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Stupid Search Results (The Evils of SEO)

I've been researching industrial machines for awhile now, mostly searching on Craigslist and then searching for more information on the machines listed. And I'm getting really annoyed by really ridiculous, irrelevant Google search results. Google claims that they now offer an option to block certain domains, but whether it doesn't work in Firefox 4 or they bowed out to complaints from companies that thought they'd get blocked, I don't know.

There seem to be a whole lot of sites, mainly with .info extensions, that are nothing but a populated list of eBay auctions. They all have different domains, but seem to be identical, and what they show isn't pertinent to the domain name. For example, you'll find the exact same things on "sergermachines.info" as on "childssewingmachines.info" and "sewingmachinesbrother.info," etc. And when I'm looking for information on a Singer 111W151, there is absolutely nothing relevant on any of those "sites." Yes, those all show up when I search for information on a particular industrial Singer model. And since they're obviously not affiliated with Brother, I'd think that a domain including "brother" and "sewing machines" would be a trademark infringement. But they can't let that get in the way of their keyword loading, now can they?

I don't have a problem with commercial sites, or with sites that use affiliate programs. Sites selling particular machines are frequently excellent sources of information about those machines. But these aren't sites that are actually selling anything themselves, or providing information about the things that they're showing or making actual recommendations. They don't do anything at all but clog search results; they're keyword clogged add farms. And eBay is easy enough to search, either through their own search, or Google's shopping search, so there is absolutely no reason why any of these ad-farm sites are of any value whatsoever. None, zero, zip, zilch. So WHY can't I easily block these? And why isn't there some way to report that these are not relevant search results? These sites are SEO abuse, nothing more. I thought Google was supposed to get rid of excess results that are too similar to be relevant to finding anything new, but all these site seem to be showing up constantly. Isn't there some way to report this crap?

A Silk Chiffon Tunic (Finally!)

Polka-Dotted Chiffon TopPolka-Dotted Chiffon Top Chiffon Tunic NecklineChiffon Tunic Neckline After Dfr's recent success with Butterick 5355 for her silk charmeuse, I decided it would be a good pattern to use for some of my chiffon. I got this caramel-colored polka-dotted chiffon early last year in a chiffon bundle from FabricMart, and it seemed like the best choice to use for my first silk chiffon top since I'm not totally wild about the color. Don't get me wrong, it's certainly wearable, but I have a harder time cutting into fabrics in really beautiful colors.

I used French seams, and narrow hems both for the bottom edges and for the neckline. The pattern includes a sash as well, which I haven't made yet, although I haven't decided if I want to or not. If I feel the need to give it more definition around the waist, I might come up with some kind of belt to wear with it, but I'd go with something thinner than the sash-style belt in the pattern; maybe a chain-type belt. Loose and flowing is what I was aiming for, and shapelessness isn't so much of a worry with such sheer fabric, so that's still up in the air.

Despite being delicate silk, my purpose with this was utilitarian; I needed something good for hot weather, light enough to have plenty of air flow, so that I can have the feel of wearing a tank top or just a corset, without running around feeling like I'm half-naked.

Next time I'll probably try the front piece from the A and B views that has the V-neck, rather than the higher neckline that views C and D have.

Hot Days and Cheap Butter Knives as Pattern Weights

Metal Bar As Pattern WeightMetal Bar As Pattern Weight Cheap butter knives work very well to keep patterns and lightweight fabric from blowing around.Cheap Butter Knives As Pattern Weights It's hotter than heck out, so definitely time to start using some of that chiffon I posted about earlier to make some nice light blouses to go over tank tops and corsets.

Despite the fact that it's in the 90s and I'm melting, it's only June 1st, and I'm still stubbornly trying to avoid turning on the air conditioning.

Have you ever TRIED laying out chiffon on patterns and cutting it out in a room with multiple fans running?

It didn't take long before I was searching the house for the perfect makeshift pattern weights. I have a couple of washers I've used, but they just weren't enough. Then I found this metal bar in my desk. I think it's actually meant to be the bar that holds up hanging file folders, but it makes an excellent pattern weight--I just needed more.

And then I had an "Ah-ha!" moment. What else is flat and metal and long enough that it can hold down a line rather than just a little spot?

Cheap butter knives! Not good butter knives--you don't want the ones with nice thick handles and shaping so that they feel good in your hands--that nice ergonomic design that looks pretty and makes them comfortable will work against you.
You want the cheap kind that you get in the sets from Walmart that cost less than ten dollars for the entire table setting for eight people. The ones that are barely shaped at all and are not really any more than flat metal bars.

Yes, perfect!

Orchid Linen Tunic Finished (Again)


Well I had already posted about finishing my orchid linen tunic.. But then the Google issues hit me and I think I lost it in my attempts to restore my database when I believed that the problem was on my end.

I'd said something about dfr nagging me to get up pictures and then something about loving spf 100 sunscreen but it not protecting my lower back when it's not there and something about linen not being as drapey as rayon. Oh, and something about Firefox not recognizing "drapey" as a word.

And so now I'll throw some more curses at Google and submit this post.

Orchid Linen Tunic In-Progress

Orchid Linen Tunic In-ProgressOrchid Linen Tunic In-Progress
An update on another embroidered linen tunic, because if I don't keep up on the updates, dfr will nag me (legitimately) about being a bad blogger. This one in fabric that I actually specifically ordered! (As opposed to the mushroom brown mystery bundle linen.) I'm getting very attached to these tunics.

Besides the general breathability of linen (which isn't quite as much of a blessing now as it will be during the really hot months,) I'm loving the tunic length. While I am a huge fan of those Neutrogena Spectrum SPF 100 sunblocks no matter how strong a sunblock is, you can't get around one major limitation: it can't work if it's not there!

Between forgetting to apply it to skin that's not exposed at the time of putting it on, and my waistband rubbing against my skin and removing it, sunblock doesn't tend to be on that patch of skin at the very bottom of my back. And then after spending awhile gardening, I find myself with a bit of a burn on my lower back. Tunics solve this problem very nicely.

A Belated Fabric Post

Mystery Bundle -- April 2011Mystery Bundle -- April 2011

Someone bumped the mystery bundle thread on PatternReview, and I realized that I still hadn't put up any pictures of my last mystery bundle! I guess this was a fairly typical bundle, useful but not one of the really great ones. That fabric on the left is silk, but I'm not sure what to make of it. It's a heavy-ish chiffon (er, if that's not a contradiction in terms) with a kinda panel-type layout. I'm always happy to get silk, but I'm not sure what to do with it. The second one is that mushroom-brown linen I've already used, but have a bit left over. The third one is a rayon print that's soft and nice, but not quite enough to make a top out of. The last one is a green stretch twill. It's a rather bright color for twill, and I don't know what I'm going to do with that either. But overall, it was a bundle containing cotton, rayon, linen, and silk, so I'm not complaining.


Linens from FabricMartLinens from FabricMartAnd here are the fabrics I actually ordered along with that bundle. Dfr has been telling me I need linen, so when they had a big half-off sale on the linens, I ordered some. There's an "antique red," an orchid, and a black and white silk/linen blend. That silk/linen blend is WONDERFUL. It's soft and pretty and I just love it! I'm expecting to try making a tailored jacket out of it, although I've never actually done a tailored jacket yet, so that'll probably take some time.

Embellished Mushroom Brown Linen Tunic

Embroidered Tunic

       My linen tunic is finished!  In fact, I had to take it off just to get a picture.  I was fairly successful at removing the misplaced embroidery and fixing it.  There's a tiny snag, but I applied the fusable interfacing after doing the embroidery, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem and it's not really visible. 

 

      As the pattern is drawn, the back is meant to be cut as two pieces.  I'm not so fond of this, so I cut it out on the fold, and then created a little pleat on the back to account for the seam allowances.  I like the pleated back anyway, since it allows for a wider range of motion for my arms.  I'm still getting used to wearing fabrics that don't stretch! 

 

      The embroidery designs are built in designs that came with my machine, so they're nothing really special, but I do think they turned out pretty.  The color of the fabric itself does kinda remind me of burlap, but the embroidery does help.  Maybe I should have done more; I'm not sure where, though. I do hope I don't look like I'm wearing an embroidered burlap sack. 

 

    ...And, I used decorative stitches on the hem!  this is actually the first time I've made real use of my poor neglected Wonder Wheel!

Yes, It's Linen! (Neck Band Embroidery In-Progress)

Neck Band EmbroideryNeck Band EmbroideryNow I've started on a version of Simplicity 2696 (formerly done in the much-debated floral rayon jacquard) in linen. I have the front and back pieces cut out, and then set to work on the embroidery for the neck band. This is actually the first time I've tried machine embroidery meant for clothing. I did the vine-y floral design at the bottom, and haven't quite figured out what else I'm going to do.

I may not have developed dfr's total linen obsession yet, but despite dfr's accusation that's less about a lack of linen-love and mostly just because I want corset supplies too! I can't afford real steel boning and couture linen! Not at the same time, anyways. I got the mushroom brown linen in a mystery bundle that I ordered along with the orchid and antique red linens from FabricMart's half-off linen section. So the mushroom brown one is the one I'm daring to cut into first.

I'm actually not particularly fond of the color itself, but earthy colors do tend to work for me. That's slightly baffling when they're colors I don't actually like. I like green and blue, but drab brown? I know that various colors complement one another and all that jazz, but for some reason I mentally sort colors as "good" and "bad," despite the knowledge that that's a supremely bad way to classify colors. The earthy mushroom brown also seems to be an excellent fabric for floral embroidery, too. And unlike the cream rayon jacquard, I should be able to wear a dark corset under it!

More Progress on My Denim Corset -- Bottom Edge Bound

Denim Corset -- More ProgressDenim Corset -- More Progress 25 Inches!: And I got another inch of reduction!25 Inches!: I got another inch of reduction!
I've gotten the bottom edge bound, and most of the flossing on the bottom. I think I'll have to lower the edge under my arms a bit, it feels too high. And the bottom edge pulls apart a bit. But the fit is a definate improvement, and there's not too much in the way of wrinkling. And I can get my waist down to 25 inches! I still have a bit of a gap in the back, too. It feels like I might have placed the waist tape a bit too high; it feels like it's putting pressure on my floating ribs, and I'd meant it to be just below that, I'm not sure exactly how I screwed that up.
It's using mostly 1/4" spiral steels, with flat steels on either site of the grommets in the back, and a couple of cable ties in the back, too; I'm low on flat steels. I'm pretty happy with the progress, though!
The top edge pulls apart, too. I might actually just cut a centimeter or so off the top all around, or almost all around, rather than only lowering the sides under my arms, perhaps it just comes up too high in the front.
There might even be a coutil version in the near-ish future.

Denim Corset In Progress

Denim Corset Inside -- In ProgressDenim Corset Inside -- In ProgressDenim Corset -- In ProgressDenim Corset -- In Progress Denim Corset -- In Progress -- Embellishment OptionsDenim Corset -- In Progress -- Embellishment Options
When dfr completed her denim mid-Victorian corset, I realized that that too-tightly-woven-to-make-good-jeans denim in my stash was destined to be a corset. So, I've been working on an updated version of the corset pattern I drafted using the Foundations Revealed instructions, and dfr has, of course, been complaining about my lack of in-progress pictures. So finally, here are some progress pictures! I'm using mostly spiral steels, which I like so far. Flat steels on either side of the lacing, of course, and a few cable ties in the back, probably. I am somewhat worried that the spiral steels might be less supportive for my back. This is the first corset I've made using real grommets, and not using duct strapping in the back to stabilize the lacing; just the flat steels on either side. I'm using size 0 grommets (which I found, along with size 0 grommeting tools, on amazon.com for pretty cheap. For some reason size 00 grommets and grommeting tools are harder to find, and the tools are more expensive.)
So far I'm using some double-faced satin ribbon from a mystery box as the lacing. The regular corset lacing I have seemed too narrow. The satin ribbon is too thick to be practical with eyelets, but seems to work quite well with the size 0 grommets.
I'm mostly just boning along the seam allowances, plus a few added denim inserts that function as boning channels too. And as you can see, lining it with the cherry-print broadcloth. I'm trying to do most of the flossing before actually installing the lining all the way, so that the inside will (hopefully) look neater.
I'm thinking of doing some contrasting topstitching, but I haven't decided on a color, and I might not. Of course, I also haven't decided exactly what I want to do so far as embellishments. This last picture shows most of the options I'm considering; lace, trims and appliques from mystery bundles. But of course, I haven't made up my mind. I'll probably put up a few more in-progress pictures as I experiment with the different options.
And one more thing I haven't decided on is the binding. The denim I used is really too thick to be practical as a binding, so I still have to figure out what the heck will work and not look goofy. Serging the edge and then using lace as a sort-binding may be possible. Or some kind of contrast bias binding, although I have no idea what. Maybe purple cotton.. but I'm not sure that would look right.

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