Friday, September 17, 2010

Dream job

After a long period of under-employment and struggling, both DH and I have gotten jobs within the past two weeks.  And, for both of us, they're those sorts of jobs that we both put as dream jobs as kids but, as adult responsibilities and expectations piled up, we put aside for more practical work.  Ironically those same adult responsibilities (mostly in the form of needing food and shelter) unexpectedly threw us each right into our secret dream jobs.  How cool is that?

DH will be working as a security guard.  In his mind, they're the heros who uncover the huge plot and save the day.  He doesn't watch the same shows I do - in mine, they're the red shirts who're the first to go when paranormal activity crops up or the bad guys need to cover their tracks.  Oh, well, since the reality is that he'll be guarding the security monitors and occasionally walking in circles around the building, I figure it won't hurt him to let him write his own script.  And I'm very excited about the decidedly attractive uniform he'll be wearing.  There's just something about a man in uniform!  Since he'll also start his work at a church while he's working the security job, he'll actually be multi-classing warrior/cleric which equals a paladin.  He's very geekily excited about that.

As for me, I just got a call back today and I'm officially a Disney Cast Member!  I'll be working at one of the new, redesigned Disney Stores (not the parks, yet) and have a cast pin and everything.  I'm ridiculously excited about this.  Right now I'm just seasonal but with a good chance of moving up to part-time.  I'm a massive Disney dork so this is just beyond all imagination for me.  I'm a cast member.  A CAST member!  Only Imagineers and artists outrank cast members, in my book.  And I'll get to spread the pixie dust on people on a daily basis and help people plan their Disney vacations and just make the whole world a tiny bit more magical.  How totally awesome is that?

It's funny because, without this recession and several tough collisions of events, neither of us would have even looked into these jobs - after all, the pay isn't that great and we're both working towards "higher" callings (him, ministry, me, academia) - but because of those frustrations we HAD to look.  Nothing else was working out.  And ... here we are.  In jobs we love with all the excitement of childhood dreams.  How cool and unexpected!

Friday, August 27, 2010

It never rains but ...

it's rather pouring right now.  Not literally (though that would be very nice - it's been a long, hot summer) but very much so figuratively.  We're in the application process for our very first non-student-housing apartment (eek!), we'll be moving within the fortnight, I'm still slogging through the little doll wardrobe, and I just got a rush order for four cotton robes.  Oh, and the semester started.  And these classes, while good, are not of the easy variety.  It's all stuff I'm very, very thankful for (especially the paying jobs) but, dear heavens, it's a lot at once!

My plans for filling out my own very pitiful wardrobe might have to wait just a bit longer.  Of course, since the time I DID have to do it was mostly spent cuddling the fabric and vacilating like mad over what it wanted to be ... I probably wouldn't do anything even if I weren't busy.  Naturally.  :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Finished Snorlax (pokemon) dress!


It'll get sent off to the birthday girl recipient tomorrow.  And I'll be able to focus on my own back-to-school sewing!  

It really was a fun project to work on.  The base is a simple dress made from dark blue denim weave cotton with just enough lycra to make it comfortable.  The cotton was heavy enough to help the body keep it's shape and not deflate.  The white is a lighter cotton/lycra blend.  The belly shape is formed by gathering the waist and pegging in the hem quite drastically.  I had to add a back pleat for walking ease since the pegging allowed for very little movement.

To form the face and tummy I simply cut out two of each piece, sewed the two pieces together, turned them inside out and topstitched them on.  So they're really just giant applique pieces.  It does make it all a bit heavy but it actually works with the dress to help it all hold it's shape.  The arm pockets are made the same way with the sides left open to make them into pockets.  I based the shape on my own hand so as to make them really work as pockets.  The face and claws are embroidered on just using the zig-zag stitch on my vintage Singer.  No fancy machines needed!  Well, except for the inside where I serged the raw edges.  Or came as close to serging as my serger will go.  I SO need to replace that piece of junk.  Fortunately all that is hidden inside and I doubt anyone will look too closely at just how bad those stitches are.  They'll hold, keep the fabric from unraveling, and stay out of sight and that's all they need to do.

Anyway, there it is, a wild snorlax ready for a new home!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pokemon Dress - the end stretch

Just posting some pictures to share the cuteness.  The dress still needs a zipper, the lining fully sewn in, and a decent photo shoot.  But it was a long, sometimes frustrating two sewing days and seeing things on Elanor always makes it seem worth it.  So thought I'd share.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tiny sewing

Along with the Pokemon dress (which is still in the same state we last left it) I got hired to make a wardrobe for a collector's Lady Lovely Locks dolls.  It was a fun assignment to take as they were some of my favorite dolls as a child and the collector gifted me one as part of the payment.  I'm absurdly happy to have my own Maiden FairHair again after many years of being too "old" for those dolls.  Growing up is SO overrated.

First order of business was to make up a sloper for her and my standard method of pinfitting one on doesn't work as well when the pins are as long as the doll's arm.  So it took some trial and error.  I did discover that tracing paper makes excellent doll pattern material.  And that it's far easier to plop the pattern down on the fabric and trace around it with a mark-b-gone pen than try to pin and cut.  Some things are so different at this tiny scale.

The white dress that I deliberately left wadded in such a way that keeps anyone from really scrutinizing it was my first trial and error.  But it showed me I was on the right track in some areas.  The green dress was another trial, no error (except for the absurdly voluminous skirt) and I'll be keeping that one for my own girl's wardrobe.  The pink dress is one for the customer.  I plan on eightiesfying it a bit with a tiny tulle cape and perhaps by gathering up the overskirt tulle with some tiny flowers but I'll admit I rather prefer it as it is.  

And here's today's work.  The customer asked for three casual outfits and these are two of the dresses.  I'll make up little aprons tomorrow so the dolls can be properly dressed for princessy walks in the garden and whatever else little princesses do in their kingdom.  The coloring books and cartoons I remember show them being very friendly with woods animals and perhaps even cooking a bit.  

Before getting rescued from the problem of the week by a prince who spent most of his time as a dog.  

There's probably something deeply freudian there but I'd rather leave my childhood memories unblemished by underlying implications.  

Returning to this project, it's been interesting and challenging to work with fabric at this scale and to try and quickly make up various outfits using the sloper I created.  It's been a good exercise for drafting, matching fabric to pattern, and thinking about how different elements will work together.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll remember to photo document a bit of the process if it might help others who'd like to make their own doll wardrobes.  It is fun!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Pokemon Dress - the muslin takes shape

One client fell in love with this adorable snorlax dress made by Betty Felon

(This, for those who avoided the addiction, is a Snorlax:)

Isn't that just a happy, fun dress?

I was excited to get this assignment because it's just such a great dress that's great for showing off and a fun but not difficult challenge.

I made up the muslin today and am pleased with how it's looking so far.  The skirt is a basic pencil widened to allow for the gathering at top and then drastically pegged in by about 5" on each side to form that bubble.  To help with the imaging I gave it a face by quickly cutting a piece of paper the correct (more or less) shape and drawing the eyes and mouth on and adding the little ears.  On the actual dress the face and tummy will either be pieced or appliqued on (still trying to decide which technique would work best) with a cute embroidered face and little pocket arms.  It's been a fun project to watch come together.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Robe done!

One down!  And, wow, I need to retake that in daylight.  But, still, done is done!  I tried out some slightly new techniques and only had so much trouble with my serger which is a bit of a record for our relationship.  The Lady Lovely Locks doll came today so I'll start in on that bit of fun tomorrow morning.  

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Robe nearly done...

Sadly lost some time when I sized the pattern UP instead of down.  I realized at that point that it was two in the afternoon and I'd only had coffee as nourishment.  That really doesn't give the brain enough for that sort of thing.  After a lunch break things went far better.  This poor room is a total disaster, I've only half unpacked, things are stacked everywhere, and I cannot, for the life of me, find my three clear rulers which is making everything just that much more difficult.  The two school rulers I've found aren't really cutting it. Sigh.

If I can make good time tomorrow I might just take another job that's been offered.  It would be a fun one - I'll have to share pics if I do try it.  And it would be a dress to show off (in a geeky sort of way).  Anyway, we'll see.

Sorry, I should be happier with where I am.  But, along with the missing rulers and chaotic room my serger continues it's disagreement with me about the definition of "working."  Namely, it thinks it shouldn't.  The upper looper tension is just not working, it's far too loose even at the highest setting, and that's annoying.  I wound up partially disassembling the machine and pulling out that tension bit (all of which was, admittedly, far easier than expected, just three screws and you're there) and discovering that, unlike my sewing machines' various tension assemblies, this one can't be adjusted without more tools and spare bits than I have.  Drat.  I'll have to break down and either get it to a pro or, preferably, just replace it with one that won't fight me from the very first day and decide in just what way to most cathartically dispose of this one.  I LIKE that option!

So on that cheery note, I'll go back to a little more sewing before calling it a night.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

From bored to overwhelmed

So in the last week I've gone from sad and bored and unemployed to overwhelmingly deluged with creative projects.  It started with rebooting my poor, neglected Etsy store (Cherry Lime) and deciding to try out the Alchemy section of the site, just for kicks.  It's a neat feature where potential clients put forth ideas of what they want and artisans bid to make them.  Fun idea.  Of course most shoppers think you can make miracles on walmart prices but those ideas are easily overlooked.  There are, however, the occasional gems.

My first accepted bid was to make a pattern for a loose, single shoulder summer dress for another seamstress.  Fun!

I sketched up some options to see what, exactly she wanted and, in the process, realized I really need to work on my sketching skills.  Oh, well, it at least conveyed the IDEA of what I was going for.
My client went with the wider strap, elastic waist, and full skirt.  We were off!

I decided to try draping.  After all, the Project Runway designers seem to prefer that so it can't be too hard, right?  Apparently my mind doesn't work that way.  After fiddling for too long with it, I gave up and went back to the way I know works - flat pattern drafting from measurements.  I determined how much room I wanted in the bodice, how wide the hem should be, and drew up a tall trapazoid from that. I added a single arm cyc using a mix of a curve of my own body (client and I had very similar measurements) and my already drafted (and 100% mine) jacket pattern.  Extend the shoulder seam the correct amount, add a gentle curve to connect inner shoulder to left side seam, check it all by pinning it up on Elanor (my dress form) and the basic pattern was done! All that was left was the addition of seam and hem allowances, the sewing line for the waist elastic, and basic written instructions.  The pattern was finished in time and hopefully soon I'll get to see how the client interprets it in fabric form.  Can't wait!

I wanted to test it out myself but the style is horrible on me and, frankly, the client wasn't paying nearly enough to do that much work.  Fortunately she knew that and chose to accept the risk.  And I have a new pattern of my very own!

And that was just the start ...

I'm currently sourcing fabric for a second client to make a custom robe and, at the same time, working with a third client to make ten adorable little outfits for her Lady Lovely Locks dolls.  I'm especially excited about that one as those were some of my favorite dolls as a child and I adore making small, beautiful dresses.  That will probably be my largest challenge these coming weeks because small clothes are hard (teensy seams!!) but so, so fun.  The client is giving me a lot of freedom in the design department so it's almost like doing this for my own enjoyment only I get paid.  And I don't get to keep the results - but that's ok.  My favorite part is creating, the finished product is just a nice byproduct.  I'd actually rather have the check.  So what a perfect arrangement!

And, of course, loving the actual INCOME after a summer of fruitless job searching.  This so beats sitting behind a desk!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

SWAP 2010 progress and plan

Returning to the blogging world. :)

I'm doing the SWAP again this year and, though I haven't made as much progress as I really should have (spending the first month traveling didn't help - or at least that's my excuse). But I have made some!

My colors are browns and peacock blues and a dash of lilac.  I should probably have a bit more but just doing brown rather than black as my base was stretching enough.  And I apologize for not having a storyboard.  My attempts to photograph my fabrics didn't turn out so well (bad winter light!  bad, bad!) and at this point I figure it's better to just show the finished items anyway.

I finished skirt #1 a long while ago and I've worn it so much it's already showing it just a bit.  Oops.  Still, very happy with it.  It started life as a very ugly long green skirt with buttons up the front and a gathered back waist band.  Not so much my style.  I tossed it in with a packet of Rit dye, disassembled it, then used it as my fabric for my favorite (and sadly out of print) skirt pattern, Simplicity 3754.  I omitted the pockets as I just didn't have enough fabric and just laid the under pocket piece on top of the main front piece and treated them like one.  I did keep one of the patch pockets from the original skirt and sewed it on - I like the reminder of what it once was.  

I have a second skirt in progress again using this pattern (what can I say, it's a great one) from a denim remnant I found at Joann's.  I'm having some unexpected fitting issues but once those are worked out I'll share it.

Also in progress are a cape, a faux two piece dress, and a knit shirt.  I hope to do some serious cutting this evening and get a wool jumper, silk shirt, and rayon shirt all started on.  Then there's the light wool fabric Liccarit gave me that so wants to be a boyfriend cardigan-like jacket.  I think I might use the Lydia wrap pattern I made up a couple years ago as the base and add some darts for fitting.  And change up the collar just a bit.  But change it to what?  Hm.  Must continue pondering.