Ms. Marvel: Applique on 4 Way Stretch

This was a challenge.

And not necessarily a fun sort of challenge, more of an uggggg I’m going to have to do this by hand challenge.

Good news is that I figured it out without resorting to hand-sewing.

So, the first thing I did was pin the lightning bolt down.  That part was easy.


But then, how to get the stupid lightning bolt to stay where it is and not stretch or bulge or go all over the place?  I pulled out my handy dandy scrap of fabric (I’m feeling very Blues Clues this morning), and gave it a test run, adding in a zig zag stitch and just using my normal foot.  It worked with the side seams for the dress, didn’t it?

Well, that gold stuff, as it turns out, is kind of sticky so that didn’t work at all.  It stretched, it bubbled, and just no.

So then, I started looking up videos and found one that said that I could solve the problem by placing tissue paper under my applique.  Under I could do.  I needed to see on top so that I could make sure my seam was placed correctly on the applique.


It didn’t work.  Granted, the feed dogs weren’t getting stuck on the fabric, the top of the gold was and I needed to be able to see that.  Also this:

Toilet paper caught in a seam

(Terrible photo, I know.) And in the end, neither one of my seams looked remotely nice.

So I tried the one thing that I probably should have done to begin with: I got out my walking foot.

For those of you who don’t know a thing about sewing machines, walking feet are really freaking adorable.  They’re normally used in quilting when you’re sewing a kajillion layers plus batting all at the same time.  In action they act like teeny tiny kangaroos.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone recommending to use one for clothing before; but in this case, you should definitely give it a shot.

Why? Instead of the foot sliding over your fabric and causing it to bunch up, the walking foot hops up and down as it moves.  In other words, no bunches.

It worked amazingly, and the only excuse I have for trying toilet paper before walking down a flight of stairs to go get it is that I was feeling very lazy and the bathroom was much closer than downstairs.


While I realize that not everyone in the world is going to want to invest in a new sewing machine foot just for one project, I’d highly recommend having one of these little guys around.  They’re surprisingly useful at the oddest of times, and they’re really not too expensive.  I believe the one for my Husqvarna only cost $25 and it’s saved me so many headaches.  Plus–did I mention–that I think they’re cute?

So that’s my solution.  I’m sure there are other ways to go about it, but for me this solved the problem in an easy way that actually looks nice and I didn’t have to rip out any of my seams (which wouldn’t be fun on this fabric–there would be so many holes!).

Next up: piping!

Other posts in this series:

Ms. Marvel: Working with 4-Way Stretch for the First Time

Ms. Marvel: Working with 4-Way Stretch Fabric for the First Time

This post is both an update on my Ms. Marvel costume, and a review of the Yaya Han fabric all at the same time.  Oh, and a tutorial on how to get started with 4-way stretch fabric if you’re as clueless as I was…yesterday.  Although, as I’ll be doing several weird things with the Yaya Han fabric (besides just sewing it together) this “review” is probably going to stretch for more than one post so I’ll link them together as I go.

It was suggested that I do a bit of research on how to sew 4-way stretch fabric before I actually start the project and risk messing up my nice fabric.  I wasn’t worried at all about sewing it before I did the research.  And then I figured out how many different bad things might happen to my nice fabric if I did something wrong and all of a sudden I was a bit of a nervous wreck.

People who commonly sew on 4-way stretch seem to have 1 main piece of advice:

Use a serger.

I technically have a serger.  When we were little, my mom was afraid my brother was going to slice his fingers off with it (a reasonable concern, having known Greggy his entire life).  So it’s been living in a box for roughly 30 years.  Thanks Greg.

This left me with one option: my little Husqvarna.

It is completely possible to sew 4-way stretch on your normal sewing machine, and the normal old YaYa Navy Blue 4-way stretch (the $20 one, not the $40) gave me absolutely not trouble on it.  (The gold is another story).

5 Things you can do to (try and) guarantee success with 4 way stretch fabric:

  • Use a stretch needle. I’m not certain that I understand all of the technical details that make these little guys work, but they’re designed so that you don’t skip stitches while sewing on stretch fabric.  I picked up a pack of Schmetz needles at Joann Fabrics.  You can get them on Amazon if you’re so inclined.
  • Change the tension on your machine. You want to make sure that the thread will also stretch with the fabric, and making it looser helps with this.  Most recommendations I read said to put it on 2 or so.  That worked just fine for me.
  • Use a stretch stitch or a zigzag. I used C or P on my machine, which isn’t a total zigzag, but the little extra stitches that go inward on them were just enough to keep the stretch I needed.  A full zigzag is supposed to keep more stretch, but then your seam is going to look funky. Stitch Options
  • Don’t use cotton thread. Apparently it breaks more easily.  I don’t know if I actually followed this one with the blue, as I used a spool of thread that I already had and it no longer had stickers on it to tell me what it was.  But I’ll add it in my list anyway as it sounds important.
  • Pull gently on the fabric as you feed it through the machine. This will keep it from bunching up.  Gently is the key here.  If you pull too hard it will also bunch.  Just in a different way than if you don’t pull.


Go slow and do a test on some scraps before you use your actual pieces.  That way you can tell what’s happening with your fabric as it happens, and figure out how to correct it before you start on your actual pattern pieces.


I had no problem putting together the front of the dress.  So, just considering that I’m happy with the fabric so far.  The gold is proving a bit trickier than the blue, however, and the fact that I can’t iron it isn’t making me feel any less…annoyed with it…so we’ll see if I my happiness doesn’t swing towards angry frustration by the time I’m done working on the appliqued lightning bold.

Next post!  Applique with 4-way stretch!  Huzzah!

Oh, and in case you missed it, I’ve got new coloring bookmarks up on Etsy!  They’re flowers. Check them out, buy a set, make me insanely happy for at least 24 hours.  Sometimes longer.  You know, whatever!

Ding, Dong, Ditch and the Dress Form

Stephanie and I had a sewing night on Friday.  She brought all her stuff to my house; including her dress form.  Because sometimes you just need one of those.  Girl carrying a dressform

For the record, cartoon Angela is not feeling bad at all about the tiny scratch that she helped put in Stephanie’s brand new car with the dress form.  Real Angela was feeling kind of bad, and kind of like people should not hand her large, unwieldy objects because she has the coordination of a confused monkey.  Real Angela, like real Stephanie, got over it real quick.  Really.

So then, halfway up my driveway, handling the massive dress form, an idea hits me.  What if we left the dress form in front of the door, rang the doorbell, and ran away.  You know, good old ding, dong, ditch?  Stephanie thought it was just as funny as I did (we had to pause for 5 minutes before actually doing it because we couldn’t stop laughing).

Dressform sitting in front of a doorI sat the dress form down right in front of the door, rang the doorbell, and ran back to the garage–trying hard not to squeal the whole while.  We fully intended for my mom to open the door.

Except she didn’t.

Laughing girls

Of course, we’re laughing silently to ourselves because we happen to think we’re hilarious.  Even if sometimes we’re more of a hypothetical sort of funny.

My Dad sticks his head out of the front door (I’m assuming…I wasn’t looking) and exclaims “Hey, it’s a dummy!”  That’s it.  Didn’t question it.  Nothing.  And before we knew it:

Front door

He took it inside.  And thus our joke was RUINED.

Yep…I can hear those crickets…

But we have been sewing.  I took some really excellent pictures of how I made the lightning bolt for Ms. Marvel…on my camera…with no memory card.  So you’ll have to trust me that they were REALLY GOOD.  And understand why I didn’t manage to post last week…because I prepared to and then found out that I had no photos.  Go me!

Costume pics will come soon!

And lastly, there will be new bookmarks by the end of the week because Casey said I could send them to the Hightower bookfair and we all know that I am overenthusiastic once I have a deadline…thanks, btw, to everyone who voted on flowers.  I’ll announce the “winners” next post when I show off the new bookmarks! (And by winners, I mean which flowers I picked…there are no prizes unless you count getting to go to Etsy or Once and Again Books to buy some spectacular art made by yours truly…which should totally count.)




Ms. Marvel: Just Getting Started

Blue and gold fabric, Ms. Marvel Comics, Butterick Pattern

With only a month and a half left until Momocon,  I decided to finally break down and buy (part of) the fabric that I need for Ms. Marvel.  I went with the Ya-Ya Han fabric from Joann, not because I really wanted to buy her fabric, but because I really liked the gold and the blue matched the texture of the gold where the other blue that I liked better looked kind of funny next to it.  The Ya-Ya fabrics are very smooth, and it looks odd when you put a fabric where you can clearly see the grain next to one where you really cant…so…decision made.

No idea yet what I’m going to use for the red, but the dress itself needs to be completed before I bother with the scarf/undershirt/leggings.  so I’ll deal with that later.  Plus, I’d like to see if I actually like the Ya-Ya fabric before I invest in more of it.

The shirt patterns are for the dress.  I’m going to use a combo of the A body and C sleeves, and lengthen them to make the dress. (Though technically it’s a burkini! It’s a swimsuit! That’s a real thing, I Googled!)  Pretty excited about this one; I’ve been seriously fangirl-ing over this character recently.  Issues 3 and 4 just showed up at my door yester-afternoon and I’m slowly savoring them as #5 wont be out till the summer.

In other news, Appen News finally published the article–> here

It isn’t what I’d call good, but it does exist.

If you popped by my website thanks to the article, thank you for stopping by!  We haven’t gotten the print version on our driveway yet, but it should land in the next day or two.

And now, to clarify about the article: the title of it is such a great exaggeration that I can’t even call it an exaggeration.  It’s more of a I don’t know…mistruth?  I am a pretty good cosplayer(not to toot my own horn, but hoooonk!), and my current cosplays will go up on my blog which is my “business.” But somehow when I told the journalist that I was an a blogger/preschool music teacher/tutor/bookseller with two English degrees and a 50,000 word manuscript in the works, she interpreted that to mean that I actually ran a “Successful Cosplay Business.”  No idea.  I’m honestly sitting here looking at the word document I sent her in response to her questions, trying to figure it out; however, she seems to have made that leap on her own.  Since the original article (the one that started all this nonsense) was on the costumes Stephanie and I made for the GNFCC Expo (which we made to get a little publicity), maybe she thought that I was making costumes because I ran a business?  I really have no idea.  Stealing is still wrong, though, Appen News.  Period.

I apologize for anyone sorely disappointed to find out that I do not run a “Successful Cosplay Business”, but I do run a really nice blog and have a really nice Etsy shop with a brand new banner that everyone should go check out right now!  And then you should all buy my coloring bookmarks because they’re cute.


Secret Project E and Other News

I just got done being an insanely brave person: yes, dear readers…I had to get a blood test done.  For those of you who don’t know, I’m terrified of needles (let’s not sugar coat it), but I cope.  And I’m feeling insanely brave right now.  The only thing that could’ve made the experience better would be if the nurse had stopped asking me if I was going to pass out.

Which, in his defense, is probably a legit question.  I’m sure a lot of people that are afraid of needles actually do pass out whilst claiming they’re not going to pass out and so he really does need to ask that about twenty times to make certain the answer he’s getting is actually the correct answer.  Lest I lie to him and then promptly flop to the floor like a fish.

In my case, one of the many coping mechanisms that I use to get through this horrible experience that essentially turns my innards to jello, is to tell myself that I’m some herculean warrior princess (think Xena) and that herculean warrior princesses get through things they’re afraid of all the time.  Herculean warrior princesses do not pass out.  They just don’t. Continue reading

The Ren Fest Vest

I had another fit of insanity on Friday.  It wasn’t the worst one I’ve ever had, but Becky and Mike encouraged me.  I’ll take that to mean they have a whole lot of faith in my abilities.

You see, I have a Renaissance Festival costume–but Michael doesn’t.  And every time we go he laments the fact that he gets to be plain clothes Mike while I’m all fancy schmancy (except for that one time when he got mistaken for Shaggy from Scooby Doo).  This time we weren’t going to Ren Fest, we were actually going to a Renaissance themed wedding for our friends David and Veronica.

Becky actually showed me the pattern and, as it didn’t look that hard, I decided to see if I couldn’t whip out a Medieval looking vest before the wedding the next day at 6.

Pattern Pieces Continue reading

New Coloring Bookmarks! (and Brand New Etsy Shop!)


For the record, I generally reserve my exclamation points for moments when I really need them!

I’ve been working my tail off for the past few weeks to get my blog updated, to finish more bookmarks, and actually start an Etsy shop.  I’m happy to say that I’m slowly working down my to do list and that things are coming together.  Meanwhile, I had to show these guys off.  Some of you may have seen the earlier draft of them that I made to use at the bookstore.  I originally intended to do a little refining and then sell them, but then I started working on them and went a wee bit crazy.  I’m really happy with the result.

My other exciting news is that I finally put up an Etsy shop.  It isn’t fancy yet and I’ll probably re-announce its existence once I finally get a few more things on it and it looks like I want it to.  Until then, I have both my current bookmark sets (Bookshelf Cats and the Space set) up for sale as PDF files to download, and I’ll have some baby quilts up in the next few days.  I appreciate everyone’s support as I get all this put together; everyone needs to be told they’re doing a good job once in a while, so thank you friends and family for giving me that little bit of encouragement.  I would absolutely appreciate anyone actually buying my  bookmarks (and leaving a nice review so that people know I’m a real person).  I’m new to this whole selling things online game, so advice is welcome.

Check out the shop: The Scribbler Experiment on Etsy

Happy Easter!


Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!  I’ve been to church already, said hello to friends and family, and lamented the fact that my brother is still not out of bed.  I’m a much happier sleepy person when Greg is miserable too.  That’s pretty much how having a sibling works, for those of you who didn’t know.

Happy Easter, again!


P.S. I’ve been making fancy chalkboards at the bookstore, so I got brave enough to do my own lettering on the photo.  More on that when they’re done.  If they’re ever done.  I don’t think chalkboard lettering is my calling in life, but I cannot possibly get worse at it.

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard

My copy isn’t as pretty as it started out. It lived in my purse for too long!

I may have mentioned recently that I’m trying to get better at finishing advanced readers before they’re actually released. This particular book was a case of me having to read another book before I started it, so it’s actually that much more impressive that I did it before the book is released on April 5.

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard is actually a followup to Jonathan Auxier’s Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, which I had been eyeing for a while. Sophie gave be an excuse to finally read it and I’m glad I did because Peter, a master thief with no eyes, proved one of the more intriguing heroes I’ve run into in recent memory. Peter and his half horse half cat sidekick, Sir Tode delivered an action packed, fantastic, and funny sort of adventure that I’m happy I finally got to. I love Auxier’s writing; he’s clever and creative, and I look forward to eventually getting my hands on a copy of The Night Gardener.

Sophie Quire revisits the world of Peter Nimble, but instead of focusing on the adventures of Peter and Sir Tode, Auxier introduces us to a new adventurer, bookseller’s daughter, Sophie who is struggling to come to terms with a city ordinance that would disturb any true book lover. Led by the evil Inquisitor Prigg, the town of Bustleburgh aims to rid itself of all nonsense in order to better mankind. Stories, obviously warp our minds, and magic never does anything good for anyone. Sophie dreads the upcoming “Pyre Day” when the city will set fire to all fiction and outlaw all fantastic stories.

It’s a terrifying premise, and one we’ve all read before—who can forget Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451? Auxier spices it up with four magic books that have been lost, rumor has it, to the ages: Who, What, Where, When. Sophie comes across the “Book of Who”, learns a few of its secrets (like the fact that it can tell you about anyone(including herself), and that her murdered mother once owned it), and soon finds herself on the run from Inquisitor Prigg and the mysterious Madame Eldritch who want the books for their own evil purposes.

One of the things I love about Auxier’s stories is that he is able to create such interesting and fascinating places. When he takes you somewhere it feels familiar but exciting and new, and my favorite place in Sophie Quire was “The Last Resort”, an inn/tavern on the edge of the Uncanyon, where all things end. Collected here are the most fabulous fictional characters of legend (in Sophie’s world, of course) who gather every night to tell a story in exchange for their room and board.

I won’t ruin the story and all its marvelous bits and pieces for you, but if you’re a fan of middle grade/ya fantasy or have loved stories like Chris Colfer’s “Land of Stories” series or even classics like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson, you’ll absolutely enjoy Auxier’s Peter Nimble, Sir Tode, Sophie Quire, Professor Cake and the rest.

Sophie Quire on Amazon

Jonathan Auxier’s Website

(Or you could come pick it up at Once and Again Books!)

P.S. I’m totally feeling snazzy because I had to add my own html tags to this article so that it had paragraphs…don’t ask me why…I wish I knew…but WordPress was just not cooperating.

Star Wars: Combining Patterns for Mon Mothma

Next in the string of Star Wars costumes related posts: combining multiple patterns to get the actual pattern for your costume.

Pam and Angela
This is going to be a brief little overview to a very simple (in my opinion) concept. What do you do when you can’t find an exact pattern to create the costume you’re trying to make? You get a little creative. The main costume I was in charge of for the GNFCC Business Expo was Mon Mothma, and she wears a long flowy dress that’s fairly fitted at the top, with long poofy sleeves that come in at the wrists. Over top of that is a big old panel of fabric (technical terms) with a collar and some doodads (also technical).
The thing about dresses with big poofy sleeves like that is that they aren’t exactly in fashion, and probably haven’t been since, I don’t know, wedding dresses in the 80’s? Continue reading