Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Democracy Tunic to Dress Tutorial

Yesterday was a bit gloomy you guys. We have a new mayor, and I'm not a fan.
I love me some democracy, it's a privilege and I am thankful for it. Even if sometimes the result sucks. And to folks who don't vote I say "pheh" (and I totally roll my eyes).
Yesterday there was a polling station in the lobby of our building (yay for LAZY democracy!) Which means I could have gone and done my voting in my jammies BUT I have a "no jammies farther away than the garbage chute" rule , so I threw on this instead:

It's a tunic. You can tell on account of how it barely covers my bum. And is shaped roughly like a potato sack.
Now, tunics and I are not really friends, in fact we're barely even passing acquaintances but this is different. This is something I've had since I was pregnant and it has some pretty crazy history for me. But it is quite obviously too short, and I would have felt really uncomfortable going any farther than the lobby in it. So a refashion was in order.
I did this to it
Want to see how? Hokay!
Firstly of all I just happened to have some lightweight black cotton from another dress refashion project that exactly matched the tunic. You'll need a fabric that matches (or contrasts if that's how you roll ) depending on how much length you want to add a meter should be plenty.
Then you'll need to
1. Fold your dress in half straight down the middle.
2. Pop your folded-in-half dress onto your extra fabric, matching up the folds, like this see:3. Mark out however much more skirt you want, making sure you follow the line of the existing skirt (in this case it's a slight A-line). Replicate the curve at the hem on your new skirt bottom, and match up the curve at the top too. Don't forget to add a bit to your sides for a seam allowance (the solid line should be farther out. Oops!)
4. Mark out you skirt with chalk or pins. or just go crazy with the scissors if you're brave.
5. Snip! You'll need to cut out two skirt pieces.
6. Whip! Turn the new skirt pieces right-side-together then sew up the side seams so you have one piece of skirt. Press the seams open.
7. Pin the new skirt into the bottom of the old skirt, right-sides-together. Like ZIZ see:

8. Sew around the bottom of the skirt, where you've just pinned. Press the new seam UP. Try it on, admire your handiwork then hem it as you normally would.

And voila! Tunic to dress. Giving that sucker a waist instead of a sack shape is the next step. (I'll stick that tute up tomorrow, on account of some WAY to dark pictures and some shenanigans with Ernesta the body double).

If you don't have any fabric that matches your tunic you could go the obvious clash route and stick two different prints on the bottom, (kind of like in the original of this tunic).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Not The September Issue

So. I've been thinking a bit about fashion. Mostly because at this time of year I get all "GAH WHAD AM I GONNA WEAR" almost everyday. Le sigh, I miss summer.
But here's my problem. I'm not a big fan of fashion magazines. They make me feel bad. (oh hey, look how nerdy I sound).

Which is not to say that I don't think fashion matters. It DOES. I'm just not sure that the ridiculous self importance of designers and vicious, industry-wide, body type standards are worth subjecting myself to.
I used to consume Vogue et al like crack; but these days I feel pretty disconnected from breakable-looking adolescents wearing $1000 t-shirts.

So my inspiration comes from other places, actual humans for the most part. I'm p'ticly talking about the Wardrobe Remix pool on flickr. LOVE those girls. Finding it two years ago was a pretty big deal for me.
Anyway. Inspired is what I'm saying and just recently I've been SUPER inspired by one blogger, Vanessa, who's tagline is Big Girl Small Budget Tiny Town. (I realised I was clicking/thinking "favorite" on pretty much every outfit she posts and was all "huh, I hope this doesn't make me look creepy" )
This is how she rolls:

Unintended creepiness aside, Vanessa has a LASER eye for detail (and a bargain), she's fearless about colour and a good photographer; more importantly though, she has that unfakable thing, genuine style.
You should totally head over and say hi.

Gerrr Argh

Yesterday we ZOMBIE WALKED. Brains? mmmmm BRAAAAINS! And it was as super fun as always. Thousands of the undead lurching around Toronto, what's not to love?
This year I went for a Zombie Mime thing. Because you guys, the only good mime is a DEAD mime! Here's me, pre-leakybrain lunch:

and meddling with my gore-stained gloves.
And us guys, looking like we just ate the Reservoir Dogs (complete with candy blood mouth dribble. It tasted like EVIL. Super super yucky)

The outfit was dirt cheap too (naturally).
I used one very old (kind of insalubrious) plain white tee - stolen from my sweetie's vestie drawer
A pair of black trousers I already had (they remained relatively gore free)
A cardigan - ditto
beret - ditto
A pair of white cotton gloves - $2 from the costume place (the dollar store has them too with the cleaning and painting stuff)
Some black ribbon from the stash to make braces (suspenders) like this see:

I just safety pinned them to the trews.

The trick with the shirt and gloves is to give them time to dry before you have to wear them (or get paint literally everywhere in the world) I mixed up a bit of red and a spot black paint, then thinned it with water, put my shirt on and drizzled the gore onto myself. It's a good idea to jam a plastic bag or something between your skin and the shirt. Gravity will sort out the drip patterns (just like on CSI, but with less Horatio).
Then take it off carefully and let it dry, if you only want ick on one side of your shirt then best leave the plastic bag inside.
And that's it. Apply lurching walk and add braaaaaains for fun times.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Um. There's an elephant in here. No really, there is...

I LOVE this city for lots of reasons but today especially because of elephants.

Our local park, Allan Gardens, is not normally a pachyderm playground. In fact lots of the time it's full of drunk guys shouting and peeing. But the thing our park DOES have is a Palm House.
And today the Palm House was all dressed up like a Sikh temple (pretty!) for a movie set. But that wasn't the first thing we saw. Nope. This was:

Sure, she's pretending to be a lighting boom (she's totally down with the crew, no diva moves for her) But she's DEFINITELY an elephant.

I stopped and did a massive double take, and was all
"TEDDY! There's an elephant!"
He looked up from the business of scooting along on his bike with a "say what now lady?" look
But then I hoisted him up and showed him and his mouth made an O.
"Yup baby, it's an elephant"
And here's the conservatory, all gussied up:

It COMPLETELY made my day.

Monday, October 18, 2010

We Was Dapper!

Oh yes we were! See:

And was it fun? YAH it was!
We congregated as a dapper crew, and paraded our chapeaus to the Baskin Robbins. The short kid up in front there chose his own.

Teddy: strawwwbee. Stick please.
Me: Um, he means a cone of Very Berry?
Awesome Baskin Robbins Guy: Yep. A stick.

Anyway, after ice cream we went had a BOARD GAME SMACK-DOWN! Complete with trash talk,
"I OWN Taboo. Oh YAH? YAH! Hey, is it ON? I think it sounds like it's ON. Bring it!"
And that was fun too.
So what about you guys? Did you Dapper Hat? Do tell!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Millinery Yo!

OK, maybe actual millinery is a bit of a stretch, but you guys! I made a HAT! Want to see?

(yeesh the mirror is grubby. I'm going to blame monkeys. Rampaging monkeys. Who use a lot of hairspray? Yep. those ones.)

So, I've been thinking about making a hat for ages (since last Dapper Hat Day actually). I decided that if I was going to give it a go I should do it NOW, so I could wear the sucker for DHD if it went well (or pitch it and never discuss it again if it went badly).

I used this pattern from Martha

And as I'm not a tiny cherubic child, I blew the pattern up to 275% then hacked it about a bit. I used a few sheets of dirt cheap recycled plastic felt. And I made a muslin first. Want to see it?

Pretty hot huh? It's kind of, fleshy coloured. And my sweetie declared "YOU made a PECKER hat!" uh huh. I kind of did. Then I put ears on it. OK. Moving swiftly on...

Once I was happy with the basic shape of the muslin I took it apart, cut out the "real" felt, then pieced that together. I didn't bother with the zigzag stitch like Ms. S suggests. My hat has an inside and an outside. When that was done I simply tucked the raw edges of the hat under and top-stitched them. The I whacked a few decorative leaves on it and called it a night.

To recap:
One free pattern (I didn't even bother to print it, just traced it off the screen - lazy like)
about $2 worth of felt sheets
an hour
One kind of cute cloche hat*

For any actual milliners out there who are tutting and head shaking, I know that this isn't the real deal, but I learned HEAPS just by doing this. When I remake this hat, (which I totally will, they're kind of like crack) I will be using real wool felt. And I think I'll maybe interface it with woven interfacing to stabilise it. Maybe bang some grosgrain ribbon around the bottom on the inside? Any other hints would be awesome.

*and a creepy picture of me in a pig/penis hat on the internets for all the world to see. Bargain!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

So Damn Dapper

You guys! you guys!
It's that time again!
The most suave day of the year! It's DAPPER HAT DAY! Wooo!
For those of you who aren't my ma or my sweetie (pretty much the only people who read my blog this time last year) then let me explain/recap.
Dapper Hat Day is a Holiday I made up last year. And it's super fun times. Here's the skinny from last year...

"This (Friday) 15th of October I declare to be Dapper Hat Day. The day where you wear a dapper hat and maybe go for an ice cream.

So you're probably thinking "riiight?".
but see, Dapper Hat Day makes perfect sense, and here's why:

Winter is coming and winter is lousy BUT it does give you the opportunity to wear hats. Celebrating Dapper Hat Day is, I purport, a nice way to look winter in it's steely-Grey eyes and say
"Yeh, whatever Winter. Check out my HAT"

AND this time of year wearing hats is still kinda novel and awesome and you don't have to concern yourself with earflaps or practicality or nuthing. Just the DAPPERNESS.

And how are we defining dapper?
Well that, my chums, is up to you. Any hat that you might look at and think "Man alive! This hat is dapper - as hell/all day long" Well then BINGO!
for example:

A toque*? Meh.
A toque with a FEATHER on it? GRACIOUS yes!

A 20 year old, sweat stained, Adidas baseball cap that I swear to God, SWEAR TO GOD I am going to "lose" mister? Nope.
A lovely trilby? You betcha!

AND we shall be celebrating Dapper Hat Day with a spot of ice cream. Because nothing says "In your eye Winter!" like seasonally inappropriate ice cream. If you'd like to join us well then you SHOULD! You totally totally SHOULD. We'll be parading our fancy Chapeau to The Baskin Robbins on Church at 7.00 and you could meet us there lovely (possibly imaginary) internet peoples!

Or you could stay where you are, pop a dapper hat on, choke back a little ice cream and take pictures to send me so I have a super happy. If you happen to be in say, Ireland or England, (HI Mama and Sarah!) you make the whole affair international and thus loads, loads better.
*Toque is Canadian for beanie. Also, lookit ma! I speaks Canadian!

So that's the deal and we're doing it all over again.
HATS! ICE CREAM! DAPPERNESS! Got the general idea? You are OF COURSE completely welcome to join us in spirit of in real life at 7.00pm right here (we'll be the folks in the hats, looking dapper.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Ta-DAH! I'm all halloweenied! (heh, "weenie")
Pretty excited about the we'en this year (most years actually, but this year particularly) and here's why:

My friend Sarah's mama, Judy, scored Teddy the dragon suit, and I love it so much I can't barely stand it. He just happens to love it too (he's already asked to wear it twice) but I would be putting him in it even if he hated it.
Because I love it THAT much.
He's a dragon and that means I get to be... A PRINCESS!!! or a KNIGHT!!! I'm cool with either (I'm using "cool" very loosely here, I actually mean "the nerdiest ever").
And the whole-dressing-to-match-your-kid thing? I'm doing that until homeboy is old enough to set the bear trap to stop me leaving the house with him!
Last year was a bust for various reasons but here's a quick retrospective of Teddy's costumes so far:
See, he's a pumpkin. A vomit-inducing pumpkin. Might not seem so scary to you, but being pregnant scared the crap out of me. Spooky for sure. And...
Teddy is a chimp. And I am famed primatologist Jane Goodall. (See? I have a safari shirt and a hello my name is Jane Goodall badge.) Which I thought was HI-larious. But literally NOBODY else found funny.
Now, I'm going to need some pale pink tulle, a traffic cone and a BUNCH of candy corn. We're on a deadline here people!

Monday, October 11, 2010

'scuse the mess

S'cuse the mess folks I'm decorating for the 'ween. Creepy Circus Sideshow is what I'm going for, come on back for the spooky sometime tonight or maybe tomorrow!
(OK, fine, definitely tomorrow; between Photoshop and HTML I might be spending tonight howling in frustration, but it all adds to the ambiance! )

Grumpy. Old. Men.

A while back I dropped a teaser for the Grumpy Old Man party that I threw for my sweetie's birthday. Now I'm finally getting 'round to the rest of it. Firstly of all I wanted to site my sources, I totally stole was completely inspired by this idea here.

This is the invitation I threw together (but in the interests of full disclosure I should say that nobody actually got these, everybody knew the plan before I could so much as turn my printer on, and the guest list kept growing, which was awesome) BUT, If you do your own grumpy old man party and you want to use these just shout.
The plan was to print these on cardstock and line basic dollar store envelopes with newspaper print paper ( real newspaper is a bit grubby).

The inside text read:
Wear your pants THIS HIGH
Order the prunes
Say "whippersnapper" and mean it
But most of all come and celebrate (My Sweetie's) 39th Birthday like a
Grumpy Old Man

The Plan was for everybody to dress up as grumpy old men then meet up at the local 24hour, all-you-can-eat Breakfast Buffet for brunch and hijinx, then go on to play a spot of mini golf (in deference to the bear and my lousiness at actual golf!)
Our brilliant chums outdid themselves on the dressing up front, here's some of the gang

The transformations were pretty incredible, this gent is actually my very pretty friend Sarah

Mr. And Mrs. Turd Ferguson gave the performance of the day.
And it turns out that my brother is actually probably going to look pretty good as an older man.

Are you wondering about the birthday boy? Well, the day's theme was surprise for him, and while he WILL dress up under duress (because he's the best ever) I didn't make him this time. So he and his bestie (who had to come from his nightshift) looked like adorable whippersnappers!

If you've got a powerful curious about the rest of the pictures you can see my facebook album here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Not a Quilt

Poking through other people's stuff without the B&E and subsequent costly legal fees = Yay!
What I'm saying is that I love a bit of yard sale action. Where we live doesn't have a lot of actual yards; BUT when the buildings around here have a yard sale they co-ordianate days and they go large. 700-1000 units in a relatively affluent area with a majority gay, aging population - BINGO for yard sale awesomeness.
So that's the backstory, this is the result:

I scored three fat quarters of this floral cotton for the princely sum of 75 cents. It was tucked into the bottom of a box of other fabrics (I bought most of them too) I love it crazy much. In fact I might have found it, squealed, ripped it from the box, cradled it protectively and cooed mineminemine at it whilst growling around me. Maybe.

I'm not much of a quilter, but I knew from pretty much the second that I plucked it out of the box that I wanted it to be a dress. A dress a bit like this one.

I used New Look 6803, (I happened to have bought it for another project, but that's a whole 'nother post) and meddled with view C.

I had to hack the pattern a bit to make there be enough fabric, there's a seam down the front but it gets a bit lost in the florallyness. I also had to piece together the bottom otherwise we'd have been talking tunic or indecent exposure, but again the print makes it barely noticeable.
This is it with different accessories, And the worlds glummest expression

In my head it's more sort of 60's with the kitten heels and skinny belt. I'm giving some serious thought to a pair of cream ribbed schoolgirl-type tights. But that might be... gack? weird? costumey? Opinions are welcome folks.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Counting Down to 32

So. Today would be the 7th of October. Which means that in 'sactly one month I will be 32. Which, aside from setting off submarine klaxon noises in my head, is actually OK. Really. I mean, 32 beats the hell out of the alternative doesn't it?
So, I've given myself a blog-based birthday present. See the shiny? With the flashing? And the Orange? (LOVE orange!)
That's my to-myself birthday present.
This is what it's all about:

12 years old. Which was 20 years ago for me, 20 brilliant, shiny years for which I am immensely grateful. SO.
I'll be leaving it up until November 7th. (And hey fambly of mine, if you were wondering what I wanted for my burfday, then VOILA!)
You can find the rest of the skinny here, and the rest of the videos here, and the check out the stuff for passing the message along right here.
P.S. smooches at these girls here for passing this along.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

So I guess I was a bit gung ho in my last post. (OK, fine, I was smug!) But things got considerably suckier for the rest of September. A few not-fun things happened, the scariest of which was my sweeties daddy, Teddy's Bankie, having a stroke.
He is doing remarkably well now, mostly because he's a super-tough nut. And the hardest worker I know. But I know that it was terrifying for the people who love him.
I know it's been tough for my sweetie to see his daddy as breakable.
It seems to me a terrible design flaw that humans, who are so precious, aren't made of something tougher that juice and bones. Titanium. Or maybe that stuff that Wolverine is made of... That's what we SHOULD be made of.
Anyway, what I ment to say is safe and healthy, that's it. Everything else is gravy.

Anyway, here's a picture of this kid I know who's so big I barely recognise him (and um, crazy hair) :

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