Monday, 23 May 2016

Happy Belated World Goth Day!

World Goth Day and the Long Weekend

I traditionally celebrate World Goth Day on May 22nd (but I suppose the date is flexible). I would've written and published this yesterday but it's the long weekend here in Canadaland and I've been very busy. Sorry for the delay, here's my WGD post, complete with obligatory cliche goth illustration! What was I doing instead of blogging? My best mate came in from Toronto for a visit. We always hit up a sushi place and then amble about for a portion of the day until she's due to meet another friend or family member. We ate some sushi, I gossiped about my awesome doctor, discussed her students and talked about my upcoming wedding. We also went shoe shopping where I picked up a nice pair of cheap geometric laser cut sandals. I almost never wore sandals before but I find I need them now just to survive our hot summers! After my friend left, I decided to hang out in the park downtown. I've really missed being out and about. I'm not the type to remain cooped up, but with the surgery I didn't get to go out much at all. In fact during my entire month long hiatus from work I maybe went outside four or five times.

I decided to celebrate WGD by dressing the part. I normally dress up for my friend, it's become a weird tradition between us where she anticipates me in some kind over the top or classy ensemble. I did get a chance to sew during my break. Recently I made a stretch lace top from scratch (photo, sorry it's not stellar quality). I tried to sew a chiffon skirt to go with it but my machine chewed it up. Instead I wore a black high waist taffeta maxi skirt, with my favorite wide brim black hat and a black rhinestone cross pendant necklace. I felt fabulous and no one mistreated me once! Sure I got stares but this time customer service representatives were friendly and most people commented on my dress or hat. I even had one brave young man ask me for information about the city, commenting on how he felt I was the most approachable in the entire park! :) I had a great time. Even the day before, I got dolled up in my skelly dress and accompanied my fiance and his friend to various pawn shops in search of retro games - no we didn't find much of anything, a few vintage patterns for me. 

After finally getting up the strength and courage to go out and play, it's all over again. I'm sad that I'll be returning to work tomorrow. :( I wish I could extend my time off. Health wise I haven't been doing well at all. I've visited with my family doctor who said I really ought to quit my job for a better suited one. He told me I might have fibromyalgia, which could explain the chronic pain and fevers I've been experiencing, but sadly it doesn't account for the vertigo, double vision or stomach aches. My major goal now is to find work elsewhere that pays equal or better, and one that won't put any more physical strain on my already irritated joints and muscles. That being said, I don't know how much physical energy I'll have for sewing. Maybe I'll try one garment a month again.

What have you been up to?

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Newbreed Girl Review

A Newbreed Girl Product Review

Newbreed Girl is a womens' clothing brand that produces printed apparel. Their catalog is a mixture of Nu Goth, Pastel Goth and alternative designs, but their selection is rather limited. I think it's a brand that hasn't quite made its name yet. My fiancé was the one who first introduced me to the brand. He was looking around on ThinkGeek and he came across Newbreed Girl's Lucky Kitty T-shirt. It was love at first sight. He ordered it up for me and I wore it for a good two years. Sadly, my poor t-shirt has started to tear along the hemlines. My fiancé felt pretty bad about it because he knew it was my favorite t-shirt, so he offered to replace it. Unfortunately the shirt is no longer available but the site advertised a similar hoodie that I felt might be an adequate substitute.

A few days ago I received my package. It was over a week before it was dispatched and I find that a little disappointing. We received a phone call but because it was a long distance number we ignored it. It turns out that it was a rep calling to confirm that it was actually my fiancé's credit card. I suppose they've had issues with credit fraud(?) and this may have delayed my shipment. I tried emailing customer service to inquire about my tracking number. I never received an official response from them, my package was shipped and the tracking number included, some two or three days after I wrote them.

The packaging was good and the garments were nicely sealed into individual plastic bags. Yes, I said garments. I took advantage of the "grab bag" offer, for $4 with purchase you get any one item that may have been defective or a sample. I love a good surprise! The quality of the hoodie is hit and miss. The hoodie features ribbing that is literally three inches too long. The cuffs have to be rolled up otherwise my hands are covered. I'm not sure if this is an intentional design choice but it's hardly functional. The hood is pointy and the drawstrings are a little on the short side. The print is decent but I'm concerned it'll flake over time. It's not like the t-shirt print, it's much thicker and has that gummy texture to it. The material is thinner than most hoodies I own but not so extreme that I'd be afraid to wear it in the fall. It's just not a winter grade hoodie. It's not as nice as the t-shirt. I was hoping it would be the same cherry red but instead it's more like a bright coral color. My t-shirt has a vintage look to it, where the hoodie is stark white (see above).

The surprise was the Yin Yang Unicorn Mod Dress. It's described as a soft, loose, slightly a-line dress. The print is obviously referencing the popular Killstar Yin Yang cats. The material is decent, soft and breathable but slightly see through. I'm concerned it might fade after a few washes. The shape is not for me. It's too loose in the back and too clingy toward the bottom so it has a sack like quality. It's also a size medium and the hoodie I ordered was a size small. I was a little disappointed that they didn't have any grab bag samples in my size. I thought perhaps this medium ran small but to my disappointment it didn't fit. Their size medium is very loose on me. Like, so loose that I run the risk of my boobs falling out! I plan on maybe taking the dress in in certain areas so that it does fit me. Perhaps tighter up top and keeping the flare at the hemline like a skater dress. I'll have to experiment with sewing a few more knit pieces before I'm brave enough to tear into this one.

Overall I think this brand has potential. My hope is that they work toward a higher quality garment in the future, maybe change manufacturers or something to that effect. They have good ideas it's just that I don't think those ideas are being successfully realized with the materials/resources they're using. Would I recommend them? I'm hesitant to do so. Out of three garments, I only absolutely love the one and even at that the hemline on the t-shirt has always twisted to one side (which is possibly indicative of an error in the cut of the fabric). If you can view and try their clothing on in person I encourage you to check them out.

Ever bought from Newbreed Girl before? Tell me what you think!


Friday, 13 May 2016

Good Goths Play Nice

We just want to be understood

I try to be a forgiving person. I act tough mostly but there are times when people say or do things that get under my skin. Yesterday wasn't exactly like that. There were no words said at all, it's how the person behaved.

I was out on another ordinary day running errands. I got to see my favorite hot doctor, who put his arms around me, tipped me over and I was certain my brains were going to spill out (a medical test but we were giggling and I was hoping he'd kiss me, but that's just between us ghouls). I stopped in to visit with my mother, went out flower shopping and we ended up in the fabric store. I picked up some beautiful black stretch lace and more vintage Halloween print quilting cotton. While I was perusing the vast selection I couldn't help but overhear a conversation taking place between the employees there. The words "creepy" and "Halloween" came up. I thought, ooh, perhaps the newest Halloween fabrics arrived early. But the nature of the conversation was different and sounded more about me than anything. 

Yesterday I had on my favorite dress, the chiffon Sourpuss X-ray dress which features various skeletal fragments. On top of that I had tied up a black chiffon blouse with ruffles, worn with knee high stockings, my fave chucks, and a great big black sun hat adorned with black roses. I thought I looked adorable. I had to dress nice for my hottie doctor. It's one of the few times I could say with confidence that I felt pretty. Sure, I had old people look at me funny but don't they always? 

I was bothered by the fact that a conversation about my garments was taking place by people on staff. I couldn't make out exactly what was being said because they couldn't keep their volume under control. I'd get words and partial sentences here and there. "Ooh, don't you want to wear some bloody teeth." "It's just too creepy for me." Now I could be paranoid or even exaggerating but it's the treatment I received after this that bolstered my belief that they were talking shit about me.

I went to have my fabric cut and both girls at the table were quiet. The older employee who thought things were "creepy" had left. The one girl, who I know was involved in the conversation, did not even ask if I'd liked to be serviced. She just stopped what she was doing, shoved it aside and waited for me to bark orders at her. I remained poised and polite throughout the experience but I've never had someone not speak to me. She hardly uttered a syllable. Once mumbling if I wanted two meters, and finally forcing out a barely audible "here you are dear." which at that point I could hardly give a fuck to hear it.

So, you don't like my clothing. Did you want me to get naked? Would that somehow make you feel more comfortable? I was nothing but cordial and I expected to receive politeness in return. 

If it wasn't for Dr. McHotStuff giving me about a year's worth of daydreaming material, I might have lost my shit completely.

I know we've all experienced this. I do my best to never give in to my bitchy side but some days I feel that beast within me just itching to get out. I swallow it, collect myself and put on a smile because that's what we need to do. There are twice as many assholes in this world and that means we have to work twice as hard to make up for their bullshit. So put on a smile, wave and open doors for people, because you're the better person.


Tuesday, 10 May 2016

When Sewing Dreams are Crushed

What to do when projects don't turn out

Two years ago, almost to the day, I wrote about Sewing Nightmares, sewing projects that go disastrously wrong. I'm revisiting this topic, although from a different angle. In that article I discussed how you deal with horrible accidents during sewing (like cutting into or burning the material, or accidentally sewing the wrong pieces together). This time around I was confronted with a different kind of disaster, and that disaster is being underwhelmed by the finished project. 

I purchased Simplicity 1198 sometime last year with the intention of making some Nu Goth tunics for my fall/winter wardrobe. I paid the equivalent to full price, which is something I never do when it comes to patterns but unfortunately Simplicity isn't available in Ontario anymore so I had to buy it online. I was super pumped for this project. I bought two different kinds of knit fabric in different colours. I thought that this pattern was going to become a staple in my collection, one that I'd come to depend on. WRONG! I sewed this tunic in the first week of my recovery. It was an easy sew, although my straight stitch didn't go so shit hot on the neckline and I wished I owned a coverstitch (an expensive overlock-like machine used for hemming knits). Two hours into sewing this tunic I started seeing problems. I'd put the garment on and the drape looked off. At first I couldn't put my finger on what that problem was...and then I realized it. It made me look pregnant. It looked like a muumuu or maternity wear. I'm smaller proportionately and this thing was like a tent on me. I felt awful about it. I tried belting it, putting in darts; I did everything humanly possible but it didn't look any better. After installing the sleeves I noticed that the sleeve cap gave the top a weird, boxy 80's look in the shoulders. The collar popped upright because of my obnoxiously narrow back, it was nightmare after nightmare. 

So what happened?

I finished it and gave it a nasty review lol. I bitched about it's flaws in an attempt to share my experience and warn people about the possible errors with this garment. These are mostly design errors. I think the top is meant for people with curvy figures. I've seen it on other women and it looks good but those women have boobs and butts, and I - well, you can probably figure out that I don't have much of either. The only thing more depressing than a botched sewing project is a completed one that you don't like.

I wasn't sure what to do next. I didn't feel inspired to sew anything else. I certainly didn't feel up to trying that pattern again. So I sat there and brainstormed for a bit. I hated the sight of this top. It just hung on my dress form, annoying me. I thought about how it fit me so horrendously and then I thought, "what if it fit my mom? Maybe it would look better on her." I gave it to her last week, and she really loves it. She says it fits wonderfully and it's very comfortable. Problem solved! Well, sort of. When I returned to the sewing room I still didn't feel inspired enough to sew myself another piece of clothing. Instead, I decided to take up something new. Quilting. 

I've never quilted before because I was too nervous. I decided that I would make my cat, Doodles, a blanket (the other cats would use it too, of course). When a Fabricland in my area was closing, I purchased a half a meter of quilting cotton with a fun cat print. I put it on the ground when I got home and Doodles loved it. He rolled around on it and slept on it, it was difficult to wrestle it away from him. I knew that I'd have no other choice than to make him a blanket out of it. So I did. It's made similar to a pot holder, minus the flame retardant batting. If you've never quilted before I encourage you to try a project like this. It's easier than it looks and the pay off is great. No sizing adjustments, just basic math and basic stitches. Easy peasy, and I think the Dood is pleased as well.

Let's review! What can you do with a disappointing project?

1. Put it on hiatus - If you put it away for a month, a week, or even a day, you might feel refreshed enough to pick it up and try it again later. When I get frustrated with a project it only inevitably gets worse, so I always break. How long that break goes on for depends on the garment and what kind of issues I've had with it. 
2. Try something else - Not necessarily sewing, as you might be so strung out you'll only mess up the next project. Start small and easy. Some people find crochet is a soothing creative outlet. Maybe try painting or drawing. Or take from my experience and try quilting!
3. Give it away - If you hate looking at it, like I hated my tunic, then try to see if someone else wants it. Maybe it just wasn't meant for you.

Anything I should add to that list? What do you think?


Thursday, 5 May 2016

McCall's Belle Noir & Belle Rogue

Gothic Lolita / Steampunk Dresses

It's a new month, spring is finally making its presence known and new patterns are on the agenda! McCall's has recently revealed their take on Gothic Lolita fashion in two new cosplay patterns, BELLE NOIR and BELLE ROGUE. I was really excited to see these. They were designed by Ichigo Black, a Lolita designer who sells mostly on Etsy. These dresses are best described as a fusion between Gothic Lolita and Steampunk. Especially Steampunk, what with the use of bustles and the overbust corset! I can see a stronger Japanese influence in Noir, which makes me think of Punk Rave's designs and might even be inspired by the over-the-top kimonos of Visual Kei. 

I think as far as garment construction is concerned, there is the need for refinement. The overbust and top of each dress seems boxy and a little ill fitting. I also would've liked to see the layering handled in a different manner, as most Gothic Lolita dresses feature heavily layerd skirts. The handkerchief overlay on Noir is a little underwhelming and looks incomplete, and in Rogue the transition between the tulle petticoat and the bustle are rather abrupt. There's just something about them that looks unfinished. Yet, I see some good foundations in these patterns that could be embellished and tweaked for those of you looking for a more refined special occasion dress, or even simplified for casual wear. I for one plan on using the skirt portion of Rogue, minus the bustle, for an upcoming project. :)

What do you guys think? I'm excited to see more Lolita inspired patterns emerging, especially something with a gothic edge to it. Anything other than another Arkivestry piece, I want fresh blood!


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