Thursday, March 19, 2015

Things I *DO* Like About Sewing

I have been reliably informed that my current ratio of 95% bitching to 5% sewing is not really a sustainable strategy given the amount of sewing that I need to get done in the amount of time between now and the start of reenacting season.  (Translation: My coworkers are tired of listening to me grumble about how much I hate sewing, even though I enjoy the finished product and the events in which I participate while wearing the finished product.)

So.  Positivity.  What do I actually enjoy about sewing, and the process of creating historical garments?  Well, let's see:

Finding Inspiration
Every so often, something will grab me.  It might be a particular dress, or a painting, or maybe even a fabric.  Whatever it is, it nabs my attention in a heartbeat and my brain just goes, "I must have that!"  I like those moments, because it's so much fun to work on a project knowing that you'll end up with something that you really, really want at the end.  It's very motivating, and makes the boring, non-exciting parts more bearable.

I like facts.  I like knowing that I've done things right.  In historical sewing and living history, I find a lot of contentment in having documentation to back up my design choices.  I mean, I was raised by two engineers.  Dad is an electrical design engineer and my mom is a computer programmer.  My husband is also a programmer.  I make my grocery lists in Excel.  I think in straight lines and boxes.  Research is great because then if someone asks me a question, I know what to say.  I like figuring out why things were done a certain way, what methods were used, breaking things down into their component parts, putting things together in ways that make sense.  Those things make me feel happy and satisfied, and it definitely carries over into my sewing!

Sourcing materials
Oh come on, who doesn't like shopping for cool things?  My design process a lot of times depends on finding a fabric that inspires me, so when I find a particular material that 'speaks' to me it's very exciting and often begets more inspiration for the other parts of the project.  It can sometimes be frustrating to have an idea in your head of what you want and not be able to find it, but that can also lead to the following point:

Problem solving
This includes things like having to adapt an idea to use available materials, draping or drafting patterns, fitting, and trimming.  There are others of course, but those are a few that most seamstresses run into pretty often.  I happen to really enjoy fitting garments, usually by draping and tweaking as needed.  I know some people HATE that part, but my spatial reasoning is pretty good and it's fun to see something take shape right before your eyes.  I really enjoy the flurry of activity, pins and seam allowances everywhere, and then stepping back and seeing the lines of a proper period silhouette emerging out of flat fabric.

Seeing progress
Sometimes I get bogged down in doing the little fiddly parts of sewing that I don't find interesting or enjoyable, but throughout the construction process there are various points where you can definitely tell you're moving ahead.  Putting a bodice together and watching it go from little pieces to something resembling a garment, for example.  It helps keep me going through less-fun parts when I can look at the state of things and say, "yeah, it's actually getting somewhere!"

So, see?  I CAN be positive.  When I really put my mind to it!  And now I have more sewing to do...

Monday, March 9, 2015

Support for Jen's Supporters

This weekend, the online costuming community was rocked by some tragic news.  These amazing people have rallied around a friend in her time of need, but they will need support in their efforts to show love and care to a grieving family as well.

This donation page is to collect for gas cards and restaurant gift cards for people who are local to Jen, so that they can travel to help her, provide transportation, and offer to spend time and provide meals with her in the weeks and months to come.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Change of Plans

Happy Monday, y'all.  I think it goes without saying that I am NOT done with my February "Blue" challenge.  I'd love to say it's because I had a setback with my fashion fabric, but that's not really the reason.  Or at least, it's not the whole reason.

I did make a super tasty Thai curry soup, prep lunches for this week, take the dog for a run in SUN on BARE PAVEMENT and not ice, got my hair cut, waxed my eyebrows, did my nails, napped with my exhausted-from-new-job husband, and spent time with my empty-nester parents.

So, you know, all good things.  But very little sewing happened.  Some did, though!

I ripped off my "wool" blend fashion fabric and started over with a length of blue wool from my stash, which burn tested as wool ought to and smelled just terrible--as it should.  I also then re-hand-basted all the pieces together and started test stitching.

It turns out that this slight change caused my previous thread setup (Americana quilting cotton bobbin, plain cotton all-purpose top thread) to not look quite the same.  So I machine basted through my marked pieces and will be stitching my boning channels from the front, with the thicker thread on top and the tension loosened ever so slightly.  I got all ten pieces machine basted in one night.  That was...highly unexpected.

Three down, seventy billion to go.  This was after I tested various thread combinations, ripped several test lines out, and finally settled on the arrangement described above.  Now all that's left is to sew lots of straight lines.  And cut boning, install it, whip my seam allowances down, assemble, eyelet, and bind.  Oh, and put together a lining and stitch that in.

Easy peasy, right?  Yep, no problem at all. 

Why yes, tote bag.  I agree completely.