sewing improvement

Make Some Pocket Extenders for Your Pants

So I don’t know about you, but I’m often frustrated by the ridiculous smallness of girls’ pockets. At a bare minimum, I need to be able to shove my cellphone in there - come on, pants companies! So what I started doing was making myself pocket extenders. I’ve done this several times, for pants and shorts. It’s great.

I just got this pair of jeans, so I thought I’d show you how to do it. I kind of feel like it just hasn’t occurred to some of you that this is an option, so maybe now it will. All you need is your pants, some fabric (I just took a random piece from a scrap bin), a needle, and some thread (thread doesn’t even need to match the fabric since literally no one will see it).

See? Ridiculous. Like, half a cellphone, or only 2.5″. Useless.

 So turn those inside out to expose the pockets.

Figure out how big you want your pockets to actually be. I kinda go by whatever looks like might be right. I didn’t really measure them. Fold the fabric in half, so you have a pocket, and then fold it in half again so you can have two equal ones.

Try to get the edges to line up enough, pin it in place, then sew up the sides! Are your stitches crazy uneven and wonky looking? Doesn’t matter; nobody’s going to see it. These are in the inside of your pants. The only thing that matters is that it holds up. So I double-did the corners, since those tend to get the most stress.

Cut open the bottom of the existing pockets.

Pin it in place, then sew around, joining the new pocket to the old pocket. I did this by keeping my hand on the inside, so I wouldn’t accidentally sew through the other side. Again, I reinforced the corners, and didn’t worry about what it actually looks like. Then I turned it in side out to make sure the inside was all joined properly.

Yay all done! And the pockets are so much bigger now!

Whaaaat I can fit my entire phone and entire hand and probably something else now, are girls’ pockets even allowed to do that?! Heck yeah they are.


Someday I will stop talking about these two dresses. Today is not that day.

Grace Kelly’s wedding dress (designed by Helen Rose, two-time Oscar-winning costume designer) is a masterpiece. Rich materials, exquisitely tailored. Part of what makes this gown so appealing, though, is its proportions. The cummerbund extends from the waist to the underbust, which gives visual lift to the bust. The bodice is essentially three different sections—the cummerbund (solid), the bust (lace over solid), and the upper chest/shoulders (lace alone). Each section is roughly the same size, meaning the rule of thirds has been applied. Everything is well-balanced visually.

Another important thing to remember is that women in the 50s generally wore different undergarments than women today. Kelly was most likely wearing a girdle, which helped shape that slim waist, and the skirt had a significant crinoline and probably had hip padding as well to achieve that silhouette.

Kelly’s dress was produced by a team of 36 seamstresses in six weeks. Despite the close fit of the lace bodice, seams are virtually impossible to find. Hiding seams in lace is not an impossible task but it is time-consuming; it involves overlapping lace appliqué on the seams. The swan neck is also perfect, flowing without wrinkles over her collarbones and laying flat against her neck. No matter how she holds her arms, there is no strain on the bodice.

And then we get to JMo’s cosplay version. 

The proportions are off. The cummerbund doesn’t come up high enough. The result is the illusion of a low bust. There’s also no excuse for the bottom edge to be flipping up like that. She isn’t wearing a girdle (which, I can’t really blame her) and also has little or no hip padding, so the dress as a very flat silhouette. The skirt pleats are weirdly off-center, but the line of buttons is not (how is that even possible?). With her arms out on either side, the bodice is straining across the upper chest. The swan neck isn’t flush like it’s supposed to be and the lace edge isn’t even symmetrical. It’s closer to the buttons on one side than the other. An attempt was made to mirror the lace across the placket but the sides are off by enough to make it look weird.

And those seams are visible from space.

Sure, this is a recognizable copy, but in the same way that Yo-Yo Ma and your eleven-year-old nephew both play the cello. At this stage, I’m forced to assume that the costume department had two days and one fitting with JMo, or that they’re actively trolling everyone with this thing.

A lot of people don’t believe me when I say that I’ve only been sewing for a little over 3 years. Previous to that I had only really ever sewn plushies, pajama pants or pillows during Guide Guide workshops aka I could put fabric through a machine and sew in (sort of) straight lines but not much else. I had never used a clothing pattern before, I had never used anything other than a basic straight stitch, and I had never bought fabric. October 2012 was the first time I ever sewed any garments completely from scratch and those were my Fushimi from [K] vest and coat and now this October (2015) I will be competing at the Master’s level for cosplay craftsmanship. So I figured I’d give a short rundown of how I taught myself how to sew and how I improved.

1) I watched a lot of Project Runway (the earlier seasons… Annnndreeee, where is Annnndreee?). While this didn’t help much in actual sewing, it got me familiar with a whole lot of terminology and types of fabric and outfits. Plus it also showed me where people tended to take shortcuts and when those shortcuts tended to fail. 

2) I got a very basic sewing machine and I READ THE ENTIRE USER MANUAL. I started off on a Singer Simple which was a gift from my parents (who actually bought it 2 years earlier but never gave it to me thinking I’d never use it… HA!) and I went through every single English page of that user manual. I became familiar with all the parts of my machine, how to thread it, how to change bobbins, how to clean it, how to fix jams, all the different stitch types, and I practiced sewing a bunch of random stitches on scrap pieces of fabric just to see what they looked like and how they changed when I changed different tension settings.

3) I got a basic sewing book (from like 1965… it’d probably better to get an updated/current book) that acted as a glossary of sewing terms. I had no idea what 50% of the stitches I needed to use were called so this became very useful later when I bought my first pattern.

4) I bought my first patterns and chose something fairly simple to start off with which was a lined vest (followed by an immensely more difficult jacket). I went with Simiplicity patterns after doing a lot of googling for the most new-user-friendly patterns.

5) Then I FOLLOWED THE PATTERN INSTRUCTIONS. It seems like an obvious step but even now I sometimes skip a step and then later regret it. Everything the pattern said I needed, I bought. I bought the specific types of fabric, interfacing, thread, buttons, I did not deviate from their suggestions for the first trial run. Then I read through the pattern instructions, cut out all the corresponding pieces for my size and got to work. The key was to work slowly and re-read things as I went. I also used my sewing book and google to help better explain some of the instructions that were not 100% clear to me just starting out. I also looked up youtube video tutorials on how to iron seams, sew darts, properly clip curved edges, sew button holes, and finish inside seams. Research, research, research!

6) To re-iterate: TAKE YOUR TIME. Slow and steady wins the race. It took me probably a solid 4 days to sew a very simple vest that would probably take me maybe a couple hours now but damn it was one of the cleanest looking vests I had ever sewn. I made sure not to rush anything and gave myself lots of time.

7) I kept practicing. The more I sewed, the more familiar I became with how garments were put together and where I could change things to better fit my size or how to alter things to better fit the garment I was trying to create. I experimented whenever I could on scrap fabric to see what would and would not work for stitching and ironing.

3 years later and I can now draft my own patterns and sew dozens of different types of garments with dozens of fabric types. I would attribute 90% of my learning experience to taking it slow at first and researching as I went. I didn’t allow any guesswork on the first couple of projects I worked on because how would I ever learn if I didn’t look into how something was properly done? Google, youtube, tutorial blogs (wink wink), reference books, and pattern instructions are you friends, do not take them for granted. 

Pictured at the top on the left is the first Kirishiki vest I (rush) sewed in July 2012 without following instructions and trying to do it myself. The vest on the right is from December 2012 after I decided to take my time and follow instructions and actually learn while I was sewing. You can improve 100% just by taking your time, doing some research and following the instructions.

Bonus: What I bought for my sewing starter kit

  1. A green rotary/cutting mat. They can be really expensive but I have been using my large mat for 3 years straight and it works wonders at not only protecting the surface you are working on, but giving you a nice sturdy pinning and cutting surface that is self-healing and doesn’t get destroyed by pins and exacto knives.
  2. 1 large and 1 small pair of orange handled sewing scissors.
  3. A 6" x 24" clear sewing ruler.
  4. A pack of white/blue fabric pencils.
  5. A box of standard pins, plus a pin cushion.
  6. A pack of extra bobbins.
  7. A pack of standard sewing needles for hand-sewing.
  8. A pack of standard sewing needles for my machine.
  9. An iron and mini ironing board. 

Happy sewing!


Monster Lovers Question:

Would you be interested in large-scale monster plushies?

I ask because I’ve made them in the past, and a thought crossed my mind that this is something that my fellow monster lovers might like. I mean, you get to cuddle that monster you’ve always wanted to, albeit in soft, snuggly plush form.

Each one would be custom made to order, which would mean each one is customizable. I’m currently thinking a 6-7 foot tall “shadow being” base with parts added to them depending on what you’d want in order to make them less expensive overall. (the cost of a single, solid color fabric over multiple kinds/colors). The additional parts would include, but not be limited to: extra arms/legs/heads, tentacles, and naga lower body.

I made myself a 6-ft Minotaur plush a few years back, which I’ll be posting some pictures of in the next few days (he’s currently residing at a friend’s house due to housing space constraints and they’ll be sending me a few pics). My sewing skills have improved a lot since I made him, and now I want to branch out and offer my skills to you!

If you have ANY interest or questions at all, please let me know! An ask, a DM, anything you like! I won’t bite!

If enough of you are interested, it’ll give me a green light to start working out costs and such so I can make a commission page!

I am so proud to share this gorgeous pic @spacetwinsies took of me at elfia!

this dress is very close to my heart because it is a recreation of the first dress I ever sewed 4 years ago!! maybe in a few years I will redo it again and see how my skills have improved even more ;)

My first attempt and newest attempt at princess serenity from sailor moon. The one on the left is like 2009’s attempt. I loved that cosplay back then but after seeing pictures I ended up not liking it anymore and wouldn’t wear it again.Flash forward to 2013 for the right…If I ever get down on myself about not being super awesome at cosplay I look at these two and see how far my sewing has come and how much better  my new serenity looks verses 4 years ago.

Slightly random but related to all the things we’ve been discussing today:

I hate this idea that a ‘strong, independent woman’ should be fiesty and fiery and speak her mind always and not be willing to compromise. That she should act more like a man (because, let’s face it, if Demelza were male, people likely wouldn’t criticise her actions as much, in the show).

Demelza, in the books, is a strong, independent woman. She runs the household of Nampara by age sixteen, having escaped an abusive home without letting it mar her character. She works in the house and on the farm. She teaches herself to read and write, with only a little help from Ross. She becomes his wife and begins to learn all the skills and accomplishments that are expected in the wife of a gentleman farmer - learning to play the spinet, learning to dance, improving her sewing skills, learning more household tasks, the latter of which particularly in their darkest days of poverty when every penny counts. She learns how to move in all parts of society.

She has a daughter when she is eighteen, and loses her before she is twenty. She supports her husband through the grieving process and supports him through being put on trial on charges that could lead to his death. She supports his decisions and by and large does not criticise those decisions once they’ve been taken. She takes care of his home. She bears more children. In later years, she is left in complete charge of both the farm and the mine, and of raising their children. She is often a ‘homebody’ - a housewife, we might call it now. Within that sphere, she makes important decisions, and those decisions are almost invariably supported by Ross when he hears about them.

She is kind and compassionate and generous. She is gentle. She is willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. She says she does not believe that men can be truly evil, and cannot understand how men can do ‘such things’ to each other in times of war, despite the ‘evil’ of her father beating her every time he was drunk when she was a child.

People mistake softness for weakness. How is Demelza, in the books, not strong? How is she not independent? She is not meek or mild; she is bold and daring and courageous and headstrong. She repeatedly does what she must to provide for and protect her family (fishing in Nampara cove when they need food; going down Kellow’s ladder to destroy the evidence of Jeremy’s highway robbery). She is the strength of the Nampara Poldarks, the backbone of it all - for her children and for her husband. Kind, gentle, witty Demelza, working in her kitchen or sitting in her parlour, is the centre of the family.

What about this is not strong? What about this suggests that she is dependent on others? Sometimes the strongest thing is to remain kind in the face of abuse and neglect. Sometimes it is bending and compromising. These are strengths even though they aren’t flashy signs screaming out ‘strong and independent’.

It is a terrible shame that writers - female writers included - fall into this trap, even now. Surely we should be beyond this point?

in the dumps [peter parker]

you find spider-man in your dumpster.

tagging: @redgillan, @mattymattymerduck, @avengerofyourheart, @wakandasoldier, @darlingbuchanan, @bemystucky, @idorkish, @iwillbeinmynest, @aubzylynn, @angryschnauzer, @almondbuttercup, @ipaintmelodies, @rotisserierogers

warnings: none!

additional notes: i absolutely adore peter so here is a lil thing i wrote for him. i imagine peter and the reader to be in their early to mid twenties here. and the reader (gender-neutral) is the inferno, a vigilante. i’m not much for first meetings fics but i had this idea and i liked it. may or may not be based on that scene from daredevil heheh.

A nice, carb-loaded, garlicky alfredo pasta had seemed like a great idea at the time. Now that your craving was fulfilled, all the pasta was good for was stinking up your entire apartment. When you decided the smell had become too much, you forced yourself off of the couch, slid into your sandal slippers, took the trash bag out of the can, and headed downstairs to take out the garbage. Bear, your beefy blue pitbull, barked when you shut the door before he could follow, whining when you went down the hall. You rolled your eyes; he was such a big baby, even if he was your baby.

It was cold outside, but you were warm enough in your T-shirt and flannel pants. Being the Inferno meant little fear of the winter on your part. It was the summers that inconvenienced you; wearing little clothing and wrangling your thick hair up into bun at the top of your head could only do so much to cool you off. On this chilly night in November, it was comforting to see your breath hover in the air in a cloud of fog, even if you were next to a green container of trash. You threw open the lid—

And found Spider-Man in your dumpster.

Keep reading

Part 1: Patterning Estelle's Dress

Just a little write up with pictures on how I made my Estelle Cosplay from Tales of Vesperia! I’m not very good with tutorials and am by no means good at sewing, but perhaps someone will find this helpful. It was a lot of trial and error, and my methods are hardly an exact science, so there is much that could be improved on.

Write up under the cut cause it is long! 

Keep reading


Lately I’ve been busy with university. Lolita has been one of the only things that keep me alive and trying to do things. Yesterday I made a drawing of my new piece. It is a little complicated, but, oh well, what in life isn’t? So, I may take a few weeks sewing that. *Mystery*

This one I finished some months ago. Today, besides the rain, we had some sun in the afternoon, so I thought it worth documentating this one to this tumblr. My boyfriend choose this fabric, and I’m very proud of him and his knowledge with lolita.

The ribbons are velveteen, and I loved them. I wasn’t sure if they would match with the dress, but I wasn’t disappointed with the final result. My sewing skills are improving, and maybe this is the only thing I do I am proud of, because all the rest of time I think I’m trash in everything…

purpletoasterapples  asked:

Would you be able to draw a full body ref of your magical Jane because I'd love to try and cosplay it( and draw it too, its a super cute design) to improve my sewing skills c:

Sure! If you make anything you should absolutely send me links to the pics, I’d love to see! Oh yeah quick note she’s got poofy bloomers on, not a skirt. And the green ribbons in her hair should hang down.

(This was an ABSURDLY heavily researched design. The main influences are 90s anime, with a little bit of 00s. And yuyuyu. Because I love the yuyuyu outfits so much.)


for @ameliarating who wanted to see pics of my garb. 

Excuse the crappy selfie quality, and consider this like a rough draft of an outfit, since the only things in it that i’m totally happy with are the necklace and my under gown. the veil is just a scarf pinned to my hair, and i made the kirtle like 4 years ago and since then i’ve improved at sewing, lost weight, narrowed down my time frame (7th century Anglo-Saxon England), done way more research, and gotten drastically better at embroidery.

Okay so I saw this post (and it’s a super cute blog, 10/10 would recommend if you like DA and weird modern aus) and it got me thinking

What if Cole got the Inquisition’s hand-me-downs?  Especially if you consider how frequently the Inquisitor hoards new, better equipment for their Inner Circle, there has got to be cast-asides, right?  And Cole just loves every single awful stitch of those hand-me-downs as he builds himself outfits out of bits and pieces of all his friends.

The Inquisitor gives him a sweater that proved to be too impractical for someone who’s leading the Inquisition and is routinely wading in and out of chaos.  Or a pair of knit, strangely patterned socks that their parents sent them but don’t quite match the “I am an intimidating world power, respect and fear me” look that their advisors are trying to encourage, and honestly mom there’s only so many knit socks one person can own.  Or just any of the various coats and belts and rings and boots that they pick up along the way and think yeah that’d be just about perfect…

He gets a pair of Bull’s ridiculous pants that are so big on him that he could just as easily use them as a tent, but he just cinches them tight with a belt and runs around with them billowing behind him.

He gets scarves from Varric when Varric catches him shivering one day, just wearing his threadbare, patched shirt.  (And if you want to go further: didn’t Anders mention that he wanted to take up knitting? Imagine a lumpy, weird-shaped scarf that Anders made him and that despite everything Varric has held onto it all these years.  But when he sees Cole, displaced spirit who’s still trying to get use to the real world and things like cold, he knows that Anders would want it to do good for someone who needs it)

Cassandra ruins a tunic training one day and instead of throwing it away she lets Cole have it and he lovingly stitches it back up.  (Blackwall teaches him how to improve his sewing, because a man who’s travelled alone for as long as Blackwall has he definitely knows a few tricks, and he gets Cole some different, brightly coloured thread to use)

Cole eagerly uses this thread to patch his clothes with bits and pieces from all sorts of hand-me-downs that are too battered to be scavenged.  Just imagine all the plaidweave.  Vivienne gives him some of her own ruined robes to cut to pieces and use as patches just so she won’t have to see anymore of that cursed excuse for fashion.

After Cole takes to doing this, whenever Josephine gets in swatches of sample fabrics from merchants she always passes them on to Cole when she’s done with them so that he can have these various patches of strange, exotic fabrics.

This is all well and good of course, but Cullen also puts in an effort to make sure that Cole at least has few pieces of real armour among all this, or at least protective runes that can be added to his clothes so that he’s prepared for all the people that tend to want to kill you when you travel with the Inquisitor.

Cole even ends up with some of Dorian’s old robes after he decides he simply cannot be seen in them anymore, and Cole loves wearing them on rainy days because the water slicks off the tough leather perfectly, though he never manages to figure out all the buckles.

This just becomes something that people do without thinking about it, because old clothes need to go somewhere and Cole always seems surprised and thrilled when he gets gifts.  Eventually he has enough that if you were to ever go to his little corner in the Herald’s Rest and investigate the crates you’d find a couple filled with all these hand-me-downs, lovingly folded and stored away for later.

By the end he looks like a positive rag doll but he loves it all with every bit of his soul because it’s proof that instead of forgetting about him, his friends think of him at random moments, see something and think that he would like it, and lets him hold little bits of them close to his heart.

When Luna Lovegood is twelve years old, she finds a box full of her mother’s clothes buried in a closet. None of the garments fit her, and almost all bear holes and scorch marks from her mother’s experiments, but Luna salvages what she can. She teaches herself to sew by hand, and pieces scraps together to fashion patchwork robes, as well as dresses and skirts.

Luna’s first attempts are messy and unpolished, with fraying edges and uneven stitches. She wears them with pride, despite her classmates’ teasing, because it’s like carrying a piece of her mother with her.

By fourth year, Luna’s sewing skills have improved enough for her to sew a quilt. After the battle at the Department of Mysteries, when Luna begins to have nightmares for the first time since she was a small child, she wraps it tightly around herself and tries to remember the feeling of being held in her mother’s arms.

Scraps of fabric in every color find their way into the rainbow of Luna’s wedding gown, and Pandora is there to walk her daughter down the aisle. When Luna’s sons are born, she takes apart her first clumsily-sewn garments, and sews the pieces, along with scraps of clothes she and Rolf wore as children, into two small blankets for them.

As she watches her children grow, Luna begins to find pieces of her mother in each of them, like picking out bits of cloth in a quilt of many colors. She sees her in Lorcan’s silver-blue eyes and endless curiosity, in Lysander’s easy smile and quiet compassion, and she remembers words spoken to her long ago: “Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.”

kathbyline  asked:

Katherine was on her hands and knees in the Princes chambers trying her hardest to get a stain out of the floor, she had been clumsy and spilled half of his wine on to the floor making a huge mess. Pieces of her hair hung down into her face, her red dress sligtly torn on the front. She had been over joyed to get this job, it was such an improvement from sewing clothes for the Royal family. "Please forgive me I did not mean to spill." She said to the prince glancing sligtly up at him.

He looked down at her, chuckling slightly before kneeling in front of her. “It’s quite alright, Katherine, I really don’t care.” He was not as harsh on his servants as it father was, and that’s probably due to the fact that he like them, especially this Katherine girl. She was beautiful and smart, even though she seemed like she had plenty of her own thoughts, which was considerably dangerous. I mean, a girl going out and thinking about things, nonetheless a servant? But he didn’t care about that, it was one of his favorite qualities about her, as a matter of fact. He always tried to get her to show him how smart she actually was, but she seemed to hide it away.