Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

I’m Finally Going to Do It

(Every time WordPress updates it has to tell me how the editor works, even though as far as I can tell, there’s not actually any updates to the editor itself. Who knows.)

What am I going to do? you ask. A fine question. An excellent question.

Another appropriate question might be…are you actually going to do it?

Well, I’m going to try.

All right, enough silliness. I’ve always wanted to make a cloak. I’ve had a pattern for ever (it’s this one, now out of print: https://www.etsy.com/sg-en/listing/615865963/simplicity-9452) and, well, they’re not terribly hard, in the great scheme of sewing garments.

Not sure I’ll actually use this pattern though. It looks kind of costume-y, if you know what I mean, and I’d like something that doesn’t look like I went to my nearest Spirit Halloween.

Actually, I’d like to do something with slits so you could stick your hands through if you’d like. Not arms, though. I’ve done that. Back in college, I made myself some Gryffindor robes to wear for book/movie releases. Fully lined and everything, black on the outside and maroon on the inside.

(Actually, that was an important lesson in fabric choice, because I went with basic cotton for the black but gabardine for the maroon. Gabardine is a much heavier fabric, and so the lining tended to stretch more than the cotton.)

And, because I am a glutton for punishment, everyone gets a cloak! I think the small, mobile ones can have ones made out of fleece. Fleece is a lovely fabric to work with–it doesn’t fray, it comes in every color under the sun, it’s typically affordable.

I would make adult cloaks out of fleece but I suspect that would look a little weird.

Wool is the traditional fabric to make cloaks out of, but I am allergic to wool. Also, wool tends to be very expensive. I mean, it’s like $21 a yard, and you need a lot of fabric for a cloak.

So fabric remains a sticking point. I may just go play with fabric at the store, which is not necessarily the best idea (hooray for spreading germs) but not sure what else to do. It needs to be something heavy enough to keep you warm, with proper swoosh, and not stretch out too much over time. Hmm. Maybe I should look at recommended fabrics on cloak patterns.

Maybe jersey would work. Jersey’s almost as easy as fleece.

I think I’ll line the adult cloaks too. Though that depends on fabric choices. I suppose I could make them out of wool (for a million dollars) and line them with something else, and then maybe I wouldn’t have to worry about touching it.

Have you made cloaks, squiders? Tips? Recommended fabrics? Do you own a cloak that’s super awesome and has a tag that tells you what it’s made out of?

In other news, I’m trying out an art box subscription, the first of which should arrive today. And I’m going to start doing a study of cozy mysteries in preparation for finally trying my hand for Nano.

See you next week!

Why You Need to Break the Mold

We’re doing a sewing analogy today, Squiders. Sorry.

So, at the end of last week I finally managed to get my patterns together. (Which was a pain in the butt–one pattern had to be traced off a sheet included with the book that included ALL the patterns on the same sheet, and the other one had to be printed off an included CD–in 21 pieces which then needed to be trimmed and taped together. Worst ever, why would you do that? The tracing is highly superior, in the end.) And I got all my pieces together, laid them out and realized…

…I couldn’t use them.

Well, I couldn’t use them as is. I remembered, as I stared down at all those pattern pieces, that I have to modify the patterns, usually extensively, because I am 9 inches taller than the average woman. I have to length everything. I have to change where the darts go. Sometimes I have to completely reshape a pattern.

And then I realized I probably hadn’t bought enough material for one of my planned shirts and had to go make myself some tea.

The same thing goes for writing. Have you ever read a book where parts of it felt derivative? Like, instead of spending any time on a character, the author just used stereotypes? Where, instead of focusing on a good-fitting setting, they just grabbed the status quo, even in places where it didn’t make sense?

It can be tempting to take shortcuts sometimes. To use the default setting, because it’s expected and familiar. To grab the usual bag of characters, because you know how they fit into a plot and why invent the wheel, right? And sometimes it’s okay to use the pattern. There are reasons patterns exist. They do work.

But it’s important to make sure you’re using the right pattern for the story that you want to tell, and if it’s not fitting right, it’s okay to modify it. The fit is what’s important, in the end. If your story ends up too long, too short, lumpy in odd places, too tight, too loose–all things that can be fixed with a little modification–your readers will notice. And next time they’re looking for a well-crafted, good fitting story, they’re going to go somewhere else.

Have you ever tried to use a standard bit of plot/setting/character and found it just didn’t fit? What ways do you employ to fix the fit?

(In regards to my shirt without enough fabric–because it turns out I need to lengthen it almost four inches–I think it can be salvaged by doing a sleeveless version. I had planned for elbow-length sleeves. I suppose I could go back and get more fabric, but the likelihood of the store still having the same kind in stock seems low.)

Progress! Kind of.

Last week we talked about focus, Squiders, and my lack of it lately. I am pleased to say I am getting somewhere now! Well, sort of.

I was somewhat waylaid bad a nasty bout of vertigo over the weekend, which was not fun and seems to be lingering a bit, though it’s mostly gone at this point. I’ve also got a bit of headache, but I’m not sure that’s related.

But other than that, progress! But not necessarily related to writing.

As we talked about last week, I had four goals for June, only one of which got done while the other three had minimal progress. As a recap:

  1. Write and edit a short story for an anthology, due July 15.
  2. Get to the conflict remapping stage of the edit/revision on the first draft of my Trilogy book one.
  3. Finalize the new description for Shards.

You might also remember about three weeks ago when I said the sewing bug had come a-biting. You might also also remember that the larger, mobile one is out of school and we are all going insane.

That’s important.

So, where have I made progress? Well, I have made some writing progress.

  1. I’m at about 7K for my story, which is probably about 60% done. I’ve been writing about 1K a day on it, so I should hit the deadline on Friday.
  2. One of the first steps that I do on the revision stage of a book is to look at all the characters and make notes for tweaks/identify issues that need to be fixed. This is a high fantasy trilogy, so there are a lot of characters. I am finally done with that. I’m now ready to start tackling plot issues (of which there are many).
  3. I sent the hopefully final version out to the two people who have been helping me. Unless they come back with something major, this is probably done. Yay!

On the sewing front, I took the smaller, less mobile one to the fabric store on Friday, where we bought patterns, fabric, and necessary accessories. The larger, mobile one and I have been doing crafts, trying to do it daily for our own sanity. So today we finally put our fairy house out in the garden (we’ve been working on for about a month) since we got the furniture in the mail, and we also made fabric bracelets, which was a bit of a fail, since mine are too big and his is too small. Alas. Here’s pics, though.

Fairy House

Fairy House (hard to see furniture, but it’s there)

bracelets2016

Space and Trees, two of my favorite things

Man, the captions look terrible on this platform. Blegh.

Gotten anything useful done lately, Squiders?

Spurts of Creativity

I’ve had this blog a long time, Squiders–six years this August–and so sometimes it’s hard for me to remember if I’ve talked about something before, and sometimes a scan of the archives is not helpful if it’s a topic without clear key words.

Anyway, I feel like we’ve talked about this before, but I can’t find it anywhere, so maybe I just imagined it. Or maybe I talked about it elsewhere. Who knows? Maybe I thought about it in my brain, and never actually wrote it down yesterday.

Wait–no! I found it! I’m not crazy ahahahahahaha

Anyway.

So, we’ve talked in the past about how writers tend to have other creative hobbies besides just writing. The example I used at the time (for me personally) was theater, and we talked in the fall about that too when I tried out for Into the Woods. But lately I’ve found myself drawn back to a different creative love, a deep dark secret that had risen back into the light after a long sleep.

And that is…sewing.

But it is a new kind of sewing. You see, in the past, I’ve primarily done costumes–from 2007-2011 ish I was big in the cosplay community. I spent many hours sewing costumes, learning all sorts of techniques. I taught myself how to modify existing patterns as well as draft my own. I learned how to attach intricate designs, make my own boots (ick), and even attempted armor (also ick). I learned how to properly wear a wig, how to bind, how to make props. It took a lot of time, which is probably why I didn’t get a whole lot of writing done in that time frame.

(I find that working on a different creative hobby can help your writing in the long run, but it’s really hard to do creative activities at the same time.)

(Also, if you want to see my costumes, you can look at my profile over yonder.)

But I don’t feel like making costumes right now. I’ve had vague inklings in that direction–things along the lines of doing whole family cosplays now that I have children to exploit. But nothing definite and nothing that I’m itching to work on. (Two years ago I designed and almost made a fairly complex Fire Emblem costume–Fire Emblem is a strategy RPG series from Japan, and I really dig the character designs, so I love making costumes from it. They’re hard, but I always learn new things. Also, the games rock and I really enjoy them too, so it all works out.)

Instead, I feel like…making clothes. Mostly dresses and shirts. Hats and arm warmers and fabric bracelets. Before, I always shied away from making clothes. What was the point? You could just go out and buy something if you needed something. Costuming was different, because you had to match a specific look. A shirt was a shirt. I did make a t-shirt once as part of a knit class, which was a very useful skill to learn, though I wasn’t wild about the shirt, and I did “upcycle” a couple of shirts out of dresses, but that was it in the clothing department.

Now, though…

But will I actually get to sewing? Maybe. It requires a lot of work–a pattern (and modifications, because I am about eight inches taller than the average woman), fabric, laying everything out. I don’t even know if my sewing machine still works. I haven’t touched it since early 2012, I’m pretty sure. And it will take time away from my writing.

But maybe that’s okay? Do a project or two, get the itch out of my system. Writing hasn’t been feeling so great lately. I feel like I’m not accomplishing anything, that I’m just working and working and not getting anywhere. I am, but it doesn’t feel like it.

What’s your creative fallback, Squiders? Any thoughts on sewing (and sewing clothes specifically)?

(If you’d like, you can check out my new sewing board over at Pinterest.)