I’M BACK!!!!!!!!!!!! (for REVENGE)

I’m not exactly sure what I’m seeking revenge for, but there’s always something to complain about, and whoever tries to tell me that directing intense, unwarranted, seething hatred at pseudorandom targets is not their favorite pasttime of all time is going to become my next target.

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I feel like my sophomore year was dominated by dining hall breakdowns where I would just start bawling in front of my meal and a poor, caring person who had to deal with it all (the food at school is actually really quite good, in general, BUT I CAN’T HELP IT).  But then that ended, which I was very appreciative of (Imagine a sophomore year that lasted for more than a year!!  … OH my god, I think I just came up with a storyline for the next best horrible horror film), and then an amazingly wonderful summer came around, which was the cause of my long-standing hiatus.  That is, if you discount the part where I got assaulted, and when I oxidized my lungs, and that horrible day when I bought a pair of flats and then got followed up a flight of stairs by a random old dude, and then some other rando guy tried to crash my sulking party.

2013 was also the year I kept breaking my own heart.  I say this like I am older and wiser than those days, but it’s still 2013, so I’m still a dumb shit (2014 is when I get to start that GeniusJuice clinical trial =D).  But it’s good because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and things you break become even better when you try to fix them because then no one will want to steal your taped-over iPod because its completely shattered screen will probably cut them when they touch it =D =D

Speaking of broken things, that actually somehow brings me back on topic to my REVENGE mUAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAAH.

Thank god because I was really unsure of how to continue writing this post, since I wrote the above nearly a month ago.

Anywho, I found this CrazySexyCool qipao in a random closet in my house a while ago (yes, it is pretty magical and amazing what I keep discovering in the closets at home; and yes, Ms. Jackson, I AM FOR REAL, though I am in no way sorry that I have a special magic-closet and you don’t.)  I forget because it was so long ago whether I found it splitting at its seams or whether it exploded when I tried to put it on because I actually actually gained like 3 pounds this year (LE GASP!!!!!!!!!) (Only 397 more to go~ =D), and it puts my days of wearing mega-tight jeans to school (circa 8th grade) to shame by being EVEN tighter than those size 0 “hip-huggers”, or, more accurately: I<3vanitysizingandencouragingunhealthyeatinghabitsinyounggirls death-grip-pants.  But I’m pretty sure it was found that way, and so one day a [shorter] while ago, I sewed it back up and then tried to put it on, and then this happened:

I couldn’t really get it on……

I really liked the qipao, though, and it would have definitely fit if the zipper were longer (I am so not in denial)(In fact, I am never in denial and was most certainly not almost stuck in a size 2 dress at an H&M dressing room today for about half an hour before my mom came to save me), so I decided to try my hand at sewing on a new zipper!  This was a monumentally grave and momentous occurrence because I had never sewed on a zipper myself before (except for the end that was splitting out of its seams that I sewed up, and even then I was almost too nervous to say hi), AND there are these things called zipper foots that you’re supposed to put on your sewing machine’s foot for sewing on zippers (Can you tell that that’s all I know about zipper foots, and I only inferred this from their name?), but I didn’t have any of those, so I just wung it.

But then IT WORKED.  And, more importantly, IT FIT.

Looking damn sexy in a new outfit is the best revenge.

=P

This skirt sucks.

But not nearly as much as I do [at meeting my personal deadlines].

I blame my little cousin for this one.  It was my intention to finish this sewing project Wednesday morning, but instead of doing that, I had to babysit him.  And this was not some I’m-gonna-get-paid-to-gossip-with-my-girls-during-a-four-hour-long-three-way-calling-session babysitting.  This little guy made me play with him.  WHATTABRAT.

Just kidding.  He’s great.  And supercute.

But seriously, whoever invented “playing” is an asshole.  There is nothing I hate more than not doing work and–god forbid–having fun.  With children, nonetheless.

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So yeah, about this skirt.

I bought it at Walmart (you know this can’t be good) during the start of my I’m-going-to-buy-tons-of-dresses-and-skirts phase, which has yet to end, mostly because my mom didn’t like it and thought it was “childish”.  I hate to admit it, but I think she was right.  Even if she was wrong, this skirt is still awful awful awful because it doesn’t match with ANYTHING because it is approximately a million different colors and at least three (you know how the line between colors in a spectrum doesn’t really exist?).

The way the blue of the skirt clashes with the blue of my shirt is absolutely intolerable.

It’s also kind of see-through O_O

But there’s one thing I like about it.  When I walk down stairs, the RIDICULOUS frill poofs out in a really cool way.

Also, this:

But that wasn’t going to save it from getting completely demolished and rebuilt.  Because shirts are a lot easier to pair with things (jeans) than skirts are (because you can’t wear a skirt with jeans–sad, I know).

I am always in need of more tank tops with wide enough straps to hide bra straps.  I used to be laaaaaaame and really care about visible bra straps, but now I don’t give a FUCK.  (But really, I still think it’s a bit tacky, and I try to avoid it, if possible.)

As always, I got lucky, and removing the cloth that was wrapped around the elastic band yielded a perfect stretch of cloth for making the straps.

I’m still a lucky bastard.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures because I was doing this instead of packing, and it was getting pretty late, so I was just really speedily sewing.  Basically, I cut off a bit of fabric to make it the right width/circumference around my body.  The first time, I kind of picked a random spot that seemed right to sew across to make the skirt-shirt fit, but that was waaaaaaaaaaaay too tight, and I almost gave myself hypoxia when I somehow fit it over my shoulders and wore it.  Then I fixed that, tacked on the straps quickly, and hand-sewed a piece of the front to the side to make it look just a bit less like the original skirt and to give it a bit more character.

I don’t think this picture really does the shirt justice because I actually REALLY like this shirt, and it just looks ok in the picture.  But ohwells.

Please pardon my crazy weird haircut that I gave myself.

My mom hates it, though.  Thus, FUCKING SUCCESS!

Crazy Train

(Wow, I thought “Crazy Train” was an AC/DC song.  Shows how much I know about that stuff >_<)

ANYWHO……

I now officially declare this sewing blog business “super legit”.  Because we all know that doing things once doesn’t count.  But now that I’ve blogged about TWO current sewing projects, this is serious bizniz.

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This has also been the worst decision of my life.

Even worse than that time when I was 12 and decided I wanted to make a raisin.  Yes, one singular raisin.  I set it on a little ledge on the balcony of my uncle’s house, and when I checked on it 30 minutes into its tanning sesh, there were maybe 7 ants going crazy over it, with a long line marching towards it.  I thought it would be safe, since the ledge was pretty high up, and it was on the third floor.  Guess not =/

But really, my blog writing is obnoxious and barely coherent/comprehensible, yet I spend hours (I think I really did spend about 12 hours on my Senior Prom dress post) writing, and a whole bunch more [on attempts at] editing photos.

I TRY SO HARD.

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I love my aunt (unrelated to the uncle with the balcony, who I also love).  She’s pretty super stylin’, and she started giving me her hand-me-downs when I was really young, long before they could really fit me.  (Of course, that didn’t prevent me from wearing the clothing anyway.)  Another great thing about my aunt is that she appears to have no qualms about giving me her clothing that, by my mom’s standards, is “too revealing,” and since she is a fine, upstanding woman, I use that to justify owning, wearing, and flaunting such “revealing” clothing.  (Keep in mind that my mom has high standards.)  (When it comes to necklines.)

My mom was cleaning out some closets or something over the summer, so when I got home, I found a pile of clothing she wanted me to sort through.  I don’t know what she was thinking with one of them because once I put it on and walked out of my room with it, she was all “WOAH.  IN-A-PRO-PRO.”

It was another floor-length skirt, and we all know how I feel about those.  Otherwise, I was a huge fan.

TOO REVEALING.

Since I wanted it to be not so long,  but there was so much cloth (that I really liked, too!), I didn’t want to waste it by just chopping a few feet off.  Also, a simple hem would be too easy.  I did briefly contemplate saving the extra fabric to make something else, but ever since that one time I walked into an American Apparel store, where they have at least five different articles of clothing with the same, exact print, I’ve been less fond of such ideas.

“Hi-Lo” hems seem to be in fashion nowadays; I was walking through campus one time on a bright, sunny day, and I saw at least five people with the backsides of their skirts flying in the wind.  I especially like the ones that have an oval cut in the back.  They look really silly because they aren’t the most flowy and just kind of stick out when they catch the wind.  It’s great.

I want one (or all) of these skirts.

I was gonna go for something like #1, so I put on the dress, took note of where I wanted to cut (going off of the print of the dress), and snipped.  Straight.  And it came out [pretty] straight!

But I cut it too short.

I had measured in the morning, but then I decided to leave the house for a bit (brave, I know!) and come back to it.  I had it in my mind which flower on the print of the dress to cut beyond to allow extra room for hemming and the inevitable fact that it will ride up, since it’s a pretty tight but stretchy dress.  Just to be extra careful, I put it on again after I got home to remeasure.  But either it was confirmation bias or I didn’t actually make as generous an allowance as I originally thought because after cutting, it was just barely exactly the length I would want the finished product to be.

This is the skirt pulled down as far as possible.

It could’ve been worse, though.  And I was going to keep the back at least knee length, so that makes up for it, right?

So I was brainstorming things to do with the back that were FUN and EXCITING and came up with this:

Cool, huh?

Because I’m a fan of deliberate disorder and crazy trains.  Or maybe this doesn’t count as a train because it doesn’t drag on the floor…  But you know what I mean.

I also like occasionally whipping out my needle and thread to do things.

Here’s the left side sewed into place.

The crazy train ended up looking pretty good from the front, I thought.

But then something happened…

…and the back ended up looking like a beaver’s tail >_<

I realized that I could twirk it a little to make the more desirable triangular shape happen, or even just make the end of the skirt tighter and clean up the train a bit, but then I realized something more important: when the fuck am I going to want to wear a dress with a crazy train?

See, it looks a lot better with this small change.

I mean, I like being different and doing things differently, but I also like versatility and not being laughed at.  So I decided to redo the whole thing.

I went back to my original plan of an oval-shaped Hi-Lo hem, and–really not sure why I didn’t just do this in the first place–tacked on some frill.  This added a bit of length to the front of the skirt (don’t worry; my mom still disapproves) AND was fairly exciting for me, since I had never executed this technique before.

It went really well, and I scrunched up the trim just right, apparently, since it fit the circumference of the hem pretty much perfectly.

I thought I was SOOOOOOOOOOO smart for choosing to use black thread for attaching the frilly trim to the dress because I had used white for frilling up the trim.  That way, just in case I messed up attaching the trim, I could tell the two stitches apart so that I wouldn’t ruin the frilliness when removing the attaching stitches.

But it totally didn’t register that you’d be able to see the thread from the outside… Because it’s a Hi-Lo hem and all…

My mom reassured me that no one would notice, and I knew no one would notice, but I am ridiculluss, so I wanted to fix it anyway.  I sewed over the black stitches in white so that I could take out the black, but before I could finish, my dad had to step in.  He couldn’t take the sound of my sewing anymore.  I couldn’t blame him.  The sewing machine started to sound like angry gremlins were being chomped on by sassy middle school cheerleader girls who ran out of gum + crickets on steroids and 5-hour energy.

So he whipped out some chainsaw bar lubricant (?!). Because we ran out of sewing machine lubricant…

And applied it with a stick of incense. Because you’re supposed to use a dropper bottle, but we didn’t have that, either…

And then I finished my dress! =D

I finished it yesterday, but the black stitches were a bitch to rip out.  It was worth it, though, because now I’m EXTREMELY happy with it.  Doesn’t it look kickass with those boots?

I believe the answer is “Yes.”

Lookie! I done made mahself a new dress!

Most of the time I actually enjoy being a bit on the short side.  Sure, most normal pants are a little too long for me and I should probably be shopping in the petites section, but with songs like these celebrating shortness, what’s not to like?  Also, it makes finding a tall(er) guy to be your boyfriend a lot easier.  And the only time I’ve been really mad that I’m short is during concerts where I’m far from the stage and everyone is standing up.  But an easy solution to that is having a tall boyfriend whose shoulders you can sit on, so most of the time, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Some articles of clothing can be really unflattering on a short-statured woman, though.  One thing on this Do Not Wear list is a maxi dress.  One thing I did is wear a maxi dress to my Senior Dinner.  It was a good choice for that one occasion, though, because it happened to be ridiculously cold that day.  Appropriately, I have never worn this maxi dress since.

Except for this picture.

I was going to do something BORING with it, like just cut it shorter and maybe add a little frill to the bottom, but I am really silly and have a lot of screenshots (this term is misleading because I am actually really really ridiculous and piece together little zoom window previews for a higher quality photo) of dresses I find on the intarwebz that I really like but that are too expensive (cost more than $10 =P) and look perhaps reasonable to make.

I found one that coincidentally had that stretchy waistband thing that my maxi dress had at the top, so I thought that was perfect.

“Floral Georgette Dress with Self Tie Straps”

So the hardest part (the stretchy waistband) was done for me (I promise I will make a dress TOTALLY from scratch at some point in my life), and all I really had to do was make a quick top and add a little jazz to the bottom.

I had plenty of fabric to work with, so I didn’t really bother measuring how much to cut off.  This is probably a very bad thing to do.  I just have a lot of false confidence in myself.

“I can cut this straight without any markings or a straightedge!” I said.

I then whipped out my trusty seam ripper because the dress’s skirt was in three pieces (also conveniently perfect for the width of my body!), and memories of all my mess-ups when making my Senior Prom dress came rushing back.  But ripping up seams isn’t too bad when you have badass music to listen to.

I realized halfway into seam-ripping that I could’ve made my life much easier by  just cutting up the fabric, but I have a fear of cutting fabric unless I REALLY have to (more cutting = more mess-ups.  See: above photo).  Plus the pieces really happened to be JUST right when I detached them.  And doing things the hard way builds character.

Making sure it was wide enough, not just wishful thinking

This dress sounds too easy, I know.  But with easy things come stupid mistakes.  At least, they do for bums like me.

Can you believe I did this as I was saying to myself “right sides together!”?

But it went pretty smoothly for a while, as I was shaping the top (essentially folding the top corners to make more room for my arms), and I even came up with this brilliant idea for pinning the top to the rest of the dress!  (Since the waistband was stretchy, to properly pin it to the top that I made, it needed to be stretched out.  Alternatively, I suppose I could have just stretched it out while I was sewing it to the top part, but I didn’t think I was badass enough to not use pins to keep everything in place.)

Meet my pillow mannequin.

I only had two more bad things happen before I completed my dress =D

The rest of the fabric I cut off from the bottom of my dress seemed long enough to make straps out of, so I cut two strips of an arbitrary width using the gaps in my hardwood floor to guide me in my quest to cut straight lines without any markings or a ruler.  The strips were a little narrow (maybe about an inch?), so it was a bit difficult to fold over and sew together using the normal straight stitch.  I opted for the zig-zag so that I wouldn’t have to hide the raw, cut sides of the fabric.  My mother told me that the zig-zag stitch prevents unraveling, so I kind of just folded both sides inwards (without having to worry about not revealing any raw edges).  I hope she knows her stuff.

There’s something really satisfying about making straps (or other little tie-things) like this.  I think that’s partly because it always ends up looking pretty decent, even if you don’t fold it perfectly all the way through or don’t sew completely straight.  Maybe.

See, I COULD have just bought some ribbon or something, but this is SO MUCH prettier. Right? … Right?

Yeah, I didn’t really finish the edges…  I decided I just wanted to knot them at the ends.  Also, this happened:

My sewing machine needs help feeding cloth through. I thought I would see how it fares with a bit more independence.

It’s so annoying to have to start sewing closer to the middle and then finish off the edges.  So I just didn’t.

I was pretty excited to finish the straps because then I could use a chopstick to push the straps through my top.  I think my mom uses a bobby pin when she’s making stretchy waistbands, and bobby pins are probably better because they have a clipping mechanism and they’re thinner.  But I’m extra fond of chopsticks.

The strap went through the back part fine.

chopsticks >>>>>>>>>> silverware

But not the front.

Why won’t it go in any further?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Ohhhhhhhhhh…. There’s no opening.

I didn’t really understand what was going on there, but I guess I just sewed the opening shut with the hanging leftover fabric on the edges.  So I had to cut it off.  Nerve-racking.

But it was a success!

The face of success.

Only thing left to do: some finishing touches on the skirt ^_^

I folded up the raw edge of my skirt extra wide for the hem; it needed to be a double-fold so that it wouldn’t unravel, and since the cloth is pretty thin, there would have been some ugly bulk at the hem if had made a smaller fold.  A wider fold makes for a smoother, less round and bulky edge.  But it’s easier to measure out a quarter-inch seam than a however-wide seam.  So I sewed a quarter-inch out from the edge even though the end of the fold was much farther than that.  It was ok, though, because it ended up doing this weird but cool flippy thing.

Doin’ flips ‘n’ shit.

And the totally not straight hemline doesn’t look too bad, either.

Not too shabby, eh?

But your dress is now probably, like, 2 inches shorter than it was before, you admonish.  Wasn’t the point to make it shorter?  Also the skirt is BORING.

You have no faith in me.

Boring, you say?  Well, I was going to just add a bit of frill to the end like the dress design I was going off of.  But we all know I never end up making dresses that look much like my models…

I rather like it.  I think I maybe would have preferred a swirly knot instead of a twisty bar thing, but that’s an easy fix if I ever want to make it.  Also, the twist makes it look a bit fancier than I intended, and it kind of clashes with the very casual self-tie straps.  OOPS.  I guess it doesn’t matter too much because I wear fancy dresses casually all the time, and often with a cardigan over everything.  But changing the straps is also another easy fix, if needed.  I have some extra fabric lying around…

All in all, I’d say this was a success.  Thus, I celebrated =D!  With some champagne…

…grapes!!!! =D =D =D =D =D

My Senior Prom dress cost me about 20, maybe 30, dollars.

That’s still kind of a lot, though, considering I generally only buy clothing that’s $10 or less.  I have splurged on a few items in my lifetime, however.  Of note are the following specimens:

This blazer was twice my usual single-item spending limit =/

We’re not going to talk about how much these cost me.

But I’m pretty sure you can’t really get a blazer or boots for under $10.  And I’ve been to many a clearance section, and the cheapest full-out prom dresses (I was aiming for intense my senior year) were at least $80.  So I think $30 was a good deal, especially since it didn’t come off of a cheap clearance rack.

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I’m not exactly sure why I wanted to start sewing.  I guess I’ve always been a fan of DIY, since I was always the girl who hated group projects because I’m anal about everything (writing blog posts is an unnecessarily long, arduous process for me), and no one else ever did things right.  So I started off with simple things like reattaching buttons, sewing up holes, and other such minor repairs. Then I became a vain teenager who could never throw anything anyway, so I started tailoring loose shirts and patching up ripped jeans (these were not the “cool” types of rips).  Patching up jeans is pretty ineffective with just hand-stitching, so I asked my mom to teach me how to use her sewing machine.  I used it rather infrequently, so I’d always forget how to thread it >_<

As you can see, my sewing training is nonexistent.  I didn’t even know how to sew a straight line until I went through a quick quilting crash course halfway through my senior year, about three months before I decided I’m going to make myself a prom dress.  Right before Prom.  So that I would have to scramble to find an affordable dress if the whole making one thing didn’t work out.  But no matter; things always work out perfectly.  Because I’m perfect.  Of course.

But I am kind of a lucky bastard.

A good prom dress needs ribbing, and I still don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t randomly found this:

Please forgive me for the quality/composition of this photo. I took it loooong before I ever thought about making a blog.

a few years prior in a closet no one really used (=full of everyone’s random crap).  (And, apparently, also crap of random people.  But it was a free dress, so I didn’t ask any questions.)  I think I originally thought about just sewing up the sides to make it smaller, as it was MUCH too big and I had found it during my tailoring phase, but that never happened.  I also wasn’t too motivated by the black top + long, not even full!, white skirt combo.   But the top had ribbing!  So I took it all apart (thank god for seam rippers!), cut out the back because I am fond of corset tops, and attached a bra because strapless bras = incessant awkward adjusting, and I was planning to be shaking it at the dance, not tugging.

The last pieces of cloth standing.

I knew I wanted a corset top and a full-bodied skirt, so with those specifications in mind, I Google’d “prom dresses”.  (How things ever work out the way I want them to baffles me.)

I saved a whole bunch of prom dress .jpegs onto my computer (that I still have, HA), but one particular one stood out because it looked less high maintenance, and I didn’t want to buy tons of tulle (which would add to the costs of my budget-but-awesome prom dress) or wear any (I still have memories of horrendously itchy, albeit supercute, dresses from my childhood).  But the more truthful reason for settling on my (more simpler) design was because I knew I had no idea what the hell I was doing, let alone how to make a poofy, full skirt.  And I thought this would be doable.

More doable than Leo in Titanic.

I just didn’t like the extended bodice, so I tried to imagine what it would look like with a shorter one.

This is my extremely crappy piecing-together-in Paint job. I didn’t even bother to use a legitimate photo editing software.

Like I said, I wanted a really full skirt.  And things always work out the way I want.

…But what I want sometimes changes.  Or, more precisely, I adjust my desires to be more adaptable to my environment/reality so that I don’t go insane from so much repeated disappointment.

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I really didn’t know how to make a full skirt (with just one piece of cloth), and I actually still am not quite sure…  I think I just had it in my head that making REALLY large pleats would somehow create the effect so beautifully illustrated above, even though I knew pleats don’t really do much for volume.

So I just decided to wing it.

I magically made an essentially perfectly pleated skirt–large pleats, rested comfortably on my hips once wrapped around–after only the second try.  Then I used my SUPAR TAILORING SKILLZ to make a fitted bodice.

I was pretty happy with the result:

Not the fullest skirt, but I’ll take it!

I especially like the back :3

I tried stuffing this fake tutu thing I once bought from my local high school theatre’s costume sale fundraiser under the skirt to make it fuller, but it just ended up looking like this:

It actually looked worse (=more hilarious) than this.

But in actuality, I was REALLY REALLY REALLY pleased with my dress.  It is a really sloppy sewing job if you look at it closely, but this was my first legitimate sewing project, and I found a really good matching thread, so you’d have to look really closely to see the crappy stitches.  Mostly, people just saw this:

My husband/daughter/grandmother(?)/roommate and I dubbed ourselves Prom King and Queen, with the blessing of essentially our entire school. (Because people didn’t want a real contest because no one wanted to compete with our sexiness: Fact.)

And I most certainly have nothing bad to say about that.