Category: Sewing


The dress.

So you have to understand that I’ve made curtains. I’ve sewn pillows. I helped assemble quilt tops. I have altered clothing to various ends. I have never made a garment from scratch, and this garment has no pattern so I have to make that, also. Two firsts!

My nieces and Pynni in their Grammie Dresses.

My nieces and Pynni in their Grammie Dresses.

IMG_0822My mother is pro at making clothes so I have a great resource right there. My conundrum was that I really have no idea how to even start making a dress and I needed this particular project to be as easy as possible since I have several other parts I need to complete to make the whole costume.

So I asked questions that I thought would get me started and watched videos after I got some answers. Being a visual learner, videos clarify things spoken and written words confuse. I gathered some of Pynni’s tops and dresses that had a similar style to the Weeping Angel dress, and I found a bunch of blogs were cosplayers had documented their costume making. You can find the one I liked best here. Also, Pinterest was my friend.

I measured and measured and made notes and drew outlines on paper until I felt like I had the top part of the dress figured out. Some of the people who made the cosplay costumes made their dress in two pieces with a blouse type top and a skirt. I was wanting to make one piece. Also, cosplay costumes have to be worn for a whole day at once and maybe to multiple cons, and I only needed this costume to suffice for a night of trick-or-treating, and potentially, a Halloween party.

There were things I was going to take into account that maybe a cosplayer would not. Pynni is little and the dress can’t be too heavy. The dress can’t drag on the ground or be stiff because Pynni will get tired of wearing it if it’s too cumbersome (I do have experience with this. Picture me walking around holding Minecraft heads and pickaxes while my sons trick-or-treat in their street clothes. It happens every year. I’m bringing the wagon this year.) I was not going to try to make this costume a perfect replica. I’m trying to make my own version of a Weeping Angel because disappoint lies down the perfection path (this being my first garment and all).

I ended up having to make the top twice. When drawing the pattern out, I intended to cut the straps longer than the pattern in order to pin it to the correct length. I completely failed to do that once I started cutting and ended up sewing a top together that was too short in the armpits, which makes it too small everywhere else. So I had to do that twice.

Fabric all gathered.

Fabric all gathered.

Instead of making a blouse-y top and a skirt, I opted to gather material one time and attach it to the top I’d made, which is basically the yoke of the dress. The gathered material is 4 yards long and I don’t know if you’ve ever gathered material by hand, but it can be tricky. You sew along the edge with the longest stitch your machine can do, twice to make two parallel rows. Then, pulling either the bobbin threads or the top threads, but not both, you gently push the material toward one end of the length. You have to be super careful because the thread wants to break, and if it breaks you have to pull all the stitches and resew and start the gathering process all over. I had to restart once. In the end I was very proud of my gathers. I got my visual tutorial from this blog, The Crafty Cupboard.

Here you can see where the top and the skirt meet.

Here you can see where the top and the skirt meet.

Pynni practicing her Weeping Angel.

Pynni practicing her Weeping Angel.

I created the simple placket where the velcro was going to attach to the skirt and did the same on the top before pinning it all together and sewing everything into place.  I got it all tried on Pynni. Instead of sewing a hula hoop into the bottom hem of the skirt like the cosplayers did, I’m going to have Pynni wear a hoop petticoat.  So once I get her in the petticoat and the skirt, I’ll pin up the bottom for hemming. I’ll post a picture of that next time.

 

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Weeping Angel as seen in the Doctor Who episode "The Time of Angels".

Weeping Angel as seen in the Doctor Who episode “The Time of Angels”.

This past holiday season, Pynni got all caught up on her Doctor Who episodes. She was enthralled by the episode The Angels Take Manhattan. As a Doctor Who fan, myself, I find that episode incredibly sad. I won’t post any spoilers here except to say that the bad guys are the Weeping Angels. Hoo-boy. Pynni loves her some Weeping Angels.

So she decides she wants to be a Weeping Angel for next Halloween, read: 2013. I say, “Sure!” Because I like making things, I’m pretty crafty, and I’D APPARENTLY LOST MY EVER-LOVING MIND.

Then, as the year progressed, Pieces says he wants to be The Doctor, but not 11. No, not the most easily identifiable one, what with the bow-tie (Bow-ties are cool!) and the occasional Fez (Fez’s are cool!). Nope, he wants to be 10. Which, let’s face it, 10 may be the best character ever to have graced the small screen, but his Doctor outfit isn’t especially… out-standing. But, whatever, man! I can do that!

Right around that time, Chi says he wants to be a Dalek.

“A Cyberman, you say?” I ask.

“No, a Dalek,” says he.

“Not the 11th Doctor with the bow-tie, which is cool?” says I.

“Ex-ter-min-ate!” he says, in the best robotic imitation.

Work space chaos.

Work space chaos.

Alright! Sure! No problem! I’m making a Weeping Angel and somehow cobbling together a 10th Doctor, in between I can definitely whip up a Dalek!

Right.

So the plan was to start making and make through the spare time I had during the summer. I look back, now and laugh. Spare time?!? HA!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

The fabric I have the most of.

The fabric I have the most of.

About a week ago I started researching the costumes, gathering pictures and ideas and organizing my thoughts on the projects, in general. I realized that the Dalek was going to be a very involved costume if I was going to get Chi to wear it and that coupled with handmaking a Weeping Angel that will please Pynni was stressing me out.

So I got together a lot of pictures of different costume ideas for Chi to peruse, in the hopes that something would strike his fancy. I lucked out and he picked something both inexpensive, and already manufactured. So there’s that.

So now I have a pile of grey fabrics that don’t match because I couldn’t find enough of any one kind of cheap fabric. I’ve researched, measured, and drawn out the yoke that makes up the top of the WA’s dress using one of Pynni’s dresses for a guide. I have a general idea of what I need to do to make the draping of the dress happen.

These WILL be angel wings when I'm done. I think.

These WILL be angel wings when I’m done. I think.

I’ve scavenged a set of luna moth-like wings from Pynni to reform and redress to be statue-like angel wings and I’m digging through the recycling for all those discarded toilet paper rolls to use as the upper spine on the wings. I’m thinking about reshaping the wires of the wings and covering them with papier mache so they won’t be too heavy, but I may just drape them in left over fabric soaked in a stiffener and pin them and allow them to dry. I’m not sure yet.

Also, a wig. Weeping Angels have statue hair. So my plan is to crochet a beanie and then glue yarn to the beanie in the shape of Weeping Angel statue hair.

I just have to keep telling myself that it doesn’t need to be over-the-top as it will probably be worn once, maybe twice, if we go to a Homeschool Halloween party like we did last year.

Speaking of. I better go work on it some.

IMG_0777I went on a road trip to see my parents. I took my kids, my homeschool, my yarn, some E2 Happy snacks, and a bunch of good intentions. Well, the trip was great and the kids were very well behaved. I got to see my grandmother who has been in the hospital for some time. I crocheted her a hat that looked fab on her and spent a bunch of time running errands for her. It was good to see her spunk and spark, again.

We had school during the week days and the kids were great considering that it was a modified version of our workboxes. I expected a bit of an issue with Chi, but that didn’t happen. He was very amenable to the change. That is amazing. Chi. Flexible. Chi. Chill in the face of change. CRAZY and so amazing! I’ve said it here before, but homeschooling him has been the best decision I ever made.

I spent some time before my trip looking for quilt designs for a quilt my mom is making. We usually do it like this: I pick a design, find the pattern, choose the fabrics and help cut out the pieces. Mom puts all the squares together and assembles the quilt and does the quilting. She does all the sewing. Due to all the things I was in town to accomplish, that gave me several days to actually do some of the sewing.

Triangles together with thread

Triangles together with thread

It was a sort of newsflash for me. I LOVED it! And this time, I made the quilt design based on a photo I found of a quilt I liked. I took the whole project to a whole different place when picking out the fabrics. So much so, that Mom wasn’t sold on the idea until we started piecing it all together. It’s going to be really fabulous and I’ve discovered that I don’t hate sewing at all, let alone how much I thought I hated it.

Toward the end of the week, I went to watch some basketball in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the NCAA tournament. College ball is always great and live College Round Ball is always super fun. It’s been a thing I’ve shared with my dad since junior high. There were a couple of downsides. The main one being that Rupp Arena is old and crappy and uncomfortable, but also Dad got sick and missed a couple of games. The b-ball was fun, in the end. I’m glad I went.

Rupp Arena runs Cardinal Red.

Rupp Arena runs Cardinal Red.

So that leaves us with the good intentions. So I did okay in the first few days of the trip. I wasn’t eating entirely vegan and not even close to E2 Happy, but I was making good choices. Choosing the vegetarian option, which almost always includes cheese, and the veg where possible. Admittedly, I didn’t make any special efforts, like ordering things not on the menu and giving special dietary cooking instructions to the waitstaff.

My downfall is, and has ever been, soda. I don’t like artificial sweeteners of any stripe. They are just awful tasting to me. So when I have a soda, I go all out. For some reason, when I’m drinking soda, my inhibitions in other places, dietarily speaking, gets completely shot. It’s hard for me to resist sodas when I’m on a road trip. I don’t know why, but it probably has something to do with rationalizing wanting a caffeine boost, but not wanting coffee in the middle of the day. Perfect recipe for the drinking of sodas. And this road trip was 10-ish hours to my parents’ house one day followed by 6-ish hours to my grandmother’s house the following day. Doubled for the return trips. Lots of driving. Lots of time to convince myself I could have a soda.

So I did.

The rest of the trip/visit followed suit and my good intentions paved my way into food choice hell. But, I’m home now, and I’m recommitted. I want this to work. I want to be healthier. I don’t want to have a heart attack before 40. I don’t want to end up a diabetic because I can’t give up the damn sodas. I’m working hard to not beat myself up over the lapse, and just move forward, one food choice at a time.