Tuesday, December 17, 2013

My Spearmint from Lolita Patterns

Spearmint by Lolita Patterns
Seduce them from 20 paces without removing a stitch!
Hello friends, have you heard about the Spearmint from Lolita patterns yet? No? OH BUT YOU MUST!

Spearmint Sew-Along Badge 200 x 200

There will be a sew-a-long much later but now I want to tell you about this coat. Its the first test pattern I've every done and it was challenging, a wee bit stressful, and very, VERY rewarding. I've had more than one coworker try to steal or bribe me out of this coat. A word of warning, however, its considered a top coat, so its perfect for transitional weather, an opera coat, or if you live in a more temperate area like I do, its perfect for most winter days.

Spearmint by Lolita Patterns

I made the first of the plus-size range, the size 18 with almost no modifications. I did do a forward shoulder and large arm adjustment (my first on a 2 piece sleeve) which is standard for me. In full disclosure, there were a few issues with the beta test pattern. On the plus sizes specifically, the pockets were oddly low and the sleeves a couple inches too long. These have been fixed in the released version! I also could have fixed both issues during construction, but I'd already perfectly pressed the pockets and I like longer sleeves for warmth, anyway. On the plus side, the pockets are easily accessible with the seat belt on, which is good cause I'm pretty absent minded about where I store keys and phones.

Spearmint by Lolita Patterns
Very long sleeves!
But we're here to talk about how awesome this coat is! I've been looking for something with this sort of romantic collar for AGES and there's nothing out there in my size. I love the Lolita aesthetic but its rarely available in my size, which is why I'm kind of in love with Amity and her company right now. She did some serious market research and uses a completely separate block for her 16-24 sizes. This means no FBA was required! And with 3/8 inch seam allowance the princess seams were a breeze to sew up.

Spearmint by Lolita Patterns

For the shell I used a Shetland wool I acquired from Fabric Mart a few years ago, and the lining is a silk twill by Marc Jacobs, ALSO from Fabric Mart. The combination of the two makes this very warm, especially with a hat and scarf. You can see the hem itself is bagging a bit, this is completely my fault. I did not stay stitch the seams together but have since fixed that. Its in the instructions and very easy. The other thing that was amazing is the bag out lining is done completely by machine! It was a very non-euclidian feat of geometry that had me going "This will never work!" and then TADA!! It was done. Like magic. My mind, it boggled. This is the first full size coat I've made and I think I'm going to make the shorter version of this next in turquoise. And possibly one for Felicity too! Deets: Shell Fabric: 4 yards of Shetland wool at $8 a yard Lining: Three yards of silk twill (60" wide) at $9 a yard Pattern: Retails for $22 dollars and if I hadn't pattern tested I'd be more than willing to shell out my money for it! Time to Complete: Including muslin, construction, and feedback, a total of 12 active hours over three weeks, second one would take about 5 from cut to finish

Spearmint by Lolita Patterns
In seam pockets!

More photos!

Spearmint by Lolita Patterns
Back view

Spearmint by Lolita Patterns

Spearmint by Lolita Patterns
Yup, that's how I roll.

And there it is y'all! You know you want to make this coat, you really do.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Linen Hawthorn

Hi there.

I made this one around the end of September, early October. I know it seems strange to for someone living in the Northern Hemisphere to make a linen dress in the fall but its really not. For instance, it was high in the 30's (F) last week, and its high in the 70's this week. And stupid humid.

Construction on this was pretty easy. This was my second Hawthorn, the first was a shirt, as yet unblogged. I added pockets but they are a little too low. I moved them up for my Red October one. I also used larger than called for buttons because this is such a large scale print. Its lovely though, very much lives up to the description of 'watercolor print'. I also did a blind hem, which I got my MIL to help with. I stood on her coffee table so she could pin while my husband, roommate, brother-in-law and uncle helped rearrange her new furniture (which is why the table was in the kitchen).  When they were done, I of course had an audience of snarky commentary. But they all thought the dress was pretty and I had an accurately pinned hem, so.. bonus?

Check out the sexy collar.
 The other thing I love about this fabric is how little it wrinkles for a linen, and even when it does it just kind of adds to the charm. I mean, come on. LINEN! This stuff is a dream to work with, it presses and shapes well, it behaves under the knife and needle, its breathable and I can wash it myself, though I only partially dry it and then iron while still moist. I got it from Fabric Mart on sale, of course.


OK, I know you are gonna ask about the shoes. I found them on Amazon a while back and bought them, gently used I later found, because they were similar to Jeffrey Campbell boots that sold out on ModCloth. But they were this hideous gray color and I hated them every time I put them on. So I had a brilliant idea, LEATHER DYE!  Made do and mend, right? I've worn them to work twice with this dress and both times people exclaimed about the shoes. Which is awesome but WHAT ABOUT THIS AWESOME DRESS I MADE YO!?

Pattern: Colette Hawthorn
Fabric: 2.5 yards of linen at $10yrd (half price)
Notions: 14 buttons x .75 each
Time Actively making it: 5 hours
Total Cost: 35.50

Happy Lady K
That's all folks! Have you made anything super awesome lately? Tell me about it.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Better Late Than Never! The #redoctober Hawthorne!

From the bottom of my heart, I'm so sorry it took forever to get photos! 

So like, this has been finished for weeks. In fact, I finished it the day before Halloween except for the cuff buttonholes. And I have five or six makes, including things I made for the kids, finished PRIOR to this dress than I have yet to take anything but cell phone photos of. I'm seriously slack here.

But you love me anyway, right?

Pattern: Hawthorn from Colette Patterns
Fabric: rayon challis from fabric.com
Notions: 14 Shell Buttons from Lyanwood  $5
              Interfacing - stash
              Thread -stash
Amount of Fabric: 3.5 yards x $7
Total Cost: 29.50
Time To Complete: Five hours. Largely because of the cuffs and the fact that my first collar I stitched and pinked the WRONG SIDE and had to redo it.

Ok, so on with the show!  Somewhere around my 2TB hard drive are process photos but I didn't feel like hunting for them. I started with the size 14 and did a 4 inch total FBA. This is actually my third one but the first one with 3/4 sleeves. And my first time doing plackets! And they came out OK and I can't tell you just how happy I am about that. Oh, hey, I do have photos of that. I was very happy I decided to use light interfacing on the challis because they were fiddly enough as it was. Here's what I pulled from Instagram.

I block fused whole pieces on top of a towel with silk organza as a pressing cloth. The towel is necessary to keep from ending up with shiny patterns from the metal mesh of the ironing board.

I had to do a bit of correction with the lines after the fact. I have to say that the tutorial on doing plackets from Colette's blog has, by far, been the easiest to understand.

Top stitched goodness!


And here they are in all their finished glory! Pretty right? I used matching buttons for the plackets because I didn't want that red to be broken up. Oh, and I added pockets to the skirt because everything needs pockets. Ok, More photos!

Its Llladybird post Number One!

I should mention that I have found my new favorite place to take blog photos. I hadn't used it before because the doors to the storage area under the sun room (aka my sewing room) were rotted and falling apart. The Mister and his brother replaced them this spring. The wall is south facing and gets great afternoon light.


The fabric on this dress makes me super stinkin' happy. For realz. I was grinning like a fool the whole time. When I got most of it done and put it on my dress form I was like "Is this an old lady dress? It sure feel like it could be!" But the lovely sewcialists talked me into not giving up. Its all about making yourself happy, amirite?

And I shall leave you with my second favorite photo of this series. Did anyone else finish red makes late? What do you think of the Sewcialist color themes?

Llladybird Post Number Two!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

This November

Hey y'all, what's going on in your world? We heading into what I call "The Holiday Season" where there's lost of present making, giving, receiving, food galore, and no small amount of stress that comes with it all. Which is why I'm here to let y'all know of some Goings Ons around Teh Interwebs while I procrastinate cleaning and cooking so you can be in the know too!

The Sewcialists
First and foremost, I would like to announce that the Sewcialist's Movement now has its very own blog! We hope to eventually embed it within sewcialists.org to compliment some other exciting developments in the works, but for now you can find it in the Firehose aggregater. Have you signed up to be added yet?

Also, as had been bantered around on social media, people seemed to like the idea of having a color theme every two months. Probably because its super laid back and also narrows down your choices of "What do I make now?". Well, if you want to participate and it is still a Red Themed Month (which goes through November, FYI), now you've got your stash narrowed down to a less overwhelming choice. Am I right? I know I am, because that's got to be why so many of you participated in #SewRedOctober! Keep 'em comin' folks! We're posting a second round up of separates and then try to do again at the end of November. Our next color theme is #SewGreenDecember and February is up for suggestions.

Up next is our Grunge Sew Along. Yours truly will be doing an inspiration post soon on the Sewcialists blog to help you get inspired. There was a lot more depth to this than most people think, and a lot of it was rooted in music. I'll save the rest for that post, but I created a pandora station which you can listen to here.

I think that's it for the community participation projects now. I'm finished with my big secret sewing project and can now move on to the holiday sewing. I also have a huge back log of projects to photograph. As I stated in my last post, my life has been a whirlwind of doctors and tests. I have a few more things to get checked but the treatments for my back has improved my pain by about 50%. It takes a bit more to trigger break-through pain but I find my strength and stamina has not caught up yet. I learned the hard way I couldn't dive in head first. Lesson learned, so I'm back to slow and steady.

So what is everyone working on now? Are you planning on making gifts for the holidays? Traveling? Hiding in your blanket fort? I'm thinking of constructing a blanket fort around my sewing area and hanging a "Do Not Disturb" sign. Or maybe just turn off every electronic thing I own and read all day in bed. I deserve some rest!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


You know, with all my talk of conventions and cool costumes and that you'd think I'd be going all out for Halloween. The truth is, we just tend to recycle costumes that were made for the nerd events. My family?

We're kinda like that. TRICK OR TREAT.

Oh, also. Don't Blink.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

What Do You Wear To an MRI?

Hi there, how are you? Me, well, its been an interesting ride.

When in doubt, wear red. - Bill Blass (or Coco Chanel)

I made this dress a while ago but I figured, in the spirit of Sew Red October, I would take photos of it now. I love this dress, but not because I think its extremely flattering. Its Simplicity 2369, the third one I've made. The other two were a poly/lycra blend that's much better at not showing all your lumps and bumps but this one is a bamboo rayon. What I love about it is the color, the soft drape-y scrumptious feeling on my skin, and the color. Did I mention I love the color?

But about the title. The last six months since admitting to myself that I needed to take control of my health my life has been full of doctor visits, tests, sleeplessness, exhaustion, and painful epiphanies of how much I really can do in any given day. In there somewhere was having to go for an MRI with contrast. That meant no metal, easy to get to my arm for blood pressure and IV, easy to slip off shoes, and no jewelry. What I'm wearing here is how I'd wear it out, or add a slip and pantyhose for work, but for the MRI I wore flats and left all valuables at home. But anyway, before the MIR I was trying to decide between the three wrap dresses in my closet. And it had to be a wrap dress because I wanted to be able to take my bra off without undressing completely (cause under wires aren't a good thing to wear inside a giant magnet). After much consideration I finally settled on this one. Because RED. It gave me a bit more confidence to get through the day.

I even got multiple compliments from the staff as they liked how comfortable it looked and that it was such a bright color. I decided to tell them I made it and they were suitably impressed, which made my day.

Some Details:
Pattern: Simplicity 2369, size 18 straight up
Fabric: bamboo rayon from Fabric Mart. I bought it the day it went up even at 14.99 a yard because I knew this wouldn't last long. I was right. But its 78 inches wide, I only used 1.75 yards to make this!
Time: about 4 hours give or take
Cost: 20 dollars, which is a steal for a bamboo rayon dress.

So this dress stays in rotation regularly. I have two other colorways of this same fabric (bought ON sale :) ) but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it.  I guess that's all for now.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Welcome to Hashtag RedOctober

Howdy #sewcialists. This is me rambling about what started out as a twitter chat and turned into a monthly theme. I'm late to the party. Leila is totally on top of the game for this one. That lady rocks, you should check her out her blog: Three Dresses Project.

I'd also like to thank Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow for the wonderful buttons! (Small ones can be found in her flickr stream)

Here's the two buttons:

The Punny One

#redoctober logo

The One for "Sewing a Rainbow", bi-monthly color themes, I'll talk about that more later.

#redoctber - large

See y'all later!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Check Out These Tags I'm Poppin'

I've got my own labels!

So I posted this to instagram and facebook a few days ago and got lots of positive feedback and questions. Which, AWESOME!! I love them too. I've started going back and sewing them into my clothes, but started with what I finished this weekend.

more selfies, ladyskater tshirt, hummingbird skirt
I keep promising actual real photos of what I've been making, haven't I? *sighs* I'll get to it, eventually. So lets talk about the labels, which is the main feature. The design itself was made by a friend of mine, Jason, who is a graphics designer. He's currently without steady work, picking up contracts here and there, so any business I can send his way would be awesome. as you can see, he does wonderful and subtle work. Email me ladykatza (at) gmail and I will introduce you.

The second bit is where I had them printed. I actually found this Etsy shop through another blogger whom I cannot remember at this moment  you can find here at The Seeds of 3.  http://www.etsy.com/shop/ananemone  is the shop storefront and you can use your own label (which you send via the Etsy message system after you agree to pay) or you can use her art. She has both iron-on and sew-in tags, and from personal experience the sewn in ones are not scratchy at all.

Love y'all, mean it! XOXO

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

I don't know why setting up my dslr and taking photos of my makes has felt like a tedious chore of late. Cause once its done I have lots of taking and editing the photos. So I'm going to give you a sort of high level overview of things that have been going on.

IOW: I'm just going to post photos from instagram cause I'm lazy.

So, y'all saw the photos of Felicity in my raglan skater hack dress. I finally got around to tracing out and doing one in my size, with no modifications other than grading from a 6 in the bodice to an 8 in the waist. This is the trial run, fabric courtesy of Oona.

 I completely failed to match up the stripes, but I'm OK with that. I decided I didn't like the cap sleeves AND they are a bit tight despite being knit. So I modded the pattern to have elbow length short sleeves that fit my Brunhilda biceps and a "cheater fba" that Miss Katie blogged about. Which was awesome because then I dragged the family and all my sewing stuff out to the wilderness and taught D and her sister S to make LadySkaters. D also needs FBA, but she doesn't have Brunhilde arms, so large arm adjustment not necessary. And I finished my static dress for Dragon*Con (post to come).

This is not the actual costume, just an awesome dress.

So that was all awesome and good and then my car blew a gasket on the I-285 north side. In the middle of construction traffic. At 9pm at night. And AAA said they couldn't get to us before midnight.  Which put us down BOTH cars and we both had to be at work at 6am Sunday morning.. I worked two 12 hour shifts from home on less than five hours of sleep (in a 48 hour period) and called in sick Tuesday because my body threw a hissy fit, and my husband had to use my car to get to work. The car fix was cheap but that cost me a LOT of "spoons" in energy.  I did go into work on Wednesday and xanax is the only reason my coworkers lived through the day.

I slept in on Thursday, and then I made my last video post. Which, btw y'all. THANK YOU. I mean really. Your words of support and the fact that I may have helped others cope means that world to me. I cannot even explain. You're all awesome and beautiful people. 

And because they were already cut out, I made matching skater dresses for Felicity and me that Thursday. Next photo shoot, D*CON costume, one after that, mother/daughter dress photos. I think I'm also going to do a post on "What to Wear to an MRI" (not a joke).

Oh hey, remember the Tofino's and the swatch in one of my videos? Yup, totally made that. Here's crappy selfie with gratuitous belly button and stretch marks (or as husband calls them "lightning scars", cause I'm awesome and gave birth to a mostly hairless bi-ped. Two of them, but not at the same time.). By the by, double gauze is YOUR FRIEND if you live in hot humid climates. I officially want three dresses from the stuff for outdoor activities. Like Ren Fair or craft shows. For serious.

And HERE is my ripping off Heather B and making a LadySkater t-shirt*. Now I want one in every color.

I know, I'm teasing you with my shoe collection you can't quite see behind me.

To be honest though, that is a really bad representation of the red. Here, have a better one from my new webcam. Its the "Cayenne Red" from the bamboo knits Fabric Mart got in sometime ago. I bought it full price because I was certain it would sell out quick. It did, like  it was gone a month before it went on sale. I snagged two other colors on sale though. This stuff is amazingly comfortable.

This is the un-cropped version. Check out my #sewdontclean sun room.
Oh, that brings us up to what I'm currently working on, which is fitting the Hawthorn (4 hours so far) and working on the Hummingbird skirt. I've traced out both views.

Humming Bird!
I did decide to do a wearable muslin out of the same turquoise denim that I made my latest pair of Clovers from... and I just realized I haven't blogged about that either. Sheeit, I'm just all kinds of slack. You still love me, right??

FBA Phase 1
Oh, what's missing here is the forward shoulder adjustment. And the Brunhilde Arms adjustment I did to the sleeves. I ended up adding 2 inches in diameter for the sleeves to fit around my biceps.  The one nice thing here is I don't think I need a rounded upper back adjustment. I don't have the web-cam fitting photos with me.

Here's the markings that I change on the muslin.

And here's where I transferred to my already poor Frankensteined pattern piece. I traced out a new one, I may move the bust dart over later, I dunno. But that's it for the Hawthorn. I did cut out a blouse version from Fabric.com's solid rayon challis collection called "darkest navy". I hope I did the sizing up on the peplum correctly.

So that's all the randomness for now. For the finally I give you a sneak peak of the costume I will photograph sometime in the undisclosed near future. And yes, I really was that pale.

Oddly enough, I was the only one with decent cellphone reception that day.

Love ya, Mean it. xoxo

* I had some sort of interesting footnote to put here but I forgot what it was. So um... KITTY!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Very Personal VLOG

Before you decide to watch this I am going to tell you up front that this is NOT a sewing post and this is about my very personal struggles with anxiety, depression, and chronic pain disorder. Its a long video sparked by a twitter conversation the other day. If you do not have any interest in this go ahead, mark as read, and I'll have some happy sewing posts for you soon. (Please note almost finished Tofino's in background). I promise I won't be offended.

I am also posting a number of links below this for those of you that are inclined to read and research.

Something of note, the only reason my initial back injury did not put us in the poor house is because it was covered under worker's comp even after my contract was up. However, after four years they really wanted to get rid of me so that's when the settlement proceedings started. It was a paltry sum of money in the grand scheme of things but it kept us afloat until I was able to get full coverage under my company and not get denied treatment for "pre-existing condition" thanks to the "Patient Protection Act" (aka Obamacare, and anyone who tries to troll political is going to get deleted, that's not what this is about).

"The Spoon Theory" or the origin of the term "spoonies". If nothing else, read this.

Brain scan of depressed and not depressed brain from Mayo Clinic

What SSRI's are and what they do for depression.

General Anxiety Disorder

What is clinical depression?

Serotonin  and Dopamine

Stay Fabulous! XOXO

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Raglan Skater Dress

So y'all know the Skater Dress from KitchyCoo  first debuted for girls, and I really love it. One problem, it was just a little too small for Felicity. Then the Lady Skater debuted (I've made THREE! Will blog later) and its for teens too. But it was too big, except for the skirt. So I had a lightbulb moment. I decided to take her favorite raglan t-shirt pattern and hack it off at high-waist height and add the skater skirt. I had to cut the size 3 and then shorten the size one length by two inches.  It seems Viking Mom has had a Viking Daughter.

DO NOT be fooled by this adorableness. She's a bruiser when you make her mad. 

Thus, the raglan skater dress was born. It suits her broad shoulders very well and I may have to create my own hack for this too. This was the test run made out of a thick cotton/poly jersey blend that I inherited from Mom's stash. I had a moment when I remembered I was suppose to help Mom cut a dress out of this fabric for her and it sparked a short crying fit. But my family and the #sewcialists pointed out using it this way would make her happy. Especially with the added iron-on kitty bling. I'd had the iron-on for so long I forgot where it came from.

Hello Kitty!
See? The iron on gives it just a tiny bit of visual interest. Tractor and farm cats help too. I should mention we took these photos up at my friend D's place. They have lots of animals as D's Mom (its a multi-generation house) rescues animals. Anyway.

The great thing about the Skater Dress is that its perfect for active girls that like to wear dresses. Make it out of a durable washable fabric and you have a play dress you make up from cut to finish in an hour. No joke! Its no wonder these are so popular, it really is a great pattern for a sewing quickie. 


climbing tractor

Lets see, how high is this?

Watch this!

"Little girls, like butterflies, need no excuses" - Robert Heinlein

Lets give horses apple treats!

Ooof, sour apples are sour. Good thing horses like them!

Jump for joy!!
And there you have it. I'd say she's pretty happy with the dress.