Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Catching Up with Some Young and Talented Gals...

I'm just about over my cold and work travel is winding down. So, I've got lots of catch up blogging to do.

But wouldn't you know it, Blogger seems to be having a really bad hair day and is not allowing me to upload photos with it's usual ease.  BUT in the interim let's catch up with some other sewists...

Ready to Shine Fashion Show (from the Kingsway Mall FB Page)

Do you remember those awesome young sewistas working with reader Jodie K on a fashion show project for their school?  Check out this video featuring all the schools and contestants with their garments in progress.

Well, the Ready to Shine Fashion Show took place on April 25th, and shine they did, raising $26K for full day kindergarden for their local school district. Here's a short article in the local paper about the event. 

Look at the super fun skirt that Jodie K's team created! I'd totally wear it. (Sadly, this is the only picture that I could get to load. The others are linked from their online sources).

Very on-trend with the ruffle
Anyway, I know you join me in congratulating Jodie K's team on their work. I bet they all go on to lots more stylish sewing adventures.

And hopefully, I'll be able to show you more of my own adventures once Blogger rights itself.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Therapeutic Sewing - A Cold Remedy!

No sooner had I said that there was a light at the end of the tunnel with work (and related travel and stress) than I came down with a cold. Blech.

But a day of convalescing at home gave me the energy and hours to spend some quality time in the Craft Lounge yesterday. And I am absolutely thrilled to tell you that my fetish top is now looking MUCH more respectable and lady-like.

I took the front bodice piece and converted it into two pieces with a princess seam instead of one piece with a dart.

Original darted bodice

I did this by looking at a different pattern in my stash that had a princess seam bodice. I used the pattern pieces as a rough guide for how the curve should look and where on the armscye the seam should fall. Then I traced off new pieces, adding in a seam allowance and eliminating the dart.

Altered princess seam bodice

I cut new front bodice pieces - the center from faux leather and the sides from ponte - and got back to sewing. I've never done this sort of pattern alteration before, and so was pleased with how easily the new pieces went together and lined up with the existing pieces.

I'm nearly done and the top is looking MUCH better. It now has the feel that I was initially going for - edgy and chic. One immediate and big improvement was not having darts ending at the bust point. Whew!

Preview of my less risque top!

I have just a little bit of hemming and finishing left. As soon as I'm done, I'll share some new and improved photos and a review.

I've always sewn to relieve stress, but this was my first attempt at using sewing as a cold remedy. It seems to have been highly effective. What about you? Do you sew to cure what ails you?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Comfort Baking

I know I've been missing in action for the last week and posts have been light for the last several. Too much work is to blame. But there's a light at the end of the tunnel, and soon I'll be back to sewing and blogging more regularly.

Tuesday night, I arrived home in need of comfort; it's been a rough week on many levels. Something warm from the oven was what I needed. So, I baked myself a very quick chocolate cake. It was mixed and then baked right in the cake pan. The recipe is from King Arthur Flour (click here).

Weeknight dessert!

I iced it with a ganache made of  1 1/2 cups of chocolate bits melted with 1/2 a cup of half and half.

There is something about baking that I find intensely calming and comforting. By the time I was cutting a slice of cake, I was already feeling soothed. Next time I'll add a bit more cocoa to the cake batter. But other than that, it was the perfect weeknight cake and just what the doctor ordered.

What do you when you need to give yourself a little TLC?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Madam Clio's House of Pain: Fail, Fail, Epic Fail!

Or Another Cautionary Tale About the Danger of Faux Leather

Oh my. I do not quite know where to begin with this project. The unexpected results are pretty shocking and horrifying. So for those who faint easily or have a pace maker, you may want to just come back in a few days when I have resumed blogging about couture camis and knit hippos.  But if you want to persist in reading this post, perhaps we should come up with a safe word? Yes? OK. Just yell "bobbin" if you can't take any more torture. Here we go.

This sewing adventure started out so well...so innocently...

I muslined...

V8815 - Very Easy Vogue peplum top

I made changes to the pattern....

I added length and a little bust width

I picked nice fabric...

I decided to make the top with a faux leather front and ponte knit back with an exposed zipper. I'm loving the leather top trend. And peplums.  I was thinking it would be chic and edgy; the kind of top that I could wear with a pencil skirt, pumps and some great accessories for a night out, or maybe even to a work-related cocktail party or dinner.

(and this is a big but)

Sometimes the best laid plans go awry, and instead of chic and edgy, you end up with...

Madam Clio: My safe word is "bobbin"

...fetish wear.

Scandalous, I know. There's really just no other way to look at things: it is accidentally triple ecks. (Yes, I know that is not how you "spell" it, but the potential spam that spelling it right could attract is NOT something I'm prepared to deal with. As is, I'm shocked enough with the brazenness of this post. What can I say? I'm a sucker for self depreciation. And costumes.)

The neck, armscye and hem are unfinished, but I already know this is a disaster. One of the flaws in the pattern is how high the bust darts extend from the waist. I thought that I had added enough length above the bust to eliminate the issue I noticed in the muslin.  Apparently not.  And the faux leather is just simply too spongy/springy to really press flat at the dart point. So... umm...

Bulls eye! Yikes!

...the top is basically anatomically correct. Really, really correct.

It's worse in person. Trust me. And that is, of course, in addition to the stretch faux leather's natural painted-on look. Oy vey. Could this get any worse? Stretch was not a good option for this application.

Of course, the kicker is that the back is fantastic with a great exposed zipper.

Exposed zipper back. Alas.
As is, this top is not good for anything but a Matrix themed costume party or Comicon. (This would make an awesome Trinity costume, right?)

So I'm thinking about whether this top is at all saveable  - I love the back!

One possible option is to change the darts into armscye princess seams (thus eliminating the, um, unsightly bulls eye problem). I could keep the faux leather center front and make the two front side pieces from leftover ponte to tone things down a little bit, but still keep the leather feel that I wanted. 

OR I could buy more ponte in a fun color or print to make a whole new front. Although, I'm not much into prints. 

OK, peeps, if you have not yelled "bobbin" yet and are still with me, please voice your opinion. What should I do here? Oh, and if the whole thing makes you nervous and you wish I would stop, I guess yelling "bobbin" in the comments would be instructive. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Clio is away :( Hippo comes out to play! :)

Clio has left the cold East Coast for the relative warmth of SF and Phin has a hopeless case of writers block/brain cramp, so I (currently known as Phin's Hippo) have decided to make a brief cameo. :)

WazzzUp! Hipp-o hooray, ho, hey ho!

Quick bio:  I'm 8 inches tall, 9.9 oz (fully stuffed!) and very soft (pleasing blue shade of merino wool) .  Likes:  Game of Thrones - especially the dragons! - The Walking Dead, and really bad creature/weather/disaster features on the SyFy Network. My favorite song is Hipp-o Hooray, by Naughty By Nature, although they sometimes change the words for main stream audiences.

Nothing like a little TV to pass the time

Dislikes:  None yet, but I'm still searching!

Where are those Dragons?  This Game of Thrones is sooo confusing!

Did I mention I like Dragons!  Wonder if that Daenerys girl could spare one?  Hmm, maybe Clio could make one? Oh, the possibilities!

Just hangin with my buds, the Trample Herd, and waitin' for Clio

BTW:  We really wish a Cow (preferably a Holstein) would join our little crew.  We think it would be very smart of Clio (hint, hint) to order extra yarn for the next baby gift that she'll be making (nephew-to-be due around Labor Day), and maybe make a pair of black socks for Phin while she's at it from the extra yarn from the cow's spots.

Anyway, thanks for having us! Have a great weekend and Clio will return to her usual programming shortly.

PS - She decided to chime in below:

The knitting details (from Clio): This is yet another stuffie from Susan B Anderson's Itty Bitty Toys book. It's from the section on what to do with leftover sock yarn (heavens knows I have plenty of it!) What is interesting about this pattern is that you actually hold 2 strands of fingering yarn together and knit on size 5dpns. It took a little adjusting, but worked really well. This is a self-striping wool from Knitpicks, but my mind is now all lit up with ideas on combining two different colors to get an interesting effect. Other than that, this was a very easy project and knit up quickly. It seems that Phin and his Hippo have big plans for my knitting projects, although Phin has cleverly avoided blogging by making Hippo do it. Sigh. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Frosting Shots Winner, Photobombing and Pocket Thoughts

Last weekend, my ten year old nephew and I made his mom a birthday cake - devil's food cake with a stabilized whipped cream frosting and chocolate dipped strawberries. Mmmmmm...  but that's a post for another time since we have some housekeeping today.

Gratuitous Birthday Cake Shot

First, thanks for your thoughts on pockets. It seems like we fall into a few basic camps - curvy ladies who hate extra bulk at the hips and love purses, those who have jobs/lifestyles that make pockets a practicality/necessity for carrying what you need for work or life, and those who just think pockets are plain old fun and a good place to stick one's hands - I'm guessing that this group tends to favor pockets that also add a design element to a dress or skirt. That said, we all seem to agree that pockets in jeans are a must! So, there you have it. 

Next up: the results of the "Frosting Shots!" giveaway.  Lingerie is one area where sewing your own is almost always less expensive than comparable RTW.  No wonder there is a lingerie binge going on in the sewing blogosphere! Anway, Phin and I did the drawing last night - analog as always.

And the winner is:

Congrats Ann!  Shoot me an email!

Last, no doubt you've noticed the knit hippo photobombing the giveaway winner picture. You see, I'm going to be in San Francisco for 36 hours for work from tomorrow to Friday morning - a crazy trip where there will be no time for any enjoyment. (Sigh. No fabric shopping or meet ups or blogging). BUT, I have been promised that there will be an all-too-rare occurrence happening here at Clio & Phineas: a post from Phin! 

Yes, it is true. He has promised me a post about the new friend that I knit for him who already shows a keen interest in photobombing and jumping in general. So, stay tuned!