AJAX BELL

Author of the Queen City Boys books


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tiny dresses!

Here are the dresses I made for my new cousin, Faith Alma!  She’s a farmer’s daughter and needed some tough clothes for hanging out with her daddy and her two brothers.

046049This dress is for picking vegetables in the garden and riding ATVs, but hopefully not through the garden.

043041This dress was originally truck themed, but alas, I had to hand draw the truck and it just didn’t turn out.  So I’ve covered it with a horse.  It’s like reverse progress.  The human race moves from horses to gas vehicles.  I move us back to horses.

033036Blue Tractor dress!  Again the original image didn’t work but this time I figured out to just redo it onto a patch and sew that on.

I’m pretty happy with how all of these turned out. The only thing I’d do differently would be to make a truck patch for the truck dress, instead of a horse patch.  But alas I didn’t think of it until I was done.  Over all though I think it worked out.

(If you can’t see the pictures, you can get them on my Flickr or just click through to the original post.)


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just blather, sewing related

I can’t decide what to do about the Burda World of Fashion pattern.  I’m disappointed that you can’t just go to their site and easily order a back issue.  It seems like a major failing on their part. Also all I want from the issue is the skirt pattern.  If I devoted an hour to it I could probably hunt down a similar pattern somewhere else?  Or I could just keep an Ebay search watch for the issue and hope I get one?  I have the fabric for the skirt already. Hmm….

In other sewing related news I will post pics today of my latest finished stuff.  In the meantime I am obsessing over fabric (and obviously the pattern above).  I stumbled on this fabric.  I NEED it.  At that width I could do with only a yard.  I mean you wouldn’t want to do a whole top out of it or anything.  Although, hmm, lined as an a-line skirt, just above the knee, I bet it would be pretty fantastic too.  I searched around for something similar that wasn’t $20 a yard and this is the closest thing I found. Not good enough.  But hey, $20 isn’t so much, so I will probably break down by the end of the day and buy the pretty blue medallions.  I actually have a little money I was setting aside for a jacket, but you know, I have half a dozen jackets, so maybe I’ll buy the fabric and make something lovely with it.

I found the sewing class I want to take locally.  It’s $380, but it’s 12 – 3 hours classes, so completely worth it, as that’s like $11 a class.  However my schedule really doesn’t work with it right now (plus my current travel plans would have me missing 3 of the 12 classes), so I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that they will offer it again in the session starting in January.  Which would be perfect because it would give me something to occupy myself with in the dead of winter.  YAY!

I’m having a bunch of trouble shirring with elastic thread.  It’s extra frustrating because I do this all the time.  It’s usually so easy.  I guess I need to re-wrap all the bobbins and check the tension on my machine, top and bottom.  And then do a bunch of test runs.  And then carefully pick all the stitches out of my last two projects (or maybe one, I really might just sacrifice one of them).  And then resew once I make sure it all works. Blarg.

I think I’m going to work on my master list of sewing projects today.  Not sewing, just planning.  Since I’ve finished a bunch and abandoned a couple, I guess it needs updating.  I should probably clean my sewing table too, since maybe that will help me feel better when I attack the elastic thread problem.

Today’s picture doesn’t have jack to do with sewing, but I had a dirty dream about Alex Skarsgård last night, so I thought I’d post a picture, just to keep it fresh in my mind.  The picture also makes me want to sew a lot of fall clothes, so I guess that’s something sewing related.


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My name is George and I’m a werewolf

magic_quadrilateral

I just spent an inordinate amount of time completely deconstructing the sleeves on a jacket, entirely remaking them, then taking it all apart (again) and putting it back to the way it was. Sometimes sewing is way more frustrating than it is relaxing.  I think I’m done sewing for the day.

Now I have to decide if I should go to bed or stay up and watch the last two episodes of Being Human.  I am completely obsessed with this show.  I’m only episode four but it’s utterly absorbing. I have teenage-like crush on the werewolf character.  Overall I like how all the characters play off each other, although I think Annie and Mitchell are kind of annoying on their own (he makes bad bad choices continuously and she can’t see the forest for the trees).  Is anyone watching this but me?  It’s running on BBC America right now and you can get it on On Demand if you have Comcast.  C’mon, people, join me!

I guess I kind of like the idea behind this new Nashville paper.  I am kind of confused about the choice to make it a print publication.  I mean I guess you get a wider audience, but given the state of news papers today it seems weird to start a new one.  Especially one that doesn’t actually have any news in it… Okay well, none of them have timely news anymore thanks to the internet, so maybe this is best use of a print paper.  I’m just not sure who their audience is after the novelty wears off.  The concept it self just seem much better suited to online.  I haven’t seen a copy yet but is it filled with ads or what?


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What (not) to wear

edwardian_bouse_apron
Did I talk already about the Nine West Vintage America Collection?  It’s been rolling out slowly but I think all the pieces are available now.  I can’t remember where I heard about it originally, but I recall the description sounding like a line of clothes and shoes I would really love to wear.  I’m actually pretty disappointed in it over all.  I love the flats: Coby and Cambric (especially in the green and wine respectively).  And the Fiddle boots are fantastic.  The tops and jeans are exceptionally uninspired.  I mean sure I’d wear them, but only if I found them at a thrift store for under $5.  Definitely not things I’d buy new or bother to try and make.

Since I started sewing again I’ve been thinking a lot about clothes.  I own way more clothing than one person needs.  I’ve been meditating for a long time on trimming down my wardrobe to essentials.  I’ve been slowly working on this.  For every item of clothing I buy, I have to get rid of two similar items (this doesn’t count for things I sew myself).  I’ve tried hard to imagine what few, fabulous, well constructed necessities I’d need.

The idea of a vintage Americana line of clothing really appeals to me.  I’m all over the place in what I wear.  If I even have a defined style it’s definitely all my own because I take stuff from all eras and looks.  I’m not even sure I would want to wear just a vintage Americana collection, but I would love to design one.  Ever since I saw the Nine West collection I’ve been  imagining what would be in mine.  A pair or two of jeans, I guess.  A couple pairs of vintage looking cowboy boots. Old fashioned looking blouses (like this and this and this).  1950s-ish sundresses.  Cardigans.  A decent denim jacket with nothing fancy about it and good pockets.  Librarian-y shirtdresses in interesting non-floral prints.  A-line skirts in nifty border prints.  1930 and 1940s styled dress shoes.  Comfortable t-shirts cut for women out of soft cottons.  Practical, well sized handbags in elaborately tooled leather.

I have to give this more thought.  I’m half tempted to start a scrapbook or something to keep track of this idea.  Not that it hasn’t been done, or that I am going to revolutionize anything.  I don’t even have the sewing skills to make half this stuff.  But I like thinking about it.


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rainy days and Tuesdays

If is wasn't raining, I'd like to walking here right now.

The picture of the day yesterday on Bing.com was of Spain.  Anthony Bourdain’s episode yesterday was in Spain.  When I went to the library to pick up my holds, besides Victoria & Albert I also got When the Moors Ruled in Europe and Moorish Spain.   Obviously some of this I chose, but some just happened.  I’m sure the universe is trying to tell me to continue my studies and get my butt to Spain.

While watching TV yesterday I saw a lot of commercials for reality shows.  Most of these shows hold no interest for me whatsoever, but now I’m even more offended after seeing little bits of them.  I deal with enough assholes in every day life (one is too many really), why would I want to watch people on TV being horrible to other people?

Most of my sewing today isn’t turning out quite as I’d hoped.  I think I’m going to go ahead and iron and cut out mynext couple projects and then just leave off for a bit.

Tomorrow is a big dentist day (getting fitted for the bridge–which involves grinding some teeth down) and I’m trying not to think about it, but I”m pretty sure it’s the source of my anxiety and dissatisfaction today.  Ugh.


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do you have Prince Albert in a can?

Today it is 100 days since I quit smoking.  I guess I can say I am non-smoker now.  Feel free to send me gifts to celebrate this joyous occasion.

Despite all the non-smoking joy I am sluggishly sitting on the couch, uncomfortable and cranky.  I can only blame hormomes.  Some times being a girl is stupid.

prince_albert

For my entertainment I am watching Victoria & Albert. It’s more comprehensive than The Young Victoria.  It is very good, but I have to confess that I liked The Young Victoria better (and not just because of Paul Bettany’s likable Lord Melbourne).  Both Alberts are handsome but Rupert Friend is more to my taste than Jonathan Firth. At least as they appear portraying Albert.  And man, oh man, after watching both films, I have something of an Albert fetish now.  He’s dashing, charming, concerned for the average man and in love with his wife.  Also he’s very tolerant.  He’s just dreamy.  If I was married to him I would have worn black for the rest of my life after he died too.  Do I have have anything intelligent to say about history or filmmaking after watching both films? No, no, no.  Just Albert is dreamy.  That’s all.

I’m halfway done with the black version of yesterday’s dress.  So far it’s great.  Only the shirring and the hem left to do, but I’ll save that for tomorrow.  I also have a skirt to finish (it’s been sitting for weeks and needs only a zipper and some finish work on the waistband to be done), I have a lot of baby sewing to do for various little nibblets (both already born and soon forthcoming) and Libelle wants me to make her a dress (which she–hint, hint–better get on picking a fabric and pattern if she wants it in time for her event).  Also I want to make the shirred dress again, this time in a print as I am pretty happy with fit, especially in the lighter fabric (the twill of the muslin is too heavy for summer dress, I can say this for sure after having worn it today).  I really need to make a list of all in progress and potential sewing projects and hang them above my work table.

Hmm, after V&A I am going to watch a documentary on the Moors in Europe.  And maybe make many lists.  I am super behind on list making.  Maybe I need make a list of lists that need making.  This is an indication of how much better I feel in general, as rather than feeling overwhelmed, I am actually feeling mildly thrilled at the prospect of organizing things.

I think I am going to try this meditation for 30 days.  I meditate periodically (and recently less frequently than I’d like) but maybe having a focused list like this and only a short time commitment will keep me inspired to keep doing it until I am focused enough to meditate more seriously.


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Everyday dress

A few days back Cabbage Babble linked to this dress.  I decided to try my hand at making one for myself.  I have some silvery black lightweight denim what would be perfect.  Today I patterned the dress out and made a muslin with some burgundy twill I had in my stash fabrics:

red-twill-dress01

red-twill-dress02Clearly it has some fit issues, which is why we make muslins, right?  I made on-seam pockets instead of the small patch  pockets the original had and I am very happy with those.  The shirring will need to go higher up the back and I’ll space the rows farther apart the next time around.  Also I’ll curve the back seam a bit so the neck doesn’t gap.  The bust darts need to be reshaped as well.  The original dress had bias tape trim on the armholes and the neck, and I interfaced the dress instead.  Partly because I didn’t have enough of the fabric to make tape (it’s interfaced in a darker, solid purple twill)  and partly because interfacing is easier for me.

Over all I’m pretty happy with it.  I think this is a wearable muslin, which is exciting given the amount of work it took.  Seriously, everything takes twice as long as I think it will.  When will I learn to double the time it will take from get go?  On the other hand, it did only take about 5 hours and that was with having to rethread the serger 27 times (each time taking about 5+ minutes).