Friday, January 25, 2013

Slowly Digging Out

(Random note: I resolve to try to put at least one photo in each post from now on. Otherwise, nobody reads.)

I was at a women-in-tech conference today, and I brought along a bag of handsewing. At some point I had to describe what I was doing, and describe my workshop/sewing nook environment, and the most apropos thing I could think of was that I had physically DDOSsed (Distributed Denial of Service attacked) my workspace. It was literally flooded with unfinished projects.

So! Today, while also talking about The Imposter Syndrome, Digital Art and Philosophy, personal data crunching, and better women in tech mentorship, I also worked on putting buttons and buttonholes in the back of my bodiced Regency petticoat that I abandoned a few years ago, and on whipping down the edges of the red jersey 1930s butterfly wrap top. I then started basting down the edge binding on the Regency short stays (not the transitional ones, but the narrow-back short ones) and then ran out of the right kind of thread and realized I'd left the spool at home. So I finished basting on the scallop edge facings for my 1946 dress.

When I got home, I sewed the scallops and notched and trimmed them, then turned the facings and started the laborious process of finger pressing them before I actually iron them flat. I can kinda see now why this was such a short-lived fad.  Also, I realized that the sewing machine that I just gave to Laurie has a specific stitch *just* for doing this sort of edging on hems and lingerie.  Whoops!

Next up: finish the other stuff. Hem the English Fitted Gown and give it some sort of closure. Ponder trimming options. Finish the edges of the butterfly wrap top. Bind the Regency stays. Re-tuck the Regency petticoat. Finish the cycling skirt/trousers.

The good news is that leaves me with only a few projects left half-finished on the sewing table: The leather pouch I'd started working on for Kentwell, some similarly neglected Tudor apron kits, a half-finished bonnet I will probably never decide to work on again, and then a pile of repairs.

Then I just have to choose what comes next.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Clearing Out

(NB: I seem to be stuck on gerund headings. I blame work.)

I feel like I've cleaned out a lot of *stuff* this weekend. I took three boxes of books to the used bookstore (two came back with me, siiiiigh), took the remaining sewing ones and a bunch of old fabric to the GBACG Open House, and re-homed Cricket, the beautiful (and absolutely underutilized) Singer 319w that I got over at Thrift Center in Santa Cruz, years and years ago when it was a huge purchase.

Tinkerer's aside: It's amazing to me how much I've learned about sewing machines from taking them apart. Specifically, it's amazing to me how much more I could figure out while messing with Cricket in Laurie's workshop. Because I took apart Lethe down to the component level, I figured out the tension release on foot up thing, which means that I figured out what that asshole sewing machine tech super-glued in place when I took Cricket in for service.  Right. I can probably fix this now, I just need tools and time (and maybe some industrial solvents).

Now I get to play with the shiny Singer 201 and all the lovely attachments... Ooooo, ahhhh.

I submitted two classes for Costume College 2013, which means I've now committed to going. I'll be teaching a basic sewing machine troubleshooting and repair course, and then a workshop on making lacing strips. This is partly because they're bite-sized topics that I can talk about for at least an hour, and partly because I think they're super useful things to know about. Also, because the class offerings last year were seriously stale. I mean we're talking classes I took the first year I came to Costume College, being offered again.  Yipes.  Time to step up, I suppose.

I'm still undecided about which sewing project I want to tackle next. I'm at this sort of stuck point because I know that I need to make a bunch of various styles of corsets, but that I run out of motivation after the corset is done.  So I've been procrastinating by working on finishing other projects. The lining is finally whipped securely into my English fitted gown!  Next, I just need to hem it and guard it.  Oh, hahahah, guards.  Dangit. I never do end up budgeting time for trimmings.

Am I doing the Sew Forthnightly thing?  No, because I have a job. (And because I need to go to the gym. And otherwise get my temple in order. Sewing takes a back seat this year.) 

I *do* want to do a German gown, though if I can work from my Kentwell Tudor bodies pattern I should be able to jet through it pretty fast. I *do* want to do more Regency stuff, because, well, it's fast and pretty, and after having so many projects linger in slow death, it's a tremendous confidence booster to have something finished. And maybe once I have a Regency kit, I can do cute spencer jackets and a riding habit. Hmm, hmmm... I also want to do some 18th century stuff, because I love those jaunty little jackets with the pleated peplums, and I have a set of the Felicite curtains that I bought just because they were cute and cheap.  So we'll see where this goes - that's one set of stiffened bodies and two corsets before I can even start.

Oh, and this is not even counting the fact that I have changed alignment enough that I need a new Victorian corset to do Victorian things...

Too many places to go, nothing goading me to go any one direction!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

CADD, or something else?

I spent part of today fulfilling a few promises to folks by posting about some of my favorite period books for Victorian reenactment. (There might be another post later if I dig up the ones on Renaissance stuff in the coming year.)  But then after much procrastination, I realized I needed to tackle the Dreaded Sewing Nook.

You see, it's been through a lot. The failed Titanic experiment, the Kentwell sprint, a huge pile of mending, then the 1940s dress, the partially-deconstructed cycling trousers, and a bunch of other stuff.  Technically, none of it is completed, right down to the fitted English gown that's been draped over my dressform since I got back from England. I even got *most* of the way done with my 1940s dress, and then stopped.  There are a bunch of unfinished partlets that are mostly even wearable. And a 1799/1801 transitional stay that I never finished. 

Why?  At some point I stopped feeling like I looked good in all of this stuff. (But that's a post for another day, and probably the other blog, in all reality.)  But honestly, while I'm making a resolution to become a content producer (unlike the previous year spent mostly in consumption-mode) I also need to get over myself and Just Get On With It.  No (wearable) project I've ever done has turned out exactly the way I wanted it on the first go-round, and whether that's poor fitting, or procrastination-related size change, or unexpected fabric complications, it's irrelevant. I just need to push through some of this, and get it done, and get it put away.

So tonight, I moved some things around, and took down the English gown, and started where I left off: stitching the black linen lining in.  Next up: hemming the sleeves, hemming the skirting.  Maybe putting on guards. Then figuring out a fastening.

And then I can move on.