motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I stayed up late taping this together:

Reeeally need to get a new camera

It made me giggle.

Next up is drawing the style lines on the dress and cutting it back apart to get a sense of what the pattern pieces will look like, as well as where the seamlines will be so I can figure out how to arrange the fabric design.

The pattern is Vogue 9712 and includes a petticoat pattern.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
Laying in bed this morning, I started to think about another dress to try, which got me out of bed early1.  I really like the fabric I found at Mill End2:

The fabric is a pretty thick brocade, which would work really well for the skirt on this lucluc skater dress, which is made out of a very thick polyester - it almost looks like a sports/performance/polypropylene fabric3.

I don't want a sleeveless chicken-wing dress, so I was thinking what I could do differently with the bodice.  A cheongsam top might look ok, and doesn't have the set-in sleeves that would cut into my shoulders, but I couldn't fit them together well in my mind, and making the sleeves longer à la the 40s dress I just tried didn't thrill me, either.  I looked at some of my dress idea images this morning, and liked the neckline on this one:

I think the neckline could work really well with that skirt. And I could probably change the sleeves if necessary. And I could possibly add the pockets on the curved waistline and delineate everything with some sort of contrasting trim 4.

Now I just need to draw this and croquis it!

1. Yay!
2. Which will, of course, probably be gone by the time I get there.
3. I also found it interesting that the red and black versions have a completely different waistlines.
4. The double bias tape on cheongsams?
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
Since my camera is broken, I'm going to try to use my words to make pictures. ha.

I took apart two different frogs - one that I ordered off the web and arrived from China (black), and one I took off a cheongsam dress (black and green).

The black one was made of single fold satin bias tape and copper wire that looked to be about 22-24 gauge, but was much stiffer than the silver wire I use to make jewelry.  The decorative part (flower) was bent into shape and the loop and ball part were completely separate and hand sewn onto the ends of the flower, kind of sandwiched in between the two sides of the bias. The loop and ball did not contain the wire.  It was a single length of bias tape, the wire in the fold and the turned-under edges stitched together.  The center folds/points of the flower were stitched together to draw them tightly together.

The black and green had similar construction, but used two lengths of satin bias tape - the green was single fold, and the black was simply a strip folded in half with raw edges.  They were also glued/starched to be even more stiff.  I don't know if the bias tapes were starched and dried, or starched and folded when wet.  The green tape only was used to make the ball and loop, and was an extension of the flower, so only one raw edge of the ball/loop was attached to the flower and sandwiched between the bias tape.

I'd be interested in making my own designs - it seems pretty easy.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I like this jaquard fabric from BigZFabric on etsy - it seems like it would drape well as it's "lightweight". But I need to croquis it to see if it would work on me.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
Here's an idea for a black and gold dress to match my harp:

Anthropologie dress by Beth Bowley

The style of dress on the left would be a good choice for not having my arms bare.

Mad Max

21 May 2015 08:12 am
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
Mad Max Fury Road is a beautiful, beautiful film.

The sets (The attention to detail was amazing! I want a hand-built motorcycle with tapestry covered gas tank!), the clothes (I want Furiosa's pants!), and the cinematography (I kind of want to go through a sandstorm now).

Just "wow".

Like G.R.R. Martin said (much better, of course) though, I missed the usual voice-over at the end. For me, it would have given the movie that tiny bit of poignancy that would have pushed it over the edge into a truly complete work of art.

ETA: And while looking through images (this car is REAL) from the film I learned George Miller filmed Mad Max: Furiosa at the same time as Fury Road. What, what, what?!?
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I found another dress I like - this one is a little more casual and would work for daytime gigs.

Although it's sleeveless, I like the line of this dress.  I think cap sleeves could be added and still look good.

I can't figure out what kind of mesh they are using. Or how the denim is attached to the mesh. However, it looks like the stretch denim is cut on the bias. It also doesn't look like they used darts to shape it, which would make sense if the whole thing was very stretchy.

This fabric-making technique would maybe work well in other styles of dresses, as seen here in EvaDress's 1939 gown. A blog post about the original dress that inspired her, as well as how she made the fabric is here.

ETA Oh! And Lorelai's dress from "They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?" dance marathon:

I should look through my vintage patterns to see if this would work for any patterns I already have.  Another thing to add to the to do list.  Or the TADA! list. :)
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
EvaDress is having a contest to sew something from their 40s collection of patterns. And I need nicer clothes for performing on the harp!  What a fortuitous coincidence.

The contest runs from April 16 to June 1 and you can post your project on the facebook page that's linked above.

I chose the pattern D40-3863, view 1. This dress style works well for playing harp because it doesn't have an armscye right at the shoulder, so there's nothing to bind when I'm reaching my arms forward.  Straight skirts don't work for sitting behind the harp, and this one looks to be A-line, and the wrap will probably give me even more room.  The higher neckline of view 1 seems to work better on me. And the long sleeves are good for hiding chicken wings. =P  Although, it looks like the sleeves could easily be left off, if desired.

I want to get an asian jacquard in either a black and gold combination to match my harp, or some sort of emerald green. Or some combination of the two.  I think it will suit that dress well.  However, I have no idea if that's something that will look good on stage.  Do any of you know anything about dressing for the stage?  Patterned fabric, yea or nay?

Then I thought some sort of embroidery would look lovely, even though I swore after my western shirt I would never do embroidery again, especially on black fabric.

I've already gone shopping for the jacquard, but my usual fabric store changed their line of asian jacquards: they all have religious symbols integrated into the patterns.  Um, just chrysanthemums for me, thanks.

Since I haven't even found the fabric yet, I have a feeling that I will be behind on this project. On top of that, my lack of facebooking means I won't be able to easily post my results, and possibly won't enter.  But I can still use the timeline!

Then in the midst of this planning, McCall came out with their latest Archive Collection patterns...

Droooool.  This would be a perfect dress, too.  I don't know when/if I'd ever need something quite that fancy, though.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)

I finished these last week - the bulk of the work on the second sock being done while I was hacking my lungs out on the couch. I figured get the torturous stuff (I haaaate colorwork) out of the way while I'm already feeling tortured.  I waited to photograph them until after washing because I wanted to see what would happen to them.  They seem to have relaxed a bit.

In fact, they've relaxed so much they don't quite stay up - I had a heck of a time photographing them so they stripes were even.   They might stay up under tall, tight boots, though.  I made them in size large for the legs and size medium for the feet. I think I could go down a size in the legs if I make these again.


And thank you, livejournal, for once again deleting my post. As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, I used a pattern called Talia from Pom Pom Quarterly, Issue 3: Winter 2012 and three different yarns, two of which, Jawoll Superwash in blue and Socka in brown, I picked up at Knittn' Kitten, a local craft thrift store, and Stroll Sock Yarn in Dove Heather from Knit Picks.

And I have enough yarn left over for another pair of socks or two! Albeit much shorter socks.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
A couple summers ago, I bought a cheongsam dress at a yard sale that was way too small. After trying unsuccessfully to design something else to make it into, I set it aside thinking I could make some kind of Asian inspired, hard-sided (as opposed to soft and slouchy) purse at some point.  I had no idea how to make a purse like that or what it might be inside it to make it sturdy.

eBay listing by mountains2dbeach
more views of the purse in the listing

I found this purse at the thrift store and started taking it apart. Or trying to take it apart. I started with the bottom of the purse since it was sewn together and got nowhere. I read up on how purses with clasps are made - they're glued into the clasp - and how to remove glue - rubbing alcohol was what I had on hand - and went to work.  The rubbing alcohol did the trick, but only because it dissolved the cardboard.  Yes, this entire purse was made with cardboard.  The lining is glued to cardboard, there is another piece of cardboard outside of that, then the outside fabric is stitched to cardboard and glued. The bottom piece is stitched to cardboard and glued.

I felt like I did when I found out shoes are made with a lot of cardboard. Horrified, because "everything's cheap these days!" and "shoddy construction, etc!" and excited because "hey, I have cardboard, I can totally make these myself!".
Read more... )


3 Dec 2014 04:13 pm
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
My journal now mostly consists of monthly summary posts, which I don't make public.  You can, however, respond to this post if you want to be included in my friends group to read those entries.  And please let me know how you found me. Thanks!
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I've had an earworm off and on for probably the past decade (or two, ahem). I used to record a lot of video shows, one in particular called "Spin Off!". It was on a local access cable station, I think. There was a band - can't remember the name, only that the lead singer was a girl with the haircut I wanted (pageboy) and played guitar, and had a petticoated skirt I wanted. And the only lyrics I can remember are "get what you wanted, what you want-te-hed" (I also remembered the chord changes). She kind of sounded like Siouxsie. Googling provided not a thing.

The tapes are... Betamax! I've been moving around the old family Betamax, which hasn't worked in decades, saying "One day I'll fix this so I can find out who it was that sang that song that I've only had the fragment in my brain since 1996 AUUUUGH!"

I took apart the Sanyo as much as I could and noticed what I thought was a lot of grease on some pulleys and gears. "Weird," I thought, "why would you grease that." Then I found a piece of something in amongst the grease. It was not grease, it was the belt. MELTED. No wonder it wasn't working.
This stuff does NOT come off the hands easily, people!

I cleaned the pulleys with rubbing alcohol - that seemed to be the only thing that would dissolve the muck - and slapped on a rubber band as a tester, and LO AND BEHOLD IT WORKED! That is what the problem was!

And do you know, there are places that sell parts for these things?!? I'm buying a Sanyo Betamax Belt Kit from Studio Sound Electronics.

And here's the video that I was looking for: (I'm not embedding it because 1) livejournal, and 2) you can't embed videos and start them at a particular time. The rest of the video is basically cuts to the host saying what's coming up next and being slightly obnoxious in a bar.  (The interview with Strummer is good, though.))

Luckily, I watched "Tape 4" first, and found this within the first few videos, as I messed up the loading mechanism somehow. (Of course.) But some kind people have put the service manual online so I'm all set!  Woohoo!

ETA: The service manual is for the European models, however the mechanical stuff can't be too different, right?

ETA: Of course the video is gone and I didn't put the names of anything here. The band was called The Bel-Fires and the song was "What You Wanted". The singer was Cynthia Isabella, now Cynthia Mansourian. It's off the album "Fall for the Sky".
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
McCalls is finally hopping on the vintage bandwagon, which is great, because they have a long and consistent history of putting out lovely patterns since... the 20s? earlier? up through the 90s, when they did something weird to their sizing. Anyway, I use a lot of vintage McCalls patterns so I was excited by their announcement of their "Archive Collection".  The first two they've released are from 1933 and can be combined to make a suit, or an outfit.  I like that they are basic pieces you could totally use for everyday wear (but I do hope they release some of their fancier designs at some point!).

There's a blouse and jacket 6995.


The line drawing isn't too impressive, but again, these are good basic pieces.

The skirt 6993 is a little more interesting. What looks like a standard pleated skirt:

Has great waist details!

And then there's a sweet little skirt with a belt. This could be great for showing off a vintage buckle.


These older skirts are so flattering - they always seem to just hang better, and I hope McCall's has managed to keep that feature and they continue to release some great vintage designs from their vast catalog.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
This list is from "Reel Knockouts: Violent Women In Film" from the chapter titled: "If Her Stunning Beauty Doesn't Bring You to Your Knees, Her Deadly Drop Kick Will". I found this while cleaning. For posterity, or maybe if I'm ever stuck for something to watch

Ah Kam 1996
Angel 2 1988
Blonde Fury 1987
The Bride with White Hair 1993
Broken Oath 1977
Butterfly and Sword 1993
China O'Brien 1988
A Chinese Ghost Story 1987
City Cops 1988
City Hunter 1992
Come Drink with Me 1965
Dragon Inn 1992
Drunken Master II 1994
Executioners (aka Heroic Trio 2) 1993
Fong Sai Yuk 1993
The Heroic Trio 1992
The Inspector Wears Skirts 1984
In the LIne of Duty I: Royal Warriors 1987
Midnight Angel (aka Angel/Iron Angels) 1987
Moon Warriors 1993
My Young Auntie 1981
Naked Killer 1992
New Legend of Shaolin 1994
Outlaw Brothers 1988
Police Story 1985
Police Story III: Supercop 1992/1996
Project 8 (aka Supercop 2) 1993/1999

Raging Thunder 1989
Righting Wrongs 1986
Shanghai Express 1986
She Shoots Straight 1990
Swordsman II 1992
Swordsmand III: The East is Red 1993
Tai Chi Master 1993
Wing Chun 1994
Yes, Madam 1985
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
Remember that floral skirt I was making where I very carefully planned out exactly where the flowers would go across the front and back?

Well, I put an invisible zipper in it, and it was maybe a little too tight. And as I mentioned before, that combination proved fatal and resulted in me standing in my bathroom, slightly weepy, wielding a pair of scissors and cutting myself out of my skirt. Man, once an invisible zipper gets stuck, there is no unsticking it.

In order to make the skirt less tight, I had to remove and make a new bottom border, and cut gores from the minimal scraps of remaining fabric (thankfully I kept them). So minimal that I paid no attention whatsoever to the grainlines.  Ok, I did, but just to say, "Wow, I really hope cutting this that skewed doesn't make it drape badly."

Here it is, on a windy and "I don't feel like getting out my tripod" day.  The photos are a little over-exposed, but you can sort of see the gores compare to my original mockup.1


I constructed the gores the same way I originally constructed the skirt - I cut both fashion fabric and lining (I think it's a white rayon "Hang Loose" or something equally cleverly named) and serged them together, so it's really underlined, not lined.  That worked okay for this skirt, however, it was a little wrinkly after washing, and I probably wouldn't do it this way again. I'd probably line the skirt then sandwich both the lining and fashion fabric in the bottom border so they hang somewhat separately. Ha, I almost said "hang loose".

Back with a METAL zipper, thank you

To figure out where to start the gores, I ripped the seams up to where it released the tension across my hips, about 3" below the waistband. Then I just eyed how wide I wanted the gores at the bottom - about 5".  So I added 20" total to the bottom circumference. Luckily, I had bought enough of the black sateen to cut another bottom border.


So the finished object doesn't quite match up with the original design, however, it's now much easier to ride my bike in this skirt now, and that's really what's important, right?

1. And, holy cats, can I ever remember to iron and use a lint roller before taking pictures?
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
A lamp I have started flickering and dimming, and I replaced the light socket, thinking that was the problem. It was in horrible shape - a cheap part made in China that I replaced probably 5 years ago - blackened and corroded. It didn't help (but was probably a good idea anyway), and I traced the problem to the plug where I could kind of sort of maneuver it half in and half out of the outlet and get it to light. Eventually, no amount of carefully jiggling of the plug made any difference. I really like the plug because it's vintage and adorable, and thinking older parts are better made and last longer, I'd simply take it apart and rewire it...Lots of pictures... )
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
The "Annual" Maintenance on my bike has now been moved way up in priority and received a title change to "Fixing my Bike" due to the shifter cable breaking and leaving my bike in the hardest gear.1 I could ride it as a single gear, but... meh.

I need to:
4/7 install new shifter cable (ordered today, should be here 4/5) - need to recheck how it's connected, instructions were... vague. I got it adjusted perfectly right out of the gate, which never happens. Then it started slipping on the ride home, so I'll be working a little harder on my way to work this morning, and hopefully have the energy to check it after getting home.  I missed the hole in the bolt the first time around that attaches the cable to the connector, so that is all working now.
4/1 inflate my tires
4/1? rebuild headset, or at least get new bearings Is it ok that I used 22 bearings on the bottom and 21 on the top? Must be, because it's moving smoother than ever and now there's no play in it.
4/9 re-grease the geared hub - didn't really regrease the hub, just put oil in the capped hole and in the end of the axle, wiped off grease on outside.
4/10 check the front axle It looks great! No longer getting bent during use.
4/14-15 grease/oil things - brakes and shifter cables, pivot points on brakes, pedals, bottom bracket, chain, bolt threads
4/14-15 adjust things - pedals, hanger set, brakes (check chain length and lubricate while overhauling hanger set). Either my chain ring or crank is bent, this needs to be fixed. Or maybe even the bottom bracket.

ETA: New chain or remove link from chain. Need to research this. My chain/pedal crank is not completely round? Sticks in some points. Twelve double links of a new chain are exactly 12". If more than 1/8" over, chain needs to be replaced. If replaced rear sprocket needs to be replaced or reground. Chain for internally geared bike may be lubricated with cycle oil by soaking it and then wiping off the excess.  My back sprocket has 19 teeth and front 48, book recommends 21 for a 46-tooth front front sprocket and 26-inch wheels.  I could certainly use a new front sprocket. Book also says best gearing is top gear 76-in, normal gear 57-in, and low 43-in.  Mine is 87-in, 65-in, and 49-in.  I like how hard the top gear is, so I'm not sure I'd want to change it. And the low gear is already too easy, I'm thinking 43 would make me eat the handlebars. Removing the chain requires no special tool, you can just pop off the master link. Nice. ETA: The chain is exactly the right length and the master link does indeed pop off and on. And can easily drop down things like drains.

1. Fortunately, AFTER I had ridden up the 1.4 mile hill and was at the pinnacle so I didn't quite give myself a heart attack getting the rest of the way home.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
Fennesz makes dark and staticy things: The Liar.

Tim Hecker makes similar epic instrumentals and I have this bookmarked for a later listen.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
A Winged Victory for the Sullen playing Minuet for a Cheap Piano No. 1 has that intimate, closely recorded piano sound I like. Can't find a separate recording of it, but it's here on all songs considered. Very spare and relaxing.  Off their new EP out at the end of April titled Atomos VII.

Swans have a new album coming out mid-May. The song A Little God In My Hands is densely layered and dark and makes me want more.

I think I'd like to check out more Metronomy. Retro electronic music with a tiny tinge of sadness.  Boy Racer is one of their instrumentals.

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger is Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Too Deep can be found again at all songs.  The kind of psychedelic rock I like. Album out late April.

More punk jazz? I thought The Lounge Lizards were the only ones.  Melt Yourself Down out of London may fill that hole.  Great sax and beats.  Oh! And they are on bandcamp! Be careful with the video below if you are at all epileptic. It's flashy.

I'm on the fence about Sylvan Esso.  I like the sounds they use, but not sure about how they use them. The street noise and the bass in Hey Mami is right up my alley.

Jambinai uses a geomungo amongst their metal guitars? And other traditional instruments? This Korean band creates dark landscapes that need a second (and third and xnth) listens. Time of Extinction is epic.

Described as a "garage rock version of Joy Division", Protomartyr is something I'd probably listen to in high school on a cloudy fall Saturday when I had nothing to do. Check out Maidenhead.


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