Friday, March 22, 2013

TARDIS Messenger Bag

Generally my project ideas start with some finished concept idea. I know where I’m going and then fight to find patterns and tools that will help me reach that goal. This bag was completely different! I decided on the tools I’d use first.

My friends bought me an awesome embroidery machine that until now I’d never had a chance to use. Part of the reason had been time, but the major delay was a lack of software to create my own designs. Most of the software I’ve seen has been absolutely awful and still costs somewhere around $150, and some of these companies want upwards of $1300 for it!!! Just recently I came across a really good program that was free, Stitch Era Universal, so I just needed to find a good getting your feet wet project.

Insert McCall’s 5824. I was at Hancock's during one of their $0.99 pattern sales and came across this little gem. 

I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for messenger bags, and this one has like a zillion pockets! Plus I finally knew how I could break in my embroidery machine. Perhaps it was due to my Christmas Break marathon of all the most recent seasons of Doctor Who, but I could immediately see this as a perfect TARDIS book bag. So after a few months of slowly collecting materials I finally managed to find the time for a completely selfish project!


After scouring the internet to find the correct fonts for both the TARDIS signs, and fiddling with my awesome new software I set my embroidery machine to work.

(Gill Sans for the Police Public Call Box, and Times New Roman/VAGRounded-Thin for the Pull to Open Sign btw)

There was a bit of trial and error when it came to getting the placement of the words right since the sign was longer than the 7” hoop, but it wasn’t too bad. Unfortunately I wasn’t smart enough to throw away the bad panel and managed to accidently sew it to my bag flap!

I pouted for a few minutes about my mistake and just made a new flap.

For the most part the pattern was pretty straight forward. I had a couple of complaints about some things like the gusset and bag strap, but I loved how the pockets turned out! I made a couple of tweaks to the pattern and replaced the outdated cell phone holder with simple slip pockets so all in all I ended up with 12 different places to store stuff!

Because I absolutely abhor flimsy homemade bags I also added an entire extra layer of heavy duty stabilizer. Now it will hopefully stand up to the abuse I give my book bags on a daily basis. Anywho, here is the bag all finished!


I can’t wait to use it next week!

The only thing left is to clean up the aftermath….

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Back from blog hiatus!

The craft show is over, my finals are done, and the wedding is finally past us. Admittedly when I got back into town I took a week or so off to recuperate, but now that I’m recharged it’s finally time I get back to the blog!

I need to weed through some of my camera files and hopefully find some viable pictures for updates. Until then I’ll send you off to look at some of the awesome  photos J. Smith Innovations caught of us on our wedding day!

Jason and Courtney's Wedding

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bridesmaid Dress Sketches

Whelp, my friend finished reading the Hunger Games, so as promised here are the dress sketches.

The first choice is a standard ball gown with pickups:

It’s a little different than my original concept, but it has the major bonus of having a pattern. This would save me hoooooooooours of work.

With the time saved from drafting an entire gown for each of them I’d be able to spend more time on tiny details added to the dress. Like possibly adding a corset closure up the back.

The second choice is this:

Which is really just a very bad drawing of this gorgeous dress I found many months back.

I love this dress. Hell, screw my bridesmaids, I want to wear this dress… but I don’t have a pattern for it. That means I’ll have to draft the entire thing from the ground up. I know it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but with my schedule over the next few months it’s got me in a panic.

I also originally wanted tartan fabric for the dresses, but after much scouring of the internet I’ve decided that @ 62$ a yard for tartan *** when I need 30+ yards *** my bridesmaids will look absolutely beautiful in a solid blue.

So, do you have any opinions about which way I should go?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I swear I’m not a slacker!

I’ve just been sooooooooo busy. Sadly with my school, business, and wedding plans needing to take priority, the blog schedule will always be the first thing to slip. I will try and keep it going though ^_^.

So what has been monopolizing my time all week? Well as far as school and business I’ve:

     - Studied for and taken three exams: Mathematical Statistics, Calculus 4, and Differential         Equations.
     - Met with an accountant to formalize my business. I’m officially INC now!
     - Set up business bank accounts.
     - Made two more microwave hand warmers. *** Sorry, no pictures ***
     - Finished up and sent out a custom Aurora crown for a client on Etsy.

And for the wedding I’ve:
     - Worked on the contract with the caterer.
     - Made some progress on the ‘Save the Dates’. I’m not 100% complete, but I did sketch             up this little guy really quick and I know he will an appearance somewhere on them.

     - Cut out the corset patterns for my three bridesmaids.

     - And finished the sketches of the dresses that they will wear. Now, normally I’d post a picture of the gowns here, but I’ve made a deal with one of my bridesmaids that I’d finish the sketches if she read half of The Hunger Games book. Since she hasn’t quite finished up her end of the bargain, they’re being held hostage for a few days ^_~.

See, I’ve been a busy girl! For now, it’s time for me to go visit JoAnns for some fabric and sew up these corsets. Hopefully I can get them all done this week so I can send them up to Kansas ASAP.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pink and Blue Sleeping Beauty Gown: Photoshoot

Click here for the making of the Sleeping Beauty Dress - Part 1
Click here for the making of the Sleeping Beauty Dress - Part 2
Click here for the making of the Sleeping Beauty Dress - Part 3
Click here for the making of the Sleeping Beauty Dress - Part 4
Click here for the making of the Sleeping Beauty Dress - Part 5

Wow, that hemming took me nearly three hours straight, but yaaaaay it was finally finished! And all of it in under a week! *** Granted it was nearly 10 hours a day, 6 days straight… but I was still proud. ***

Enough blabbering, now for what people really want; the photos!

First up is a shot of me and a couple of other Disney princesses at the New Years party the dress was made for.
2012 New Years Party 068
I don’t know what it is about me and cameras, but I always tend to make a stupid face whenever someone snaps a shot. There are lots more pictures of me from the party… but none I really need to spread around the internet anymore than they already are ^_~.

So, in order to grab some shots where I wasn’t making goofy faces I drug my guy out a few weeks later for a diy photo shoot. This mostly involved us driving around town looking for pretty backdrops to shoot at. Here are a couple of those photos:

First we found a pretty lake with some swans.

Princess Aurora's Pink and Blue Gown (Back with Swans)
And here is one with some thorn type bushes in the background.

Princess Aurora's Pink and Blue Gown (Thorn Bushes)

While these were nice and all, we really hit gold with a super pretty church downtown.

Princess Aurora's Pink and Blue Gown  (Close Up)

Princess Aurora's Pink and Blue Gown  (Sitting at Table)

Princess Aurora's Pink and Blue Gown  (Flared Skirt)

And last but not least, my absolute favorite shot of the entire day….

Pink and Blue Sleeping Beauty Dress

The sun in my eyes was so painful, but I’m really glad Jason made me open them for this picture. It turned out to be really nice.

So that about wraps things up on this gown. It was a weeks worth of hard work, but turned out to be one of my favorite costumes to date. Sadly it will probably be the last costume I make for quite awhile. With my wedding coming up in May I need to start in on the bridesmaids dresses soon. Three full corsets, mockups, and gowns are sure to take quite a bit of time. But hey, they kinda count as costumes though, right?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Making it fit for Princess Aurora

Click here for the Princess Aurora Dress - Part 1
Click here for the Princess Aurora Dress - Part 2
Click here for the Princess Aurora Dress - Part 3
Click here for the Princess Aurora Dress - Part 4 

I know, I know, I’ve been a slacker. I’m trying really hard to keep to a two day update schedule, but sometimes life gets crazy busy. In order to make up for my breach of the schedule I’ll try to post the finished dress tomorrow. Now, onto the construction!

Since I couldn't find a pattern, or really even a good reference, I just free handed the collar and over skirt with some muslin until I was happy.
Sleeping Beauty Pink and Blue Gown Construction (23)
If you noticed, I did make a slight tweak from the reference picture in regards to the overskirt. In the movie the tri peaks were all connected as one skirt, but in execution this creates a bit of a problem. At what angle do you cut the skirt so that it has sufficient give for the hips, while at the same time fits snugly to the skirt? Plus, where would I add seams so I could create the splash effect? While that’s all technically doable, there wasn’t any real reason for it other than blind dedication to accuracy. *** I know, funny coming from me considering the fit I had about the Disney World collars *** In any case, I decided to stick with separate petals for the overskirt. I could argue that it was for unhindered movement, but really it just made my life easier.

Oh! You know how the other day I said no matter how many lists I made I still managed to find ways to  screw up the little stuff? This over skirt was a perfect example. I sewed it together wrong not once, but twice! The first time was just me being silly and skipping a step by sewing the front and back together before I’d added the splashes… but the second time was far worse. I really wanted the overskirt and underskirts splashes to line up so I went through the tedious task of making sure every last swirl was right. Since I’d used the last of my pink polyester fabric for the actual gown lining, I had to use the light pink suede on both sides of the splash panel. This meant, unlike before where they were two different shades of pink, both the front and the back of the splash looked identical. I didn’t even think about it before I slapped the pink splashes on my blue panel and appliqued them on. It was so sad when I held my finished panel up to the dress and noticed the colors were all backwards.

Ah well, live and learn. They were relatively small pieces so it didn’t take to terribly long to make a new one. I made sure to quadruple check before I appliqued this time!
Sleeping Beauty Pink and Blue Gown Construction (30)
Even though I absolutely love the splashes on this dress, the detail I actually liked most was the collar; especially that it’s made in two different colors. In my research for this gown I found costume, after costume, after costume with white collars. And Disney itself was the main perpetrator of this error! Their massed produced pink gowns all had stark white collars. I don't understand why though, in the movie they were always either a light blue or pink. It's not like it would have cost anymore to put light pink on their sewing lines... /shrugs.

Any who, back to the dress. I was almost done! Sadly the next step was my second least favorite thing to do in the whole wide world! Zipper basting.

Sleeping Beauty Pink and Blue Gown Construction (33)
Really any kind of basting is horrible in my book. It seems so utterly pointless to put in a bunch of stitches you know you’re going to take right back out again! I suppose it’s a necessary evil though.

The zipper and I had some disagreements when it came to this dress. I’d changed the location and put it up the pink side seam instead of the back due to the splashes, but it was not happy about the joint where the bodice meet the over skirt and underskirt. After a firm talking to, and some deftly utilized scissors on some seam allowances, it finally decided to behave.

So with that out of the way I just needed to add some extra last minute splashes, insert the lining, and then do my absolute least favorite sewing duty; hemming. Uggggh. Ball gowns of this size are just sooooo big, so hemming seems to take forever and five days!

Sleeping Beauty Pink and Blue Gown Construction (36)
This was about the time I started whining to Jason, ‘Can’t I just go as Mickey… I don’t have to hem a gown to be Mickey.’ Since he’d been practically abandoned for the past 6 days while I sewed this gown he flately refused and told me I had to be Aurora. *** With malicious glee in his eyes I might add *** Bah!...

To be continued…

Click here for the Princess Aurora Dress - Part 6


Is there a sewing task that you absolutely hate doing like hemming?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sleeping Beauty Dress: The Skirt

Click here for Sleeping Beauty's Pink and Blue Gown - Part 1
Click here for Sleeping Beauty's Pink and Blue Gown - Part 2
Click here for Sleeping Beauty's Pink and Blue Gown - Part 3

Now that I was practically finished with the bodice panels, it was time to lay out the skirt front and back. If I thought the bodice was a lot of work, I was sure in for a rude awakening.

After pinning my two front pink pieces together, I quickly free handed some waves with fabric chalk. *** I <3 fabric chalk. When you mess up, you can just wash it away! ***

Sleeping Beauty Pink and Blue Gown Construction (Splashes)

Oye vey, I should have realized by the sheer size of the panel that I’d be in for hours of pinning. Between the four applique panels I used three entire boxes of fabric pins!

Sleeping Beauty Pink and Blue Gown Construction (Skirt Front)

Next it was time for hours upon hours... upon hours... of applique. Oh how I missed using my industrial  machine! This process definitely opened my eyes to the dedication of quilters. I'd have gone crazy if it weren't for my audio book in the background.

Sleeping Beauty Pink and Blue Gown Applique

Front, Back, Front, Left, Right, Front, Back, Front, Left, Right, Front…..

Once I finished with the tedium of applique, it was finally time to add some Sleeping Beauty flair to my gown!

Click here for Sleeping Beauty's Pink and Blue Gown - Part 5
Click here for Sleeping Beauty's Pink and Blue Gown - Part 6


Oh! While I’m thinking about it, is there anyway to avoid stabbing yourself with pins when you’re sewing?!? I think I must have stuck myself upwards of 300 times sewing these skirts together. My poor hands were in revolt for a week!