Costume Help Needed, Stat!

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Lucy's princess costume is all but done. I just need to tack down the seam allowance in one sleeve so it doesn't bug her. Photos to come soon!

Peter's R2D2 costume is coming along, but I am stuck on the the droid's legs/feet. But first let me show you what I have been working on in the meantime... The domed headpiece.

Here is Peter wearing a muslin of the half-sphere. I love that he is just smiling a little because he is excited about the costume but he doesn't know when I am going to actually snap the picture. Big thanks to Geoff 42 for posting his instructions for sewing a sphere of any diameter a couple of years ago. The internet is good. Upon reflection, I decided to remove one of the panels so I didn't have to add something stiff to the outer edge to hold the round shape. This also makes it a bit smaller and thus, more manageable for Peter.

Here is the headpiece minus the R2D2 embellishments. I have used a grey "wet look" vinyl, glue sticked to thick polar fleece and sewn together into the dome. Then I took a panel out of my muslin, sewed it back together, trimmed it and used it as a lining. I folded the edges of the grey vinyl and fleece under and hot glued them to the lining (a home dec fabric from Ikea). More embellishments have been added, but it is too dark to take photos, now.

Here Peter is wearing the body of the costume. It is simply a rectangle of white vinyl and two layers of polar fleece (for body) with velcro closures at the back and straps that are sewn on the back and velcroed on the front. Leg ideas, anyone? here is a picture of R2D2, just to refresh your memory. The costume's body piece is soft, but unwieldy, and I am stumped.

And, just in the interest of honesty and because Little Hunting Creek had to clean her sewing room because her in-laws were visiting, I leave you with a collage of the sty that is my workspace. I do need to clean it, because I can't think in there anymore.

Honestly, how have I been ironing? Where do I stand? And I obviously need a new method for organizing my sharps since that drawer is open almost all the time. And my beloved Peter stuffed his PJ pants into my machine as a less-than-subtle message that he wants them fixed.

Wednesday Sewing; Simplicity 2603 - DKNY Cozy Knock-off

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I did it! (almost - it still needs to be hemmed)

In retrospect, the fabric I chose was less than stellar and Lucy (my fashionable 4 year old) informed me that it looked like a towel. But, it is comfortable and (appropriately) cozy. Perhaps when styled a bit better (rather than thrown on over my not-leaving-the-house t-shirt) it will look less like a bathrobe.

On to the photos!

Remember back when I made the muslin? I never got around to making the sleeves. This morning I stitched and set in one of the sleeves on the muslin. I had read that the sleeves were bit tight, and I want to be able to wear this sweater over long sleeved shirts, so I cut the sleeves to medium and then used a 3/8" seam allowance rather than the 5/8" called for. Pretty good fit I thought.



Then I had to finish ripping out the stitching on the sweater knit. One of the selvedges was a bit ratty and I was worried about it unraveling in the wash, so I stitched the fabric along the selvedge as well as the cut edge before pre-shrinking. Unfortunately, this 100% polyester knit was so spongey that the stitches sank right in and ripping them out took FOREVER.

ETA: I looked at many wool jerseys and wool blend jerseys (and sweater knits) and I tried to like them, but they made my skin itch (and they cost $5 - $10 more per meter). And since I couldn't find any cotton/rayon sweater knit, I went with the polyester.

(Note the set-in sleeve illustration just above the ruler? Silly Simplicity.)

The texture of this fabric gave me quite some trouble - chiefly because my hands are very dry from hand washing dishes and pin pricked from sewing. This made handling this fabric a bit of a pain. Then it came time to reinforce the shoulder seams. I chose to use clear elastic but struggled to get the stuff positioned properly. I decided to try a little glue stick. It worked! I smeared glue on one side of the clear elastic and then stuck it down in place. The glue held well enough to keep the elastic in place without pins (which is tricky with this stuff).



Here is my almost finished cozy. Tonight I think I will finish hemming it. I also think I will attach a large snap to the top corners of the drape, because this fabric does not knot well.

Handmade Sale Sewing Saturday #2

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Today was my second sewing Saturday. All I knocked out were 6 backpack carriers, but they are completely finished this time - labels included.

Yesterday I spent a good chunk of time at the family drop-in planning out my sewing time between now and the All-Handmade Sale. If I can stay on task and if nothing goes horribly wrong, I should be finished sewing well ahead of time. Hooray!

I am going to wait until more items are completed to post photos of my handmade sale work. Bear with me and my photoless posts, please!

45 Minutes Per Day; Oct 12 - Oct 16

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Another week has gone by...

Monday was Thanksgiving, so instead of sewing, I baked a pumpkin pie.
Tuesday I hemmed 3 handkerchiefs
Wednesday... I don't know that I did anything for the handmade sale on Wednesday. If I did I didn't write it down.
Thursday I sorted through the checkers, sanding and counting them into sets of 12. I have 25 sets of 12 which is enough for the checker boards that I intend to make for the sale and one for our family and extra for special orders.
Friday I hemmed 3 handkerchiefs and (I'm getting faster with those handkerchiefs!) I pinned labels to the pieces of fabric to be made into checkerboards and backpack carriers. This way I can machine sew them in place before I construct the items rather than hand sew them after construction.

I also spent time today to plan out the rest of my sewing time between now and the sale to help keep me on track.

Wednesday Sewing - costume work and Jalie 2804

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No photos today. I have got to figure out a better way to take photos of the garments I make for myself (David is almost no help).

On Wednesday I put the zipper into Lucy's costume and did a little hand sewing - tacking down facings, seam allowances, etc. I still need to hem the dress and add another two rows of stitching to attach the bow at the waist.

I also cut out and made a muslin of Jalie 2804. I was working with fabric that was not quite as stretchy as the pattern called for and I needed to make a full bust adjustment, but my attempts didn't quite work. The crossover bit needs to be smaller, the lower bodice and back need to be shorter in length, and the arms need to be bigger in width. It ended up being a lovely shirt for someone 4 to 6 inches taller than me with thinner, toned arms.

Well, almost lovely. The fabric that I bought at Fabricana was scratchy and a bit stiff. It's cotton knit. Not terribly stretchy, so it must not have much lycra. It's thin - definitely shirt weight, but almost hard or crunchy or something. Fabricana has a fabulous quilting cotton selection (better than the local quilting shop) and some very nice higher end fashion fabrics, but their "regular" knits leave much to be desired.

I was going to rip out all of the stitching last night at our church meeting (other people bring their knitting...), but then I decided to give the shirt to my tall friend to try on. We shall see.

45 Minutes Per Day; Oct 5 - Oct 9

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the red red robin goes bob bob bobbin' along...

Monday I finished the 6 backpacks I nearly finished on Sewing Saturday #1 (except for the labels)
Tuesday found me stitching the ends of 22 webbing and clip sets for more backpacks. I got maybe 2/3 of the way through all of the steps there.
Wednesday was an odd day. Instead of sewing anything for the sale, I worked on a bulletin insert for my church to summon vendors and I fiddled around with making a facebook event page.
Thursday Clara went to a friend's house in the morning so I cut checkers from two sticks that Lucy and I found. Even after I weed through them again, I think I will have 150 checkers from those two sticks. I also prepped several labels to be hand sewn onto my completed projects.
Friday I didn't officially take 45 minutes, but I did bring a bag full of completed projects, labels and hand sewing gear along with me to our local family drop-in and to the playground after school. Everything has a label now, but in the future, I am going to sew those blasted labels on before I construct each item. (Hello, Tedious?)

It's Costume Time!

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Today I began work in earnest on the kids' Halloween costumes. Luckily, Clara wants to be a lion using the lion costume I made for Lucy a couple of years ago. The two costumes I am making this year fall into the categories of Annoying But Doable (and good garment-sewing practice) and Design From Scratch.

Lucy wants to be a princess (Annoying But Doable). All summer she said she wanted to be a princess (groan) and then for two or three whole weeks in September she wanted to be Supergirl (hooray!). Unfortunately, she found out that one of her friends is going to be a fairie princess, so she changed her mind before I bought any fabric. She drew a sketch of her costume and we talked a lot about details and then I looked for patterns.

I am using Burda 9702 as the basic design but she wanted a cross-over top so I used BWOF 07-2009-139 and re-drafted the front of the bodice. I am also changing the buttoned back for a zippered back and I will add an overlay of sparkly organza over the main skirt fabric. Yesterday I tissue fitted the pattern pieces on her and today I made a quick muslin of the bodice.

Peter, on the other hand, wants to be R2 D2 (Design From Scratch). Of course. I could find no R2 D2 costume patterns out there and only a few baby/toddler R2 D2 costumes to purchase. Nothing gave me any inspiration. We were thinking to use chicken wire and papier mache, but I have made it these 34 years without ever having done papier mache, and I didn't want to have to start with the pressure of a costume.

Monday afternoon I took a couple of large pieces of newsprint and held it around him to decide on a size. We then used a photo from a Star Wars book he brought home from the library to sketch all of the details on the front of the droid's body onto the pattern. Today I cut two pieces of very thick polar fleece the size of the pattern, stitched them together, then cut one piece of white vinyl a bit bigger than the pattern, wrapped three of the edges around the fleece and stitched those down. I plan to add a row of velcro to close the rectangle into a tube around him and add a couple of straps to keep it on his shoulders.

I also need to figure out how to draft pieces to make half a sphere of a certain diameter for the top of the droid which will be attached to a hat on Peter's head.

I have no idea what I am going to do about R2 D2's legs.

Fun times! Photos to come...

Handmade Sale Sewing Saturday #1

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David and I looked at our calendars for the next few months and things are looking pretty crazy - particularly November. So we decided to do what we did last year - I take three or four Saturdays to take an entire work day to sew for the sale. I was hoping to avoid this with my 45 minutes a day work, but I wasn't sure.

So this sewing Saturday I hemmed 8 handkerchiefs (completing all of the purple metallic stripe fabric), cut much of my fabric scraps into bookmark size pieces, and nearly completed 6 Baby Doll Backpack Carriers (2 in each of three colourways). I had hoped to also make the rest of the checkerboard binding, but watching Project Runway and Glee while doing handwork got in the way of that.

And all of that after the fuse for my sewing room died. We blew it with a space heater, got it switched back on and then killed it again. This hasn't been repaired yet, so everything in the sewing room is running on extension cords attached to extension cords (a word to Cat - please tell Mr. Safety that I know this situation is fraught with peril).

I was disappointed that I didn't get the 6 backpacks finished, but I'm glad to have made significant progress.

45 Minutes Per Day; Sept 28 - Oct 2

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Back on track!

Monday - cut more checkers (it's noisy work - I need earplugs and new safety glasses)
Tuesday - made binding for the checkerboards. I made a mistake in making the continuous binding and managed to make straight-grain binding rather than bias. This is fine since I am working with right angles, but it won't wear as well as bias would. I still have another meter of fabric to make into binding but this one will turn out bias.
Wednesday - I knew Friday was going to be different, so I took more time and hemmed 3 handkerchiefs and almost completed an entire checkerboard.


Thursday - finished the checkerboard, cut the rest of the backpack strap fabric, and cut 20 sets of webbing pieces and melted the ends.
Friday - nada