Monday, December 19, 2016

'Sover. ...Takeaways? ... Next!

While unemployed my 2nd time this year, I decided to check out a local group called the "LaunchPad Job Club". The facilitator/trainer is actually a trainer from the local WorkForce so she's able to give real advice and guidance on all things related to job hunting. 

At a meeting, she did a presentation all around the idea that once you lose a job, or have a major life occurrence, you have a process that should happen on your way to moving on and up. 

- Realize that first, it's over. There's nothing you can do about it, whatever the situation was (didn't get along with co-workers, company's view and future didn't align with yours, etc), you're no longer in that position. 'Sover. 

- Reflect on what the situation was: was there anything you could have done better? Is there anything you could look out for in the future to not get into situations like you did to make you leave/get let go? What did you learn from working there, doing your job, your assignments, working with other teams, etc. Basically, what experience, knowledge, growth items can you take with you to your next job? What are your 'Takeaways'?

- Prepare for what's next! Get excited for a new adventure, a new company, new co-workers, new friends, new challenges, all that comes with taking that next step! Stop being sad for what's gone and look forward to whatever comes next in your life! Next!

I personally have trouble letting things go, and was especially having trouble with having lost a long-time job (9 years) and then a new job I'd been excited for with all the new challenges and experiences I'd get to have, and got let go (after only 2 months) as it just wasn't going to be a good fit personality-wise.

I was looking for new jobs left and right, and getting very discouraged and depressed by not being able to find anything. After this presentation though, I think I was able to re-focus and calm down a bit. I have learned over the last few years the benefits of self-evaluation and just taking time to assess situations you've been through/found yourself in and how you got through it, what you could have done differently, etc, so this new mantra of sorts made sense to me!

As such, I wanted a little visual reminder, so I decided to draft a simple pattern and...

Do you see what I did there with the punctuation and the color choices? 

'Sover. - it's done, over, STOP thinking about it, period, RED
Takeaways? - think it over, you're getting ready to start moving again, but not quite yet... but question marks prompt thought/response, so, ? and YELLOW
Next! - Obviously you're ready to go! And exclamations promote excitement, right? so, GREEN


And with black outline/backstitching. It looks MUCH better with this, doesn't it? :) 

I then decided to go ahead and frame it as-is. I somewhat wanted to add some sort of border or flowers or something, and I still can later if I take it off the foamcore and out of the frame, but for now, I like the simplicity of these words, in the simple espresso frame.

What do you all think? Is this a mantra that you could perhaps use in your life? What other mantras have been strong/powerful for you in getting through tough situations?

Until next time, craft ya laters! :)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Broken and Magical - Unicorn Commission

I'm WAY behind in posting about this commission from last year but I promise I have a REALLY good reason!! As I was finishing these pieces up on a vacation my SO and I went on last year (I was behind on getting them done and out in the mail on time, so I had to take them with me to finish and ship out), and was going to post when I got back home, but that was the weekend my dad passed away so this project went completely forgotten!!

Anywho! This commission was based on the unicorn pattern here:

Pattern can be found here.

A shopper found my Etsy store where I'd posted a few cross stitch patterns as custom orders,  and found this "Lovely Unicorn" pattern from DailyCrossStitch.

She wanted 4 of these pieces, with 2 catches: 1) Add words - "Broken and Magical all at the same time." 2) Make each one different so she can give one each to 3 other friends as a group gift.

I was unable to fit all the words so had to shorten the second half, but I did "break" each unicorn in its own special way.

What do you think?

Here's the details on each:

Broken back leg:

Broken horn:

Broken front leg:

"Broken" hair:

And here's how the backs looked on average:

As I wasn't sure how she wanted them finished, and it wasn't something that came up in the discussion about the custom order, I left the backs open for her to do anything she wanted to do with them by just simply threading some floss through and tying them in a bow.

Unfortunately, I can only hope that she and her friends liked these pieces as she never did supply a review on my Etsy shop. Oh well, can't win them all, right?

What do you think? Cute? No?

Craft ya laters!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Watermelon Halter Dress - First Wearable (In Public) Garment!! : Part 2 and Reveal!

My last post shared my experience in sewing the dress from this sewing pattern:

I really liked this pattern, and it had a lot of firsts for me, but what I don't like so much is that because it only went so big on the bust (I pieced together the biggest size pattern pieces for the bodice, and small size for the skirt), the cup pieces aren't quite big enough to cover me, and so, don't drape as well as they should. With proper fitting bodice pieces, the waist/skirt would fit better I'm sure (since it would actually start where it's supposed to, under my bust, not still on top of it as it is in this version), and would give me better definition overall. This is a pattern/bust adjustment that I'd have to be able to do and don't know how yet, so that will just have to be something I learn later!

Awkward pose from the side to show you a little of what I'm talking about:

The pattern itself wasn't too difficult to read, I just had difficulties with new-to-me concepts (the peak on the bodice pieces lol is the main part I had trouble with).

If you are familiar with zippers, it's easy enough to sew into the dress. The only part I had trouble with, and I don't believe I did well with, was the top part where you're supposed to sort of fold down the top fabric to cover the top part of the zipper, shown below in last step: 

The hook-eyes are a hand-stitch item and I'm not thrilled with doing that part, but I also am just more paranoid that my stitching won't be good enough and will burst my top open. This is mostly only because of the size/weight of my bust area, that it's just a constant concern for me.

Speaking of the bust area....

The part in front, the neckline, was a little low, but it was manageable. This picture is just me trying to show where the pieces come together in front, where the pattern pieces actually line up, which is cool! What it harder to tell however is that I wasn't able to stitch them together fantastically, so the stitching is pulling a little at having to keep together! Hahaha

In fact, here's the instructions for this particular part, joining the two bodice pieces. Just tacking them together, then attaching bodice top to bodice bottom pieces, went ok. It stayed stitched together at least and didn't burst open on me, but I think it's because I went over and over that stitch line a few times, just in case!! Also, even if this stitching had come apart, it would have been a little awkward, but not so much since the top and bottom pieces would still have been stitched together well enough to keep the whole dress top up and on.

And here is the backside. It's not horrible, not so low that my bra would be showing too much, but as you can see, there is still an issue of my bra being a bit visible. I'm not sure if you can see this either, but if you look far left of the below picture, you can somewhat see the fabric bunching. See it? Know what that is? I had to use a safety pin to tighten up the sides so that there wasn't a big gap that left the dress super hanging in the back!! Even still, I was having to pull up the back of the dress fairly often to ensure my bra strap wasn't still showing.

Maybe some day I'll figure out how to take in sides/adjust a pattern so it doesn't do that... That's sort of the same thing though as learning how to do a bust adjustment.

In the meantime, the best I could think of to ensure that the bra strap wouldn't be visible would be to perhaps sew some sort of "belt loops" on the inside, back, of the dress. They would need to be wide enough so that I could put the bra straps through them, and that should theoretically help hold it up? That would also make it so I don't need the safety pins (or have to adjust pattern too much) and would then also not make the dress bodice so tight around my bust, worrying me about pulling at stitches too much.

Remember how I mentioned this dress has pockets....??

Yeah! Showing off my pockets. I'm SO happy this dress has pockets!!

These pictures may look weird, but what I'm trying to demonstrate is the tiny bit of gathering done under each bust side. I definitely did better on one side than the other, but they look similar enough, it's no big deal. Plus in normal interactions, it's probably really hard to see these details ;)

Now for the final reveal!!


Here is my full, wearable dress, with a circle skirt, pockets, and halter-top!!

Of course, you can't show off a circle skirt without spinning!!!

P.S. - I also got some tulle...

And I'm hoping at some point to use the tutorial from Sugardale Clothing's blog here to make a petticoat (shown below) to wear under the dress using the above tulle.

There you have it, folks! I have made my first, wearable (in public..since hubby tells me I can't wear my pj pants in public lol), piece of clothing!!!

What do you think? If there's still something I'm missing, or if you have any advice for next time to help make it easier for me, please share!!

I wore the dress once for a Toastmasters contest in March 2016, but I'm debating wearing this dress again since it's a little more revealing that I'd like, and the whole problem with the poor fit due to the bust pieces being too small, make it not that flattering.

If I do get a chance to make the petticoat though, I will share with you, so keep an eye out for that!!

Until then, craft ya laters!!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Watermelon Halter Dress - First Wearable (In Public) Garment!! : The Making Of

Yes!! I made something that I could wear in public!! I rawk!!

Heh, in all honesty, it was *nearly* ok for wearing in public...but I'll explain that in further detail later on in this post.

I was working a 2nd job at Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts 2 years ago, and so had visibility to a lot of awesome fabrics, not to mention an employee discount! ;)

One of the fabrics I saw there that I just HAD to buy was this wonderful watermelon fabric!! It's awesome and all, but I had to get a coordinating fabric so I got this green stripes/dots fabric as an accent. Don't they look just wonderful together!!

Now, I had to figure out what dress I should make with these fabric choices...

Ah yes! This one will work! 

Since I've never sewn a dress before, one of the first things I did, even before deciding which size pattern pieces I needed to use mind you, was to guess and use muslin as practice. I'm still relatively new to garment patterns since I've had more practice with, and am MUCH better at simple things like tablet cases and similar types of accessories, so I didn't want to waste my patterned fabric by messing up.

After I got the muslin pieces cut, I could pull out the pattern and try to figure out how everything is connected. I pinned together the bodice front top and bottom pieces, and the fun began!

Here are the pinned muslin pieces from one side:

And the same pinned pieces from the other side. See the gap? I couldn't figure out how to close it/stitch them together properly!!!

I guess I can figure that out later though. For now, let's pin all the pieces together and see if they're at least the right size!

From the front:

And from the back. Yay! I can bring the sides together, with folded over edges to allow for stitching the seam allowances for the zipper! W00t!!

Alright, now that I've confirmed I'm using the right size pieces, I have to cut all the pieces of watermelon fabric and then figure out how to actually stitch those points on the bust and get the top and bottom pieces together properly on my final piece.

I had juuuuuuuuuuust enough of the watermelon fabric to get all of the pieces I needed for the main dress. The only things I didn't have enough fabric for were the top pieces of the bodice, which is ok, because that's intended to be for the accent anyways, and the green stripes/dots fabric was perfect for that!

As you can somewhat see below, all that's left are just pieces, scraps!! I had to be careful, but I got everything cut out of this fabric that I needed.

Wanna hear something that really cracked me up though? I didn't realize until I was laying out the pattern pieces on my fabric, arranging them to fit so I can get it all cut out, that this dress pattern HAS POCKETS!!!! Yayyyy!!!!  I will say though, sure I was able to get all the pieces cut for the pattern, but I had to shave off a corner of each pocket to make the best of what space I had, but the pockets started out as pretty big anyway, so I wasn't missing much!

Ok, now to try and figure out how the top and bottom bodice pieces go together.

Let's see, what does the pattern say? Step 2 (Cutting was step 1) says, "Reinforce inner corner of FRONT BAND, pivoting at small circle. Clip to small circle."

Umm,.. what?

Then Step 3, "Pin BODICE FRONT sections to lower edge of front bands, matching symbols and having raw edges even. Stitch, pivoting at small circles, as shown." Ok, that doesn't sound too hard, that's what I did after all. Well, at least, the pinning of the pieces together. But what in the world is it talking about stitching, circles, and what now??

I read it over, and over, again. Looked at the pictures, looked at my pieces, tried to piece them together and imagine how they'd stitch together, but I just couldn't understand what it was telling me to do!

I was so clueless and desperate to figure out what the pattern wanted me to do, and not sure how to go about it, I took pictures of the pattern instructions for this whole part, took a bunch of pictures, created an Imgur gallery, and was seconds away from posting it on Reddit asking for help!! Before I did however, I decided to step away for a bit, sleep on it.

Once I came back to it, and re-read (a few more times), it FINALLY clicked!!

I went back to the actual pattern piece and really looked at it closer.... Hmmm, there's a dotted line, with a little circle at the top, just like the WORDS say....

Oh. I get it! I stitch along THOSE dotted lines!!

Here's what the pattern pieces look like so you can actually see the stitch line since the stitch line on the muslin is really hard to see:

I apologize, I didn't get a picture, so just imagine that I'd actually cut up from the inside of the point to the top point of the stitched "V".

When you do that, the pieces line up muuuuch better!! Why you ask? Well, when you cut into the corner up to the peak of that stitched V, it allows for the fabric to be more malleable when lining it up with the bottom piece.

Because it's funny by the way, before I figured this out, I tried stitching them together, and this is what it looked like. That's how I knew I had TOTALLY messed up and had to seriously re-think what I was doing, but the good thing about stitching vs cutting, I was just able to seam-rip the stitches out and fix the mistake! No big!

Anywho, this is what the pieces look like put together properly:

This looks much better than the first attempt, doesn't it?!

Next I went ahead and attached the bodice side pieces:

This is when I started getting really excited about how this was going to look with my fabric choices!!

After figuring out how to properly stitch the pieces together, and just for the sake of it, I cut mini skirt pieces and stitched them on to see how it'd sit on my tummy/hips:

I'm not thrilled about how it's sitting on my mid-section, but at least it fits and isn't too tight? 

At this point, I've decided I like the fit and sizing well enough, and work towards finishing the dress. 

I will share the final pictures, as well as my review of the pattern as being an intermediate level sewer, in the next post as this one has been a bit long and photo heavy. Aren't you excited to see the final result?!?!

Until then,......

Craft ya laters!!