Monday, December 03, 2007

Twisty Smock - Um, finally.

Like I promised, I'm going to put up a less "I'm a big bitch" post today. Although I clearly never intended to make good on the "...tone down the swears" part. Gloops!

This weekend was a glorious blur of craftivity. I set out on Saturday AM with a list so dorky even I shuddered a little when I realized that it had fallen out of my pocket (seriously, I almost passed away when I realized it was gone - YIKES.) and that someone normal might see it and wonder about the Supah Dork that had written it out with her pen that has a big yellow flower taped to one end.

Any list with separate sub-lists for places like Michael's, Hancock Fabrics, Eddie's Quilting Bee, See's Candies, that random bead place downtown and Petsmart can really only belong to a Supah Dork like myself. I don't think the extra anal sub-listing and sub-categorizing and *maybe* color coding did me any favors. But I bet whoever picked up my list got a good laugh out of it. Which is good because I nearly cried when I realized I'd lost it and then would not be able to cross all the things off of it which I'd just finished doing.

That is right, I had already finished everything on the list. So, my freak-outingness was over the fact that I wasn't going to be able to sit in my car and triumphantly cross all the things off my list, not because I wasn't going to be able to remember what I needed To-Do. This is a list that only I was going to see, mind you. And no one was holding me accountable for any of it, save for the trip to See's where a back-up list (thank you Bubba) had been texted to me in the unlikely event of a lost Master List.


I told you, my hold on reality is tentative at best. And I'm obviously a pretty significant dork. Two things which Bubba clearly knows well and for which he has created some pretty useful Plan Bs.

About that crafting though...

A while back my very good friend surprise gifted (best kind of gifts, yes) me Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing book. And, at first, I was all hopped up excited to make some things from it, but then I got sidetracked with Life and Everything and, as such, set it aside for The Future. When I would have time to do things like sew from a book that doesn't have a self-imposed monthly time limit. Not that I don't love and adore our monthly sew along (because I do VERY MUCH), but with it comes the necessity to prioritize and with prioritizing comes realizing that I, myself, can not work on too many projects at once if I want to keep my sewing machine in one piece AND if I want to continue my marriage. I get all moody and smashy with too many projects (and instructions telling me what to do) under foot, so I've learned to limit myself a little bit.

Anyway, The Future was here this weekend because two influencing factors converged, which made hauling out TWO sewing books necessary and possible all at once. The two factors being Goddaughter Who Needs a Fabulous Christmas Gift and I'm Going To the Fabric Store Anyway.

Against all odds, I actually completed two projects without any bloodshed whatsoever and I am fairly certain that Bubba is still talking to me. Although the reason he is still *maybe* talking to me will be the fodder for another post this week. I will tell you it is delicious and not X-rated, in case you were worried/excited/drooling in an unbecoming way at the thought.

FO #1: Swing Smock, Bend-the-Rules Sewing by Amy Karol

On its own:

With young child friendly craft supplies (hello, awesome giant crayons):

I have seen the millions of cute ass smocks Lera has made over the past year or so and I keep commenting and telling her that "Oh, I am SO making one of those and with a special twist", which has been a total lie (not that I meant to lie, but time, people, I need more time!) until this weekend when I finally found the most perfect fabric ever from which to make the perfect smock with the perfect twistiness for my, also perfect, goddaughter.

First, you will notice the perfectly cute pink giraffes. Aren't they so? I don't even like pink and I found this fabric irresistible. Bubba said it was cute, too - without very much prompting, so I feel like that is another check in the cute/perfect column. I do, however, like giraffes, so there's that.

Anyway, the twisty part of all this was that I wanted to add a divided pocket to the smock, to aid in the carrying of all sorts of art supplies which I feel all children need. Frankly, I find pockets in my aprons (which are really smocks) very useful for hauling around all those things that I refuse to pick up during a "second trip" (more on this another time) and what child would want to be without her So Big Crayons for even one moment?

So, divided pocket it was. Although getting this right added an annoyingly time consuming dimension to the already semi-annoying pattern which "had" to be enlarged on a printer by 129% or something before I could use it.

FYI: I don't like this. This is like getting all your ingredients home to make a fabulous dinner and then realizing that, whoopsy, the whole thing has to, like, marinate overnight or something equally deal-breaking. LAME.

But, because I am who I am (stubborn, time-constrained, living in a house that does not come with office equipment like copiers that can "enlarge" things), I opened the book to the "pattern" page, folded my giraffes in half and then freehand drew the pattern at approx 157% (or what THE HELL ever %) the size with my now fully functioning blue pen. It looked pretty damn close and good to me. Until I cut it out and, while remarking at my amazing freehand drawing skills, realized that I'd cut it so that the giraffes were head-down instead of head-up like normal. These were not ostriches, so, needed to be vertical so as not to confuse the child. I toyed with ideas like, "The giraffes are head down, obviously, so that she can enjoy them while she's wearing the smock.", but I knew I'd fold under questioning.

Anyway, I re-freehand drew the thing and re-cut it out with the giraffes facing up and all was well. I even did a bit of the sewing (because there are, like, two seams) while I talked to my mom on the phone, which is a new feat of efficiency of which I was very proud. Then I set out to sew the pocket to the front and ran into some logistical issues with getting the seams just right without top-stitching and a bunch of crazy crazy crazy later, I was ready to sew on the bias tape and begin my serenade of four letter words.

The thing with bias tape is this, it looks easy, it sounds easy, everyone says it's easy, it looks really nice, I want it to be easy - but it's not. No. I have a billion issues with this stuff every time I use it and no matter how awful it gets, just one inch of success and I'm like, "WOO! This is easy! And look how good it looks! Awesome! I will use this all the time!" Then the fabric slips out of the fold again and I'm back to saying loud swears that get the neighbors calling the cops.

I think what it comes down to is this, it is easy. I'm just retarded and not so swift with the cutting of fabric or the general use of a sewing machine, so it's going to be a little tougher for me to do simple things that can be easily accomplished by a five year old given all the right equipment.


Funny note: Upon completion of this project, I'm of the "This is awesome!" opinion with regard to bias tape. Because I ended on a completed project rather than a pile of useless crap. In which case my opinion would have been the opposite, obviously.

So, with that, the Swing Smock with added Pocket Twistiness is done and ready for gifting, complete with So Big Crayons and the obligatory Crayola markers in the Classic colors.

FO#2 this week. And then the mind-numbingly detailed recount of what I made so that Bubba will forgive my smashiness and yelling. And then some Big News about the sewalong. And then I don't know what but probably some more making fun of ugly houses.


  1. I just saw that fabric this weekend and I thought it was so cute! I love how the smock turned out.

    I really love all the new sewing books and all their cute projects. I have yet to get the bend the rules one. I do, however, hate how all these books come with patterns that you either have to enlarge or draw yourself. I spent a 1/2 hr with a crazy toddler in kinkos trying to figure out how to enlarge something to 400% only for me to walk away with 5 copies of the same things. Grrrr.
    ok, rant done ;)

  2. Very very cool. I love the fabric, and the jumbo artist pockets. Lucky kid!

    Cannot stand patterns that require enlargement. It's usually something of a deal-breaker, in fact. This is probably due to the fact that I have to make at least 5 copies before I figure out how to justify the book on the glass, but still. Just include the whole thing already, publishers!

  3. I'm with Katie Jean -- the fabric is too sweet!
    And Meg? Brilliant. It drives me nuts to have to enlarge stuff too. Isn't that ridiuclous? I'll spend 40 hours working on a project if they include the appropriately sized pattern...
    Love this smock. Nice work! And yes, there is a specific list-crossing-over gratification.

  4. The fabric is so cute! And the smock is wonderful. I can't handle anything without pockets. Today I wore a dress to work with a cardigan, neither had pockets. I had no idea what to do with my hands. Can't wait to see what you made for the final sewalong project!

  5. VERY cute.

    y'know, I would go to Eddie's a lot more if it weren't for, well, Eddie. :-P

  6. Put another check in the "cute" column for me - I'm not a big pink fan either, but there's everything good about pink giraffes! :)

  7. Nice, nice work, Ms. Finny! You're not retarded -- putting on bias sucks. Or maybe I'm retarded with you. I hate it. I always do it the slow, old fashioned way like you do on quilts. 'Cause I hate all the new-fangled tools and I really hate it when, like you said, the fabric slips out from between the bias tape. Uck. Your finished product looks fabulous though, so you've apparently mastered the beast!

  8. So fun. When I read your list I thought--have I been to Eddie's? Yes, when I went to visit relatives over Thanksgiving. Love the small-world connection. Too much fun. Hope to join the sew-along next year!


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