The Bombshell Payload

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The term bombshell is a forerunner to the term “sex symbol” and originally used to describe popular female sex icons. Modern usage refers to a bombshell as an extremely sexually attractive woman. The Online Etymology Dictionary by Douglas Harper attests the usage of the term in this general meaning since 1942.

A bomb is any of a range of explosive weapons that only rely on the exothermic reaction of an explosive material to provide an extremely sudden and violent release of energy (an explosive device).

A shell is a payload-carrying projectile which, as opposed to shot, contains an explosive or other filling.

No wonder one would combine the words bomb and shell to get an explosive sensual, woman. If the Closet Case Files Bombshell bathing suit were a woman, it would without hesitation, be an explosive, sensual woman. Having won second prize in the Nettie Sew-a-long, one of the prizes was the swimsuit pattern. This past weekend seemed to be a perfect opportunity to sit down and make my first bathing suit, with the hopes that I would finish it in time to sun bathe. Having time on friday, a trip to Pacific Trimmings and Spandex House seemed like a must. Overwhelmed with the choices of lycra at this place should have been the omen that this wasn’t going to go well. Determined as usual, I spent a good 30 minutes roaming the square footage of Spandex House, until I channeled my bombshell spirit animal, Sophia Loren. She led me to a cherry print on black lycra. Picking the lining was a bit tricky, because I alway forego lining on everything (even though I shouldn’t). So I grabbed what I thought would worked and left.

With my best friend yapping about apartments and decorating, I took to assembling the PDF pattern, which took a little longer than expected because of course we started drinking champagne. I was able to finish it off before going to bed and then opted to finish everything off on saturday. View C, which is just the bottom, seemed to appeal to me so I went with that. Cutting lining is a bitch and my rotary blade got fucked up a while ago. Attaching lining to lycra is a bitch. My serger and sewing machine were not having it. Usually, things like these start giving me panic attacks and urges to cry, but I fought through it and made it werk.

Tim Gunn was spiritual guide, giving me gems of encouragement to see this project through.

After cursing out my serger and what seemed an unlimited amount of sighing, some progress was made. I kinda shortcutted the ruching process by pinning the lining to the shell and adjusting the ruching accordingly so I could get an accurate fit.photo 1photo 4

 

The instructions of course are very detailed and helpful. I thought I was going to fuck up adding the front part. Tim Gunn made sure that didn’t happen. Now let’s talk about rubber elastic. IT IS THE DEVIL. It’s pure evil and my machine wanted to make my life a living nightmare by not wanting to zig-zag it properly. Tension was tightened and loosened, zig zag settings were changed, but still this nonsense was giving me nothing but skipped stitch realness.

 

me too, Tim

Turning to the internet, some folks wrote how a walking foot remedied the skipped stitches, and so I changed my pressure foot to walking foot. While it did help, there were still some skipped stitches in there. And thank god the foot was changed, my sewing machine almost revolted and slapped me after trying to sew all that sandwiched fabric.

For the top, the same halter pattern pieces were used and a strip was added to support the halter. Although I’m not entirely sure I think it works. After having it all done, I’m not too thrilled about it being a 2 piece. Since the bottoms go way past my belly button, I’m thinking of seam ripping the halter and just adding it to that. IMG_0281 IMG_0275 IMG_0270  IMG_0267   IMG_0249

Of course, my landlord was in the backyard so I couldn’t go for the outdoor photoshoot. It took me longer than I anticipated to finish this, but after I was done a pat on the back was in order and Tim Gunn was proud.

7/11 Weekend Updates

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Things I don’t enjoy: Being called up last minute to bartend and the dress code is something I don’t own. Ok well it’s not really that serious; I got called up today asking to bartend as a favor for a birthday party over the weekend. The theme is Mets, so obviously something blue and orange is a must. Since I do not particularly like the Mets, or the specific intensity of the colors, this gave me an excuse to check out Trumart on 7th ave. A 15 minute walk from work, and I’m inside this tiny little store filled up to the ceiling with bolts. So cheap too!! I only recently discovered this jem was by my job after reading about Oona’s bombshell bathing suit. I went in looking for orange lycra to make myself yet another Nettie bodysuit. As with most seamstresses out there, being in a fabric store is like opening the door to Narnia. Do you know how hard it is to walk in there and only get one fabric?!!! Obviously you do!

To the entrance was this fabulous selection of fabrics for $2.50 a yard. I scooped up the last 5 yards of this beautiful red poly silk blend that’s perfect for an Archer and perhaps a maxi that I’ve been dreaming up. Some chambray also made it in my basket, again for an Archer. By the looks of it, this will be my summer of Archers. That is, if I don’t get lazy which tends to happen more than I care for. Remembering I left my only pair of high waisted levi shorts at the BF’s house, I quickly googled to see if there were any thrift stores nearby. Quick search put me at 2 blocks from Beacon’s Closet. NO IDEA, by the way they had one on the west side of Manhattan.

Something told me I was going to get really lucky here. And I did.. not with shorts but SHOES!!! Like a mad woman I scouted the 8.5/9 section like a ravenous beast. I couldn’t pass up a pair of DVF espadrilles and some Steve Madden sandals that I had eyed last year but then never got around to buying them. Then out of the corner of my eyes, I notice these very simple black suede sandals, which turned out to be a pair of really nice, really cheap Prada shoes. So there I am, with all these shoes in my hand and all I can think of is the name of that episode where Carrie’s new silver Manolos were stolen at the baby shower

A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO SHOES

If anything..out of all the Carrie things out there I’m pretty sure this applies to my tiny apartment anyways. No closets and the shoes and fabric just keep on piling up

I left feeling satisfied and here’s a picture of all my loot. Can’t wait to start sewing!

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A Year Without Clothes – part II

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It takes 10, 855 liters of water to make a pair of jeans.

Last year when I had planned out my goal of not buying clothing for a year, the reasons were a bit more selfish than anything else. It was my intention or motivation to not be lazy and get in front of my sewing machine more often instead of making quick unpremeditated purchases; always ending up with too many ill fitted garments that never saw the light of day or the tags being removed. Months before, working a day job and a bartending job, the luxury of not having to think about swiping my debit card at chain retailers was detouring me from my intentions when I first thought about learning to sew. The beauty of being able to comprehend your sewing machine, to decipher patterns, and to piece together garments pieces like a puzzle and the satisfaction of seeing it come together and being able to gleefully exclaim “I made that” was what had me go from thinking about wanting to sew to actually signing up for classes. I took intensive courses, spent sleepless nights on my floor, and divulged in books and tutorials until I was able to make things I never thought was possible. But when you have quite a bit of a disposable income and a disposition to sit around rather than be proactive, I saw my dream of stitching things up casually being put in the back burner.

A year without clothing was my own personal ultimatum (without a bartending job) to be more conscious about my spending and to take the time to put more dedication in perfecting my craft and learning things that I had thought I couldn’t possibly do. (Weft pockets, I’m looking at you). The more months passed, the more I realized that my pledge was also about making ethical and conscious choices. 10, 855 liters of water was the equivalent of filling up my bathtub (approx 150 liters) 72 times! That’s roughly 2.4 months.  Last year in June, the collapse in the Bangladesh clothing factory shed more light on working conditions of third world slave workers. More than 3,000 people died who were only making approximately 38 EUR, the total yearly amount being more or less the income of a financial officer for a fast fashion house. 3 days ago, a third shopper in the UK found a tag in her garment which described in a sentence the horrible conditions of working in sweatshop conditions.

While everyone, or mostly everyone, is aware of sweatshop conditions, low little they pay, and how poorly they are treated we look the other way because our capitalistic tendencies are to acquire more and more clothing, and we are lead to believe in a subconscious level that a closet full of clothing will make us feel better (RETAIL THERAPY!). Being a seamstress is not only about our personal satisfaction in creating wearable art, but we are contributing to buying less fast fashion items that were made by people in less than sub par conditions. Which brings me to another point which is fabric. While we may not know the origin of our fabrics and how they were made, we can be a little bit more meticulous as to where and whom we buy from. Although made in america does come at a costly price there is some reassurance that it was made in a place with reasonable wages.

This year marks another year without clothes for me and hopefully it will be the first of many for others as well.

Tap That

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Surely enough you’ve heard about the release of the Tap Shorts by Katy and Laney. If you haven’t then you’re definitely in for a treat. Being cautious on the arrival of new indy patterns, I usually wait about a month after hearing enough reviews before purchasing. This time however my hand went to town clicking and downloading this beautiful pattern. How could you resist! Tap shorts, perfect for summer heat, and those pleats. Love at first sight, indeed. Purchasing them, the day after the release, the website had a mini-meltdown and woocommerce apparently didn’t register my purchase, although having it gone through Paypal. I ended up buying them again, and this time I got the automated download email. Katy was more than helpful and wonderful, going above and beyond to keep me up to date about the website being down and even refunding my first purchase. Talk about customer service.

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Friday nights are my sewing til 4 in the morning nights. You’d think I’d be out and about having a blast, but I much prefer staying in with a bottle of wine or cheap champagne in this case. I made a case of going to PS fabrics where I found a beautiful Poly satin/crepe in blush that was intended to quickly make my costume for the Jazz Lawn Age festival; sadly the tickets were sold out. Next best thing? Using them for my tap shorts. I totally think that tap shorts in satin are a must, and will probably make these in soft buttery leather next. Kind of like the American Apparel ones I used to own but were 2 sizes two big. Looking at the size chart I went with a 2 instead of a 0 so I could have some wiggle room in the tummy area. My only regret was not making a muslin and realizing a little too late that I should’ve lengthen the shorts a little, since my torso is on the long side and the crotch of the pants basically hit my crotch. TMI? Probably. Also, the darts may have ended up a little too tight because even afterwards they kind of felt snug. Still wearing them anyways! Maybe a few more crunches and less biscuits will get them to fit better.

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I followed the instructions, which were actually pretty clear and well done. The crotch part was the only thing that had me do a double take, but that’s mostly because I had forgotten how to sew up pants for a minute. I also didn’t fold up the inside of the waistband because every time I do that, it just ends up wonky and sad. Instead I serged the seams and then did what I think is called an apron seam? Ugh, can’t remember. It  was something my FIT teacher taught us but I can’t remember the name of that finish.

I have never been so in love with something I’ve sewn. There are plans in the near future to make more versions of these shorts to last me all summer into Fall.      IMG_0182

Sloppy Lola

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When Papercut Patterns released a PDF version of Sloppy Josephine it was a no brainer that I needed it. Having coveted the pattern for more than 6 months I was glad that a more affordable version was out, even though it meant I had to put it together. Here’s a little secret: I actually enjoy PDF patterns a lot more than tissue paper ones. The thickness of the paper and tape make it much easier to pin and cut the fabric.
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Last night was date night. Boyfriend and I headed out to Madiba, a Ft. Greene restaurant serving up South African goodness. The experience was absolutely wonderful, from the decor to our waiter, a handsome and witty man that made our night even more incredible. A few hours later we were relaxing back at my place with another bottle of wine. While BF was catching up with too many episodes of New Girl I sat down with my machine to put together my Sloppy Josephine Tee. A few months ago, I bought what seems to be a blend of rayon and cotton at PS Fabrics. It’s actually a really slinky knit and I thought I’d be in for so much trouble trying to put it together. Joke’s on me though, because this particular knit worked like a midsummer’s dream! For starters it didn’t roll once cut, which made not only cutting so much easier but also basting. It did feel as thought it stretched out a bit when basting the neck binding. None of the seams are serged because I was too lazy to switch up the black threads, but they are zig-zagged really tight and it leaves a kind of cool pattern/texture to it. This time I went ahead and topstitched the neck binding. At first I was horrified because the top stitching seemed to have wonked out the fabric, but it was nothing a good ironing couldn’t shrink back up.

I have to say, not only was this one of the easiest tee’s to sew up, but the fit is fantastic. I think next time I’ll go down a size. Perhaps the XXS will fit a tiny bit better. But let’s be honest.. seeing XXS as a size is a little intimidating. Want to live in this tee forever and ever.

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Ombre Nettie

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When Heather Lou said the Nettie was quick and easy to sew up, she really wasn’t exaggerating. I’m sure that by now everyone has tons of Netties or at least heard of the fantastic pattern that is sweeping the blogasphere at the moment.

The Nettie is a quick and easy to make wardrobe staple. Close fitting with high cut arms, she can be made into a knit dress OR a bodysuit. This pattern is infinitely customizable with a choice of 3 sleeve lengths, 2 neckline and 3 back variations.

Everyone has been making the loveliest Netties, from the eponymous Nettie’s in Black, White, and Ivory, Madalynne’s Racy Lacey number, and Sewing Tidbit’s Lace Bodycon Nettie. It should only be fitting, that I jump on that bandwagon, and start making my own. The reviews have been nothing but praises so I knew this should be an easy feat.

For a while now I had lycra ombre pink yardage in my stash. For the longest I knew I wanted to either do leggings or a bodysuit. The Nettie took the guess work of having to draft up my own. Really wanting to match up the ombre on both sides, I carefully placed my patterns pieces and made sure they lined up before cutting. It was more luck than careful planning I have to say, but low and behold, they actually did line up at the seams. I was worried I was going to end up with some wonky mismatching.

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I cut up a size 4, from the pre-correction pattern. Ironically, I had purchased it the d    ay before the corrected version was released. The directions have you construct the pattern in the round. Being a fan of doing everything on my serger, I opted to put the pattern pieces together flat. One thing I did this time, was baste the neck and leg bands, so that when they stretched out, the serger wouldn’t end up eating more fabric than it should. Not entirely sure if this happens to everyone; sure does happen to me. WAH!

My only problem with the bodysuit and coincidentally Kitschy Koo’s Skater Dress, is that the arm width was actually pretty tight. I had to hike up the sleeves to get in there all the way. My arms felt like stuff sausages. I’m not entirely sure if my biceps have gotten a little bigger from constantly working out, but I’ve always had really skinny lanky arms. Next time I think grading the bicep area to the biggest size should do the trick. Perhaps short sleeves might also be of better fit next time. Lastly, being a rebel.. I forewent the topstitching all over. Mostly because it felt too tedious to replace the bobbin and thread from black to white. I intended to add thumb holes, but after I made the cuffs it seemed to bulky so they were omitted.

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Nothing Like a Nettie to practice inversions and yoga poses.

 

 

I’ve been Liebster’ed

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So, the Liebster award has been something that has been going around the internets for quite a while now. I’ve seen it pop up here and there but just recently have I been nominated for one.

Thank you Nicoline over at The Reckless Needle for the kind nomination.

I was able to trace the rules and origin to http://liebsterawards.blogspot.com/ page.

It’s in Spanish, but for those curious here are the official rules:

The Liebster Award is a chain award. You get it and pass it on, whoever gets it passes it on and on and on.

Liebster is German for beloved. Not to be confused with Lieblings which is favorite.

You become the winner of a Liebster award the moment you have been nominated and answer the questions that the blogger who nominated you asked.
Once nominated you must follow the blog that nominated you.

After following the blog and answering the questions, you must pay it forward and nominated 5, 11, or 20 blogs who have a following of 200 people or less, and let them know through comments or blog posts.

Show the love and visit the blogs that were nominated along with yourself.

When you are the recipient of the Liebster Award, showcase your award by using a widget on the sidebar or some kind of Archiving method. First time winners should use the pink logo. Second time winners should use the green one.

Once you have over 200 followers, you are no long eligible for an award. You may however, thank the person that nominated you and start a new chain to include 20 small blogs.

You may receive a maximum of 11 Liebster Awards.

Those are the official rules, translated from Spanish.

On to the questions. Nicoline asks

1. What is your all-time favourite pattern? Geez, this one is tough. Probably the tank dress by Wiksten is my favorite. It’s so easy to sew and you’re done in about an hour. I get really impatient with sewing and am known for taking short cuts to get this thing done and on me. I really enjoy sewing up a tank dress because I literally blink and it’s all done.


2. What is your day job – is it something creative?  

In a way yes. Unfortunately it’s not sewing or fashion related, but I’m a Digital Marketing manager, which sometimes uses creativity to get users to buy our products.

3. Where do you look for inspiration for what to make? 

Normally, through other sewing blogs. Sometimes I’ll peruse pinterest or sites like Refinery29 to get an inspiration to what I want to make. Other times I already know exactly what I want to sew and what kind of fabric to make it with.
4. Where did you learn to sew? 

Mostly self taught. I took a few sewing classes at the Sewing Studio and FIT in NYC, to get the hang of things that I couldn’t figure out. Youtube is a great resource, so are tutorial blogs. Colleterie has great tutorials with step by step detailing. I still have to try making bound button holes and bag a lining though.

5. What frustrates you most about sewing? 

Cutting fabric. For some reason, I find it so tedious to cut out the pattern piece, place the pattern, pin, cut it. Wait.. I think tracing darts is what I hate the most.

6. What do you love most about sewing? 

When I’ve finally finished something, and I wear it. It’s definitely great to be able to say, I made this. I totally made something I can wear; it’s wearable art.

7. What is the garment you have made that you are most proud of? 

I made a body con dress out of mermaid fabric, similar to the stuff on Black Milk Clothing. I put it on Etsy and it sold almost immediately. I was on a date, and had to stop him mid sentence when I got a pop-up notification saying that my item was sold. We had a mini celebration that night at the bar!

8. Would you like to make a living from sewing or are you happy just having it as a hobby? 

It takes such patience and dedication to rely entirely on sewing for income. I think for the time being, I’m glad I have a 9-5 with insurance and benefits, and use sewing as a hobby. I was teaching freelance, and that was fun.

9. What do you like / dislike about blogging? 

I’m not a wordsmith. I read blogs like Madalynne and she has such a grace with words. Her paragraphs just flow. She’s very meticulous and detailed oriented in her instructions for tutorials. I wish I had that. Usually my blog posts are a few run on sentences and crappy photos of my stuff.

10. Which is your favourite blog? 

God.. I really adore Andrea from FoursquareWalls, Maddy at Madalynne, Nettie (whom I’m dying to meet in person) at SownBrooklyn

11. Tell us something surprising about yourself! 

Mostly everything I know crafts and art wise is self taught. I learned to make websites on my own, taught myself how to play guitar and read music (forgot now). I’m still teaching myself to perfect my sewing and in my downtime I’ve been learning how to knit.

I’m nominating
Leu at leusewsinnyc.wordpress.com

Eva at phronimossews.blogspot.com/

Mary at stylememary.blogspot.com

Brenna at pinkingseams.blogspot.com

Stuffi at http://stuffsch.blogspot.com/

Here are your questions:

1.- What inspired you to start blogging?
2. – Favorite bloggers you look to for inspiration?
3. – What is the piece of clothing you made that you are most proud of?
4. – What technique do you try to avoid at all costs?
5. – Favorite sewing experience?
6. – If you could be one sewing blogger for a day, who would it be and why?
7. – What is the best fabric to sew with, in your opinion?
8.- Any sewing blunders you’d like to share?
9. – What would your life be like if you never knew how to sew?
10. – Tell us something about yourself that we wouldn’t know otherwise.

Summer Tunic

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Deciding to really put in effort to finish of my works in progress took a lot of effort. Although instead of sitting on my machine for hours, the best choice for me at the moment is spending a small amount of time here and there in between chores and freelance work. I had self-drafted a tunic that I really wanted for the summer mimicking one of Wiksten Made’s previous collections. The drafting was actually more or less easy. It’s a loose fitting kimono sleeve tunic with a gathered skirt. More frock than tunic. The fabric is a little heavier than anticipated but it still drapes really well.

Since it was heavy, my threads kept on breaking when I tried to gather the skirt. I ended up using Andrea’s super awesome floss tip. It totally worked and made it so much easier to pull that freaking skirt. You can call me Flosstradamus.

A part from the goal to finish my sewing projects, I’ve also decided to take nicer photos with my professional camera as opposed to the ugly iphone photos I’ve been taking because I’m lazy. Now if only I can get the nerve to move from my backyard and start setting up in the middle of the street. Does anyone else get a little self conscious when people pass you by?

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This is what I like to call my action shot!

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Summer Wardrobe

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I’ve had a few works in progress since I can remember. Now that summer is literally around the corner, I feel that I must actually sit down and finish my WIP in order to have summer things to wear. Sometimes my laziness really does get the best of me. Currently I have 3 projects that I would like to complete before June is over (ha).

The first is a drop waist dress in some sort of gauzy cotton fabric. It’s very malvarosa inspired, expect it’s a hack on one of the burda style shift patterns. The second outfit, actually consisting of two seperate garments (so ok.. 4 garments I’d like to complete). The top is from a Vogue Patterns peplum top sans peplum. I’ve been coveting a crop top and this one works so well with the skirt pattern from my FIT class. Adding to the list of course is the Nettie Bodysuit/Dress. I will probably be making this in every combination available to mankind, because it’s seriously awesome and I love anything body hugging for the summer.

Since I’ve actually decided to cut down on going to the gym everyday and instead opting for full body workouts 3 days a week, I can plan a little after work sewing when I get home. Of course there are a few more things I’d like to make, but I figure I should probably set a small goal and then work my way up from there.

Plantain Tee

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I have been working on so much lately that my sewing has been in the back burner. Between all the freelance I’ve been getting lately and my trip to Utah, I didn’t even have time to take the Me Made pledge. Everyone out there is making me so jealous!

Before my trip to Utah I had been working on rearranging my website, which is kind of coming along to what I had envisioned it to be previously and also was able to whip up a quick plantain tee. Deer and Doe had come out with it a while ago, and as per usual I am late to things. How could I ever resist making this when it’s named after my country’s staple. No lie, just making the shirt made me want to toss a few almost ripe plantains in the frying pan.

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(damn girl, you’ve been working out)

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For a while before discovering PS Fabrics, I used to go to this little place somewhere in the West 30s. They have the softest gray knit, which has to be part acrylic part something. (don’t you just love mystery fabrics) I bought a ton of it and kept in in storage. Finally used it to make the tee. The tee of course in insanely simple and super fast to sew. The thing I love most about knits is that I get to sew in the flat, which is so much easier than sewing the arms in the round. I was watching Good Morning America while sewing and of course got distracted. I ended up sewing the neck binding wrong side out. Already I was having problems with it because the fabric, mystery and all, kept doing weird things when I tried attaching the neck binding in the first place. It was like the more you stretched it, the weirder it got and didnt feed evenly through the serger. After picking it apart, I stabilized it first by running it through the serger on it’s own and then attaching it and reserging it to the tee, which made for an evenly distributed neck line. I’m using my mistake as an embellished feature. When I wear the tee right side out I have this cute distressed sort of neckline, and of course while wearing it inside out, the neckline looks as it was supposed to.

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