Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sewing for Halloween: Bat Boy

Happy Halloween 2012!

Bat cape and headpiece: Made by me | Top: Circo via Target | Pants: Toughskins | Shoes: Sperry

At first he wanted to be a pumpkin bat which I thought was a fun idea. But then changed his mind and wanted to be just a bat which was helpful for me since I didn't have to make him a pumpkin costume as well. Anyway, I liked the look of this bat costume at MADE, although I didn't really want the shiny silver or purple lining. Instead of polyester lining, I used black cotton muslin. It's not really a tutorial but I figured out what needed to be done and it didn't take unreasonably long. The most challenging part of the costume was probably attaching the bat ears on the headpiece.

Process notes on the bat cape:

After cutting out your cape and lining pieces (measure your child's arm span then add an extra inch for seam allowances), pin them right sides together. Sandwich the straps between the two fabrics. Here I used four straps -- two for the shoulders and two for the forearms. Measure your child first to figure out where the straps should go.




To finish the straps, use velcro or sew directly on the cape:


For my straps, the only black webbing available at the Jo-Ann's here was a stretchy cotton/nylon webbing. Turns out, if you use stretchy straps, you don't need to use the velcro at all; you simply sew the ends of the straps to the cape lining, which is more secure. I definitely wish I'd figured this out beforehand since it is tedious work to apply iron-on velcro. Instead, I decided to sew the ends of the straps on around the velcro squares, managing to cover up the velcro. That's time I'll never get back again, but oh well, live and learn. And hopefully you won't make the same missteps I did!

xo, Gladys

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sewing for Halloween: Regency Dress


I had it in my mind that I would be a zombie or vampire Jane Austen for Halloween this year, which basically meant I would make a Regency-inspired dress in patchwork Halloween colors (black, red, gray, etc.). (By the way, this is my new dress form, which arrived Saturday morning! Ain't it pretty? I thought about naming it Sheila.... I've always liked that name. She sounds fun.)

I turned this Butterick pattern #6630:


...into this (worn for Halloween-themed contra dancing):

Dress: Made my me | Flats: Fluevog Amie (Integrity family) via Amazon

Not quite a zombie or even a vampire since I didn't want to scare any of the kids at the dance too much. :-) The angle of the photo doesn't do justice to the shape of the dress (OR MY NECK, UGH, THANKS TALL HUSBAND), but it shows the fit. I actually consider this dress a muslin, or a practice run to help me fine-tune the way the garment fits. I made it with quilting-weight 100% cotton fabrics. I bought yards and yards of two different and much nicer fabrics (one satin and one brocade) for when I'm ready to take this dress to cosplay level. Haha!

Even though I used no interfacing, did away with lining the skirt, and skipped the eyelet-and-lace closure on the back (all due to time constraints), this project still took many hours because it has so many parts. I also had to edit the pattern quite a bit: I had to shorten the skirt to fit my petite frame as well as hike up the neckline of the bodice by a couple of inches for modesty (either the model in the pattern photo is smaller than an A cup or they photoshopped out most of her cleavage). I was particularly unsure about how the bodice would turn out, but it doesn't look too bad.

In fact, there was a LOT of uncertainty about this project from the beginning because (*cough cough ahem*) I accidentally bought the wrong size pattern. Given my measurements, I should have bought the 12-14-16 envelope; instead I got the 6-8-10 envelope. Oops. Still, after measuring the paper patterns for the size 10 and taking into account the seam allowances, I figured it would probably be a little snug but it would fit, especially if I wore my bustier corset (looks like this). Final verdict? It survived dancing (including lifting my arm and turning under it) without ripping any seams. I'm very happy about that!


Here's the back. I know there's a gap in the middle back there, but it actually closes completely when I wear it. For some reason, despite the fact that the adjustable dress form is set to my measurements, the dress doesn't fit around it very well. Maybe I've got my own measurements wrong? Or more likely it's because the dress form is covered in a nappy fabric so that the cotton doesn't slide over it very well.

My two favorite parts of this dress are 1) the puffy sleeves, which were surprisingly fun to make (but not so easy to sew to the bodice) and 2) the red stripes. The latter was actually a result of one of the other constraints I had on this project -- the lack of fabric yardage. The two nice fabrics that I bought were 60" in width (as required by the pattern instructions), but because I was using quilting cotton for my muslin, I only had 44"-width fabrics since most quilting cotton fabrics don't come in the wider sizes. I didn't buy any new fabric for this muslin (except for the black sleeves) and used what was already in my stash. It was lucky that I had the red fabric handy. It added a couple of extra steps to make a patchwork skirt, but I think it looks more striking this way, and more Halloween-y, as if washes of blood were flowing down my back. MUWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Here's a bonus pic of me wearing the costume two Saturdays ago for a Halloween party, before I made and attached the puff sleeves (I actually had to put the dress together in order to wear it sleeveless, then use my seam ripper to separate the bodice from the skirt to finish it a couple of days afterwards). I'm threatening to bite my "doctor" husband (who has something in his mouth), in case you can't figure out what's going on in the photo. :-)


xo, Gladys

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Last of Paradise

This is the last of the Hawai'i pix to be posted here. There are other things I want to move on to now, with Halloween coming up soon. I worked on a fun little project for the kiddo that I want to share soon. That and my Halloween dress. :-)

But these photos make me smile. Some good memories!

At the Polynesian Cultural Center (trying out Tahitian dancing in the bottom left)
Dress: A. Byer via Amazon | Belt: taken from Calvin Klein for DressBarn dress | Sandals (not shown): Salt Water sandals via ModCloth | Brontosaurus necklace: ModCloth | Purse: ModCloth
Family portrait, wearing our awesome souvenir shirts from the Aulani gift shop and showing off all of the wrist bands from the resort that the kiddo accumulated
Top: Disney Aulani by Crazy Shirts | Capris: Sonoma via Kohl's | Sandals : Salt Water sandals via ModCloth

Luau food at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Taken from the bay

Another view of the resort

Underwater in the kids' zero-entry pool

One of the perks of the resort was the free childcare (for potty-trained children), and their facility was AWESOME -- costumes in all sizes, a computer room, a TV room, a fun outdoor playground, and tables with huge built-in touch screens with games (my son's favorite)

I love that the Target we went to had an Asian section!

Dramatic sea spray in the background! :-)

Kayaking (canoeing?)

(Last two photos courtesy of my husband's brother)

xo, Gladys

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Elizabeth Mine

I tried on the Elizabeths at the Fluevog store on Melrose over the weekend and was not disappointed.


They are even more magnificent in person. The rub-off green finish looks even better in natural light. And the best part? They fit and they are comfortable! You wouldn't know you were walking in 3.5" heels. These were the only size 6 in the store. So, yup, I put them on layaway (although I wish I could have walked out of the store with them). Even my husband said they looked amazing ... and offered to pay for part as a Xmas present! Woohoo!

Say hello to my holiday shoes! (Special thanks to Fluevog specialist Kate once again for the help. That lady is awesome.)

(More detailed Flue review here.)

xo, Gladys

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blue Roses

Dress: Tulle Los Angeles via ModCloth | Belt: taken from Calvin Klein for DressBarn dress | Sandals: Salt Water sandals via ModCloth | Robot necklace: ModCloth | Bracelets: Warsaw, Poland in 1995
(Green and yellow plastic bracelets were issued by the Aulani resort.)

My kiddo insisted on being in the photos too and then didn't want to smile. Silly guy.

I wore this outfit when visiting with a longtime family friend (my older sister's best friend) who moved to Hawai'i for college many years ago and decided to stay and settle down. She has four kids now and lives in a North Shore town. It was a beautiful evening of delicious pizza and fun company on the beach. We watched hardcore surfers out in the water until the sun went down.

I love this dress and have worn it several times since I bought it over a year ago. It's 100% cotton, which was great for the warm weather, and I like the shape especially with a belt. The pink and purple roses are great, but it's the blue roses that make me happy. It also has not just two, but FOUR pockets -- two hidden ones and two outer ones. What a bounty!

Anyway, my friend's kids are amazing. The oldest one, a 13-year-old boy whom I remember babysitting when he was only one year old, is in the robotics team at his school and going to competitions for it. So I decided to wear my silly robot necklace.


My kiddo loved hanging out with the youngest boy, who is only a year older, but I enjoyed the middle two young ladies as well. They are funny and sweet. The one in pink LOVES little kids and has just the right touch with them. The kiddo made a silly sand castle with her while the adults ate pizza and had a great time talking. We stayed there until sundown, and my own little family was sorry to leave them.

xo, Gladys

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Joanne Models Her Apron

I was planning to share outfit photos from Hawai'i on this post, but Joanne sent me pix of her modeling the reversible cupcake apron that I sewed up for her housewarming last month, and I couldn't wait to share!

Photos courtesy of Joanne's significant other :-)
Isn't she ridiculously adorable? Besides being beautiful (oh that skin! those dimples!), J-Ro, as we call her, has one of the best smiles of anyone I've ever met, hands down. Maybe she's a second to my son's smiles, though. :-)

Plus I love her outfit. Check out those burgundy Fluevog Benatars!

I'm very happy that she likes her apron. It looks fabulous on her, if I do say so myself! It's a great pattern that seems able to flatter many different body types. I'm actually thinking of turning it into a dress sometime since I'd prefer a dress to yet another apron in my house. Hmm, a reversible dress? Maybe not, but let me see what I can do....

Which reminds me, I've been working on a dress project (for myself for Halloween) that is forcing me to learn how to edit patterns for specific shapes/sizes. One thing I'd really love sometime is to get an adjustable adult dress form to help with fitting. The dress is pretty elaborate -- it requires far more than the apron pattern, for instance -- and it feels like a true learning process even if the specific techniques aren't completely new to me. This means that it is fun and rewarding but also time-consuming.

It's the time-consuming part that stresses me out since I have a deadline for it. However, after two days of ignoring household chores and leaving the care of the kiddo to my awesome husband, the dress is currently wearable, if still sleeveless, and in fact I wore it out last night to an early Halloween party and received compliments. (Compliments are good. They keep me practicing my sewing skills!) Anyway, more on this project sometime before Halloween.

xo, Gladys

Friday, October 19, 2012

Elsewhere on the Interwebs: For the Love of Vogs

It's no secret that I'm a Fluevog shoe addict ... or Flueddict as my friend Joanne would say. Well, she and I and two other friends have joined forces to share our love of Vogs in one (online) space. The new blog is called For the Love of Vogs.

Fluevog Elizabeth (Queen Transcendent family) in green

Look at this shoe! I mean, come on. How can you blame me for my addiction? :-) The new Elizabeths are a new style in a new family just out this fall season. The name of the family, Queen Transcendent, perfectly describes that heel. The 3.5" height is slightly offset by a 3/4" platform. And Fluevog specialist Alice at the Melrose store tells me they are pretty comfortable. They are available in black and burgundy as well, but I am in love with the green. I've been looking for green shoes for a while. I am thisclose to getting them.

I'll let you know after I try them on.

xo, Gladys

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gone Tropical

Top: Free Bird via ModCloth | Skirt: Old Navy | Shoes: Fluevog Believe (Hope family) | Purse: Kate Sheridan via ModCloth
The lei smelled really good, btw.

Sorry for the week-long radio silence, but I had a fabulous excuse. I went to beautiful Hawai'i for a week with my husband, son, and husband's family. :-D We stayed at the Disney resort, Aulani, which is on the southwestern tip of the island of O'ahu. The resort isn't on a very large plot of land, but the landscaping and striking architecture reminded me of Disneyland and made the place seem like it was sprawling.


The resort is basically a water park by the beach with lodging and restaurants surrounding it. There was a lazy river, a zero-entry pool for the kids that didn't get deeper than 4 feet, an aquarium of tropical fish where people could also snorkel for an extra fee, several hot spas including an infinity spa, and an adults-only pool that was unfortunately under construction while we were there. There were also two fun water slides and a water play area. We arrived in the early afternoon and as soon as we got into our hotel room, we changed the kiddo into his swim suit and let him jump into the play area.


It's a beautiful place. The view from our room wasn't the beach but back toward some hills. We were surprised to find out later that they weren't regular hills....


I'm not complaining. :-) And the weather in Hawai'i sure beat the weather at home.

More outfit pics to come from the trip in upcoming posts. It was fun to be able to wear some spring and summer outfits in the middle of October, and also swim outdoors again.

xo, Gladys

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sewing: Reversible Apron

I made another reversible apron from Lotta Jansdotter's pattern for my friend MC's upcoming birthday. I like how this one turned out as well. (My first attempt was for Joanne's cupcake apron.) This time, though, after cutting out the major pieces, I ended up with smaller scraps of leftover fabric so that 1) instead of making the red side of each strap out of one long piece, I had to sew together two pieces to make each red side of the straps, and 2) I had to make considerably-smaller pockets than the ones I made for Joanne. It must have been the way they were cut at the store; the red fabric in particular seemed smaller than one yard. The pockets turned out ok, though, but they're not as functional as the deep ones I made for J.


I admit I was kind of surprised to find this print fabric at Jo-Ann's. I liked it so much that I splurged and bought an extra yard (good thing I had a coupon for it). I'm excited to figure out what to do with that yard. Maybe a tote purse for myself?


I think the two separate pockets are really cute, especially with the print fabric. (Too bad this wasn't my best straight stitching.)

Process note:

As I mentioned in the cupcake apron post, the pleats were a bother because the pattern was confusing. How do you get two pleats from three folds/notches? You can't. Well, I almost edited the pattern by narrowing the shoulder and forgoing the pleats. But I decided to try something else instead: I added an extra notch on the pattern to make four, and you know what? It turned out perfectly. This makes me think it was just an accidental error of omission on the pattern.



xo, Gladys

Monday, October 8, 2012

Ladies' Night with Fluevog Qtees


Over the weekend, I got to dress up and test drive my new Fluevogs for an evening out with some girlfriends. The shoes stayed comfortable for the whole 5 hours, half of which I spent standing! I love this simple outfit and will definitely wear it out again (I got lots of compliments for it as well).


The dress deserves some special love here, too ... I love the 1950s-vintage shape with the nipped waist, full skirt, and shoulder rosettes. I'm also a fan of shirt dresses, plus it has pockets at the waist! It provided the perfect backdrop for the beautiful shoes.

(Sorry the lighting is a little wonky but the house photos were taken indoors with artificial lighting and no flash, and I subsequently edited the photos to get most of the yellow light out.)

Dress: A. Byer via Amazon | Belt: ASOS | Shoes: Fluevog Qtees (Mini family)

The only thing I didn't like 100% was my hairstyle, but I wanted to experiment after I saw this tutorial for a Simple Gibson Tuck (via Made by Rae who has some ridiculously-beautiful hair). Looking at the photo below, I feel like I should have pinned up the stray strands that were too short to stay in my loose ponytail. I also wish my shapeless bangs had been pulled back or swept to the side. They're a hot mess right now. Oh well, I still had a good time. :-)


xo, Gladys
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