25 May 2011

In for a Penny, In for a Pound

So, Zo, here we go:


I, KC of The Sewcratic Method, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-June '11. I endeavour to wear
at least one hand made or refashioned item each day for the duration of June 2011.

Now, the catch here is, I'm a professor and I don't teach in the summer, plus I don't have any handmade summer clothes to speak of (certainly not to photograph!). I haven't been to a retail store since Christmas unless you count Goodwill or JoAnn either. So those June togs will have to come from somewhere. To increase the odds of getting dressed in June, I've also signed up for Stephanie's June challenge to

Sew 4 summer dresses in 1 month!
June Challenge1

I completely identify with what Stephanie says in posing the challenge:

Now for some of you this might not seem like a big challenge, but it is for me. Not only will I have to stop procrastinating and doubting my decisions but I will also fill a gaping hole in my wardobe: summer dresses!

Except the gap in my wardrobe is, well, clothing! So if I don't succeed in these challenges I'll resemble Stephanie in another way--she calls her blog The Naked Seamstress!

22 May 2011

Reinventing the Field Hockey Uniform

I borrowed this photo of a 1940's field hockey team from Fuzzielizzie, who found it at a flea market. I'm so glad Google served up this image for me, because I'm loving Fuzzielizzie's beautiful blog, The Vintage Traveler. Serendipitously, today's post at The Vintage Traveler features a photo of vintage cycling wear!

But I digress. Here's my new, nearly finished creation.

IMG 0030

I'm actually quite pleased with my accomplishment here. I think this is what you guys call a wearable muslin. I could, and will, cycle in this dress (worn over cycling pants). It has some shaping at the waist but I can still get into and move around in it. Having traced and modified the bodice from Simplicity 3506 (the dress), I then figured out how to cut and attach a skirt to it. Next time maybe I'll cut the bodice and skirt in one piece so there's no seam at the waist, but I was so focused on getting the top to work that I didn't think about what would hang under it.

OK, so not very crazy yet. But it's a start.

Bonus learning--I decided just to finish the neck with bias binding cut from the same fabric (I have acres of this stuff--I originally bought it to make duvet covers with), so I decided to try making continuous loop bias binding following the Rachel's tutorial at Colette patterns. Magic!

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18 May 2011

Reinventing the Wheel Part 2

Wow, thanks for all the supportive comments on Part 1! The title of that post was only supposed to refer to steps in the process of making the cycling dress--after hours of experimenting and pondering I find myself doing things I've read about a million times on your blogs, like borrowing a piece from a similarly shaped pattern, etc., thus reinventing the wheel. But, once I started writing, my soul (unconscious? evil twin?) grabbed hold of the pen. Writing is a dangerous business.

Before I get back to the project at hand, I think I'll have a little lie down to recover from the rose print discussion Karen's moderating over at Did You Make That,"It's Official. My Boyfriend's An Idiot." I'm pretty sure I turned 40 before one or two of the people commenting wisely over there on age-appropriate dressing were born.

OK, that's better.

I gave up on making a pattern from the dress and rummaged through my pattern library bin for something I could use. I came up with Simplicity 3506.

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The bodice seems about right, although the skirt is too fitted. (The two pics below were taken milliseconds apart.)

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So I traced the bodice, straightening it where it curved inward, and will make it up without the darts and stick a skirt on it.

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And we'll see.

16 May 2011

Reinventing the Wheel

I want to be a wild and crazy crone. I want to wear beautiful fabrics in rich textures and color my mouse-and-grey hair some shade not found in nature or, rather, found in nature but not in hair. I want to embarrass my daughter.

But I haven't done any of these things. I have a deeply, deeply rooted sense that I am not allowed to. My therapist and I have spent years discussing where this inhibition comes from and why I find it so hard to flout, ever since my previous therapist was strangled by her husband (but that's a very different story--or maybe not.) There is literally no one to tell me what I am and am not allowed to do (unless we are talking about driving the wrong way on the freeway or robbing a bank, which we're not), but I'm hedged about with limitations imposed on myself.

I'm tired of holding up the bars of my own cage.

The only kind of crazy thing I do is bicycle. I often commute to and from work by cycle and subway, and occasionally go on binges where I cycle miles and miles and miles on city streets around my home. A few of my colleagues admire me but most of them think I'm nuts.

So. I want to use my crazy cycling evil twin persona to try to pry my goodie-two-shoes persona out of her rut or cage or whatever she's in. And I'm starting by dressing more appropriately for running riding riot in the streets. The other day I wore this dress over my cycling knickers (as in capri-length lycra pants, not undies) to work:

IMG 0024

I probably looked awful, but I felt great! (Oh, by the way, say hello to my new old craigslist dress form--I call her Craig.) So I decided to copy this dress to make a cycling wardrobe.

Step one: try to make a pattern from the dress. I didn't get pictures of this, but I tried to lay the dress flat and trace around it on pattern paper. Then I made a muslin from the pattern:

IMG 0025IMG 0026
Two of them, actually. The thing looked all right on Craig, but she has no arms--when I moved mine the top was very constricting. Experimenting with the muslin just confused me--the top became less confining when I pinched fabric out across the shoulders, which should have made the armscye smaller?

What to do?
Stay tuned for part 2.

07 May 2011

How I talk anymore.

I've had this MacBook for 3.5 years, but I just learned today that I can record audio and video on it.

Edit: And now I think I have also learned to upload video to YouTube properly. Maybe.

The occasion for this discovery is the Blog Voices meme making the rounds. Listen to Tanit-Isis speak Canadian here, Louise speak Irish here, Steph speak Trans-Oceanic English here, and Beangirl speak Texican here. I add my flat US Midwestern (the original Midwest--the one east of the Mississippi River) patois below, despite the best efforts of my cat William to stop me. Now it's your turn: record yourself saying the following list of words:

Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught;

and answer the following questions:

What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

For the record, I believe the expression is "spit and image" and, although I purport to give "probably" 3 syllables, I notice that when I use it later in a sentence it has only 2. So I lied. Anymore, who has time to enunciate?

Coming soon: my new spit and image.

02 May 2011

Mourning Has Broken

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy." - Jessica Dovey

"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr

ht Rosemary Wessel
Corrected, 5/4/11.

May the Fourth be with you.