Friday, February 22, 2013

A Prize for my First Follower!

How excited I was when I saw that someone actually followed my posts!  So,  I am giving a very special prize to this brave girl -- she will be the proud recipient of a made-to-measure Snow White costume!  That's right, my only follower is my daughter, who admitted that she is only following my posts to see the mean things that I write about her. 

Yes, I am taking a break from SWAP to make a Snow White costume.  I know it's not Halloween and no, we're not planning a trip to Disneyland.  She was asked to play Snow White for a local event in which the author of one of her favorite childhood book series (Sisters Grimm) is participating.  She was so excited about the opportunity that I hated to burst her bubble by saying "not unless they are providing a costume."  Who could deny the fairest of them all?

We did find something on ebay that looked pretty nice, but the event is just over a week away, and we can't take any chances on it not arriving or not fitting.  The local costume rental closed a few years ago.  We soon realized that our only option was to make one. She promised to help me with whatever I needed (uh huh) and agreed to accept Hobby Lobby or Walmart fabric.  She even offered to help sew it (she doesn't sew).  She would not agree to use it as her prom dress, however, which would have been very convenient for me.  [I'm sure her date would be happy to go as Prince Charming!]

I was shocked to see that Simplicity has an adult pattern.  My first thought was that we'd make a blue bodice and put it over a quick yellow circle skirt -- which probably would be quicker than this -- but S2813 does look exactly like the character.  As an added bonus, it also includes a Cinderella pattern!

The suggested fabric is broadcloth or gabardine -- much nicer to sew with than satin -- but it doesn't sound very princess-like.  We will run out tonight and see what we can find. As long as we can get the colors right, we can't quibble about the quality of fabric available.  And I promise to try to avoid writing mean things about my daughter while I spend every minute of my spare time on this.  Even if I don't finish SWAP by the deadline.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Paralyzed by Fear, or how I learned to love hand-worked buttonholes

Work on my jacket continues...slowly.  While focusing on the sleeve vent buttonholes, I once again became paralyzed by fear -- the fear of cutting into the tweed boucle and ruining a sleeve.  Probably not true fear, maybe just anxiety. Even though I practiced a few times on scraps, I was hesitant to pick up my scissors and cut into the thread-marked sleeve.  So the jacket sat unworked for a few days until I told myself "this isn't brain surgery" and finally cut into it.  I should have approached it as though it was brain surgery.

The first hand-worked buttonhole came out very nice.  Not sure what happened during the second -- maybe I drifted off to sleep or was distracted by the dogs or the kids or the doorbell -- I ended up tearing it out. The the third and fourth were even nicer.  Whether it was more practice or just paying attention to my fingers, I can't be sure, but I am happy with the outcome.

I really enjoyed the hand-worked method (with a faux bound buttonhole on the inside).  I was disappointed that I didn't give myself room for buttonholes down the front of the jacket, so this was my way of redeeming myself.  I used purple silk buttonhole twist and a fairly thick cord for gimp. When I initially constructed the sleeves (in late 2011), I hand-stitched a 2" wide strip of organza into the end of the sleeve.  It came in very handy as a stabilizer for the bottom buttonhole, and I wish I would have extended the width 2 or 3 more inches to reach the second buttonhole. 

All that's left is the trim and the chain!  I just can't believe it's almost finished.  I had hoped to finish it over the long weekend, but life (and mending) got in the way, so it will be an evening project this week.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Paralyzed by Indecision

My Bernina remains in the shop for maintenance -- I was told it would be at least two weeks -- so I kept myself busy practicing hand worked buttonholes for a few days.  Actually a lot of fun!  I realized after doing a few that my embroidery skills of my youth were still intact, and I needed to move on to completing the jacket.

After trying it on several times I decided that I really didn't like the feel of the shoulder pads.  So I considered taking them out.  Then I talked myself out of it, thinking that I must have had a good reason to put them in.  This conversation with myself continued back and forth every time I tried to do something on the jacket -- for several days -- until I told myself that I needed to leave them in. 

Jacket with shoulder pads over the purple(ish) blouse

I managed to do little bits of this and that with the jacket, but nothing substantial.  The pockets were already assembled, so I attached them with hand-stitches.  Even though they span the princess seams, the plaid matches fairly well.  It's actually difficult for me to differentiate the pocket from the jacket:

Pockets added to jacket
 The pockets are lined on the inside and interlined with organza to give the boucle some stiffness.

Inside of Pocket
Yesterday I wore another jacket that I made -- also with shoulder pads -- but it was soooo comfortable.  I spent the day thinking that they must be really small shoulder pads, and decided that I should open the lining on the Chanel and swap those pads for small ones.  Last night I finally opened one shoulder and was surprised to see that they were also very shallow (not tall) shoulder pads.  I pulled one out and tried the jacket on and lo and behold, I liked it better without the shoulder pads!  I double-checked with my husband, who agreed, so they both came out.  I did leave the sleeve heads intact -- they do a nice job shaping the cap and aren't in my way. I feel so much more confident about finishing the jacket now that the paralyzing indecision over the shoulder pads is behind me.  It's amazing how doubt can really hold you back.