Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rah Rah! Go Harbor Hellcats!

In June, Sewer Slut Susan N. and I went to our first Santa Cruz Derby Girls (SCDG) bout. It was such a close match between SCDG and the Jet City Roller Girls of Washington and we lost by about four points. Total bummer. Besides sparking an acute interest in roller derby (so much so that we are now in training as SCDG Fresh Meat), we also noticed that the bouts had themes. That night in June was a Hula-themed bout and people (mostly bout helpers) were dressed in grass skirts, coconut bras, etc. Mmmmm.....costumes.... The program indicated that the next bout would be Tutu Army, so Susan N. and I went out and bought tutus. For last night, our third bout, the theme was Black & Blue. Black & Blue? What do you do with that? So we started brainstorming and came up with Black & Blue Cheerleaders, which sent me on a quest for a pattern.

I searched high and low for a good cheerleader pattern. I could have sworn that Simplicity or McCall's had one in their costume section, but nothing popped out in any of my searches. So I started expanding my quest and came across a random auction site with a vintage 1971 Simplicity pattern. I ordered it with a whole month between my purchase date and the bout. Plenty of time to whip up something fabulous, right? Well, the seller took her sweet time sending me the pattern and I only received it this past Monday...a mere FIVE days before the bout! Grrrrrrr. The pattern was cut, but intact. The previous owner had done the long-sleeved variation. I chose to do View 3, the blue and yellow cheer outfit with the varsity letter. I purchased some blue costume satin and black fabric with little white skulls for the inserts.

This was a really fun costume to sew, though I loathe sewing on satin, because of its tendency to pucker slightly at times. I have never put in a godet before (those are the little inserts in the skirt) and it was really easy. I love how those little white skulls contrasted with the bright blue of the rest of the outfit! I decided to skip the lining and just sewed a hem, because a.) I did not buy any lining fabric and b.) I was running out of time!

I was a little wary of the sizing of the costume (I figured it would be too small) and as I slipped it over my head for the first time I realized that it was just slightly too big. Whew. That is easier to fix. The only problem was that the neck was way too high and tight and the shoulders were too big. Hmmmm. So I decided to cut some of the neck away, which then changed how the pattern facing would attach. I figured the best bet at this point would be to just bind the neck with some white bias tape. After that was done, I tried the costume on again and realized that by changing the neckline, the dress had become too droopy in front. Grrrrrrr. I did not want to risk messing up the shoulder construction with more happy scissors action, so I put in the shoulder facings as instructed, but to fix the sizing and droopiness of the dress, I made little ties for the shoulders. (Thanks Susan N. for that brilliant suggestion.) There was one other thing I did not like about the fitting of this dress and that was the fact that you could not see the little godet things. Well, I did have that tutu.... So I wore my tutu/crinoline under the costume and it was transformed! And did I mention the best little finishing touch? Instead of a varsity letter, I went to a local Santa Cruz head shop and found a little black and white skull & crossbones patch. Yay!
And here we are together in full cheerleader regalia. Here you can also see the shoulder ties that I made and a better close-up of the skull patch.
And what is the next bout's theme? Superheroes! My costume is mostly complete...I just need a cape and some red tights.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Diaper Bag is Possessed by Sewing Gremlins

After all is said and done, my sister's diaper bag turned out to be a pretty snazzy specimen. Getting to the snazzy part, though, was quite turbulent.

After perusing pattern after pattern on the internet, I settled on Butterick B5005, View C. I used an upholstery remnant purchased at Hart's for the outer layer and a blue poly-cotton yard sale find for the inner layer (all part of catering to my sister's love of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle). I opted out of the optional iron-on vinyl coating and also ended up opting out of the interfacing. Now that I think about it, I think those pesky Gremlins showed up when I purchased the interfacing.

The pattern calls for something called "hair canvas" to be used for interfacing. Hair canvas? Never heard of such a thing and neither, apparently, had the clerk at Hart's. She directed me to some very heavyweight normal-looking interfacing. We both agreed to try it and she cut me the required 2 1/8 yards. While I was looking for the handle webbing, she came over with the bolt, looking a bit flustered, and showed me the price--a whopping $12.99 a yard! She had no idea and then said, "Well, I've already cut it..." Oh well. Turns out this was not even the sew-in type of interfacing that I needed, but some sort of double sided fusible thing. Ugh. I decided to cut it up and sew it in anyway. After about the third panel, I realized that this stuff was going to make the bag really stiff. Not to mention the fact that I would have to sew through all of these super thick layers, so I ripped the stitches from everything but the bottom panel. I did not want to use the recommended cardboard lining for the bottom of the bag, so I figured that this stuff would make a decent substitute.

So everything was going along quite smoothly with this bag and I kept scoffing at the one review that I had found of this pattern. Obviously that lady was not a Sewer Slut! And then I got to the point where the lining and the outer layer get sewn together. With right sides kissing, I sewed all the way around the perimeter of the bag. Then I turned it only to find that I had not turned the zipper facing toward the outside of the lining and it was now stuck between the two layers. Rip. Rip. Rip.

Okay, so let's try that again. Pin pin. Sew sew. Turn. Looks good. Let's zip it up. What's this? The zipper is UPSIDE DOWN? For about a full thirty seconds the only thing I kept saying was "Seriously? Seriously?" This was the last thing I did last night. It was 10:00 p.m. and I thought I would wake up and give it a fresh start. Then this morning, I decided that the best thing to do would be to just rip out the zipper, turn it around and sew it back in. I got about three inches into my seam ripping when I realized the folly of my thinking. This would be a near impossible task. It took me about 20 minutes just to sew up those three inches, so can you imagine how long it would have taken to re-sew the entire thing?

I turned the bag inside-out again, ripped the seams, flipped the zipper facing and sewed it up. It worked! Hah! Take that, Gremlins! I finished it up with some top-stitching, instead of understitching (because I still can't remember what that is!). It looks pretty good. What do you think:

And here it is filled with baby goodness. Looks like there's still space for some more things...

Overall, the bag is really nice. It could use a tad bit more support (curse you, hair canvas!) and slightly clearer directions. Or perhaps, I just need to follow them better. Case in point: At one point the directions wanted me to clip to small dots after sewing the pockets onto the lining. I looked at those directions and looked at the lining and thought, "Now why would I do a stupid thing like that?" Then I got to the point where I needed to sew it onto the bottom lining and realized that I actually did need to clip it. Ugh. Perhaps the problem with the zipper was the same. Perhaps I just ignored the step that said match circles or squares...I refuse to go back and check.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bibbity Boppity Boo!

In less than two weeks I will be in Florida for my sister's baby shower and I am frantically trying to finish all of these baby projects. This week's conversation with my sister revealed that she has ten bibs already and thinks more than that will be unnecessary and excessive. Hmmmm...I don't know about ya'll, but I'm pretty sure ten bibs will not be enough.

So I whipped out Sweet Booties again and enlarged three different bib patterns at the blueprint place. The three patterns of choice were "On the Town" (pg. 68) which features a boy bib with an applique tie and a girl bib with an applique necklace (I just used the pattern for the bib and ignored the applique; the bib from "Patchwork Set" (pg. 75) sans patchwork; and the bib from "Too Too Fun" (pg. 100) minus the tutu and slippers. I also chose as many different fun, kid-print fabrics from my stash and came away with sharks, watermelons, ladybugs, trains (courtesy of Slut Feed Dog), Spider Frog, zoo animals, plaids and stripes. For the suggested terry cloth linings I used old towels and I used snaps or hook-n-loop tape (a.k.a. velcro!) for the closures. I made her nine bibs, three from each pattern.

These were simple to make and I had a lot of fun choosing the different prints. I found more towels at a yard sale yesterday, so I think I'll use those with the remaining fabric to make some burpies (she only has a dozen of those--using the same logic as the bibs). I also have to make her the diaper bag and she also asked for a hooter hider for when she's nursing or pumping. Ack! More baby projects!!!!