Completed: The Psychedelic Snakeskin dress

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A fun, quick  make of the Sewaholic Yaletown, out of a dazzlingly-patterned rayon challis, which was totally an impulse buy/make and which will totally become a wardrobe staple.

Enjoy the photo shoot. Most of it is legitimate. In the rest…well. The dress is VERY persuasive. It rules them all and binds them, and brings them all through the darkness and binds them…

OKAY I WATCHED THE TWO TOWERS LAST NIGHT YOU GOT ME.

But seriously. It’s hard not to act up a little when wearing this dress…

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Completed: The knit galaxy dress

Some of you may know that, in a previous life, I was an astronomer.

(By the way, that’s the scientist who studies the UNIVERSE for a living, NOT the person who studies tarot cards for a living OMG stop asking me about my astrology background plzkthx)

I gave up astronomy a few years back, and while the intense pursuit of my education and professional training has ended, my love of the visuals has not. So when I saw this space-print knit at my fabric store, I pounced.

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The design is a mash-up of a few patterns, with a bit of Morgan flair thrown in, and is only a mock-wrap. The original dress was a true wrap front that had a slim skirt, but I wanted something safer, and I wanted the skirt to be fuller:

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…because it’s way more fun to twirl in. 😀

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There were more practical reasons for me doing this dress, though. As I mentioned above, I have a pattern that is a true wrap dress, intended for knits. I made it about a year ago, when I had no idea what I was doing, and it didn’t take long for the soft, drapey rayon knit to drag under it’s own weight and become so embarrassingly distorted in the front that I no longer feel comfortable wearing it. I mean, I don’t have cleavage, but I do prefer to make my money and my friends by more wholesome means…

So this time I did my homework and decided I would use it as a learning opportunity, and try to get better at working with knits. I sewed twill tape into the neckline to keep it from drooping, and used 3/8” elastic in the shoulder seams and the waist, sewn at a 1:1 ratio with the (unstretched) knit material, to stabilize the other two areas that tend to distort the most over time.

And now I guess it’s just a matter of wearing the dress a bunch, and seeing if my fixes work.

Aaaanyway, back to less technical talk! My S.O. came out while I was in the middle of photographing myself and laughed at me, because I was trying to look pretty and feminine…and this apparently is not a natural state of things for me. Of course, he ruined the mood, so at that point I gave up on trying to be pretty:

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…or particularly conventional.

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I am the universe. I AM EXPANDING AT AN ACCELERATING RATE.

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Really, I like to blame him, but the photos were turning out pretty mixed, anyway. Some days people like me just can’t manage to be pretty and feminine. I even took separate photo shoots over two consecutive days, at different times during the day, to try to get better lighting, or be in a better mood…

But I’ve also been sick, so surely THAT has something to do with it…

Ah well. I DID have fun, though, which is perhaps more than a lot of people can say. 🙂

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Completed: Pleather Colette Ginger A-line skirt

There’s a contest running on patternreview.com right now in imitation of the Great British Sewing Bee. I am swamped with unfinished projects, commissions, and getting a business off the ground, and I also contracted the flu–so I thought, “May as well participate!”

Here’s my entry!

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It’s a faux leather rendition of the Ginger skirt by Colette Patterns. The contest was to make, in roughly a week, an A-line skirt with a waistband, a hem, a zipper, a button/hook&eye closure, and a lining.  Contest is judged based on execution, creativity, photographs, and the write-up. One required photo is of the inside–which is good, because that’s where all my creativity happened!

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What you’re looking at is a composite image showing the skirt flipped inside out, to show the pink bias tape at the hem, and the hot pink pockets I added, BECAUSE POCKETS.

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Honestly, I jumped into this contest because I wanted to see how far I could get–not, as I’m sure others did, because I like A-line skirts (never wore one before!) or because I was at all interested in the contest prize. In fact, I was a bit irritated with the first part of the contest, because A-line skirts strike me as incredibly 90’s–they remind me of ultra-thin eyebrows, stick-straight hair, and spagetti strap tank tops. NOT my thing.

But the pattern, outside of a few drafting/technical issues (adding extra room specifically for the butt made it IMPOSSIBLE to cleanly install the back zipper, argh!), I was surprised to find that I actually LIKE this skirt. Make it classy with a white button-down shirt and a bit of red lipstick and it actually sort of fits my personal aesthetic. Not to mention it’s surprisingly comfortable.

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So: make another one? Probably not. But this skirt will definitely get some wear!

What do you think? Are A-line skirts classic wardrobe staples, or are they dated?

Gertie Pedal Pushers a la Cephalopoda

I got my hands on a copy of Gertie’s book for casual vintage sewing this past week. For those of you who haven’t checked it out, the book is a collection of what are commonly known as “blocks,” which are uber-basic patterns that can be relatively easily modified to become a wide variety of garments: a pair of pants that can be made into pedal pushers or shorts or wide-leg trousers, a basic straight skirt that can be made into a pencil skirt or an A-line skirt, etc.

As with most people, I have bad luck with pants. I also have weirdly bad luck in *sewing* pants–if I can get the crotch to fit, the hips are all wrong, or the seat is lumpy, or the front has smile or frown lines. I’ve read heaps of tutorials and blog posts about pants fitting and construction, and I’ve bought 3 patterns for pants, each from entirely different pattern companies. But it’s never panned out.

So when I got this book and saw the pants block, I said to myself, “Okay, Morgan, it’s time to learn how to make pants–for real!” Fortunately, I had some spare ULTRA AWESOME OCTOPUS MATERIAL laying around, and managed to squeeze a pair of pedal pushers out of it.

May I proudly present: The octopus pants!

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Gertie’s pattern both worked and didn’t work for me. The sizing is very different from mine–she goes for a MUCH curvier body than what I have–but I managed to make it work, more or less, by taking the darts out of the front of the pants, to allow for a wider waist. And since my abdomen is flatter than it is round, the loss of front shaping wasn’t an issue.

The good parts of the pattern were that the leg was SLIM–much slimmer than the legs of Big 4 pants patterns I’ve tried in the past. Which was glorious, really. Having to figure out how to take out 3 inches in the diameter of a pant leg, and whether to do it on the inseam or the outseam, and how to take it out of the crotch curve, is a freaking nightmare.

I was also stoked to find out that the pants were zip-up, without a front fly, because as I’m learning how to make pants, I didn’t want to make anything super complicated. The pants also fit quite well if I’m up and moving around.

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However, the crotch is STILL wrong. If I try to sit down it’s all right for a few minutes, but then it gets painful pretty quickly. The pants also sit all the way up to my natural waistline, which is WAY too high for me–not only is it a look I don’t think flatters my figure, it presses against my diaphragm and makes me feel pretty queasy and pained after about an hour or so. Definitely not pants to wear when sitting on a computer all day!

Fortunately, the pants are wearable to work, because I don’t have a desk job. I’m on my feet all day, and I took them for a test run after snapping these shots. Oh my god, QUILTING COTTON PANTS ARE SO COMFORTABLE. They’re easy to move around in, they breathe amazingly well, they allow for me to take stairs two at a time, and to bend down to *properly* lift heavy boxes without my underwear showing…so many good points!

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I also managed to figure out WHY the crotch doesn’t work, by comparing it to the crotch of a pair of pants I have that DO work–they’re Lucky pants, if anyone is curious, and I got them at a thrift store a few months ago, and they’re the best pair of pants I’ve ever owned. Turns out the back crotch length is a little too long and the front crotch length is WAY too short. So at least now I know how to modify my pants patterns in the future, and hopefully I’ll get an even better fit next time (I have some non-stretch denim to test my hypothesis with, and then hopefully it’ll be good enough that I can cut into the delicious black cotton-spandex twill sitting in my stash, waiting to become a pair of cigarette pants).

So what do you think about the octopus pants? Yes? No? Would you wear quilting-cotton pants?

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IN OTHER NEWS:

Remember my last post, in which I talked about how I was trying to juggle way too many things at once? I’m steadily progressing with all of them–I’ve been buried in immediate-deadline commissions, and steadily packing on a few longer-term commissions that will easily take me through November with a good amount of work outside of my part-time job at the fabric store. It’s been really nice to have the extra cash–a lot of it has been going toward this business venture of mine, which I hope to launch in January (more on that soon, I swear!), and the rest has been going to acquiring fabric for personal sewing projects. It’s nice to have the spending money again–my budget was REALLY tight after August.

Of course, having all the commissions means I have even less time to work on the business, so while I’m getting the money I need, I’m falling behind on my deadlines…

But I’m optimistic! I feel like this week will be the week that I can really start to sink my teeth into the first stages of getting the business prepared for the beta testers.

Anyway, with the extra material, I’ve got a bunch of small projects planned, so I should be able to post semi-regular updates here again. Maybe. Assuming I take time away from the business to do it…haha.