I was all over the new Spider-Woman costume when it was unveiled a couple months back. The outfit is functional and interesting, with cool patternmaking and embellishment details, so it checked a lot of boxes for me, plus spiders are kind of a thing. I started playing with it right away, but between gift sewing and work stuff I didn’t have a chance to work on it much until this week. Delicious crunchy patternmaking ahead!
I’ve done a couple projects with rayon velvet in the past several months – first the Ezio tailcoat lining, and later a kimono jacket that I made for a Christmas present – and sometimes I could swear that fabric is possessed. It likes to creep when you try to mash two layers together at the seams, with the result that the upper layer scoots in one direction while the lower makes a break for it in the other. Basting is more or less mandatory, but even holding the fabric still while you thrash it into submission with hand stitches can be challenging—and then it still creeps, because hand stitches don’t flatten the pile the way machine stitches do. And of course you can’t press the stuff properly unless you shell out $$$ for a needle board to protect the pile. (Yeah, I’m a jerk and haven’t gotten around to buying one. If this means I have to spend hours understitching things by hand then WHOOPS OH WELL SO SAD.)
Mind you, I still love the hell out of the final results. It’s soft and fluid in a way I’ve never gotten from synthetic velvets, you can do interesting stamping and embossing things, it weathers beautifully, and the pile and drape make it pretty forgiving of wobbly seams. Besides, I’ve already stashed away about six yards for a pirate coat I’ve been contemplating, and I’m trying to be better about not buying a lot of fabric I’ll never get around to using. I really want to try combining velvet and embroidery, and have been going on 18th-century court costume pinning sprees. Yeah, I totally have time to do something like that!
I spent the holidays visiting family in Portland and came back to a gnarly cold, so I’ve been offline mostly. I have bits and pieces of a half-dozen different projects brewing, but not much complete or bloggable due to frequent breaks for interacting with actual living people (you know how it goes). We had a house full of cats this year, including the two year’rounders (Purl and Felecia, aka Puddin’ and the Tiny Murderbeast) plus a visitor (Frederick Bear, who lost no time at all making himself at home.) So between Cat Politics, the photo-shy dog, and a full schedule of family and friends, it’s been a busy two weeks.
A visit to my parents’ basement is always both inspiring and sobering, crammed as it is with the creative paraphernalia of three generations. There are flat files full of art papers, bins of paints, bookbinding and framing supplies, beads and embroidery flosses, origami paper, bits of wire, chunks of wood, bins of yarn that we inherited from my mom’s mother, the legendary knitter, and of course boxes and boxes of fabric and patterns.
Pants are one of my favorite things to make. I went on a major fitting tear a couple years ago and made five or six pairs in a couple months, so at this point I’m pretty comfortable with the process and have a good idea of what works for me. That said, most of my present wardrobe is either wide-leg trousers or jeans, and it’s started feeling a little stale. I decided it was high time I tried out a new silhouette.
When I hit the two-weeks-to-showtime mark on the Ezio project, I had exactly one piece (the shirt) assembled. I had a lot of bits and pieces cut, embroidery just about complete, embossing technique mostly sorted. Ten days out, I finally got around to basting up the waistcoat.