Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sewing, Sleeping, Shingles.

In that order. There has been blog silence because I came down with a lovely case of shingles... on my face. FYI if you even suspect that you are getting shingles, get yourself to a doctor in the first 72 hours. There are antivirals that can cut pain and recovery time greatly. I chalked my extreme tiredness and rash up to a raging case of pms and didn't go in until it hurt to touch my scalp. I still got the antivirals, which did help, but I think I was already nearly at the peak of discomfort, though, it could have been much much worse—shingles on the face/scalp can affect you eye. Luckily, mine did not... well, except for the extremely attractive scabbing I've got going on in my eyebrow. Lovely.
I thought I was on the road back to 100%, but started to feel quite tired again. I decided to keep going to bed early and taking naps when I need them. Shingles can take a while to get over (the internet tells me 2-4 weeks and I think I'm looking at the whole 4 weeks—I'm coming up on the 4th week now), so it's best to just take it easy. 

That being said, I have not lost my momentum with physical activity. I've managed to keep up with my 1800 minute challenge thanks to this lovely website that I am in no way affiliated with but like so much that I am sharing it with you.

I started the advanced 8 week class schedule a couple of weeks ago and really like it. Fitnessglo is an online fitness class. For $12/month (15 day free trial), I have access to all classes at home and I don't have to waste time going to a gym. There are work outs for all levels (beginner to advanced),  time availabilities (10 to 60 min) and work out type (stretch, strength, cardio, sports drills etc, etc, etc.). I thought that after P90X and turbofire, I would find that this didn't push me enough, but yesterday's workout was incredibly challenging (nearly killed me) so I've changed my tune.

To be honest, I've only ever completely finished one round of turbofire and a round of Chalene Xtreme. I crapped out of P90X with only 2 weeks left because of sheer boredom (and the hour workouts are just too time consuming). Fitnessglo is great because I never have to do the same exact class so I'm never bored, and, though you can do as many classes a day as you want, the 8 week program averages 40-45 min/day so I'm not killing myself—resulting in a much less rampant appetite. It's a much better balance for me personally.

As for sewing, I've been working on two costume dresses for Summer Players:

The one on the left is almost done. I finished the back of the overskirt at the zipper incorrectly and need to fix it before I call it officially finished. I got hung up with the instructions for the dress on the right and had to get some clarification yesterday with the costume designer. I'm sorted out now and will hopefully be able to finish it this week. I don't have to hem them (done at a later date) which eliminates the part of construction where I usually crap-out in enthusiasm. As fun as these are to put together, I'm really looking forward to some selfish sewing. There's a pile of projects that I've been accumulating in my head and I managed to buy more fabric yesterday... all for actual planned projects I swear!

Butterick 5505 View B – I found some really nice vinyl for this.
NewLook 6697 View C or E (Short sleeve - no ties) – in a dark green/purple/gold paisley)
Sorry, no fabric swatches because I'm too lazy to take pictures and besides it's in a prewash at the moment.

Armed with some fitting knowledge from Trena's blog, I feel like I might be able to make this dress without resorting to flinging it across the room in a rage half way through. Plus it looks easy enough that it's won't be a huge time-suck in the event that it doesn't turn out. My fabric is quite stretchy and one review from PR said it ran big so I'm going to measure carefully and might go down a size from my usual 12. I also picked up some clear elastic in anticipation of some boop-gapeage-avoidance. If you've made this let me know how you found it.

I've also recently picked up some interesting fabric from Ikea to make another (this time hooded) Minoru.
I'm hoping to do magical things with pattern placement. 

Next time I post, I hope to have the costumes done and some other projects ready to post—but I make no promises. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pattern Testing the Winter Street Dress

I have always wanted to be a pattern tester, and this last month I got my wish twice. Both lovely makes and this is the first of them.

The Winter Street Dress

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: "I don't wear a lot of dresses". Sitting in an office all day with a bunch of dudes that are 8+ years my senior doesn't inspire trying in the fashion department. I wore this on a day that I had a meeting. It's super comfortable and I can see wearing it in the next few months as the weather warms up. 

The fabric is a very stable knit that I found at a church basement sale for something like $2 or $3 for about 3 metres. There were a number of flaws in it but this dress doesn't take a tonne of fabric so I was able to cut around. It was originally slated to become a bomber jacket, but I'm glad to have it as a dress.

I made the size XS according to my measurements. This pattern is true to size and my adjustments reflect my usual changes and those that were expected considering it is drafted for a larger cup size.


1. First off, this pattern is made for a much larger bust than I was blessed with. That translated into too much fabric from arm pit to armpit. I did your basic sba for a non-darted front.
2. My usual broad back adjustment. I've shown two methods I use depending on how much I have to add. I used the second method in this case and added 5/8".

3. I added back 3/8" to the side seam on the front under the arm tapering to nothing at the waist. 

Pattern Changes:

1. Flounces don't really fit into my lifestyle. I love how they look on Deepika's polka dot version, but try as I might, I'm not that girly. So, I lengthened the sleeve to 3/4 length by extending the sleeve seam lines by 3 5/8". 

2. Pockets! I traced around my hand to get the shape and sewed them into the side seams. They are two big and the openings are a touch too small. I'll correct that on my next version. 

3. Neckband: I made mine 3/4" wide. 

Changes for next time:

1. The waist on this is too high for me and thus the length is a bit short. It's still wearable and the fabric disguises it a bit, but it's throws my innate OCD spidy senses out of whack. I can probably add two inches, which after talking to Deepika about it, makes total sense since she is a petite and I am not. The dress I made for my mom a while back had to have a petite adjustment made to it which was just about that same amount. 

2. Make pocket changes as above. 


Super comfortable. I can eat in this dress. I have never been a fan of the tulip shaped skirt for myself, but I love it here. I want to make another with a cap sleeve, or sleeveless. Hell, I could even give the back a more racer-back shape if I was going sleeveless. So many options!! In my mind, it's not just a winter dress. It should be called "Super Comfortable, Easy to Sew, Super Great Dress".