Tuesday, July 31, 2012


This is part 2 of a project that I posted a few weeks ago.  I sewed this skirt ages ago, but it has been way too hot to consider wearing all that fabric for long enough to take any pictures.  It was only in the 80's today, so I decided I could brave the weather. The maxi skirt is sheer, and I made this skirt to wear underneath it.  

I've never worked with taffeta before, and after this project I don't think I will again for quite a while.  That said, I learned a ton from this project, and I thoroughly enjoyed the process.  I just need something nice and easy to follow this.  

The material was too thin for my sewing machine to grip properly.  It kept slipping out from under the presser foot, snapping threads and snagging the fabric.  It got kind of ugly in some places.  After some research I pinned tissue paper to the fabric and sewed with that stabilizing the piece.  It worked, although it was a pain to rip off afterwords.  

I didn't buy enough fabric for this project.  If I were to do this again I would buy at least one more yard.  The loop that forms the skirt body isn't quite wide enough to walk comfortably in, and that the waist gathers balloon a little strangely in addition to that.  

Honestly, this is another case of problem sewing.  I never really had any desire to wear a maxi skirt.  Then I saw this fabric at the store and I knew that it had to be made in to one, and I couldn't rest until it was done.  There's this part of me that wants to prove that I can make trendy things, that sewing doesn't have to mean investing in classic patterns and neutral colors.  I guess this is an instance of frosting that we were all talking about earlier this year. 

Now that I went ahead and sewed this skirt that I never really had any desire to own I'm kind of excited to mix it with my closet.  I have some fun things planned for it.  Plus, if I decide that I really don't like it I can always find a new home for it.  The insides are all done nicely enough that I wouldn't care if someone else saw it.  

Monday, July 30, 2012

The radio was right

adele on Grooveshark

Ok, so I know that everybody has loved Adele for ages.  She's wonderful and lovely and on and on.  Honestly, I never really gave her a shot.  I've never been broken up with, so it can be hard to relate to her music, and on top of that she's just so overplayed on the radio.  

New opinion: Adele is wonderful.  Maybe I don't want to listen to her music to mend my broken heart. Instead I'll scream along with my friends at ten o'clock on a Sunday night.  Or we'll pet each other's faces while it rains on our bonfire.  Sometimes the best songs are the ones that have memories attached to them.  

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sometimes I do cheesy things

By cheesy things, I mean taking outfit pictures while practicing my trombone.  Because fashion blogging and marching band are obviously a fantastic combination.  Since we're being cheesy already, might as well redesign my blog to match the outfit pictures that I just took, since I like them so much.   This is what happens when I wear all my favorite colors and have too much time on my hands.

Look, I got new shoes!  They were on clearance at Shoe Carnival, and they're super comfortable.  I would say that I've been wearing them non-stop since I got them, but I'm pretty sure that I already said that about my chucks, and obviously I can't wear two pairs of shoes at once.  Not that I didn't try.

Outfit Details
Shirt: self made
Skirt: self made
Shoes: Rebel

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

Old friends.  Yesterday I saw a friend that I've been casually tumblr stalking for a while, but haven't actually seen in a few years.  Then tomorrow after work I'm hanging out with another friend that I haven't seen or talked to in four years!  I'm a little nervous, but I think things will be fine.  Mostly I just can't wait.

Skateboarding.  I went through a phase in middle school when I really wanted to learn how to skateboard.  As I've been discussing this with friends it's come to light that a lot of people go through this phase.  Being the dork that I am, I went so far as to read books on the subject, which doesn't actually help one learn.  One summer my brother garbage picked a skateboard, and I spent a few days attempting to roll down the driveway.  Then he got mad at me for using his stuff, and hid the board from me, and that was the end of that experiment.

Three days ago I found it while searching for a jumprope in the garage.  I've been practicing for two days, and so far things are going alright.  Ok, let's be real here.  It's really not that hard to do.  I spent all those years wishing I could skate, when all I had to do all along was hop on and start going.  Lesson: next time you want to learn how to do something, just do it already!  I'm actually having a lot of fun just skating up and down the street, trying to learn how to stay on the board.  Maybe someday I'll try to learn a trick or two; for now I'm happy just moving.

Really good workouts.  My asthma's been kind of bad lately, so working out hasn't been happening too consistently.  However, now that I have a jump rope to use with my punching bag, my morning workouts are going so much better.  I love sore muscles so much.

Singing this song: One Direction's One Thing, only replacing one thing with corn dog.


New shoes.  I know that I already wrote about this earlier this week, but I'm still so excited.  I hadn't been able to wear my chucks for ages, because they were so destroyed that it just killed my feet.  I feel so much more like myself now that I'm back in them.  Don't get me wrong, I love shoes as much as any girl, and having options in footwear is great; but I love my chucks.

The internet, which is a fantastic place.  I just love the internet and the things it can do, and that I have friends who send me interesting emails and cool people who want to collaborate on projects, and the whole sewing community.. I could ramble on, but I think I won't, for you.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Refashion: the almost perfect dress

I bought this skirt from Goodwill for 50 cents a couple years ago for a halloween costume, and held on to it because it's super soft.  I figured it would make a nice sewing fabric, once I knew what I wanted to make with it.  In to the stash it disappeared.  

Earlier this month I found myself in the odd situation of not having any sewing projects on the table.  I'd finished everything that I had fabric for, and was about to put my sewing machine away for the week when I came across Heather's blog, Closet Case Files.  I don't know what it was about her blog that I loved so much, but I was so inspired that I just had to start a new project.  I drafted out this pattern and cut the pieces out within the hour, and whipped the rest of the dress up in the next day.  

I'd been meaning to make a shirtdress with simple pleats in the place of darts ever since I saw one of my sixty year old professors wearing one in class.  Inspiration comes from the strangest places.  

As I was sewing this dress I was convinced that it was the Most Perfect Thing that I have ever made.  The insides are all french seamed and beautiful.  The sleeves fit and don't restrict my movement.  Great, right?  Well, once I put the dress on I realized that the bodice was a couple inches shorter than I had intended it to be.  The result of this is that the dress is also a few inches shorter than I intended, and that the waistband is right under my chest.  This might not be that big of a deal, except it's a very tight waistband.  Remember how the sleeves don't restrict my movements?  The same doesn't apply to the waistband.  Yeah, I can't pick my arms up higher than shoulder level.  No big deal, right? 

At a vintage bazaar earlier this summer, a woman selling 1940-style dresses told me that waistbands on shirt-dresses used to have snaps at the waists instead of buttons, so that belts could lie flat over them more easily.  I thought it sounded like a great idea; my waistband has two snaps instead of a button.  The result of this is that if I stretch too violently the snaps pop open.  Oops.  

Next problem: the binding on the neckline was not supposed to stand straight up.  I think it's kind of cute that it does, but that was not intentional. 

Regardless of the fact that the fit is a little off on this dress, I still love it.  I just can't wear it on days where I have to move around a lot, is all.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Death of a shoe

I know for a fact that I'm not the only one who gets emotional about shoes.  However, I do feel that those who belong to the cult of chucks go a little overboard on these feelings.  

I bought new shoes yesterday, to replace the pair that I have been wearing for five years.  Five years is a long time for a pair of canvas shoes.  I won't go in to all of the happy memories attached to these shoes; the fact that I've worn them to this point is testament enough to that.  There's a chunk of the heel currently residing in my scrapbook, immortalized among photos of bandcamp, where the piece finally came dislodged two years ago.  

I've been alternating between hating the new shoes for being so clean, for not having any character to them, and marveling in the stiffness, the pure black and white-ness of them.  I know that soon enough they'll get broken in the way that all my shoes do, the heels worn down on the insides, scuff marks on the toes; I should be appreciating the clean while I can.  

It's hard to believe that these two shoes used to be the same.  There's such a difference!  

Mandatory departure picture: it's been nice, shoes. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm a bigger dork than you knew

A couple weeks ago I went to see "A Cavalcade of Brass", which is an annual DCI event in the Chicago suburbs.  For those not familiar with the term, DCI stands for Drum Corp International; it's the NFL of marching band.  This was my second year attending the event.  The first year we sat through the pouring rain.  It had been thunderstorming the day of this year's event, but it dried up just in time for the show.

If you ever get a chance to go see a DCI show, do it.  Even if you know nothing about marching, or fail to appreciate the beauty of their lines or perfect step styles, you can still enjoy the music.  DCI musicians are masters of dynamic control, and the sound that they produce is simply incredible. It's enough to induce a religious experience, I swear.

Ever since the first show I went to four years ago in the rain, I've been a Cavaliers fan.  Not only are they fantastic, but they're also this region's corps.  They performed well at the event that I saw, no doubt about it.  These kids work too hard to ever say that they did badly.  Maybe my expectations were just too high, but I just wasn't as impressed with  them as I was the last time I saw them.

The Madison Scouts were a different story.  I couldn't speak for a few minutes after they were done.  They were incredible.  As with any concert that goes well, the only thing I can say is When Can I See Them Again?????

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

Little musicians.  My sister had her summer band concert this morning.  Maybe I get too emotional about these things, but it was really great to see all the kids working hard on the pieces, maybe coming to love their instrument, maybe starting to let music take them somewhere fantastic.  Also, if the concert was a competition the band totally would have kicked the orchestra's butt.  I'm not biased or anything, I promise.  Band is just awesome.

Using spanish in real life.  So maybe the woman I was talking to laughed at my mangled spanish.  But she still understood me.  That's all that counts, right?  Right?

Making plans to see friends.  I love friends, and I love planning!  Boom.

Hotdogs.  I really love hotdogs, and lately I've had a ton of delicious ones.  They just aren't the same in Indiana.

Time for reading.  I've been averaging 3 books a week for the past couple weeks.  I hope I can keep it up.  I've got a huge stack of books on my bedside table that I hope to have done by the time I have to leave for school!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Shiny purple

I'm so clever when it comes to thinking of names for these things, right?  Ok, maybe not.  I made this shirt with the same pattern that I used for this one.  Oh hey, I'm wearing the same shorts, too.  I guess this really is just a big old repeat.  I'm not really sure if I like this version or not.  The material is polyester lining, and it clings a little bit.  Also, it's very purple, if you haven't noticed.  I ran out of fabric and had to face the button placket in white, which I don't really like, just because it's very visible.  

I intended to make this shirt much more stud-heavy, but they turned out to be a pain in the butt to attach.  So no more studs.  I like the few that I did add, though.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sons of Jim

sons of jim by mycodos on Grooveshark

Here's a strange occasion: Sons of Jim doesn't have a wikipedia page.  Sure, I go to college, I know how to conduct proper research.  But...everything has a wikipedia page.  

Confusion aside, I'm really loving this group.  Some song of theirs has made it on to every playlist I've made this summer.  Listen and enjoy!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

Resurfacing friends.  A few days a friend that I haven't spoken to in nearly 4 years contacted me.  We discussed possibly hanging out sometime in the near future.  We're both really busy people, but I really hope we can make it work out.  Even if it doesn't, it's nice to have him back in my life again!

People who tell me I have good taste in music.  I mean, of course I think I have good taste, but it's nice when other people say so.  Also, I worked for 4 hours last night and we listened to One Direction and Ed Sheeran the entire time.  I do love converting people.

Working out again.  For a few weeks it was way too hot outside to consider working out.  Now that we're back to normal summer temperatures of around 85 F, it's safe to venture outside again to run.  My brother garbage picked me a punching bag ages ago, and I finally set it up this week.  It's really nice to get back in to boxing.  How weird is it to say that I just love hitting things?

Plotting out new sewing projects.  I've officially used up all of my new fabric, and am planning a trip to the fabric store for sometime in the next week.  In the meantime I think I'll delve in to my scrap bin and see what I can come up with.

Reading fantastic things.  I've been reading a ton in the past few days.  I just reread The Great Gatsby, which I loved just as much as the first time I read it, and Vonneguit's 2BRO2B, a short story.  I'm working on Sherlock Holmes, too, but there's a lot more of that, so it's taking a bit longer.  I would definitely recommend any of those.

Sherlock!  I know I'm really late on the bandwagon here, but I started watching the BBC version of Sherlock yesterday.  Season one, done.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tough decisions

I wrote a post in November about how much I had learned from being a part of the marching band.  In this post, I wrote about my decision to not march again for this coming year.  This was a decision that I fretted over for months, but knew was for the best.  Marching is a huge time commitment, and it wouldn’t be as fun without all of my friends.

Guys.  I can’t not march.  All summer long, marching band is all I’ve been talking about.  It’s part of my identity.  If I’m not a part of the band, then what am I?  I know that I’ll have to stop someday, once college is over; but I just can’t bring myself to quit yet.

I’m cycling between joyous excitement for new friends, new music, pregame shows and cadences in the stands, and dread of band camp’s sunburn and sweat and sore muscles, of being lonely without my best friends, of what if what if I forget the drill.

I’m doing it.  I am marching.  I have 5 weeks to whip myself in to shape for band camp.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pleats are hard

I was talking about back to school shopping with a friend earlier, and made a startling realization.  Normally, I scour the september editions of magazines, plotting out what I want to get for the upcoming school year.  Then I shop carefully, searching for the best deals I can find to fulfill the list that I made.  

I don't have a list this year, or a desire to make one.  I...don't want to buy anything.  I've been in and out of stores all summer, but I just can't bring myself to buy anything.  Instead, I've been sewing up a storm, making the things that I've been wanting for a while.  The only thing that I plan on buying is a new pair of chucks, since I've had mine for 5 years and the holes are too big for comfort now.  

Is not wanting to go back to school shopping a sign that I'm maybe growing up, or just of successful sewing?

Rant aside, I'm really loving this skirt.  I took the measurements from the yellow midi skirt that I bought from Forever 21 last year, that I've been wearing nonstop since I bought it.  This skirt is going to be added to the ranks of always-in-use clothing.  I've worn it every day since i finished it.  It was an easy sew, and only took a few hours.  The hardest part was lining up the pleats.  

The pleats!  I love pleats.  Maybe that's the six years of Catholic education talking, but I have such a weakness for pleated skirts.  The other midi skirt that I own is also pleated, and I didn't want the skirts to be too similar.  The other one has box pleats.  I couldn't decide how I wanted to pleat this one, so I did a few different things.  From my experience, knife pleats normally point outward, towards a person's side.  I've been seeing a lot of inverse pleating around the streets lately, and liked the way it looked.  The back has straight knife pleats.  The front pleats are each an inch wide, but for the first 4 on each side I overlapped them so that only 1/4" shows.  I half worry that this makes a bit of a uterus-frame, but I think I like the effect.  Also, I'm hoping that they will lie flatter once I iron this!

I made this skirt as part of another project, which hopefully I'll share sometime in the next week!

Monday, July 9, 2012

A departure from the usual

warped on Grooveshark

I have to say this right now: I am no expert on rap.  Usually I avoid it.  There are certain songs that I like, but that usually has more to do with memories associated with the song than with the music itself.  

I am an intern with Planned Parenthood, and this weekend we worked in a booth at Warped Tour, handing out condoms and talking about the Women Are Watching campaign.  Seriously, this is the best internship ever.  True story, though: a few years ago I would have killed to go to Warped Tour; this year, I was just not in to the lineup.  The one band that I would have loved to see that was touring with them didn't play.  In a way I was glad, because it meant that I could focus on working, instead of lamenting the music that I was missing out on.

Our booth wasn't near any of the main stages, so we didn't hear any of the headliners or anything.  However, we were right next to a hip hop tent.  As I've already mentioned, I don't really do hiphop.  However, by the end of the day I was definitely feeling more than a little in to it.  As a musician, I definitely appreciate what the artists were doing.  I was impressed with how talented they all were.

The artists were all very friendly, and a few of them interacted with us.  Particularly, J Ross Pirelli was really nice to us, and gave us a few mentions in her mid-set bantering.  She's a fantastic performer, and was kind of radiating awesome all over the place.    

Another act that I really enjoyed was Abadawn.  He was performing in a grouping called Kill Party, for which I can find nothing on the internet, which is a shame, because it was one of my favorite acts of the day.  To me, it was almost a little bit early Linkin Park-like.  I'm not too experienced with the rap stuff, though, so don't hold me to that; also, I wasn't running on very much sleep, and it was very hot out.  Anyway, he was really friendly and was very supportive of Planned Parenthood, which is always nice.  

Lastly, I loved The Chicharones.  We were all dancing behind our table in the booth, wishing we could be out with the crowd.  I'll be buying this cd as soon as I can get my hands on it.  

Honestly, I wish that more people had been enjoying the hip hop tent as much as we were.  I understand that the type of music that people attent Warped for doesn't always have a lot in common with hip hop, but I definitely think that all these artists deserved more attention than they were getting.  They worked hard, and kept us in the booths entertained all day!  

As long as I'm talking about music that I don't usually pay that much attention to, I finally looked this song up.  I'm working hard to keep up with the latest dance craze (ha).  This song isn't that bad, the dance is a lot of fun, and there's a lady tromboner in the video.  Automatic A+.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Little baby

Last weekend my little sister played in her softball league's championship game.  They were losing 9-1 when it began to thunder and lightning; the game had to be paused.  It continued the next day.  I wasn't able to go the second day, but here's what happened, if you care to know:  They caught up, and the score was 11-12 in the last inning.  My sister hit a double, and they would have won because of it if the girl who was up to bat next hadn't hit a fly ball that was caught.  Game over.  Still, second place in the league isn't bad.  I'm proud of you, baby sister!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Reflection on Camp Nanowrimo

Well, good news!  I finished my novel for Camp Nano last Friday, one day early, at 50,078 words.  After spending nearly all of my free time writing for the last month, it's really nice to be able to spend time reading and sewing again.  

For all of the work that I put in to my novel, I doubt that I'll ever let anyone read it.  If I do, it will be after much revision, and frankly, I don't know that I care enough to put any more work in to it.  Maybe once I've had some time to just sit for a while again I'll change my mind, but for now I'm content to just sit on the project.  

Just because I don't want to share my novel doesn't mean that the work was wasted, though.  I honestly learned so much from this project.  I had never seriously sat down to write a fiction piece before; all the writing I've ever done has been of the academic sort, or journalling.  I'm going to lay out what I learned as clearly as I can, so that if I decide to embark on a similar venture I know what to do better.

Have solid characters before you start.  I've written autobiographical pieces for school before, but I've never written a character other than myself before.  I figured it would be easy enough to forge my characters as I wrote.  By the time I was halfway through, I realized that A, all of my characters seemed too much like me, which I had been trying to avoid, and B, they changed in ways that weren't natural or explainable as I wrote.  Next time, I need to know the characters at the start, and know how they would respond to different situations, how they would talk, before I start having them do things.  

Know when things are happening.   I would be writing a scene one day, then get to the end of my daily word count and stop.  The next day I would go to resume writing that scene, but I would write it as if it was happening whenever I was writing.  I couldn't keep my days straight, in the story.

Don't forget the scene!  People warn against being too figurative and flowery in describing the setting.  I went the opposite way, and barely wrote at all about where the action was happening.  

Varied sentence structure.  This is due mostly to my inexperience, I believe.  She said this.  She did that.  They went here.  Boring!  Next time I need to figure out how to mix things up a little bit.  

When you're stuck, keep writing anyway!  You can always go back and fix things, but you have to go forward first.  

I'm very glad that I stuck through this project to the end.  I learned so much from it, and I would definitely recommend the project to anyone who's interested in it.  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Thoughts for Thursday

Well, my internet was acting up when I posted this yesterday, and I just now noticed that most of the post got cut off!  So I'm going to edit this a bit, to try to fix it back up.

Successful Spanish.  Earlier this week someone called the pool and only spoke spanish.  Plenty of pool employees are native spanish speakers, and many are like me, who have studied it for ages.  However, in this case there was no one in the manager's office or the concession stand who could help.  So, I got to give it a shot!  I haven't practiced since school got out, and it took a minute to get on the same page.  But I did it!  Evntually I understood what they were asking, and they understood me.

Fireworks from the balcony.  We watched the 4th of July fireworks from my friend's 8th floor balcony. All across the horizon you could see fireworks.  It was one of the coolest things I have ever witnessed.

Leisurely reading.  I love libraries.  Sometimes, though, the pressure to finish a book on time takes away from the process of reading, and reading becomes a chore.  I've been enjoying reading books from my to-read pile, instead of those from the library.

There was more to this post originally, but this is all I can recall right now.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I've got to see you again

I've got to see you again by JONES, Norah on Grooveshark

Here's a song to think on for today.