First of all, I love you guys. I woke up this morning to a flood of encouragement and warm fuzzies, here and on my Facebook, that I really needed to be able to get back on the horse. You are all the best.
Dramatic, but accurate
On the suggestion of many people, I showered, slept, went out for sushi and frozen yogurt, and then tried my hand at belting the faulty gown. You were all right; it looks much better with a belt. I just…still don’t like it. I spent quite a bit of time actively not thinking about it before I came back to try it again, the better to come to it with a clean slate, and I just…I don’t like it. It’s not what I thought it would be, and I don’t like how it fits anywhere, not just at the waist. Specifically I’m unhappy with the arm holes, the way the bodice crosses (badly. It crosses badly), and the just general bulkiness of it. Even with serious belting, the fabric pools and pulls and puffs weirdly and makes me look pregnant. I would have to construct a belt a LOT wider than what I had planned–what basically amounts to an underbust corset–to make it work about half of what I want it to work, and I don’t have the time or energy to make two of those.
Eventually, perhaps this summer, I will take it apart and see if I can figure out what went wrong. I don’t have the time to do that now, though, so I’m starting over, with a pattern I’ve proven I can use and alter accurately and quickly. I’ve got today, part of tomorrow, and part of Friday. I got a little more fabric this morning, and I’m going to make one costume at a time lest I mess up again. I’m starting with mine, the Fairy of Red Grapes. I’ll keep you up to date.
I basically just finished the Red Grape Fairy, and it looks terrible.
I think I can say with certainty that the problem is not on my end, except that I bought a shitty pattern. My bad.
I’ve wanted a collared bodice for a long time. I like the way collars frame my face, and the back of the neck is an enormously awkward place to put sunscreen.
I finally got around to making one.
I’m so proud of it I could poo.
So apparently finishing seams is a thing you need to do. I learned this the hard way, over the last year, when my shirts frayed so badly I felt like Oogie Boogie in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Except not filled with worms. Since I don’t like unraveling, I decided that this time! things will be different.
Unfortunately, birdseye cotton, my shirt fabric of choice, frays like a Walder. It seemed to me that simply pinking the edges wouldn’t be enough. With that in mind, I’m trying two different tacks, one on each shirt.
Tactic One: pre-finishing the seams
This was suggested by a user on the Renaissancefestival.com sewing forum. I cut out all the pieces, and basically roll-hemmed every edge that wasn’t the selvedge (or the bottom of the shirt, which will get hemmed once the shirt is constructed).
Behold! Ye olde tiny thongs.
Was this epically fussy and time-consuming? Yes. Am I certain it will work? No. Am I concerned that I hemmed too much out of the seam allowance? Yes. Should I have accounted for that when cutting? Yes. Did I? No. Is all this worry and fuss worth it if it works? YES YES ONE THOUSAND TIMES YES.
Tactic Two: We’ll Fix It In Post
With my other shirt, I’m going go try a modified flat-felled seam. I say “modified” as a catch-all disclaimer.
I haven’t started the second shirt yet because I’m also modifying the pattern quite a bit and want to test it out before I do a bunch more cutting. I’m still using the Smock Pattern Generator. Modifications include making it significantly shorter–it’s going to be about hip-length, which necessitated making the side gores quite a bit less intense. With no real thought other than “let’s see how this works,” I basically chopped the prescribed in half; we’ll see how it goes. I’ve also modified the sleeves to make them a little puffier.
So there’s all that. I’m about to piece the first shirt together and see how it looks.
Shit What I Need To Gather Before I Can Start Sewing
- something to watch, because sewing is boring. Today it’s Bunheads on Hulu, which, as it turns out, has Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors in it
- chapstick, so I don’t have to get up and go searching for it every time my lips start to feeling a little dry
- iced tea in quantities some people might consider excessive
- patterns. Many patterns, preferably with lots of directions and pictures that actually make sense
- the interwebs, so I can look up all of the things I don’t understand and also browse TV Tropes
- the Box of Sewing Supplies, which has tape measures and scissors and various pokey things
- a lint roller, so when the cats deign to get off the fabric I can come behind and remove the fur they graciously left behind
- a manicure set, so when I tire of staring at my hangnails I can pretend to do something about them when really I’m just digging around under my fingernails
- my sewing machine, I guess
- my phone, which serves the triple purpose of interweb browsing, texting, and a stopwatch so I can occasionally time myself
- THEY ARE DOING BALLET ZOMG YOU GUYS I LOVE BALLET
- tissues, because my head is constantly full of snot
- like, five sweaters
- oh God I hate sewing, I am going to go paint my fingernails
As promised, a post about the construction of the Post-Apocalyptic Avenger costumes which mr. biscuit and I constructed. This is long and wordy and boring and FULL OF PICTURES.
I know I bitch about sewing a lot, but I really feel I have good reason to. I don’t know about the rest of you, Gentle Readers, but sewing is one of the hardest things I do.
Savage Chickens speaks to my pain in ways few other artists can match