The Great Craft Depression.

I doubt anyone’s been reading this blog, since I rarely promote it- but just in case, I have been either ill or too busy to do any crafty bits lately. I hope to get something going soon- i’m beginning to crave Washi paper eggs. Not to eat- to decorate. Eh, you’ll see what I mean.

Published in: on August 7, 2006 at 7:06 pm  Comments (2)  

It’s My Apron, So I’ll Cheat If I Want To.

You would cheat too, if it happened to you. Ugh. Well i’ve had a horrid cold for the past two days, but tonight somehow I managed to get my carcass off the couch and away from Poirot in order to finish Le Apron. The annoying thing about this pattern is that it called for an absurd amount of basting. (I say absurd because I hate doing it.) So sometimes, I cheated… using Aleene’s No-Sew Fabric Glue, in some parts where basting was needed- like the open raw edges of the top, that will be gathered later. Worked out well, and was quicker, which was great in my cold-induced stupor. I took a couple other small shortcuts, too. But hey, it’s an apron, not the Bayeaux tapestry. There are a few mistakes, the most major of which is that I put one of the ties on upside down. However, you can’t really tell this when it’s tied. I also think it would have been better if i’d used the large size instead of the extra large. Please excuse my pasty face and crazy hair:

apron3.jpg

I always try to note the new things I learn or get to practice a loy on for each project. On this project:

  • Did a lot of curves on the machine due to the scallops. plenty of pivoting.
  • Finally figured out how to do multiple rows of gathers on the machine instead of by hand.
  • Got lots of practice pressing.
  • First experience with Butterick, and a pattern that does not explain every detail, like telling you when to clip curves and layer seams. It just had diagrams of this having already been done.

apron4.jpg

I’ll definitely make this pattern again, possibly for a gift. I also think i’ll be adding some rick-rack to it, it’s a little plain. Need to tart it up a bit. Right now i’m off to pass out from the Tylenol Cold and Flu meds. Till next time!

Toodle-oo!

Alex

Published in: on July 4, 2006 at 3:03 am  Leave a Comment  

When Ugly Fabrics Attack

Sometimes, you see some fabric that’s so ugly, you feel sorry for it. You know what I mean- buried at the bottom of the 2 dollar table at Hell-Mart, it calls out to you, and you ignore it. A month later, and it’s been moved to the dollar table, only now it has dust on the folds. “Eeew, how gaudy,” you say. But, like a black velvet Elvis painting at an Alabama flea market, somehow you just can’t look away. So you buy a couple yards and put it in your stash until some pattern or project comes along to justify it’s pitiful existence.

This is just such a fabric. Ladies and gentlemen, I submit to you:

ROWR!

Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but Lord, it isn’t good. I suppose the best word to describe it is kitschy. It also happens to be made of seersucker, of all things. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seersucker) It’s destiny? To become a retro style apron, via Butterick 6567.

 pattern

I’ve already cut out the pattern for view B, which appears to be the simplest one. Though I haven’t sewn a lot of garments, I have perused many a pattern intruction sheet, but I must say that I find these Butterick instructions less confusing than most i’ve seen. I’ll be lining it with cheap white broadcloth.

Around here, there isn’t much room for laying things out. Currently i’m forced to do my sewing in my kitchen/dining area on the table. I’ve found a handy space saver when it comes to keeping your current pattern at hand: Hanging the cut pieces on the side of my fridge with magnets. Tacky, tacky. But it works.

on fridge

So i’ll be starting the project for real tomorrow. My goal is to have the whole thing completed by Sunday. So hopefully, i’ll be burning Sunday dinner wearing a super ugly but new and cheap apron. In which case you’ll see the finished result here, of course.

Regards,

Alex

Published in: on June 30, 2006 at 3:28 am  Leave a Comment  

My First Steps into Millinery. (And Blogging.)

This jumble of velvetmongery was once part of a hat owned by my Great Aunt. It looks to me to be from the late 30’s/early 40’s. When she passed away last year, my mother ended up with it. It is made of velvet, ribbon, wires, netting, and glue. It happens to be “fried, dyed, and laid to the side”, as we used to say about some people’s hair back in the 80’s. It is partly dry rotted, rust stained, covered in dust, and has some dead bugs in it.

icky-poo

On the other hand, it is quite beautiful, and I believe in making use of old things like this… even if you have to take it apart. Nobody was going to wear this, sitting as it was on Mama’s dresser. I noticed that it has the exact same colors as peacock feathers. Hello! My mother raises peacocks and so has an awesome collection of them. One of the projects on my list was to make a “fascinator”. A fascinator is a confection of ribbon, feathers, tulle, and flowers, etc. that may be mounted on either a small buckram frame, tiny hat, a barrette/comb and worn in the hair. Here are some good examples.

My goal: to preserve as much as possible of the original item, restoring what I can. I don’t want to make something old look new; I want to make something old viable again.The first thing to be done was getting it apart, which was a pain. many parts of it were glued together, and simply pulling it apart would cause major damage. I used a tea kettle to steam the glue open. The lovely velvet ribbon bits and veil were all creased and messy, so I held them over the steam too, until they went limp. Apparently, you can’t just iron velvet. I read up on it first at Fashion Era, one of the most extensive fashion/costume sites on the web. Here is the veil re-forming on my teapot after it’s steam bath.

Veil reforming

After getting it all apart, I brushed off as much dust as possible. I had to glue many of the petals of the velvet roses back together, holding them with rubber bands as they dried. I lined all the edges, as they were all fraying to some degree, with Nori paste. Where the original wires of the flower stems/leaves were still viable, I rewrapped with floral tape, and I had to insert new wires into one. There were several parts of the velvet ribbon that had worn and faded, and those spots I colored with a marker that matched. Yes, a marker! If you look really close you can see that these spots are odd- but hey: this thing is for wearing in a smokey bar while drinking a martini, not in the bright sunlight. Or for being murdered on the Orient Express. (I picture something very Film Noir.)  So this is what I was left with.

The pieces

Using as little hot glue as possible (mostly used wire), I layered the elements with elements of my own that i’ve had laying about for awhile. It needed something shiny, so I put in some vintage beads on head pins to mimic stamens, and a new but old looking button. All this was applied to a black wire hair comb- I also wrapped the top of the comb in the more damaged bits of ribbon, giving it a plush look.

Finished fascinator!

Finally, here is yours truly wearing the fascinator, falling pitifully short of the glamour that was the 30’s and 40’s. But you get the idea.

Lovely to see you, DAHLING! Smack!

It was a fun, yet fiddly project. A tad unnerving too, as I could tell my mother was a little iffy about handing the original thing over to me. Hehe.

Regards,

Alex

Published in: on June 28, 2006 at 3:08 am  Comments (1)  

Hello world!

Please bear with me as I learn to use this program. 

Published in: on June 26, 2006 at 10:06 pm  Comments (1)  
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