Friday, August 27, 2010

Custom Printed Fabric

I knew about Spoonflower already, but I was impressed when I looked at the options to print fabric on demand.

I was trying to decide between buying printable silk scarf fabric to print my own (includes the headache of figuring out how to print a "page" much longer than 11 inches), and to send out that print job. I was a little disappointed that Zazzle doesn't do silk scarves. I've got a gorgeous sunset photo we took in Key West that I think would be beautiful repeated along a silk scarf! (I also love the look of old-timey silk scarf maps, and I know where to find old maps online.) I still haven't decided how to do it yet. Then again, I haven't stitched together the long version of that sunset photo either. After I do that, I suppose the next test is to print to a 14-inch legal sheet of paper to see if that works as a custom paper size. If it's easy, I'll DIY; if it's a headache, I'll send it out.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The dairy-wheat connection

Often a problem with dairy masks an underlying problem with wheat, so any time someone mentions a problem with one of those to me, I suggest monitoring the other as well. Thanks to Wikipedia on lactose intolerance, I've now got a coherent explanation.

Pathological lactose intolerance can be caused by coeliac disease, which damages the villi in the small intestine that produce lactase. This lactose intolerance is temporary. Lactose intolerance associated with coeliac disease ceases after the patient has been on a gluten-free diet long enough for the villi to recover (BMJ Textbook of Gastroenterology, Chapter 11, Celiac Disease, Dr. Jamie Gregor & Dr. Diamond Sherin Alidina).

So a problem digesting wheat (as well as other digestive problems) can damage intestinal villi, and the villi tips are where lactase is produced (or would be, if they weren't damaged).

Too bad I'm now thinking I have a problem with casein not lactose. Food allergies are most often to proteins like casein, and are outnumbered 99-to-1 by food intolerances that are most often to sugars like lactose. Strictly speaking, an allergy is an immune system reaction to what should be a benign substance, and an intolerance covers any other reaction. Your immune system is normally trying to protect you from, for example, an invading virus by making an antibody to the proteins in the virus shell. That's why most immune reactions (allergies) are to proteins -- that's what your immune system is designed to detect and to react against.

Silk Tie Ideas

I did a quick 'net search for silk tie refashion ideas.

  • The tie belt looks spiffy, and reminds me that two ties could make suspenders (attach suspender clips, and cross the ties in the back; my mom says she did that when she was pregnant with me). I wouldn't trust glue to have belt-worthy strength, but I don't mind using my sewing machine for belts and suspenders. Not that I've wanted suspenders since I was pregnant either! tie-belt
  • This sunglasses case looks good (again, I would sew instead of glue, and I would also use a slippery fabric lining), and could easily become a phone case, an iPod case with a belt loop, or a skinny purse. If you open up the tie to scavenge the material, you can make this small purse too. sunglasses-case small-purse Following this theme, you can also make a zip pouch.
  • The necktie place mats and napkin rings look very formal and manly. And they would easily adapt to be a picnic roll-up (a placemat with flatware and napkin pockets that you roll up and tie shut for the journey to your picnic destination, even Martha's done it)! necktie-placemats-and-napkin-rings
  • If you have a lot of ties and patience, try the neck tie school bag. necktie-school-bag
  • And finally, a scarf. necktie-scarf
  • A late 2014 addition, a coffee cup cozy. necktie-coffee-cup-cozy

Yep, more potential projects than I have time! I do love the whole refashion and upcycle idea, though.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Full-Bust Adjustment

Now that I've done a full-bust adjustment on a tank-top pattern my mother drafted, and researched how to do it for princess seams, it strikes me that the infamous FBA can be summarized this way:


You add that shape to the pattern piece that covers the side, either princess or darted. You modify that shape to fit your shape. You also make the patterns pieces that connect to this one longer to match. It's always that general shape, and now I wonder why it took me so long to try it. What's the point to sewing clothes for myself if they don't fit better than RTW? No wonder my last big projects have been for the boys. Well, I'm getting better (or just more confident) at this, so who knows!

Lactose Intolerance

I've always thought I had hereditary lactose intolerance because my aunt the medical doctor who collected the family history said so. She's even more sensitive to small amounts of dairy than I am, but we both get the bloating with painful cramps and borborygmi sound effects before we race to the nearest bathroom. I can usually eat cheese and yogurt, but milk is tough. Now I'm not so sure it's lactose intolerance.

The last three times I ate 1/2 cup of greek yogurt (that I strained myself) as a snack, it was some of the worst doubled-up-with-cramps I've ever had. Either greek yogurt concentrates lactose while draining the beneficial enzymes out with the whey (my first theory), or (since most of my Google results say Greek yogurt is lower lactose with the same enzymes and bacteria) this isn't lactose intolerance.

The rule of thumb is that food intolerance is to sugars (like lactose or fructose), and food allergy to protein (like casein or gluten). The two protein sources in yogurt are whey and casein; greek yogurt is yogurt with most of the whey (and tangy taste) drained off. So it's higher in casein, and now I wonder if I have a casein allergy instead. Guess I'll ask my doctor -- not my aunt, she's already made her diagnosis.

But for now, greek yogurt is off my snack list. It hurts!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Full Bust Adjustment

I was inspired by this post on her first Full Bust Adjustment, so I decided I should finally try it. I started with (a copy of) the tank top pattern that my mom drafted, but I didn't feel like making a muslin that didn't fit, so I just pinned up my copy and put it on my dressmaker's dummy. This was my first time using that dressmaker's form I got from my grandmother two years ago, and it works really well!

In fact, pinning and adjusting right on the dressmakers form was easy enough that I made all of the adjustments ... so much for beautiful directions (as these are) with inspiration, because I just winged it. I have a newfound appreciation for my dressmaker's form: that's the easy way to adjust fit!

I did spend a moment wondering how to lower the bust point on my dressmaker's form, though. Then I realized that I could effectively raise the shoulders by using gaffer's tape to attach thin 3" x 5" pieces of foam we had sitting around for another project that expired before we started. So now the form is even more accurate than when I started!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Halter Tank Top

I'm a sucker for patterns that match my measurements, and I’m always on the lookout for tank top patterns that use minimal fabric. If this one is made with a contrasting border (an opportunity both to slit the side seams and to use less main fabric) and even a contrasting back, it won’t use much of the main fabric at all. The contrasting border reduces the chance that the wrong side of the fabric will be seen, and the shelf bra does extra duty as a front facing and modesty lining. But rather than wing it entirely, I notice that it's similar to Belle Epoch Whimsy's tie tank top tutorial (I too would make it with buttonhole in front to tie there not at shoulders) which has excellent directions for a measure-then-draft pattern. The difference is that this has a lower back that's elasticized and sewn to (elasticized) shelf bra in front.

From Belle Epoch pattern drafting (except cut 1 for the front, not 2; use b-w-d-line trapezoid as pattern for the back and a-c-b-curve curved-side trapezoid as the shelf bra facing pattern -- BUT add seam allowance to back (upward) and facing (downward) on the 'b' edge so you may need to make three pattern pieces if you don't want to wing it too much), first measure yourself (in inches).

x = high bust

y = full bust

z = vertical distance between x and y

w = vertical distance between y and where you'd like the tank top to end

v = your (horizontal) body width at measurement point w

Then do some simple math:

a = THE SMALLER OF ( (x ÷ 4) + 1.5 ) AND ( b - 1 )

b = (y ÷ 4) + 3

c = z + 2

d = (v ÷ 4) + 4

Look at the pattern drafting directions from Belle Epoch for pattern drafting pictures -- a picture is worth a thousand words (or more in this case!).

Now armed with a pattern, make a strap (you can cut a skinny rectangle without a pattern, right? or use ribbon) and continue sewing from the Sewing Dork directions.

The pattern has IIRC 4 inches of ease, so it will be loose. But it's also a fitted-to-you pattern!