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Life Without Calorie Counting

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I thought I'd always have to count calories. I struggled so much with weight loss and maintaining, I thought it would be impossible to live life without a calorie counter.

I haven't counted a single calorie in a couple of weeks. I've maintained pretty well, I'm still losing weight, albeit at a slower rate. Most of the slow down is due to being fairly sedentary. I need to get back to regular exercise.

However, I am still losing. And I have not gained.

It still somewhat blows my mind. 4 freaking years, I calculated, planned, weighed, and painstakingly counted calories with marginal result. Now it is almost effortless.

I feel almost guilty. Almost. I think 4 years of struggling, I more than paid my dues.

People I know ask "What is your secret? How did you do it?" When I tell them, they get this look of disbelief.

"But saturated fats cause heart attacks."

Yes, because losing bodyfat and fitting into pants better is a well known precursor to an impending heart attack. ;)

"I can't live without pasta."

I don't live without pasta. I just don't eat it 3 times a week anymore. Maybe once a month.

I've moved past my evangelical stage. At first, I was so excited because I FINALLY got this weight loss thing figured out, I wanted to share it with everyone. I'd argue and tell them everything we thought we knew was wrong.

Now, I don't bother. They asked what I did, and I tell them. They tend to think I'm some kind of strange anomaly because it shouldn't be working, according to them. It couldn't possibly work for them too. Then they usually segue into how difficult weight loss is. They try and try, and nothing seems to work. Not for very long anyway.

I just nod in silence. I tell them to keep trying.

How many calories do I eat? I honestly don't know. I eat when I am hungry. If I'm not hungry, I don't eat. This probably means I am eating less than the standard recommendation some days. More on others. But it all seems to be working out just fine. I know what I should avoid eating (breads, pastas, sugars). After that, everything else just falls into place. I eat meats, cheeses, yogurt, vegetables, and fruit all day long.

When I get hungry, I nibble on a piece of cheese and fruit. If I'm still hungry, I nibble a little more. Since I am no longer ravenously hungry all the time, I don't scarf down everything in front of me.

I never imagined this would be me. I haven't put my calorie counter book in my purse in months.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PIPPIDY 3/15/2012 11:24AM

    This was really great & inspirational to me. I feel like not counting the calories would relieve so much stress from me & make it that much easier not to feel deprived & binge. I know sparkpeople has a great counter, but I don't want to feel obligated to use it.

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ANDREA409 7/29/2011 4:32PM

    I just wrote a blog about this very topic.

I'm with you. I haven't counted calories in at least two weeks, and I'm still having no trouble losing. Of course, I'd be losing faster were I able to be active, but I'm still losing, and that's what matters.

It's so liberating to not be obsessed about everything that goes into my mouth. The need to eat is intuitive and primitive, instilled in all of us. Counting calories and tracking nutrients are great ways to get started, but weaning off of that is a fabulous feeling!

Comment edited on: 7/29/2011 4:34:19 PM

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SUNNY2010 7/27/2011 11:43PM

    Great post! I too am wondering here if I have to count calories forever. I am afraid to stop for now. Hope to get there without counting as you.
Congrats on the weight loss!!!!

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FITGIRL15 7/27/2011 5:39PM

    I counted calories for 1 whole year! It was like my second job. It had to stop... Luckily I finally realized that I knew what to do and counting calories was giving me a false sence of my ability (or inability, reminding me that I didn't really know what I was doing or how to lose weight on my own.)

I have concluded that portion conrtol is very important! And what you choose to snack on (like you said)!

Great post!

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DDOORN 7/27/2011 9:05AM

    I can only go so far without counting calories. To really keep on top of things I still need to count 'em, even though a part of me really balks at that.


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KAKIPOPUP 7/27/2011 5:14AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANDEEC09 7/26/2011 10:33PM


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CHEFSOPHIE 7/26/2011 4:37PM

    It's not so much about the numbers, but what you eat and portion sizes. After you've been counting calories for awhile you tend to just know what is healthy and what is enough.

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MYLADY4 7/26/2011 1:38PM


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PRECIOUSJENI 7/26/2011 1:16PM

    Intuitive eating for the win! :D

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PRANA_DANCER 7/26/2011 12:24PM

    I still count my calories, but it's only because I'm using my sparktracker to track my nutrients. I know that I'm meeting my nutrient goals and that even by doing so I typically fall on the lower end of my requirements.

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WOUBBIE 7/26/2011 11:31AM

    I can really relate to your comment about moving past your evangelical phase. :) When something works so well it feels imperative to tell everybody! I'm still in that phase because I'm so blown away by my progress and the ease of it, but I've been trying hard to keep my mouth shut. The only person I am truly going to pound away at is my brother in law, who already knows he should eat like this (type 2 diabetic) and continually falls off the wagon. I'm sending him and my sister my copy of "What Makes Us Fat..." and hoping their combined intelligence will win out over their native stubbornness.

Congrats on all your hard work and Woohoo! for getting to enjoy it!

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JOAN_HEO 7/26/2011 11:30AM

    Talk about having it figured out!!! Congratulations!!!! You go girl!!!

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INITANURSE11 7/26/2011 11:06AM

    Congrats keep doing what works for you. I hope to be like you in a couple of years. emoticon

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The Dress Patterns

Monday, July 25, 2011

I was going to write this as a comment in my last blog, but decided to make a separate blog for it.

Here is what I had in mind for my wedding dress. It is a Vogue pattern with an asymmetrical twist. I really like asymmetrical styles, and this appealed to me.


I'm not sure yet which fabrics I want to use. Brocade? Satin? Silk? Jacquard? After I get the mockup finished, I was going to photoshop different mask patterns to play with different options.

I was going to make a lace/sheer bolero/shrug to go over it. Pattern "B" is what I had in mind to go with the above dress. I was intending a sheer fabric with lace trim. I really want to highlight the twist on the dress as the focal point, so I wanted a light jacket that doesn't cover too much of the dress.


Pattern "C" is the shrug I'm making to go on vacation next month.

This is my mockup for the vest on Pattern "C" so far. I hope to get the sleeves added tonight. I plan to make the final version with lace with a sheer lining that will show through underneath the lace. I'm having a hard time working today! I want to be sewing!

Couple of question for the experienced seamstresses out there:

1) The Vogue dress pattern is marked as "Advanced". It has boning through the strapless top for support. I'm guessing the asymmetrical twist gathering is more challenging than it seems. Is there something else I'm missing? Is this more deceptively difficult than it seems?

2) The dress pattern adds cup padding to the dress, but I was considering getting a bustier or corset to wear underneath for bust support. Should I skip adding the padding for that reason? Can I skip it, or will it alter the form of the dress too much?

3) I am going to have to do quite a bit of trimming off the length. I am petite. Will I be able to trim the length off without adversely affecting the folds? I have a suspicion it's not going to be as straight forward as just hemming the bottom length, but I'm not sure.

4) I was planning on making the mockup relatively soon so I know whether I am biting off more than I can chew - lol. I am still losing weight. My wedding isn't until May. My plan was to make the mockup and test alterations. If it works out, set aside until February, adjust alterations, then assemble with the real materials. Will take extensive notes so I don't forget details! Sound good?

Thanks so much for all your help and suggestions so far!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VHALKYRIE 7/27/2011 12:49PM

    I found a very helpful website called PatternReview.Com.


I found this dress in there. The reviews say the pattern instructions aren't very good, but once it is figured out, there are only three pieces to sew together! Sounds good so far. Once people were able to manage to puzzle it together, they seemed to have good success with it. Very helpful tips on fabric types.

I had to take the dressform back. The small size I got was too broad in the upper bust area. I would never be able to fit a strapless dress to it. I found a good price online, and have a petite dressform on the way.

Comment edited on: 7/27/2011 12:51:27 PM

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TWO_SPARROWS 7/26/2011 10:56AM

    Just take one step at a time, follow the directions, and adjust the ENTIRE length, not just the hem. If you're petite, then remember that you're shorter in the waist/torso area than an average-sized woman. That should help with the folds right there.

The padding in the bustline is designed to help with the shape of the dress. If you remove it, it might not look right with just the stays/bone-inserts.

A bustier will work if you're wanting to remove the vest/jacket/bolero you want to make to wear over it. You don't want your straps showing! However, you can also get clear straps that some women swear by.

Just take it one step at a time, like I said, and a mock-up of what you're trying to will be a big help. Once you've got your final adjustments made, you'll find the final project a piece of cake.

You're gonna be one smokin'-hot bride, m'dear! We will expect pictures, you know!

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VHALKYRIE 7/25/2011 4:39PM

    Ok, while on lunch break, I was able to get a dressform from Joann - on sale even! I realize that I will not be able to make the dress properly without it. I have no one local to help me, so this is the only way I will be able to do the adjustments.

I was able to get an adjustable dressform that I can modify to my size. My model is able to fit pants, also. So now I will be able to take in my work pants too!! Yay!! Multiple problems solved!

Comment edited on: 7/25/2011 9:13:41 PM

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VHALKYRIE 7/25/2011 3:03PM

    I haven't looked at the instructions yet, but there are bra cups sewn in. I don't think there is a built in corset.

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ARCHIMEDESII 7/25/2011 2:56PM

    So, here's a quick question. Does the first dress have a corset built into it or is there a corset under it ? Just looking at the photo, it looks like the corset is built in.

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VHALKYRIE 7/25/2011 2:30PM

    JustBirdy: Arg. That's a good point about the dressform. I'll have to think on that.

ChefSophie: Great idea on using the lining for a test form! I'll have to borrow that idea!

Comment edited on: 7/25/2011 2:31:45 PM

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JUSTBIRDY 7/25/2011 2:25PM

    The advanced patterns just have more instructions. With the draping, it is probably better to have a dress form, or to have an experienced person help you with fitting.

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CHEFSOPHIE 7/25/2011 12:40PM

    I made a strapless dress for my daughter's prom. If I remember, it took some special individualized fitting that doesn't have to be done when it's not strapless. It also took some fitting in the back of the snug top so it was more fitted. However since you are making a test dress, you should be able to figure these steps out, and take notes as you do so you can recreate the dress more easily. I have acutally used lining like a test dress also.

The dress is stunning.

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WOUBBIE 7/25/2011 12:26PM

    As to trimming the length, there are usually markings on the pattern as to where to "lengthen or shorten" here. It usually has more to do with your back waist measurement than your overall height.

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LADYROSE 7/25/2011 12:24PM

    You are awesome and oh so talented! Love the first dress design - I've never tackled a Vogue pattern, but love all the vintage ones they have available now... hmmm... makes me want to dust off the fabu sewing maching my hubby got me ages ago!

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ARCHIMEDESII 7/25/2011 11:58AM

    One thing to consider when choosing fabrics is up keep. Silk and satin are both high maintenance materials. They are prone to wrinkling quite a bit. So, when you sit in something like satin or silk, the fabric ends up wrinkling. Which means if you want the fabric to look good, you need to keep standing up. ;)

Of course, like any good Asian bride, you could just have multiple changes of outfit for the day. You know, the dress you wear for the wedding. the dress you wear for the reception and then there is the dress you wear when you leave the reception for the honeymoon. gee, you'd better get moving on that sewing ! LOL !!!

Okay, joking aside, I do like that dress. It's quite lovely. What fabric you choose will probably depend on when you decide to have the wedding. If you have the wedding in Autumn/Fall, I'd go with brocade. If you have the wedding in summer, then something lighter weight. Silk could be an option. Depends on the weight of the thread because silk can be many thicknesses.

Yes, I did learn some things from my mom about sewing.


One thing you might do is a "test" dress of that pattern. Make the dress in some fabric you don't care about just to see how it works out.

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PRANA_DANCER 7/25/2011 11:45AM

    It's probably a few years out yet, but you're making me want to make my own dress too!

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VHALKYRIE 7/25/2011 11:16AM

    TAPETUM: Yes, there are two contrasting fabrics in the design. =)

Thanks for the link!

Comment edited on: 7/25/2011 11:19:29 AM

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TAPETUM 7/25/2011 11:07AM

    May I recommend the site "Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing" if you haven't found it already? She does a lot of tutorials on techniques used in vintage clothing, and boning, corselette vs. corsette, and other internal structure issues are major parts of what she does. ( http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/
search/label/tutorial ) - this is the first page of tutorials, including one on boning a waistband near the bottom.

I've never made a strapless dress (my wedding dress had fairly wide straps and a low back), but other than issues revolving around that, I don't see anything that looks too alarming - it's a beautiful dress! Am I seeing accurately that there's a set-in strip of contrasting texture?

I happen to love silks, (my wedding dress was silk twill and sueded silk), and I would be wary of satins unless you've worked with them before - slippery, and they absolutely show if everything isn't perfect, but brocades sound lovely - especially on the insert, if I'm seeing it accurately.

Good luck!

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VHALKYRIE 7/25/2011 10:50AM

    I never would have imagined I'd be considering making my own dress! I am pretty nervous about it, actually.

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DISP715 7/25/2011 10:34AM

    That dress is gorgeous!! I can't even sew on a button, but, I wish I could. How wonderful for you to sew this yourself, will be so special. HUGS!

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Adventures in Sewing

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In my last blog, I commented that I was going to try an experiment this weekend. I was going to try and see if it was within the realm of possibility for me to make my own wedding dress.

This is pretty ambitious, to be sure. This is a huge project.

I have dabbled with making various bags, but I haven't had a whole lot of success with making clothes. So to make the leap to a wedding dress is kinda crazy! The dress I want to make is labeled "Advanced", but I didn't think it's anything too crazy. More modern elegance rather than fairy tale princess. We will see how I feel after making the mockup - lol.

I've learned a couple of things this weekend.

1) The cut makes the garment. I tried making a dress last year with rather disastrous results. I haven't sewn with a pattern since high school, and I've forgotten a number of details. I've since relearned that the cut is what makes the garment. There is a reason for the saying "measure twice, cut once." I can't remember if it is attributed to tailoring or carpentry, but it applies to both. I didn't do a very good job with my cutting the dress I attempted to make a year ago, and it showed. Since then, I've learned how to be much more precise with rotary cutters. Most of my time spent this weekend wasn't on sewing, but on transferring patterns, cutting, and alterations. If the cut is crooked cut, the item will not look professional. If I have a straight cut, it is easier to sew a straight line.

2) Go slow. With my dress disaster, I think I went too fast because the package said "Very Easy". I think if I was more experienced (or had a better sewing machine), I probably could sew faster. I don't sew very fast. I have to use the handwheel for precision, especially when nearing a corner pivot, going around a curve, or near the end of a seam.

3) Mockups. I didn't make a mockup of the dress I tried to make last year. As a programmer, I make all kinds of tests for my code. Why I skipped making a test run for a dress is beyond me. I know better. Test, test, test! I make mockups of all my bags before using the good materials like silk. I bought a bolt of inexpensive muslin cloth in order to make mockups of my wedding dress. I need a mockup to make alterations to before using the real materials.

4) During my time dabbling with making handbags, I have actually inadvertently learned a few important skills for dressmaking. I buy remnants from the fabric store, which are usually discounted 50% or more. Because I make small bags and purses, I usually don't need more than a yard, which makes remnants perfect. I can buy normally very expensive and inaccessible materials for cheap. I already know how to work with very delicate and wonky materials like silk, brocade, organza, and chiffon - typical bridal material. I've made silk lined brocade bags - not very easy or forgiving materials to handle.

5) With my weekend experiment, I was surprised to learn how my bag making hobby transferred to clothing making. I know how to add a zipper. Adding boning to a dress isn't too unlike adding cording or embedding a magnet in a bag liner! I was attempting to make a shrug. I thought the pattern instructions for adding a lining to be very difficult to follow. So, using knowledge from my bag making, I just attached the lining directly to the fabric pieces and sealed it up with french seams. I was happy with the result, even on the test fabric. This came out much better than the dress from last year.

However, I made a mistake. I thought all the sizes were in the pattern package, but the manufacturer split the sizes into different groups, and I bought the wrong one. Also compounding the problem is I discovered I have very non standard body proportions. I got an unexpected learning experience in scaling a pattern and alterations!

I was relieved that I transferred the patterns onto craft paper, instead of cutting the original. I was able to scale and make the alterations on the transferred paper.

I didn't get to finish, but here is what I was able to do so far. This is just the test fabric, and I haven't added the sleeves yet. The "real" jacket will be a lace shrug with a sheer lining. I plan to take it as an evening coverup for a dress when I go on vacation next month.

Tomorrow I'm going back to the fabric store to get the right sided pattern! This was exhausting, but I am excited. I bought a dress pattern for what I have in mind for a wedding dress (the right size - I checked!). I am eager to try it!

I have more than 9 months until the wedding. In case it doesn't work out, I have plenty of time to get one from the store - lol.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOAN_HEO 7/28/2011 8:45AM

    LOVE the pattern!!! Love it!!!

Don't worry about the Vogue/advanced thing. Just build it one seam at a time. You have lots of time so there is no need to hurry.

Another suggestion: I know I tend to do stupid things when I am tired. Work on your creation when you aren't! =)

I am soooooo excited for you!!

Now order the book! Read it, re-read it, bookmark the parts you know you want to go back to, then read it all again! =)

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TWO_SPARROWS 7/26/2011 11:20AM

    Sweetie, even experiences seamstresses go slow around corners and use the hand wheel to make curves with the needle. Don't ba ashamed to admit you're being careful...because the finished product shows your dedication.

I have four machines, from an antique Singer in a table to the one my mother got when I was about 4 (oh, Lordie...I just realized how old that machine really is!) to another that's only about 15 years old to one that I purchased about a year ago. All have their merits, and all have their flaws. There are two I have set up for full-time use and the other two are (gasp) gathering dust. I vary between delicate and heavy fabrics when sewing so need something that will sew thick stuff and fine stuff, hence the two machines.

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VHALKYRIE 7/25/2011 10:38AM

    JOAN_HEO: Check my blog today for details about my dress patterns and what I had in mind!

No, I have not got the book yet. It was really pricey on Amazon, but I think I managed to find it at a reasonable price elsewhere. I might not get it until next week.

And yes! I am constantly using my iron! I have it plugged into my light switch in my office/sewing room. I just flip it on and off when I need to use it! ;)

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SUECHRIS50 7/25/2011 10:19AM

    Wow i like that you are so ambitious!Wearing your wedding dress that you made must be so exciting!You dont seem too stressed so YOU GO GIRL!!!! emoticonSUSAN

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ARCHIMEDESII 7/25/2011 10:08AM

    Have you ever seen a PBS show called Sewing with Nancy ? I've occasionally watched her show on the weekends. She has lots of great sewing tips for beginners, intermediate and advanced seamstresses. You can find out more about her on her website. I think you might be able to see old shows online.


Good luck with your goal !! I can't remember the last time I sewed anything from scratch. It's been years. I used to be pretty good with a sewing machine. These days, I'm lucky I can still thread a needle to sew on a button !! LOL !!!!


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JOAN_HEO 7/25/2011 10:01AM

    I forgot...your most important tool? Your iron! Press seams carefully. Clip seams with curves and open them all and press them flat. My mother always told me a good iron is the difference between hand made and home made! It's so true!

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KAYOTIC 7/25/2011 9:55AM

    the bolero looks so cute! Nice job, can't wait to see the real thing!

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JOAN_HEO 7/25/2011 9:55AM

    I want to know what pattern you are going to use. I can take a look at it and give you some pointers maybe?

I cut the bodice of the second wedding dress out of muslin, fit it to the bride, then took it apart and used it as the pattern so I knew it would fit perfectly.

Something else to think about...if you are planning on losing more weight and your dress will be fitted, be careful you don't make it too big. Once you get it fitted they way you want, you are not allowed to lose or gain weight! =)

Has your book arrived? =))))

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ANDREA409 7/25/2011 9:31AM

    What an awesome goal! I also mentioned to my bf a few weeks ago I'd love to start learning to sew things. Specifically, at the time I decided I want to make my own curtains (surely not as daunting as tackling a wedding dress). So, I think I could do it.

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PETUNIAPIG 7/25/2011 9:24AM

    Wow - how exciting! Just this weekend I was mentioning to my hubby that I wish I could sew better. I only have done quilts and simple little things.

Wish you lots of luck and have fun with it!!

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PRANA_DANCER 7/25/2011 9:23AM

    I still use scissors, but I try to follow two rules my mom gave me. Make sure you have an absolutely straight edge at the side either by ripping or more tediously tearing out one strand of the fabric at a time. Merely matching up the selvages can put the weave at an angle in your finished product. Also move around the table/pattern to cut: don't move the pattern. It has worked pretty well for me in the past, though I no longer have a table large enough to work on so I have to use the floor. And I need a new pair of scissors.

Also, watch for pattern sales! Stores have them pretty regularly. I bought two $15+ patterns last year for $2 each. I still haven't used one of them, but the other was my Renaissance Festival costume last year.

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VHALKYRIE 7/25/2011 8:58AM

    Thanks for the advice! I agree. This is why I'm working on it now, in case something goes wrong, I have a backup plan.

Comment edited on: 7/25/2011 9:00:52 AM

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JECKIE 7/25/2011 8:45AM

    My best piece of advice is to give yourself PLENTY of time. I've done dresses for weddings and there's nothing more stressful than working on in the night before! :)

Good luck!

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Makeup Brush Roll for Travel

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A couple of my hobbies are sewing and jewelry making. My German grandmother was a master seamstress. My dad had a few work shirts that she made that would rival anything Armani. Her lines were perfect, cutting and edges crisp and neat. And she did it with a sewing machine far less capable than some of the modern ones. I wish I had taken more of an interest in sewing when she was still alive. I'm sure she had tips and secrets that are now long gone.

I'm not a very good seamstress, but I can sew a straight line. I can't do anything too complex - I don't have any illusions about making my wedding dress. That's a big project, and I don't have the skill. Hemming pants and skirts are a necessity, since I am shorter than average, but I don't make a lot of my own clothes. The main sewing projects I like to do are making handbags, wallets, and purses!

I made this book bag last summer. I made the embellishment clasp by beading around a magnet. I used an old bottle cap that is embedded inside the lining that the magnet sticks to so the clasp stays in place when I walk.

I also made a couple of brocade fabric handbags. I made the Chinese knot handles on the blue brocade bag. Looks complex, but it's very easy!

As you can tell from my gallery pictures, we like to travel. Sometimes it's an impromptu weekend out of towner, where we grab a travel bag and hit the road.

One of the things I have trouble with is keeping my various toiletries and makeup organized. I end up stuffing them in pockets in my overnight bag, but it isn't very organized. I decided to sew makeup and brush rolls to help make travel easier.

I first sketched out a rough idea on how I wanted it to work. I don't think 'women's' crafts like sewing and jewelry making get much credit they deserve. Designing a bag or jewelry from scratch takes some thought that requires higher level IQ, like being able to think spatially. To make the brush roll, I had to think about how the liner and outer fabric would fold together, how to make the seams fit together, how to space the pockets so the brushes would fit and fold over, and how to make it look nice. It is designing function and art.

I then made test patterns using cheap muslin cloth. Lots of test patterns, as I tweaked the design. My earlier test patterns were much simplier, but gave me ideas on how I wanted the final product to look. I originally designed this with the intention of using a brocade fabric, and I wanted as much brocade to be highlighted as possible. I decided that I wanted the outer fabric to fold over the pocketed liner so the outer fabric looks continuous when rolled over. At another stage in the design, I wanted a flap that folds over the top of the brushes.

Once I had a product design I was happy with, I used an inexpensive fat quarter used by quilters to test how it would look with a patterned design. Yes, I made lots and lots of test patterns! Not a process for the impatient!

Happy with the test design, I made another using higher quality linen and a patterned liner to see how it would look.

I was intending to make this with a pretty brocade pattern, but I'm so happy with how the red one turned out, I might just keep it. I'm now designing a similar roll for my powdered makeups.

One of the design considerations I'm taking into account is carry on liquids. I am making sure that my makeup rolls contain only powders and solids. My liquid makeup like mascara and foundation go into a quart sized bag. I am intending to make a bag that will fit the carry on liquids, makeup brush roll, and powdered makeup roll.

A lot of DIY projects save money. Because the US doesn't really make a lot of textiles in the country anymore (and fewer people sew) fabrics really aren't that cheap. I could go to a Walmart and buy a makeup bag for far, far less than it is costing me to design and sew these myself. It is not the cheapest method, but it IS the cheapest for the quality. The least expensive makeup carriers I could buy would be at Walmart. A higher quality makeup bag bought at Sephora would cost more than doing it from scratch. So, DIY is more cost effective for better quality materials. And I totally get to customize it. The red makeup roll matches my carry on travel bag beautifully!

Mostly, I do it for the challenge of learning something, and getting something unique and personalized for me!

One of the ways I save money on fabrics is buying the remnants from bolts that have gone low. Because I don't need lots of material for purses and bags, I get all kinds of beautiful materials like silks, linens and brocade for cheap. My red brush roll was made from high quality cotton linen that I bought as a fabric remnant for 50% off. I think I paid about $1.50 for a yard. I have enough material leftover to make the powdered makeup roll, but I will have to get a little more in order to make a container to house them all.

What are your crafts and hobbies?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VHALKYRIE 7/22/2011 11:02PM

    Thank you for the nice comments, everyone! You have all boosted my confidence enough that I am making a tentative test to see if I can make my wedding dress. I bought a pattern that I like, and some muslin cloth. I'm going to try testing it this weekend to see if it's doable. Wish me luck!

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JOAN_HEO 7/22/2011 7:35PM

    Oh my goodness those are BEAUTIFUL!!! I am a sewer and I say you DO have the skills!!! If you want to make your wedding dress you certainly can!!! Buy yourself _Bridal Couture_ by Susan Khalje. It's wonderful! I have made 2 wedding dresses for 2 sisters at different times. The first sister wanted something very simple (thank the lord!) and we made it out of a lovely silk. It was sooo pretty. A couple of years later her sister got married and she had me come with her and her mom as she tried on dresses in NYC. She found a gorgeous dress at Michele Roth. All three of us fell in love with it! The plan was for mom to take a few photos of it on the sly but the lady helping us never left the fitting room! I had to recreate it from memory! I bought the bridal couture book and it was so helpful. Since the dress was strapless, I had to put boning in it. The book explained it so well! It wasn't difficult, it just took time. It fit the bride like a glove and it did not move an inch. She didn't have to pull it up once! The book shows you how to do all those couture stitches...like the one to put in a zipper with tiny little stitches (it's called the prick stitch).
Incredible! Even I could do it! =) The dresses in the book are dated but the how-to's are great! Really worth the money! Check it out!!!

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VHALKYRIE 7/21/2011 8:17AM

    TWO_SPARROWS: Thank you so much! Well, I didn't post pictures of the dress I tried to make. ;) I don't do so well when using the store bought patterns, I'm not sure why. The package said it was very easy, and I had trouble with it, so that shook my confidence I think! That is why I say I'm not very skilled. I can do the straight lines on my bags and purses, but I seem to get tangled up in sewing clothes. I think I have improved a bit, and I'm going to try another dress pattern soon.

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MNMS_MOMMY 7/21/2011 7:36AM

    WOW!!! I am thoroughly impressed, by the beautiful end products as well as all the careful planning and work that went into them! emoticon

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TWO_SPARROWS 7/20/2011 9:09PM

    If I read your blog correctly, you said you DIDN'T have your grandmother's skill?

I think, with the piece you just wrote and the associated photos, you proved yourself wrong. It takes a great deal of talent and logical planning to sew ANYTHING...and designing takes a creative talent a great many seamstresses dont' have.

Don't sell yourself short. I think your grandmother would be exceptionally proud of what you're doing!

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JUSTBIRDY 7/20/2011 8:57PM

    hey, you should join the crafty recyclers!

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BTVMADS 7/20/2011 7:10PM

    SO CUTE! And fabulous and impressive! I'm sorta' lacking in complicated spatial skills and have no fine motor control, so things like knitting and sewing have never worked out for me, and never fail to impress me. My sister is an incredible knitter, and when I see complicated fiber art, I absolutely swoon.

When I get crafty, I silkscreen. I have a YUDU that makes it very easy to make complicated stencils for printing shirts. I've made large quantities of shirts for camp and a political group I belong to, and they've looked super cool! I also love refurbishing wooden furniture, but, well... that's not so practical since I don't own my house. But it's such a source of pride to change something so drastically and make it beautiful again!

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CATLADY52 7/20/2011 4:40PM

    I can remember my grandmother telling stories about her days as a dressmaker to the stars. She was quite accomplished. Unfortunately, she was well past her prime when I started sewing clothes for my kids when they were young. I guess I inherited her knack of taking bits and pieces from different patterns and putting them together in a manner that made sense. The last project I had was my older daughter's wedding dress. She did look lovely in it.

Your bags are beautiful and they each have a purpose. emoticon

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VHALKYRIE 7/20/2011 2:41PM

    I do have an etsy store, actually! I'm just not very good at keeping it stocked. But I probably will put some of these extras up for sale. I don't really need this many brush rolls!

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BEARCLAW6 7/20/2011 2:08PM

    If you ever feel the need to sell some of these, check out the website, www.etsy.com. It is filled with art made by professionals and amateurs alike.

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ARCHIMEDESII 7/20/2011 11:39AM

    Those are marvelous bags, very cute !! You've definitely got your grandmother's sewing thumb ! I can't tell you the last time I used a sewing machine. My mom used to be a pretty nifty seamstress herself. She used to make her own (as well as my families) clothing. At the time, I always figured she did it because we were too poor to afford store bought clothes. Which was true.

But you know, as I grew older, I realized how much she just enjoyed the creative process. She loved buying McCall's patterns. I'm bummed that they got tossed out years ago. The problem with those old patterns is that they were made out of tissue paper and got yellow really fast. too bad. those were great patterns. I did enjoy looking through all those pattern books.


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PRANA_DANCER 7/20/2011 10:16AM

    Those are really cute! You make patterns the same way I do. I agree that it's a lot more complicated that what people usually give "women's crafts" credit for. I'm currently making a pattern for a zill belt. Last year at the Reniassance Festival I wanted to carry my zills around to play them, but the pouch was too bulky and looked terrible under my scarves. So this year I'm making a belt that matches my costume to be worn *over* my scarves with a pocket in the back to hold my zills, a pocket on the inside to hold my money, and that's line so I can pin my skirts and scarves to it so they won't shift!

Very fun to engineer.

As you can guess, my hobbies are sewing and dance! They go very well together. :P

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Yep, I'm Still Shrinking!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I need to buy new work clothes. My work pants don't fit!

I'll never have the really dramatic before and after pic like Subway Jarrod. I donated all my size 12-14 clothes as soon as they were too big. I wanted them out as fast as possible. These are a size 8, and I'll be taking them to Goodwill later in the week.

Of all my clothes shopping, I look forward to work clothes shopping the least. I am a petite with pear proportions. I think most clothes manufacturers assume size 4-6 girls are anorexics with flat butts. It is difficult to find pants that fit my waist/hip proportions. I almost never find the right length - I assume I have to hem the length myself. It is a time consuming process. And expensive, as I need business casual clothes. The only reason I currently have pants that fit is because I bought a few pairs that were a size too small when I did my original work clothes shopping, thinking I would fit in them soon. That was 4 years ago.

People think what they might about paleo diets, but I can't deny the results!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VHALKYRIE 7/20/2011 8:58AM

    Thanks for the kudos and the tips, everybody!

Don: Oh yes!! I have definitely found the right formula-1 mix for my body!!

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DDOORN 7/20/2011 8:39AM

    Have you found your GROOVE or WHAT?!?

Looking mighty fine! Keep up the super SPARKIN'!


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KAKIPOPUP 7/19/2011 8:23PM

    emoticon emoticon

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BTVMADS 7/19/2011 8:03PM

    Clothes shopping CAN be very difficult (Ann Taylor LOFT has a great petites selection though, btw) when you're little and curvy, but when you're looking as fabulous as you... I think it's worth it.

Congrats for continuing to make so much progress!!!

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CATLADY52 7/19/2011 6:03PM

    emoticon emoticon Is it better to have to take them in or let them rot?

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MIGURLINNC 7/19/2011 5:33PM

    I have the same problem! Us short, curvy, formerly chubby girls need a special store. I HATE hemming my clothes, but do what I need to so that I look proper. Have you tried resale stores? I have had some good luck and pay way less. Congrats on the weight loss! Rock on!

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JOAN_HEO 7/19/2011 4:30PM

    Congrats!!! Don't you just love under-growing your clothes? =) It's a great feeling! emoticon

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BREEZEBEE 7/19/2011 4:22PM

    There's a big brand of jeans (but can't remember which!) that do 'curve' jeans with different curves for different shapes! I'm definitely a 'bold curve' ;)

Bee x

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55WALKER 7/19/2011 3:55PM

    emoticon emoticon

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F.SILVI 7/19/2011 1:58PM

    Try Talbots. They are made for real women!

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PRANA_DANCER 7/19/2011 10:49AM

    I too suffer from the fashion industry's hatred of hips on smaller girls. Fortunately, I know how to so but like you say it's expensive and time consuming.

You look fantastic, by the way!

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ARCHIMEDESII 7/19/2011 10:26AM

    You're the incredible shrinking woman !!! emoticon

You know, you should keep one pair of your former "fat" pants. At some point in our various weight loss journey's, we all need a James Coco photographic moment. So, when you've finally decided to go into maintenance, you take pictures wearing those old large pants. I actually need to do that myself at some point.

As the old Weight Watcher's phrase goes,"This is living !"


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KAYOTIC 7/19/2011 10:18AM

    Have fun shopping! Sounds like a great reward for all your hard work!

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ANDREA409 7/19/2011 9:37AM


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JUSTBIRDY 7/19/2011 9:33AM


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JECKIE 7/19/2011 9:31AM

    Check out lower rise pants. They help in that they don't have to fit your waist so you can just buy to fit your hips instead. :)

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