Sunday, August 26, 2012

New Idea and a Slight Buffy Spoiler (but not really because that show's 15 years old)

     I realized today that this blog is almost starting to turn the way of my ill-fated diaries, and I don't want to give up that easily. My original idea for it was to make it completely about sewing, but I don't really want to take pictures of half completed projects. But I'm also not a complete-a-project-every-single-day type of gal either, and I'd like to write more than every week and a half or so (I'm sure to get even less done  once school starts). And I guess I could share all my research and findings about sewing, but I want to do more than just post a bunch of links. AND I'm not really one to make fall palettes  or inspiration boards, and I could care less about keeping up with fashion. So I've decided, hey, this is my blog, I'll do what I want! So I'm pretty much going to be blabbering on about whatever else I want in addition to sewing. Let's just say it's the "Ditches" in these Stitches and Ditches, since lots of it's probably going to turn into whining anyway.
     Speaking of whining, I had the most craptastic morning today :/ On the way to work, I dumped half my coffee all over my pants; spilt water all over the place once I got to work; accidentally dropped a washcloth in the trash can; the men's room that I got to clean was horrendous (come on guys! I told my manager they didn't deserve a bathroom and she should take it away); my ipod was dead and had to suffer death by country music while cleaning; and I left my wallet at home, didn't eat breakfast, and thought I wouldn't be getting a ride home til 6.
soak in those healing powers!
     Okay, that was a ridiculous amount of whininess; I'm sorry. But you have to admit, it was a rough morning. But I'm actually in a really good mood now because 1) my friend covered my lunch bill 2) not only did the barista at the Starbucks where I was planning on bumming around not care if I bummed around without buying anything but 3) she gave me a free coffee! She's the best person ever, polar opposite of Hipster Barista! Awesome Wentzville Starbucks barista lady, I hope the karma police repay you with something awesome. A cup of black Starbucks coffee isn't really super expensive or valuable, but it was so incredibly nice of her! I even had a little coffee already since at work we can only give out coffee til it's three hours old, and there was some from 11 this morning that I relieved them of, but she still gave me awesome Starbucks coffee! I'm just really touched because she didn't have to at all but she did and it's great to see nice people. And also, hey! Free coffee! I should write her some fan mail...or sew something for her....hmmm
     Alright, now for something maybe a tad bit more on the topic of sewing. Many blogs I read are filled with projects inspired by tv or movie outfits. There's the Sew Cinematic sewalong and the Sew Weekly's had an Oscar and a Mad Men challenge, and I do believe they've had more of that type, but I can't find them right now. But I've tried to plan a project based on a tv outfit and honestly couldn't really think of any that really stuck. I've admired outfits as I've watched the shows, but never searched them out or made a good enough mental note. I love Zooey Deschanel's style though, but then I just ended up googling pictures of her to see her outfits, and I'd really rather think up my own creations that painstakingly search out a random cute dress I see Miss Deschanel wearing.
     I realized two seconds ago that I'm pretty much admitting to the world that I'm a pretty lame sewing blogger and fashionista-sewist. Whatever, at least I'm being honest. Aaaaanyway, I've been working my way through Buffy on Netflix, and realized that since I'm religiously watching the show, I might as well watch out for clothes I'd want to copy. And then I realized that until like season 4 Buffy's set in the 90s, and oh dear, 90s fashion...oh dear.
really Buffers? You gonna scare  Dru away with your shapeless hips?

But Oz still loves her :)

 I'm not a fan of overalls on non babies/toddlers/construction workers/miners. Really, even the construction workers usually can't pull them off. And how's Buffy supposed to open a can of whoop-ass in overalls? Willow's I can kind of accept, because she's the adorable bookworm. I myself am a bookworm and can't ever see myself voluntarily putting on overalls, but hey, the 90s. Actually, searching for that picture taught me that Willow apparently had a closet full of the things. K, acceptance revoked. And Buffy doesn't even seem to be enjoying the comfiness of her overalls. Then again, I'm pretty sure it's from an episode where she's all depressed because Angel wants to kill her and, more importantly, doesn't love her anymore. I'm not giving her a pass for them though because she wears them in a later episode where she has her Angel back :P
     So that was my Buffy fashion rant observation: 90s = coal miner style. Well, and David Boreanaz looks goooood in white!
even though I don't think he's posing as Angel here, I'm pretty sure it proves my point. and yes, the pic did need to be extra large.
 Holy StudMuffin McDreamy, Batman! That face AND he's got the Byronic hero vibe goin on AND they named him Angel? Why didn't Axe get him as their spokesperson?! You know what? I'd probably become more accepting of overalls if Angel/David Boreanaz vouched for them. It's pretty safe to say the man would look good in anything.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

third time's the charm!

     Ughblegh, zippers hate me. I just put a zipper in that cute little Simplicity dress for the third time...grrr. Although it was actually my fault. I decided I didn't need no 18 inch zipper; I'm not tall or anything, 12 inches is plenty!
     12 inches meant it couldn't zip the waist seam open. For some reason I didn't realize this until I was trying to step into it and couldn't get it past my knees. I figured no biggie, I'll just slip it on over my head. Well, I somehow got it over my head...I did not get it off over my head. I got it off by (rather ferociously) seam ripping one side of the zipper out. I was, as my sister put it, a slave to fashion. Hey, you live you learn, right?   So then I thought if I could just lower the zipper a couple inches I'd be fine because it had ended right at the waist the first time. I figured I could put an extra hook and eye at the empty space at the top...nope. Still not enough room for these hips. But at least this time I wasn't stupid enough to try it on like that again! See, progress.
approximately my expression when I break a needle
     So I just got the proper length zipper today and now I can actually try the dress on! Excitement! Now I just have to finish the neckline, hem it, and decide if I want to attach the sleeves or just make it sleeveless.
     I'm really happy the zipper went well this time though because I made a Tshirt today (1st time sewing knits!). I got ballpoint needles and a double needle for topstitching and everything and I got the shirt together pretty easily. Then I broke my only double needle putting twill tape in the shoulder seam. I got it yesterday! Gah, I was so devastated I just sat there and cursed for about three minutes straight. So zipper success was really a pick-me-up. I'm glad I ended my sewing endeavors for the day with a success.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mystery Fabric: Magic or Mayhem?

     I am a thrifty person. That's the nice way of saying cheap! I absolutely hate spending money. When I have to hand over large amounts of money, I take a deep breath and do it quick-- just like ripping off a Band-Aid. you have layaway? can i work the bill off? sell my firstborn?
    I do this quite often in the fabric store. Sewing isn't, after all, the cheapest of hobbies. It requires fabric, thread, zippers, pins, shears, patterns, a sewing machine isn't a bad idea; not to mention all sorts of other little odds and ends a beginner probably wouldn't dream of. Horsehair braid? Hem tape? Bias tape? Twill tape?!  GROMMETS? And holy crap, you're supposed to use different needles for different types of fabric?!
     Buying sewing supplies is a hard process for committed cheapos like myself. BUT.
     I do try. Cheap notions aren't a big deal; bigger things are opportunities to put coupons into action. Sometimes Hancock Fabrics has 99 cent pattern sales. I spring into action I tell you-- limit 10 per customer? I won't leave with under 8. I'm on the email list for Joann's and Hobby Lobby, and every couple of weeks I get a Hancock Fabric booklet with all sorts of lovely sale info and coupons. Sidenote: Hancock Fabrics has the best sale names and they have sales going on pretty much constantly. Seriously, Sassy Saturday Sale? (which I'm pretty sure is every Saturday) How can you beat Sassy Saturday? Anyhoo...
     Pretty much all fabric I buy is on sale/clearance. Scratch that. I never eva buy full priced fabric. In case you haven't inferred, Hancock Fabrics is my go-to sewing store. I don't know if every Hancock Fabrics is the same way, but mine has a bunch of folding tables grouped together with signs calling you to spot the sale or something like that.
I'll spt your socks off! I'll spot it so hard you won't know WHAT spotted it!
 I spot those bolts' socks off. I spot them from a mile away. I spot more bolts than someone watching a lightning storm. I spot them so hard they don't...know....what spotted.....them? OK, the point is, that's where I find my fabric. My cheap, wonderful fabric.
     Now some of that fabric is just ugly, and no one wanted it, so they're trying to get rid of it, duh. Some are just little remnants. Some have little flaws and stains. And some of that fabric is unidentified material that doesn't look half bad, to my eyes or wallet. Attached to the bolt is a note about unknown fiber content, which I'm sure correlates directly to that non-heart attack generating price. I have a bunch of this kind of fabric.
     As far as I can tell, knowing the fabric is important so you know how to take care of it/not burn it while pressing. As far as sticking to fabric suggestions for patterns, I use that for general guidelines of how heavy or stiff it needs to be.
$3 a yard?! the Wizard of Oz has tampered with these prices!
     So for me, mystery fabric is magical, hands down. Magical in that I get it for cheap. But I feel like more experienced sewers/sewistas/peeps who sew would frown on this mentality and say it's more important to have specific information about your material so you can determine if it's right for your project and take proper care of it.
     Is there some vital information I'm missing that makes mystery fabric untouchable? I really don't care too much about knowing exact fiber content anyway; I've seen burn testing mentioned as a way to determine it, but the thought of burning anything (aside from candles or tiki torches) I spent my dinero on kind of makes me cringe.
   The reason I've been pondering this is that I'm using a Mystery Fabric in my next project, Simplicity 1873. Hopefully my dress will be half as cute as Miss FlowingBlondeLocksandEightFeetTallLegs's. But you can bet I won't be wearing it with that little coy half-hint of a smile. Nosiree, I'll be jumping for joy if I can pull this one off.

Monday, August 13, 2012

What's Up, Buttercup?

What kind of blog name is Stitches and Ditches anyway?! Oh well, it sounded kind of catchy at 3 am this morning when I made it. 
     Please be patient with me, internet, whilst I try to figure this whole blogging thing out. Hopefully it doesn't turn out anything like my ill-fated diary attempts when I was little. I'd write an entry then forget about it for a year. And lose the key. And then find the poor book under my bed one day and pry the lock open using a bobby pin (Nancy Drew style!) and then repeat the whole process. But anywayyyyyy........
my 10 year old self
I've been thinking about starting a sewing blog for a while now, and since I have a pretty new laptop and shiny little digital camera now I can try!  
I don't know exactly when I became interested in sewing. My mom sewed tonsss of my siblings and my clothes when we were little so I've always been open to the idea of making clothes yourself. Then Stumbleupon took me to The Sew Weekly and I was immediately hooked. So many pretty clothes! Every week! I think I found Gertie through Stumbleupon too. Once again, hooked. She's hilarious and sassy and awesome and makes the most breathtaking vintage-y dresses!
so...much...sewing knowledge
It's crazy how many other sewing blogs I found after finding those two. Each one just leads you to more and more awesome sewistas! I'm like Hercules trying to kill the hydra; I'm all, "I'm just going to look at a few Sew Weekly posts." Then one of the posts has a link for some sort of awesome tutorial, which I HAVE to follow, and that tutorial will mention some awesome project or other. Which I could totally ignore, except they put a PICTURE of le awesome project, and it looks so legit and pretty and I want to make legit pretty things! So I have to check it out, you see. This can go on for several hours.
     Eventually I transitioned from obsessively reading sewing blogs to obsessively reading sewing blogs and actually, you know, sewing. I've made a couple of dresses and tops with varying levels of success. Hey, I can put an invisible zipper in and used bias tape successfully last night, so I'm not doin too bad, I think.
     So this blog will hopefully be an account of my sewing adventures. Wish me luck, blogosphere!