erin is going to be soooo jealous

guess what i bought today? a knitting machine!! for reals! i am super-excited. unfortunately i shan't be able to bring it home straight away, as i am travelling by bus on this trip (don't ask, the weekend has been a bit of a disaster). but it is tres cool. and i know it must be easy to use because the picture of the lady inside the lid of the case is smiling!

whee!! what a find. it almost makes up for the rest of this weekend.



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i've finished assembling the "i'm in the mood for love" sweater! i used mattress stitch to do up the sides (see ridiculously prideful post below) but to attach the collar i decided to try grafting, to increase stretchability (i have a big head). it fits! i'm so excited! hopefully tonight i'll get the decorations done, and post some photos.

pardon my excitement, but i'm much better at starting projects than i am at finishing them, so i'm very excited to have the first official filmcraft project almost finished!


whatever happened to...

so you may be wondering what happened to the "in the mood for love" cheongsam sweater that i was working on at the start of the filmcraft blog. simple: i got to the boring part, i.e. the part where you stop knitting and start sewing the pieces together.

well, today i started seaming, and it's looking good! i'm quite proud of my little seam, actually.

cheongsam sweater - seam



i just got my birthday swap package! i'm trying to figure out if i can come up with a film-related excuse to post pics, or whether i need an excuse at all. it's my blog, dammit!



i got a gift certificate to knitpicks for my birthday! now i just have to decide between all those lovely yarns...


it's my wedding anniversary!

one year ago today, my husband and i got married. like the die-hard diy-er that i am, i decided to make my own wedding gown, and bake our cake myself.

never do this.

but i digress. how does this all relate to filmcraft? well, my wedding gown was a replica of a gown worn by silent film star norma talmadge. i was looking for ideas when i came across this gorgeous gown:

gown worn by norma talmadge in 1930

gown worn by norma talmadge in 1930

it was on a vintagewear site called the frock. it was selling for over two grand, and i will bet that norma talmadge was a lot smaller than i am. so i decided to make my own, all in white of course. and since one of the reasons i wanted to make my own was that i balked at the idea of dropping a huge amount of money on a polyester dress (and just about all wedding gowns under $2000 are polyester), and since polyester doesn't drape nicely and draing is a crucial component of the gown, i decided to make it all out of silk.

here are some of my sketches when i was working out the pattern:

sketch of wedding gown showing seams

sketch of wedding gown showing pattern pieces

it's actually a pretty simple design if you look at it: a front panel, side panels, and two panels in the back; shoulder straps (i considered making these out of velvet at one point) that continue down the front to just above the knee, a simple skirt with three inset panels for fullness, and shoulder drapes.


all easier said than done, of course. especially when working in silk charmeuse.

i decided to start with the interfacing. i cut my pattern out of cotton muslin, leaving huge seam allowances in case i needed to do any alterations, and basted it together. after trying it on a million times, and tweaking the fit endlessly, i was finally confident that i had what i wanted.

i then took apart the muslin model and used it as a pattern to cut out the dress fabric and the lining (which was silk habotai). but before getting to the cutting stage, i pressed the fabrics very carefully using easy-on spray starch to lessen the slip-slidy-ness, and being careful to keep the grain straight. the drapiness that makes the final product gorgeous also makes it a headache to work with.

a lot of ironing to do

i even basted the fabrics and muslin together to make sure nothing slipped while i was cutting, and did the cutting at my friend gayle's house, since she has a proper cutting board and good scissors.

i sound baste-crazy, don't i? i did a lot of basting on the liger tote as well. i usedn't to ever baste, when i was young and impatient to get stuff done instantaneously. i didn't really save any time though, as i ended up spending a lot more time ripping things out! and things didn't generally look as nice when finished. "more haste, less speed" as my mother would say.

and a lot of hand sewing

one aspect that took a longish time and a lot of basting was the back closure. i hate the fake buttons you see on a lot of weeding gowns, so i decided to have actual buttons with actual loops that would actually button up. for stability, i had a hidden zipper that was attached only to the muslin interfacing and lining. this meant the buttons and outer charmeuse shell of the dress weren't subjected to any undue strain in the waist area, because the muslin was doing all the work. if you look at the inner workings of older dresses, you'll notice they often have a separate internal waistband for this reason - it's one of those areas where there is a lot of body movement and thus strain, and more delicate fabrics won't stand up without extra hidden support.

a view of the back with buttons

wow, this post is getting really long.

the final really time-consuming aspect of the dress was the hemming - all rolled by hand to be as invisible as possible. no mean feat with fabric as soft and frayable as silk. my gown didn't have as huge a hem as some do - i imagine anything with a hoop or train would take forever. i was up til four o'clock in the morning working on it. i will confess that part of the hem was only basted when i went down the aisle. i don't think anyone noticed though:

officially married!

so was all that work worth it for a few hours of old hollywood glamour? you betcha! and i figure if i ever get nominated for an oscar, i'll wear it again.

paparazzi shot



the napoleon dynamite sewing tote is finally done! my husband is off at work with the camera, so i can't take a picture now, but i'm sure i'll get a chance before i send it off tomorrow.

i've actually been pretty productive otherwise this weekend - made a jean skirt, finished knitting my bobblicious, made a huge amount of pasta (from scratch) and baked chicken with artichokes and mango pie and served dinner for twelve last night. but none of that is really filmcraft related, is it? unless you count that one of our guests is a screenwriter...


if you have the same birthday as i do, don't read this post!

okay, the sewing bag is almost done! all i have to do is hand finish around the handles, and it's set to go in the mail. here's a look at how i'm attaching the handles (which you can see at the right in this pic). first, a lot of basting:

liger tote with basting

i sewed along the outer basting line with my trusty old elna, and the inner line is a guide for where i'll fold the edges under. to make the folding easier, i clipped the edge up to that basting line:

liger tote - basted & clipped

here's how it looks turned inside out. i've already folded the facing and basted that; i think it's easier to see the clipping on the red lining fabric:

liger tote - folded, basted, clipped

i then trimmed the red lining back to the basting line, so that when i folded the ooutside fabric in, it wouldn't be too bulky. here i've got both the outside of the bag and the facing basted in place:

liger tote - basted and ready to add handles

here i've tucked the handle in place to give you an idea of what the finished product will look like:

liger tote - with handle!


here we go

it's filmcraft photo time! here are some pics of what i was working on yesterday... i'm assuming the recipient has no idea this blog even exists, let alone that this is for her (or him??).

before i started embroidering, i sketched it out in chalk pencil:

tote chalk writing

once i got started i realised the chalk was coming off as i worked, so i did some basting lines to help me keep things even:

tote - embroidery started

one side done!

tote - writing finished!

now i'm working on the other side:

tote - liger-in-progress

i think you can probably guess what film this is from by now!


busy busy day

seriously. i woke up at five-thirty for unknown reasons, and i've been on the go since then. embroidering for the swap (i might actually post pics later of the work-in-progress, since i don't think the recipient knows she's getting something from me - it's a birthday swap, all surprises - and no one reads this blog other than erin anyway!), blocking the in the mood for love sweater, more constant gardening, some light reupholstery, etc., etc. i'm sure there's stuff i'm forgetting.

now i must run out to pick up supplies and run various errands. busy saturday! but i might get some pics up later, so stay tuned!



i found a great new blog today - toronto craft alert! all kinds of news about stuff happening around town. check it out!

toronto craft alert


here's a filmcraft tutorial for you. remember when i was posting about the tweed jacket and i said i couldn't post my sketches because i was having scanner trouble? well, i just said toss the scanner, i'll take a photo of the sketches instead. so here they are!

these first two show how i changed the seaming in the front and back. the green lines show where the original seams were, which i ripped open, and the red lines show the new seams. i did a fair amount of basting and trying-on and adjusting and basting again before i actually cut anything or sat down at the machine. here's the front:

tweed jacket - sketch of the front, showing seams

you can see how i made the side-front seam more of a girl-shaped princess seam, and re-cut the front lapels. here's the back. notice the shoulder seams especially:

tweed jacket - sketch of the back, showing seams

i moved the shoulder seams back for a more edwardian-esque sloping shoulder. the way to do it: first, remove the sleeves. next, dig out the shoulder pads. this is trickier than it sounds: on a properly tailored man's jacket, there are layers of horsehair canvas and cotton batting and muslin, all shaped and stitched together by hand. you have to be very careful to just take out the shoulder padding, and not interfere with the interfacing that gives the front of the jacket its shape. check to make sure you haven't cut any crucial threads which are holding together the front interfacing, and hand-stitch anything that looks shaky. taking apart men's jackets has given me a whole new level of respect for tailors.

once all of that has been taken out, you can split the shoulder seam and pull the front side further to the back, like this:

tweed jacket - sketch showing shoulder seams

you can see how the front overlaps the back. that seam needs to be hand-stitched. moving the shoulder seam tightens up the armscye, making the whole jacket more tailored for someone smaller. because you only split the shoulder seam, the collar remains untouched - one less thing to deal with.

the sleeves were easy after all of that - just turn them inside out, and taper the seams. since i wanted the sleeves gathered anyway, there was no rocket science involved - i hate fitting set-in sleeves normally, but gathering to take out the extra fullness makes it super easy.

and that concludes our lesson for today!


i have a plan

i knit, i knit, i knit and knit and knit. but i also have a plan, for something that involves sewing and embroidery and is film-related - but! - it must remain a secret for now as it is for a swap. but soon, soon!