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January 31, 2007

I Do Not Know What to Sew.

I am having a hard time coming up with my next idea. I have a billion patterns, it's true. Also, fabric coming out of my ears. Inspiration is a little low. It is so goddamned cold out that it's hard to get in the dress spirit. I am wearing a turtleneck and a sweater in my apartment and most of the time I'm still cold. I know that it must get old hearing me complain about it, but oh well. I'm a southern girl. I'm not made for One Freaking Degree Weather.

I have seen a number of dresses online that are oh so cute. Love Made Visible posted these little sweeties. And I do mean little. I don't think I could really wear a dress that short, but I find the swingy, shorter shirtdress pretty neato. I was thinking that I would make the dress below a touch shorter than usual (above the knees, OMG!). It is pretty kicky already and has a sort of Mid-century Waitress Vibe that I like. Maybe it's best not to mess with a good thing and to make it below the knee? I really don't know.


Another option is to make another New Look wrap dress but in these delightful little cranes that Taryn brough me from Taiwan (with nubby silk noil for trim). I was thinking, again, of a shorter skirt and doing the poofy sleeve version. The Tea Dress seems to have won the reader's choice award for best-loved dress. Thank you so much! I think I will make a million of them! But is it a good idea to make another so soon? Will I get the dreaded Dress Burnout?


I wanted to make a kitschy Valentine's Dress with conversation heart fabric, but, alas, none was forthcoming. I decided on a pretty cute halter pattern and cherries on navy blue, but it might just be too depressing to make one now that I am pretty positive that I won't be able to go to Boston until March. I used to be a wear-black-on-VD sort of gal and I still am, really. The hearts could only be done in the most ironic way possible. Looks like I will be wearing black afterall. I wanted to make this in the black silk noil, but I don't have enough on account of the piece I received had little holes all down the center. I got a refund, but I'm too broke to buy more now! Where does it all go?! (coughcraftingcough)

Well. Ahem. Ok. So which dress should I make now? One of the above or another one entirely? Are there any patterns that have been rocking your socks? Which ones?!

Posted by loyd0008 at 7:55 PM

January 27, 2007

Mime/Chef Hat Disaster

I think that the cosmos has somehow barred me from the classic art of millinery. I can knit a hat with my eyes shut, but I just can't sew one to save my soul. I tried to make a cloche once and that ended in failure. This time, I went for something simpler. A beret. So easy to knit. So... disasterous to sew. I got this book the other day and the designs looked so cute and user-friendly. Well, was I in for a surprise. I cut and sewed everything to the dimensions required and ended up looking like some kind of Militant Street Chef or Out of Control Crazy Cat Lady Mime. Not really like the guy below, but I thought I would throw in a mime just for kicks.


No way y'all are getting a picture of me in this thing. It is just too... terrifying. And this from a girl who will wear a bonnet in public. Must be bad.

Do any of you sew hats?! How the devil do you manage it?!

P.S. Speaking of mimes.. can you believe this is real?!

Posted by loyd0008 at 9:48 PM

January 26, 2007

A Dress for Tea

Here is my new dress! It is perfect for drinking tea. Too bad I missed the virtual tea party.


I am currently very into ginger-peach flavored tea and am enjoying it today in my favorite cup, bought in Paris from a shop on the Left Bank that only sold goods produced by a monastery outside the city. It is so smooth and lovely to hold. Just right! A close second is the teacup from this pattern, purchased at one of my kitschy visits to that strange place. The cutest little squirrel! I love him!

The dress is great and fits very well. I have, since the beginning of this little sewing escapade about a year ago (only a year!? feels like forever) been searching for The Pattern. You know, the one you can make over and over again in your sleep in a million different fabrics with variations? Well, I can't say yet if this is The Pattern, but I am certainly planning on making it with a short skirt, poofy sleeves, in one print, and many other variations. I almost cut this one up to the knees, but the fabric is just so pretty that I couldn't bring myself to, even if it is better for my figure. Next time I will plan to make it short. I went to Joann's today searching for some double pointed needles (which they did not have) and almost bought some MORE fabric. Crazy, huh? Well, I had a 40% off coupon, so it seems like free money! I resisted, thank goodness. Phew. It was a close call, though.

Often cross-over necks are very gap-y on me, but this one is good so far. Provided that I do not slouch overmuch. Then, the peepshow may commence. It will be a good tool for improving my posture. I just need to find a book to put on top of my head...

Posted by loyd0008 at 1:44 PM

January 25, 2007

For She's a Jolly Good...

Well, I finished another dress yesterday night and was planning on photographing it in today's fading light when I got the great news that I got a (highly sought-after, at least this year!) fellowship that will
1. allow me to move to Boston and not have to work
2. make my life all-around easier
3. give me the opportunity to write about machinima!

So fun! I was so excited that now the sun has pretty much set and I am still hanging around in wet socks and a droopy ponytail. Tomorrow for pictures, then. Also, Pan's Labyrinth, which I have been dying to see since Black Apple started talking about it. Maybe I will even wear my new dress! Even if I freeze!

I think I'll open a bottle of wine and celebrate!

Posted by loyd0008 at 5:08 PM

January 20, 2007

Farthest Shore

Today is a day for mostly pictures! No more boring words! Well, maybe just a few.


Here is the dress! J has labeled it the Farthest Shore dress and so now it is. We are Ursula K LeGuin fans, though I imagine it is more a reference to how far apart we are and not to the book proper.

This was my first invisible zipper in what feels like a very long time. I am actually getting pretty used to conventional zippers. Luckily, I didn't have to take this one out at any point, just sew closer and closer to the ditch. I was timid to start, for fear of sewing over the coils. It pulls a tiny bit (the top is snug, though not uncomfortably so) though the zipper is under my arm and in the middle of a bunch of gathers so I hardly think it will be noticible. If you notice it, well then just hush your little mouth! I had to add a few darts thanks to some unexpected gaping, but it turned out pretty well on the whole. My articles of clothing are never really perfect, but what is, really? Though I must say that the next sweater comes closer than most of my sweaters!

Presenting the bamboo sweater! I loves it! Are you ever afraid to wear something you've made because you don't want to screw it up? I'm sure this goes for normal clothes too, but I only really notice with things I've made.


I'm wearing the lovely-and-uncomfortable shoes in both pictures. So versatile! Maybe they just need to be broken in...

And for my next dress...


I have a nifty pink/gold/red floraly print to use for this one. Fluffy sleeves or no fluffy sleeves? Which is more Anthropologie-core? I have been aiming that direction with my last several creations. I think their things are just so darling! Also, so expensive! I have an easier time justifying fabric when I have something concrete to compare it to. Thus, good for inspiration and rationalization alike!

Posted by loyd0008 at 5:42 PM

January 18, 2007

Wave Conundrum

Ok here is the bodice back and skirt . See a difference? (fingers crossed that you don't!) But honestly, do you think it would be noticable if gathered and separated by a gathered midriff??


Tried to shoot the bamboo wonder but all attempts were blurry. @*#$&!*$%& Guess I have to wait for daytime. Also, I am afraid that this yarn is going to stretch terribly. Anyone have any experience with how much it stretches out?


Posted by loyd0008 at 10:10 PM

The Promise of Cheese

Well, tomorrow I will not be able to walk. This can mean only one thing: I have started fencing again. It has been like two years and I just sort of jumped into it again today. I can feel the lactic acid crystalizing in my right hamstring as I type. Pain, but really, all told, a good type of pain. Much better than the sore-throat variety, a variant which I seem to also be entertaining at the moment. This does not keep me from chugging down Italian blood orange soda (from Target! yum!), of course. It makes me, as J has so keenly observed, much like a mouse who keeps getting a shock and yet repeatedly pushes the button due to the promise of cheese.

The rest of the week will, however, be easy, since today was really the last day of the week for me. I know, I know. I am a slacker whore. I only have classes on Tuesday and Thursday and the rest of the time is supposed to be spent working on my dissertation prospectus. Thus, this week some time I will commence. J bought me a copy of the new WoW expansion, Burning Crusade, so I will be spending pleny of time "researching", I'm sure. Heh. Ok, ok. I'll do some real work too.

The real real work I need to do is to finish this damned dress that I have been studiously not-working on for weeks. One possibly major problem has arisen due to my general boneheadedness. I did not, at the time of cutting, realize that the fabric is a directional print. Granted, it is only barely directional. There are some neat asian waves (that I would have photographed had my batteries not died AGAIN) that are mostly curving upwards and somewhat curving downwards. Of course, I managed to cut the skirt upside-down. Now, the bodice is gathered and there it won't be noticible and there is a gathered midriff panel. The back, however is flat and upside-up. It will be separated from the skirt by the aforementioned gathered panel and the skirt is, itself, gathered. I seriously doubt that it will be noticable at all and I if it is, I might be able to explain it away as a design feature. Since I can't get any more of the fabric, do I just go with it how it is or try to recut the skirt smaller and upside-up??? I am a bit afraid that making it smaller will look worse than just using it as is. If I get really antsy I will either 1. dredge up some batteries from somewhere and shoot it or 2. just sew the damned thing. I know that the first is the sartorially-responsible thing to do, but my blood sugar is feeling low and that is not a time at which I am likely to act responsibly. It would allow me to shoot the bamboo sweater that I just put on and love very much! Or at least I will love it when I can actually wear it and it's not eleventeen degrees below zero.

In other sad news, J left the other day. He was not in possession of the sweater below because it was still drying. He should get it tomorrow. It looks pretty nice and I guess I should be thankful that he really likes boring sweaters because they are much easier to make. He really does wear them, too. I am getting sick of all those "Don't knit him a sweater unless you've got a ring" books that I keep seeing. I find the implications of these texts insulting on so many levels. Yeah, so we're not married. What of it? Yay for living in sin! Oh wait, we're not living together anymore. Does that count? Well yay for sin anyhow!


In happier news, Taryn is back from Taiwan! She came bearing loads of fabrical goodness! 24 yards of beautiful things that I finally washed and put away. What am I to make with all of it?!?! So many possibilities. Clouds, cranes, sakura, cherry blossoms, cute apples and this little number (with a blue background). So sweet! What should I do with it all?!?! I am happy for this windfall because I am poorer than usual all of a sudden and won't be able to stash it up for a while.


Ok time to fix that blood sugar thing and maybe take some more photos...ttfn!

Posted by loyd0008 at 9:24 PM

January 11, 2007

Silence is Golden

I was going to wait to post until I had some good pix, but I've had a couple glasses of wine and feel like ranting. This week's topic: people who talk during movies. We've been to three different movies over the past week and EVERY TIME people have been chatting it up during the WHOLE MOVIE. Am I the only one who finds this very very distracting? I wish that I could calmly ignore the offending talker, but I find that I can really only focus on what they are saying and anticipate when the might spoil my moment next. If only I could block them out like J does! We saw Children of Men and it was great, except for the slightly-older-than-my-parents couple who would not shut up or even speak in a voice lower than their street voice the whole time. I was naughty and afterwards told them, "Silence is Golden!" I guess that is really not a very naughty thing to say, but I feel sort of embarrassed for J, even though he didn't care, and it didn't really make me feel better. I just wanted... closure. Well, good luck. Today, during Perfume, some middle aged cow came into the theater and said, in a louder than street voice, "Oh there you are! We thought you went to see The Good Shepherd! We're in theater 8!" Afterwards, J and I discussed how we should have gone over to theater 8 and fucked some shit up! Heh. But I mean really, she was old enough to know better! The teens behind us obviously weren't, as they yakked during the whole thing too and kept getting up to get snacks (like 4 times each? weird!). One of the poor slobs knocked over her popcorn at least twice.

I am just too uptight to enjoy movies with most people on the planet! The man sitting right in front of us tonight was very still and quiet and for that, dear anonymous man, I applaud you. I realize that in times long gone the cinema was a place for a very different type of social interaction, but nowadays they play that "please be quiet + turn off cell phones" clip for a reason! Maybe I should just invest in some Paxil or Wellbutrin or something and give up the hatin'. Is that even possible for a Villain such as myself??

Ahem. Well, ok I guess that is enough of that! Time for some more Zinfandel. We are trying to learn more about really tasting wine and it is a little difficult, since I seemed to like the $8 Columbia Crest better than this whatever-it-is we're drinking now. Good for the pocketbook, but doesn't say much about my palate. I want to start a wine journal and be more scientific about it all. Any wine suggestions? Especially under-ten-dollars wine suggestions? We got this really yummy white the other night for about $17, and it seemed worth it until we realized it was smaller than a normal bottle! False advertising! Delish though.

Sigh. Ok, well maybe tomorrow I'll have those pictures I have had on my to-do list for a week now. Maybe. But for now, gots ta finish that Zin!

Posted by loyd0008 at 9:43 PM

January 6, 2007

Beastly Bernina

Here is a dress, finally!


I finished this thing whilst I was home and have just gotten around to shooting it now. Like the posing-on-a-chair bit? So fashiony. Heh. Just trying to keep my calves from looking as stumpy as usual, really. I wore this out to a late lunch today, but it is really too cold to wear it out in the real world for very long. Such is the way with all my dresses. Sigh. I have at least one long-sleeved planned, but I'm not sure if I will have enough fabric (black silk noil... nubbly and very nice!) to actually make it. I ordered a couple of patterns from Lanetz Living last night and looks like they just shipped. I can't wait! A cute shirt-dress and some little mod numbers. I want to start making things that are more Anthropologie like. This means leaving my clothing comfort zone and wearing combinations that may be somewhat strange to me, but I want to try. More accessories, fancier shoes, more eccentric prints: these are my clothing goals (of course, they must fit under the larger subheading of Awesome.)

I am thinking of buying these shoes. Wouldn't they look great with the little gold sakura in the dress above? J is wary of gold shoes, but I think that these aren't too gold. They may not, however, be gold enough. What they are is on sale, so I might get them just to be a little daring.

I have mostly cut out a second dress from a nice Asian-inspired blue fabric in a wave pattern. The first one was actually rather traumatic to make so I haven't been chomping at the bit to start another. The pattern itself was easy-peasy and the fabric likewise. I even got to use the swanky Rowenta iron that made ironing fun. So fun it was creepy. The machine, however, was another story. I have constructed stage directions for a play:

To Sew a Dress for Christmas: a Melodrama in One Act

scene: Villain's Parents' Dining room, mostly-rural Virginia

Villain: This sure is a fancy machine. I, however, prefer the presser foot to be a touch higher so the thread is easily accessible.

Villain's mom: [incoherent screaming]

Villain: What?

Villain's mom: You weren't even listening to me! [storms off]

Villain: [cry]

So, that is how part of my Crimbo day went. Fun, huh? She really hates that machine because it is so complicated, but doesn't seem to want to get rid of it. Ok, sure, just torture us all with your misery. Thanks. I ended up using her good ole reliable Kenmore and it worked just fine. Anyone want to buy a $5000 Bernina for cheap?

Being back with J has been nice. In our semester apart I have discovered this: living apart is really sucky. And boring. Also, boring. Not that we do anything extremely exciting or special, but even just going out to dinner is more fun when you have someone who makes you snort-laugh. Right now we are both playing on our laptops and not really saying very much, but it is still nice to just look over and see him and then force him to sing a funny song whilst I make up imaginary words. We have been sitting on the couch, mostly. J is playing Final Fantasy XII and I am knitting. I am just about finished with a sweater in Southwest Trading Bamboo! It is a great yarn and very quick. Just have to weave in some ends and put a row of crochet around the neckline and voila! I might decide that it needs 3/4 sleeves, but the cap sleeves are so cute that I don't want to fuss with them.

Also, J and I made a gingerbread house. Smells so good, but I know it is pretty much inedible. It was a from a kit and was sort of cheating. Next year's will be from scratch and more grandiose, methinks. There is a sweet little candy shoppe not too far from J's place that will provide us with all manner of yummy decorations. These were shiny, but not so tasty. How do you like that droopy eye? We gave it a little bindi decoration in the center of its housey forehead so that it might provide us insight into the mysteries of habitation when I move. Have I mentioned that moving is horrifying and hard and if I didn't want to get out of Minnesota so badly I would avoid it at all costs? Sigh. Can't I just fax myself to Boston?


Last night we had a nerd-fest marathon. Well, I say last night, but we didn't really wrap up until about six this morning. J and I went straight to sleep and got up at noon which, honestly, isn't all that later than our normal time to get up during vacation. We only have until the 15th, so we have to live it up! I have messed up my internal clock a bit by drinking a little too much (which equals about 2 cups) of yummy tea that I got in good old VA. Nothing finer than a hot cup of blackberry sage and a chocolate covered graham cracker. Yum!

I have to start doing a little work for a Research Assistantship I am doing this spring and really ought to make another dress before school starts. I have to write my dissertation prospectus this semester, but so far it seems like it will be pretty laid-back. I am auditing a film class that has a lot of reading, but I won't have to write anything so that will be ok. Additionally, I will be starting to fence again. Yay! All this eating is starting to take its toll, so it will be good to have some physical activity in my weekly routine instead of just dragging myself to the elliptical or saying screw it and doing my cute-but-not-really-cardio-intenstive belly dance video. Well! I think that is enough for one afternoon. I hope that the new year is treating you kindly so far. As for me, I think I will have another chocolate covered graham cracker...

Posted by loyd0008 at 4:50 PM