Why I’m not (officially) participating in Me Made May (MMM)

The answer is easy: because I’m already wearing me made clothes everyday and for me MMM is an exercise to try and wear handmade clothes and find the gaps in one’s wardrobe. Then you have to add the hassle of taking daily pics and feeling guilty about repeating clothes. I don’t do parties, I don’t have to go to an office everyday. I just work from home and do my routinely grocery shopping, go to pilates class twice a week, and to the vet from time to time. I love sewing vintage dresses, but that’s not what I’m wearing on a daily basis and I have made peace with it a long time ago. I have already found and filled the gaps in my wardrobe. What else do I need?

When I’m at home I need to be comfortable, and I don’t wear my knitted garments because, in case you didn’t know, I’m going to tell you that birds nails felt wool like felting needles, that and the occasional bird dropping I may get on me. I admire Tasha for trying to dress glamorous at home, but that just doesn’t work for me. And not just due to the birds. I need to cook all my meals due to my autoimmune disorder, and then I need to clean up afterwards. Just don’t blame me if I’m wearing my two Carolyn pajama bottoms in heavy rotation.

And off course one of my four Barrie Briefs (planning more):

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Then I change clothes when going out, but it’s always to the regular things like the grocery store, the pilates studio, the vet and mundane places like these. If it’s cold you will see me wearing of my knitted sweaters. In the past I would also wear one of my me made pants, but after losing weight they don’t fit anymore, I’ll need to make new ones.

When the weather is a bit less cold I often wear my Ziggi Biker Jacket:

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And when the weather finally warms up I’ll be wearing one of my four Lady Skater Dresses, and I’m planning two more as soon as I have the time, since they are ultra comfortable:

Then I can also wear a blouse for a special occasion, and that’s it, really!

My wardrobe may seem boring, but I’m a practical person and I don’t need tons of different clothes; apart from the fact that my life is mostly at home with the birds and the occasional going out to run some errands. I’ll save you the boredom and I’ll save me the hassle, and I’ll just keep on wearing and making what I want, and enjoying other sewists pictures participating in Me Made May.

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Book Review: Blood River Down

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Disclaimer: Review originally posted at www.audiobookreviewer.com

Gideon Sunday, an in between jobs professional football player, one day discovers that the back wall of his pantry has disappeared, and that it now leads to another place. Glorian has come from this new place and asks Gideon for help to try to find a white duck.

This is one of those fantasy books pretending to be humorous by using of absurd scenes. It did not quite work for me this time, in part because the characters were plain and one-dimensional, which prevented me to connect to them, and because the situations and conversations were not really funny. If at least I could see some depth I could have enjoyed the jokes and puns, but the characters were very caricaturesque and their speech was absurd most of the time.

The story is slowly paced and there is a lot of deus ex machina. New characters are introduced with new situations, but the way it is done is quite chaotic and it gives a disjointed feel to the book.

This is one of those books where the way has more importance than the goal itself, and neither Gideon nor us know what is at stake in the search for the duck. This made the quest a bit pointless, but I understand that Grant wanted us to focus on the little things along the way. I just wish that his humor would have worked better with me. I found most of the things not funny at all.

The narration was correctly done but the characters voices just emphasized the fact that they seem dumb and just mere caricatures. The female voices were especially annoying. I understand that some male narrators could have some difficulties with this, but other seem to be able to pull it off. Why Jack Chekijian decided to have them sound plain and dumb, I do not know. Maybe the jokes did not work for me because this was overdone.

All in all, it is not a bad book. It is full of imaginative details and jokes that could have worked if they did not overload the book and the character voices were done in a bit subtler way.

 

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Book Review: Vitrium

Disclaimer: Review originally posted at www.audiobookreviewer.com

17 years old Jada often travels with her grandfather in his business trips. The action takes place around 30 years in the future and the society is quite different from ours due to the fact that there is a unique and important company called ONE, responsible for rescuing the world from an economic collapse. Jada’s grandfather is working in a secret project to manufacture a new material with very special characteristics.

The first half of the book tells about Jada’s travels with her grandfather, and also presents Jada’s life within her family. It may seem a very long introduction, but I in fact enjoyed the character depiction and description of the society and technological advances. Most of them are related to new materials, especially new kinds of fabric that are used within technology. I enjoyed this first part so much that I expected a bit more from the second, which is where the real action takes place. I expected the action to be focused more on the technology and even Jada herself, but this story was more about espionage and world conspiracies.

I had small issues with the action scenes. Somehow they felt a bit confusing and disjointed, and I had problems to picture the scene at the Hare Narum.

Towards the end of the book, the dialogs felt forced, and I notice an abuse of tags such us “he says, she says, she asks”. I felt that somehow it should have been done more fluid. It seems Guthrie can handle well dialogs and descriptions but has some issues with dialogs and action together.

I especially enjoyed the part placed in Brussels, since I lived there for three years, and I can say that Michael Guthrie knows well this city and its surroundings, as well as historic aspects of Belgium.

Just a curiosity: I didn’t count the amount of times the word “cantilever” appears in the book, but they were many. It is clear that the author is really interested in architecture.

Em Eldridge’s narration was superb, and it fell more into the category of character interpretation, rather than narration. I think the first part was so enjoyable due to her narration skills, voice range, character interpretation and accents. This is one of those cases where the narration enhances the audiobook experience. Eldridge has become one of my favorite narrators, and I would compare her voice and skills to the ones of Elizabeth Klett.

There were a couple of very low beeps during the narration, but they were barely audible.

I enjoyed the futuristic world that Michael Guthrie has presented in this book, even though the story was not what I expected. I am looking forward to other books placed in a similar environment.

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Tutorial: Lekala Underwear for Men (#6134)

I already spoke about this pattern in the past. My boyfriend is picky with his underwear, and can’t have anything strangling the family jewels. After looking here and there for a pattern that would suit him (I like the Comox Trunks from Thread Theory, but that was a no no for my boyfriend), I found this one, and I knew it was exactly what I needed. This underwear for men from Lekala was the most similar to the ones my boyfriend wears and prefers. The good news is that the pattern is very cheap ($2.69 right now) but the instructions are sparse to say the least, and it doesn’t include facings. You can very well make it without facings, but the result will be less neat. After making some here I’m going to show you my way, and I hope it can help to those of you with doubts about it.

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I made two last year, and after how popular they became (they are really getting worn out), I took the time to make three more this February. I wanted to share this tutorial much earlier but several commitments left me with no time to post anything decent. Now that I have finally gotten my motorcycle license (phew!) I expect to have more free time again.

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The pictures in this tutorial are from the one in the middle. The right and wrong sides of this fabric are different, so I think this will make it easy to follow.

One thing to take into account is that you can buy this pattern with and without seam allowances. You can save a bit by doing it without (as I did), but just do what is comfortable for you. Also, if you get it without seam allowances, this means you can customize them.

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So you will need:

  • The 4 main pieces (front and back, right and left).
  • Right and left fly extension interface pieces.
  • Facing to cover the right fly extension.
  • Elastic.
  • Markers (I use Frixion Pen, it goes away with heat).
  • Pins.
  • Iron.
  • Sewing machine.
  • Serger (optional).

The first thing you need to do is pinning both front pieces together and draw the line where you will be sewing. Use a ruler.

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For the straight part pick the longest stitch on your machine, since this will be ripped later on. We will be basting this to make things sit right and in place to get a perfect crotch. This was what I didn’t do the first two times and what prevented those two trunks from being perfect (but still good enough to still get a lot of wear nowadays).

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For the curve switch to normal stitch length (2.5) and back stitch at the beginning of it to prevent it from being undone when we reap the straight seam. And don’t bother with zigzag, since this part won’t really stretch. A regular straight stitch will do, like for the previous seam line.

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Then you will need to fuse some interfacing to the both fly extensions. I cut my interfacing pieces excluding the seam allowances to avoid having too much bulk.

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Do this for both fly extensions.

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And now we need the facing to cover the right side of the fly extension.

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Fold and press the seam allowance.

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And stitch the fold in place.

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Now open both fly extensions and place the facing on top of the right one, right sides together.

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Snip just where the curve for the crotch seam starts.

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Sew the facing to the right fly extension, where the pins are placed in the picture above. I serged this part, but sewing is also fine here. You can do it with a straight stitch, since due to the interfacing, this part won’t stretch.

After turning it to the right side you should see something like the picture below. The right thing here would have been to serge the seam of the left fly extension. I forgot here and I did it at the end but now it would be the right time to do it. Serge also the crotch curve edge if it was not done when serging the facing and the extension together.

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And now we need to draw the line to complete the fly.

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Remember to open both fly extensions before sewing over this line, since we just want to join the left part with the left fly extension. The right fly extension should be left free here. I pined it to the side to avoid accidents.

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Then sew the horizontal line at the bottom of the fly. This will secure the bottom part of the fly. You can use a straight stitch for both seams, the interfacing will prevent things from stretching out.

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Open the basting we initially did, stopping at the horizontal line we previously sewn.

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Open both sides and stitch the left fly extension to the front with a straight line, just where the fly overlaps. The trick here is leaving the little threads after reaping the seam and sewing over this line using it as a guide.

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And you see that the trickiest part is already done!

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This is the wrong side. My left fly extension is raw here, and I finished it afterwards, but it should be done where I specified before.

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After the fly is done you can now construct the rest of the trunks. Sew (or serge) back pieces together and join them to the front pieces on the sides. After that just press the top and sew it to create the channel for the elastic. I usually leave a little gap at the center front where I feed the elastic, and then close it from the outside to make sure it’s neat. For this part I tested several things. My first times I did it with a zigzag, but I didn’t like the look of it. I tried with the bolt stitch and the triple stitch (both elastic), but these tended to stretch the fabric and were prone to accidents (having my fabric hooked in the plate hole and getting holes in it), so I finally set for a regular straight stitch, a bit longer than usual. If we think about it, the finished waist will be smaller due to the elastic, and it will never need to stretch out more than the original waist circumference. At least in my boyfriend’s case. Take this advice with a pinch of salt.

Hem both legs with a twin needle or a stretchy stitch of your preference (or use a cover stitch machine if you are so lucky😉.

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Now that the hard work is complete you just need to sew a couple of buttons or place two snaps. With my old machine I couldn’t dream of making decent enough buttonholes, so I have a good stash of snaps, and it’s what I used on these again.

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And voila! Here you have, perfect trunks.

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The birds also wanted to try them out.

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But after a while they were more interested in my fabric stash. This drawer looks like a nice nest!

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Book Review: Modern Sorcery (Jonathan Shade #1)

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I have received this book in audio format from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

A husband kills his wife with a sword in a grocery store. The case is apparently clear for the police, but Naomi, the couple’s daughter, goes in search of Jonathan Shade, a private investigator, because she is convinced of her father’s innocence. One of the problems is that Naomi is Jonathan’s ex-fiance, who rejected him five years ago because Jonathan is incapable of doing magic.

This is one of those urban fantasy books that feels fresh amid all the traditional epic fantasy. The characters and their relationships are solidly built, and Jonas has given them a past, making them complex and believable. The story is steadily paced and the dialogs are quite dynamic and sound very natural.

Here we also have to thank Joe Hempel, which gave different personalities to the characters, even though in a couple of occasions there were five characters in the same place. This scene was a bit confusing, but this is a very difficult task for just one narrator. The narration was done in a way that one wanted to know more about the story. Hempel was fully committed to it, and it added to the story and the characters, helping to bring them to life and make a good book into a very good one.

Jonas’ fantasy world is quite interesting, and I will definitely want to know more about it, especially if it is narrated by Joe Hempel.

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