Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Justin Leblanc's "Test Tube" Dress

OK sewing scientists, back me up here:  Justin Leblanc's unconventional materials dress that walked the runway at NYFW 2013 was made from PIPET TIPS and not test tubes, am I right?

Look at this gorgeousness!

And here's a couple of admittedly terrible screen shots from episode 13:

No, it's actually pipet tips Justin.  

Top = test tube
Bottom = pipet tip

Now that that little bit of scientific accuracy (and precision!) is over with, how can I make my own pipet tip dress?  I know it is supremely impractical, doesn't allow sitting / kneeling / going to the bathroom, but hey, I'd look and sound fabulous in it!

source unknown

It's vaguely like a native american jingle dress, except the jingles are plastic, not metal.  And they are oriented the other way around.  I made some unblogged jingle dress separates for The Sew Weekly last year, and the post is still here, so now I'm full of ideas about how I can adapt the jingle dress idea and make a kind of sewing scientist unconventional materials dress of my very own.

Wouldn't that be an incredible sew-along?!?  After all, the unconventional materials challenge is most Project Runway fans' favourite episode.  

What do you think?  Am I crazy, or have you also been hankering to go materials shopping at the hardware / grocery / garden center / lab?

OK, I'm on my way over to twitter to try to stir up the idea.  :)


Thursday, 3 October 2013

Introducing the newest member of the family

No, I haven't joined the pregnant sewing blogger club (as I constantly remind my son, there will be NO MORE BABIES IN OUR HOUSE, thank you very much).  Rather, I came home from work on Monday to an empty house, but a curiously familiar musty smell....

What do I spy here?

Why, I do believe it's a Featherweight 221!

(Please excuse the blurry iPhone photos, but I had to get it set up and tested before the kids got home and turned it into another featured post on "Shit My Kids Ruined".  Ask me about my brand new MacBook Pro that was purchased for me last month from our research grant.  No wait, don't ask me.  I'm still pissed off.)

The whole Featherweight story is: the week before last, my Husqvarna Viking was acting up and I had it disassembled all over the living room floor like some teenage boy with his motorbike engine.  If you've ever tried to repair your own Viking, you know that it is engineered such that all the moving parts are only reachable AFTER you've removed the bottom plate, all the casings, the strap cables connecting the computerized portions, and the motor.  It has got to be the most repair- unfriendly design for a sewing machine.

Anyway, I was taking a desperately needed beer break, when my man wondered aloud if it might not be easier to just buy a new one online second hand, since there always seem to be loads for sale in Montreal.  I said that I wish I had the Featherweight that I had learned to sew on, since they are reliable and relatively easy to service.  I then got to explain to my man what a Featherweight is, and told him the tragic story of how my mother had donated hers to the local Village des Valeurs (where I'm sure it was snapped up by some lucky SOAB for next to nothing).  I showed him a few overpriced machines for sale on Kijiji and eBay, and we happened upon a reasonably priced one for sale in the next province over.  It was listed as "sluggish; needs some work", but it looked pretty good from the photos, and Featherweights aren't the most difficult thing to fix, so he decided to put a lowball bid just for fun.  Knowing how they get auto-bid up to several hundred dollars at the last minute, I promptly forgot about it.  I went back to the Viking a few days later and managed to fix it so that it was running better than ever.

But lo and behold, he won the auction!

And can you guess the cause of the "sluggish movement"?

There's the culprit:  the bobbin winder had been shoved all the way down against the belt, and the seller didn't know any better, apparently.  Their ignorance was my gain.  :)

I gave it a quick look over, threaded it, and took it for a test drive.  Perfect.  Didn't even need cleaning or oiling, but I will do both just to start off on the best foot.

Ignore that wonky stitching in blue on the right; that's from my
Husqvarna before I fixed it.

So, now I have a Singer treadle, a Featherweight, a modern Viking, and a Brother serger.  I've joined the sewing machine hoarders' club.  Though I've got nothing on Peter.


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