Thursday, May 31, 2012

Recital time = Sequin hell

Oh, sequins. How I loathe thee.
Since I've been mostly kicked off Halloween sewing machine duty, thanks to the lure of pre-made costumes and my husband's dislike of my sewing induced personality changes, I pretty much only drag the machine out a few times a year anymore. Recital time is one of my constants as there is always some sort of costume that needs tweaking, or building.

This year I made two young boys shirts for their jazz dance (there seems to be a lack in acceptable male costumes as these are typically the ones I am roped into making), and it went so smoothly I never even thought to take pictures of the process. However as soon as I saw the material I would work with for the next job, I knew I had to document the process. Sometimes I take pictures just to save my sanity. A habit I started back when I was first an at home mom and I found that taking a picture of an awful mess helped me laugh at it. I don't know why it works, it just does. I'm simple. Don't judge.

I have to admit that the taking pictures thing didn't really help this time around. My task was to take one sequin vest and somehow turn it into two sequin neckties. The fake kind of tie with elastic or velcro bands that go around the neck. Laughably, I figured this wouldn't be that hard. That is until the sequins started to rain off the vest as soon as I cut it, instantly covering my house with a million multicolored, stroke inducing, bits of hell. And when the second sewing needle broke when hitting a random sequin wrong I knew I was in over my ability to effectively deal in any way that resembled sanity. Yeah, it was THAT kind of project.

Thank goodness for bloggers that like to share projects! When frantically googling things like, "how to make a necktie that attaches with elastic" and "what have I gotten myself into this time" and "is there gluten in vodka" I found this tutorial from the awesomely named blog: Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky! (Which TOTALLY fit my mood at this point so I saw it as a sign I was on the right track.) I didn't need the exact tutorial as I wasn't converting a man's tie into a child's tie, but she helped me figure out how to create the fake knot for the tie which had me stumped.

These are the steps I did differently than the tutorial. Instead of converting a larger tie into the smaller one since I was creating ties for nearly man-sized boys, I used a regular tie as a pattern. The vest was lined, so I cut out the pattern from the liner and sequin material at the same time.

I then turned the edges inward and used a million pins to hold it all together. At this point I stopped taking pictures because things were getting rather, uh, tense. Machine sewing cost me four needles, a sewing machine foot and almost an eye. That's when I switched to hand sewing. But even then the thread kept catching on the pins and the sequins. The process of constructing the ties took a better part of two days. I used language I am not proud of.

But by all that is holy, I finished in time for recital pictures!
Since I did not have any black elastic but I did have black velcro, I made straps out of the back of the vest and attached velcro to it. I followed her instructions to make the top knot and it worked perfectly. Probably the only part of the project that didn't give me hives.

 My boy modeling one of the finished products though it wasn't for him.

What my cute little "Puttin on the Ritz" guy is wearing. I guess the older boys weren't too keen on wearing full vests of multi-colored sequins, hence the lesser evil of the sequin ties. Well, lesser evil for them. For me, much like tiling stairs, sequins are now on my 'avoid forever and ever' list.

Things I learned through this project other than to avoid materials with sequins? You never know when posting a tutorial on your blog might actually save someone's butt, a sort of grown up version of 'sharing is caring'. That for me, three days is not enough of a turn around time for a sewing project. That the distillation process likely removes any gluten that vodka might have started with. And that I'm not as emotionally stable as I'd like to believe, hence me understanding why I no longer get to sew Halloween costumes. Sigh. Acceptance is the first step to understanding.


Deb said...

I'm sorry but I have to laugh. ;)

val said...

Wow, what an insane amount of work, but what fabulous results. love, Val

Sara said...

Oh dear! This is funny, but I know it wasn't fun. Good job.