Wednesday, 27 May 2015

In which I actually like something I've made...

I have a weakness for tailored jackets.  Properly tailored, not just off the rack at [insert name of high-street shop here].  Luckily, I've been known to sew clothes from time to time.  Unluckily, jackets are bastard hard to get right.  I've made several over the years, some of which have been absolutely terrible.

One of the more terrible attempts involved Vogue pattern 8679.  I made it to wear to my sister-in-law's wedding, wore it for that one occasion and then never touched it again.  That one was poorly fitted, because I sized it for my waist and failed to take it in at the bust.  The lapels were a mess, and it was badly rushed towards the end.  Rushed to the extent that I was still stitching the hems on the bus to the wedding.

So, it didn't work out.  But I still loved the pattern, so I finally decided to have another crack at it.  Here's attempt number two:

I like this jacket because it's business in the front...

...and party at the back
It's much better fitted this time around (if I do say so myself), not least because this time I had Helena to assist.  I was able to take it in where I needed to without having to be wearing it at the same time, which really does make it easier.  The lapels, while not perfect, are also better than the previous attempt.

What I'm really proud of, though, and what doesn't really show in the pictures, are the pockets.  The actual pattern comes with pocket flaps, but no pockets, and that really irritates me.  It's bad enough when regular women's clothing comes with pretend pockets, but deliberately sewing it that way myself would be ridiculous.  So it was either leave the flaps off entirely, or go off-piste and make real pockets.  I chose the real pocket option.

It's only the second time I've made welt pockets.  The first was when helping out a friend with a jacket for some Eli Monpress cosplay.  That took the pressure off a little, partly because she'd reached the point of, "Just do it, I don't care if it gets ruined" (long story) and partly because, much as it's good for cosplay to look good, it only had to last for a single convention.  This jacket is intended for long-term use, so I wanted it to be right.

It was hair-raising, and it almost went wrong once or twice, but I managed to make actual, working pockets.  The marking for positioning the fake flaps made positioning the pocket welts easy.  I also elected to ignore the suggestion to make both sides of the flaps from the outer fabric, and actually made the undersides from the lining fabric.  It took a little bit of bulk out, and also gives a cheeky flash of purple when the flaps are raised.

So, yes, fully working jacket.  It's been test-driven in the office and garnered no comments whatsoever, which is a great result.  Nobody said, "What on earth are you wearing?"  That's a win.

Now on to the next jacket!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

In which strange things are afoot at the Circle K...

Things are happening at the moment.  Some of them I can't talk about, not least because those are the ones where I don't actually know what's going on myself.  I have my suspicions, but they're so wildly implausible that I'm sure I must be wrong.

But I didn't just come here to be intentionally mysterious.  There are things that I can talk about, like the fact that I'm about to start learning to support some new stuff at work.  We're being given stuff to do with Enterprise Service Bus, TIBCO and XMLM messaging.  It all seems a bit daunting at the moment, but then it's not been that long since I was having to learn COBOL from scratch, so I'm sure I can handle it.  And it all ties in nicely to my team's general conviction that we're the only ones who actually get stuff done.

Also new is the cat that's currently curled up asleep on the sofa next to me.  I'd take a picture, but he's solid black so photographs don't come out well, especially when his eyes are closed.  His name is Garrus, he's about three and a half, and he is the Softest Cat Ever.  Soft as in his fur, but he's also extremely placid and fond of company.  We acquired him from a friend who's about to move to Sweden and can't take him along.

Last but not least, I have multiple stories out acquiring rejections these days.  I've got quite a fine collection that I'm lovingly curating.  So far, only one story has been a disappointment and actually got itself accepted somewhere...

Yes, that's right, I'm having a story properly published.  It will be appearing in the very first issue of Shoreline of Infinity, which is due out next month.  Clearly fame and fortune beckon from here on in.  I'd be up for a Hugo next year if I hadn't foolishly made the protagonist a Japanese woman...