Monday, February 25, 2008

Speaking of Wicked...

I found a very good use for some of the green striped fabric! I took my Wicked shirt, which I have had for quite a while, trimmed it down some, cut the neckline more, and did a nice, clean binding.


I'm rather pleased with the clean finish on the neck, even though the shoulder shape turned out a little bit wonky. I think I'm getting better...

Saving the best for last: I made this pretty little dress out of polka dotted jersey knit. I didn't use a pattern. Instead, I just made a fitted top and a pleated rectangle skirt, attatched the two, made a casing on top for the ribbon straps, added a ruffle on the bottom, and serged and unfinished edges. (I love that machine!!) Voila!

(Note that I avoid looking at the camera: I was tired and yucky after several hours straight sewing.) I'm very pleased with how it turned out! I had originally planned on making it more flapper-styled, but I got the shape wrong on the top. Anyway, as my mom pointed out, jersey-knit wouldn't make the best flapper dress anyway. I don't really have any place to wear it to, so this baby's getting sold. I hope so, anyway!
That's all for now, but I'm going to get my act together and make something right now. :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Dye, stripes, and the Pogues

It's been a busy few days! I've been experimenting with my serger, figuring out what it does and, occasionally, having to bend to its whim. My sewing machine hasn't been suffering from lack of use, though. I did break two needles on it in the last week, and I just couldn't figure out why until today. Turns out that the needle kept hitting on the plate of metal (can't recall the name of it, but it's the piece that the feeddogs come up through.). So I unscrewed it, filed the edge down, cleaned a frightening amount of lint out of the parts, and screwed it back in. As far as I can tell, that fixed it.

On Tuesday I dyed an old set of sheets that had been stained and worn thin. I had just poured the dye mix into the water with the sheets when I thought, "I should've taken before pictures!" But they were a very light blue color with pretty little flowers dotting them. Now they are a dark purple-y blue. (I used dark blue Rit dye.) My plan is to make a dress out of them using one of these tutorials.

It was so fun to watch they sheets get darker and darker, and then as I rinsed and dried them, lighter and lighter. I didn't use the washing machine for it, but instead did it in a bucket in the sink. Washing machine would have been faster and easier, but who knows what it would do to the machine itself?

I've been playing around with the yards of jersey knit I got when I was in the city. I got some super-on-sale green and black striped fabric that reminds me of Wicked (and therefore, I had to buy it), but it wasn't until I got home that I realized that it was see-through. It's been a challenge making things such as this top.

I don't really want to line the whole thing in another layer, but that's probably what I'll end up doing. I'm going to make it into a funky halter still, but for the meantime I set it aside.
Screen printing is one of my new endeavors. Ingredients: Embroidery hoop, synthetic screen or pantyhose, mod podge, paint brush, a design, fabric paint or screen printing ink, cardboard, and music to help pass the time.

Stretch the screen/pantyhose over the hoop and tighten, making sure it is as taught as possible. Start playing music. Print out image, place hoop on top, and trace design onto screen. Using your mod podge and paintbrush, fill in all the negative spaces of the image on the screen. Wait for it to dry completely. Once dry, take your shirt, ink, and cardboard. Slip a piece of cardboard inside the shirt to keep the ink from leaking through, and keep a small piece aside. Place your hoop (screen) on the shirt where you want the image to be, and pour a little bit of ink onto the screen. Using the bit of cardboard that you set aside, spread the ink evenly on the screen, pressing it through. Once you've covered the image, carefully peel the screen off. Don't forget to rinse the screen in cold water, and be sure to heatset the image by ironing through a piece of paper for a few minutes on each side. (I credit with this method, although I've since seen it in other places. Go and check out Rob & Corrine's video for more detailed instructions.)
I tried this with a Pogues logo. Note to self: Do not use highly detailed images. I screwed up a little bit, but next time will be better. The nice part about screen printing versus a stencil is that you can print an image over and over, whereas with a paper stencil, you can get maybe two prints out of it.

It had been just a plain XL men's tie-dye tee, but since the image was off-centered (thanks to my brilliance), I cut it up and made a long, long skirted top thingy. If I was a lot shorter it maybe could modestly pass as a dress, but as I'm not I'll just wear it over jeans.

I basically just resized it, added straps, and added a pleated bottom out of some scrap material. For some reason, with the mardi gras beads, it reminds me of a flapper dress. Anyway, it was fast-- it took maybe 80 minutes to make.
I've been going tutorial crazy. I wish I had a reason to make a bunch of things for myself! Again, I give you this link. It has amazing tutorials for pretty much everything.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Spring Dress Part 2

It's been a busy few days! We went into the city on Thursday and I took the plunge and purchased a serger. It's a Huskylock 901, a good and sturdy machine. It really amazes me in all it can do, and it's so nice to have finished seams. One of the first things I did was finish the seams on several of my costume pieces. Better late than never, right?

I found that elusive cable! It's irritating, but it goes missing nearly every time I need to get my pictures from camera to computer. Anyway, I have plenty of pictures of the finished product.

After setting the bodice as you last saw it aside for nearly a month, I pulled it out, finished the top edge, put a zipper in back, attatched the straps, and cleaned it up a bit. Then, using my waist and hip-to-knee measurements, I cut out a circle skirt from an old sheet. Using it as a rough template, I cut out six pieces of various fabrics that matched the top, all within the measurements of the sheet-skirt. After a few more seams to put the pieces together, I sewed the new skirt and the mock-up together (lining).

Staying in the recycled and scrappy theme of this dress, I ripped the fly zipper out of an old pair of shorts and set it into the side of the skirt. When I can, I like to put zippers in by hand because I can control the fabric so much better. So I stitched some pretty X's along side to make it look funky. As it often happens, my hand stitching turned out messy and un-even. Still, it looks pretty cool.

<- Finished product.

...I should definitely have less distractions in the picture next time. See the little cropped sweater? That was a fun and quick thing I did using a tight zig-zag stitch and scissors. It used to be a v-necked sweater made of acrylic and something stretchy. I made it into something much better.

Once I got my serger I hemmed the skirt in black contrasting thread. Now, the only thing left to do is sew hooks and eyes to the inside of the bodice and the outside of the skirt so they stay together when I need them to!

Lastly, here's a picture of my new baby.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Spring Dress Part 1

I bring you, ladies and gentlemen, an account of my most recent project. Unfortunately, I can't show you the final pictures yet because I lost my camera cable. But until I find it, here's a briefing on the making-of.

I started out with a short, hideous, very wide women's shirt with a leaf pattern on it. Working with Doris, my dressform, I pinched and pinned darts, resizing it to a cute halter top with a sweetheart neckline.

From all my projects I have accumulated a very large stash of scraps and remnants that I say I'll use, but probably never will. Finally, I had a purpose for them! I took strips of many colors and pinned them to the halter. I used a zigzag stitch on the edges, not bothering to finish anything. My goals in making this were simply to have fun, experiment, and NOT use a pattern under any circumstances.

Here you can see the top after being covered in strips, and completely stitched. After this, I cut off the straps and made new ones of the striped pink and white fabric you see in the middle of the bodice. I zigzag-ed the edges of six strips and braided them into two separate straps, creating a funky, rough-edged detail.

This was my experimentation with skirt ideas. I ended up doing something much, much different, but it was fun for me to try different ways to drape the material, and how the different fabrics (satin, cotton) worked together and hung together.

As soon as I get my hands on that cable, I'll post my newest pictures and detail how I've finished it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Well, hello!

Hey! I'm Addie.

So, basically, I enjoy reading quality fiction, making clothing, and wearing high heels.

Umbrellas, polkadots, political discussions, typewriters, summer, ginger ale, jane eyre, the first snow, books that take over your life, movies that you think about for days afterward, owls, sundresses, good looking boys, vintage/retro/historical fashion, good hymns, my adorable customers & anyone else who wears what I make, pin-up girls, commercial-less radio hour, john krasinski, love, classic rock, Jacob, nanowrimo, riding horses, boots with buckles or laces and really high heels, shirts with sewing machines on them, fairy tales, used-bookstores, red peeptoes, worn journals, unicorns, love notes, really fabulous coats, and striped stockings all delight me beyond words.

I grew up at the most wonderful place on earth. Northern Minnesota is beyond beautiful, and to be able to spend my summers swimming in our clear, deep lake, adventuring to waterfalls, camping on islands, kayaking on a peaceful calm morning, playing cards on rainy days, and having nightly campfires with good conversation, and my winters cross-country skiing, saunaing, skating, and sledding was the ideal way to have it. I feel like the luckiest girl to have the childhood I did.

I was homeschooled after the 5th grade for the simple reason of being too far away from town. For six years I rode the school bus for nearly 3 hours a day, sometimes leaving as the sun rose and coming home as it was setting. That's tough on a kid, and after 5th grade, I called it quits, followed my older brothers' examples, and stayed home. This was one of the best decisions I've ever made for a variety of reasons, but namely: my time was my own. I had the freedom to explore my interests, and build a curriculum around what I loved. My parents are busy people, so for the most part I was teaching myself.

It was only after I came home that I started to sew. Originally, when I was about 12, I made costumes with the help of my mom. But when I got into high school, I began reconstructing t-shirts, remaking clothes, and using modern patterns. I discovered communities like t_shirt_surgery, Craftster, and most importantly, Threadbanger. I used tutorials to teach myself new techniques, spending all my free time poring over these sites. I looked at other people's work, and practiced making replicas. I experimented, and tried new things. I got to count pattern drafting for geometry and sewing for home-ec. For a period of time, I was on a huge learning curve, and it was all sewing, all the time, pretty much. Somewhere in the midst of that, I started this blog as a way to document my projects, and the rest is pretty much history.

I'm currently a freshmen in Apparel Design & Development in Wisconsin. I love my major and the people I've met as a result, and I've learned SO much already, after only one semester. I couldn't be happier with where I'm at right now, and I can't wait to continue learning everything I possibly can about designing clothing.

Right now, this is my place to chronicle the clothes I've made, the things I've worn, and the people I adore. (That includes YOU!) I love hearing from people & I try very hard to reply to every comment & visit everyone's blog, so leave me a note or contact me!

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