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THE FEMINISM BUT MORE

I mentioned to @nicasiosilang that I once tried to explain intersectionality in Mandarin, but ended up with something along the lines of “the… the… feminism… but… more… [how do I say identities?]” To which Nicasio replied, “no no i love it, that on a tshirt: THE FEMINISM BUT MORE.” I had the supplies on hand and had made similar T-shirts before, so this one was born. :)

First, I designed the T-shirt by penciling in a text layout, taking measurements of the text I’d written, and drafting a pattern in Photoshop with all-caps Helvetica (because, as Roger says, all-caps Helvetica is TRUTH) to match those measurements as closely as possible.

THE FEMINISM BUT THIN MINT
THE FEMINISM BUT THIN MINT

Then, I numbered the letters from 1 through 4 because I wanted to alternate between four fabrics. I used my clear quilting ruler to take a rough measurement of the combined widths of the letters so I knew how much fabric and heat bond material I’d need.

THE FEMINISM BUT MATH
THE FEMINISM BUT MATH

I cut heat bond material to those measurements and attached them to the wrong side of the fabrics I was using. Then, I followed the outline of the letters I’d printed and painstakingly cut all the fabric out by hand with fabric scissors. :’) I literally hand-kerned the letters and ironed them onto the T-shirt following the heat bond package instructions. After that, I sewed around the edges of the letters to help them stay put through washes.

Final T-shirt. It's so beautiful.
Final T-shirt. It’s so beautiful.
I learned through cutting out these letters that each limb of a capital E in Helvetica is a different length.
I learned through cutting out these letters that each limb of a capital E in Helvetica is a different length.
That floral fabric *-*
That floral fabric *-*
The Helvetica S is also quite distinctive. It feels much more oval than other Ss.
The Helvetica S is also quite distinctive. It feels much more oval than other Ss.
Cutting out the holes in the B was terrible :|X-acto knives don't seem to do well on fabric.
Cutting out the holes in the B was terrible :|X-acto knives don’t seem to do well on fabric.
Thank goodness almost all the letters were straight lines. This O was the first curvy one I did, and it shows.
Thank goodness almost all the letters were straight lines. This O was the first curvy one I did, and it shows.
Roger, nerd that he is, complimented me in particular on this R. I have to say that I'm really proud of it too. Not only for the pretty fabric, but for cutting out that teeny tiny almost-serif on the right leg.
Roger, nerd that he is, complimented me in particular on this R. I have to say that I’m really proud of it too. Not only for the pretty fabric, but for cutting out that teeny tiny almost-serif on the right leg.

I also followed this tutorial to add hand-crocheted lace edging to the sleeves. I had to change the width of the blanket stitch spacing to accommodate for my thinner thread, but, other than that, it was pretty straightforward. I also used black thread for the blanket stitch to make the edging look more seamless.

So cute!!
So cute!!

I love this shirt so much. Nicasio is the best for enabling me to do this. As I told Nicasio, the most wonderful things happen when people who make things and people who make people make things get together. :)

kintsugi patch

Kintsugi Mending

kintsugi bowlKintsugi (金継ぎ) (Japanese: golden joinery) or Kintsukuroi (金繕い) (Japanese: golden repair) is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

Wikipedia

When I saw metallic golden embroidery thread at the craft store today, I immediately thought of the kintsugi method and wondered if it could be applied to clothing repair as well. I have a couple pairs of jeans with some minor tears that I wanted to fix up, and I’m pleased to say that the result is quite lovely.

ripped belt loop
Ripped belt loop. Guess it happened from using them to tug up my jeans all the time.
Kintsugi belt loop
Mended belt loop. I was worried that the thread would look tacky, but instead it has a beautiful, elegant glimmer to it.

I whipstitched the torn fabric and whipstitched/satin stitched the small upper tear closed. I then backstitched over the mended fabric to complete the repair. I actually used to hate stitching things by hand and would avoid hand-stitching whenever possible, but, after hand-stitching twelve goat-ear headbands a few weeks ago, I’ve come to love it. Odd how making myself practice something I thought I’d hate made me much more comfortable with the skill.

While I was at it, I also repaired the button on the front:

missing button
I’m not sure how the button came off.
replaced button
Took me a couple tries to hammer the new button in, but I got it in the end and it seems sturdy enough.

I’m also super happy with how the second pair of jeans turned out. I dug these up as I was cleaning out my townhouse this week. I love the print so much, but I had planned to toss the pants because of the inevitable chub rub tear in the inner thigh.

chub rub tear
I’ve gotten rid of so many pants because of these tears.

This tear was much longer than the belt loop tears, so I ended up using an embroidery hoop to keep the fabric manageable. I used a regular satin stitch to tighten up the gap.

embroidery hoop
Trying to patch this without putting it on a hoop was awful. This hoop is 4″ in diameter, making the tear about 3″ long.

The end result was a little less polished than the belt loop, but I’m still very happy to be able to salvage this pair of pants.

kintsugi patch
The kintsugi repair ends up being barely visible because it’s on the inner thigh—you can only see it from certain angles.

This second repair is particularly meaningful to me in keeping with the philosophy of the kintsugi method. I’ve always been self-conscious of my thunder thighs and of my pants developing these tears. But, in sewing my own clothing, and in mending my clothing, I’ve come to accept that my body doesn’t need fixing—my clothes are what can be changed. I’ve gained a lot of weight since my college years, but I’m actually happier with my body nowadays. The golden embroidery thread only serves to highlight that this pair of pants is so dearly loved that I bothered to spend this much effort to mend it.

Fabric buttons

Gathered Flower Skirt

Wardrobe expansion part two! I thought this fabric would lend itself nicely to a cute gathered skirt, and I wanted to learn how to add side pockets through this project. I also added interfacing to fabric for the first time, and the reinforcement really helped to keep the waistband smooth and flat.

gathered skirt
I am teeeeerrrible at smiling for pictures.

I didn’t pattern-match my fabric for the Adventure Time skirt—I’d already cut my fabric by the time I remembered to do that, and the Adventure Time skirt is offset on both axes, so the shift between panels isn’t noticeable. However, I remembered to pattern-match the fabric for this skirt, especially because the patterns are aligned on the y-axis.

pattern matching
I didn’t pattern match horizontally, especially because the gathers hide the seam, but I did along the vertical axis.

And of course—pockets!

pocket
I ended up accidentally aligning the pocket to the wrong measurement, which made the pocket more concealed.

I’m probably going to save the third skirt for later. I also recently ordered a gathering foot, which should make the last two pillowcases I’m making for my couch cushions much faster to sew. :) More updates soon!

Mathematical! skirt

Mathematical! Skirt

Long time no update! I’ve been too lazy to update this blog and document DIY stuff in detail. I do post snapshots to my Instagram, so follow me there if you want more frequent pictures.

I recently applied the KonMari method to my townhouse. The good news is that everything is neat and organized, yay! The bad news is that I ended up donating almost all my skirts—because they didn’t fit me anymore, for the most part. I did keep a few skirts, but they’re mostly business casual skirts. Not really suitable for summer outside the office.

I can't wait to make three new skirts #GuessWhatMyFavoriteColorIs

A post shared by S. (@sqiouyilu) on

I dug up that beautiful floral fabric that I’ve been holding on to and got a couple yards of new fabric. I decided to make a pleated Adventure Time skirt first and pretty much replicated another skirt I got from the thrift store the other day.

Stephany wearing mathematical skirt
It’s surprisingly cold out today.

I made the skirt a tiiiiny bit too short, but, other than that, it’s perfect! Well, that and I might add some interfacing on the waistband area to make it a little less prone to folding over and wrinkling.

hem of mathematical skirt
Double-folded hems.

I took a lot more care on this skirt than I had on previous skirts, and it really showed in the final result. Much more polished than any other skirt I’ve made. Plus, getting a half-yard cutting mat (for half off!) really sped up cutting the fabric precisely.

invisible zipper
Spot the zipper!
unzipped invisible zipper
Tada!

I actually found the invisible zipper way easier to work with than a regular zipper. For regular zippers, I end up basting them by hand—glue and tape methods don’t feel precise enough to me—but invisible zippers just need to be aligned to the seam, which can be done with pins.

invisible zipper stitches
The “universal” Coats & Clark invisible zipper foot didn’t fit on my machine, so, too impatient for my Brother foot to arrive, I ended up stitching the zipper by hand.

I’m going to get some research done today, and, as a reward to myself, I’m going to make a skirt out of the middle flower fabric. Hopefully it’ll be faster, since it’ll just be gathered instead of pleated (which took some more thinking and math).

skirt sketch
Sketch for the gathered skirt design. The sketch on the right was for this Adventure Time skirt.

See you all again soon!

Adventure Time, c’mon grab your friends!
We’re going to very distant lands.

Black Widow T-shirt and Necklace

I knew after making my Captain America floral shield sweater that my next project would be a Black Widow T-shirt. However, instead of using floral fabric, I wanted something with more of a watercolor feel—one of the lines from The Avengers that stuck with me is, “I’ve got red in my ledger—I’d like to wipe it out.” That conjures up images of red ink, and that was the vibe I was going for with this shirt.

Originally, I was going to get this beautiful hand-dyed fabric from HandmadeByElaine33 on Etsy:

Beautiful hand-dyed fabric. Etsy listing.
Beautiful hand-dyed fabric. Etsy listing.

I was particularly drawn to that color palette because I wanted to have the top half of the Black Widow symbol be red and the bottom half be indigo/black, to symbolize that she’s turning the red in her ledger into black. Unfortunately, the cost of the fabric plus shipping just wasn’t feasible for me, so I purchased some similar fabric from a different seller. 

Fabric, unfolded. This picture is the closest to the color the fabric is in real life.
Fabric, unfolded. This picture is the closest to the color the fabric is in real life.

I first drew the pattern for the Black Widow symbol in Photoshop. The symbol varies a lot, and I’m not sure if it ever shows up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), so I scanned in the cover of an issue of Edmonson & Noto’s run of Black Widow and chose the narrower of the two symbols to copy.

Symbols I scanned from my second print of Black Widow #1.
Symbols I scanned from my second print of Black Widow #1.

After that, it was a quick process of cutting out the no-sew iron-on adhesive, adhering it to the fabric, cutting out the symbol along the pattern, and adhering it onto the shirt after cutting a boatneck into the shirt. I have more details on that process in my femme is not compliance post if you’re interested in how that works.

Adhered the iron-on backing.
Adhered the iron-on backing.
Pinned the pattern in place before cutting the shape out with scissors.
Pinned the pattern in place before cutting the shape out with scissors.
The final shape.
The final shape.
I'm not actually a big fan of this picture, but my friends seem to like it, so it can't be that bad, right?
I’m not actually a big fan of this picture, but my friends seem to like it, so it can’t be that bad, right?

The necklace was also pretty easy to make. I’ve been wanting a little silver arrow necklace ever since I saw Scarlett Johansson wearing one in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The one I created still isn’t dainty enough for my liking, but it’s still quite nice.

They didn't have a silver arrow at Joann's, so I got a brass one and some silver metal paint.
They didn’t have a silver arrow at Joann’s, so I got a brass one and some silver metal paint.

I first had to paint over the brass charm I bought to make it silver. That process went by pretty quickly, and the end result blends in fairly well with the other jewelry components.

Painting the arrow charm.
Painting the arrow charm.
Materials for the arrow necklace.
Materials for the arrow necklace.

To create the necklace, I cut the necklace chain in half, attached one end of the arrow with a jump ring through the hole in the fletchings, and attached the other end by looping the jump ring around the shaft behind the arrowhead to secure the charm in place.

I've got red in my ledger... I'd like to wipe it out.
Taking necklace action shots with a tripod and remote is way harder than I thought.

The shirt and necklace together only took about an hour or so to make over a couple of days. There are some imperfections with both, but, overall, I’m satisfied with how they turned out. 

You can download the Black Widow iron-on pattern here to create your own Black Widow items. Because the pattern is a simple geometric shape, I don’t require credit if you use the pattern, but a link here to your finished piece would be greatly appreciated. :)