Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Yes, you CAN alter a knit top!

I spent the majority of my life believing that in order to do anything with knit fabric, one needed a serger. Turns out, a regular sewing machine can actually work better for many knit projects!  While using a twin needle gives the best finished effect on hems, you can accomplish a simple side seam alteration on a knit top with just a zig-zag stitch and basic sewing skills! 

I was badly in need of a brown tank top, so I took a look around at Goodwill. To my delight, I found a liz clairborne tank in good condition for just $.99! (It's a little thin so it needs to be layered, not the most ideal for a tank top, but for $.99 it will more than do the job until I can get/make something better).

I am pretty curvy, so an off-the-rack top often doesn't fit me very well. This means that when I'm buying secondhand clothes, I deliberately look for something a size big, so I have plenty of room to work with for altering the side seams.

All I did was put the top on my dressform and pin the sides as I wanted. I was just careful to make sure they didn't wrinkle. That's all.

If you don't have a dressform, You can pin it using yourself as a model. Use safety pins instead of straight pins, and get someone to assist you in making sure it doesn't wrinkle.

Then what you are going to do is set your machine to a very small zig zag stitch. I had a width of 1.5 and a length of 2.5.

I also really advise using a ballpoint needle, as this helps prevent snags with knit fabric.

You can mark your stitching line if you'd like. I tend to just sew and pull out each pin slowly as I sew up to it, as you can see above.

Do NOT trim excess fabric yet. First you need to try it on and check the fit.

Don't freak out if it doesn't fit perfectly the first time you stitch it! I had to make an adjustment on this top, as there were these weird bulges right at the bustline.

Thankfully it was pretty simple to just sew a straighter curve and eliminate the bump.

And here we are, a well-fitting and good quality tank top.

Just what I needed to wear to an outdoor wedding in June!

Now it is your turn! I dare you to pick up something knit and tweak it to fit you better - I think you'll be surprised at how easy it is!

Monday, June 29, 2015

I am no longer taking CLOAK commissions.

As many of you know, "Red's Cloak" has been one of my more popular commissions. However, after making so many of them, I reached my burnout point and realized that I simply could not sew any more cloaks. Partially mental burnout, but also they are very physically demanding, which has been more and more difficult with my fibromyalgia, and my tiny apartment just does not have adequate floor space to cut out the huge panels required.

This was not an easy decision for me, as I felt I was letting my clients down. So my idea was to create a system of contractors that would complete different aspects of the cloaks. Late last year I set up a queue of 6 cloaks to be completed via this method, with three contractors.

While the clients that were a part of that queue ARE getting their cloaks, various problems with the contractors have resulted in a greatly delayed delivery schedule. The whole process has been so frustrating for me, that it has become very clear that this method is not going to work.

I am hoping to expand my masterpost with more notes and pattern suggestions, so that those who still want a version of Red's cloak from "Once Upon a Time" (or Belle's, same pattern) can see what I did and replicate my steps (or pass the instructions on to the seamstress of their choice). I don't feel there would be enough interest to warrant me creating a full pattern to sell, especially since cloaks are so large that selling them as a "print and tape" e-pattern would be more trouble than it's worth for both me and the customers.

Now... need some good news to balance out your day? Check out what I posted on my new sewing instagram account today - click the photo with the thimble and thread! (Full blog post on the subject coming Wednesday!)

Friday, June 19, 2015

More stuff coming soon!

I have been sick all week, and when not sick I've been using my energy to reorganize my fabric so that I have space to work again. Some photos of the new set-up coming soon!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Wardrobe of Nyssa al Ghul

"Arrow" is not typically a show that I find myself wanting to write costume analysis posts about, despite the fact that I really love what they've done with costuming on the show (except maybe Laural's Black Canary). However, after the finale of Season 3, I just had to do a little post adoring Nyssa al Ghul's costumes. (If you haven't see the finale yet, be warned that there ARE spoilers below.)

Retrieved from Pinterest

First off, let's talk about her regular combat wear. It is by far my favorite female costume on the show, and if I were ever going to cosplay a female character from "Arrow," it would probably be Nyssa in this costume. (Sara is my favorite character, but I wouldn't be comfortable wearing her Black Canary costume).

Retrieved from Pinterest

Granted, it doesn't always seem the most practical of fighting outfits, but it's on par with everything else the League of Assasins choose for fashion, so, eh. I just really love the layers, the textures, the hint of burgundy, and all of the triangular lines. 

From sheknows.com

Elegant and feminine, but deadly... and more about function than showing off assets. *cough*

From primetime.unrealitytv.co.uk

So I already loved her 'work clothes', but then we got this teal treat! Gorgeous and embellished, with that lovely sheer overtunic... it's regal and soft and the exact opposite of how Nyssa actually feels in this scene. 

From ew.com
I'm not an expert on Eastern dress. I'm not sure what Nyssa's ethnic heritage is supposed to be, and whether black is a traditional wedding color in that culture. From a western view, it's the color of mourning, which certainly seems appropriate for this particular ceremony.

From bha-paradox.tumblr.com
Despite the horribleness of the situation, I took the time to admire the wedding dress because it really rocked. But you probably already know how much I love shiny embellishments by now...

What stinks is that Nyssa's awesome wardrobe probably has little to do with her, as most of it was probably picked or strongly overseen by her dad. Ra's al Ghul has good taste in women's clothes... maybe he should have gone into fashion design instead of assassination.