From the sock puppet I made in elementary school to fixing minor issues with my clothes, I’ve always had an affinity for sewing. My mom and younger sister sew (and knit) as well, so one could say it runs in the family. :) In 2014, I decided to up my sewing game mainly because I wanted the skills to design and construct my own costumes for Halloween, Cosplay, themed events, and so on. My mom gifted me a sewing machine, I took a few sewing lessons, and (with guidance and help from The Sewing Studio in Old Town Pasadena) I made my first costume from scratch – Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games. To commemorate this milestone in my sewing endeavors, I did a photoshoot of the finished product with my husband, who is a photography hobbyist.
I’ve created another costume and dabbled in a few small projects since then, but nothing has been to the scale of my 2014 Effie costume – until now. Last fall (2019), I started looking for a space-themed dress that I could wear to outreach activities and space-themed events. After many hours of searching online and not finding anything I was compelled to purchase, I decided I would try making my own. It was a slow start, but I finally found the fabric and a pattern I liked, gathered all of the materials, and began my space-themed dress project.
A silver-lining with the COVID-19 pandemic (and the stay-at-home guidelines) is that I found myself with a good bit of extra time this spring and nowhere to go! ;) With help from YouTube videos and a number of Ctrl+Z’s and tweaks along the way, I finished the dress and had another photoshoot with my hubby. BTW, as most dress wearers can appreciate, this dress also has pockets. :D
A fun fact about sewing – it’s even used for space applications! Most spacecraft have thermal blankets to regulate the temperatures they are exposed to in space. If the sensitive science payloads and electronics get too hot or too cold, they will not function properly. These thermal blankets are typically made of very thin pieces of aluminum sewn together using commercial sewing machines. Here are two great articles about thermal blankets, how they are made, and the people at JPL that make them: Meet a ‘Spacecraft Dressmaker’, and Cassini Thermal Blankets.