Sunday, July 29, 2012

Welcome

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My life has been a little boring since I've had my nose in a text book for the past few days. I have an exam that is worth 35% of my grade to take next week and I need a 96% to get an A in this class. I'm not sure if I'll be able to get that, since it means missing only two questions on the exam. I'm just a smidge heartbroken over this because that will be my first B in a very long time, but I'm doing what I can to make sure I do a comprehensive job of knowing the material and studying. I have a feeling I'll be mourning the loss of my 4.0 for a few days after this exam. Don't mind me.  

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After one of my daily study sessions I was able to grab a few shots of what I was wearing that day and the outfit just happened to include my newly altered pants. 

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Sunglasses: Unknown - Picked them up at Buffalo Exchange
Shirt: Urban Outfitters
Pants: Urban Outfitters (altered by me)
Shoes: Doc Martens
Bag: Demano

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Taking in a Pair of Jeans - The Lazy Way

Because I'm an athlete, and more specifically a cyclist, my body goes through three distinct sizes every year. There's winter, when my size goes up because it's the "off season" and I'm not exercising as intensively. There's the early spring/summer and early winter clothes when my body is losing weight and I'm the most proportional, just generally skinny all around, before my cycling thighs really kick in, and there's where I am right now, high summer. 

This is the part where everything, and I mean everything is really skinny, except my calves and thighs and rear end. I have to buy pants a size or two too big for my waist so that my thighs will fit into them. 

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(Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of the back of a pair of pants?!)

This means that I have a lot of pants that are  falling down around my hips, gapping terribly in the back, or just plain old not working out. I definitely put some away, like my work pants, for other times but there are a few I don't mind keeping just for in season pants and are tailored accordingly.

I found this pair of pants on super sale at Urban Outfitters and figured this busy print would be the best test subject. If I ruined them I could just write it off as a learning experience. If they worked out, great!

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I started by taking my stitch ripper and pulling off the interior tags, the center back belt loop, and I began unpicking the bottom portion of the waistband. 


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After I unpicked this a little bit I put the pants back on, zipped them up, grabbed the center back where it was too loose and pinched until it fit. Then, reaching precariously behind me I drew pink lines with chalk where I wanted the edges to meet. If I would have had an assistant I would have had them pin it up for me but since it was just me I drew and then matched it.  I realized I would have to take about 3.5 inches off the back, which is a pretty significant amount! It was here that I lost my seamripper and had to put the project aside for a week or so until I found it! 

Once I found the seamripper again I unpicked that entire section I needed to take out plus about an inch  on either side. I also picked out the center back seam about four inches since that was how long I needed to take the extra fabric without a pucker.  

After everything was picked out I put the pants back on, zipped and buttoned them up, and pulled to take in the extra fabric from the center back seam. I drew lines with my chalk and then took them off and pinned it up to take in the extra fabric. I never worry about pinning things perfectly - I tend to manipulate the piece I'm sewing as I sew so I have clean lines. 

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Starting at the existing seam, I sewed a basting line with a big stitch up where I thought I wanted the pants to meet. I left the waistband alone and went to check the fit - turned out there was a pretty severe pucker and the seam was leaning hard to the left! I unpicked the basting line, re-adjusted where I was going to take the seam in, and basted it again. The second try was a lot better!

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Once it was basted in place I sewed two seam lines to replicate the twin needle that had been used initially.

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I ironed it to smooth out any kinks and tried them on - perfect fit, except for the waistband, which I still needed to figure out. When you have pants professionally tailored they often remove the entire waistband but I didn't feel like this pair of pants was worth doing it to, so I decided to just snip at the center of what needed to be taken off. 

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On the left side of the waistband I folded it over and ironed. I snipped the extra off the right side of the waistband and tucked them inside each other. 

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I pinned each side back onto the pair of pants and overlapped them so the seam was clean. I sewed, following the orignal stitch lines. 

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I re-enforced this seam by doing a little square of stitching and doing some back and forth stitches over points where there would be tension. I wasn't too worried about it looking perfect because I knew that once I put the belt loop back on this would be covered. 

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I put the belt loop and brand tag back on (quite frankly the hardest part! This was so thick to sew through!)

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Here's how the pants look now that I've taken several inches off the back to accommodate my tiny waist and sway back. 

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(Even if altering pants got easier taking pictures of my back didn't! Sorry about the awkward angle!)

Not bad, if I do say so! The back edge of the waistband sits right along my lower back and I can lean over without them falling all the way down and flashing my skivvies to the world! I guess I believe in modesty, propriety, and really loud pants! 

I hope this helps you figure out how to take in your own pants! I had no idea altering pants would be so easy - there are so many seams on pants that it seems like a daunting task a lot of the time. If I hadn't lost the seamripper this project would have taken me less than an hour. I'll be posting outfit pictures featuring these pants tomorrow and then I have one more sewing project to put up. It was a gift for someone so I wanted to make sure that she had received it before I put pictures up on the internet. 



Monday, July 23, 2012

Denver Underground Music Showcase

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JR came home on Saturday night and asked if I had any energy and wanted to go to the Underground Music Showcase, a four day festival of local music here in Denver. 

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(A Place to Bury Strangers)

UMS was pretty awesome because you purchased a relatively inexpensive wristband ($35 for the entire weekend) and you could go see anything you wanted to see. Everyone was playing in bars and parking lots up and down a street here, about twelve blocks worth, and bands changed on the hour at each place which was both a blessing and a curse. The short sets allowed you to see a ton of bands in an evening but at the same time the sets were really short - I felt bad for some of the people from further away that had traveled a while only to play for about 45 or 50 minutes and some of it felt incomplete because they couldn't get through a proper set. 

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We were able to spend all evening on Saturday and Sunday and we got to see a pretty stellar set of music. A few we just wandered into and a few we planned to go to. JR, who is a lot more in touch with local Denver music than I am, curated our band selection on both days but we did meander into a few shows 

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Here's a not-so-comprehensive list of a few of our favorites for the weekend + some links so you can check them out:


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Shirt: Senegal
Jeans: J. Crew
Bag: Kate Spade
Sunglasses: Pilgrim
Tall shoes to see over everyone: Urban Outfitters


Sunday, July 22, 2012

...

I have a million photographs to post up here, a million things to write about, events that maybe I did or maybe I didn't take photographs of but happened. I've been busy sucking the marrow out of life in the Thoreau way, running like a banshee until my bones feel like they are made out of glass and my skin itches and I have to sleep or I will fall over, right off my shoes onto the floor. 


There have been trips up to Winter Park to ride my bike in the mountains, climbing passes, descending in the rain. There was a day spent in bed watching bad TV and eating Nutella straight from the Jar. I took a ride in the mountains in a car that costs more than I'll make in four years, flying along the highway with the top down and my hair whipping in my face. I celebrated my anniversary, a hard won beautiful prize for steady, relentless love. I have danced until the break of dawn, sewn until my fingers could hardly hold a needle. 


I have been busy living, busy making sure that I am treasuring each second. That I remember to count my blessings and breathe my thanks to God for them. That I take time to hang on for dear life to the ones I love the most, whether it be by phone calls, emails, letters, or sitting with them drinking and singing on the stoop in front of my house or digging through my closet with them. 


In the middle of a city filled with flags at half mast, agonizing news reports, an apartment that's deliberately death-trapped, living abundantly, fearlessly, and with great gratitude is the only way I can figure out how to do them justice. 



(Gold glitter and cigarett butts, spilled on the pavement. A little magic with the mundane - isn't that how it should always be?)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

To Be Loved Well

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Before the my wedding I was so stressed that I lost enough weight to make my dress baggy. What had been a perfect fit three months earlier hung loose. Our wedding day was the best party. Our friends and family danced forever and we saw so many of our loved ones.

I threw shoes and screamed through the first year, sorting out what exactly it meant to be married, to share dreams and hopes and to love someone so fiercely but to also love yourself in that same way. To realize that all of the sudden I was a grown up and we were in it together for better or worse. For better and worse. Because those things can happen at the very same time.

The second year we hardly saw each other - weeks here and there. He lived in other cities while I buzzed around Fort Collins, flying and driving hours to see him for a weekend here, a week there. I wandered San Francisco by myself, I walked myself exhausted. I hid in the SF MOMA, on their patio, I found respite from the cold in coffee shops and galleries. I climbed up staircases and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge with a person I'd never met before and won't ever meet again.

And now this third year has passed. We've survived much, learned much, discussed much, dreamed much. I won't say it's perfect. This is for real life so things are bound to be terrible once in awhile. But it's perfect for us. And it's beautiful because it works. Not easily, not without work, but it works well, and it's exactly as it ought to be.

I love you, JR. Happy Anniversary.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Closet Change Up

We have two clothes closets in our house. One is a walk in and the other is a regular sized closet. JR has always held the walk in closet, using it to store all of our gear, kayak paddles, backpacking backpacks, and all of those things that we need for our outdoors adventures. We were able to re-organize and switch closets giving me an extra four feet of closet rod space. I was even able to get him to hang the closet rod six and a half feet off the ground so my floor length and trained gowns don't drag on the floor.

 

Before I had quite a few things double and tripple hung on hangers, tule gowns from the 1950's were getting squished in between cotton things, and my wool dresses were going positively flat. I think my dresses are enjoying the extra breathing room and are starting to fluff out again.


My little dress parade makes me happy! I have to be the luckiest girl in the world to own so many beautiful clothes. 



(A profile shot of some 1950's through Current confections in my closet...spot the new ballgown on the right next to the upside down crinoline?)

Saturday, July 07, 2012

A Sturdy Cotton Housedress

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I whipped this dress up two days ago from a pattern given to me by my Aunt. The pattern had originally belonged to my Great Auntie Flossie, who I believe was Auntie Flossie through marriage. I'm honestly a little unclear about how exactly she was related to me - she was present at every family event, though, so she was family anyways! 

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Whenever I sew one of her patterns I become extremely thankful for her and that she saved these patterns for so many years! Even though some of them are marked smaller sizes than I am I haven't had to majorly alter anything from her pattern stash yet! I also am thankful that my Aunt thought of letting me pick through Auntie Flossie's sewing room - many of the convenience tools come from her, and were things that, at the time I was given them, I wouldn't have been able to purchase. I would probably still be making do without electric scissors, an array of slopers, three different sizes of eyelet setters, a thimble with the top cut off (indispensable!), and other little treasures. I still use many of her vintage trims and buttons whenever I sew, although some of the cuter things like buttons in their original cards or Milwaukee Advertising needle cards remain unused and waiting for display in my someday sewing room.


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In hair news, this is the third set I've tried so far, and it's worked a little more enthusiastically than I've expected! I used sponge rollers everywhere this time, and of course setting lotion as usual. I've had a hard time keeping the curls brushed in place in a wave as they keep wanting to form individual curls all by their lonesome until my hair looks like it's going out in all directions! I used a 1950's setting pattern with a distinct part but I feel like it almost looks a little more 1930's to me. I think it might just be the length of the hair that's giving it this 20's/30's vibe more than the setting pattern at this point. I feel like a character out of I Capture the Castle or something! I love Cassandra Mortmain so this look doesn't worry me all that much.

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Dress: Simplicity 1819
Shoes: Vintage

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!


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Yesterday night I watched IT with Clara Bow, and while I wasn't a huge fan of the movie itself I really enjoyed the costuming and the hair. This morning, after my ride, I set my hair in a vaguely 1920's look inspired by the movie. 

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I like to wear white on the 4th - most years I make a brand new outfit to wear but this year I didn't because I was on the road. This cotton dress was from my Fall/Winter collection but it's actually, in hindsight, a better fit for summer. I hadn't worn it yet so it seemed like the right day to put it on.

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While we were out taking these photographs we had a little visitor - one of the friendly neighborhood cats stopped by to say hello!

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Dress: Self Made
Necklace: Vintage
Shoes: Vintage

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Stop Motion LIfe

I had to do a little project for school and ended up having way too much fun with stop motion! It's a little rough in some parts but you can see my most successful hair set yet and a few different things I like to wear throughout my life...


...not to mention the hilarious faces I make in some parts. 

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