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Month: June 2016

Rockabilly circle skirt

Rockabilly circle skirt

You most probably have wore a circle skirt in your life (even if you’re a boy!); it’s the type you’d call also princess skirt or “spinning skirt”, because it flows so nice when you turn around. Several Disney princesses, like Aurora from Sleeping Beauty, Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Anna from Frosen wore circle skirts in the movies, because it flows so gracefully. No wonder the rockabilly movement favored it – the rockabilly dance has plently of spins and skips, so dancers wearing the circle skirt can be most spectacular.

Cutting method of the fabric goes exactly you’d suspect by its name: You cut a great circle with a smaller circle matching your waistline in the middle, and that’s all.
But what if the fabric is striped? If you follow the method described above the stripes will be messy, so we have to find another way.

Well, if you have ever asked yourself over a difficult math homework WHERE are you going to use this in real life, here is the answer! To draw the pattern of the circle skirt! In this post I’ll show you how to construct a sewing pattern for the paneled circle skirt fast and easy.

The maths (I suggest you write the underlined values on a paper so they”ll always be around when needed):

  • Measure your waistline (or to be precise the circumference of the part where the skirt begins. It may vary depending on the fashion: wether it’s a high-waist skirt or a hipskirt, or something in between.) (And no cheating, you don’t have to impress the pattern.)
  • Divide the waistline by 6.28 to get the waist radius.
  • Add the required length to the waist radius to get the skirt radius.
  • Multiply the skirt radius by 6.28 to get the circumference of the skirt.
rockabilly circle skirt sewing pattern
My waistline and the circumference of the skirt (in centimetres)

Okay, no more maths. Now to drad the patterns you have to do the following:

  • Decide how many panels are needed. The more panelt you use the more difficult and more smooth it’ll turn out to be. In this tutorial I’ll use eight, but your numbers may vary.
  • Divide the waistline and the circumference by the number of the panels.
  • You have to construct a trapezium where the top side is the waistline divided by the number of panels, the bottom side is the circumference divided by the number of panels, and the height equals the required length of the skirt. It should look somewhat like this:
rockabilly circle skirt sewing pattern
Trapezium and my pink socks
  • You have to cut this trapezium shape (with some seam allowance) from the fabric as many times as many panels you used for the math part.
  • seaming is relatively easy: you have to sew together the panels by their side so they’ll form a circle shape.
  • If you have used your exact waist measurement you have to insert a zipper or add buttons to one of the seams. If you used bigger measurement than your actual waist you can insert a rubber band to the waistline.

rockabilly circle skirt sewing pattern

  • I have also added a non-elastic waistband to reach the resemblance of actual ’60s rockabilly circle skirt.

The final piece:

rockabilly circle skirt sewing pattern
You can see the circular shape
rockabilly circle skirt
My very own handmade circle skirt.
Tote bag with skeleton camea

Tote bag with skeleton camea

I recently got hold of some upholstery fabric (fabric used to cover furniture) which is perfect for creating bags. It’s stron on the right side while padded from the inside, so it provides double protection for things inside. I decided to sew tote bag since I have plently of books, files and lady stuffs I carry every day so I need a large bag; but since I started to work at an office and dress corpgth I need an elegant piece.

For the first step I cut a rectangle which has the width of the required width of the tote bag, and the length is the required depth of the bag two times plus the required thickness. After that I cut two rectangles which had the length of the required depth of the bag and the width of the required thickness. If this sounds confusing just think about the cuboid nets you used to draw at elementary school (I hope I wasn’t the only one :D). You have to add 2-3 cm seam to every dimension also.

tote bag táska tutorial
If it still sounds confusing just look at this pic.

I sewed the two smaller rectangle to the middle of the big rectangle (as seen above), and folded all four “petals” up and sewed them together. The next step is to secure the top seams; this is how it supposed to look:

tote bag táska tutorial

This is the raw basis of the tote bag, now we just have to add the straps of the bad and some decoration.

tote bag táska tutorial

On this piece I put some lace on the top and a camea on the front, and sewed the straps OVER the lace. But let your imagination soar, there’s no limit of variations.

tote bag táska tutorial

I made the straps myself of the same material as I used for the tote bag, but buying ready-made bag straps is also an option.

tote bag táska tutorial
Imagination in progress

The final piece in action:

tote bag táska tutorial

tote bag táska tutorial

Amy Mah and the real vampires

Amy Mah and the real vampires

As a hardcore sceptic, conspiration theories, mechanism of gullibility and human stupidity has always been my favourite debate topics, but I have never written on them here for they aren’ fit in this blog’s policy. But there is always a first time, now I have found the contact point of con-theos and the dark-alternative subcultures: the case of Amy Mah.

 

The books

Amy Mah is a thirty years old writer, who has started the business three years ago, has published several paperback books and hosts a succesful blog (her books on Amazon.com). Her style can be called metafiction; this narrative technique constantly raises the reader’s awarness on the fact that the artifact is merely an artifact. Usually this technique doesn’t let the reader get involved in the story, but combined with diary-like narrative the effects turn to the opposite, it becomes uncannily realistic.

A paralel example for easier understanding: metafiction is when characters in a film nows and tells they are in a film. This results in the viewer not believing what they see – except when it is a found footage film, in witch case it only enhances the sense of reality.

This technique can be demanding, as the autor basically has to be an actor, has to live the life of the character whose point of view the story is written (the guy with the camera), and has to tell the story with the words and style of that character.

Amy Mah uses the point of view of a sarcastic teenage vampire who has to face similar problems to human teenagers: friends, boyfriends, love, sex, adults and acne (caused by sunlight here). The books got mixed reviews: some say there isn’t enough description and backstory written, others say metafiction doesn’t even need descriptions. Some say it’s too explicit for children and too simple for adults, others claim that it’s the very meaning of Young Adult Fiction. I haaven’t read the books myself, only the blod, and my oppinion is that Amy is far from being Anne Rice YET, but she has talent and potential to create something great and beautiful.

amy mah vampire
Illustration of AMy Mah from the book Fangs rule

 

Where’s the problem?

It’s a beginning of a beautiful carreer, you may say, why do I think it’s strange in any way?

The reason is that some of the critical voices, most of them actually aims not the books but the author. It seems that an innocent piece of teen-vampire-literature could outraged the so called vampire communities so much that the Facebook- and interne pages of Amy are constantly reported, her publisher was threatend to be sued, and she even got several death threats.

The most bizarre detail of the story are the reasons: the “real” vampires consider the books dangerous to their community because

  • it ridicules real vampires
  • it can stimulate mortals believing they’re vampires thus endangering their and other’s life, by jumping off somewhere thinking they can fly or going on a murdering spree in order to get blood,
  • it is giving away the thousands years old secrets of the vampire community.

Erhmagerd, I don’t have enough hands to do the proper nuber of facepalms here.

I really intended to argue sensibly and give logical reasons, but for fuck’s sake…

Real vampires? Like REAL vampires? Whattehell?

I have seen things in my short life. I have seen my granny raising funds to free a fictional slave girl of a soap opera (note: a brasil soap opera titled A Escrava Isaura was a popular one in my country and elderly women giving all their money to free the main character was a real cultural and economic problem.); people tried to convince me that the Lich King and Slenderman (!) lives under the city lake in my hometown; one of my classmates firmly believed that she is married to Uchiha Itachi; and I know a girl who is deeply convinced that she is the Emperess of Lebanon and the last heiress of Árpád-house (firsd royal dinasty of my country). It’s hard to impress me, I know that reality and the wits of people are flexible. But this one is, just…

Vampires

Who are these people anyway? It is hard to believe that there are people on earth who thinks they’re vampires, so before writting a raging article of passion I asked an expert, Anthony Hogg.

(I don’t have to emphasize they’re not real vampires, as vampires, in the mythological meaning of the word does not exist – right?)

Mr. Hogg told me that tese “vampire communities” brings together people who can identify themselves with the traditional or novel image of vampires.

So here’s a list of their ilks:

  • Normal people of the subculture – perfectly normal and innocent people who adore vampire literature and folklore and the whole dark-alternative subculture grown around it. They have never claimed to be a vampire in the mythological sense.
  • Roleplayers – moderately normal and perfectly innocent people who play vampire roleplay games like The Masquerade, or games they have made up. They regulary claim to be vampires, but they know it’s only a make-believe for them.
  • Energy Vampires – They claim to be able to absorb and feed on the life energy of others. Well, I’m sceptic, and will never believe something unmeasurable and undemonstrable, but I can’t blame the believers – it’s more of a belief, a religion, than anything else. The idea of energy-vampirism is not a new thing, pcych’s of the 1930’s came up with it, it’s like the dark and evil twin of the energy-healing.
  • Otherkin –  This interesting subculture would deserve more publicity; it’s almost like a mixture of animism and LGBT culture. It’s members, like transgender people, believe that their soul was born in a wrong body, but instead of missing the gender they missed the species. So (unlike some of the types below) they know that they are humans, but claim that their soul is of a wolf/turtle/bat/unicorn/dragon, or, as expected, a vampire.
  • Modern day vampires – Hard stuff. They believe to be real vampires, but in their system of believes the immortality and the blooddrinking are merely symbolical stuff: Immortality is in fact reincarnating again and again, thus has to “wake up” in every single life, and bloodsucking is a ritual of absorbing life energy (like energy-vampires do), where only some drops of real blood is enough. To be honest this one looks like a religion as well, but with somehow more complex mythology and rituals.
  • Sangvinarians – It  means exactly as you would think: people who regulary consume blood for any reasons. Opposite of “energy vampires”.
  • Traditional vampires – The dead end. They claim to be hundreds or even thousands of years old mytical creatures who are feed on human blood and burned by sunlight. Seems totally legit.

Some psychologists call these beahiour VPD syndrome (Vampire Personality Disorder), commonly known as Renfield-syndrome, however, the offical position callifies the aformentioned conditions as schizophrenia and parasexuality (ill-conditioned cases of sexuality).

Long story short, Amy Mah is threatend by the craziest elements of this particular subculture, and their only reason is not being able to understand the concept of fiction.

Yes, there are people jumping off the third floor after watching Dragon Ball believing they can fly (tragic and memorable incident in our country, after which Dragon Ball was banned on TV), and yes, there are people who feel the urge to go on a killing spree after listening to The Beatles’ Helter Skelter (like Charles Manson), or reading The Catcher in the Rye (like Mark David Chapman, murderer of John Lennon), but in these cases something went horribly wrong in their heads way before getting in contact the “triggering” piece of art.

And yes, there are idiots who believe everything they read, so go on searching for the descendants of Jesus, or extraterrestrials in New Jersey, or vampires in New Orleans.

But this is not normal.

In the twenty-first century it’s not normal for a fantasy-writer to be afraid because of her works.

(On the other hand, people taking a piece of art so seriously is a great achievement for an artist – aster all, Orson Welles was also laughing inside while apologising for the panic his radio drama triggered.)

Why am I writting about this

Apart from finding amusement in the dark and twisted logic of clinically insane.

Browsing through the discourse on Amy’s books I have came across comments several times where brave defendants of the “real” vampires used the word “gothic” as the synonym for their vampire subculture, and this made me think. I know I have been fiercely arguing against excluding people of our subculture merely for not agreeing with their deeds, but this is just…

It’s one step too far.

As none of the dark-alternative subcultures are about depression, none of them are about lying/believing to be a thousands years old mythical creature – both are existing and serious psychiatric conditions in need of treatment. A subculture can’t be organised around an illness!

Of course, the vampire subculture is real, and (within reasonable limits) there’s nothing wrong with it, it sure shares elements and even members with the gothic community – but if you believe to be thousand of years old and need blood to stay alive, or that every written word is true, please, don’t hesitate to see your doctor!