Friday, October 31, 2014

PPP #6 Ladies Edition! My Mikey Outfit (featuring the Julia Cardigan, and Neutral Milk Hotel Skater Dress)

Happy Halloween everyone!!  I am excited to go trick or treating with my kiddos tonight, how bout you?!

Today I am on the Perfect Pattern Parcel #6 tour, Ladies Edition.  If you are not familiar, here is how Perfect Pattern Parcel works:

"How Pattern Parcel Works:
Here at Perfect Pattern Parcel, we believe in supporting independent pattern designers. It’s our opinion that indie patterns are just, well, better than big box patterns, and we’re pretty sure our customers think so too. So, we allow customers to show their support in naming their own price for each Parcel.  We also encourage customers to allocate part of their Parcel price to the charity Donorschoose.org in order to help classrooms in need. Pattern Parcel donates all profits after expenses from Parcel sales to the charity as well. Together we've raised over $12,000 for classrooms in need!
Parcel #6 includes: 
Syrah Skirt by Lauren Dahl (exclusive release!)
Bronte Top by Jennifer Lauren
Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations
Hudson Pant by True Bias
Zsalya Dress by Kate and Rose
BONUS PATTERN: Odette Dress by Bluegingerdoll
Bonus Pattern:
Choose a price of $32 or greater for Parcel #6 and you will automatically also be sent the Bonus Pattern! That's only $5 a pattern. The Bonus Pattern for this Parcel is the Odette Dress by Bluegingerdoll. Vintage inspired silhouette is had two flattering necklines and a gorgeous skirt. The Odette Dress pattern goes from a size 4 through a 24!"
  So originally I planned on making the Hudson Pants because I love me some sweatpants, sorry I really do! 
But, if you have read any of my recent posts, you'll know that I lost a dear, dear friend this month in a tragic act of gun violence and it has left me reeling. I know some of you know the story and some might be tired of me posting about it, but it's a part of who I am now, and I am hoping that blogging about it might be cathartic. In any case, I don't want to let any little details slip away from my memory because that's what worries me the most. 
With that being said, I was at Jo-Ann's looking for fabric for my stash, when I happened upon a grey and black knit fabric. I had told my husband that I wanted to make a "Mikey" sweater sometime because we both really miss him and like surrounding ourselves with elements of him when we can. Mikey's sweater was multi gray and black, knitted by his mother, and was how I'll always remember him. He was wearing it when I met him two years ago when (I hadn't even gained employment at Hair of the Dog at that point) Jon pulled me over to met him and told me to turn around and show him my Chobits tattoo on my back. Mikey's eyes lit up so sparkly, he held his oversized sweater sleeve cuffs over his knuckles and clinched his fists to his mouth and just giggled and told me how awesome it was.  I'll never forget that moment because it was the start of what I knew would be a treasured friendship. 
The Julia Cardigan pattern that I used for my "Mikey" sweater was just perfect in a girly interpretation of his sweater, at least to me. The pattern was super easy to not only assemble but also to sew. I had zero problems with it and sewed it in only a couple of hours. 
 I made it in a size Large with the long sleeve and doubled cowl option. 
 Let's see, I finished on Tuesday and have scarcely taken it off since then. I friggin' love the thing! It's so cozy and I love the look of it so much. 
 
 The sleeves are just exactly how oversized and glorious as Mikey's were. It makes me feel comforted wrapping myself in his memory if that makes sense. 
 This cardigan will be something I wear to pieces and will always make me think of my friend. 
Now the Skater Dress I am wearing is not a part of the Parcel tour but I really really needed to blog about it and I thought since I was blogging about a Mikey inspired cardigan that I might as well blog about the memorial dress I dropped everything to make in time for the event.
Besides Akira's moogle outfit which was a must to have for his memorial, I quickly decided to make a Neutral Milk Hotel dress since it is a band that we both really love. 
I've always loved the imagery of the song, In An Aeroplane Over The Sea, and it contains some of my favorite lyrics of all their songs. I told him how I like listening to NMH and how Jon really dislikes it and we'd laugh and make fun of him about it (it's okay because we all actually work(ed) together and at Hair of the Dog the staff are all family ^_^). 

"In The Aeroplane Over The Sea"

What a beautiful face
I have found in this place
That is circling all round the sun
What a beautiful dream
That could flash on the screen
In a blink of an eye and be gone from me
Soft and sweet
Let me hold it close and keep it here with me

And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see
Love to be
In the arms of all I'm keeping here with me

What a curious life
We have found here tonight
There is music that sounds on the street
There are lights in the clouds
Anna's ghost all around
Hear her voice as it's rolling and ringing through me
Soft and sweet
How the notes all bend and reach above the trees

Oh how I remember you
How I would push my fingers through
Your mouth to make those muscles move
That made your voice so smooth and sweet
But now we keep where we don't know
All secrets sleep in winter clothes
The one you loved so long ago
Now he don't even know his name

What a beautiful face
I have found in this place
That is circling all round the sun
And when we meet on a cloud
I'll be laughing out loud
I'll be laughing with everyone I see
Can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all

So one of my all-time favorite quotes is "Let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see."  I always imagine laying in the grass amongst a field of wildflowers looking up at the clouds, just being filled up with happiness.  So when I went out searching for fabric, I knew it had to be a vibrant floral print.  Stamping the dress was a hard decision on how to do, but in the end, I decided to use a letter stamp set that I have and just print directly down the front, like a newsletter.  There's a hidden message in red letters scattered through the lyrics on my dress that, when you put them together, spell out "FOR MIKEY LOVE KAT".  It  took a solid four days to just stamp the dress which I used black Slick fabric paint to do.  Each letter was carefully sponged with paint, and before sponging, I used an Exacto knife and my fingernails to scrape around each stamp to lift any of the previous paint.  
 There are so many memories when you work with someone for two years.  Jon and I are such homebodies when we are not working, generally requiring no more than our own company (and the girls of course).  We always talk about how he needed to go sing karaoke with Mike sometime or how we should have people over to our messy house for wine more often.  I regret with a heavy heart that we those moments were never fulfilled.  The are countless moments that I will go to when I think of Mikey:
  • the long list of anime he needed to watch, talking about Attack on Titian and how good it is.
  • the countless Disney riffs and 90's songs he'd sing to and with everyone.
  • the way he'd interact with Chuck, our chef, his best friend and roommate, when we were at work.
  • talking about Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts and Silent Hill (Pyramid Head!!)
  • the way he got so concerned when Jon and I had a teeny tiff once and how relieved he was when it was resolved (which was pretty much immediately)
  • the night he, a little tipsy, came over while I was cleaning the mop bucket and asked if I was pregnant (I was, with Akira, shh! ;-)
  • The way he made sure I didn't even exert myself when I was pregnant.  To which I would always say he needed to knock up some sweet lady so that he could go and be that amazing dad I always anticipated he would be.
  • "Oh, it's pickled food."
  • "Ow, stop pulling and twisting!"  [got his finger stuck in a bottle, I was helping, lol]
  • the Potatoes are Inert song.
  • meep.
  • Adventure Time.
  • "WHAT TRAIN?!"
  • when I'd tell him of all the things Sehpira says and showed him the cute pictures of Akira he'd say "Ow my ovaries."
  • duck sauce brussel sprouts and potato salad with crushed potato chips
  • the 8 minute whistle song
  • his love of Doggy Claws
  • many many smooches 
  • his love of Firefly and him trying to get me to watch it.
  • changing lyrics of songs to sound like a cat was singing.
  • Him saying that Azriella wanting to be a Pokemon trainer when she grows up was the best thing he'd ever heard.
There's just SOO much more too.  Countless wonderful memories.  Jon and I were talking about it a couple of nights ago and I said I hated that I took for granted that Mikey would always be around.  Jon said no, you relied on him being around; that he didn't think I ever took him for granted.  Some weeks are better than others; this week happens to not be as great as the last.  Hardly a minute goes by where I don't think of him.  He was a good friend and the best person.  I know it may look like I'm overindulging in his memory but he seriously touched everyone he knew.  No lie.  He wasn't like someone you didn't remember.  He was always genuine and always witty and always open to everyone.  His death, so sudden, so disgustingly tragic will forever haunt me and it has most certainly changed me.  If it weren't for my kids and for Jon being there I be an even bigger mess than I am, I know.  I'm extremely grateful to have them in my life.  They are my everything. 

I miss Mikey.  Every. Day.  But I feel eternally privileged to have gotten to share so much time with him, albeit 99% of which was at work. 
I'll leave you with this, a little video Chuck took of Mikey singing karaoke.  All that awesomeness in one person is just pure magic.  
That video... I don't think I will ever be able to watch it without bursting into rivers of tears.  Also the ending makes me giggle so badly!!!
 Thank you JILL for letting me be on your Perfect Pattern Parcel Tour and being the catalyst for this sentimental post!   
http://i.imgur.com/56qg3ZP.jpg

Until next time,
many many smooches,
Kat

Dedicated to Michael W. Olson (1983-2014)


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sew Geeky Spectacular! Holo! Hello Kitty! Moogle!

It’s Halloweentime guys!  This is one of my very favorite times of year!  Max and I decided a while back that it would be great to do a big free for all geek fest for this month's Sew Geeky.  A chance for everyone to sew whatever they want that they love, and the creations by our guests so far have been awe inspiring, to say the least!  
This month is usually a time for month long festivities and merriment in our household, but this month started with the most shocking tragedy of my life.  I lost a very, very dear friend and coworker very suddenly by a random act of gun violence and it has left me numb and confused about a lot of things.  I'll never be able to eloquently express how much Mikey meant means to me, he was a loyal friend and one of the kindest, most definitely the wittiest, charismatic people I've ever met.  It was a privilege to have been able to be a part of his life.  Mikey was my go to geeky friend (among his many attributes).  One of the many things I loved about him (and there was a long list of things to love) was sharing all the Sew Geeky creations I made.  He always knew the characters I was portraying and would get gitty over the chibi interpretations I made for the girls.  We would frequently have conversations about Final Fantasy video game stuff (we are big Final Fantasy fans in this house.  Heck, Sephira’s name came from my finding “Sephiroth” in an angel dictionary of mine and the description said “see Sephira” and the rest was history).  He mentioned several times to me about wanting me to make him a moogle onesie for himself.  As my fellow seamstresses can relate, getting requests from people for stuff you aren’t sure you could make is always a tricky one and I had sorta put it off a bunch of times.  When I told him on what would be my last shift I’d ever work with him that I was going to make Akira a moogle for Halloween, he gave me this adorable pouty face and said that I was supposed to make him a moogle outfit forever ago.  So we chatted about how I’d make him a moogle beanie for Halloween and then the onesie a little later. And we giggled about how adorable Akira was going to be in her moogle outfit as we checked out my Studio Ghibli Sew Geeky stuff…
Most days I just stayed in bed crying.  Finding the motivation to create was not on the table.  But there were a few things that I thought were absolutely necessary to be made immediately for his memorial: a Neutral Milk  Hotel dress (was a band we both really enjoyed and which will be blogged about later) and Akira’s moogle outfit because Mikey would have really wanted a moogle there.  That I am sure of. 
 So without further ado, I present to you mommy’s chibi moogle:
 I made a zip up Bimaa hooded sweatshirt out of this cuddly fur fabric and then made feety leggings for her bottoms.   
I covered a Styrofoam ball with red minky fabric and used a hanger wire and custom piping for the little ball on the head.  I hand stitched it like mad between the layers to keep it in place.  
 I self-drafted the wings on the back out of purple flannel.
I am in love with the way she looks in it! 
She pulled a few funny faces during the photoshoot… 
\I can see his reaction and his giggling in my mind makes the outfit a definite win!
  I miss him madly.  There will be more blog posts about a couple other Mikey inspired handmades with more stories about him very soon.
But "KUPO" for now!

 Azriella really surprised me when I asked her what she wanted to be for Halloween.  Her initial answer was NausicaƤ, but I told her that maybe she wanted to do something different since I had just made it for her birthday outfit last month.  She agreed, looked up at the tv in my sewing room, and said “Oooh! I want to be her!!” and pointed to the girl on the anime I was watching, which was Holo from Spice & Wolf.  I didn’t really believe she was serious but every day after that, when asked what she wanted to be for Halloween, every time she answered “you know, that wolf girl from your show!”  My daughter already in love with anime?  Warms a geeky mother’s heart!
 Holo is a wolf god that has the power to change back and forth into wolf form as needed and is very sassy and smart.  I won’t go into too much detail about the show, but Holo is essentially traveling with a merchant, trying to make her way back home and along the way they fall in love. 
She loves apples too. 
Her outfit consists of the soon to be re-released wide legged Hoshpants with the new yoga waistband option.  I shortened them a lot as Holo pants are more like capris then long pants.  To incorporate the sash, I made the yoga waistband out of maroon ribbed knit. 
 Her shirt was modified slightly from this book.
The tail, was, ahem, a bit of a fail in my opinion.  I bought that bright orange fabric that I used for Akira’s Calcifer outfit from fabric.com, never expecting it to be neon as that was not a part of the description online.  I decided to make the best of it by buying brown polyester dye to “tone down” the orange to an auburn color.  Let’s just say, if they say brown, they mean brown.  Finding affordable auburn fur, especially last minute, is like trying to find a leprechaun.  I just went ahead with the tail, attaching it to a matching maroon knit waistband to be hidden under her pants waistband.  
The ears are barrettes that I made a tad to high, so I will be reworking them for Halloween.
 To be honest, it’s not as perfect as I really would have wanted, but it was hard to even get motivated to get out of bed most days this month so it will have to do.  It is super comfy and Azriella is actually quite stoked about it! Come to think of it, I’m the only one in the house that isn’t 100% pleased with it so I guessed I should just tell myself to be quiet, ha!
And last but not least, the three year old.  
 Believe me, she was true to three year old form with her decision on who to be for Halloween.  First it was a magic wand.  Then it was Hello Kitty witch with wings, a magic wand and crossed with a bumble bee.  I even bought fabric for it and then she changed her mind again.  She insisted to be a pink, Hello Kitty flower princess with wings. 
  I found this perfect pattern and this perfect panel fabric at Jo-ann’s on clearance! I had a lot of fun embroidering the Hello Kitty face on the top of the romper.  I assume it will be a little chilly here in Portland on Halloween, and probably rainy, so I bought hot pink rain boots and made a baby pink long sleeved Bimaa with the cowl option, and little padded white wings on her back.  
 The skirt I decided to make with a paper bag look waistband and added boning near the hem to make the skirt bell out.  I added a tulle and lining layer for extra poof and drafted out and made the hem scalloped.  
forgive the wrinkles please.  she was sitting down while waiting for her turn for photos and this fabric is not very forgiving!
 I finished it up with a little glitter store bought headband and made some little ears and a bow for her to keep her locks in place. 
She adores it, even though the day of the pictures she told me she wanted to be Doc McStuffins.  meh.  Like I said: three year olds.  Gotta love em’!
I look forward to summer when she can wear the romper all on its onesie.  GET IT!  HA!  Sorry, not sorry for the pun.
 I even managed to get a couple of Akira and Sephira together…
 even though they pulled a couple of derp faces on me.
So there you have it!  Sorry my post was a little delayed today, but I feel a little like Bambi trying to learn to walk again in regards to life and blogging at the moment.  
I plan on finishing up Jon’s Ruronoa Zorro outfit and the rest of my Mizore outfit by the end of the week and will take pictures and blog about it too!  Fingers crossed!
But people, you have just GOT to see what all these incredible ladies are making!  So far:
  • Thouraya made a collection of My Little Pony capes, chibi Aquaman, and a Firefly outfit that left me misty eyed when I saw it because a certain someone was a huge fan about the show.
  • Melissa made this enchanting Maleficent costume.
  • Kelley made a couple of incredible Rocket and Star Lord of Gaurdians of the Galaxy outfits.
  • Stacey made this super cool Darth Vader pajama set.
  • Marissa made this friggin’ adorable mermaid Totoro dress.
  • Jill made this spooky sheik skeleton hoodie and a rainbow zip-up rib cage.
  • And Max made this awesomesauce Darth Hipster Star Wars outfit for Eddie!
And guys, that’s not even it!  There’s even more geeky creations yet to come!  We will have a few more guest posts before Halloween, so be sure to follow us on Facebook to see them all as they arrive!  We will have a B I G roundup on the official Sew Geeky website of all the guests on Halloween and the linky party up for you to add your stuff for everyone to oogle at!
Much love everyone! 
many many smooches,
kat
  
Dedicated to Michael W. Olsen 1983-2014

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Belated Perfect Pattern Parcel Post

Hey there guys!  So this post is about a week belated due to some severe personal issues that I am going through right now. 
As part of the Perfect Pattern Parcel #5 for girls and tweens, I chose to do the Sunki dress here straight away.  I later realized that I signed up for a day the following week so I tried to whip something up in a jiffy. 
I chose to do the Mimi dress by FillesaMaman for Sephira.  I dip dyed it in purple poly dye to give it an ombre look.  I used a pretty woven fabric for the collar and made a simple blue strap for the belt. 
I think it’s cute.  It’s pretty modern for 3 year old attire and I like that.  


Be sure to keep an eye out for PPP #6 because I’ll be sewing along for that too! 
Thanks Jill for asking me to be a part of your tour and being understanding!

Until next time!
Many many smooches,
Kat

let others know!

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