New patterns and continuing projects

Maggie and I headed to JoAnn’s on Friday after getting off work. She needed to get supplies for a piece of her steampunk costume. She’s been collecting tons of rubber bands from work – they come on the newspapers everyday. When she pulls them off the newspapers she tends to put them on her wrist and she would go home at the end of the day with the bands still on her. She said she’d just go inside, pull them off and throw them on her dresser. After a while they started to pile up, and she figured she needed to figure out a way to reuse them. The bands are a kind of orangey-red, rather than the typical yellow-brown that you usually see. She informed me, after work, that she had finally figured out what she was going to use them for, and how. First, however, she needed to go to JoAnn’s.

I didn’t complain. I absolutely love JoAnn’s. Although they all carry fabric and an assortment of craft supplies and home decorating accessories, the exact mix and type of materials sold will differ greatly from store to store. There are three JoAnn’s within about 20 minutes from my house (well, 20 minutes according to mapquest…in reality, the Centreville JoAnn’s is more like 30). The Centreville JoAnn’s has the most organized red tag fabric section, followed closely by the one out at Seven Corners. The Centreville store is also my least favorite of the three. It’s dirty, poorly lit, and kind of run-down. Seven Corners is a bit better – I think because it knows it’s got to compete with G-Street Fabrics, which is located on the other side of the huge complex – but not by much.

My favorite JoAnn’s (in this area) is the one out in Burke, on Old Keene Mill Road. I know where everything is in there, they have a pretty good section of red tag fabrics at the back (they’ve recently expanded the section, but it is in serious need of organizing) and they have the best sari and brocade fabric section of the three. Again, although every JoAnn’s carries some amount of brocade, “my” JoAnn’s carries more than one usually sees, as a result of the demands of the surrounding community.

Anyhoo…getting off topic.
Butterick patterns were on sale for $1.99. I don’t typically buy Butterick patterns (the directions are sometimes kind of hit or miss and – with a few exceptions – the costume patterns aren’t very impressive). I figured, at $1.99, I might as well take a look. I’m glad I did. I had forgotten that the hat patterns I love – the ones for the giant turn of the century Rose-from-Titanic-style hats that look like they could be used as dinner platters – are made by Butterick. I picked up one of those, a dress pattern, a pattern for a pair of pants that I’m thinking will work fantastically with my steampunk, and one of their retro patterns. The design dates back to the 1952 catalog. I have been looking for a 50s style dress pattern. I’ve got one for a poodle skirt – for the Doctor Who “Rose” costume – but not a full dress. There were a couple of choices, but I finally opted for one that looked a little bit different from the rest. When I got it home and took a closer look at it, I noticed that it’s designed as a wrap around dress. There are three pattern pieces, and I could put it together with my eyes shut.

I am extremely excited to start work on this dress. I’ve already got the fabric for it. It’s a black and white plaid that I picked up in Ohio. The fact that it is a wrap around dress means that there are going to be some details on it that will definitely set it apart from other 50s style dresses.

Since I settled on a pattern for my steampunk pants I needed to pick up some fabric for them. I had left the bodice in the car so I had to rely on my instincts when choosing bolts from the red tag section (my steampunk=practical, functional, and affordable). I settled on a canvas-like material with a brownish tint to it. I’m not sure whether I’ll like it when it’s all made up, but it was the only thing that really jumped out. And I know from the feel of it that it will hold up well.

I’ve finally uploaded a couple of pictures of the coat. I took them with the still setting on the video camera and they came out a bit dark…oh well.
The pleats on the back of the coat still need to be sewn down, but it is otherwise finished. I didn’t have the bodice tacked up on the body form, so you can’t see what the two pieces look like together. However, the piece that is (clearly not visible) underneath the coat here is a vest that I figure is going in as an additional steampunk piece, in case I ever need to rest from wearing the bodice.
In the original pattern directions, the cuffs of the sleeves are supposed to have pre-pleated lace additions. I didn’t like the idea of lace being incorporated into the coat. It didn’t feel “right.” So, I changed it. I cut out strips of a red and gold cotton print, pleated them, and substituted them on the cuffs. In this picture, you can see where the lining of the sleeve meets up with the pleated cuffs.
As you could see in the previous photo, the lining of the sleeves is a reddish linen-type fabric. I can’t remember what it is exactly. It’s been hanging out in my stash for some time. The lining of the back of the coat is a white, textured cotton that I’ve also had in my stash for a while. The front lining is the same black corduroy as the main body of the coat. I decided I didn’t want another fabric to show right away if the coat billowed open in the wind. The green that you can see on this picture is from a bit of leftover fabric from a quilt that I made LeeAnn this past Christmas. It’s stitched over the joint between the sleeve and the shoulder of the coat – I didn’t want the seam to be left raw.
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