Thursday, December 25, 2008

Party dress and hairclip

Christmas present #553: Party dress for my ten-year-old niece, who loves pink and hearts and little skulls and all the things girls her age seem to dig right now. It's fully lined and (fairly clumsily) hand-ruffled (oh, how I revile the ruffle foot!). I drafted the pattern and designed it myself (not very original, but I thought she'd love it - and she did!). :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Buckwheat heat bags

So while facing another skint Christmas I decided to combine frugality and home made love by making crafty gifts for the family. For the oldies (Mum, Dad and Aunty El) I pinched an idea from the lovely Dachelle, a friend of mine from Melbourne - microwaveable aromatherapy buckwheat heat bags with removable (washable) covers.

I started with a length of black calico and three kilos of buckwheat (bought from Goodies and Grains in Central Market). First I grabbed some essential oils and stirred a few drops in with the wheat. Smells GREAT! After throwing together a quick paper pattern from scratch and cut the calico into rectangles and sewed together on three sides, filling three-quarters full with the buckwheat mix.
The tricky part was sewing up the top of the bag whilst holding the wheat at the bottom and folding the seam allowance in - it may or may not have gotten a little messy... :D

After the inner bags were done I went about making the covers with fabric scraps from my remnants bag, sewing together pillow-style and fastening with a loop of satin cord and a matching button.

I made a 'mashup' one (also at top of post) for Ellie:

...a manly Chinese jacquard and corduroy for Dad:

...and an African-themed one for Mum (she lived in Africa for years and loves anything remotely connected to it).

Clearly due to the floppy nature of the wheatbag they neither photgraph or wrap well (SUCH a pain!) but I think they turned out nicely. I guess I'll know tomorrow how well they go down with the olds! :)

Fabric frame brooches

I've been making these brooches for the past few weeks with a view to maybe adding them to our market stall in the new year, but decided to run a couple off as extra Christmas gifts for mum and Aunty Ellie. I won't go into too many boring details about how I made these, but I'm refining the process and am starting to improve the look of them (particularly the back view). I picked the African fabric for mum (not really my style, but for reasons stated in the 'Buckwheat heat bags' post) and a crafty quilting fabric for Ellie ('cause she's an eclectic soul at heart). I'm planning on making more with some of the American and Japanese craft fabrics I bought in Tokyo last month. Lots of fun to make and I think they're starting to look quite pretty! Yay!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wristband For Kyle

I was in a pinch as to what to get Enken's boyfriend Kyle for Christmas... he is a major wristband/arm wrapping fan with a penchant for gothic anime stylings, so I decided to run him up a quick wristie in time for the House of Awesome Chistmas party. He loved it, it fit like a dream and he's a man who can definitely rock a button. Woo!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Plushie Ninja

I'm not proud. I shamelessly pinched the idea of a plush ninja from Shawnimals, a fantastic company who make very, very cute things (if I say enough good things, do you think they'll forgive me? Hope so!). This was a patternless job, using three pieces of felt (black and beige), two buttons for eyes and a piece of silver card for the mad shuriken (a last-minute addition but well worth it for the rad factor). I knocked him up by hand one afternoon for my friend Jack's birthday (you can see him stealthing his new owner in the bottom photo). I was ultimately inspired by my sis-in-law's astounding plush creations - when she has her own website I'll link you up. Gorgeously quirky, beautifully made stuff. *sigh* I'll get there one day, right?

Mongol Slippers

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Puss in Boots

This is another thrown-together number I made for Tom, getting its one and only outing at Enken's Fairy Tales party. Everything (except the pants) was made from scratch a few days before the event. The man loves cats, so Puss in Boots was the obvious choice (not sure he'd admit it, but he doesn't need much of an excuse to wear kitty ears!).
I started with the ears, using leftover fur from Enken’s Mongol Slippers, with inspiration from this tutorial on The paws/gloves gave me a bit more trouble. I had JUST enough fur for the opposite sides of each glove, and promptly cut out three of one side and one of the other. This happens alarmingly often to me - wonder if I'll ever learn to check my orientation before I cut? *facepalm* Eventually I remade the inner section with black stretch fabric, handsewing felt circles to make the pads of the paw. Salvaged!

Next up came the Seinfeld-worthy puffy shirt. These are seriously easy to make! A member of the Costumers' Guild once told me it was just "made from squares and rectangles", so I played it by ear, using a very light cotton lawn. I cut two large rectangles for the body of the shirt, sewing up three sides and hemming the bottom. I then cut generous arm holes, and attached a 'tube' of fabric (just a long rectangle sewn down one side) to each, ruffling at the top. I finished each arm with some elastic about three inches from the hem. As it was a total rush job I just zipped a hem on the bottom of the shirt (it was being tucked in anyway) and cut and hemmed a round hole for the neck (as the tabard was going to cover it). And that's it!

The tabard was just red drill with gold ribbon trim, and the motifs were freehanded in gold fabric paint (sadly I have zero artistic talent, but I did what I could!). I attached a false collar on the outside - this is my least favourite part of the costume - it looks really rushed and crappy, and doesn't sit right, but we had ten minutes 'til the first guest arrived!

The boots were a great success - mostly inspired by this costume boots tutorial and using a tape mould of Tom's legs. I cut on the basis of the mould, sewed the brown vinyl pieces together (adding a cuff on the top) and attached some elastic to hold the cover onto a pair of Tom's black dress shoes. Finally, we secured the edges by using a bit of double-sided tape (the costumers' best friend!).

To top it all off, we slung Chris' old belt around the middle and tucked in one of my fencing swords (a sabre, to be precise - inherited once upon a time from my ex-competitive fencing brother). The whole thing was finished with a jingling cat bell around the neck. Instant kitty! Kawaii!! =^_^=