Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fabric balance sheet 6/2012

I somehow had no time for sewing this month. I was visiting a lot of people and was sick. I spent some time with my family and visited the Blackfield festival. If I have to decide between meeting friends and family or sewing, I definetively know my priorities! But I'd like to get my sewing mojo back and I'm already working on it!

  • 1.5m jersey from *wollmaus*
  • 3.5m unbleached cotton
total damage: 5 m fabric

Outgoing (only counting finished projects):
  • 2.5m cotton for medieval dress
  • 1.5m cotton for pocket hoops
  • 1.5m jersey for the shorts wadder
to the rescue: 5.5m farbic

5m - 5.5m = 0.5 m fabric reduced from my stash this month

Still a very slight reduction, but I already plan to buy some fabric for the medieval clothes. Plus, there will be another Stoffschrottwichteln with the paople from Natron und Soda forum next week, so I will recieve some new fabrics in july...

Zombie Saturday - In case of an Zombie apocalypse...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Week in Review 26/2012


Tool "Schism". "I know the pieces fit, cause I watched them fall apart...."*sing*

As I thought, I was done with The taste of night - the second sign of the zodiac by Vicki Petterson right on that evening. This is the last part of the series which was translated to german, so with the next novel I will find out wether I like the original writing style as well...
Thanks to *wollmaus* (who lent me the first part years ago) I started reading the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer again; I'm currently at the second novel "The arctic incident". It's off with a good start, so the next two novels are already on the way to my stash!

Mac 'n Cheese tonight

Wow, half of the year is already over by now... And I'm by far not done with everything I planned!

Nothing. Too much work and the increased need for sleep kept me away from the sewing machine...

Color by COLOURlovers

...of the week!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Jersey shorts - not as easy as I thought

Let's start easy on blogging again with something I sewed before I became sick... I had a piece of jersey in my stash which I actually don't remeber buying, since it was probably several years ago. I vaguely remember buying it as the third fabric in a "buy two, get one free" stall at the fabric market and now, some time later, I have to admit it is kind of ugly. The flowers are very dense, I usually don't wear fabrics with white ground and clourfull print, but with 1.5m I just couldn't throw it out right away.

Instead I thought that I might try something new for me, harem's pants. I know they are comfy, but the one time I tried them on in a store I was seriously underwhelmed by the look. I searched for a tutorial online and came up with this. Easy enough, so I serged them together at the sewing meeting with *wollmaus* and Marysew... Boy, did we have a good laugh when I tried them on! ^^

Needless to say, I can now throw this fabric away. The pants look horrible, the fabric isn't nice either so no more regrets!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I'm not dead ^^

Sorry for the radio silence from my side, but I got a nasty case of Salmonella which prevented me from doing - well, anything! I will return tomorrow with regular posting...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Week in Review 25/2012


Disturbed "Down with the sickness". Since I'm either in bed or in the bathroom since wednesday, I found this song fitting. Besides, I like it very much!

Despite Trisha's opinion, I liked Feed by Mira Grant. Granted, it's not Pulitzer material, but a solid and tense zombie story... I liked the ending, but I think I can do wihout the sequel! Now I have The taste of night - the second sign of the zodiac by Vicki Petterson on my bedside table which I will probably finish tonight. My next books are already on their way, but amazon missed me so I have to get them from the post office. Which - right now- seems impossible to do...

Zwieback. And mozzarella bread - Never again!

Must get better for Blackfield tomorrow, must get better for Blackfield tomorrow, must get better ... *Mantra*

A mediavil dress...

Color by COLOURlovers

...of the week!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Medieval times

In October I will attend a medieval marriage together with the boyfriend. Only problem is, neither He nor I have anything medieval to wear (I had an extensive wardrobe that would fit, but I threw it out when I didn't wear medieval inspired clothes for 2 years in a row). So I'm happily sewing more stuff for him and me!
 Right from the beginning he said he will not wear tight pants, which reduced the options from 1000 possible years of fashion to about 300-500 years of the early medieval times. A short internet search gave me some inspiration and I decided to make the following:
  1. Underdress for me, plain cotton
  2. Overdress fro me, either wool or linen looking cotton (check the stash first!)
  3. A cotton wrap for my head (necessary if I plan to look anything medieval)
  4. Maybe an apron? But that would have to be decorated and should be left for last minute if I have time left
  5. A tunic for the boyfriend, also plain cotton
  6. Rus-pants (tight at the calves, wide above knee), wool
  7. A drape coat, wool
  8. and buy the shoes because I never made any and the only ones I can imagine to make may not be suitable for colder weather!
Today I will show you my under dress. It's made from Bomull (pure cotton weave from Ikea) and I used a little bit more than 2m. I had no pattern, but since medieval is not very form fitting and I sewed several of theses things in the past, it worked out fine!

It is by no means historical correct (cotton, machine sewn, serged), but captures the look pretty good. Let's call it historically inspired, right? ^^

Monday, June 18, 2012

Burda Style 7/2012

The July issue of Burda Style was very mediocre. I had a hard time to find three finalists, but on the other hand I was not as devastated by finding to many horrible patterns and fabrics. While this is certainly an improvement in comparison to last issue, I still would not spend money on this issue. Thank the powers that may be that I never ordered a full year of Burda Style since in the last 6 months I didn't see much stuff I urgently needed!

But let's focus on the "pretties" for a bit: You might be surprised there is no jacket pattern under my top three. But the only jacket pattern I saw (besides a cute little marine jacket which unfortunately was designed for baby and toddlers) was hideous.
My third place therefor goes to the little top on the right. The bow detail is nice and the whole top can be dressed up or down depending on the fabric you use; Silk would make it an evening piece, cotton batiste for a seaside adventure or seersucker for spending a day at the park...
Same is true for the second place, another pretty top. In this I like the rushing around the neck a lot. This too can be worn instead of formal blouse when at a meeting or - in coloured rayon- for a stroll around town. Looks like a good basic pattern!
While both tops are sweet and all, I like the dress pattern in the middle best. I like shift dresses in general and this one has short sleeves that are flattering for bigger arms. The rushing at the waist hides a bigger tummy and wide hip, so this pattern is a true winner!

As I mentioned in the beginning, I was neither impressed by the good and the bad patterns. While these "baddies" are nowhere as horrible as last time, I still have my doubts about this three patterns:
Third worst goes to the little mum shorts on the left. While they certainly look comfortable, the pattern is horribly unflattering for everyone without small waist and hips. Pleated waists always visually increase your hips, so if you are conscious of this area (and many women are), chose another shorts pattern.
The 20s dress on the right has more or less the same problem; Since this style draws attention from your (small?) waist, it leads the eyes to your hips. If you have wide hips, you will look bigger than usual with this style of dress. It is only flattering if you do have small hips and are overall really skinny.
But the winner is worse in my eyes. Who needs a trousers pattern with a hole in front of pants to show off undies/belly fat?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday cake - better late than never! ^^

I made some Wookie cookies again with white chocolate and macadamia nuts because the boyfriend finished his learning phase on thursday and now works full time at his company. He will bring most of them to his company tomorrow, but I stole some for my sewing get together with Trisha and Wollmaus:

I also brought a vegetarian woodruff strawberry brain with me, which tasted great despite the horrible look.


It was such a great meeting and I'm really happy to have such nice and creative friends! It also doesn't hurt that they love zombies and yummi food! ^^

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Zombie saturday - real life zombies

A parasitic wasp (Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga) takes control over the spider Plesiometa argyra and forces it to wrap itself in it's silk instead of weaving a net. In the sting, larvae of the wasp develop and eat the spider from the inside while it's still alive:

The green jewel wasp (Ampulex compressa) inserts neurotoxins into cockroaches which turn them into low responsive and not attentive zombies. Again, the wasp lays eggs into the live cockroach (Periplaneta americana) and the developing larvae digest the host.

The nematode Leucochloridium paradoxum infects snakes and not only takes control of their brain by forcing them to move into exposed areas. It also moves into the snakes eyes to form pulsating protrusions  which can be easily detected by birds, the final hosts of Leucochloridium.

If you think now that only insects or snails can be brain controlled by parasites, watch out: The parasitic protozoa Toxoplasma gondii (no cure for infection, about 70-80% of all mankind are already hosts) leads humans to takes risks easier and be more aggressive. Since the final host of the parasites are cats, one theory is that the parasite makes humans take more risk so they can be attacked and eaten by tigers or lions more easily...

Friday, June 15, 2012

How to wear a corset - part V

I understand that all in all my posts about corset buying and fitting sound frustrating; you learned that not everything sold as a corset actually IS a corset, that not every corset flatters every figure, that even flattering cuts might not work on your body or chest. And constantly I talk about custom fitting. I know how expensive custom made corsets are, especially if your build is not "normal" (in this case meaning fitting to the normed sizes the fashion industry relies on) or you need the sew mock ups and test wear the corset several times.This is why today, I would like to talk a bit about sewing a corset yourself!

This might sound intimidating at first, but if you have a working pattern, sewing corsets is much easier than sewing trousers or close fitting blouses. There are several options to get this good fitting pattern:
  1. Take one of an already fitting, bought corset. I did this once and have been using the pattern ever since! Actually, I think this might be the easiest (and cheapest, if you don't count the cost of the corset you initially bought) solution if you have a good fitting pattern at hand...
  2. Buy a corset pattern and adapt it to your body. This means that you will first have to sew a mock up corset from cheap fabric to check the fit and change the pattern according to your own build.
  3. Draw the pattern yourself. Again, this sounds scary, but is rather easy. Despite the pattern being made to your measurements, I still recommend a cheap mock up to check if it fits as desired.
If you have a corset at hand that fits well and you would like to replicate with other fabrics or decorations, you can take of the pattern with masking tape, paper and a bit of patience. Here is how you do it:
  •  cut the masking tape in 4cm (2 inch) strips.
  • place the strips around a seam line, surrounding the whole pattern piece.
  • now connect the outer line with enough strips to cover the full pattern piece.
  • carefully take the masking tape off (in one piece!, take care that every piece of masking tape is still connected!) and place it on a sheet (or two) of paper.
  • Cut the piece out of the paper
  • Repeat for all pattern pieces!
Here is an  excellent German tutorial, in case you feel insecure with translating my tutorial...

If you'd rather buy a pattern, I can highly recommend laughing moon patterns. These have options for all cup sizes, so they can be adapted pretty easily if you have an A or E cup! I can't recommend Simplicity or McCall's corset patterns because they are designed with wearing ease (so some extra cm/inches to make them less close fitting) and therefor need to be sewn 2-3 sizes smaller than your usual size. This might kill the proportions and be hard to do if you are already on the smaller part of the size scale. Laughing moon offers a pattern for under or over bust and even a male adaptation for the under bust corset!

The third option is to draw the corset pattern yourself. I have to repeat that this is not harder than cutting the pattern from a store and since you have to do a muslin anyway, this might also be the easier route to your first self sewn corset since it will probably fit your measurements better... I will show you two options: A widely used internet based pattern designer for elizabethan corsets and a drawing tutorial.
The pattern designer is rather self explainatory: You'll have to put your measurements in inches (don't worry, the side tells you exactly where to measure) in this nifty device here and the calculator automatically develops the pattern for you to draw. I have not tried this myself, but found raving reviews on the internet. Maybe I can do a short series on how to sew a corset next? I'd volunteer to try this pattern maker if there is anyone interested!?
If you want a more victorian corset (these are the more widely used once that you have seen in the first posts), you can follow the excelent drawing tutorial on this side. I have made (under bust) corsets this way and they mostly turned out nice. Maybe a little wide at first try, but nothing that you can't correct! Again, if there is interest in learning how to work this and how this tutorial compares to the calculator above, I'll sew up both corsets and show my progress on the blog...

Week in Review 24/2012


"If I was your girlfriend" - great sarcasm! ^^ I'm creeped out and rolling on the floor laughing at the same time...

I finished The scent of shadows: First sign of the zodiac by Vicki Pettersson, but the second novel has not yet arrived (amazon market place is much slower than amazon...). So I'm reading Feed by Mira Grant, which was a hand me down from Trisha, who said the book was horrible. Or at least highly unlogical. Until now it is a bit strange but still okay...

Cake and Flammkuchen

He's done it and I'm so proud!

Pocket hoops, skirts and a dress, mostly jersey comfort wear...

Color by COLOURlovers

...of the week!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How to wear a corset - part IV

Let's move on the the fourth part of this mini series. We already learned about the different types of corsets and how to determine the quality of a corset. After all the facts about fitting the corset by just looking at the laces yesterday, let's move on to another part of the corset which might be hard to fit: The chest! Of course, this only applies for over bust corsets, but nevertheless is an important part of the fitting. Nearly every picture take of your face will lead to people looking at your chest or collar bones, so these should look their very best in your corset!
In the picture above you can see my mighty sketching of the perfectly fitting over bust corset (Mad skills, huh?). You can see that the corset encases the bust but doesn't put too much pressure on it. Depending on the amount of tissue you have in the upper bust, you might not have a huge bulge of chest at the hemline, but the tissue should never be squished or hurt. If your corset reaches higher than the one in my sketch, it should have a slight inner curve towards your chest to keep the boobs from jumping out of you corset while walking/dancing/jumping.
If your chest is too big for the corset you will probably experience spilling. This is caused by the excess tissue which is not able to fit into the corset cup and which is hanging over your "natural chest". Sometimes you can have spilling only at the sides (which can be caused by a lesser extinct by large cup sizes as well, but disappears from readjusting the corset), sometimes it covers your whole chest. Not only does this look unappealing, but wearing a too small corset for your chest can hurt your tissue and cause discomfort. If possible, buy the same corset size with a larger cup, otherwise don't buy this corset!
If your chest is too small for the corset, the upper hem of the corset will stick away from your chest a little (upper arrow). Depending how large the difference between chest and corset measurements is, you can also have a little bit of air underneath your boobs (lower arrow). If the overall fit of the corset is well and you don't have the opportunity to buy another cup size, you can fill the lower gap with push up filling to fill in the corset. This one time there is another quite cheap solution other than "not buying"!

While all in all, fitting the chest of an over bust corset might not be as important as fitting the bodice (which might cause discomfort and bruising), it is still an important part for the overall fit.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How to wear a corset - part III

After discussing how to find a high quality corset and the different types of corsets in the first two posts of this series, today let's discuss the most common mistakes when buying and lacing a corset. At first a general introduction into lacing:

How to lace a corset
If you want to lace a corset please follow the scheme below. In my eyes, it doesn't matter whether you lace criss-cross or the way they did it in the picture (maybe tightening the laces is easier this way, but criss-cross looks nicer). It also is not that important how you close the laces (either by connecting them at the lowest pair of eyelets or making two knots keeping the laces from slipping through said eyelets). But you should take care to have two loops of lace in the middle eyelets i.e. where your waist is the smallest/ the waist of the corset is. It's not suitable to pull all the excess lace to either the upper or the lower corset hem, in the style shown below it is easier to equally distribute the lace and the pressure while lacing!

When tightening the laces in your corset, you should move the excess of laces to the middle loops. If someone else is lacing you, you can help them by holding those two loops tight and readjusting them while you are laced. If you are alone, don't fear: I find it easiest to hook both loops on a door handle and walk away from the door while lacing myself, thus keeping the loops tight. In the end you should make a tight knot with the two loops and think about the excess laces. You can either hide them by pushing them under the side of the corset (though this might be uncomfortable), make some more knots to keep them from tangling into your legs or make a nice bow. Unless you want to make a fool out of yourself, please refrain from pulling them to the front and lacing them there! This will cause strain on the back of the corset and may damage your outer fabric is the laces shrub against it when the corset adapts to your body!

Common fitting mistakes
Now that you learned how to lace your corset properly, let's discuss common fitting errors. Beware that many sellers (i.e. Hot Topic or Xtra-X) who don't specialise in corsets also have very little knowledge about corset fitting. Of course you might find a corset lover and fitting guru there as well, but this is rather an exception than the rule... You should also keep in mind that these people want to sell you something and might tell you that "the fit isn't that bad" or "the pain will go away after the corset is worn in". This is absolutely wrong. A corset should never cause you pain!
After this little rant, let's check how a corset should fit in the back:
 This is how the back of the corset should look like. When you buy it, you should still have an opening of about 1-2 inches (3-5cm), because the corset will widen after several wears. Your body temperature and the pressure from lacing will increase the width a little, so you should take care of that. Notice how both sides are parallel?  This means that the corset fits equally well for all body parts it covers. Since both chest and hips contain bones, there is not much tissue you can pressure away while lacing (although the amount of tissue increases with larger sizes). A good corset accommodates that and only decreases your waist!
As I already told you, a corset you can lace shut when buying will eventually grow too big with wear (or might be already from the beginning). If you can lace a corset shut, go and buy a smaller size!
Despite the corset giving in from temperature and pressure, I don't advise you to buy a corset which you can't lace up to 1-2 inches. A large gap doesn't look nice and might harm you as the anatomy of a corset is destroyed. If you think the gap might be acceptable, please check the side seams: If they don't rest on your side (where a t-shirt side seam would), you might put strain on your back and chest, leading to pain!
Even if the gap is the right size, you might still encounter some fitting issues. Pictured above is a corset which is too big at the chest. You can see how the back is not parallel, this leads to not equally applied pressure. In this case, the pressure from lacing will be increased on your hip and stomach. Please don't buy corsets that don't fit right!
This corset has the opposite problem: It doesn't fit at the hips. Since it is too wide at the hips, the pressure from lacing will be increased at your stomach and chest. This might bruise your ribs and cause serious discomfort. Please don't buy ill fitting corsets!
If you get the so called "fish" (i.e. the part around the waist is bulging out) between the two back ends of the corset after lacing, I have bad news for you: It is highly unlikely that this corset will ever fit. You remember that dress from 2 years ago in the back of your closet? The one you bought because "you are going on a diet and in 5 pounds it will fit"? Same here. You would have to loose weight/ cm/inches right at your waist to fit this corset, otherwise it will be uncomfortable and might lead to problems with breathing or digestion if the laces are tightened. Just don't!
 This problem is a rather rare case, but I would not recommend buying a corset which fits like this. You might find corsets like this in the reduced bin or get large discounts on it, when the manufacturer noticed this mistakes, but if the corset was not sewn right there is no way it will ever fit a normally build person! you can see how the two sides are parallel, but skewed to one side? This means that something in the production of said corset went wrong. Maybe someone switched a piece or left something out, but there is no way you can make this corset fit. Since the fit is off, it will restrain your breath and might bruise the lesser upholstered parts like hips or ribs.
If you experience this fit on several corsets, it might mean that you yourself are more asymmetrical than average Joe. Most people are slightly asymmetrical (my left side is a little longer), but this can lead to back pains or even headaches. I recommend getting checked up at a doctor's in case you didn't know about this issue before. While a corset can help with asymmetry and back problems, I advise you to only buy custom made corsets from a maker who knows about your issues and offers fitting sessions.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How to wear a corset - part II

Welcome to the second part of the "how to wear a corset" series. Today I would like to talk about different corset styles and which figure will look best in each style. Again, I'm using store pictures to demonstrate the styles. If you have any questions about how to find a good quality corset, please head back to yesterday's part I of the series...

Waist chincher or corset belt
This kind of corset covers the smallest amount of waist and really only draws in the waist area. Since the pressure of a corset always pushes aside the belly and - if available- subcutaneious fat, this corset is most suitable for skinny women. This is not to say that fuller figures can not wear this, but you might find that while chinching your waist, you might also have fuller hips, a protruding belly underneath the corset and fat roles above the corset, so be careful!

Underbust corset
Underbust corsets can but don't have to cover the hips but generally cover the whole waist up to the bustline. The upper hem can be curved or straight, both can be equally comfortable. Whiel generally this style suits most people, you should be aware that it makes your chest look larger (just visually, as your waist is made smaller). If you are already conscious of your chest, another style might make you happier!

Demi- or half cup corset
While an underbust corset ends below the chest, a demi cup corset reaches up to a third or half of the chest. This style flatters most women as it lifts the bust (good for the smaller chested) but leaves enough space for bigger chests as well. When buying a half cup corset watch out for the back as well since low back length may lead to upper back fat rolls.

Overbust corset
As the name implies, this style covers the whole chest. It can have a plunge neckline (dip in the middle) or more or less straight neckline. Overbust corsets are a bit trickier to buy since the width has to match your chest size. Not many sellers offer sizers for fuller or smaller chests, so I recommend to try this corset style and not buy it on the internet. Problems may arise from a lower back (see demi cup corsets) or a too full/ too small chest.

Vest corsets
Vest corsets can cover the bust or end as underbust corsets. They might have high backs up to the neck or just have a strap around the neck. Again, these corsets are a bit tricky to buy, since the strap has to match your figure. They are really flattering when fitting right since they frame your chest and face. For fuller chests I recommend the overbust rather than the underbust styles.

Dress corsets
Something not seen very often is a dress corset, a dress with an integrated corset. These can range from mini to maxi dress. Rather hard to find and depending on the style of integrated corset also with the same problems.

Male corset
Every year on WGT, I see men wearing female corsets. This is never a good idea! I understand that there are much more female corsets available, but a man is build differently from a woman. The waist sits lower and is not as much pronounced. The hips are generally smaller, leading to a horrible fit in this area. Additionally, the ribcage is bigger/wider which can lead to breathing troubles because of wrong fit. To cut a long story short, men should buy male corsets which are especialy designed with their frame in mind.