Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Dead Pets" Hoodie

This is definitely one of my favorite projects of recent memory.

The inspiration came from this craftster post. Craftster is fantastic, by the way. You'll get overloaded with ideas, techniques and inspirations and love it.

The finished hoodie started life as one Dead Pets concert t-shirt (friend's garage sale, $5), one acid green t-shirt (Value Village, $.80), one black t-shirt (drawer, $0), one green stripy sweater (Value Village, $3.50), one yard of woven trim (Joann, about $1.50) and one 24-inch zipper (Joann, $2.50).

When I saw the green sweater, I knew it would make great sleeves, but it had short-sleeves. Until you cut your own, it's easy to underestimate how much fabric sleeves take -- pretty much the entire width of a front panel! Fortunately, the length of the sweater was enough that I could make one sleeve from the front and one from the back, using the bottom hem at my wrists.

While I was planning this project, I found this great woven black and green trim at Joann, and decided I had to find a way to work it in. It wound up trimming the front hood edge.

I finished the hoodie one week ago, and I think I've worn it three times already. It's a great way to make t-shirts more wearable -- I have bunches that I like, but I never just wear a t-shirt alone.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fun with Electricity

This is a long story which I believe is much more interesting to the person having experienced it (me) than to anyone hearing it. And besides, if a picture is worth a thousand words, a little snippet of video is worth millions.

So let's keep it to a timeline:

0230 15 January
Freezing rain has been coming down for a few hours. Inside my house, awake, watching a movie and doing some needlepoint, I hear a BZZT and see a faint orange flash through the window in my front door. After unplugging everything in the house, I go outside to investigate. That's when I see the two downed wires on my driveway, flashing, crackling and carrying on. I call 911.

0245 15 January
With the presence of mind to grab my digital camera and put it into video mode, I am standing in the turnoff section of my driveway, waiting for the fire department and documenting the zap-and-smoke show. That's when this happened:

Yes that's me and my rarely-heard yelp there. My two favorite comments about this video are "You sound really cute when shitting yourself!" and "I've never heard you sound so innocent." Aww.

0248 15 January
The fire department arrives, stops at the end of my driveway with floodlights trained on the pole and my driveway, and sits there. For about 6 hours. I come in and out of my house during this time, in the freezing rain, hoping someone will come and tell me something. No one does. I return to my house, change into dry clothes and attempt to nod off in the 50-degree living room. It doesn't work. Until around...

0830 15 January
After I finally doze off for a minute, I'm awaked by what sounds like a harsh alarm clock buzz. My first thought is that my power is back on and my alarm clock is going off. Then I remember I don't have an alarm clock, and I'm on my feet at a run. Something new is going on. I step outside with my camera once again, to this:

Those of you who have been to my house should recognize this as the view from my front door, a post I was reluctant to leave. Realizing the fire truck was no longer at the end of my driveway, I make my third call to 911. "Where did my truck go?" I ask the dispatcher. "I show them at your location," she tells me. "I'm looking right now... they're not here." "Oh, well, hang on, let me call them. ...pause... Apparently they had to go for gas. They've been there for six hours." "I'm well aware of that. I've been here, too." Which is how I also knew that the tree now lying across my driveway had not been there the night before. It didn't break -- it simply toppled out of the ground at the roots.


I still have no idea what it was going on at that pole, but it took until noon on Monday for the power company to show up and do something about it. In the meantime, the lights in my house which were on soft dimmer switches were flashing like in a haunted house. Oh, and a fireman finally greeted me at my door, telling me that I should stay inside with the door closed. At 4pm that day, I was finally told it was safe to leave... Although that was easier said than done, with 4 trucks in my driveway. Taking matters into my own hands, I cleared some downed branches and drove across the far side of my yard to get to light and warmth.

Miraculously enough, when I got home Tuesday night, my power was back on, and the electrical, telephone, cable and fiber optic communications lines (whatever those are used for) had all been restrung. Of course, there's an entire tree's worth of hastily-chopped, frozen wood in my front yard... But at least I can finish my needlepoint.

Saint Mary of the Ice Storm

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lines Down 2.30 am

Lines Down 2.30 am
Originally uploaded by shefightslikeagirl.
This is the view at the end of my driveway on the night of January 14th. Much more I want to say about this, but for now, just try to imagine walking out of your house and seeing that. For six hours.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Faux Leather Kimono

Last week I decided I wanted to try working with one of the faux leather "home decorating" fabrics from the local Joann. They are very interesting to look at and to feel and are typically pretty cheap. I wanted something simple which would show off the texture without details that would create too many layers of the thick fabric. I chose a kimono, as this crappy picture with a random scarf at the waist shows.

I already had the sewing pattern (Simplicity 5839), which apparently approaches kimono fabrication from a fairly traditional viewpoint. This included a lining which was very integrated into the construction, but which I wanted to omit. This meant some pattern editing on the fly -- skipping the lining made it simpler in some ways, but trickier in others since I couldn't actually use the instructions. The most complicated portion (and I hesitate to say "complicated" since the whole garment is traditionally quite simple) was the sleeves. But the sleeves really do make the kimono. (The outer corners really are radiused as they should be on those sleeves... Just doesn't show in the crappy picture. Did I mention the picture is crappy? I did? Carrying on then.)

I chose a black/brown printed faux leather lightweight upholstery fabric from the clearance table (ultimately <$3/yd), with a fairly dense, plain knit backing. After folding it and flipping it around a little at the store, I decided it would be sufficiently floppy to make a garment, light enough to actually wear, while stiff and glossy enough to at least look like it was trying to be leather.

Cutting was easy and no-ravel, and the stitching went well with longer stitch-lengths and a Teflon foot where needed. Seams could be trimmed very tightly and left unfinished because of the plasticky nature of the material, and it took topstitching like a dream. The only problem I had was my own fault, when it came time to attach the neck band. I tore the thing off and restitched it at least 3 times. Grr! Too many layers moving at different speeds was the culprit. Once I figured out a way to keep everything cruising together, it went just fine.

I intend to wear it with either a large mesh/elastic waist cincher or a corset (to be named later). I was considering making some belting out of regular webbing covered in the same faux leather, terminating in some big silver buckles, and attaching 2 or 3 of those to the kimono, but I'm reconsidering putting anything permanent on it. I think I'd like to be able to wear different obi-substitutes as the mood strikes me. (As if I'm going to be wearing this thing every weekend. In this weather?!)
Web Statistics