Saturday, April 26, 2008

Prom Preview!

Once again, apologies for the delay in updating! By now I'm sure you've realized that I'm bad at keeping on schedule, and while I do my best, my posts aren't going to happen twice a week, and sometimes not even once a week. But I do try! ^^

Before I get to the juicy subject of prom dresses, I'd like to show my most recent addition to the Matey Couture "collection".

It just a jumper top, made out of extra black & white polka dotted jersey I had lying around. It was fast and pretty easy, and I just made it up as I went along. The result:

Okay, prom! I ordered fabric online, and when it came I found that it was the most obnoxiously bright red satin I could have gotten. I don't plan on ordering fabric online again if I can help it. Luckily I was going into the city the next day, so I was able to buy more fabric in the correct color. I also picked up the notions, petticoat fabric, and pattern that I needed.

Just so that the world knows it: I despise commercial patterns. In theory, they are a wonderful, beautiful, and glorious help. But put to practice, and you realize that pattern companies are simply out to get you. Okay, huge exaggeration. I wouldn't be able to sew like I can right now if not for patterns. It was only in the last year that I've been learning to sew without patterns. I usually don't mind patterns-- you can get the right curve and shape to make your own pattern from them. But recently I've had sizing issues.

See, I'm usually an 8 in pattern sizes (which are different than manufactured clothing sizes), but when I looked at this pattern envelope, it spotted my measurements at a 12. For those who don't know, patterns usually have different envelopes for different sizes (i.e. 4-6-8-10 in one envelope, 12-14-16-18 in another). So I had to buy a larger pattern envelope, and when I got home and made my mock-up, it was well over two inches too large. I was luckily able to adjust the paper pattern piece and have it all turn out alright, but really! Why would they lie about the sizes?

Excuse the rant. It's late and it was frustrating. In case anyone was wondering, the pattern I used was McCalls 5001. The product is a lovely dress, and I didn't know how to shape the curves just right without a pattern, so I needed to buy it. In any case, it turned out okay, as you can see in the pictures.

It's out of burgundy/black irridescent polyester taffetta-like fabric. I sewed the ribbon on in back because I didn't want to bother with actual loops or eyelets. This has a cleaner finish, anyway.

And here is my sketch of the finished product. I'll be making a huge, poofy petticoat to go under, with layers of lace and a bow atop the gathers.

It's going so fast! I started last night (and ended up sewing until midnight, so I got at least a good four hours in then), continued this afternoon and evening, and will maybe have it done Monday or Tuesday. And I'll be sure to post pictures of myself all gussied up for prom in it in the beginning of May.
A project you might see me posting soon is a cassette tape wallet, as shown in this tutorial. Check it out--it looks awesome and not too hard!

Other news include the small but awesome fact that I can give you a link to my shop (which isn't actually an Etsy shop yet, just a profile, but I'm working on it!):! I'm hoping to have it up and running by the tenth of May.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Arrrr, it's called Matey Couture for a reason!

Just because I've been sewing more everyday wear does not, by any measure, mean that I've lost my passion for costumes, historic and otherwise. I fulfilled a dream of mine this past week in making a pirate hat. I think I finally have my pirate outfit mostly complete, and I can't express to you how much that satisfies me. I've been working on it for a couple years, adding a piece here and making one there.

My friend and I were shopping at Ragstock when, on the Super Sale rack, we came across a bunch of brown fake leather pants for 3$ each. We immediately bought a pair each, and when I got home one of the first things I made was this hat. I used Corrine's Halloween Pirate tutorial from (I'm sorry I don't have the direct link right now. I'll find it when I have more time), and while I had a bit of trouble with the rolling of the sides, it turned out alright. I still hope to make a proper styled one with wool felt and buckram, but until I've gained the millinery super skillz to try that, this one will work.

Out of this outfit I've made the pants, the vest, and the hat. The shirt came from the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, given to me from a friend, the sash is a window thingy, the coin belt from a local market, the boots from target, and the jewelry I found randomly around my room. The flintlock is entirely a prop-- from

I was asked by someone on Threadbanger to make a tutorial for my hoodie, so that's how I spent my afternoon. It took me 2 1/4 hours to make this hoodie, and just as long to make the tutorial. Go figure. I'm extremely pleased with this one, though: it's soft, stretchy, and a very fun print. Also, because it went so fast, I'll be able to keep my prices pretty low for these, which is good news for my customers!

The link to the tutorial is here. It was my first tutorial, and I'd taken about 40 pictures for it. Heh, I ended up only using 25 or so, but it's still quite a lot. I hope it helps people out!

Other Threadbanger news... I'd posted several of my projects in the forum, and I found out today that I'm going to be featured in their newsletter thanks to my skull hoodie!! I'm really honored. It comes out tomorrow, so I can't wait to see what it says!

I'm pretty excited about another thing... I designed a prom dress! For me! I'll post pictures of the sketch when I scan it, and then eventually the real thing. But I decided upon a wine colored satin for the color. It's going to rock. I really, really want to make this jacket to go with it, but I don't know how I'd sew a jacket and a prom dress in just two and a half weeks. Sounds just crazy enough for me to try, but the prom dress has got to come first. ;)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dots, Stripes, and Skulls: Oh My!

I love bright prints, lively colors, crazy patterns, silky weaves, and soft, gentle drapes. In other words: I love fabric shopping.
Among an array of purchases I made last week was a two yard length of white thermal knit fabric printed in black jolly rogers. Paired with some black fleecy fabric, I made a hoodie! It was all pretty free handed: as I wasn't at home with my usual measuring tools, patterns and drafting paper, I had to make do with a loose fitting tee as a guide. It turned out to be around a size M/L which is probably a good thing, as I need to get better at making different sizes. The pixie hood is fully lined in fleece, and the cuffs are double layered fleece. Complete with a kangaroo pocket!

Anyway, pictures:

Today I made a shirt out of red and white polka dotted jersey knit I've had for a few months. A v-necked tee, it has a little lace insert in the neck, and lacing detail on the lower left side. For the lacing I sewed eyelet tape on. This was especially difficult considering I'd lost my zipper foot and couldn't easily sew over the eyelets. But it worked out with a little time, and the result is pretty neat. Heh, looks like it ought to be a Valentine's day shirt. I'm only two months late!

I was just playing around when I drafted this tank top from one my friend has. I tried twice to properly finish the top edge, and then finally gave up and serged the edge. When I got home I screen printed the rose onto it using a screen I had previously made.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Poor Neglected Blog!!

It's been a busy few weeks! Still, that's certainly no excuse for not posting. I'm currently out of town, and I promise that when I get home I will do a huge post detailing all I've been up to, and I'll post pictures of my new project and my huge stack of new fabric.

Anybody who knows me fairly well, or has asked me what I'm planning on taking in college, will know that I'm really into costume design. I've never had experience designing for a play, but it fascinates me. My passion is historic dress, and I love live theatre. So you can imagine how absolutely delighted I was when I got to meet a real, professional costume designer.

She'd been designing for a rather large playhouse for the past six months when she took a moment to sit down with an overexcited teen to explain to ups and downs and going ons of a costume designer's job. It was amazing, and she was so sweet and wonderful that I hardly knew how to thank her. Basically she gave me buckets of wonderful information including tips on colleges, drawing, sewing, researching, places to draw inspiration, working with the director and collaborating, and ways to keep things simpler and more organized. Most of all, she made me feel like I could really do it, and that I wasn't just crazy for wanting to go into such an unordinary field. So that was pretty much the highlight of my month.

Now I'm in the big cities spending Spring Break with a friend. My vacation is almost over, so you can be assured that I'll be posting more regularly after this. But the city was a good thing for me, for this blog, and for Matey Couture in general, as we visited this huge fabric warehouse, and I made awesome purchases. Remnant bins? Now my best friends.

I got some amazing fabric and lace for a grand total of $21. And I'm not just talking a couple yards of fabric. I got probably ten yards, and then several yards of beautiful green lace, purple lace, and blue and white elastic trim. And zippers! There's this fantastic store here that sells all sorts of scrappy things, including recycled zippers for a dime a piece. It's probably a really good thing I don't live this near to prices like these-- I wouldn't be able to save a penny!!

As far as projects go, I don't have many pictures. But here are a couple things I meant to post last week and never did: Fun With Ties!

A new headband! You can also see I got my hair cut here. Anyway, for the headband I just took a piece of metal strapping that comes around lumber, bent it into the right shape, and slipped part of an old tie over it. Easy, and perfect for spring and short hair!

I made a tie cuff, also. It took under five minutes, as I just measured, cut, finished the rough edge, made a button hole, and sewed on the button. It goes with more than you'd think it would, and it is fun an comfortable to wear.

It's not much, and not what I'd normally post on here, but it's all I have pictures of. When I'm home and things are calmer, I'll write up a better post, I swear.