I think he was probably over estimating my abilities, too.

He sighed. “Mack, just do it. I’ll buy you a cup of coffee for each post you put up about this project.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, sealed the deal. This officially goes to my first cup of free coffee!! I win!!!!!

The Right to Bear Scissors

Sometimes you come across people who really drive you up a wall. I met one such person at the local fabric store.

The facts were these; I absolutely destroyed the bodice of the dress I’ve been working on, so I went to go pick up another yard of the fabric to redo it. There was a scrap of the fabric left on the bolt, maybe 3/4 yd if I squinted. But I needed the fabric. And it was all they had left in the store. So I took it up to the counter to measure.

I handed the fabric to the cutter, and she unfolded the fabric. And folded it so the two cut edges were together.

“A yard and a quarter,” she informed me

I stared.

“I’m really sorry but you miss measured,” I said. “You should be measuring the length of the fabric, not the width”

She looked at me like I was mentally handicapped.

“Along the selvedge,” I explained.

“Who taught you to measure fabric?” She snapped. “It’s a yard and a quarter.”

I argued with her for half an hour. There were a whole bunch of problems in the store that day, and no manager in sight. If I hadn’t needed the fabric so badly I would have just gone home. But I DID need it. So before my very eyes, she cut a quarter of a yard off the selvedge.

Okay. Maybe she was new, and sometimes people make mistakes.

But then I bought an entire bolt of fabric, and asked her to measure it for me. She was displeased. On e she was done, I asked if she could just roll it back on to the bolt.

“No,” she snarled.

I persisted in getting a bolt for the fabric to be rolled on to. So she grabbed an empty bolt from a fabric hat was 20$ a yard, and scanned that bolt end. So my ten yards of 6$/yd fabric was suddenly 20$/yd. I couldn’t take it.

“Excuse me, but you scanned the wrong bolt,” I said, maybe a little more hostile than I intended.

What followed was another half our argument over who was right.

I won. Because she was wrong.

The moral of this story is that some people shouldn’t be allowed to wield scissors. Or to reign over the cutting counter. Or even touch fabric. Ever.

Beware the fabric store gremlins!!!!

Of Ancient Egyptians and Bias Tape

First, let me introduce you to Hatshepsut!!

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She is my brand new industrial sewi g machine that I bought for 50$. No joke.

She needs some living care, like some oil, and a new cord, and maybe a new lamp, since the old one got smashed in the moving process.

But other than that, she runs like a dream!! I can’t wait until I have her back in ship shape, so I can put her to work… And let my moms sewing machine take s vacation. That poor little Viking has really been a trooper for me!

So what I have for you today is a rant about bias tape.

I just spent two days making 5 yards of shantung bias tape from 1/8 of a yard of fabric. “Why?!” You ask.

Because the fabric stores near me only sell decently priced cotton bias tape, and for this new panty design, I needed cherry red shantung bias tape like this.

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I’m going to cry blood when I run out of this bias tape!

The Pin Up Sew Along Project Pt. 2

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Last week I put some serious effort into the bra project- I even went as far to time myself, to see how long it took me to make… I know. I know. I was a little bit obsessive… :$

Once I perfected my pattern and sewed half of the sample, I simply couldn’t wait to make the final glorious product!!
I used a decadent, reasonably priced polyester charmeuse. On the upper part of the bra, I did a lace overlay with one of the wider galloon laces from my huge stash.

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Obviously, it’s an asymmetrical pattern, so I tooka good hour trying to figure out which way I wanted to lace pattern to go.

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I eventually chose to cut it with the scalloped at the top, mainly because it created a pretty icicle effect.

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The sewing was pretty straight forward. A little tedious, maybe. But with 8 cups of coffee and Katherine Hepburn movies, I managed to get the cups done in about and hour!! 🙂

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Pretty, don’t you think?

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Now I will admit that I made a mistake- I forgot to attach the back of the bra to the cups before I sewed in the lining… So I ended up sewing it like an insert , which didn’t work out as bad as it could have, but definitely not as good as I hoped. Live and learn.

Instead of using hooks to close the bra, I decided to do a ribbon loop button closure… And didn’t think to look for directions… Not too bad!!

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I’m working on finishing up the bra this week for a little pin up photo shoot!! Stay tuned for my finished project and the next part of the sew along I’m working through!!

For more information on the Pin Up Sew Along, check out Anna’s blog : A Few Threads Loose
And Sarah’s blog: Ohhh Lulu

The Pin Up Sew Along pattern package can be purchased here: Ohhh La La Pin Up Sew Along

Or you can purchase the bra pattern I’m working with separately, here: 1950’s Pin Up Bra #2001

Sunshine & Cinnamon,
Mack 😉

A Delayed Christmas Present Pt. 2

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The second present I got this Christmas that just about brought me to tears was from my stupendous uncle. He gave me a TREASURE TROVE worth of old Ciba Review journals.

For those of you who don’t know about Ciba, they are a chemical company (Chemische Industrie Base) that has fingers in everything from paper and inks, to textiles and dyes, and even agriculture. You can learn more about this Swiss company here: BASF.com

They published research journals that covered everything from historic textiles and dyes, history of costume, botany, and “native” clothing (which the politically correct call “traditional dress”… )

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I’m still in the process of organizing them. Once I’m done, however, I will be not only posting up scans of the articles for your reading pleasure, I will also be writing reviews and cliff notes of the articles.

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Sound academic and boring? How wrong you are. As a former fashion major, I can honestly say that in the library at the School-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, we had nothing nearly as comprehensive as this collection I have been gifted. So I do this for all of the costume designers, fashion historians, textile designers, dye chemists, historians, fashion majors and in general curious individuals.

This is my Christmas present to you, and I hope some of you can find a use for it all!!!! 🙂

P.S.- Sorry some of the photos are upside down! :S