Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Quarterly Bat Fit Update (Amongst Quite a Few Other Things) ...

The following post concerns itself primarily with completion of the insomniac's  Number One Bat Fit Goal - finish Nightwind's coat. Slight emphasis placed on the word “primarily” since some people couldn't stick to a single topic if their very life depended on it.

As a bit of background, when packing up the Gothic Mansion in November 2013 and sorting through her immense fabric piles, the insomniac  offered to make the aforementioned coat in an attempt to keep herself busy while living in the Boring Beige Rental, and also to use up some of the miles and miles of black velvet fabric she had hoarded. Now volunteering to make something for someone implies the person making the offer must be pretty good at what she's volunteering to do. But having witnessed the disappointed look in so many recipient's eyes after having received the end result of just such an offer, she doesn't volunteer her services nearly so often as in the past. It's just easier on everyone. 

Although she managed to get the coat cut out at the BBR, she found she couldn't see well enough in the dimly-lit basement to sew; also the beautiful black velvet was shedding chunks of itself all over the beige carpet and making her crazy crazier. So into a green garbage bag it went; six months later when we moved into the hotel, the garbage bag went into the newly poured basement along with everything else that wouldn't fit in a hotel room.

Apparently, the insomniac  is only capable of sewing
in a window with excellent natural light.

Preferably one overlooking an outhouse which, despite repeated
requests to have it razed to the ground, remains standing.

Is it delusional for a person to assume the Gods of Karma should look kindly on such magnanimously proposed profferings?

Oh look, the insomniac has offered to knit her friend a pair of warm thrummed mittens for hunting season. Let's make sure she doesn't run out of black roving before they're done. But if she does run out, maybe we could ensure that the only person who sells that roving doesn't go on holidays, scheduled to return a month after hunting season is over.

Oh look, now the insomniac has offered to sew a coat for Nightwind. Let's make sure this project goes as smoothly as possible for her, shall we?

One could continue with similar scenarios until the cows come home, but those two examples are probably sufficient to make one's point that the Gods of Karma appear to be asleep at the switch.

First, the serger started making horrible gagging noises; in hindsight, six months in a damp and curing basement probably not being the best place to store it. Offering up multiple prayers to the Gods of Baby Lock Sergers, alternated with multiple bouts of cursing, it barely made it through to the end.

Then the buttonhole attachment on the sewing machine started acting up; in hindsight, sewing the buttonholes by hand would have been much quicker.

But the proverbial icing on the cake was when the iron started puking water all over the coat. Luckily, the velvet is very resilient and all the white stains left by the iron were dealt with using a damp black dishrag. At least one hopes all the stains were caught ... one's eyesight being what it is and all.

After it was all put together, the insomniac  showed it to the spouse and asked for his opinion - a rare occurrence and generally disregarded even when reluctantly given. “It's rather gaudy, isn't it?”, he said. Perhaps he used the word gauche. Or maybe garish. Possibly he gagged - sounding exactly like the serger. Regardless, the insomniac  took another look and although she doesn't really know Nightwind from a hole in the ground thought, “He won't wear that! It is gauche. And gaudy. Garish even.” And she also threw up a little - just like the iron.

The first thing to be changed out were the buttons. When first purchased, they looked like tiny spiderwebs - sewn on the coat, they looked more like tiny edelweiss; not exactly the effect one was going for. After replacing with plain black horn buttons that needed to be the exact same size as the originals since the buttonholes were already sewn, the coat hung for a few days on the dressmaker's dummy, staring disapprovingly at its creator and muttering, “Definitely not your best work. Surely even you can do better than this.”

When a project invariably goes off the rails, as they are wont to do, the insomniac  always finds it best to have at least ten additional projects on the go. That way, she can move on to the next one, then the one after that, and so on and so forth. So she occupied herself with sewing other items for upcoming markets, all the while looking at the coat and wondering what else could be done to make it more palatable.

Do you find yourself surprised she's been accepted as a vendor for a market called All Things Pretty? Probably not nearly as surprised as she.

Nightwind would probably be happier with the purse than coat.

Eventually - despite the fact she'd already messaged Nightwind on Facebook March 22nd telling him she'd just finished his coat and would be mailing it April 1st - she decided the embroidery totally sucked and needed to be completely redone. Because that's just how we roll here at the Little Gothic Cottage.

This time - as the suckiness of the embroidery appeared to be the fault of the gunmetal soutache she'd originally chosen and couldn't possibly have been the fault of the embroidery pattern itself - she decided to use a spool of DMC Light Silver metallic embroidery thread instead, and drew the new pattern right on the velvet with her dressmaker's pencil. The one that claims it's removable with just a little water! Says so right on the pencil. Humph.

Working with metallic threads is a challenge for some people. They tend to kink, they snag, they fray and in general they will not lay down where you want them to.

Insomniac (spoken in ingratiating tone): See this chalked line I've made here, Thread? That line is exactly where I would like you to lay. S'il vous plaît.

DMC Made in France Light Silver Thread (spoken in condescending voice): Ooooohooo. So you think that is where I should lay, Madame Insomniac? Let's be clear, shall we? I  shall lay wherever I  please. Tant pis.

For someone who claims to dislike working with metallic threads,
there seems to be quite a collection lying around, doesn't there?

The Vintage Metallic Thread Collection is just for looking at though.
Not for actually using.

Same with the Vintage Button Collection. Basically exists to be dumped out
on the ironing board and sorted through occasionally.

(A very belated thank-you to Ms. Misantropia for the Jul star
and linnea-maria for the Madonna card. ❤)

Since we're already up here, may as well show you the rest of the space formerly
known as the Large Guest Bedroom but now referred to as the Sewing Room ...

Top half of fabric pile on daybed - All Things Pretty.
Bottom half of fabric pile on daybed - Horror Con.

That dormer window is proving much more useful as a sewing station
than it would have as another bathroom.

Now that  was a good decision on someone's part,
having nothing whatsoever to do with the price of bathroom fixtures.

Certainly nothing to do with anyone's aversion to cleaning commodes.

Do you find yourself surprised the walls are still painted Lancaster Whitewash?

Probably not nearly as surprised as she.

When the embroidery was completed for the second time, the insomniac  felt she may have been overly cautious and the result was now too discreet. Certainly nothing an onlooker would be able to see clearly from a distance, unlike the original. And then she imagined Nightwind wearing it to his first ill-lit Goth Event, a stunningly beautiful but nearsighted black-clad woman drawing closer for a better look at the capelet; once there she would be sorely tempted to stroke her cheek against that ever-so-soft velvet, and then ...

Well. It would seem the insomniac's  work here is finally done.

Styling Suggestion - pop that collar to show off the embroidery.

It won't look nearly as derpy on a Vampire coat with capelet
as it did on a pink polo shirt back in the 80's.

So when an Expedited Parcel (Tracking Number CX544246482CA) labelled “Crystal - Fragile” arrives on your doorstep in approximately seven business days Nightwind, do not be alarmed. Your coat really is inside, packed in a box left over from the move.

And as you open it, please think of the insomniac  kindly, and judge her not on the quality of the goods received but rather the gesture behind it. You might also want to offer a quick prayer of thanks, to whichever gods happen to be in charge of such things, that the ever-present cup of coffee didn't spill on the capelet and the DMC Light Silver Thread had the decency not to run out before the project was complete. Hopefully the coat actually fits and you really do prefer the revised embroidery to the original. If, however, such is not the case, you may wish to refrain from saying so, lest someone feels compelled to volunteer her services and make you an entirely new coat for which you will be forced to wait an additional sixteen months before receipt. Roughly.

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.


PostScript: After eventually settling into a tenuous relationship with the metallic thread, the insomniac  finds herself beyond surprised she now quite enjoys working with it. Plus any excuse to purchase more shiny threads for the Collection is always good.

If you decide you'd like to give it a try yourself, here are a few semi-helpful hints:

  • Work with short pieces of thread - twelve inches is a good length. Fourteen max. Sixteen if you feel like tempting the Gods of All Things Embroidered.
  • Keep a finger underneath the cloth so you can detect when the thread has become twisted and can rectify the situation immediately as opposed to ten stitches later. Better yet, don't line your project until you're absolutely certain you're happy happier with it; that way you can actually see when it becomes tangled.
  • Dab a bit of clear nail varnish on the knotted end of your thread to keep it from coming loose. A technique you will never really be sure works, until such time as you decide to rip everything out and discover it's a pretty good technique.
  • If you're confident about your abilities to freestyle embroider, chalk out as few lines of your pattern as possible with the dressmaker's pencil. Even better, don't buy your pencil at the Dollar Store.