Thursday, July 16, 2020

Slight Change of Plans

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So a lot has happened in the last couple of weeks. I'm back at work, I've taken on this massive project, and I just found out two days ago that I need to have gallbladder surgery. I have suspected for the last year or so that it was nearing time to have it done based on my family history. On mom's side, Mom, Grandma, and a cousin have had theirs removed. My sister has gallstones. It was inevitable. What I wasn't prepared for was how it manifested.

Two weeks ago my back started hurting. I was having a horrible muscle spasm from the middle of my back down into my right hip. It got so bad one night that I couldn't walk. I probably should have gone to the ER right then. The pain has been constant for two weeks, with varying degrees of severity. I finally went to the Dr, got an ultrasound, and it turns out I have a sludgy gallbladder. The pain has more or less settled where the gallbladder is, instead of my entire right flank, but I'm still having the muscle spasms. It sucks.

I've also decided to make a pattern change. My original selection was McCall's 7927. After the first mockup of the bodice pieces, I realized it would not look or behave the way I wanted. There's no boning, and the front pieces have no darts. Doing a FBA would probably be difficult and ruin the look of the dress.

My next choice is Simplicity 8329. It's out OOS at Simplicity and Joann's, but there are multiple copies on eBay. I think this dress will look and perform more like what I want. I can also more easily do a FBA on the princess seaming of the bodice. 

MY FABRIC ORDER FROM FWD FINALLY SHIPPED. *Cue squealing* I can't tell you how irrationally excited this made me. I now have 3x more fabric than I need, but that means more projects, right? Getting more than one garment from all this fabric would be fantastic, especially the silk georgette. The cotton voile is 60" wide, so I may be able to get a shirt or a sundress out of the remainder. It will be used for underlining, so I'll probably have a ton left.

Because I still don't know when I'm having surgery (find out this Friday) my project is on hold. If the pattern comes in and I can get the first mock-up made in time, I'll be posting a video. 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Dragon Dress: And Now We Wait

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I placed an order with Fabric Wholesale Direct, and somehow missed on the web site AND the confirmation e-mail that their current lead times are 45-60 days. I completely understand, and I am glad they are taking precautions to protect their employees. I suppose this is not a huge issue, because it's going to take some time for me to get the muslin made and fitted. I also need to get my cutting table moved. 

As soon as the pattern arrives I will begin the muslin. I know myself pretty well and I realistically know that it's going to take me a while to get ready to sew the actual dress, mainly because I'm back at work and will have a limted amount of time to work on it. Also, I'm a slow sewer and I procrastinate. 

Until next time...

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Setting Up the Sewing Room: Part 1

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My sewing room has been a catch-all since we moved in way back in September 2019. I FINALLY got it cleaned up enough to move in my sewing stuff. We still have way too much stuff in the house, but I'm working on that. My in-laws lived in the same place for nearly fifty years, and accumulated a lot of stuff.

It was BAD, but I know I am not the only person in the world who has a room like this in their house. 

Progress pics:

The before view from the door.

The wall immediately to the right of the door is where my machines are going.

I don't have fancy matching sewing furniture. It's a mish-mash of thrift store finds, an antique sewing machine for sewing surface extension, existing shelving, furniture that was already in the house, and an old dining table (32"x48"?) that I altered to make a cutting table. We have already thrown away, repurposed, or donated an entire room this size worth of stuff, and I'm about to do it again. 

This still looks like a hot mess, but I am making progess. I wish I'd done it while I was off work, but I planted a garden, started cleaning out the potting shed to turn it into a greenhouse, and painted the kitchen (mostly). 

The Dragon Dress: Tools and Materials

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This list of tools and materials is as complete as I can make it. There may be small things I miss along the way because there is so much to do. I will update with more information as it becomes available, so this blog post is a "living document" so to speak. I already had some of these tools in my sewing room, so some of these items may no longer be available for purchase.



  • Silk Georgette
  • Silk Georgette - purchased from Mood Fabrics several years ago that they no longer have. They DO have plenty of georgette in stock, but I got my particular piece on closeout and it's no longer available.
  • Cotton Voile
  • Rayon Bemberg Lining
  • Cheesecloth - WHAT? This is still tentative, and is a much cheaper alternative to the copper mesh tubing I want. I haven't decided yet. I think the copper might be easier to handle WRT unraveling. I'm going to dye the cheesecloth the color I want it and do some trial stitching to see how it handles. 

Beads and Beading Supplies
  • Seed Beads - I ordered from Fire Mountain Gems, and used some from my stash. 
  • Miyuki Tila
  • Diamond Duo - this sounds like a WWE wrestling team
  • I had some beads in my stash that I used. I'm not sure were most of them came from.
Embroidery and Smocking Supplies

Tools and Equipment
  • Gingher Knife Edge Shears - These may not be the exact pair, but I have several.
  • Brother Sewing Machine - Discontinued Project Runway model that I got brand new at Goodwill for half of the retail cost. I think it was a Christmas gift that someone returned to Walmart. It was unused and NIB.
  • Vintage Singer that belonged to my grandmother
  • Singer Serger
  • Self Healing Cutting Mat - this size covers the entire surface of my cutting table. I do a lot of quilting/rotary cutting so this is really nice to have.
  • Dress Form

Monday, June 29, 2020

Back to the "real world" and some thoughts

So much has happened the last three months. I don't even know where to begin. First off, this blog and its owner support Black Lives Matter. If you have a problem with this, it's probably best for you to just move on. #BLM We can and must make foundational changes to the way policing, education, and health care impact communities of color. 

If any of you have experienced the loss of a loved one due to COVID-19, you have my sincere sympathies. I spent the first few weeks of the pandemic in a low level of shock and a high level of anxiety. I have asthma, and I lived in terror that I was going to get sick and die. I still have that fear, but it has become white noise in the background of my inner dialogue. I was furloughed in early April, and have spent most of my days at home in the garden, only going out for groceries and necessities for the cat rescue. 

A few weeks ago I developed a 102 fever, body aches, and just generally felt like shit. The swab was negative for corona virus and the flu. I'm not 100% convinced the test was accurate due to the high number of false positives that have happened. At any rate, I slept for a few days and had an on and off fever for almost a week before it went away. Even though I've been masking, practicing social distancing, and washing my hands, I was really concerned about everyone I'd seen in person the two weeks prior at the grocery store, Lowe's, and the feed store. SO MANY people are not masking or practicing social distancing. 

I went back to work today, so of course NOW my creative juices are flowing and I'm motivated to start a new project. I've had two and a half months to clean out my spare room and get my sewing room set up. Have I? No, why would I do that? (Sarcasm alert)

I haven't moved any of my sewing stuff or my machines, but my SABLE yarn stash is everywhere. The spare room has been a dumping ground for the yarn, the few art and craft items I did move, and the boxes of my in-laws' belongings that we packed up to keep. My goal is to have that room sorted by the end of the week so I can at least go get my stuff and set it up. Because...

I know GOT is over, but I will never get over this dress/tunic. The moment I saw it I wanted to make a gown with this smocking technique and some coordinating beading. I may never be able to wear it anywhere, but I want to start attending cons and doing cosplay. I've never done any of that and it may seem strange that I want to start now at the tender age of 44. If the last few months have taught me anything, it's that I need to do the things I want to do NOW instead of waiting. The entire world has been flipped upside down, and there's no reason to wait. Do the things you love now. Make a change. Find a new job. Pursue your dreams. 

I don't know how the con/cosplay scene is going to adapt to our new normal, but I would REALLY love to participate. I'm tossing around the idea of posting videos to my YouTube channel as well.

For the dress I have chosen McCall's M7927.  The basic construction of the dress should be straightforward. There's no boning, underlining, or inner structure at all, just some interfacing. I may add some couture touches because hand sewing offers more options and a better control over the finish. 

There is so much fabric. SO MUCH. Right at 23 yds for the dress fabrics, and several more will be needed for the smocked pieces.

The top will have to be more fitted to handle The Situation uptown, and I may have to install a bra and/or a chiffon panel in the vee to somehow to keep The Situation from getting out of hand. The dress appears to be taped to the model's chest OR they used some sort of stick-on bra.  I'm exploring some options on how to make this work for my bustline, but I haven't decided what to do yet.

There are three layers of fabric (minimum). The lining will be a dark spruce green rayon bemberg, the main fabric is a bright green cotton voile, and the sheer overlay is this beautiful creature. This teal silk georgette will be dip dyed, with a gradient of evergreen, darkening into black at the end of the train. 

I also have a beautiful deep green silk georgette that I will be smocked in a scale pattern to lay over the overlay, in addition to using this teal, and of course beads and possibly paillettes if I can find the right shade. The scales will follow the gradient scheme, and accentuate and flatter the curve of the waist.

Because all the fabrics are relatively lightweight, I'm hoping the dress itself won't be too heavy. The addition of the smocked layer, beads, a built in bra, and any other embellishments will add to the weight.

The biggest decision I have to make is whether to use shapewear. I probably will since there is no boning or underpinning built into the dress itself. I will need to get it sooner than later, because I will base my measurements, muslin, and alterations on that shape. 

Another view of the type of smocking and embroidery I want to add. It's breathtaking. I haven't done hand embroidery or beading in quite some time, but this dress is supposed to look more organic, which allows for imperfections. Please take a look at the Game of Thrones and the Daenerys Dragonscale Galleries. Michelle Carragher is a goddess.