Wednesday, July 24, 2013

DIY: Tank Dress

I have one more t-shirt to alter, and then I'll be done for the summer--assuming that I don't buy any new t-shirts at Chicago Comic Con. (I have a long list of collectibles that I want to buy, so it's actually a possibility this year).

If you've read my DIY: T-Shirt to Tank Top, you'll know that I was trying to make a tank dress. Unfortunately, though, I didn't check the length of the shirt when I bought it. I'm 5'10", and the shirt wasn't anywhere near long enough to be a dress. Fortunately, I also had this awesome Indiana Jones shirt to alter, and it was long enough to make into a tank dress (though I should still really wear it with leggings). The tank dress created here is simple and easy to make. It's a loose-fitting dress, more like a sun dress than a body con dress, and all you really have to alter is the top!

$19.50 on, but I bought it during a sale.

Now, the picture for this first step isn't that great. I began by putting on the t-shirt and tracing the shape of the straps, neckline, and arm holes (is there a technical term for arm holes? Because every time I say it I feel like an idiot). If you look closely at the picture here, you can see the tailor's chalk lines.

Then I went through and trimmed the shirt around the lines, leaving a good inch of space. This was in order to allow my sewing machine to reach the chalk lines, which were the guides for the hem.

Then I went through and did a tight zig-zag stitch along the chalk lines for the neck. As you can see, I made the neck for this tank scoop-shaped. It's also almost twice as low in the front as it is in the back. I repeated the process over every chalk line I drew on the shirt.

Once the hems were done, I went through and cut the fabric just above the stitches, making them into a true hem.

Neck line.
Arm holes.
And then I was done! I might go back in and tighten up the sides of the tank (it's a little too baggy right around my waist), but I also might just wear it over a bandeau. Here's the final shot:

I hope you enjoyed this edition of my Summer of T-Shirt Surgery DIYs! I appreciate all of your kind comments. Have a nice day!

Links to my Other Shirt Alteration DIYs:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Five of the Coolest Methods of Video Game Transportation

A vital component of most video games--especially open world games--is some sort of method of transportation. While most games have some sort of mount or vehicle, some games go a step above and give you a really awesome form of transportation. Here is a list of five of the most excellent forms of transportation in video games. These made me squeal with excitement, or feel like a total badass while moving around my video game world. The only rule here is that the method of transportation had to be beyond ordinary.

Actually, that's a lie. There is another rule. For the method of transportation to count on this list, it needs to be directly steered, controlled, or piloted by the gamer. 

1) Four Horses of the Apocalypse (Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare)

While Epona is my favorite horse in ANY video game, I have to say that the downright coolest equine modes of transportation are the Four Horses of the Apocalypse in this DLC for Red Dead Redemption. I’m particularly enthusiastic about these mounts due to the fact that I’ve always been interested in all types of mythology. The task of collecting the horses, combined with their really awesome designs, put them on my list. And how can you not think it’s completely badass to ride around on Death, who causes zombie heads to explode as you speed past?

2) Loftwing (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)

Though the Loftwing is not Epona, the Loftwing is pretty excellent (I promise, this is going to be my last Epona reference today). In Skyward Sword, Link flies the special Crimson Loftwing—he’s your primary mode of transportation around Skyloft and the rest of the world. The Loftwings are shown to have personalities—something that is rare for mounts in video games--and are representative of their riders (even down to unfortunate haircuts). While the mechanics of this birdsportation is similar to many other mounts, the gorgeous environment surrounding your flight elevates travel by Loftwing into excellent status.

3) Mako (Mass Effect Series)

The Mako is my favorite “traditional” vehicle in video games, probably because I drive like a maniac (don’t worry, I don’t IRL). It handles pretty much any damage you can do to it, and will right itself whenever it’s flipped over. It’s pretty much the perfect all-terrain vehicle, which means that I can drive it through almost anything and still end up where I want to go. Conceivably, as long as you don’t drive off a chasm, or into lava, the Mako will get you to your destination (this is a guess, as I have yet to destroy the Mako). It means that there’s nothing stopping me from getting from Point A to Point B—at least, nothing that the mass accelerator cannon can’t handle. Finally, I will leave you with two words that will solidify—beyond a doubt—the fact that the Mako belongs on this list: propulsion jets.

4) DaVinci’s Flying Machine (Assassin’s Creed Series)

I found the transportation choices in the original Assassin’s Creed game to be underwhelming. Everything took forever, and my horse would often disappear, requiring me to make people very cross when I stole theirs (and, sadly. being shot and stabbed at can slow you down quite a bit). It seemed like they were trying to make amends when they introduced the Flying Machine in Assassin’s Creed II. Unfortunately, the machine has to go through a few iterations before it can be a truly reliable method of transportation. For example, you learn early on that it’s susceptible to flames—despite needing heat to maintain altitude. Eventually (in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood), Ezio also takes it upon himself to destroy all of the more effective Bomber flying machines, ensuring that the Borgia will not be able to use the Bombers against him (or anyone else they’re being jerks to). Still, the Flying Machine is a fun ride in all iterations (except, perhaps, the tragic first attempt), and awesome to use while you have the chance.

5) Portal Gun (Portal)

What do you mean, the portal gun isn’t a form of transportation? Of course it is! If I had a portal gun I could get from my bedroom to the kitchen in two seconds flat. Heck, if I had a portal gun, I could conceivably get from anywhere to anywhere in no time at all (assuming the walls were portal gun compatible, and I didn’t accidentally shoot the orange portal twice). The portal gun is a truly revolutionary form of transportation, and one that needs to be invented for realsies. I would save so much on gas money.

Well, that was my Top Five list! And I know I am missing a heck of a lot of excellent methods of transportation. What do you think should be on this list?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July Loot Crate Unboxing!

I'm going to put up the DIY for this top either tomorrow or Wednesday! If you're interested in the T-shirt itself, here's the link!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

DIY: Tied Tank Top

I have yet another T-Shirt DIY alteration ready for you guys. I know, I know, it seems like that's the only thing I do. But, as you should know, I had a pile of T-shirts waiting to be altered, and we're almost through them! (I actually only have one more to do, plus a little alteration to one I already did. However, I still have more waiting to be posted!).

I am, coincidentally enough, actually wearing this shirt today. I love it. I'm crazy about it. I love the design, I love how light and airy it is, and I love the pure comfort of the shirt. I have another T-shirt that I altered in this fashion, but I never made a DIY out of it. I'm glad I decided to take the approach to this shirt. I bought the shirt from The Yeetee, thanks to help from Kaitlin "Pwnlove" Stewart. In case you didn't know, she runs an excellent video game fashion blog.

The first step was cutting off the sleeves. I cut off the sleeves right against the seam, so that the entire seam and sleeve is removed from the body of the shirt.

I then cut a straight line across the top! I measured down to make sure the ends were even, but allowed the center to be a little wobbly--it's going to be hemmed down, anyway.

I then used a tight zig-zag stitch to secure the t-shirt around the armholes. This keeps the jersey material from fraying too much, even though it usually does so naturally. The zig-zag stitch secures it after multiple washings.

Then you pause for a moment to scold your cat for relaxing on the pattern for your Comic Con costume. This step is purely optional (though highly recommended if this is, in fact, what your cat is doing at the moment).

Then you go back and fold over the hem, with about 1/2 inch allowance. You're going to need space to maneuver a little bit, here!

Pause again to yell at the cat for dragging a piece of the pattern down to the floor to sit on. Naughty kitty!

Then you take your ribbon, and hem the ends so they're secure and won't fray after washing (you should probably also make sure it's machine washable, unless you want to re-thread the ribbon after each washing). Then put a safety pin through one end, and guide the ribbon through the front of the shirt. Turn it so that it naturally flows across the back of the shirt, as well. This means that each end of the ribbon should be on one side of the shirt! Once you've got this step down, then tie the ends together to bring the (adjustable) neckline together!

Here's a close-up of the neck line.

And here's the whole shirt! (These things turn out so much better when there's someone else around to take pictures.)

What do you think? I, personally, love the shirt. I feel like a five-year-old who wants to wear the same thing every day. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Links to My Other Shirt Alteration DIYs:

Tank Dress

Tube Top

Friday, July 5, 2013

Five Characters Everyone Loves (That I Can't Stand)

You'll have to excuse the necessary-for-length hyperbole that I put in the title--this would probably more accurately be entitled: Five Character That Most People Seem to Love, Enjoy, or Look Upon Favorably (That I Can't Stand).

This was an idea I was working on shortly after my Five Most Heartbreaking Character Deaths list, mostly due to the Harry Potter books. When choosing a character (and the runners-up) from Harry Potter, I immediately thought of Dobby. Mostly, I thought of Dobby and then rolled my eyes. I knew a ton of people who were crushed by his death, while I pretty much rejoiced. When Gab commented that Dobby was on her list, I knew I needed to put out this list. And so I begin where I should, with:

1. Dobby

I recently picked up Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets again. I thought it was strange that it had been so long since I had read the book--I usually re-read the Harry Potter books a couple times a year (it only takes me about three night to get through one book). I don't think I've read Chamber of Secrets since the first Deathly Hallows movie was released. Once I started reading the book again, though, I remembered why it's been a while since I picked it up--I can't stand Dobby. Chamber of Secrets would be my second or third favorite book if it wasn't for Dobby. I just found the character annoying, and thought that everything would have gone pretty much the same way (if not better) if he had just stayed home (except for, you know, that whole Malfoy-slavery thing). His speech patterns annoyed me, the way he tried to help but failed miserably annoyed me, and his constant self-flagellation annoyed me. I may have felt bad for him the first couple of times (it was so long ago I don't remember), but it quickly became more annoying that pity-evoking. It probably doesn't help that most of the characters typically look at him as a nuisance, as well. In short, I can't stand Dobby, and I was glad when he was finally gone.

2. Severus Snape (Harry Potter)

Oh, Snape, you're so sassy.
People like Severus Snape for two reasons: they love that he's a jerk, or they think he's adorable and a soft-hearted teddy bear after learning about his love for Lily Potter. Either way, I think that this affection for Snape is misplaced. And this isn't so much because he's an asshole--I love plenty of characters that are jerks--but because of the direction of his assholery (made-up words for the win). This guy's just a straight-up bully toward children. He derides them for their intelligence (or lack thereof), makes disparaging remarks about their physical appearances, and even threatens them. And some of these kids are as young as eleven! I'm not the biggest fan of kids, in general, but it still begs the question: What's remarkable about a grown man who has to be cruel to children?

3. Ashley Williams (Mass Effect)

Miranda seems to be a popular character in this type of list, but since I haven't played past the original Mass Effect yet, she hasn't made my list. Ashley Williams--a soldier in the first game and a member of Shepard's squad--has, though. I really haven't read anything negative about Ashley before, which kind of surprises me. I've basically stopped putting her on my squad, despite the fact that I originally thought that she was a pretty bad-ass character. Since meeting her, though, she's begun to rub me the wrong way. Pretty much everything she says is bitchy, she's constantly complaining about things, and I think she might be a little bit racist. So while everyone else seems to like her, I've been avoiding her.

4. Spider-man

You always have to say something, Spider-man.
Spider-man in the movies has his own problems, but I'm talking about the character as he is in the comic books. I have a fairly irrational hatred of Spider-man, I'd admit it. My dislike toward Superman is inherently more understandable, but even I have a hard time articulating why I don't like Spider-man. I guess his characterization just rubs me the wrong way--every time he opens his mouth and is supposed to be funny, I find him obnoxious and annoying. He's probably the reason I grew up to be a DC girl instead of a Marvel fan. The first comics I read were X-Men (and I still enjoy X-Men), and then I moved on to Spider-man. I promptly put it down after a couple of issues and moved on to the Bat Family. X-Men remain the only Marvel comics I read, save a few universe-wide story lines that I'll pick up once they're published as graphic novels or collections.

5. Robert Baratheon (A Song of Ice and Fire)

Sure, he was a good friend to Ned Stark and sure, you have to feel bad for people when they get murdered, but Robert Baratheon has few good qualities and many bad qualities. As they say in the books, the only thing he had going for him as king was that he wasn't the Mad King. Robert is a drunk and, according to Cersei's recollections, was often sexually violent in these drunken states. Sure, there's no spousal abuse back in Westeros, but what he does to her definitely qualifies. I'm certainly not a fan of Cersei, at all, you don't have to put someone else in her place to realize that this is not a desirable quality in a person. Secondly, Robert condones--and even orders--the murder of children. He's so vengeful that Ned Stark believed that he would kill Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen for their mother's wrongs, which is why he warns Cersei and tells her to take the children and leave (keep in mind that Joffrey, despite being a douchebag, was only twelve). He's also a negligent father (to his "legitimate" and illegitimate children alike) and an extremely negligent ruler. All he does is eat, drink, and have sex. Most people just shrug, affectionately writing Robert Baratheon off as Ned's drunk buddy, but I think he deserves more criticism than he gets.

Do you think I missed anyone? Or that I'm completely off-base with my opinions on a character? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

DIY: Cross-Strap Tank Tunic

Like any geek, I love a good mash-up tee. Unlike most geeks, I can't stand t-shirts. So that has been what most of the summer has been about--taking awesome geeky shirts and turning them into shirts that I can wear without feeling weird and uncomfortable.

This week I started with a shirt I got off of It's a Harry Potter/Legend of Zelda mash-up. Which, translated into English, means it's AWESOME.

Is it Navi? Is it a snitch? What's going on? WHO WILL BE VICTORIOUS??

As you can see, per usual, I began with a man's t-shirt--a size XL, to be exact. However, where I usually begin by cutting off the collar and sleeves, I went a different way this time--I cut off the entire side of the shirt and created a new side seam.
As you can see, I was used my cutting mat to guide my cutter and carboard as a cutting mat...
So, once the sides were cut off I pinned them together, and sewed hems all the way from the bottom hem to about three inches from the top of the shirt.

Pinned, and ready to hem!
The reason I didn't go all the way to the top was the next step--I planned to cut all of that off. Basically, I cut it so the shirt was a rectangle. Or tube-top shaped. Whichever you prefer.

Once it was cut, I did a simple hem around the top, about 1/4 of an inch.

I then connected the straps, crossing them in the back. I put on the shirt so that I could figure out exactly where I wanted the straps (after sewing them on the first time in a position about two inches to the right of where I wanted them...but you can skip that step). I just pinned the lace straps, and then used a zig-zag stitch to secure them.
Doesn't that look cute?

The answer is yes. Yes, it looks really cute. But, therein lies the problem, something I will dub Amanda's Law. The cuter an article of clothing looks, the shorter the length of time you can wear it before it becomes extremely uncomfortable. Those lace straps were scratchy and uncomfortable, and I only wore the shirt for six minutes before taking it off. 

So this morning I went to Jo-Ann's and bought some new, stretchy straps to replace the adorable lace straps. I sewed them on in the exact same spot, and here's the new look:

In case you're wondering why the door's suddenly so nice, I'm at my parents' house.
Now, doesn't that look more comfortable? And there's a bit of a sheen to it, so it's still cute.

You can see the connection of the straps nicely here.
I've had this blog entry ready for a few days, but I wanted to fix the straps before I posted it. Beauty may be a pain, but that doesn't mean I have to endure it!

I'm writing another entry for Friday--another list. This time, it's on characters that everyone seems to love, but I can't stand. Two of the entries are from Harry Potter, which bugs me. Does anyone have any suggestions to help me out, and bring some balance to this HP-anchored hate fest? Let me know in comments!