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.

IA


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.

45 comments:

  1. Wow, stunningly beautiful velvet coat and the embroidery looks immaculate. I can emphasize troubles with overlooker, as you complete the necessary finishes it decides to either stops working or decides it need rethreading. lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sarah! I hope Nightwind feels the same about it when he receives it!! :)

      I have a love/hate relationship with my serger. I love it for how professional it makes everything look, but I hate having to rethread it in a different colour. Maybe that's why I mostly sew with black - so I don't have to! I'm afraid it'll have to go in for a good servicing once these markets are all done. Hopefully it isn't toast because I can't afford to buy another one. LOL

      Delete
  2. That is a nice coat. What a beautiful cozy home you have

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sylvie! We have a friend staying with us at the moment (in the Large Guest Bedroom, tucked in amongst all the piles of fabric if you can believe it!). He says the house feels very cozy, too. :)

      Delete
  3. Metallic thread is a pain... but look how pretty it is! Especially against velvet. Despite all the obstacles in your way, I think the coat looks utterly gorgeous.

    I am painting my house "bistro white". It beats all the old ugly blues all over the house, and would make it more palatable for potential buyers... though, if I don't end up moving, perhaps I could get me a nice dusty purple accent wall in my sewing room.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do actually really enjoy working with it now, Madame MM, believe it or not! I'm envisioning using up some of the scraps of black velvet left over from the coat and making some table mats with embroidered spider webs on them. Maybe (and that's a very BIG maybe) I'll even use some of my stockpile of vintage metallic lace around the edges of the mat. Still, it would be pretty difficult to cut into those. ;)

      Everybody seems to like white when they buy a house, don't they? When will you find out whether you're moving again or not?

      I was only going to live with white walls until we'd been here a while, so I could decide what colours I really wanted to paint - after we'd figured out what furniture went where. I'm also leaning towards a dusty purple in that sewing room - just on the dormer window parts maybe. I'm getting pretty lazy and don't really want to paint the whole damn room. Too much moving of furniture involved. LOL

      Delete
  4. Brilliant article and that coat is wonderful. I have used metallic threads and yes they DO have a mind of their own. Tried sewing articles of clothing as well. Not my forte. I enjoyed the photos of your home with all the little details. Such character!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Debbi! I have so much more respect for people who do ecclesiastical embroidery using entirely metal threads now. Although maybe their projects are much more blessed than mine seemed to be! ;)

      You wouldn't think that after sewing for umpteen billion years (yes, I am that old) it would be so difficult to get back into it after a two-year hiatus, would ya? Apparently it is.

      Not as many little details in this home as the last one - I got rid of a LOT of stuff when we moved. And now I find I don't want to have it as full of things as I did before, but that could all change. Once a hoarder, always a hoarder. Ha. :)

      Delete
  5. A few years back I had this crazy idea to make my own cushion covers – no sewing machine, just needle and thread. I think it took me two days %-)
    The coat looks amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually love hand-sewing much more than sewing by machine, Variations on Light. I find it more relaxing, plus I can do it in the sunroom and have a good view of everything. Hopefully you at least loved your cushion covers after two days of hard work!

      Thank you. You're sweet to say so. ❤

      Delete
  6. I barely have the patience to cross stitch, let alone embroider. My hat goes off to you IA. It's a lovely coat. And you have a lovely cottage!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried cross-stitch a long time ago and never really liked it either. Maybe you should just give embroidery a shot instead, Nicole! Or knitting ... now there's a nice addictive craft. LOL

      I really hope Nightwind likes the coat, too. If not, I guess he can always sell it on eBay. ;)

      We're loving the cottage. It gets harder and harder to go into the city the longer we're out here. I can totally see myself eating nuts and berries just to avoid having to go to town for groceries. NOT!

      Delete
  7. The coat looks magnificent! How could anyone not be pleased with it? I had a friend who used metallic embroidery thread once while stitching an angel. She said "Never Again!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks Debra. I never really see anything but the flaws in the things I make. My own worst critic and all that nonsense, I guess.

      You know, I'm pretty sure I bought that thread - oh, like maybe thirty years ago - in a cross stitch store. It probably wasn't even meant to be used as embroidery thread on thick velvet. Perhaps I should have Googled what type of thread the Royal School of Needlework recommends for metallic embroidery. Like I just did now - after the fact. Hmmmm, apparently not DMC Light Silver Thread. Figures. ;P

      Delete
  8. Argh, I remember using metallic thread during a period of straight stitch embroidery sampler stitching as a child! Shudders at the memories!

    I think the cape looks amazing! No doubt Nightwind will have hands stroking the coat non stop, whether that will be pleasant or become irksome, I cannot say.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you still embroider Laura, or did the metallic thread scar you for life? Because how cool would a little fairy bag with some metallic spiderwebs on it be? Oh my, now I'm probably going to have to volunteer to make you one. Stop me, please!! :D

      Thank you - that's sweet of you to say so. I hope the embroidery will stand up to repeated strokings. LOL

      Delete
  9. "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 ...

    You could have gone on with this little story, Insomniac; it was just getting interesting.

    Seriously though, how could I not think kindly of the Insomniac after all that you've done. From the time that you told me that you wanted to undertake this project, I've done nothing but think of it as a kindly gesture. I am absolutely astonished that you would want to do so much for a person whom you've never met.

    As for the coat itself, from where I'm sitting it looks marvelous! The time it took was never a problem for me. First of all, there have no longer been any dimly-lit Goth events here; at least, none that I could get to. Secondly, you've had a busy 16 or so months, to say the least.

    I'm sorry that I didn't respond to this post sooner. Somehow, I thought that you had only mentioned it on Facebook and I haven't been on the computer very much lately. In the end all I can say is thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! When I next see my photographer friend, I'll ask him to get a shot of me wearing it. Yes, I guess I'll be doing another outfit post. (I really don't like photos of myself though.)




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, I'll leave the rest of the story in your capable hands, Nightwind! That's your forte, not mine! :)

      Hopefully you'll have somewhere to wear the coat eventually - maybe that Darkness Resurrected venue will start up again. Anyway, don't thank me until you have it - then you can decide whether it's worth thanking me for or not. And don't feel you need to do an outfit post for my sake, okay? Remember, I hate having my picture taken too. Besides, it's probably better if you don't. What if it doesn't fit right - then I'm going to feel bad all over again. LOL

      Delete
  10. Ha ha, All Things Pretty---and Horror Con! You are my kinda gal :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, all over the map in real life just like on the blog hey, Tilda? :D

      Delete
  11. Velvet is not something I tend to like to attempt. Creepy slithery evil fabric. I'll stick to my black canvas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not my favourite fabric either, Leslie - although my Pfaff has a walking foot which helps a bit. And yet, that's exactly the aisle I head to first in a fabric store. Glutton for punishment. ;)

      Delete
    2. It's because the hand wants to touch velvet. It's yummy!

      Delete
    3. It's true, lightning x! Especially silk velvet - now there's a fabric that's truly evil! LOL

      Delete
  12. Oh my, that coat is beautiful! I've never seen embroidery like that,don't sell yourself short! Nightwind is a lucky fellow. Of course, having miles of black velvet lying around makes you pretty lucky too :)

    Yes, the white surprised me. Any plans on changing it? Though, I'm only hostile towards it because of Swedish (non-) interior design. Swedes obviously don't have hand-carved beds, black velvet chaises or wonderful poet desks in their homes. Or those boxes! Such pretty boxes.

    I would love to visit your stall at either one of those fairs! I'm at the point where I'm throwing up at all the cutesy crap I have in my store, desperately trying to satisfy my (idiot) customers' (lack of) interest over the last few years. I wish I could just travel around selling stuff I really, really like - to people who really, really like it. Best of luck at the fairs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww thanks, Ms. Misantropia. Probably in a few months, or maybe years, I might think the coat is okay too. Haha. And I don't have miles of black velvet anymore - just a few little scraps now!

      Oh yes - I have plans. I've just started painting the guest bath Peerage Purple. Next I'll add some black stenciling. Hopefully it turns out worthy of a blog post! I actually don't mind the white walls though, especially with all the old and dark furniture, so I think quite a few rooms will remain that way. I love my boxes too - they conceal so many THINGS. ;)

      It's such a dilemma owning a store, isn't it? You feel you have to cater to the customer's wishes and then they never end up buying the stuff they've asked you to carry! Maybe you could do traveling fairs too? This will be my first time at a vintage market. I'm hoping it does well, or I'm gonna have a houseful of inventory the kids will need to deal with upon my demise. LOL

      Delete
  13. Haha, aaw, that coat looks really nice! (I bet it did before you changed it also). ;)
    I agree, you can't just really be working on ONE project at a time, if things go sideways, you need something else to do, or else the current project may get even worse (butchered by a szissor/thrown on the floor etc.) Hihi.

    Love the sewing room and all the furniture, as always. :D It actually looks fine with light walls, since all the furniture & decorations are dark. But I totally understand the need of dark green walls, or burgundy/wine red.... Yum yum. Lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Winterz Moon - like that new spelling, BTW! I have to have other things on the go, because if I keep plugging away at something that is totally ticking me off, then I really do throw scissors or rip things - and that's never good. ;)

      It was actually being used as a guest bedroom instead of sewing room this past week. Poor guy had to find someplace for his suitcase in amongst the piles of fabric! And then smell paint and glue and whatever other things I was working on at night when he went to bed.

      The guest bath is becoming purple as we speak. And once the markets are done, I'm going to look downstairs and see how much of our old wallpaper we have left from the last house. I'm craving dark wallpaper. So is the spouse. :)

      Delete
  14. The coat is amazing and judging by Nightwind's profile picture, it's going to look splendid on him. The cut is perfect. I love the duster length and the cape with the dark sky embroidery. It's been fun to watch the whole coat story develop.
    Thank you for the house pictures!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, lightning x. I hope it fits, I pray he likes it, I'm thrilled it's finally done - so many emotions over one coat! LOL

      Next up (after the Pretty Market is done, because I do have to prioritize sometimes!) you'll get to see either the Purple Guest Bathroom or the Burgundy Library. Enough of the Lancaster Whitewash already!!

      Delete
  15. Amazing, both the coat and your beautiful home. You have equisite taste and I have serious daybed envy, it just looks so lovely and cosy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww thanks, breakingtheangel! Although if you saw how I dress most days out here, you'd probably rethink the 'exquisite taste' comment.

      The daybed is usually so overloaded with stuff that it's seldom used for its proper purpose - reading. Plus it needs more pillows. You know how that goes though ... always enough time to make pillows for markets and other people's daybeds, but never enough time to make any for one's own! They'd probably just end up on the floor anyways - either them or the fabric piles. ;)

      Delete
  16. I adore velvet so I love that coat! And that day bed is wonderful! Where did you find it Lynne?

    Ali

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love velvet too, Ali - especially silk velvet! Now that I wouldn't ever attempt to sew - even though I have almost an entire bin full of it. Another one of those collections that's just for looking at, I guess. ;)

      I got the daybed at Victorian Trading Company in the US. The first one 'got lost', so they had to send me another one. Fortunately, not at my expense! I imagine someone somewhere also has a nice daybed that looks just like mine, too. LOL

      Delete
  17. Great coat- you are sooo talented and definitely to self deprecating. I love the room too - you have an amazing eye for decorating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, lady M! I still can't look at the coat and feel I did an okay job. Very few things that happens with really except for decorating ... maybe that's why I like doing it, do you suppose? No constant self-criticism involved. LOL

      Delete
  18. You're hilarious, the Coat is Gorgeous, but being OCD myself about Creations I can totally relate to your Agony of Critiquing it constantly. Loving the peeks at your new Home too! You made me Smile tonight, which is a Good Thing. Dawn... The Bohemian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Dawn! Yes, I can drive myself crazy over the things I make. Sometimes it's years before I l can finally admit I did a half-decent job! ;)

      I'm glad I made you smile - your life is difficult, to say the least. I always read but find it difficult to comment on your posts - I never know what to say. Except that I know those kids couldn't have a better 'mother' and your husband a better wife than you. ❤

      Delete
  19. Wow, gorgeous!!! You are certainly one talented and creative gal...hmmm, now what could I get you to make for me? lol... ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd make you ANYTHING your little black heart desires if you'll take me to Whitby. ;)

      Delete
    2. hehe!! Awesome! Done and done ;)

      Delete
  20. The coat is gorgeous! And I love the photos of your beautiful rooms. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a sweet message.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, thanks Fran. I still don't like it much. And maybe I never will. :)

      Sweet message nothin' ... that bee is the most amazing thing I've ever seen!

      Delete
  21. It's beautiful!!! I'm sure Nightwind will be absolutely thrilled to receive such a treasure!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think he's happy with it, Emma. At least I hope he is! :)

      Delete