Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Coat and More Felting

In the boxing day sale at my local fabric shop, I found this lovely double sided fake fur fabric. It was temptingly on sale and I wandered about the shop thinking of possible coat patterns that could transform it into a great find. I settled on my favourite scarfed swing coat, a good choice because the "wrong side" of the fabric plays a part in the design. The coat is McCalls 5987, an easy pattern that fits really well. The edges were just turned once and top stitched near the edge. (the plain fur side turned out to the outside to make a simple brown fur binding!) This coat pattern has no lining and the inside shows on the underside of the scarf, and when the coat is hanging open. I chose the make the brown underside fur as the top of the scarf to show as a contrast to the patterned fur on the outside of the coat. I also made a new felted scarf in a grid design. Very cute! The art of felting seems to have endless possibilities and everything I make is different and unusual. I will be trying lots more and posting here, so follow along! Also see my new blingy glasses. Marilyn 5046 in brown with meandering crystals on the temples.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Dress, Finale

The Christmas Dress is done except for final fitting and hems.

It will look even better on my friend, than it does on my grey model! Magical.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nuno-Felting Scarves

My knitting posse ventured outside our safe yarn medium, into roving and water and agitation. (Wet felting on fabric backing = Nuno-felting). We made a quick trip to The Fibre Garden in Jordan, where John helped us find the perfect Merino rovings and other yummy fibres. Susan hosted the project in her water-proof basement. We started with scarf sized fabrics. Mine was a synthetic netting in black with silver shimmer on one side. Ruth, Fiona and Lois used silk chiffon in black. Susan supervised and assisted, as she was the "expert" having felted like this once before! (learn then teach... it's the craft version of pass it forward). My fabric is not a natural fibre and will not shrink with heat, nor will it adhere to wool, so I had to layer some merino roving to both sides and rub them to stick it to the netting. First the layering of merino roving in plum... then wetting with warm water and soap, to allow the fibres to lock into each other. Then roll up around a pool noodle and a bubble wrap (pool solar blanket) and tie securely. Then roll and rub and roll and rub..... for a long time (with feet or hands), then eat lunch and roll some more... You can see me knitting while rolling with my feet. Then unwrap and check and roll up again and repeat! The final fabric after rolling, then washing in hot with agitation, is a soft and light weight scarf, with (intentional) holes in the wool where the silver mesh shows through. I had to leave Susan's before the other gals had theirs done, and can't wait to see the finished fabrics. Here are Ruth and Fiona's scarves ready to roll... (and Lois starting to plan hers) Fiona and Ruth's are in a double roll, so they joined forces and did a four foot rolling... they got a good rhythm going! Here, Susan and I show off the final scarf... Thanks for being such a good coach, Susan! The final photo has me wearing the scarf and it is still cold and WET, but I don't care because I made the fabric with my own hands (and feet!).

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Dress

I am honoured to be making a special Christmas Dress for a good friend. She fell in love with this Vogue pattern...
and she chose a raw silk in Christmas red, with sheer shiny organza for the flower ruffles.... Very stuning.

I started (because I could not wait until I needed to add the sleeves) with the flower detail on the sleeves. It is a clever use of organza strips, folded in half and hand stitched in a swirly pattern to the sleeve.

The body has some serious pleating on the left side.... nice.

Work continues..

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Coats, Coats, Coats

I picked up this McCalls pattern 5987 a couple of weeks ago along with a lovely boiled wool blend fabric in Plum with sparkles. When I made the coat and wore it to my knitting group night, I got so many oooo's and aaaah's that I ended up with orders for three more coats. It is the kind of coat that fits any body type and has a cool self scarf that can hang straight or throw over one shoulder. The only change to the pattern that I made was a button fastener just under the scarf.

Above is open with the scarves hanging straight down, the front hem is curved and has a nice drape. A bit of a cape look to it, but more coat.

Button closed and one scarf thrown over shoulder, the other hanging down.

The pattern is really simple (you need to know set-in sleeve) but the rest is simple seams and turned edges and no lining. You would need a fabric sturdy enough for single layer coat, and that has a nice reverse side, as it sometimes shows when the scarf is tossed.

Easy to make and to wear. Oh, and it has good pockets too!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cool Vest

I found a great fabric at Fabricland last week. It has three layers, quilted together with netting on top, a woven textured multicoloured fabric in the middle and a black light cotton on the backing, all held together with a squiggle quilt stitch. It called out to be something dramatic.

I have a Burda pattern (7499) that has a cool lapel. The experience of embelishing the Warrior Princess dress got me thinking that it would be fun to totally cover a lapel in many, many hot fix metal pieces....
So off I went to get some silver rivetts, round and square, and cut the vest from the great fabric. I sewed a lining to the lapels, then before attaching to the vest, I spent an hour designing and hot fixing the doodads in place! The rest was sewn together as the pattern says. I used facings instead of a full lining (the fabric is thick enough already)....

The final perfection is the swaroski crystal encrusted fastener. I have had this in my sewing stash for two years, waiting for the perfect garment to call for it.

all together fabulous!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Pants from Old

I have been on the lookout for new slimmer leg pants (without going "skinny jeans" thin - I don't need leggings).... I have a lot of trouble finding ones that fit right (who doesn't?)

I already have a wardrobe full of nice dress pants that fit at the waist and hip and are long enough (often my biggest fitting problem with off the rack pants). Most of these pants are that wide leg style, hanging straight down from the hip and about 20 inches around the bottom (or more).
I decided to update the look by narrowing my existing pants. This is easy to do if they have regular side seams (no folded overstitched seams like jeans have).

First you unpick the hem and iron flat. Then try them on INSIDE OUT. Most of the pinning will be done on the outside seam, tapering from the hip, evenly down the leg. I also pinned a small decrease on the inside leg from the knee down. Pin about 1.5 inches from the outside edge near the bottom, and about 1 inch from the inside edge (this will reduce the bottom width by 2.5 or 5 inches in total hem circumference! I like about 8 inches across the bottom (lying flat on the ironing board. Make the new seam really gradually tapered from there to the hipline on the outside and to the knee on the inside.... and make left and right leg the same!!!

Hard to see but the photo shows the larger allowance on the top (pinned) and the smaller on the bottom. These pants have fine lines in the fabric, and I used them for guidelines for pinning.

Finish the seams with zig zag stitch and cut the excess. Re-hem the bottom hem and press really well!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cold and Quilting

The November air is COLD and it feels just fine to quilt. I have returned to the bargello small quilt and have started to quilt the layers together. I used a temporary spray adhesive to fuse the top to the batt to the backing. I like to do this before I add the framing. It keeps it small enough to use my regular sewing machine.
It is hard to photo the stitches, because I use coordinating threads, but in the really close up you can see the meandering machine stitch that traces the lines of the various colours. The lines of quilting are about 1.5 inches apart. The final detail will be to stitch around the squares of white, and pale yellow-rose. These squares represent the centers of the lines and contrasts the darker tones.
The framing will consist of 1.5inches of white, and about 4 inches of navy outer border.
Remember to turn your clocks back tonight and enjoy a little extra ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!

All the details worked out... all the challenges met, and after many weeks (and many glue-gun-burned fingers) the finished costume fits and works and looks pretty fabulous on the fabulous girl....

She added a black wig, and even blue contact lenses (because she easily can!) Her boots were purchased and matched the leather exactly, so that the knee pads look part of the boot.

We had a great time with the photo shoot, she had the moves down....

and we even tried an "action" shot that left us both giggling!

and after a long, hard day of fighting the bad guys, a Warrior princess likes to unwind at her favourite Martini Bar....Cheers darling Daughter (my own warrior princess!)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Warrior Princess Finished!

The last things to make were the wrist and upper arm bands. These were both made with leather (turned hems) and leather cut-outs that were sprayed gold and glued in place. For anyone trying to do this technique I will pace on a valuable tip (learned the hard way!)... If you lay cut bits of leather on paper, then use a spray can of paint, the air forcing the paint also blows the leather bits all over the place! Holding them down results in gold finger nails (a look some may find fashionable - but not MY style). Solution: use the fabulous, amazing temporary basting fabric spray. I use this spray - found in fabric stores - to apply fabric to other fabric and hold it in place while I top stitch it or quilt it. It works well to spray the paper, then lay the leather cut-outs flat in place. Then the spray paint will not move them. After drying the pieces lift off with little effort and very little residual glue. It is then easy to lay them in place and hot glue them down.

The pieces were finished with Velcro fasteners to allow a snug fit to the arm.

Here is the whole set on display.... I will be doing the final fitting tomorrow, just in time for the Halloween Weekend!

Estimated time working on this costume... 16 hours. Not including shopping for supplies and fittings. This took longer than the wedding dress!! but how cool is it? I am very pleased.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Warrior Princess part three

A plastic sward, the wrong colour, was sprayed silver (blade) and gold (handle), then leather was wrapped around the handle and glued in place.

I used a separating zipper to close the back of the dress....

and added a layer of skirting (matching fabric) under the panels. It is shorter than the layers, so just finishes it off without being seen much. I also (cleverly) added a pocket into that skirt that can be accessed by the right hand beneath the panels, for such important things as booze money and house keys! Warrior Princesses must be prepared, but must also NOT carry a purse!?!

The knee pads were made by layering leather with quilt batt sandwiched, top stitch quilting and pieces of cut leather sprayed gold, glued in place and quilted around the designs! A few hotfix gold "rivetts" made the look and some elastic and ties attach them to the top of the fabulous purchased boots.

Photo through a mirror of me in the boot with the pad attached... not very clear but you get the idea...
The sward holder is cardboard, covered in leather and decorated like the knee pads, then attached to a mid back panel, that has corresponding hooks and ties to connect to the side fronts and to the back of the shoulder pads. She should be able to reach the sword from over the right shoulder.... handy (and deadly if it weren't plastic!). A round thingy weapon is cut from plastic and sprayed with silver paint, then attached with Velcro to the right front of the outfit.

The outfit on my model.... starting to look almost finished!!!

Only wrist and arm bands to work on. Good thing, as there is only two days left to finish.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Warrior Princess Armour

The tricky part of the armour is to give the appearance of metallic embellishments. I decided that foam sheets, sprayed with gold may be easy to cut and apply to the leather shoulder pads. Hot glue gave it a bit more definition. I drew the curly-cue pattern and cut the foam with scissors, then applied hot glue lines, then sprayed with gold paint. After it dried, I glued the detailing to the shoulder pads.

The pads were made by cutting two layers of leather, sandwiched some quilt batting in between, and sewing around the edges. In the photo you can see how I added some D-rings to allow the pads to be attached to the front breast plate and the back piece (that will also hold the sward scabbard).

close up...

The other detail is the small metal embellishment at the lower front of the leather dress. This is made by drawing the pattern on paper, tracing it with the glue gun, twice. Then I sprayed it with gold paint. I peeled it off the paper, and glued it to the dress. I think I will also have to further secure it with some gold thread stitching. The glue may not be secure enough. Next, mounting the armour together, wrist and knee pads, and sward scabbard, and roundy thingy weapon....