Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Cut My Hair: And I Like It!

I am one of those women who hates getting her hair done.  I'm never really comfortable in a salon. It seems strange to have someone focusing all their energy on me and I get intimidated and shy.  Plus,  my hair is stick straight and kind of puffy and it only really does one thing (look vaguely straggly), no matter how it's cut.  Because of that, it seems that no matter where I go, no matter how much (or how little) I pay, I'm never completely satisfied.

So... I picked up the scissors and cut my own hair.  And you know what? I don't hate it.  All I did was trim my bangs and sort of angle the rest of it into a basic pageboy, but I am super happy with the way it came out. 

I'm loving how easy it is to style: a few minutes with the curling iron and I'm done!  I haven't tried hot sticks or roller setting it yet, but I'm hoping it will come out well.

Unfortunately, I still need to have a bit of the length chopped off.  I'm not quite brave enough to try snipping at the back of my head!  I will probably get that done, by a professional, before Viva, but I'm quite happy with the way the front came out and I would (and likely will) do it again!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Joaniest of Joanies

Well, friends, guess what I've learned?  I've learned that I don't look all that great in shift dresses.  But I love a wiggle dress!  It doesn't get any more Joan Holloway-Harris than this dress.  She's even on the pattern cover.

The person who owned the pattern before me slashed the front and back bodice in half.  Luckily I bought some pattern paper a while back so I was able to trace the split pieces into one.

The only major issue I had was that there is supposed to be a lapped zipper and I just could NOT figure out the instructions.  I inserted the zipper in the usual way with no problem.

And the dress fits like a glove.  Literally.  It's like a second skin.  It's really comfy despite being snug.  Is it too snug?  I don't know.   A lot of my ready-to-wear fits this way.  I don't think I'd be worried about it being too tight if I'd bought it off the rack.  Anyway, I love it and the husband says it's va-va-voom fabulous.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Shifty 70s

Working on this 1973 shift dress drove me crazy.

All the problems are my own fault for being impatient and not following instructions to the letter, but still...  It is so frustrating when things don't work!  This one was tossed into (and retrieved from) my sewing trash bin more than once before it was declared complete.

It called for a stretch fabric and I used a woven poly gabardine with only a little give.  The sleeves aren't too tight (for once) and I can move my arms just fine, but the back neck curves up towards my hairline and floats away from my neck in this really strange way.  It might not do that if it was able to stretch properly across the shoulders.

My trusty Husqvarna portable died (permanently this time) mid-sew and I used the Pfaff, which does not have a zipper foot, to complete the dress.   ...why yes, I did attempt to stitch in a zipper with a regular foot.  In case you were wondering, it doesn't really work all that well.

I ended up sewing over the zipper teeth in a few (read: a zillion) places.  In other places the fabric is stitched so close to the zipper that it catches badly.  For a while there the zipper was completely un-usable.  Because I'd stitched it in with extremely tiny stitches and the fabric was fraying like a mo-fo,  ripping the whole thing out and starting over wasn't going to work.  Instead I had to carefully pick out all of the stitches between the teeth with a seam ripper and then tack the zipper down again.  Next time I haven't got the right foot I will sew the zipper in by hand.  I detest hand-picking but it couldn't have been worse than the amount of struggling I had to do to get the zipper to work.  It mostly works now and it doesn't look as bad as I'd feared.

Side Note:  All my seam ripping and crying made my husband feel very bad for me and, as usual he came to my rescue.  He figured out a way to make the old Husqvarna's snap-in feet work on my Pfaff...AND bought me a new vintage Husqvarna machine.  Yay!

Anyway, despite being snug in the shoulders and hips, I still had about 4 inches of extra fabric in the waist.  After re-curving the side seams and adding back darts it looks much better.  It was worth all the suffering and I like the way it came out, but next time when a pattern calls for stretch fabric, I'll use stretch fabric!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Edwardian World's Fair

Mid-January the hubs and I, along with our friends Kristen and Shelly, attended the Edwardian Worlds Fair.  The Worlds Fair is part of a weekend-long celebration of all things Edward Gorey capped off by the Edwardian Ball.  As usual I neglected to bring my camera but you can see event photos at the official website here.  (If you happen to be in Los Angeles, the Edwardian Ball is coming to you on February 19th.)

The hubs and I prefer the Worlds Fair to the ball as it is a bit more relaxed but just as fabulous.  People dress to the nines for both events and the costuming ranges from characters from Edward Gorey books, to Edwardian era styles, to steampunk, to 20s gangster/flapper, to general chappishness, to just way out and drool-worthy lush and louche fantasy ensembles.  More photos here.

The headliner was Professor Elemental and despite the sound system refusing to play his backing music with any kind of consistency, he was wonderful.  He had the crowd chanting along with Cup of Brown Joy.  "When I say Earl Grey you say, Yes Please!"  "Early Grey!" "Yes please!" etc.  Great fun.

I self-drafted a 20s-ish dress by tracing together a 1980s dress pattern and a 1950s blouse pattern and I think it worked out rather well for a first effort.

I should have graded the underarm section a little differently because it sticks out a bit and I probably should have finished the bottom of the drape instead of leaving the selvedge edge.  These are things I can fix at a later date though.

As usual it looks better on the dress form than it does on me.  Naturally I neglected to take any photos until late at night after we'd gotten home from the event.  It's really hard to pose at 1am when you are half asleep.