Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It Has Begun

Halloweening, I mean.

Well, the shopping-for-fabric part, at any rate.

And to illustrate how absolutely (and uncharacteristically) serious and focused and unprocrastinatey I am this year, I cornered all three children last night and measured them. 

And then stayed up to draft all their blocks/slopers. Had to eat about a pound of crudities and ranch dip in order to stay on task and not wander off to pinterest or, worse, bed. Was it worth it? Well, yeah! Because I now have updated blocks for all three children and patterns ready to lay out and cut. 

And -look - their circular-skirt patterns drawn on newspaper - it's almost a tradition to do the newspaper-drafted circular skirts every year!

Here's a picture I took of Emily's new basic block (aka sloper). People are always asking me drafting questions and I know I don't post anywhere near enough drafting stuff here on the blog so whenever I have something to say, no matter how small, I try to share it. Today's is just an illustration of how my children have grown. If you look closely at the photo below, you'll see the red penciled outline of Emily's block from 2010. I drew that in simply to show you what different-size drafts look like, specifically if it's of the same body, just older/bigger. Note 

  1. the blue arrows, which show the points that didn't change much since 2010: the position of the base of neck (i.e. the width of the neck), the width of the chest and the circumference of the waist.
  2. the red arrows, which show the points that DID change a lot since 2010: the width of the shoulders and the height of the waist (the folded line was from 2010).

This is why, when you grade a pattern up or down for different-sized bodies, you cannot just shove the image in your printer and reduce/enlarge the thing. Bodies grow differently in different parts! And no, you cannot ask me how to grade patterns. I am not interested in grading patterns. I don't adjust patterns. I draft from measurements - so if there is a body physically in front of me, I can measure it and sew clothes to fit it. I don't take someone else's pattern and grade it to fit my child. It takes longer to adjust a pattern to my child's dimensions than to draft a new one from scratch, not to mention more accurate in a custom-tailor sort of way. So of course I do whichever is quicker.

And speaking of quicker, I must share that I've found that I draft best when I'm in a hurry. When I take my own sweet time, I tend to overanalyze my drafts and change numbers after second-guessing myself.  It's a bad habit I'm trying to break. I am so used to "typical" shapes of blocks and slopers that anything slightly deviant looks wrong, when actually it is simply the right and accurate representation of a different body's shape and contours. Last night I made myself speed through the drafting and just trust the numbers I'd obtained from measuring the kids. Took me about an hour and a half to do all three girls' blocks. Refused to let myself ask dangerous questions like, "Really? Her chest is only 23? And her shoulder is 14? Did I make a mistake in measuring?" No. My children are growing up and this is what bodies look like on paper when they're growing up. I must not imagine they are balloons, inflating proportionately over time.

Well, it looks like the planets are aligned and I am overcome by the heady sense of rabid overachievement! On to the cutting and sewing! I may not sleep for the next two weeks but, by gum, there will be boots! And wristbandybracelets! Olivia-Newton-John style foreheadbands! Shiny capes! Miniskirts! Fancy posing! Girl power! It will be like the 70s! (And I don't mean the wretched temperature - if only. Sigh.)

P.S. Based on what I've seen of my stuff being pinned recently, I am postulating that there will be a lot of mermaids wearing boots and flapping butterfly wings this Halloween. Rad! Share your finished-costume photos! Can't wait to see!

P.P.S. I feel really, really, really bad that not more of you were able to browse, let alone buy, the various wooden food sets in my shop yesterday, and I'm very sorry, friends.  


  1. Lier, Lier, now I might have go out and get the fabric for my haloweening... I know there are beautiful dresses, wings and a couple of Knights in shining armor in my near future, as well as a four-legged dragon. Thanks for the imputus!

  2. Ooohh! I'm imagining three very gorgeous little Super Girls this Halloween! Wish I lived close enough to see them in person, but you take aewsome photos, so that will do. :)

    Yeah, stuff certainly flew out of your shop in a hurry yesterday!

  3. I hope this doesn't come out wrong because it is 100% meant as a compliment...
    I am pretty sure that I don't want to ever have kids, but seeing all the amazing things you get to craft and sew for your kids (especially those wooden toys!) almost makes me wish I did want to have kids! :)

  4. Wow! You're not procrastinating AND there's no pink? Is everything OK over there?

  5. This sounds so super fun. We are creating a unicorn, witch, princess, ninja, and Robin Hood (for a teenager based on the BBC series. YIKES!) Happy Sewing!

  6. I bought fleece today to make a (simple!) Little Red Riding Hood cape for Emma. I'll be looking at your outfits from last year for inspiration!

    Johnny and Lily are dressing up at Spiderman and Batman with old hand-me-down outfits from Mike's now-teenaged cousins. I'm thinking Anna should be a wee ghost, but haven't worked out the outfit. We'll see if it gets fancier than her white sleeper!

  7. Oh dear, I was thinking your Musketeers had capes. But how hard can a hooded cape be?

  8. My neighbor came over tonight and asked me if I'd consider making a butterfly costume for a friend-of-hers' 8-year-old daughter. My first thought was your butterfly skirts!

    A couple weeks ago my mom came to visit and we (okay, I) drafted a pants and bodice pattern for those tiny 5" Berenguer dolls that they sell crochet and knitting patterns for (but we wanted sewing patterns). Now THOSE looked bizarre. Those dolls are cute, but their proportions are truly MONSTEROUS! And I give all credit to you for even being able to attempt drafting patterns for them. I've been reading your blog for years and have learned an immeasurable amount! Thanks!

  9. Over here in Houston I'm making a tiny Pierrot, Steve (from Blue's Clues) and a TBA

  10. Li, all the best and plenty of Nutella to you for the coming days!

  11. oh, i'm mostly ignoring Halloween. Maybe I'll take my kids to the thrift store and give them a little money and see what they come up with.

    Just realized that you're on Pinterest. I'm following you (and why are you NOT following anyone? Spill!)


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