And may the odds be ever in your favour!
So one of the reasons for the lack of posts this month (aside from general laziness) is NANOWRIMO! Or “National Novel Writing Month.” It’s like a month-long holiday for crazy people who don’t like having free time and sanity. The idea is you will write 50,000 words in one month (or 1667 words a day). For most people, a nifty little tool called a word processor tallies up the word count as you type. For me, it means making the approximation that there are 350-500 words per typed page, and going from there.
Yes, I type on a typewriter and it is the greatest thing ever. The keys go RAP RAP RAP RAP RAP when I punch them (and you have to punch the keys, for god’s sake!), and I don’t have to worry about the computer crashing before I have time to back up my novel. Maybe I should worry about a house fire, but if that did happen, I would have plenty of other problems aside from a torched manuscript.
To celebrate this overcaffeinated occasion, I made (what else?) a circle skirt. Embellished with a giant red typewriter and a piece of paper with the words “It was a dark and stormy night.” They are not only the words that Snoopy uses to start most of his stories, they are also the first words of A Wrinkle in Time and a book I have never read called Paul Clifford. I don’t have much attachment to that last book, but I love Snoopy and Madeleine L’Engle, so the words were perfect for my new skirt!
For a template? Honestly? Just look up a Peanuts comic with Snoopy in and and enlarge the typewriter. I’m not doing the work for you. I have writing to do (only 5886 words to go…approximately).
Hope you are-a having a happy-a Hallowe’en-a!
There. That is my attempt at writing in an Italian accent. I promise there was a purpose in trying to sound Italian. Mr. C and I dressed up as the most famous Italians in the history of Italians: Mario and Luigi!
But we were not about to be some typical, shiny polyester store-bought Mario and Luigi. So we used some power-ups! A few of our die-hard old-school Nintendo friends were peeved that we used power-ups from the newer Mario games, and not some of the classics like Fire Flower or Tanooki Suit, but I care not! We were the adorable Penguin Suit Mario and Ice Flower Luigi! We forgot to make a big cooler full of ice to hurl at our enemies/fellow bar patrons, but it was probably for the best.
Now, rather than take the easy way out and buy an actual pattern to make our overalls, we decided to figure it out as we went along. If we had found a pattern that resembled overalls, that would have been great. And if I had to do it again, I would probably search a lot harder for a pattern. But it all worked out in the end. And Luigi even made himself a super cute felt ice flower, which he pinned to his overalls. It is now stuffed and in our TV room.
As for directions for the overalls? When I was explaining to Mr. C how to put all the pieces together, I sounded something like this:
“Just take that piece and then sew it to that other piece, kind of, you know, together. Down the middle.”
So that’s why I never became a teacher. But it is pretty easy to see how all of your pieces fit together, once you cut them out. Looking at a pair of your own jeans helps too, in seeing how the crotch pieces are all sewn together. (Also: is there a more seamstress-appropriate word for “crotch?”)
Sew the front pieces together at the center seam and back middle pieces together, to the point where the crotch meets the top of the leg only. Do not sew down the entire leg, or you will end up with a deformed overall dress! Then sew the front and back sides to each other. Finally, sew the front inseams to the back inseams and hem all of the raw edges (or use bias tape).
For the straps, fold the pieces in half, sew down one side and one end, leaving one end open. Turn inside out and press. Attach un-hemmed end to the back of the pants, crisscrossing up and over the shoulder. Either make button holes, or sew directly to bib. Attach buttons!
DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional seamstress, and these pants are pretty unflattering. Sew and wear at your own risk. But I think ours turned out pretty well!
If you are not a dork, you will probably not get that. And if you are not a dork, you will probably look at this skirt the way many people did earlier- with one eyebrow raised, head tilted, mouth contorted in a confused grimace.
“What is on your skirt?”
The person will either say something like, “Oh yeah,” and continue on their way, or ask what kind of dice have that many sides. When I explain that the dice are from the game of Dungeons & Dragons, several responses might be heard: “Awesome!” “You’re funny.” “Oh.” Or the person might just look at me like I have two heads.
I suppose this was all inevitable when I decided that I should wear my new skirt to work at the library during the day, before heading off to battle a succubus, an ogre and bar thugs at night.
This skirt took a long time. Many movies featuring embroidering heroines were watched, to encourage me on my progress. Despite my slight contempt for the boring six-sided die, I think my dragon-embellished version is my favourite. I do actually have a few dice like this one in my D&D bag, and they have caused some arguments:
“No, the dragon represents a 1. So you do 2 damage.”
“What?! How can a dragon represent the lowest number on the dice? Dragons are awesome!”
You can probably tell by now that my friends and I have very serious, philosophical discussions.
I got a lot of compliments today, and a lot of weird looks. I am proud of both! I even had one woman ask me if I had a crinoline on “under there.” A little personal, but I obliged and said yes. She looked shocked and impressed that a young thing like me would be wearing practical undergarments. But really, a circle skirt needs a bit of poof underneath, otherwise how are you going to see the kitschy applique? (The reason I am holding out my skirt in the picture is because the wind was blowing like mad, and I wanted you to see the actual lobster, and not a red blur).
Again, this is the easiest skirt to make, ever. I posted it before, but here is a very helpful website: http://www.whatthecraft.com/tuts/circ.htm
Oh, and here is the template, for all those wanting to sew a big fat crustacean on something.
They are yappy and French. Kitties, on the other hand, are purry and usually not French. Which is why I decided to sew a poodle skirt without any poodles on it. Instead, I graced the obnoxiously orange circle skirt with felt renderings of our two cats, Alistair and Compton. They are named after Alistair MacLeod (Canadian writer) and Bill Compton (fictitious vampire).
Circle skirts are the best and easiest thing to make. Ever. You can buy a pattern or you can just cut two half circles out of fabric, do a bit of math to figure out an appropriate size for the waist hole, sew it all together, throw an elastic in the waist and DONE! You don’t even need to make the waist band perfect and pretty, as you can throw a belt around it, or layer a sweater over top.
I’ve also decided that it is time for the poodle skirt to make a comeback, minus the poodles. I’ve started with a kitty skirt, but I’m not stopping there. By the end of summer, I plan on having a lobster on blue check and some sort of book-themed Miss Frizzle-esque number. I am only bound by the power of my imagination! I hope that one day, I might have a skirt for every day of the year (which is totally feasible, time-wise. This skirt only took me 3 or 4 hours to complete, even with the applique).
For those who want the kitty template, here it is! And a close up of the kitties themselves. Note the very realistic bug-eyed stare on Compton. And the slight chub of Alistair’s tummy.
This is what happens when the Christmas fabric goes on clearance, and I buy it all.
I really needed an ugly dress to wear at the tackiest time of year. Unfortunately, glaringly hideous patterned dresses are difficult to find if you are more than 5 years old. So, being graced with a new sewing machine, I decided to make my own! And guess what? You too can make your own holiday-themed attire! Simply purchase any pattern in any style, then pick up some printed novelty cotton when the season is over, and voila! You are ready for next year with a nauseating and festive outfit.
This was my first attempt at making a fitted dress with sleeves, and while it could have been a bit smaller in the bust and waist, it turned out pretty good! Plus, the dress has pockets (also a first for me), which will be especially handy at Christmas time for hiding baked goods and prezzies.
Now I’m left with about 5 metres of this fabric. Gift bags next?
I was so nervous about my first time! There was so much to think about- the darts, the pleats, a proper fit. I thought for sure I would do something wrong. But I knew it had to happen sometime. I needed to make my first dress.
Dressmaking is one of the reasons I wanted a sewing machine in the first place. Once and a while I come across a dress in-store or online that I LOVE. And less often than that can I actually afford it. I have very specific tastes, so I don’t like spending my money on something that I just like. I figured if we got ourselves a sewing machine, I could make dresses that were 100% ME.
Unfortunately, making a dress is quite difficult, especially when you are trying to fit it to yourself. I bought a pattern labeled “easy,” thinking it would make a good first dress. Most of the sewing went very well, but when I went to try it on, it was about 4 inches too big in the bust! So I had to do a little on-the-fly alterations, resewing the zipper in the process. In total though, with the resewing and the seam ripping (I sewed the wrong sides together at one point), this dress took me about 6 hours to make. Then it came time for embellishments. I was going to put buttons down the front, but decided to do some embroidery. The buttons on the straps have a royal looking crest on them, so I went for an Old English style initial. That took me two rolls of embroidery thread and about 2 hours.
So my first time wasn’t as perfect as I had hoped, but it certainly wasn’t scary. I think I’m ready to move on to more complicated patterns, once I figure out how to measure myself properly…
My first attempt at sewing a wearable item of clothing has been a success! The last time I sewed anything, it was for a Barbie doll. I thought I would totally botch the skirt, but this pattern is SEW easy (sorry). The skirts illustrated on the envelope are unbelievable ugly, so it’s a wonder I was able to see past that and actually purchase the pattern. Side note- I now understand why clothing (at least, quality clothing) is so expensive! I got this pattern on sale for about $5, but most patterns at Fabricland run between ten and twenty dollars! Add on to that the price of fabric (again, I took advantage of a blowout 50% off day). But despite my 50% off, I still managed to spend over $150 on my first trip to the fabric store. In total, my skirt cost about $12. Not too shabby! This is the end result:
I give this pattern a 4/5. It was simple enough to cut out and sew, but the instructions for the waistband were not drawn well at all, and the written instructions were even more confusing. Fortunately, I was able to figure it out on my own, but not everyone is as smart as I am!