spidra: (Default)
Several months ago I wrestled with designing something that would hide my figure flaws and accentuate what's worth accentuating. Unfortunately, I have no training in pattern drafting and a pretty bad mathematical mind. So while I could draw a good design, I couldn't transfer it to 2-D pieces that would assemble to what I needed in 3-D. And, unfortunately, I couldn't afford to hire a serious pro to do it for me. So the sketch and the initial attempts at making a pattern have just that much more clutter in my room.

As it dawned on me that I was not going to be able to avoid attending my brother's wedding no matter how torturous (and expensive) an event it will be for me to attend, I realized I was in real trouble as to what to wear. I'm fatter than my previous fat weight. I lost a lot of weight and kept it off for 3 years between 2001 and 2004. Though I was loathe to sell/give away my "fat clothes", after 3 years I figured I'd finally vanquished this problem I'd developed in adulthood. So I gave away my custom fat cheongsam. I gave away my corset and got a smaller one. Then I gained it all back plus 15 more lbs. Figures.

I wear irregular Dickies I get on sale from Longs Drugs. I wear XXL and XXXL t-shirts. And that's my uniform. I don't like how I look in them, but I don't have the $ to buy anything tailored and I haven't had the strength to sew for a while.

I finally bought a fitted bra this week. I went bra shopping at Nordstrom last week and couldn't find a good sports bra that would fit me. Even when I'm "skinny", my chest cavity is 38" around...it's now like 41". But the biggest problem is the straps. They're never long enough and cut into my shoulders. So I ordered one online. Got it today and it fits reasonably well. But bras are expensive enough that I can only afford the one right now. I'll have to get along with shelf-bra camisoles as I have for months. The sports bra is to be able to exercise without adding stretch marks.

SO...dress to wear to the wedding. I thought about actually hiring someone for the pattern drafting but I would probably have had to spend my entire budget just on them and have had nothing left for fabric and notions. So...another plan. Empire waistline looks reasonably good on me, but my problem is that even though my breast cup size has grown with the weight gain, the size of my upper abdomen has grown even more. And it's embarrassing as hell. How to emphasize the breasts without drawing attention to the gut? I realized that the Korean hanbok might be a solution. The dress is voluminous and hangs from the breasts. Attention is drawn to the upper body by the chogori/jacket. My shoulders have been rolled for years so my shoulders are nothing to show off. No halter dresses, no spaghetti straps. Plus my upper arms are nothing to be proud of right now. So the jacket solves all that. I have to hope the weather in LA in late Sept. is cool enough for me to wear the jacket the entire time.

I went to Discount Fabrics first. The bright striped dupionis I remember seeing before are totally gone. I hate fashion. You can escape it somewhat by learning to sew, but the available sewing patterns, available colors and available fabrics are still enslaved to fucking fashion. So I held off 'til I could see what's at other stores but I called around to Piedmont Fabrics and Stonemountain & Daughter and they said they didn't have any. I thought about sewing some silk ribbons together to get the stripes I wanted, but it was just more work and I would have to order the ribbons online without being able to feel the weight and quality of them or seeing their real colors. So I walked to Discount Fashions and put together what I could put together. Even that took a while because not all the 2-way dupioni was available in the colors I wanted. I contacted Folkwear and got them to break down the yardage separately for the chogori and the chima/dress, which they don't do on the package.  However, I still had to guess on yardage because I'm going to have to construct stripes in the sleeve fabric  (stripes aren't a fat girl's friend, but they'll work in the sleeves and I saw sleeve stripes being used a lot in various traditional hanbok I saw online).

$106.44 and I haven't even started sewing yet.  I consoled myself with the thought "At least it will be what I want instead of settling for whatever's off the rack that fits me", but I had to remind myself it couldn't truly be what I wanted because I was limited by what fabric is in style right now.  I wish I were physically able to weave my own fabric.  I really chafe to transcend the constrains of what's "fashionable".
spidra: (Default)
I posted this to the GBACG list but I'll post it here just in case [livejournal.com profile] criollo has any sweetness for me.

I've spent the last couple hours organizing my patterns. I have some I would like to part with either because they're doubles or because I don't think I'll get around to sewing them or because my weight has ballooned and I don't think I'll ever get down to that size again. I've got an hourglass figure marred by a "pregnant" belly. I'm tall with big thighs, thin calves, and a short waist. Currently I need XXL, XXXL, size 26 or above. Patterns that can easily be drafted up by someone who knows nothing about pattern drafting are okay, too.

Here's what I have:

Vogue for Men 2387 Zoot Suit pattern sizes 32-34-36 Never used.

Simplicity 8425 sizes 18& 20 Fishtail Evening Dress/Wedding Dress with puff short sleeves or leg o' mutton sleeves Never used.

Simplicity Costumes 8192 sizes 16-18-20 Andrea Schewe Renaissance-esque costumes. Probably more a Rosetti version of Ren. Never used.

Simplicity 9764 sizes 14-16-18-20 Martha McCain hoopskirt & petticoat. Hoopskirt pattern was cut out. I usually cut the largest size only so it should be eminently usable by all.

Butterick 6378 sizes 6-18 Batman Returns Catwoman costume Never used.

Butterick 3361 (from the early '80s) Cape pattern. Hooded and non-hooded. Ankle-length, knee-length and mid-thigh length. Sizes 12-14. I made this (probably in sz 14) in 1981 or 82. I weigh a hundred pounds more than I weighed then and I can still wear the rain cape I made from this pattern. So the sizing is clearly a bit more flexible since a cape is not a fitted garment.

Pages & Petticoats MC-1-FC Size 36-38 Civilian Frock Coat - Has front breast pocket and pockets in tails. Took this to Vogue Cleaners so she could sew it up for my then-boyfriend. Size 38 was cut out so both sizes are still usable. Pattern originally bought at Lacis (in case you've never heard of this company.)

McCall's 9548 Size 20 Palmer/Pletsch Classic Fit One Hour Pants - I bought this pattern because I was looking for pants that were wide-leg draping from the hips. View C of this pattern does this but now I'm too big to fit the pattern. The pattern has 3 styles, the other 2 have pleats and pockets. One is straight leg, one is tapered leg. All have elastic waists. Never used.

McCall's 2624 Size 14-16-18 Misses Shrugs, Tops and Skirts. I bought this when I was trying to figure out how to make corsets before I ever found a pattern. The tops are boned and end at the waist or at the hips. The skirts are big satin taffeta affairs. The shrug lines up really well with the edge of the top so that it looks as if you'd sewn it all one piece. I think this pattern looks terrific and the long top would be perfect for me but I no longer fit an 18. Never used.

What I'm especially looking for:

A pattern for a "Ben Casey" or mad scientist style closure like the one here.

Pants patterns size 26 or above that flow pretty straight down from the from the hips. Wide leg.

Nice dress patterns that have an emphasis on the bust and disguise the tummy...

Norwegian bunad, Swedish folkdräkt, German dirndl patterns... I like ethnic folk costume in general.

Patterns for St. Vincent's Daughters of Charity coronets (based on Breton folk headdresses so those will work, too)

Laughing Moon #110 Ladies Sporting Costumes
Laughing Moon #109 Frockcoat

iTunes U

Nov. 17th, 2007 10:31 pm
spidra: (Default)
Bad hand day so hopefully I can be concise.

I've really started diving in to podcasts. While looking for gardening and horticulture podcasts, I was reminded that the iTunes Music Store has iTunes U - a section where colleges and universities upload their own podcasts. Some are just fluff, like the Texas A&M hit I got for "horticulture", however, when I decided to see what else was on iTunes U, I rediscovered UC Berkeley's uploads, which have grown significantly since the last time I looked. Not only do they have special events like a journalism panel including Helen Thomas, they have entire semesters of some of their classes. I started listening to MCB 140 General Genetics by Fyodor Urnov He's a riveting lecturer. It's not that I understand everything he's talking about. But he makes me want to pay attention and learn more.

They also have lectures by Alex Filippenko, who was recently featured in the SF Chronicle for his dynamic teaching of astronomy.

For those of you who wish you had enough money to go back to school, this is a great opportunity to "attend university" for free! I wish they had even more classes up there, but there's a pretty nice selection. University of California does a lot of things that piss me off. Things that make it clear that educating as many Californian as possible is lower on their list of priorities than it should be. But this is an example of a brilliant and public-minded use of their resources.

In other news, my father flew up today to help me pick up the Singer treadle machine I won on Ebay. I had trouble rounding up friends to help. I feel a bit guilty that I accepted my dad's offer to help given he had to fly up to do it, but I'm happy I got to spend time with him. I haven't seen him for a while and now that he's in his second career as a high school teacher, he's busier than a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest. I'm not going down to my parents for Thanksgiving (and probably not Xmas) so I guess this was a good, though short, time together. I'm very grateful for his help.


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