Monday, July 28, 2014

The Almost-Fail Dress, aka Simplicity 1418

Happy Monday once again - today's bonus post is about a project that I'm still not quite sure about.  During my marathon sewing in July, for some unknown reason I decided to test out a brand new pattern (Wile E. Coyote's got nothing on MY genius), and grabbed another Project Runway special from Simplicity.  I'd made several Flora dresses already, and wanted a slightly differently sundress design to wear in Texas, and I thought that 1418 would fit the bill perfectly.  After all, it was JUST a simple princess seamed bodice with straps.  How hard could that possibly be?

Famous last words.

I'm no stranger to princess dresses. In my 20s and early 30s, I made dozens of them while participating in the SCA, dressing in 14th century, gothic gowns.  Even more, I drafted my own pattern using the T-shirt and duct tape method for the perfect fit.  Which should have been a HUGE clue...

Because I'd worked for years from a homemade pattern that was drafted to me and only me, I'd forgotten about how fiddly all those seams can be.  Even more so when you have a slight sway back and larger bust size.  Needless to say, the pattern was, at first blush, nothing short of DISASTER.  The back was huge, the bust was snug and the waist was baggy.  And the straps, ooohhh, the straps. 

Now, I did go rogue and ignore the instructions.  Because, well, I just did.  I also used bias tape for the facing and just top-stitched the straps in place after what seemed like an hour of pinning, checking placement and repinning (this is a technique I've seen in photos of vintage dresses, so nyah nyah). 

After wasting a day of vacation sewing, I was totally disgusted with the sloppy fit, and into the "fail" heap it went.

Fast forward a highly productive week, and I decided to give the dress a second look with a less stressed eye (and after a refreshing vodka and soda).  I really loved the fabric, and the plus of a princess seamed dress is that you have all those seams to make tiny alterations.  I took in the back and sides about 1/2", and the front seams a scant 1/4" from the underbust to the waist.  "There!", thought I.  "That should do it".  Will I ever learn that vodka-empowered boldness isn't the best course of action?  Probably not.

It's really snug.  I mean, really.  But, I kind of like it.  It's definitely not a dress for work, but I did take it on vacation it was fine.  Not a total fail, but not one for the win category either.


However, I love the skirt pattern.  It's the same piece for the front and back (I kept looking for the missing skirt piece until I realized there wasn't one), with two deep pleats.  This means it's fairly fabric conservative but nicely flared.  **It is a side-zip dress pattern, so I cut it the back piece on the selvedge rather than the folder...presto!  back zip!

Rumpled back - I don't iron
I also set the zip in a bit too low, but I'm too lazy to put a hook and eye at the top. And the zipper is slightly too short, meaning it either goes on over my head or I do an interesting shimmy getting it pulled up.  Oh well.  On a side note, I forgot how much I love my orange Steve Madden shoes.  These need more wear.

All in all, I do like the pattern and see a lot of potential.  I'm a fan of the Project Runway line of patterns (I am deeply, madly enamoured of 2444) so I'm not ready to give up on this one yet. 

Well, I guess it's not THAT bad....
If I ever get so inclined, I think I'll let the side seams out a touch.  I don't have a lot to play with, because I pinked my seams so they'd be neatly finished (thank you, vodka).  Or maybe I'll just wear a cardigan.  After all, this is the Land of Layers.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Tale of Two Floras (and some cider)

Hello, darlings!  Hopefully everyone had a magnificent weekend!  The weather here has been lovely all weekend - the summers in Washington are nothing short of magical.
shhhh, don't tell California...
Friday after work, we decided to stroll around downtown. Anthony's restaurant has a great happy hour, and a stunning view of the waterfront.  A drink and some food later, and we took a stroll down to the pier to look at boats and enjoy the scenery.

We kicked around for a bit more, then called it a night.  I found the most amazing hard cider from Crispin - a magnificent blackberry-pear concoction that is a bit too easy to drink...  So two ciders in, and I felt productive enough to decide that rearranging the entire first floor to relocate my sewing room was a FINE idea, and proceeded to demo the necessary rooms before hitting the hay.

Saturday came far too early (5:30 am to be exact).  Jackie-boy had a golf tournament and I wanted to practice on the racquetball court.  I dropped him at the course, spent about an hour running around the court, then headed home to spend the next 4 hours on moving.  Ugh.  Exhausting, but worth it -- I'm delighted with my new space.

I claim this dining room in the name of The Stitchery!
I was DONE by the afternoon, but I did my best to rally and met up with my brother and his girlfriend for a delicious bloody Mary.  Then we headed north to another favorite brewery, The Slippery Pig.  It was a short, but pleasant visit, and there was even an impromptu acoustic guitar performance by one of the patrons.  Then we headed home and I crashed out hard.

Today was spent finishing up redecorating (after much sleeping in), doing some shopping, and generally puttering around.  We spent a late afternoon/early dinner at Der Blokken (their moto is "woman owned, woman ruled, woman brewed" - that's damn fantastic), where the lovely Katie made me the most heavenly cocktail of chamomile tea, honey, and rosemary infused vodka.  Sigh...

I do have two new projects cut out and ready to start sewing, but since I threw my poor sewing corner into complete disarray for the better part of 3 days, I don't have anything done yet.  To that end, I have a couple of projects from last month to share - my very first and my most recent Flora dresses.

I already blogged about how much I love the Flora pattern in my Hera dress post.  It's taken a back seat at the moment to the Anna dress, but I do plan on making this up again and again.  It's such a special look, and I adore it. I have some 60" wide fabric earmarked to make it up with the pattern's skirt.  But it is hard as hell to get away from circle skirts.

For my first go, I decided to toile the pattern up in a fabric that had been hanging out in my stash for several years (yep, I'm a fabric and pattern hoarder).  I've been in love with the idea of an Alfred Shaheen dress for quite some time, but I've never been able to commit to a pattern.  Flora seemed to strike an inspirational chord; my fabric was only 45" wide, but I had a ton of it, so the 5 gore circle skirt from Butterick 5882 seemed the ideal choice for a mid-century look.

The Shaheen dress, floppy hat optional
As this was the first go at this pattern, I hadn't dialed in the fit.  There is about 1/2" too much fabric in the back, and the darts under the bust needed to be taken in a bit.  But even so, straight out of the package at a size 10, this was love.

The back is straight, my posture sucks
The circle skirt did a bang up job.  If I could wrench myself away from one-directional novelty prints, I would use this a lot more.

The bodice is lined in pink cotton, the skirt is unlined as this is a dress that was ear-marked for Texas. And I know from experience that this skirt, when lined, is HEAVY.

The lining is tacked at the waist at the seams only.  It's a technique used in the Gertie pattern, and I think it works great.  The lining is hand-sewn at the zipper with my usual meticulous care and attention to detail.

Frankenstein couldn't have done it better
Flora #1 in the bag.  I adore this dress and would wear several times a week if I could.  But I can't, so off and running on another make I went.

I came across this gorgeous fabric while wandering through Joann's Fabrics and decided then and there that it was destined to be another Flora.

At this point, I already had the Hera dress in the "done" pile, and was feeling pretty confident about the pattern.  I had it cut out already, and it went together effortlessly in the space of one evening.

The Vineyard dress, Bettie Page shoes and hair accessory from Dame Deville

Pattern matching?  What's that?
The bodice fits MUCH more closely than the previous two dresses, but that is intentional. I prefer a more snug fit as I think too much ease (really any ease) looks sloppy. This may also be a holdover from my days of Italian Ren gowns....

let's jump into the wayback machine

Again, I only lined the bodice, using a quilting cotton that I've had for probably 6 years.  The lining is topstitched in place, which keeps the straps a bit more stable.  The straps are lined in the same fabric as the dress, because I think it's a neater finish.

And, as usual, I used a regular zip and inserted it using an invisible zip technique.

Cause I can, that's why
note to self...turn on your flash

And there you have it.  Two lovely Floras and a weekend wrap up.  Tomorrow's Monday, kids, hope everyone is ready!  I'm not, so I'm going to drink another cider and stare out the window at the glorious sunset.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Hera Dress

Happy Wednesday!  I hope everyone's week is going smoothly - I'm transitioning to a new department at work, so things are a bit busy.  But it beats being bored, so I'll take it!

The first half of the week has been pretty uneventful; I've made a couple of trips to Joann's Fabrics, went on a bike ride on Monday to take advantage of our fleeting gorgeous weather, made it to the gym yesterday and just general kicking around.  Nothing terribly exciting, although I did start the daunting project of reorganizing my sewing corner.

I'm set up in the breakfast nook off the kitchen, which is great because it has a ton of light.  I also like being on the main floor of the house, close to everything (I watched WAY too many scary movies in my teens to be sequestered upstairs).  The space is a good size, but I'm not using it in the most efficient way, especially since it's also an office space.  So last night I pulled out a stash of my "everyday" patterns (the rest are boxed up and stored), and I've started going through my fabric horde to plan the best method of storing.  Next step, figuring out shelving and reconfiguring furniture.

Sigh.  At least it's raining again, so my motivation for indoor projects will be higher.  I need to get this sorted out, especially because I've signed up for the One Week One Pattern challenge from Handmade Jane.  This will be my very first sewing challenge, so I'm pretty excited about it.  If the vacation project reinforced anything, it's that I work better under pressure!

So today, I'm posting yet another dress I cranked out for the Great Vacation Project, to try to incorporate some of my backlog of already-sewn pieces. 

Several months ago, I grabbed this fabulous peacock fabric at one of Joann's many 30% off sales...


It looks a bit brown, but it's a subtle gold surrounding the feathers.  I kept in my stash, waiting for the right project.  After a wildly successful test of the Flora dress, I knew I found it.

Once again, the ladies at By Hand London offer a FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC sew-along on their site, that outlines both the v-neck and tank versions of the pattern.  I skipped the paper instructions altogether, just followed the online tutorial.  Easy-peasy.  I especially love the instructions for inserting the tabs - I think any of the large commercial patterns that try to pull that off would give someone a stroke.  These instructions were a breeze.

wanna-be Mad Men pose
Because I only had 2 1/2 yards of the fabric, I made a 1/4 circle skirt cut on the straight grain. My rationale is that it was more important to me to have the feathers in the correct orientation - I'm happy with it.

Some quick notes about the process... I self lined the straps so it wouldn't matter if the underside ever showed.  The bodice is lined with a remnant of inexpensive quilting cotton, and the lining is tacked at the waist seams and whipstitched (haha, my handsewing suuuuuuucks) at the zipper tape.  The zipper is, once again, a normal zipper inserted using the invisible zipper method.

NO idea what face I think I'm  making

The wrinkles in the back are from sitting, not stress wrinkles.  Promise.

I serged the hem and left it at that.  Super lazy, yes, and I was going to finish the hem after vacation.  But suprisingly, I get a ton of compliments from people that think it's a decorative stitch, so I'm just leaving it alone.

And thank you to my co-worker for snapping pics of me during our lunch hour.

So there you have it!  A quick update to break up the mid-week slump - the dress is a bit rumpled from sitting most of the morning, but it really is a lovely dress and a gloriously fun pattern to work with.  This is the second of four Floras I've made up so far, and I'm really enjoying working with it.  I have experimented with an unlined bodice finished with bias tape, but that's for a later day.

Halfway to the weekend!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Anna Dress - Pattern Test

Happy Monday, all!

Back to the grind after a hectic weekend.  Saturday evening, we went to a 90's grunge tribute show at one of our favorite spots, The Manette Saloon. 

My attempt at the grunge look - plaid + stripes + red lips and loads of eyeliner

Even though it was stiflingly hot, it was a total blast and made me feel like a college kid again.  We missed the STP cover band because the show started on time (who does that?), and left before Pantera because I was beat.  But we did get to see the fantastic Alice in Chains tribute by the Seattle-based band Silvergun.  I kept closing my eyes (not overly smart in a pit, but whatevs) because they were so good I felt like I was listening to Layne Staley. 

Silvergun, aka Alice in Chains

Then the guys from Bad Habit Bremerton took the stage and blew the place away with their tribute to Nirvana (complete with thrift store sweater!).  And if that wasn't awesome enough, my friends Becca, Melissa, and I were pulled up on the stage to back-up dance for the last few songs of the set. It was so much fun, I was an exhausted, sweaty mess by the end and I was thrilled!

Nirvana back up dancers.  I wish I had pom-poms.
Sunday was spent doing Sunday chores, although we did go take advantage of our new memberships to the Athletic Club.  To anyone I've ever told that swimming laps isn't hard enough cardio, I am deeply, truly sorry.  Everything hurts.  Owie.  But it was fun, and it felt great to be active again.

I also swung by Pacific Fabrics and picked up a couple of really cool lengths of fabric - Little Red Riding Hood and an absolutely gorgeous map print accented in teal.  Oooooo.

I like the staff there; they're friendly and helpful and the store is chocked with designs I can't get from JoAnn's.  It's a bit more expensive than online shopping, but for instant grafication an support of a local business you can't go wrong.

Backing up, Saturday afternoon was spent on my newest pattern acquistion, the long-awaited and coveted Anna dress from By Hand London.

I had anxiously waited for this pattern after discovering the joy that was the Flora dress (but I'll get to that review later).  By Hand London is an independant pattern company that offers some of the coolest, unique patterns I've come across.  And I have a LOT of patterns.  After seeing some of the gorgeous creations gracing the internet, I was obsessed with obtaining it for my own.  Not really thrilled with the idea of international shipping, I found it for sale through - score!  Alas, the pattern was sold out on their site, and everywhere else.  EVERYWHERE. I was a bit dejected, but placed my order and reserved a spot on the wait list - pouting all the while.

Then the Great Vacation Project took over, and thoughts of Anna took a backseat to cranking out a ridiculous number of dresses in 1/2 a month.  A project I completed successfully, but it did occupy ever spare moment of time until we left.

After I returned from vacation, I decided to check my online shopping cart at Pattern Review, and not only was the dress back in stock, but it had already shipped and was scheduled to arrive the next day.  I was overjoyed.

The pattern arrived, like the other two By Hand patterns I own, beautifully presented in a sturdy folder with a little story of the design name on the back.  I checked the measurements against the Flora, decided on my normal UK 10, and - of course - cut the pattern because I'm too lazy to trace.  One day...maybe.

I had lovely chocolate brown damask I bought from the clearance section of my local Joann Fabrics, and decided to use that for the mock-up. My theory is this - if I'm going to toile a pattern, it should be wearable. I believe the fabric was clearanced and then another 50% off, so the investment was less than muslin or a sheet.  Fabric also depreciates in value to me; if I've had it for a while, it is somehow less of an investment than brand new fabric (cost of the purchase never figures in).  And this yet another example of why I failed Economics in college.

I decided that I only wanted to test the bodice and save the skirt for later, as I didn't have enough fabric to use the skirt pieces properly.  I laid out the pattern pieces and jumped in.

After the fabric was cut, and the darts and pleats were marked, I put the pieces aside for the evening, ready to come back to it on Saturday.  Then I saw that my fabric pen had vanished, leaving me a trail of pins, but no stitching lines. 

Um,where are my markings?
Balls. So I pulled the pattern out again, and remarked everything with chalk.


Yes, I cut the darts out of my pattern.  It makes my life easier (I do reinforce them with tape so don't go too crazy, internet).

The bodice went together without a hitch.  I ignored the paper instructions, because By Hand London offers a killer online sew-along.  I read over the steps for the slash neck top, didn't see any major issues, and went on my way. 

Bodice pleats pinned - this is before the lines were re-drawn in chalk
Darts and pleats sewn and pressed - already looks amazing
The neckline is finished with bias tape because my hate for facings knows no bounds. Burn in hell, facings. 

Nifty Wonder Clips and a pic I forgot to rotate

Of course, as I was so hot to whip this baby out, I forgot that facings take up a 5/8 seam allowance. Since I didn't remove the excess fabric, the neckline is a bit higher than I want (and than the pattern is drafted for). Well, moving right along...

After the bodice was finished, I took the remaining fabric and decided to gather it into a skirt.  I used two pieces that were the width of the fabric, splitting one piece in half for the skirt back.  After sewing them together, I started what SHOULD have been the simple process of gathering.  Yeah.

For some reason, my thread kept snapping as I gathered.  I don't know if it was the weight of all the fabric or a defect in the thread, but after it happened twice I was a bit pissed off.  So I decided to gather it in three seperate sections, using matching the side seams with the bodice.  That worked, but the tremendous amount of fabric created issues beyond gathering.

FINALLY gathered and pinned
Annoyingly, even after carefully pinning, the waist seam skewed on me after the zipper was inserted.  Oh well.  It's a minimal difference, this was a mock-up, and the print is busy enough that I don't care enough to rip it all out.

The seams are all pinked (my new favorite method of finishing), the neckline is finished with bias tape, and the hem is serged, then turned up once and machine stitched in place.  This is because I have no patience and my hand sewing is atrocious.

Now, I admittedly ran into several issues with this project, but they were all entirely operator error.  This pattern is marked as a beginner, and I firmly agree with that rating so don't be scared off.  It's a simple 2 piece bodice with kimono sleeves, back darts, and front pleats rather than front darts (SO cool) - but even though the pattern is simple and all the techniques used are basic, you get a very sophisticated look.  And the sew-along tutorial is fabulous, even for a hands-on learner like myself.

The next time I make this, I will be making my standard adjustment to the center back seam and removing some width.  The front is perfect, but I do have a bit of excess in the back (normal issue).

Anna <3

I was initially concerned that, because I had waited so long for the pattern that the finished product would in no way measure up to the dresses I had daydreamed of making.  Boy, was I wrong.  I love this pattern.  Love.  My biggest issue is whether to make another slash-neck version immediately, or try the v-neck style next.  And that's a pretty good problem to have, sewing-wise.

Until next time, cheers!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Working through the backlog - Happy Trails dress

I recently returned from 10 days in Texas - which was wonderful, if not hotter than the hinges of hell. My goal for the trip was to sew my entire wardrobe, and wear only handmade dresses for vacation.  After 2 1/2 weeks of sweatshop-like sewing, I completed 14 dresses.  I do plan on posting step-by-step dress creation on this page, but for now, there will also be the liberal posting of ones I've already made, peppered with my uber witty commentary.

One of my favorite dresses was made from a pattern out of Simplicity's Project Runway line, pattern 1803.  Specifically, I was drawn to version C of the bodice. Of course, because I can't ever do anything the normal way, I didn't use the cap sleeves or the notch in the center.  So off I went on another pattern hack...

The interesting thing about this pattern (to me, anyway), is that it uses a princess seamed front, and darts in the back. The pattern is also drafted to be cut with a seam down the center front and has a nice scoop in the back. Joann Fabric's was having a 5 for $5 sale on Simplicity, so I grabbed the pattern and toiled it up in my normal size 10 - I cut the front bodice piece on the fold instead of using a center seam (cause no way, Jose, that's more pattern matching).  I was confident that it would fit right out of the package like 2444 did.

Boy, was I wrong, because it was too big.  HUGE, even.  Of course, I looked at the finished garment size after the fact - cause I'm smart like that - and saw there's a ridiculous amount of ease in the pattern.  So it was back to Joann's to grab another one, because spending another dollar was well worth the aggravation I was saved from trying to fix an already cut pattern (have I mentioned I'm an instant gratification junkie and cut my patterns rather than trace them?).

Note:  I did save the mock-up by slapping a second set of darts in the back, taking in the side seams, and taking in the front princess seams from just under the bustline to the waist seam.  I did all of this without ripping the skirt off, because I am lazy like that.  I'm at peace with it.

Luckily, the size 8 did the trick, with one minor change...

I've discovered over the years that I have one major problem area when sewing - the small of my back is very narrow.  What this does is create a lot of excess fabric in the back that I corrected in my younger days by taking in the side seams, then getting pissed when there were stress wrinkles under the bustline.  Now I just remove 1/3" to 1/2" from the center back seam, depending on the pattern, and that works brilliantly.

After defeating the toile monster, I grabbed my chosen fabric - a fairly obnoxious but adorable Western print, complete with Stetsons, horses, ads for the county fair and cowboy boots.  I did the same pattern adjustments, including the center front, cut the neckline in a size 6, used the simple gathered skirt from the pattern, and bound the neck and armholes with red bias tape.  And my Happy Trails dress was born!

super pleased face

ta-da! no thought to pattern matching

The back's a bit flattened from sitting at my desk, but all in all, I'm pretty damn happy with the result.

cardigan and gold BCBG shoes

I got quite a few positive comments while wearing this in Texas (and who doesn't love that?), and it was loads of fun to wear.  While on vacation, I wore this during a marathon dash to San Antonio, which included a drive-by of the Alamo and a quick 20 minute jaunt down a section of the river walk.

River walk selfie

Also, a blurry pic of the Alamo as we drove past (our flight was leaving Austin in a few hours).

"Look kids, Big Ben...Parliment"

And a gorgeous part of the river walk

So that's that, as they say.  Now I get the joy of dashing off to put new tires on my car (yay).  Last night was a fairly chill evening close to home, with a stop by one of my favorite breweries for an amazing chocolate coffee porter.

Mmmm, beer

And on that note, I'm outta here!  Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Everyone's got to start somewhere...

My first dressmaking tale is one of two tragic projects that never quite lived up to their potential, later joined in a union of new dress bliss.  Let's begin....

A little over a year ago, I saw a new line of patterns emerge in Butterick's retro line - Patterns by Gertie.  B5882 immediately earned a place in my heart; I was enamored of the pleated, boned bust and multi-piece circle skirt.  It would be mine.  Oh, yes.

I decided to make this for my 40th birthday and proceeded to buy the obscene amount of fabric required (in progress shot below).  Much swearing later and ripping of stitches later.....

The instructions, like most of the Big 4, were a tad difficult to follow (to say the least).  I used plastic cable ties for the boning and twill tape for the casing, as this is what I used in the past in Renaissance gowns.  FAR superior to the store bought boning in its own casing.  Yuck.

The dress was fully lined, weighed a ton, and I was very pleased with myself.  Then I put it on.

Meh.  The bustline hits in the exact wrong place.  Rather than being cut beneath the bust like this dress (which I own), it cuts it in half, then the pleated insert takes up the rest.  Which, if you have any sort of bust at all, just perches on top of what should be lovely cleavage.  In my opinion, highly unflattering.  I also think the bias cut trim that creates the straps needs to be wider.  Not a total fail, but not a success by any means.  And so the dress was banished to the land of Don't Really Want to Wear Again.

I took the remaining fabric and whipped up a quick gathered skirt that I wore a few times, then grew bored.  It, too, was banished.

Then I saw a dress from the always fabulous Dolly Clackett (the link goes to her make-up), and inspiration struck.  Could these two sad, lonely projects be saved?

I used B5748 a few times before - I'm particularly smitten with the scooped back.  At a straight up pattern 10, I knew the gathered skirt had plenty of fabric.  I pulled the dress and boring skirt from exile and went to work.

Skirt and pattern.

Never-quite-reached-potential dress.

Then, I had to removed the bodice (this pic shows the zipper I smugly thought I could salvage, but was WRONG, so that had to be ripped out too).

Next, I had to deconstruct the gathered skirt.  In my infinite patience and mild mannered way, this meant taking my shears to the skirt and cutting off the waistband, then hem, and either side of the zipper. I left the lining in the skirt that came from the dress, but did not line the new bodice because the fabric didn't need it.

New bodice action shot.

As the new bodice wasn't lined, I needed to remove the excess fabric at the armscye and the neckline (the pattern is drafted to account for the now non-existent seam allowance).  I staystiched these areas at 5/8", then trimmed it down to almost the stitching line.  Then I used bias tape to finish the edges.  I used a normal zipper but inserted it using the method for an invisible zip, because in weird way it's my favorite method.

Don't judge me.  Or do.  It's fine.

Oh, that's right.  This is also a side-closing dress.  I despise side zippers, even in ready-to-wear (forever now known as RTW).  Sooooooo, I just moved the zip to the center back.  This was actually a cinch, because it already has a center back seam, which accounts for the seam allowance needed to install a zip, so there's no funky drafting involved (normally I would just add 5/8" to the center back to achieve this).

The whole project took about 4 hours from start to finish.  B5748 is one of my favorite bodice patterns, and I've paired it with several different skirt variations.  But the bias cut, 5 paneled skirt from B5882 is my favorite version.  Fully lined, it almost can get away without a petticoat.


Super sassy.

An ending fit for a fairy tale.  Happy new dress that will see loads of wear.  Paired with fantastic shoes from Miss L Fire (purchased on a screaming good sale).

So that's it, kids!  Post #1 is in the bag.  Now, it's time to have a slice of amazing chicken and pesto pizza and a tall, cold drink to combat our current heat wave.  But I'll leave you with an outtake for the road.

(yep, I'm in the middle of twirling...)