I’ve been doing a bit of sewing and experimenting with rayon fabrics. Rayon is a cool/breathable summer fabric. That said due to the pandemic, I’ve had to order everything online which makes picking out fabric feel like russian roulette. I don’t have nearly enough knowledge to really understand what I’m getting before it shows up and I can actually touch it.
With that in mind – this rayon fabric was a bit of a surprise. It was way more drapey than I expected. I decided to turn it into a cute loose summer dress.
This fabric has a repeating print with a distinct edge and you call this a panel. I tried my best to position the peices nicely and cut them so that it would be symmetrical. In order to achieve this, I cut the fabric “flat” instead of “on the fold”. Normally you can lay out the fabric and fold it in half to get two of each piece -but by laying the fabric flat and cutting individually you can have more control of lining up each piece.
For this dress, I used the StyleArc Pixie Dress pattern. I really like StyleArc patterns, I think they fit well and have accurate sizing. That said -the directions are pretty hard core. They usually only include one or two pages of mostly text and very few pictures so you really have to have an idea of what you’re doing already. I don’t think I could have used them immediately as a beginner but now I do love only needing to look at one page of instructions the whole time.
We’re staying in our home for Christmas this year and so we realized we didn’t have some basics –
It was time to make stockings!
These were honestly pretty easy – all from old scraps from our pirate Halloween costumes, a dress, and a dress shirt. Makes our apartment feel a little more cheery even though we’ll certainly miss our families this year.
We hope everyone continues to be as well as possible ♡
Well, this post has become a real accumulation of the events of the past few weeks, starting at the end of February.
I had a work trip to San Francisco at the time for a conference and before I left I started to get worried about being on the plane with possible covid19 exposure. The morning before the flight, I dipped into my fabric stash and pulled out a really cute swatch of cotton from Tokyo. I then took to bra straps from an old bra and cut them up to make elastics. Last, I used a really soft cotton flannel from mood as the liner. Ta da my first mask was born.
From here, I sent a text to my mom to ask if this made any sense or if I would just be causing public alarm. She called me back and explained since this isn’t medical grade fabric I couldn’t necessarily rely on it to keep the virus out. I felt a little silly but brought it with me and didn’t wear it because I didn’t feel sick.
From there I returned home and things started to get more intense. Out of an abundance of caution I went to our local F+S Fabrics and picked up some elastic and quilting fabric. I figured if we didn’t have medical grade fabric it could still be nice to have something for a worst case situation. From here we then moved on to mask style 2. And 2.5. At first I had the elastic sewn in like you see below but then I started to run out. With the elastics I tried to make them reusable with button side attachment and a more custom fit.
Honestly these elastics really hurt our ears. I didn’t buy enough of it originally to give us more slack.
That has brought us to mask style 3 and the new advice that now we should actually wear these in public all the time. I started to add these ties and now I’m making them for a friend who is a doctor and trying to make enough for our family such that if someone gets sick we will be able to have enough to take care of them for a few days with some washing. I have made a few for local family and it is pretty weird that this is something that I’m able to do and it’s considered helping.
And here’s a math mask for my math guy 🙂 (Britex fabrics)
These are heading out west to a friend that’s a doctor.
Well I pinned and pinned and hand sewed away and then before I knew it all the fringe was in place and one of my best friends was willing to join me to party it up!
I finished the bottom hem of the dress with a hand rolled stitch. Overall this dress included: machine sewing french seams on the sides, machine sewing bias trim finished neckline and arm holes, hand stitched fringe, and hand rolled hem!
I think this is the first evening dress I’ve ever made and it is possibly my best work yet.
I got a bunch of compliments at the party and it was so fun! To make the night even better my plus one was my best friend from third grade!!
The party was super fun and you can really tell because almost none of these are official sewing pictures. I actually put my outfit on in the morning to try and get a few pictures that show the details better. Those are the ones where my hair is not combed lol
Here is a morning video:
Also my jewelry for the night – an old juicy couture pearl and chain necklace and an alexis bittar fox pendant!
Happy holidays! Now it’s time to start working on my chanel jacket again.
Well, my life has changed a little bit lately and so it’s been much harder to sew with the dedicated amounts of time I had earlier.
I have also had some more unusual seasonal events which have mixed up some of my work compared to my standard project cycle.
For November, I have almost lived in San Fransisco so I’ve been far away from my machine. I was not there for approximately only 5 working days. I have had my hand sewing project with me, but I also finished reading all of the One Punch Man internet comic so my down time has not been as dedicated. I’ve also really focused on meeting friends and coworkers for dinner. I think being a little more soc-ial vs sew-cial is worth it – a healthy balance is always good.
Either way! I have been buying some fabric over these trips and it’s time to do a quick check in on my plans of items I want to work through.
Ironically, this is all being written in the plane to Chicago for Thanksgiving!
Here’s my game plan:
– I have a green cotton fabric I planned to turn into a pencil skirt. I would like to do that unless I can think of a cooler project.
– I want to finish my muslin jacket and move on to the official Chanel fabric. I will need to buy a cool trim for the jacket too. That part is still TBD. Question though: Should I try to incorporate some feathers? I think I will not…. but I kind of want to.
– Flapper dress: this has started with a silk charmuse black slip that I’ll drape under a sheer black silk georgette. I will sew the fringe onto the georgette in sweeping diagonal drapes so that it hangs nicely from the hip. Then if I turn around or spin, there will be the sheer outer layer with fringe and then a dark thinner inner dress. I think it will be cool.
– I then have a few summer fabrics in the collection that need to be converted. A pink linen flamingo dress, and red striped and white striped dress shirts.
– I also have a fabric I bought for my dad but I haven’t made yet. This is getting old! I need his measurements.
– Then! Something new! A pair of grey wool slacks for D! These will be interesting. A new fabric and moving into a more intense tailoring and menswear space. I am excited and I will go slow.
– I also want to upcycle an old lace skirt my Nana gave to me. She was SO Skinny (hi Nana haha) I will shorten it so that my waist can fit where her hip bones & bum used to be.
– Finally, a staff memeber at Britex gave me a great idea for my leftover chanel scraps – I could turn them into a little purse. Thinking on this more, this seems like a great way to work through some of my cooler and small scraps. I can also make some pencil cases or whatever. I have enjoyed making purses in the past and so I think this could be a really fun next step. I think I may do this with the extra fabric from my Nana’s skirt too.
Alright! Flight update! This is a bit of a bumpy one! I am glad science works such that differences in air pressure lift up airplane wings. Is that how it works? I dont remember what the slower air over the upper curve of the wing actually does. Right now I can mostly just focus on hitting the right buttons with my thumbs as we move side to side lol. My mom will not like reading this. I will schedule it to publish once she is already in the air. Haha.
Also! Since we’re on the subject: my favorite tip for riding out turbulance – take a moment to think about if you’re actually in physical pain during the bumps. Not really right? The jostling is weird and unexpected – but it’s not the same as stubbing your toe or even hitting your funny bone in your elbow. That always helps me focus in and push away some of my concerns.
Anyway! Lots of sewing fun and an amazing surprise coming in the future!!! I won’t talk about that yet -that will happen in December or the new year 🙂
I am super appreciative of all of you reading this and all the comments and encouragement!!! I am really looking forward to working through these projects and picking out something even harder when they’re complete!
I had a wonderful day going to Mood and picking out my fabric for my One Punch Man outfit. It was my first morning officially between jobs and it was wonderful!
I ran into my friend at Mood and he knew the show and was very excited about my costume choice! He saw me when I was getting about 5 yards of yellow cotton and we talked about the best fabric for the gloves and cape. I ended up picking out a polyester stretch fabric for the cape and a thicker jersey for the gloves so that they will hopefully stay on. I will also make some covers for my boots to make them red too.
I’ve realized my zipper should technically be silver but I’m going to have fun with this and not sweat the details that much.
I have combined three patterns to try and do this – D’s vogue pants pattern, and two butterick shirts.
I am not planning to do fancy seam finishes because I just have other stuff to do… like make cardboard robot arms for D
As the week progressed, I continued to chip away at this outfit. There are many pieces and the fit is actually a little complicated because the shirt has to attach directly to the pants!!
First, I made the jumpsuit which I think means I have officially made my first pair of pants for myself! I then attached the shirt very carefully and then cut out the proper facing for the neckline.
The polyester seemed like it could be tricky so I decided to prick stitch this whole thing. I am actually getting better at this technique and I like the way it looks.
From there it was cape, gloves, and shoe cover time!!!
The cape was pretty easy – but gloves are tricky!!!! I did it “Thanksgiving Turkey” style but at first I actually made the fingers too narrow and had to re sew them. It was an interesting learning experience.
The shoe covers were also pretty easy -my own original idea! I made a tube for my legs and then a flappy circle with another half circle sewn on the bottom. This covered the tops of my shoes but my heels and middle sole of the shoe were exposed so I would still have some traction on the ground.
From here… it was robot armour time for D! This was made the day of the party and I basically took some of the ideas of samurai armour that we saw in the Tokyo Samurai museum and some cosplay googling to make this out of old amazon boxes we stored up and some acrylic paint. Here is the mess that was left behind:
In the final minutes of getting really to leave to the party – the bald cap was NOT working. It was too hard to put on and seemed like it would get hot. D as the continuous source of supportive sanity told me to tear it off before it was too late. I took his advice and did not look back!
Here’s the final look!
One person at the party recognized us LOL but I did not do this for the fame, this costume is exclusively for myself based on the joy that show brings me. D later pointed out that that is truly the most One Punch Man style costume possible hahaha. I did receive many nice compliments about the details and sewing. It was a really fun night and great to see friends!
We have some great friends in NYC who host a Halloween party every year. They know about my sewing and they told us at least a month ago about their plans for the upcoming party. That said… I’m writing this draft on Oct 12th and we have not made our costumes yet – nor do I even have the fabric! (I am holding off posting some things until I have officially left my old company)
This delay and slow down in sewing has mainly been due to my job search and wrapping up work at my old job. Balancing and preparing for interviews was really intense on top of my normal responsibilities and I’ve also been working to improve some of my computer skills now that I have the new job.
I am also finishing the Dangerous Polka Dot dress first as I want to wear that for some work stuff. Work Sewing > Halloween Sewing.
I am also waiting for the week I have off between jobs to try and do this project… and it may be a scramble!
Here’s the plan:
There is an anime series called One Punch Man that D and I really love and right now we are thinking of going as the two main characters for Halloween.
The bald guy is so strong that he beats everyone with a single punch, and with such easy victories being a hero stops being fun. The cyborg behind him is his student who takes everything really seriously.
Except for in the most intense battles, the bald guy is drawn like below. He is a normal dude who is a hero for fun. He trained so hard, his hair fell out. Talk about a Growth Mindset!
I want to be this bald man for Halloween and D can be the cyborg. I feel like I have the giant head shape already down.
Will this be too weird? It is a very popular show, but are you probably hearing about it for the first time right now? haha we’ll just have to learn the hard way! Also, by the time this is posted, I will probably already be sewing a bright yellow jump suit, so it’s too late for alternative ideas in the comments 🙂
ALSO an even bigger risk is that at my new job, they will have a Halloween costume lunch on the 31st. Do I reveal this much about my hobbies and media preferences three days into a job? I think I will use the party as a test drive and then bring my pirate costume from last year to the office in case I chicken out. I am pretty certain I will chicken out unless I can learn in the first two days that people at the office know and like this show.
Things to do for this and my game plan:
Sew a yellow jumpsuit for the first time (it’s really just attaching pants to a shirt right??)
make my first cape (big rectangle in something flowy?)
make some red gloves (I figure I’ll get a stretch fabric and trace my hands)
make cybord arms out of cardboard (we’ve been saving some amazon boxes for months)
repurpose black clothes (probably attainable)
prepare to be labeled the “weird girl” or “the coolest girl” (call my mom after and tell her it was all okay)
relax after all of it at the Korean Spa (I have found one in SF already too)
Well, I have been waiting and waiting to share this post. I decided it was time to take a risk and pursue a career change. I made it to the final rounds of a remote nyc job for a company in San Francisco. With the interview I got to fly out and once the interviews were over I had time to explore. I am REALLY enjoying visiting fabric stores in all the cities I get to visit (Tokyo, Chicago, & Vancouver). This time it was time to visit Britex fabrics. Oh My it was amazing. It reminded me of the library in Beauty and the Beast but with fabric!!! Why is this the only picture I took? They had huge walls of fabric stacked like this to the ceilings with sliding ladders going back and forth.
All I can say is that I was FOCUSED on the fabric instead of taking pictures. When I walked in I was on the phone with my husband and the store assistant saw me say “WOW” and then promptly wrap up the call to get to step inside.
The entire staff was SO NICE!! I also immediately said something like “Hi I’m here from NYC for an interview and I just wanted to visit so badly! It’s beautiful here!” The bottom floor was all wool folded on the walls and the silks, very fancy couture beading, and brocade were on tables. It was stunning. There was also a TABLE stacked with Chanel tweeds. They were so detailed and glimmery.
The staff was so nice. There was a woman who showed me all around the main floor and she was very complimentary of my dress and explained a few of the fabrics to me. There was additionally a really nice man who was wearing a very colorful dress shirt with a vest and slacks (I stalked him on instagram so you can see how great his clothes and style are). He definitely represents my future menswear sewing goals. He was also complimentary of my dress. Wow – these folks sure know the way into my heart: talk about tons of fabric and sewing, compliment your sewing in a totally genuine way, seem to be truly nice. I also got to meet the owner of the store. She was so nice too! I really can’t believe she came over to say hi to me.
Upstairs there were also all of the cottons, linens, stretchy jersey, trims, bridal lace trims, buttons, and tools! I got sucked into the linen and cotton shirting. D agreed that I should get something fancy… but I dont think he could imagine how fancy this store was and I made myself at least temporarily resist the Chanel table.
I found a shirt design that can hopefully replace the best shirt (RIP) and then I saw these pink flamingos. Oh man I didn’t know I needed this in my wardrobe until suddenly I had no other choice! This reminded me of the vancouver dress and so I think I can do something similar.
It was a WONDERFUL trip and I got to see old friends in the area too. I have not convinced then to sew just yet 🙂 Now D and I can match:
All in all – I am also excited to announce that I will be returning to SF with some frequency for training! I got the job! Look out Chanel fabric…