Monday, July 30, 2007

Optical Greeen

Sometimes I take pictures of things after I've worn them. Like I'm either so anxious to wear the thing that I can't spare the 90 seconds to photograph it... or, more likely, I don't trust that it's not going to self-destruct the first time it leaves the house, so I don't want any evidence before it's proven it's mettle. Thence, the wrinkles in the front. This shirt served proudly at a friend's concert Saturday night. And it didn't explode once.

If you view the picture at its full size, you'll see that those are not exactly optical illusions in the print. It's actually a really great stripey, pointy, overlappy three-color (or so) design. I knew it was going to be a shirt, because I like shirts that make people go crosseyed.

This particular sewing pattern -- Butterick 4985 -- has an interesting construction, with the lower bodice being separate. I also like the puffy sleeves. Muttony! My big challenges were doing even gathers (and there are loads of them -- top sleeve, bottom sleeve, under bust...) and installing those button holes. Those are both things I'm not very experienced with. Turns out, not so threatening. I built the matching fabric-covered buttons, too, which I really like.

I admit I'm kind of a spaz for zippers, so I'm definitely thinking about how I'd do another version in a heavier fabric with a zipper in the front. Hmmmmm.

But first, I have to iron this one.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Detroit Urban Craft Fair

Everyone who is in the Detroit area should put this on their calendars for Saturday the 4th. (And if you're going to go, let me know and we can say hello. I'll be the one on the big fat scooter.)

This is their second year, and I'm sure it's going to be a good time. They've been building up to it for months.

And yes, this is a paid announcement. They promised to give me some stuff for posting -- and I'm all for free Detroit crafty gear!

Details at

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What time is it? Godzilla time!

I'm not hungover today, but I am BORED AS HELL. So I made a Godzilla clock. This was almost impossible to photograph, so click on it to see it more in full.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

WTF and Cheez-It Bag

Two blog posts today because, frankly, I'm hungover and not in a hurry to do anything that involves me leaving the island of paradise that is my sofa. (Mmm, I can smell people cooking out nearby...)

This project was for a friend at work who is a copy editor. I wanted to make a pendant that looked like an old typewriter key, but for a character which would be more appropriately impossible. "WTF" it is! The pendant itself is made from a metal clothing button, with two-part resin over paper. (The resin I used was really not made for this sort of project, so it was a big PITA getting it to set properly. At least I hope it's set properly... I made her promise to tell me if anything about it fell apart. [Which is my standard caveat when I give people stuff I made, by the way.])

I am either really bad at wrapping presents or I'm really lazy at wrapping presents, so I always prefer to make a little presentation bag of some sort. Add to this the fact that I love packaging and I really love Cheez-Its, and we have the vinyl-covered half-zip Cheez-It gift bag. (To answer the question that's been burning in the bosom of humanity for millennia, yes, one can put an empty Cheez-It bag through a dishwashing cycle.) Woo! Woo? I guess -- she seemed to like it.

Red Shirt Recon

I love men's "camp" shirts -- camp as in canoing and toasted marshmallows, I guess, rather than camp as in John Waters -- and have a closet full of them. I love how colorful they are, and they always seem to be made of these great flowy rayons. However, when I wear them I tend to look as though I am a giant rectangle. Not my preferred shape.

One of my vague goals in learning how to sew is to be able to refit some of these awesome shirts (which I usually get resale for $2-$6). Last weekend, I finally just took matters into hand and hacked at one.

I picked this shirt because I love the colors and because of that great soft fabric. If you look closely, that print is not abstract... there are little skulls in there! But, typically, it was shapeless on me -- fit me okay in the chest, but the "short" sleeves came over my elbows and the hem made most of the trip down to my knees. I wasn't crazy about that tiki border down at the bottom either.

After some experimenting, the entirety of the modifications came down to this: Curve and take in side seams, remove sleeves and recut (using a flutter sleeve from a commercial pattern as reference), add side bust darts, shorten and reshape lower hem, remove collar but leave collar band.

A relative success, but not entirely. I wound up taking a little more in at the side when I reattached the sleeves (for them to fit) which made it just a teench to small for me to fully button across my chest. Ah well, I usually wear undershirts with button-downs anyway. It was definitely good enough that I wore it for a nice long motorcycle ride with a friend that same weekend, and I'm sure I'll be using the same tactics on some other obnoxious shirt before too long.
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