Monday, January 2, 2017

From Seuss to Seuss

Hello friends and fans,

I have periodically come back, written a new post about my life, told you all I'm back for good, only to revert them all to drafts a few weeks or months later.

I guess the truth is, whilst everyone else was complaining that 2016 was the worst year ever due to all the celebrity deaths and political happenings, 2016 was actually the worst year of my life, ever.

And I've had a pretty hard life overall, to be honest.

But, in the words of Buddy, the "King" of Real Estate, "in order to be successful, one must project an image of success at all times", so I don't really like spilling my guts anymore. I suppose a little bit of bile here and there is okay.

A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with yet another illness, only this one causes weight gain and makes it very, very hard to lose weight. As my abdomen swelled, my clothes became tighter and tighter, and all of my beautiful clothes you see on the pages of this blog became reminders of how fantastically shit my existence has been. In a fit of tears, confusion, and desperation, I chucked all of my handmade dresses into garbage bags, and dropped them off at a charity shop.

I felt really alone. My body expanded two dress sizes in three months, and I didn't really have the money to just go buy a new wardrobe. Even if I did, there was nothing to buy in my size in stores that I liked. Considering I'm still in the range of "average weight", I cannot even begin to imagine the kind of discouragement this must cause for people much bigger than me. I didn't have the time or money to be making dresses, and even if I did, all of my existing pattern collection wouldn't have fit me.

This was two years ago. I've managed to lose a little bit of weight, so now I'm only one size bigger than I was. I'm able to use my patterns so long as I make the seams really tiny, but so far it's working in my favour. I moved to Japan in March of last year, but after becoming personally disgraced, I moved back home and sewed my first garment in almost a year a few weeks ago. I don't have proper pictures of those skirts, but I do have some crappy iPhone selfies on my Instagram.

Seeing as the Christmas dresses I'd made a while ago were a hit, I decided to make another one for this Christmas just passed. I used a Dr Seuss 'Grinch' fabric I had in the garage.

I hope you all had a wonderful "Grinchmas".

It's going to take me a while to get back on my feet. It's been seven months since the incident that would change my life forever, and I still have a form of pneumonia from it. I go through periods of strength and resilience, followed by a couple weeks of brokenness here and there. I've been allowed by my psychiatrist and psychologist to take a break from life, which I've been very grateful for, but I can't afford to laze around and stagnate. I'm hoping to return to university this year, work hard on my little 3 year old clothing brand, and work even harder on my comics and illustration work.

I'll also hopefully have some better pictures for this blog.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Celebrating Seuss with a Dress

Oh my gosh I actually made something. Still trying to wade through the waters of my odd life but at least now I have time to do something that truly makes me feel good about everything - sewing.

This is the same Very Easy Vogue pattern I used back in like... 2011? But I changed the skirt completely, making it 3/4 circle instead of a gathered square. I put pockets in it, yay!

Please excuse my dodgy photos, but Melbourne has been bucketing for the last week or so almost ceaselessly :(

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hooker Me Up With A Sweet Dress

A week or two ago a friend of mine was shocked to hear that I had not seen 'Cry Baby', a fabulous take-the-piss greaser flick by John Waters starring a young Johnny Depp. So off to her house to watch it on VHS on her old Rank Arena television. Talk about old skoolin' it!

While we were watching, a particular character (that of Traci Lords) got my vote for most orgasmic dresses. Last time we went to Lincraft I had spied off a white cotton with red spots but couldn't justify buying more fabric, especially seeing as I'm supposed to be doing Finish Me February. After seeing this film and gathering more dress inspiration, I couldn't help myself.

 I made a mix of two of the dresses I liked best:

I'm happy with the outcome, having pieced together various patterns to get the right kind of thing going, but I'm not sure the women of Melbourne completely agree with me. I honestly felt like Dolly Parton in 'The Happiest Whore House in Texas' or whatever the film is called. Women looked at me in disgust as I traipsed around my local shopping center. People avoided me. Men, on the other hand, were more than happy with my appearance. The best part was when I bumped into one of my mother's hardcore Christian friends who barely acknowledged me. I was totally ignored at the post office until a nice man named Walter came to the counter and said "please excuse Bernadette, I think she's just jealous of your spotty number".

In fact, I put on the dress today for the purpose of taking photos and as I was getting into my car, my neighbour's daughter pulled up, saw my appearance, and told her children to overt their eyes and not to say hi to me. What. The. Fleck.

I think I should start taking care with my pattern placement
My sexy face
I honestly can't see me making anything similar any time soon. I've named it my 'whore dress' and it took too gosh darn long to make. It's a totally hot dress though and I'm happy I made it.

In other news, I arranged a party last Sunday at 1am for the following day. Nitty and I dressed up as pirates and got our rum on.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Martini Dress

It feels good to finally make up a fabulous fabric find into a fabulous dress. It's perhaps not as sexy as I was hoping but eh, It does the job.

Look at dat slit! Reinforced and everything. Butterick 5032, a 1952 repro pattern. 

It is actually ridiculously comfortable. Great pattern. I wish that I bought the pattern as a size 12 (I bought a size 14 before realising I am actually a 12 in pattern size land) so I just did mega big seam allowances.

It passed the fly-kick test.

I'm pretty happy in the end. I'd like to pair it with an orange belt and handbag!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I Like Aeroplane Jelly

This statement is true. Although I prefer it when it's mixed with 1/3 vodka.

Hurrah! I love making up new patterns, although this one's been out for a couple of months, still relatively new in the Vintage Vogue line. Vogue 8789 is a gem, by far the easiest Vogue pattern I've ever dealt with. But I did make a few modifications.

I was excited to make the v-neck (which is incredibly simple with this pattern) and anticipated a giant circle skirt from this delightful fabric, however when I was cutting out the pieces I realised to my dismay that the skirt was yet another gathered rectangle! This simply will not do!

So I have added my own circle skirt, put the zipper in the back rather than in the side, and I pretty much didn't follow the instructions half the time.

I did my zip a bit differently and it looks a lot nicer than the ones I usually do. With enough practice I'm sure I'll perfect it eventually.

The fabric was hidden away on Spotlight's clearance table at $4 a meter. Having never seen it before I'm assuming it was something randomly found in a big clear out of the dispatch area or something. I grabbed 4 meters and was surprised to see the next day the whole roll was gone. It really was too cute to pass up and I'm so glad I got it when I did!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Spotty Grey Skirt

Hurrah! Something for myself! Finally! It really has been too long (dinosaur dress was totally the last thing I made for me).

About two months ago a lady came in to work and asked me about rock n roll skirts, figuring that judging by my appearance I would have expertise in this area. Lol.

She needed monotone fabric, preferably something that'd slot in nicely with the other ladies' outfits in her dance class, so I suggested spots as opposed to the various bolts of fabric she had in her hands. I pulled out some grey taffeta with black spots from the clearance table, and she fell in love. I cut her 3 meters and fantasized about making myself a skirt from the same fabric, but to my dismay when I rolled out what was left, there was just over 1 meter left. Poo.

Following this, my manager had put out some new taffeta, and lo and behold there was a grey with black spots! But instead of screened on, the spots were fuzzy! It was only $5.99 per meter more expensive than the other one, but seeing as I'd need a bit of it decided to pounce as soon as it went on special.

Weeks and weeks went by and no sign of a sale on the taffeta, but thankfully we had a big 30% off all fabric sale and I snatched it up.

When I got home and gleefully showed my mother my new purchases, she was less than impressed, pointing at the giant mountains of fabric in the back room, taking up the entire dining table, chairs, and spilling out of boxes galore. I looked at my payslip and realised since July I'd made roughly $6.5k from working weekends, and I honestly have not much idea where that has all gone. I'm assuming to my monstrous credit card and of course my fabric crack habit. I've promised myself to not buy any more fabric until I have used up the majority of fabrics I already have. This will be interesting...

Anyway, here's my skirt!

Sans petticoat

Oh, Natalie, always the performer

Can you see the fuzzy?!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dino Dress

Okay before you read the rest of this, press play on this:

And here is the finished dinosaur dress. I posted a picture of the work in progress last week on Facebook and it was rather well received.

Very simple dress, indeed. I used the bodice of Simplicity 4070, but made a few more changes.

Remember my candy hearts dress? I used the same bodice pattern but didn't do a cut out.

The first change I made was to make the back and neckline quite low. Then instead of an A-line skirt I cut out a 3/4 skirt for extra twirling goodness.

And that's kind of all I have to say about it. I made the bias tape myself (as for some reason it's hard to find orange bias tape...?) and I have on hold enough of this fabric in the blue colour-way to make a doona cover for my bed. Where I come from, we call it a 'doona' but you may know it as a 'duvet' or quilt!