Monthly Archives: June 2011

Because I Can’t Do Anything Normal

After the frustration of wrestling with my horror movie skirt, I decided to do something boring and easy. I decided to repair my jeans.

These are the two holes in my jeans.


I do, in fact, know how to fix clothing holes so they are inconspicuous. However, every Subcultural Girl (let’s hear a holla from my peeps!) knows that no matter how lazy she is, inconspicuous she will never be. So I opted to put on a patch. I attached it with Steam-a-Seam II then blanket stitched around and backstitched next to the blanket stitch to make it really secure.



Ta-da! Ignore the shirt wrinkles, please. I was just delighted because it matches.






Now my boring, knock around jeans are my fabulous knock around jeans. Infinitely better.



And since Psycho Sue was asking, here’s my pics in profile so you can see the fitting issues I was whining about:

I am not sticking my butt out in this shot, that's what it looks like when I stand up straight. Baby got back, seriously.








And for some additional perspective, here’s a shot from the front:

Wow. I don't think I'm actually that knock-kneed.






That indent in my side?  Is not my waist. That’s the bottom of my rib cage, about 3 inches above my bellybutton. After that, it’s an almost straight-down slope until the top of my thigh. A-lines are my friend, but I would like to branch out a bit.


While I was Googling “fitting a straight skirt” earlier, I came across the idea of a hip block.

Ok, not that kind of hip block. Although it looks like more fun, doesn’t it?

A hip block is apparently a pattern — like a sloper, I guess — that gives the correct waist, hip and upper thigh ratio. Once you have your hip block, you’re supposed to compare it to a pattern and be able to make any necessary changes before you sew. Anyone ever used one?

In Which I Impersonate A Horror Movie Actress

I just spent the last two days trying to fit a straight skirt.  Did I just say “trying?”  Yes.  Yes, I did.

This is pretty much the end result:

No, wait, that’s entirely too genteel.  Let’s try this again.

There!  Much closer.

Technically, it is possible to fit any pattern on any body.  Note that I did say, “technically.”  My problem is that my high hip is pretty much nonexistent.  Where the pattern expects me to curve, I’m almost concave.  My curves start much lower, with a muscular front thigh and a full derriere.  This makes me sound like I’m shaped like J-Lo, but I promise you it’s much MUCH less dramatic than that.  Be that as it may, sewing fitted garments is a problem.  I have to allow enough fullness below the hip, but pin to fit a combined hip/waist that almost certainly will be one to two sizes smaller.  I could cut a size smaller and blend to the larger size at the low hip, but I would still end up with hip curves in the wrong place which have to be pinned out.  Annoying.  My usual method is to avoid sewing straight skirts and pants, but that is starting to seem silly.

In any case, this is clearly a moment where I need to put a project aside, lest I end up looking like this:

[I was going to put a picture of the girl from The Exorcist here, but I scared myself too much looking for appropriate clip art.  I have mentioned I’m something of a weenie, right?]

I’ll be back….

Sci Fi Sunday — Oops, Monday

This is what happens when I party on the weekends.  I start the first day of vacation all behind and stuff.  Eh whatever, it’s SUMMER.  Righto then, on to the reviews!

Currently reading:

I picked up the first book in this series, Blood Oath, on a whim at our local library.  The quick read left me salivating for more and I immediately put in a request for this sequel, The President’s Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth.  Yes, I know the vampire trope is the proverbial dead horse that everybody has pretty much flayed to pieces.  However, I strongly recommend Farnsworth’s books.  His premise is interesting and his prose derives more from the hard edged thrillers written by authors like Koontz or Patterson than from the overly precious stylings of Stoker’s Dracula.  Farnsworth mixes his monsters in with hard-edged Beltway politics, and his main character Nathaniel Cade is both more and less ethical than the humans he works alongside.  Cade, however, is only part of the story and the heart of both books is Zach Barrows as Cade’s “handler.”  Barrows is a young, ambitious political wonk on the way up when he gets abruptly shunted into the duty of managing Cade.  How Barrows becomes progressively more savvy and hard-edged, yet more likeable is part of the charm of Farnsworth’s story.  I can’t encourage you enough to make the acquaintance of Barrows and Cade — you won’t be sorry.

Currently watching:

The Green Lantern

I rarely pay the big bucks to see movies in the theatre, but since we had tickets and an afternoon to kill before a party, we decided to take the kit and kaboodle to see The Green Lantern.  What to say about The Green Lantern?  Well, it’s not for those under double digits.  Youngest was afraid and had to be taken out in the last 1/3rd of the movie.  Middlest (age 11) thought it was the right mix of funny and scary.  So be aware that the PG-13 rating on this one isn’t just smoke and fluff.  The Hubs and I and the tweens found it to be a good summer movie, although it pales in comparision to Thor (which we saw in May).  Ryan Reynolds makes a likeable character out of the cocky flyboy who is chosen to become the Green Lantern.  Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively is unrecognizable, and therefore enjoyable as his love interest.  Mark Strong plays Sinestro and I’m going to insert a cautionary note here — Middlest complained that Sinestro in the movie is not the same character as Sinestro in the comics. That is, the story arc is different.  Die-hard fans may object to the change in character.  All said, The Green Lantern is a solid but unremarkable summer movie.

On an unrelated note:  I’m going to be doing some maintenance and housekeeping around here in the next couple of days. Blogroll will be expanded, a few things will be moved around but the site should not be affected.  See ya in the funny pages!

Start Your Engines for the Summer Playlist!

Now that everybody is out of school (WAHOO), it’s time to revisit some summer songs.  I’m going to be dumping my favorite summer tunes on y’all every Friday, giving you the good, bad and everything in between.  The only criteria is that each song be permanently associated in my mind with the bright, harsh season.  We’re gonna be starting with this tune that I played as my anthem all last summer, driving to Vegas and back natch.  Give it up for Dessa:


What are YOUR summer tunes?  The ones that take you back to a certain place or year?  Share in the comments, please!

500 Channels and Nothing On — Except New Look 6083

We had Direct TV at our house yesterday.  That resulted in 3 hours of people futzing around with electronics, and given that we have two TVs and the cable stuff connects through our master bedroom closet (no, I don’t know why either) that meant 3 hours of strange people tromping about in my space.

Lila and I were not happy.  We hid in the sewing room while I cut out patterns.  The results = muslins cut out for McCall 3731 and New Look 6030.  Plus, patterns cut for several shorts and/or pants.  I guess I should hide there more often, I certainly get a lot done.  The TV results = a lot more channels, most of which I still don’t want to watch.  Yay?

I did put in a hem finally for the skirt I made from New Look 6083.  It came out really well, and I think it might become a TNT pattern if I can fix the wonky hip issues (which I still think might be due to bad fabric choice).  Here it is:

New Look 6083, view E. Sorry the pic is so dark.

The button looks way more “off” than it actually is.  I might need to move it over a bit, but the waistband shifts a lot.  I did mention the ridiculously stretchy denim, right?  The ripples between the waistband and the pocket are the part that bothers me, but I think they can be fixed by using non-stretchy fabric, and/or changing the pockets to make them higher.

The T-shirt says, “Betty White.  Working hard for 88 years!”  Because Betty White is AWESOMESAUCE.

Not for Odontophobics

Of course, if you didn’t know what odontophobia was and you’re reading this now, you’re kind of screwed.

It’s fear of teeth.

I want to believe these are werewolf teeth.  Please do not disillusion me, I have so few illusions left.  


This morning, instead of hemming a skirt or doing any one of a thousand other productive things, I went to the dentist.  I have some nasty history with discolored fillings that were hiding serious damage, and since I was noticing more discoloration and sensitivity, back to the dentist I went.  I got three fillings replaced, which doesn’t sound so terrible, but I am apparently impervious to Novocaine.  They gave me three treatments (which has happened before), numbing me from cheekbone to jawline.  They also gave me so much medication I had trouble swallowing for four hours afterwards — I would innocently try to swallow some wayward spit, choke, panic and cough.  It’s a fun way to spend four hours, I tell ya.

Also, all that medication?  Did jack sh*t for the pain in my actual TEETH while they were working.  I eventually just focused on the ceiling tiles and thought about cheerful things, like BDSM and Dominic Purcell freshly showered, in a towel.

Bottom line?  My teeth ARE prettier, even if one of them actually seems to hurt more now.  I also learned a fun fact — if you have one of those fancy, spendy flashlights with blue light and you shine it in your mouth, you can see your cavities through your teeth.  Assuming this is the sort of thing that amuses you.

Anyway, we’ll be back with our regularly scheduled programming in the next couple days.  The posse is finishing school this week, so hopefully I can still fit in some sewing before I’m forced to entertain them.  And if not, this is why God is a woman and she invented video games.

Muslin Monday — Denim Dementia

People, I have a confession to make.  I hate changing the thread in my serger.  No — I mean, I REALLY hate it.

Hence my decision to do more denim this week.  Here’s the latest project:

New Look 6083

New Look 6083.  This skirt was challenging for all sorts of reasons.  I had trouble attaching the zipper to the fly with topstitching and had to sew it to the fly lining THEN topstitch (hence the over-exaggerated fly front).  I also chose a very thin, stretchy denim for the material — think the type of denim you would make jeggings with.  As a result, the finished product pulls in all kinds of strange places.  I do think the pattern is well-drafted, and will probably make more of them in a better material — with one caveat.  The pocket lining and pocket are all one piece.  I HATE, HATE, HATE this feature.  The hip never lays right, nor does it look good, and the pocket tends to pull up all the time.  I’ll have to trace the piece and separate the two in order to feel comfortable making this skirt again.  I might even pull the pocket “lip” up a little, as I’m not sure I like where it hits me on this version.

On top of which, I can’t decide on a hem because of the way the skirt pulls in the back.  There is probably no help for that, so I’ll have to bite the bullet and pick a hemline tomorrow.


I also begrudgingly did some work on Simplicity 4110.  What?  You can’t tell?  Look closer.

Inside waistband on S4110

I finish my denim waistbands by hand inside before I topstitch them.  It helps them to lay flat, and gives me more even topstitching.  It’s a bit of a PITA, but I think it’s worth it for the nice finish.  I’ve considered other finishing methods (bias binding), but they seem like more work.

I’m still considering more pants for a next project.  Somewhere out there is the elusive TNT, and I mean to find it.  This may well mean more denim, though…brace yourselves.

Sci Fi Sunday – Now With Actual Science!

Currently Reading:

Product Details

Packing for Mars:  The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach.  Every now and again, I interrupt my Sci Fi with some real science.  I don’t mean I DO science, that would be too much like work.  I’m talking about kicking back with books like The Physics of Star Trek (totally worth reading by the way — did you know that the transporters are the most scientifically improbable thing in the Trek universe?).  ANYWAY, before I get completely sidetracked, let me highly recommend Packing for Mars.  Mary Roach approaches journalism by jumping in feet-first, taking a ride on the plane that simulates zero G and experimenting with astronaut food.  Since a multiple-year expedition to Mars would involve various physical challenges, she also investigates issues such as sex and excretion in zero G (both WAY more complicated than you probably ever thought about — or ever wanted to think about).  When she can’t participate in a program herself, she interviews everyone she can get her hands on, from study participants to former astronauts to NASA employees and scientific experts.  Along the way, Roach asks the questions everybody wants to know but was told by their mother to stifle.  Since some of the programs have since been defunded by Congressional cuts, the book has a bittersweet conclusion; however, Roach makes a strong case that if our government is going to waste billions, this research is is the kind of thing we want them to waste it on.  Highly recommend.  Roach’s other books include Bonk (about the science of sex — I have read it and also recommend), Spook (on the science of the afterlife) and Stiff (about what happens to your body after you die).

Raise your lighter — or your cell phone, I guess

Am I the only person who thinks we lost something in switching from holding up fire to holding up electronic devices? Okay, then.

I’m going to wave my arms and sing along either way.  Y’all can do what you like.


Richard Thompson:  1952 Vincent Black Lightning


Said Red Molly to James That’s a fine motorbike

A girl could feel special on any such like

Said James to Red Molly, well my hat’s off to you

It’s a Vincent Black Lightning, 1952

And I’ve seen you at the corners and cafes it seems

Red hair and black leather, my favorite color scheme

And he pulled her on behind

And down to Box Hill they did ride


Said James to Red Molly, here’s a ring for your right hand

But I’ll tell you in earnest, I’m a dangerous man

I’ve fought with the law since I was seventeen

I’ve robbed many a man to get my Vincent machine

Now I’m 21 years, I might make 22

And I don’t mind dying, but for the love of you

And if fate should break my stride

Then I’ll give you my Vincent to ride


Come down, come down Red Molly, called Sergeant McRae

For they’ve taken young James Adie for armed robbery

Shotgun blast hit his chest, left nothing inside

Oh, come down Red Molly, to his dying bedside

When she came to the hospital, there wasn’t much left

He was running out of road, he was running out of breath

But he smiled to see her cry

And said I’ll give you my Vincent to ride


Says James, in my opinion, there’s nothing in the world

Beats a 52 Vincent and a red headed girl

Now Nortons and Indians and Greeveses won’t do

They don’t have a soul like a Vincent 52

He reached for her hand and he slipped her the keys

He said I’ve got no further use for these

I see angels on Ariels in leather and chrome

Swooping down from heaven to carry me home

And he gave her one last kiss and died

And he gave her his Vincent to ride


If At First You Don’t Succeed, Give Up

No, wait. That’s the wrong lesson. Isn’t it?


I read somewhere about a study that tracked the behavior of people who were given an impossible task. A certain group of these people were found to be happier, more successful, and generally more savvy than the rest. I know what you’re thinking, but you are wrong. Those were the people who GAVE UP FIRST.

Now remember, these folks were given an impossible task. Impossible, not merely difficult or requiring more effort. It seems likely that the root of their success lies in realizing quickly when something is, in fact, impossible.

I do not have this attribute.

This is how far I’ve gotten on my second pair of jeans:

Simplicity 4110

At some point, I probably should have wised up, but when?  When I realized the front rise was ridiculously low?  When I had to use a white zipper because I was out of navy?  When the instructions for the front fly were so bad, I had to improvise?  When I had to take out the crotch and side seams and reduce them to 3/8″?  When I then had to take in the sides and waistband to make it fit my waist?  When I had to unpick the waistband to cinch it smaller?  I mean, at some point, I should probably have given up and had a mojito.


Oh, I’ll finish the pants.  I’ll even (gulp) model them.  But I don’t think they’ll become my favorite pair or anything.  I could be wrong about this too.


I would deal with these things a lot better if my inner voice didn’t sound like this:

Yep, my inner voice is a floral and carefully crafted beeyotch. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?