Wednesday, 25 September 2013

We're of to see the wizard...

Gimme an M, gimme an I, gimme an L, gimme an E, gimme an S, gimme a T, gimme an O, gimme an N, gimme an E... What does it spell? MILESTONE! Yaaaay!

Today marks the first time in my entire life that I've completed a garment from a pattern!! EEEEK!! Now technically this dress doesn't even slightly resemble the pattern I used, but why split hairs right? The original dress was a basic be-sleeved (Sleeved?) princess seamed dress, with a slightly flippy skirt. Waist definition? No. Full skirt? No. Princess seams? YES! So I hacked off the dress at my waist, cut off the sleeves and neckline and free-styled the back, straps and sweetheart.

The whole pattern decimation thing ended up with a couple of minor (major) fitting issues up top... especially considering that the pattern (which i stole from the top of my grandma's pattern stash) is a simplicity Miss Petite... and I am not petite) but I fixed that by adding in more fabric then pinning out the excess. (like a pro! :P )

Now onto the best design feature EVER!  The hook and eye corset front. As soon as I saw this textured gingham I knew I wanted to recreate this dress I saw on Katie from Skunkboy Creatures, which meant hook and eyes. I've never (successfully) used them before so I mainly improvised, handsewing them onto the front of the dress and then sandwiching them inbetween two layers of fabric... Those suckers aren't coming out, plus there's a back panel behind it meaning they don't actually open (so i'm not coming out either!)

In seam pockets y'all! I was surprised at how easy these were, although when I do them again I'll make them a smidge bigger. The fabric is from my stash because one type of gingham is not enough!

And can we just take a moment to appreciate the AWESOME pattern matching at the back? AND a lapped zipper (my first ever!) just so you know.

Overall, I'm over the moon about this dress! It's been a while since I made an actual dress and I've been making lots of simple basics (some bloggable some not) so was nice to know that this didn't actually take too long and wasn't majorly difficult! Plus  know have 3 sewing goals out the way: Patterns, Princess seams, darts and inseam pockets!

Just for the record here's the pattern I used and my inspiration dress.
Asos summer dress in gingham check
Simplicity Miss Petite 8887

Ps. I know also know what i'm wearing for Halloween!! :P

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Tuesday Tunes-day:

There is absolutely nothing that links these songs except the fact that they've been buzzing around my head for the last few days...

Mal Blum- Brooklyn
Mal's website has a music player that starts playing her songs whether you want it to or not as soon as you enter it and the first time I went on her website the song that started playing so completely described my feeling that I feel in love with her completely. Her albums are like the diary I never wrote... but better, because let's face it diaries suck! My friend once described her sound as "cool but a bit too hipster" and I get that her less "cookie cutter" sound might not appeal to everyone but the differance between Mal and every other indie artist out their is that she is completely genuine. This is from her latest album Tempest in aTeacup and it's one of the rockier songs...

Sara Bareilles- Hercules
I've loved Sara ever since I woke up one morning and had to search Google for "that girl with the weird name who's song that I saw on MTV a few years ago is now stuck in my head". I've always thought Sara's lyrics were a lot more poetic than most singers, plus she can hold a note like you wouldn't believe so... This song is from her latest album The Blessed Unrest, it's quite different from her other albums as with each album she evolves and grows.

The Moldy Peaches- Downloading porn with Davo
If you've ever watched Juno then you probably know the Moldy Peaches, even if you don't think you do. I don't normally like this song that much but it's currently locked in mind. Plus it's hilarious.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Bow ties are cool

Let me tell you about my faaavourite thing to do ever: T-shirt making!! I started making t-shirts almost exactly a year ago and because I loved the design process so much I fell back into sewing. Yay! Over the year I've experimented with bleach painting, stamps, stencils and continuous patterns (Plus I REALLY want to get into screen printing!!) but I always come back to freezer paper. It quick, it's easy, it doesn't take any specialist equipment (just fabric paint, a Stanley knife and the actual freezer paper) PLUS I can do it on my bed! SCORE! I'm a real graphic t-shirt nerd too so it works out really well as all I have is write evenly, no drawing skills required! (The only real problem is that they're a one time deal, so you can't do multiples)

That brings me to today's project:  A birthday present for my friend... (Luckily by now all my friends accept that they'll get handmade t-shirts as presents for all eternity) I know that my friend loves the geeky t-shirts they sell at Topshop... (What can I say, she does triple science...)

And here
She also LOVES Dr Who... we actually did a 24hour Matt Smith Dr Who marathon which works out as every episode with Rory and Amy!! (Possibly the best and most insane 24 hours of my life and I didn't fall asleep unlike some people...) So this is what I came up with...

To keep it scientifically correct I had to skip L and E, but the rest are all real elements (Boron, Tungsten, Titanium, Einsteinium (Hehehe), Argon, Carbon and Oxygen)

I leave you with this... All together now "There's Antimony, Arsenic, Aluminium, Selenium..."

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The Dress: The Final Product

AKA Part II (Jeez!! This is a saga you might just want to look at the pictures and be done with it!)

Okay, so when we left off I had decided to make the dress, found my fabrics and had a vague idea of what the hell I was supposed to be doing... This sense of calmness lasted about five minutes...maybe four. The problem was that because of my final exams, an impromptu trip to London and my involvement in planning the actual Prom, I didn't properly start the dress until two evenings before. The bodice lining was complete and the bodice pieces were cut but that was the extent. Hopefully you can see where this is going...

Yup you guessed it waiting until the last minute meant that everything that could go wrong did! The first issue that I had was that when cutting out the bodice pieces I had corrected all the issues that I had found with the lining, this would be fine but I hadn't changed the lining itself. So I attacked the two fabrics, eventually managing to sew them together. I then flipped the bodice over, ironed and under-stitched(ish) it only to find that the two pieces were two COMPLETELY different shapes which was distorting the sweetheart and meant that the centre back was not in the centre of the back!. I unpicked it, leaving a tiny row of dots in my silk (Sob) and altered the lining so it was the same as the outer fabric then re-stitched them.
The victory photo I sent my bestfriend the moment I finished it!!

From there on out it was pretty smooth sailing. I constructed the skirt like a classic dirndl skirt, with a waistband the same width as my bodice's waist and a full gathered skirt. I then stitched the skirt to the bodice, right side to right side. The only issue was that by that point it was around 12pm and everyone in my house was asleep...Lets just say there is no quiet way to use a sewing machine!! (However I did only use it when very necessary and I whispered "Sorry" every time I started)

I had reached the final hurdle! Once the invsible zipper was inserted I would be done, with a day to spare! Buuuttt, my sewing machine, who had been working very hard for the last few hours, decided that sewing in zips wasn't really it's style. I still don't know exactly why it refused to sew in the zip, and if I hadn't been adament that I was going to finish the dress that night NO MATTER WHAT I probably would've left it until the morning and figured out the problem. But no, I am me therefore I decided to hand sew in the zip, at 1am, IN THE DARK because I share a room with my sister!! (Alright I had a torch but it wasn't exactly a professional set up) The zip finally went in, albeit VERY wonky and I fell asleep with the dress on top of me.
With a sash I mad from sewing the seams of a rectangle of satin and turning in out

Everything was fine until the next morning when I got  to FINALLY try on my dress and realised something that I had been ignoring up until that point: I LOVE sweetheart necklines, but I HATE them on me! At this point I was ready to throw in the towel and burn the freaking thing but I decided to save it. I cut a piece of the lace and stretch satin into a rectangle (the width of my bust+seams x 12cm) I then folded it over and pressed the fold and seams, then I attached the rectangle, like a skirt waistband, right over the top of the sweetheart neckline. This meant there was a straight band on top of the sweetheart covering it completely, finally I added a hook and eye.

This dress was definitely not well thought out, or especially well executed, but it is one of the biggest projects I've ever attempted and I think it turned out looking gorgeous! (plus the last minute change to the neckline balanced the dress out nicely!) It definitely made prom feel more special (Whoop whoop, only girl in a handmade dress!! :P ) and I literally spent the entire night going "I can't believe I'm at Prom wearing a dress I made!!".  To be honest I still can't believe that I made it entirely on my own with no patterns or help of any kind!! EEEKK!! Before the pictures, however, let me show you my favourite part of the dress...

1m Plastic Boning: £1
Ditsy Blue Silk Crepe: £2.67 (Remnant)
Black Cotton Lining: £0 (Stash!)
Teal Polyester Stretch Satin: £10.50 (Thank you mum!!) (With looooaaadddsss left over)
Black Lace: £6.65
18" zip: £2.69
Hook and eye: £0 (Stash!)
TOTAL: £23.51 Stick that up your pipe and smoke it!!

Facebook photos stolen from my friends... And yes, yes my glasses lens did fall out at prom...

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Tuesday Tunes-day: Classics

Howdy friends (top ten things no one should ever say... EVER)
Today is my official last day of freedom before term starts (although we don't start actual classes until next week) so I'm getting that jittery, excited , nevous feeling; I think it's mainly left-over exam results anticipation because this term has been a looooong time coming! To be honest though, I think i'm ready to get back into a normal routine and actually USE my brain (sssh don't tell anyone!!). I always think that the year really starts in September, not January, so instead of fireworks here are some classics to herald on the new year.
Green Day- Longview
I'd forgotten how much I loved Green Day until I caught the end of their set at Reading Festival on the TV. Now we're back in full on obsession mode and I've listened to Dookie and 21st Century Breakdown 3 times this week...I'm not proud...or tired (Arlo Guthrie anyone?...No? Oh.)

Red Hot Chili Peppers- Dani California
Red Hot Chili Peppers...'nuff said.

Tortilla Army- Can you hear me
I probably wouldn't have heard of Tortilla Army if my mum hadn't known them, but they are a TRULY AWESOME band. As such an obsessive person I'm not ashamed to say that I know every song on their first album.