Halloween weekend: two-faced Jack-o-lantern, newly stained bookcase and my attempt at sewing a dress

So I decided it was time to check some items off my list of “things I’m procrastinating.”

Carving the jack-o-lantern topped the list. It was the most urgent task to complete, being Halloween and all. We gave one pumpkin two faces: evil and not-evil. I call it Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

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The not-evil face is my design; I’m pleased with how the glasses turned out. We finished the pumpkin at about 5pm, just in time to set it out for trick-or-treaters.

Now for the bookcase, which I had been meaning to stain for over a year. The longer I put it off, the more crazy I felt when I looked at it. This weekend I couldn’t take it any more so I did it. Here’s how it looked unfinished.

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And here it is finished.

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It took three days to complete. First I sanded it; there were water stains on the top that I had to get rid of. Then I gave it one coat of honey oak stain. The next day I gave it a top coat of polyurethane. Now, it looks beautiful.

While I waited for the bookcase to try, I worked on the most stressful project: sewing. I’ve never been great at sewing. I decided to do it anyway because I have trouble finding dresses that I like. Making my own should be easier and cheaper than buying one, right? At least this way I can get what I want.

I chose a pattern called The Angelina Dress. I downloaded the pattern for free and followed the youtube tutorial.

Here’s the fabric and thread that I purchased for a discounted price at Fabric Land. My intention? Sew the dresses now and have them ready for next summer.

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I printed out the dress pattern, taped it together, and cut out my pieces. I decided to use the green fabric as my practice dress.

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Now I’m not sure if the fabric I bought is tricky or if my scissors are dull, but I had a hell of a time cutting the pieces properly. Yes, I did use sewing scissors, which I admit I have owned for years and years yet hardly used them. Do scissors get dull from disuse? After cutting out the pieces I spent an hour on youtube watching videos about “facings.” I had to attach front and back facings and I didn’t understand what on earth I was doing.

Eventually I figured it out and got to work. Eowyn seemed very interested in the sewing machine and she kept me company while I hunched over it until the wee hours of the morning.

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Somehow I managed to attach the facings. Yes!! Now to sew the sides of the dress together. At this point the machine started eating the fabric so I said “F this”, left it all on the table and went to sleep.

The next night I went at it again. I remembered seeing this trick where you put tissue paper under the fabric. I tried it and it worked. Hooray! The dress is practically finished!

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Not too bad, right? I’m really proud of it. It is far from perfect but at least it resembles a dress!

I still need to fix the straps. I somehow managed to twist them while sewing the straps of the front to the back. Also, it’s too short to be a dress!! I don’t know if I did something wrong while sewing it or if the pattern was designed for a different body type. I have a long torso so that may be why the length is too short for me. I can’t really fix that, but I can turn it into a tank top.

The next dress should be much easier to make now that I know what to watch for. Also I’m quite proud of myself for sticking to it. It was tempting to give up part-way through – sewing takes a huge amount of patience!

What’s on your to-do list?

 

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