Sewing for the Circus

Where have you been, you might ask? Why I have been having adventures, some of them combining my very favourite things: sewing and the circus!

I was asked by Atlantic Cirque to create some costumes for two human statues, and sent along a photo of the general idea of what their client was looking for. I created some silver wrap dresses with an elastic waist, so that as many people as possible could wear the costumes. Sewing for trapeze artists follows the same principles as other sewing, with a few specifications.

1. Big arm holes. Aerialists tend to have very well-developed arm, chest and back muscles (for obvious reasons) and need bigger arm holes for a good range of motion. Knit fabrics are always helpful. I nearly made them out of a swim-suit lining, but there wasn’t enough left on the bolt.

2. Bring on the glitter! When I went fabric shopping, I requested that the employee bring back out the New Year’s Eve fabrics from the back room. Fabrics that reflect the light really work in these situations!

3. Versatility. It’s good to keep in mind all the other possible roles these costumes could be used for: disco ladies, 1930’s, 1940’s, Marilyn Monroe, etc.

4. Danger! Is the artist going to hang upside down in this? Excess fabric can get tangled up in an apparatus.

I used the bodice from my Brushstroke Wrap Dress and created gathers instead of pleats on the shoulders. The bottom is a gathered rectangle with two draped triangles on top (cut on the bias). I’m really pleased with how they came out and am tempted go buy more of that fabric for me! I may have just found my Halloween costume….in June.

Me Made May Update 2

Still Truckin’!

The middle part is always the hardest. Things come up, I get busy, the usual.  Despite this though, I have been doing pretty well!  I’m behind on posting the photos, but I have been wearing my me-made-clothing and enjoying it. Trying to prepare for our random weather has been a little challenging (especially if you are someone who bikes or uses public transportation like me), but I’ve dealt with it – rain boots go with everything, right?

Sleeveless in the City Dress

This was my second version of Butterick 5454. I wanted something super comfortable – but still cute – to wear this summer while I am traveling. I wanted a dress that I could wear with flip-flips during the day, and heels during the night.

I loved the colour of the jersey and knew it would be perfect for just such a dress! This time around I added 2 inches to the front of the bodice pieces, so that I would have a little more coverage than my long-sleeved version and again, I opted not to sew down the pleats on the skirt. I also opted out of the short-sleeve version of the pattern and instead added just enough around the armhole for seam allowances.

I’m really happy with how it turned out! I think this will be perfect for just throwing on (maybe even as a bathing suit cover up) and just throwing in the suitcase. Here’s to a carefree summer! Thanks to Denis Duquette for the fabulous photos!

Resolution Intervention

So, there were some New Year’s resolutions, mainly to use the supplies of all kinds around my house, be they cooking, crafting or sewing. Uhm, yeah. January was great, February went well, but between March and April, any focus I had on that petered out. I think it’s time to reflect, adapt my expectations, and move on with the new plan.

Here’s what I did (and didn’t) accomplish:

1. I got rid of about 75% of my scrapbooking supplies. That felt really good, and they went to friend who was delighted to get them. I have been printing out more of my photos, thanks to using Instagram (you can follow me here). They are just too fun to stay on my laptop!

2. I have been consistently using my fabric and pattern stash. That’s going well.

3. I keep trying out recipes I find online, instead of the ones in my pretty cookbooks. Fail.

4. I haven’t worn a single vintage item. I think it’s time to admit that my look has evolved away from 1950’s day-dresses. I love vintage, but I’m ready to break-up with my collection. I just haven’t decided what to do with them yet.

The new plan:

1. I have gone through my cookbooks and selected enough recipes to try out 3 new dishes a week for the next 6 weeks. That way I can shop for groceries with them in mind and have a more specific goal.

2. I bought more alphabet letter stickers (I like Thickers).  When I went through my supplies, I discovered how hard it was to actually spell any page titles without any vowels. This should help, but I’m also going to set a goal of 2 pages per week.

3. Fabric/patterns. Keep on it! I’m doing the Colette Pattern Challenge, so that should also help me make a more cohesive wardrobe.

Really, this is a plan for persistence – I’m working on it!

Me Made May Update 1

Here we go! It’s that time of year again! I’ve drafted my Mr. into the role of photographer and I think we’re beginning to develop a routine. My goal is to have 5-minute photo shoots and so far, so good!  My other goal is to actually complete the challenge – last year my good intentions kind of fell apart about half-way through. It’s helped that the month of May works for me in terms of the clothing I’ve made: not too hot but not too cold either, so I’m able to incorporate lots of different pieces. I’m keeping my photos on flickr and you can see the set develop here. Go Team!

Pyjama Bottoms for the P.J. Party

I don’t know which was more fun, making the pyjama pants or modelling them. You see, I am already at a pyjama party of sorts: my sister and I have travelled from different parts of North America to visit my parents. There’s lots of crossword-puzzling, weekend-newspaper-reading, Sherlock-watching, and cereal-eating.

I asked my sister to take some photos of me, a plan which quickly became derailed due to lots of giggling.  I tried to (clandestinely) jump on the pristine guest-bed with as quietly as I could, which of course only made us laugh more.

The pants themselves are great. I will be making lots more of these. The fabric was left over from a dress I made for a friend of mine. The pattern was NewLook 6321. This is a unisex pattern, so be forewarned! I cut out the smallest size and still had to take them in. I also cut a straight leg rather than a tapered one (who wants tapered pyjamas?).

I added in some extra touches – modelled after a favourite pair from Gap Body – including 2 inch wide elastic, a drawstring, and big cuffs. I wanted to make them at least a little bit fancy, so I added in some cute pleated-ribbon trim around the bottom of the cuffs. I LOVE them!

As always, my bedtime reading is The New Yorker. It’s a weekly subscription, so I’m always trying to keep on top of it!

Thanks to Karen for such a great idea! It was just the prompting I needed!

Hearts Down Spring Top

This shirt is a combination of two patterns I have used before. Simplicity 2652 provided the base, but it would have been way too wide for a simple shirt, so I brought in all the darts from my favourite pattern, McCalls 5929.

The print on the fabric is actually all little hearts. That look was a little too cutsey for me, so I cut out the pieces with the fabric up-side down. I like that this way, you can see that they are hearts only if you look really closely, but it also gives a nice chevron effect as well.  The cotton is really soft and it’s so comfortable. I’ve already worn it to the market a couple of times! I think if I were to do this again I would take out the same amount of volume, and add elastic at the waist instead of buttons.

Special thanks to my awesome photographer, Denis Duquette. We were going for a natural look and the shoot was really fun. There was a lot of giggling going on!

Attending: MMM and P.J. Party!

Count me in!

I, Erica of Experiments and Accidents, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’12. I endeavour to wear 1 item of handmade clothing each day for the duration of May 2012.

May is a great month for this challenge. It’s certainly not summer here, but I might not need my winter coat either. I’ve got quite a few more hand-made items to spread around this time, so I’ll be jumping right in! One of my favourite aspects of this challenge is discovering new sewing blogs through the flickr group.

I’m also participating in the P.J. Party! Karen always has the best ideas. I already have the “jammy pants” made and boy are they cute. I’ll never buy a pair again, now that I know how easy and satisfying it is to make them!

Colette Palette Challenge – My Moodboard

In an attempt to be a little more organized when it comes to my sewing projects I am participating in the Spring/Summer Palette Challenge from Colette Patterns.  I would like to pack as many hand-made items on my travel adventures this summer (more on that later), so I will be sewing with those trips in mind.

After a dreary Canadian winter, I am really looking forward to a wardrobe full of bright colours! I have been keeping some inspiration images on Pinterest (here and here). I’ve got a yellow Minoru on the go at the moment and already know that I want to make a fuchsia one as well. I know there will definitely be more maxi-dresses in my future and more knit fabrics, and that I am in need of skirts.

So, it’s a loose plan, but at least it’s a colourful one!

Image Sources: Blue Suit, Dress, Orange Skirt, Shoes. Tulip photo: my own.

The Brush Stroke Wrap Dress: Knits!

Disclaimer: The sleeves are the same length! I have no idea why I didn’t have them in same place for the photos!

Ta-da! My first attempt at knitwear! I decided that I was severely limiting myself by being such a chicken about sewing with knit fabric. I used Butterick 5454, which came together really quickly. It was only once I had completed the dress though, that I was able to see what a disaster the sewn pleats were. I unpicked them, so that the volume created by them would start right from my waist rather than from my backside (there are two more pleats on the back). I was much happier with those results. I was shocked by how easy the whole process was: I was expected stretched out seams and hems and basically a big mess.

I still learned a lot though: next time I’ll raise the neckline, and I’ll probably sew a little snap on the bodice of this dress so that it won’t be quite so va-va-voom, but  really, I love the fit. The pleats coming from the shoulders meant that I didn’t have any pulling across the front, and it’s so comfortable! It feels like I’m wearing a big, bright cozy t-shirt.

I need to figure out how to wash dark knit fabric. I don’t know if I even needed to wash it before hand. If you can image, this fabric was even more vibrant before I washed it (which was in cold water and just a little time in the dryer).

Do you have any tips for sewing with knits? Washing them? I’d love to hear!

Photos courtesy of the great Denis Duquette.