Posted by: looptangle | October 2, 2008

Catching Up

Whew, that was a long pause.

Life has been pretty busy, and all of a sudden it got COLD.  I just want to post real quick while I’m taking a little break from work.  While I was sewing up the Polonaise, I managed to finish off two other great projects that I’ll blog about shortly.

1.  I finally made a duct tape double!  You saw her peeking out from under the mini-bustle!

2.  I made a really cute monster hat for the little one who was growing inside one of my duct tape double partners.

Those will get their own posts.  Other than that, I photographed all of my stash, except for the two balls of chenille yarn I used for the steampunk hairpieces.  I have a stupid amount of yarn.  Stupid.  Having pictures of all of it will really help me “shop the stash” and actually use the stuff I’ve already paid for.  In theory.

I recently started a little minisweater/shrug based on the free pattern from One Skein Wonders.  Many people have many problems with this project.  First, it’s only one size.  I guessed and sized it way up to accomodate my larger frame, but it definitely is no longer a One Skein Wonder.  I’ll take some pictures soon and you’ll see what I mean.

I tried out a new technique!  I inserted cables in between the raglan yarnover increases, and it is a fantastic detail.  Not too showy, but sophisticated.  I’m really in love with this idea lately.  You’re going to be fussing with the raglan shaping anyway, why not put a delightful little detail in there while you’re at it?

This weekend I’m going to a webmaster convention in town, and next week I’m visiting my parents up in Maine.  I’m really excited.  I’m going to bring lots of knitting and take lots of pictures.  Mom got us an alpaca fiber spinning gig at a fall festival and I am really excited about that.  I’ll be spindle-spinning as I don’t have a wheel, but if there’s a wheel there, you can bet your something-you-don’t-normally-bet that I’ll be trying it out.

Posted by: looptangle | September 5, 2008


Steampunk Odd Couple

We make an odd but stylish couple!

Also, I owe you a picture of the bustle itself:


Something about that dark teal is really hard to photograph.  But you get the idea.  It needs real boning, not the plastic bendy stuff.  It’s already getting droopy in this picture at home on the duct tape dummy.  Which doesn’t have legs for the back panel to brace against and be not-droopy, so it’s a combination of factors, but darn it’s cute.

It turned out way too big, and it needs something to make the front cuter.  It’s a work in progress.  Very comfortable to sit in.

On to the dreadhawk:

Hair - Handcrafted with Love

I made these myself from wool roving, a few strands of yarn, chinese wooden beads, brass coins, etc.  Up top is my tiny top hat mounted on a headband, which is not comfortable, but very secure.  Then come the shorter dread combs that I use for bangs.  Then two bunches, one larger one as a base, one smaller one as an accent on top.

Getting my hair prepped to install the falls was interesting.  I used B’s spiking spray to glue the twists and it did a wonderful job keeping everything in place.  Here’s a little montage:

Hair Prep for Dreadhawk Hair Prep for Dreadhawk Dreadhawk pre-makeup Dreadhawk post-Makeup Dreadhawk post-Makeup Dreadhawk post-Makeup

And a detail of the makeup – copper and deep aqua.

Makeup detail

I’d like to get some better photos in a photoshoot sort of situation.  It’s hard to capture the shinyness of the fabric when you can’t control the lighting!

It was a really fun Dragon*Con and I wish I’d been feeling better so I could have worn the costume a second night.  Next year I hope I won’t get sick the day before the con!

Posted by: looptangle | August 25, 2008


This week I had a sewing buddy! Lindsey is in town for a couple of weeks and we got a lot done on our costumes.

Here, Lindsey is doing her best Stella impression, “I like to sew with lethuh…”

I started The Pleat Strip From Hell, but messed it up and decided to call it a night. The next day, after spending the morning making buttonholes, I headed over to Heidi’s place for a sewing day, which was really low-key and fun. Lots of good advice and especially some good, aggressive egging-on from Kate. She pretty much shamed me out of my whinyness. I do get pretty whiny sometimes. If you’ve ever dealt with me in whiny-land, I hereby apologize and thank you for putting up with me.

Are you ready for the onslaught of pictures? Hold on to your butts! Here we go!

Polonaise and Bustle-2 Polonaise and Bustle-3 Polonaise and Bustle-4

Yes! It’s a bustle! The color is really hard to photograph. The yellow bits are my boning channels. Kasper was interested in the ruffles. He knows I instinctively avoid them, but as I mentioned before, Kate was adamant, in a good way.

I learned a cool tip on making quick ruffles without any special equipment other than your sewing machine. Simply crank the top tension up to 11, set your stitch length as long as possible, and sew away. MAGIC!

I forgot to take a picture of the bustle finished (I was exhausted after sewing all day), but here are some pictures under the polonaise!

Polonaise and Bustle-6 Polonaise and Bustle-7 Polonaise and Bustle-8

I love my mini bustle so much. I’m going to wear it just like that, with pants underneath. It’s really comfy and I’ll practice sitting in it next time I try it on.

Posted by: looptangle | August 18, 2008

Trim Hell Postponed, In with the Sleeves

Polonaise Sleeves

Today, not only do you get to see the beautiful sleeves, but also a new angle on my bathroom! Isn’t it exciting? Here I am trying on the first sleeve over my tshirt to see how the crazy pleat works with my elbow. I was kind of disappointed by the mechanism of the sleeve pleat. The raw edges stay on the outside and that’s where you put bows or trim to camouflage the fraying. Grr. I pinked them as best I could and whip stitched the edge so that the fabric wouldn’t get any ideas that I was encouraging this kind of behavior.

Here we are with the sleeves set in:

Polonaise Sleeves

This is after I modified the shoulder to come in a full inch. I am really not one for the drop-shoulder look, so I feel a bit better about this. I suppose if I was really insane, the sleeve should come up to where the shoulder dart hits. For now, I’m going to let it slide though. This may be due to the Incredible Shrinking Girl side effects of measuring my back width over a month ago and fitting now. I’m not upset, it’s a great problem to have.

I haven’t sewed in the ties to bustle the skirt up yet, but I really like how the front points look already:

Polonaise Sleeves

What does the back look like, you ask? I’m glad you said something!

Metal Trim

I added metal trim items! I got the almost-circle thingies at Skycraft in Orlando, and the winged scarab piece is something I ordered for last year’s costume off of Ebay. I’m also going to add the patterned gold ribbon to set off the basque tabs from the rest of the dress.

The list of Things Left To Do is getting pretty small!

  • Boning in bodice seams
  • Stitch-witchery-down the front facings
  • Gold ribbon trim
  • Hem back
  • Bustle ties
  • Buttons
  • Cover sleeve pleats
Posted by: looptangle | August 14, 2008


Multimedia message
Originally uploaded by d1g1t1ze

I originally posted this in my personal LiveJournal, but I want to share my experience with you, as well as introduce you, if you haven’t been introduced before, to the music of Nine Inch Nails.  They have some really intensely beautiful pieces in their newest 4 albums, so if you haven’t heard of them since “Closer” came out on The Downward Spiral, I heartily recommend that you take a listen to the newer stuff.

I’m still absolutely in the thrall of NIN. Everything about their stage show entrances me – the excellent quality of the music and lyrics, the groundbreaking lighting design that pushes the boundary between lights and sets, and the consummate performers that all of the musicians are.

We prepped well with our gel insoles, earplugs, and bottles of water. There were several points where I forgot I was wearing the earplugs, panicked slightly, then was overwhelmingly relieved that I was indeed wearing them. It was so loud and the bass so deep that the tiny hairs on my face could feel the bass drums. Going from sound to silence and back into the song was a physical thing, a pop of air in my face, a rumble in my chest. It’s quite possibly the best thing ever.

The opening band wasn’t great. I think they would be quite good in the right venue, but sleepy psychedelic jam wasn’t a good warmup for the onslaught of NIN.

The setlist was great. A good mixture of songs from all the albums, and the pacing was excellent. If they’d played everything from Broken all at once, I probably would have gotten kicked in the face more than once, and you KNOW how that pisses me off. The interlude from Ghosts was pure magic.

I still have “In This Twilight” stuck in my head. They’ve gotten the whole sticky sweet hook over rhythmic industrial noise thing down to a science and I love it. It’s like a lullaby for rivetheads.

Which is making it hard to wake up this morning. But that’s ok. Today’s going to be a good day.

Posted by: looptangle | August 13, 2008

Knitting Masters Programs

Yes, yes, dear readers, I do still love to knit. And I am working on a Secret Project for someone who may be reading, so I dare not post about it.

I don’t get out much in knitting blogs and forums, mostly because I’m trying to keep up with SO MANY different areas of the blogosphere (web design/standards/development, life hacks, fashion, authors, webcomics, etc). But I just stumbled across Presents Knits and her DIY Masters Program, an alternative to the Knitting Guild Association’s pay-to-play program.

It’s a fantastic idea, as I’m always interested in learning more techniques, and you know I love structure and planning. I just hate OTHER people telling me what to do!

And so I don’t leave you pictureless, here’s Presents Knits’ pretty Noro hat, Phoncible, available for download from Etsy.

Posted by: looptangle | August 11, 2008

Trim Hell

Trim Hell

This weekend was a busy one, and I just couldn’t get into the groove. I’m not in hysterics over the trim, but I’m also not wearing the corset. I’m taking B’s advice and running headlong at the problem in the spirit of punk rock. I settled on one patterned ribbon, one solid ribbon, and probably some self-fabric pleated lengths.

But I got more work done on my matching hair!

Dread Falls

Hoarding shiny things is turning out well for me at this point. I attached all sorts of things to the wool dreads. Brass coins, copper and gold beads, bone beads carved to look like skulls, jinglies. I also braided up some soft chenille yarn. I think I’m going to use the fabric scraps to make a head wrap to hide my roots when I put the hair in.

Last week I did some research on Victorian hairstyles, and there are definitely some things that are dread-able. I’ll probably try to coil some high up at the crown and then have some hanging down below.

Posted by: looptangle | August 7, 2008

Darts and Fitting

It’s looking pretty good! The darts were a bit more of a challenge since the interlining is kind of floating around and being generally pissy. But it really does make the jacket have a certain soft yet strong quality that I wouldn’t give up.

Polonaise-7 Polonaise-8

Fitting was interesting because the side seams aren’t sewn until after trim is applied, which makes sense. But there was a tiny bit of hysterics because I just wasn’t sure I had pinned the sides properly and I ended up with a lot more room than when I fitted the mockup.

Polonaise-14 Polonaise-17

Hysterics mostly happen when I’m laced up. Go figure. Once I had the corset off, reason again became possible and B’s suggestion that I run with it and simply put the buttons wherever they’ll close best was deemed to be the best way to handle it. With the seam allowance, the off-centeredness isn’t terribly obvious, and the pattern does say that adjustments can be made at the center front. I would hate to cut it down and regret that, so this strategy will be good.

You can see in the pictures, it just wants a dart at the shoulder. I think it elongates that nice diagonal line that the waist darts have, so it’s a good modification.

One last picture before I go. The pretty back!


It’ll look even better when I have the bustle situation worked out.

Posted by: looptangle | August 5, 2008

Kasper Knits!

I was sewing furiously away when I peeked under the table to see Kasper playing along:

Kasper Knits! Kasper Knits!

Aww. So cute. And he picked crappy yarn I don’t like. Very considerate.

Posted by: looptangle | August 4, 2008

Fit Update and Floofy Backside

Look at this delicious bit of fittedness:

I’m really, really proud of myself.

I’ve gotten tons more done since last I blogged. Finished flatlining…

…and moved on to assembling the back piece. Lots of hand-basting, which I actually really enjoy. Especially since I got some new basting needles which are long and sharp.
Polonaise-23 Polonaise-25

Once the side pleats are basted, the top gets pleated onto a piece of twill tape.

Then you sew it to the back pieces. The above picture is actually just the pleating, not the attaching, and it’s kind of a mess now with all the stitching, but it’ll be pretty strong. The trick is to attach it only to the interlining, not the outer fashion fabric. Tricky indeed.

Here’s how it looks after I sewed the back pieces together:
Polonaise-31 Polonaise-32

Makes a lovely chair cover!


« Newer Posts - Older Posts »