Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Costumes: PASS

Like a good zombie (or a good zombie story), a good Halloween costume is one you can't put down. This owl costume and cape have returned year after year. 

Satan's cape (McCall's 4139) is interlined with fleece and keeps him toasty on nights when Hell freezes over. It's stood up to nearly a decade of terrifying trick-or-treaters.

Little Owl's costume made its debut in 2008, when it came down to his knees. The sturdy felt construction has come out on top after two years of trick-or-treating and countless hours of indoor flight.

As you'd expect, both costumes show a bit of wear, but not enough to stop their slow march toward terror (or, in the case of the owl, unrelenting adorableness).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bold Print Pillow Covers: PASS

The first sewing book I ever bought was The Hamlyn Book of Soft Furnishings. This was around 2001. Though I fantasized about making my own clothes, I had more pressing needs. Like a crotchety neighbor who told me to put up a bathroom curtain.

The Hamlyn book guided me through constructing that first wobbly-seamed curtain on the tension rod and the clip ring curtains, futon covers, and custom roller shades that followed. It helped me measure up for pillow covers 1.0 and 1.1, the versions with button or (ack!) Velcro closures.

I knew zip-up covers would be nicer, but applying zippers terrified me like an impending geometry test. Then last summer, this bold fabric I'd been eying for years at IKEA went on clearance. It was time to step up my game for pillow covers 2.0. It was time for zippers.

A class with the fabulous Anne of All Sewn Up! sewing school and a reread of the Hamlyn pillows chapter gave me the boost I needed. I pulled the zippers out of my stash, including some bright yellow ones I had painstakingly removed from plastic packaging. (Packaging that had kicked around our house long after its contents had left. Clutter = justified!)

Once I got the hang of it, I actually enjoyed applying the zippers. It's too bad we don't need any more pillow covers. Those custom roller shades don't fit our new windows, though. Maybe Hamlyn can help me out with replacements before any more neighbors complain.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Orange Tulip Skirt: FAIL

In 2009 I was beguiled by the tulip-shaped Marie skirt from I thought this simple (and free!) pattern would be a lovely way to update my wardrobe.

Well, the fabric is lovely, anyway.

I think I've mentioned I'm crap at tissue fitting. If ever I needed to go a step further and make a muslin, it was for the Marie. I would have realized that this "high waisted" skirt rides unflatteringly low. That the front and back pleats make me look like I'm wearing a balloon. And, most importantly, that I can't walk in the damn thing.

It reminds me of a story my high school English teacher told about his grandmother running to catch a streetcar in a hobble skirt. The side seam was no match for her, slitting up to mid-thigh. If it weren't for the interfacing at the hem (Say whaaa? Why did I blindly follow this instruction?), I may have found similar relief.

As it is, this tulip skirt is being transplanted to the refashion pile.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Zipper-Leg Capris: FAIL

Like a second pitcher of sangria, these capris from 2006 seemed like a good idea at the time. I had a beautiful piece of fabric and a pattern that looked simple and fun. My measurements matched the pattern envelope exactly, so I was good to go, right?

Looking back, I must have been drunk to think I could make pants (pants!) straight from the pattern. Only I don't drink and sew because then I stick myself with pins and get steam burns from the iron. So really, there's no good excuse for this mess.

My first bad decision was making capris. Built by Wendy patterns had just come out and I was intoxicated by the detailing of (now out-of-print) Simplicity 4110. Zippers at the hems and a charming hip yoke do not change the fact that capris make my legs look stumpy.

My second poor choice: barreling ahead without so much as a tissue fitting. Seriously? Like waist and hip circumference are the only things going on in a pair of pants?

I spent a few giddy evenings constructing these capris with loving care. When I finally slipped them on, I wanted to cry. The rise was so low that I got goosebumps, the literal kind, on my exposed hip and midriff. When I moved, the pants shifted even lower. The back pocket flaps made my butt look ridiculous. And did I mention stumpy legs?

I tried to salvage this fail by first adding a button to cinch the waistband, then taking in the side seams. The result? Ugly short pants that don't fall down. The only thing for it is to sleep this one off and repurpose the fabric for another project.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Announcements: Bloglovin

Hey, everyone. You can now follow my blog with Bloglovin.

After months of seeing the Bloglovin button on Oonaballoona, I finally clicked. Aptly named, that Bloglovin. Finally I can lurk all my favorite sewing blogs from one place. Makes me feel a bit like a modern day Dr. Claw (or any number of pseudo-Bond villains).

You should really check out Oona's fabulous dress. And comment on her post.