Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Worms and Body Blocks

My pattern-drafting skills haven't rusted quite as much as I'd feared, or else my trusty book's fabulous instructions made up for my lack in skill. 

Truth is, I wasn't perfect first time round. This is why I made the body block in the first place. My first attempt was at least a success in all ways on the drafting side of things. 
No, my failure was in forgetting that I should really breathe in when taking the chest measurement. Its been a long time since I've taken measurements, and so its probably unsurprising that I got at least one of them wrong first time round.

I probably could have gone with my original block, but I expect I'll be using this guide for some time, so would rather make one that is more accurate. I know, I really should try to be less perfectionist, but if I get it right now, I may not ever have to make one of these again, although I might actually be quite sad if that were true.

So I went back, re-measured my bust, made another, and promptly scrapped it after failing to follow the perfectly easy to follow guidelines. After a night to sleep on my mistakes and a number of curses, I now have a proper and true representation of myself in paper and cotton.
I rather like making body blocks. The straight, clean lines. The step by step laid out for you. The sharp, ordered lines are so different from the rough and tumble of ragged edges and flexible fabric. It is an entirely different process from the creation of a costume, and I love it.

Now I get to start looking at real fabrics.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Twitters & New Pages

As we all know, my procrastination knows no bounds. This time it has worked in my crafting favour as what I really wanted to procrastinate working on was the thing with an actual due date. Naturally.

This meant a rather un-necessary time spent reworking the website. Its been undergoing various shifts over the past few months, but I finally got around to sorting out a few things on my To Do list- namely, I've added a slideshow of the Flickr page and set up a Twitter account for the blog.

You can catch updates and actually tell me how much you hate my blog on @withoutastitch which sadly ran into the Twitter handle word count and is therefore missing the crucial 'on'.

The RSS feed has been updated, and is newly configured to hopefully make subscribing easier, and there's a handy link for my fellow Feedly users.

The Photography page now has a slideshow of the Flickr page, which should naturally update with any new shots. There's a bunch there that have never been on the blog, some of which are better quality than others. You'll see the cosplay shots I took at various conventions, as well as some nicer shots that have nothing to do with the blog- like the one above. This may eventually become a larger section, but not without a lot more effort than I can currently devote.

Enjoy the new features!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pattern Drafting

It has been over 10 years since I last drafted a pattern. My memories of pattern drafting were of lots of math and rulers and frustration.

So I did what any self-respecting seamstress would do and sought help.

Tea for fortification, and a book with all the answers. It is a combo that has seen me through many a problem.

My go-to helper on this type of work is this book- The Costume Technician's Handbook. I got it in college for costume design, and it has yet to fail me. A lot of patterning books move on from there to give you a lot of ideas and other options, but for the basics, this is just so super-easy to follow along that I love it.

Actually, the pattern drafting was surprisingly easy. I'd say I whipped out my block in about 45 minutes, excluding the time I stared longingly at Damon Salvatore.

I haven't yet created my block to see how badly I've done, but I'm fairly confident that if my measurements are good, then this should work. Reasonably delighted with myself on this.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


So yeah, I said I'd do stuff and I didn't post for ages. I know. In my defense, I was in another country.

I did do something though! I have managed to get myself all measured up again in the vain attempt to pretend like I remember how to make a drafted pattern. Theoretically, its easy, but I remember it never quite being that way in practice.

The good news is, I have measurements.

For those of you who have ever contemplated losing weight, allow me to let you in on a secret. Measurements are the coolest indication of your weight loss. Being able to say you've taken 12 inches off your waist is not only a huge boost to your confidence, but really makes you realise the differences in your before and after.

Obviously not every measurement gives you quite that feeling of accomplishment. Seeing 2.75 inches come off your arms, for example, doesn't really mean much in my mind. But these are milestones that come much more infrequently than a little shift in the weighing scales and are easier to celebrate.

Being honest, I'm still a little frightened to use these measurements. I always worry when I don't have a professional take them, and even though I do know how to do it, having to do so on myself is another matter. My goal is to do up a basic block and see how it fits. Fingers crossed it doesn't go entirely haywire.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Fear

I get it every time I start contemplating new projects. Do you?

You see, its Korra. I desperately want to create this costume. I have exactly what I want in mind. I have almost all of the materials needed. And I am petrified that I'm going to screw it up.

I blame procrastination for a lot of things, but in many cases, the procrastination is just a mask for the fear that is causing me to quake in my boots. I look at a project, imagine the perfection of its completion in my mind, get sweaty palms and promptly put all the fabrics in a dark space that I don't have to look at so I won't be reminded that I'm not doing anything about it. I avoid the guilt of not doing it by putting it out of my mind.

Lately, I've been spending more time organising my life, which has resulted in the usage of several apps on my phone to remind me of things as I've the memory of a squirrel.


I really like the app. It allows me to write lists of things I want to get done, schedule when I will be reminded about it, and it sorts it all for me. On any given day, I try to clear my list, and if I forget, its there the next day to remind me. Having a number in the corner of that app on my phone causes me distress, so I'm pretty decent at following what it is I have written. Except when it comes to crafting.
You see, I added a list of steps I need to do to complete Korra. Some of hem were easy like "Buy fabric for Korra costume"(easy? really? theoretically easy, how's that?). Some of them are more complicated, and those I tried to break down into steps that were easily consumed and therefore easier to accomplish; "Make top" became "make pattern for top," "cut top pieces," "sew top."

And yet, despite having made it completely easy for myself, I just keep pushing the reminders back every time they come up. While its true that I dislike the chaos of bringing out my sewing machine in our tiny apartment (and how I envy those of you with your own sewing/crafting rooms), that is a weak excuse at best. Having watched almost both seasons of House of Cards in the last week, I can't really justify it by claiming to be busy. Nor can I say its because I'm not motivated- I think about it all the time and really want to get it finished.

No, its the Fear. Its the fear that what is in my head won't be matched up to what comes off my machine, out of my fingers.

I've known I was a perfectionist for a long time, but its only recently occurred to me that my procrastination, which knows no bounds, was linked. So, in an attempt to get this costume done for the MCM Dublin con in April, I am publicly saying here that I will work on this costume at least one day a week.

Fingers crossed it turns out like I want it to.