Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Going on Vacation!

I'm leaving for my vacation in Colorado tomorrow, so there won't be any new posts for a couple of days. Don't panic; I'll be back with lots more of my sewing and craft adventures soon enough.

Weeeeeee vacation!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

White Mage Hoodie in Miniature–Part 3: Done!

Click here for WHM Hoodie in Miniature - Part 1
Click here for WHM Hoodie in Miniature - Part 2


It’s all finished. I’ll admit I was pretty much a slacker today and spent more time researching stuff for wedding invitations rather than working on the hoodie. But I finally got off my lazy bum around 5, and now it’s done!

Baby White Mage Hoodie (3)
You’ll notice that the zipper is now white. Apparently coat zippers only come in certain shades of red, and WHM red just isn’t one of them. I’m sure I could have special ordered one if I’d thought to check earlier… but meh. I think it looks pretty good with the white one anyway.

And the back!

Baby White Mage Hoodie Back
Yay for fixing those accent patterns! It would have had a really weird shaped plateau thing in the middle if I hadn’t caught that in time.

I must say, this hoodie turned out a lot larger than I thought it would. I’d read that Burda’s kid patterns ran big so I made the 9 mo. sized one instead of 12 mo., but even then it looks to be big enough to fit a two year old. Granted I don’t have kids, nor do I spend much time around them, so I may be way off in my guestimations. I suppose even if it’s too big he’ll grow into it eventually. I just hope it’s not the middle of summer when he finally does @_@.

Since I didn’t have a spare kid around to model this cute little jacket I decided to dig in my closet for one of my childhood stuffed animals. Theodore Edward Bear *** Ted E. Bear for short *** was the perfect size for the job and wore it beautifully.

White Mage Teddy Bear

I kind of like the irony of giving a child a, practically, all white hoodie. It's going to get dirty soooo fast ^_^

Any who, now that this is all done I’m not quite sure what I’ll start on next. I only have a few days before leaving for Breckenridge, so I don’t think I’ll get into anything too ambitious. Perhaps I’ll start playing around with invitation ideas and testing out the pomanders. Considering the wedding is only 4 months away, I really should stop being a slacker about this.

Pattern Used: Burda 9828.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

White Mage Hoodie in Miniature–Part 2

Click here for WHM Hoodie in Miniature - Part 1

Gah! I didn’t get quite finished today. I came really close, but a few hours ago I realized the zipper I’d purchased was the wrong color. ***Who knew red could clash with red?*** Since I have to wait til tomorrow to go grab a new zipper I figured there was no rush to get the lining put in tonight. Pending no serious disasters I should be done tomorrow though.

I did get a lot accomplished for the day. This morning I transferred all the pattern pieces to butcher paper so I could save the pattern, in tact, for future use. Then I drafted the red triangle borders that would line the edges of the hoodie. There was a tiny bit of a hiccup here. I made a stupid mistake and had to go back to redraft the back accents.

White Mage Hoodie Accents

Do you see it? The writings a bit small, but it’s there on the right.

I got a bit seam allowance happy and added the extra distance to my center back piece even though it was supposed to be cut out on a fold. Ugh! That would not make for a very pretty ‘triangle’ right in the middle of the hoodie. As soon as I finished cutting out my first red piece I realized my mistake. I felt sooooo dumb. It just goes to show that no matter how meticulous you are, it’s always possible to make tiny mistakes. Luckily these pieces are so small that not very much fabric was wasted by my mess up.

Other than that the day went by without a hitch. It basically just turned into a big assembly line of applique before quickly stitching the pieces together.

WHM Hoodie Assembly Line

The only difficult part of this was matching up the pockets to the front hoodie panels. Because the pockets sit so low on the jacket, the red accents invade their territory. I had to draft some extra triangles to make them all line up and then baste stitch everything to make sure nothing went askew. If I make the hoodie again in future I’m thinking about just leaving the pockets off all together. I mean, they’re cute and all, but what use does a 9 month old really have for pockets in their coat?

On a slightly unrelated side note, I really need to learn to use my fancy new embroidery machine. I really want clothing tags to sew inside my garments that have my companies name on them. I know people don’t normally see them, but they seem a bit more professional to me. Like it finishes off a piece. Plus it tends to show a bit more pride in the item. Since I don’t really have the time to spend fiddling with my new toy yet, I just used my regular machines alphabet function to stitch out my company name on some twill tape. It’s not as professional as a single embroidered tag, but it turned out kinda quirky cute.

Beaded Fae Designs

I stitched out his name too and added it into the front of the lining. I’m not sure of the whole ‘kids name inside their clothing’ protocol, but I thought it’d add a nice personal touch.

Whelp, it’s getting rather late, so I think I’m going to head off to sleep. That way I can wake up bright and early tomorrow and finish this awesome little hoodie!

Click here for WHM Hoodie in Miniature - Part 3: Done!

Friday, January 20, 2012

White Mage Hoodie in Miniature!

Ooooooh, what’s this you see? It’s the beginnings of a Baby WHM hoodie, that’s what!
White Mage Hoodie Materials. Red and White Fleece
I have been squeeing non stop about this project since I came up with it about three weeks ago. Despite my impatience to get started, I decided to be responsible and finish the diaper bag and do some school work before tearing into the fabric that was burning a hole in my craft table. *** I’m as shocked as you are by my self control, believe me ***

Hmm, I suppose I should take a step back and give you some back story so you can truly grasp how awesome this will be.

You see, I am a bit of a geek. I didn’t meet my significant other in a ‘normal’ fashion. Nor was this an eHarmony or Match.com deal. I met him through an MMO. ***For those non gamer geeks out there that’s a Massively Multiplayer Online Game***. Final Fantasy XI to be specific. More accurately I met him at a linkshell vacation in Breckenridge, CO , but that’s a tale for another day.

The real point is that we weren’t the only love connection to sprout out of our online groups gaming hobby. The linkshell leader, and one of my guys best friends, also found himself a gal through FFXI. ***from my hometown actually*** She moved out to the east coast with him about two years ago and a few months back gave birth to a little boy.

Despite the fact that none of us really play FFXI anymore, we have still kept in touch and a bunch of us are getting together next week for another group trip to Breckenridge. Since the linkshell leader was the one coordinated this amazing trip, I thought it would be awesome to make their little guy a Final Fantasy White Mage hoodie as a thank you gift. I mean, just one gamer parent would think a WHM hoodie was awesome all by itself, but this kid has two gamer parents!

If I know them as well as I think, their kid will end up practically living in this hoodie until he grows out of it or completely destroys it. Whichever comes first. Even then they may ask me to make another one.

So, that’s how this project got added into the mix. I think it's going to turn out absolutely adorable and can't wait to see it finished!

Now I just need to get started so I can have it done before we leave for Colorado. Eep!

Have you made any neat costumes for little ones? I must admit, I’m a huge sucker for children in cosplay. They’re so freakin’ cute!

Click here for WHM Hoodie in Miniature - Part 2
Click here for WHM Hoodie in Miniature - Part 3: Done!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Orange and Teal ‘Steampunk’–Part 5: Done!

Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 1
Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 2
Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 3
Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 4

I know it’s been a few days, but I was so excited about current projects that I put this post on the backburner for a bit. Finally it's time for the completion of the Steampunk costume!

When it came to the bolero for this costume it was a bit of a struggle to find a pattern that would suit what I needed. I really wanted something that clasped near the throat, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Since I was running short on time and I knew I would have to draft the sleeves as well, I decided to forgo it in favor of speed.

I started with B6533. Using the pattern exactly as is for the lining, I self drafted the top of the sleeve to poof out in a late 1800s fashion. Sadly I didn’t take any pictures of the drafting process since I was in such a rush, so all I have are images of the finished garment. I’m sure at some point I’ll make something similar again so I’ll be sure to take tons of photos then.

Orange and Teal Steampunk Bolero
Thanks to all my rushing, I actually finished with about a week to spare. With all that extra time, I decided I would complete the costume with a couple of neat accessories. Because the bolero didn't clasp at the neck like I wanted, I made a neck ruffle with a pretty orange crystal in the center.

Orange and Teal Steampunk Neck Ruffle
It was basically just some pleated fabric with a couple of hook and eyes to clasp it in front. I stitched a strip of the same brown ribbon I’d used on the corset down the center and added the crystal. I can’t remember exactly but I’m wanting to say I just used FabriTac to attach it. It may have had holes to secure it with thread, but I don't think so. To make the crystal a bit more frilly I lined some brown ruffled ribbon around the outside.

I will admit it. I hate the neck ruffle! It was a good idea in theory, but I didn’t like the way it turned out. She really liked it though and didn’t want me to make her something different despite my many protestations. Further proof that my opinion is not the only one that matters ^_^.

Next I made probably the cutest accessory of my entire life. A tiny top hat! *** I'm a firm believer that everything is cuter in miniature! ***

Orange and Teal Steampunk Miniature Hat
I started with a doll top hat I got from Hobby Lobby and added some of the same blue fabric as the bolero and overskirt. I didn’t have a pattern for this and was pretty much just winging it. Usually I don’t like to use glue in any of my costume construction, but I broke that rule here. On the outside it looks exquisite, but it’s basically glued straight onto the base hat. I did make sure to line it though, so you can’t see any of the mess within. I added some ‘decorative’ stitching around the top rim and added a ring of the same frilly ribbon from the neck ruffle.

One of my favorite parts of this hat is the giant copper flower. It looks like I specially made or bought the hat pin from a fancy hobby store or haberdashery, right? It’s totally not! Here in Oklahoma City there have been lots of ‘One Dollar Jewelry and More’ stores that have been popping up. I found this flower attached to one of those cheap adjustable rings for a buck! I just ripped off the cheap ring and glued the flower right on the hat. Perfect.

I finished it off by stitching on a couple of hair combs and some brown netting so that it would stay nicely in her hair.

With all the accessories finished I gave her the present on her birthday in lots of individually wrapped boxes. It was really fun to watch her unbox her costume one piece at a time.

Here is a couple pictures of the costume all completed!

Orange and Teal Steampunk Costume Front
And the back!

Orange and Teal Steampunk Costume Back

Oh! I did sew a modesty panel for the back so her skin didn’t show through the lacing. I just never got a photo of it. Rest assured she was not hanging out of the back.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about this costume is my lack of photos with my friend actually in it! It seems like all of the photos that are taken of her are indoors with horrendous florescent lighting. ***shudders*** I’ve been bugging her to take some photos out in natural light in it for my blog, but sadly she’s been sick for the past week or two. I guess I’ll just have to settle for what’s already available. Alas!

Amy Steampunk Dress 071

This was taken the night I gave her the costume. I don’t think it was her actual birthday but it was on time!


And here was a picture of her we found online from Dragon Con 2011. It’s one of those evil shots where the photographer didn’t give any indication that he was about to take a photo of her, so she wasn’t even remotely ready. But since it’s literally the only one I have of her in natural light I’m gonna post it! Hopefully she’ll get some new shots to me soon so I can update these.

So that about wraps things up. I absolutely loved making this costume and I’m really glad it worked out well. I can’t wait to make more Victorian and Steampunk themed garments!

Patterns Used:
    Mini Top Hat: Self Drafted (sort of)
    Neck Ruffle: Self Drafted
    Bolero: B6533 + some self drafting
    Corset: TV110 + some self drafting
    Over Skirt: TV303
    Base Skirt: TV201
    Bustle: TV101

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Iron-On Vinyl: How To

So, with my excitement over finding this new wonderful material I thought I would make up a quick how-to post for anyone who doesn’t yet know the joys this product can bring.


This is HEATnBOND. I have no brand bias yet since this was my first experience with the product, but I have no complaints. I made sure to get the sewable style as I knew I’d have to stich seams together. It cost around $6.99/yd. retail, which is quite steep in my opinion, but I had a 40% off coupon so it wasn’t so bad in the end. It comes in 21-22” bolts just like interfacing. *** In fact, it was thrown in with the interfacing at my local fabric store ***.

As a slight side note: Does anyone else get irritated that interfacing (and now this product) only comes in single layer 22” strips instead of 45” bolts like every other fabric? I always get cranky when I to buy twice the yardage of interfacing as fashion fabric.

Any who, back on subject. First things first. Measure the pattern piece you’ll need to have plasticized.


I had already cut out the major pieces for the inner bag, but I still needed to make the inside of the drawstring opening. So that’s what I measured.

I’m a bit of a worrier so I decided to cut out a 5”x5” piece of vinyl to make doubly sure I had clearance. You don’t have to do this though. ***You can actually just cut the pattern piece out directly from the vinyl.***

Now’s the time you’ll also want to cut out your fashion fabric.


Cut out your fashion fabric .5”-1” bigger than your vinyl piece. This will make it easier to center the vinyl on your fabric later without any bits hanging off the edge. The first time you see your iron touch this product you’ll realize why this is an important step. Let's just say it took me a good 10 minutes to get my iron clean.


Now that you have your fabric and vinyl cut out, you’ll want to place the fabric right side up. Make sure to clean off any fuzz balls or threads. You’re about to laminate it so you want it looking as good as possible!

Once finished, go ahead and peal off the vinyl's paper backing.


The corners are sometimes stubborn to get started, but if you just rub it between your thumb and forefinger it will come a loose. Don’t throw this paper away though, we will need it later!

Now go ahead and place the vinyl sticky side down onto the right side of your fabric. The HEATnBONDs ‘sticky’ side was of relatively low tac. This was great because it was really easy to reposition when I made a mistake.

Smooth out all the bubbles and get ready to iron!

Following the directions that came with your iron on vinyl set your iron to the indicated temperature and wait for it to heat up. *** Mine said to set it on medium with no steam ***

Now, this step is important. When preparing to ironing on the vinyl side of the fabric, make sure to place the paper backing you peeled off between the fabric and your iron. If you put the iron directly on the vinyl it will instantly melt into a globby mess. *** I just nicked a corner of the outside, but the speed of meltage was really quite shocking @_@ *** So I repeat, DO NOT PLACE YOUR IRON DIRECTLY ON THE VINYL. 


I saved a larger piece of the paper backing from an earlier piece I’d made. This was awesome because it ‘ment I didn’t have to perfectly line up the fabric with the paper every time.

Read your brands directions to know how many seconds it says to heat each side. I think mine said 8, but I didn’t follow it to the T. I pretty much just treated it like iron on interfacing.

Now you can flip the fabric over and iron the other side in the same way. Because you *wisely* cut the vinyl smaller than your fashion fabric, you can iron directly on the back of the fabric without worry.


You’re all done! Now you have water resistant fabric in whatever color or pattern you want! You can sew this just like normal fabric to create whatever shape you need.

*** Note: I would be a bit more conservative with your fabric pins now. Because your fabric has a plastic layer it won’t recover from small punctures anymore ***

This product has opened up the awesome ability to make PurseBud diaper bags without being limited to any specific color or pattern that my local fabric stores have on hand. I can use any color I want!

I finished the Winnie-the-Pooh bag yesterday afternoon and, despite my reservations about the characters, it turned out super cute.

Winnie the Pooh PurseBud Backpack (Image 4)

My favorite part of this bag, aside from my love of its waterproof innards, is the fact that it’s convertible from an over the shoulder bag to a backpack. This allows for both arms to be completely free when needed. It also has the 6 outer pockets hidden inside the leaves and petals just like the standard sized PurseBuds. That means lots of places to stick toys,clothes, diapers, and bottles!

Winnie the Pooh Pursebud Backpack (Image 2)

Hopefully my moms coworker loves it as much as I do ^_^.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pooh Bear PurseBud Backpack

Iron on vinyl is so cool!

Okay, let me start at the beginning. I make PurseBuds. These are my own originally designed wristlets, purses, and backpacks/diaper bags shaped to resemble flowers. At some point I plan to make a post where I pimp out my PurseBuds, but I’ll limit this post to just the one I’m working on right now.

P1090458My mom has a coworker who is getting ready to have a baby and she asked me to make her a PurseBud backpack as a baby gift. I had made my aunt a bright pink and green one for my cousins about  half a year back and it turned out really cute, so she thought it would make an awesome diaper bag. Due to a craft show, and Christmas, and new years, then school…. I’m way behind on this project (I was supposed to finish it last month @_@). She’s due to give birth in the next few weeks so there’s no more time for procrastination!

Since it was going to be used as a diaper bag having the inside be waterproof was pretty important. Seeing as my lovely town is lacking in such fabrics I went online and ordered the obnoxiously loud bright pink vinyl that I would need to reproduce the bag. When I called my mom to let her know that I had ordered the fabric and was just waiting on delivery she got very despondent. Apparently she didn’t want it to be pink, she wanted it to be a pooh bear bag.

Okay, I’ll admit it had been about three months since we’d talked about the bag so I may have forgotten some things. And I’ll also admit that she told me the baby shower was going to be Pooh Bear themed... But I will never admit that she ever told me she wanted a Pooh Bear bag @_@!

I know that other people have different tastes than I do, but these are flower shaped bags… I would have remembered if someone requested one with a fabric that so clashed with the general theme. Gradient, fine… stripped, okay… even polka dots I could see in the right situation. But I would have remembered a request for cartoon characters on a flower.

I started to panic. I told her I’d work something out and not to worry. Maybe I’d make a zipper pouch to put in the bag in pooh bear fabric? But anyone who has ever seen the cartoon/books knows that neon pink is not exactly the color that comes to mind when you think of Winnie the Pooh. This wasn’t going to work.

I decided I would scrap the pink and start from scratch. I have another friend who is pregnant and wanted a bag. If she finds out she’s having a girl pink would be just the ticket for her.

So… what to do about this bag?

DSC01383I went to the fabric store and looked at the different Winnie the Pooh fabrics they had. I just couldn’t picture any of them on a PurseBud. It would look weird! I was just about to give up when I had an epiphany. In the fleece section (which is overflowing this time of year) there were a quite few fabrics with relatively large characters on them. Making the whole bag out of the fabric would look ridiculous, but I could cut out the characters and applique them onto the bag instead! Then I could make it whatever color vinyl they had on hand.

So I had a plan. Upon perusing the vinyl selection though I was once again at an impasse. It was all ugly. Well, I’m sure that these colors would be great for lining boating seats, but not for a diaper bag. A diaper bag should be light and cheery… not brown or black. /sigh
I finally broke down and asked some of the employees if they had any ideas for me. One of them asked if I’d considered iron on vinyl.

What is this, they have a way to make fabric waterproof? That's awesome! I was so thrilled I almost kissed this woman. I decided to go with a nice light yellow and dark green for the purse (a relatively popular color combination).

I’m only about halfway through constructing the bag *** and I’ll post an update when I’m completely finished *** but I just had to come rave about this product. It goes on so easy and basically turns any fabric into plastic coated awesomeness! I mean, it’s not pretty per se. It makes fabric shiny and its no longer soft and drapy, but it’s waterproof! Which is exactly what I needed. I think that this lady just opened up an entirely new world of possibilities for me.

For now I must get back to work, but here’s a picture of my awesome Pooh Bear appliqued leaves.


Never underestimate me… I can make anything, even a Pooh Bear themed PurseBud ^_^.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Orange and Teal ‘Steampunk’–Part 4

Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 1
Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 2
Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 3 

Do you want to know the preciously guarded secret to corset making? You have to promise not to tell anyone….

P1080605Okay, are you ready? Keep everything organized! It sounds really simple, but this is no joke. This particular corset has 6 panels on each side and an extra self drafted piece in the front, that’s 13 all together. With three different layers of fabric, that’s 39 pieces! If any of those stitched together upside down, backwards, or in the wrong order it completely changes the shape of the garment. A fabric marker, or chalk, is your best friend here. Mark everything! And double check before you stitch. As long as you keep everything in order, making a corset is really super simple. It’s just sewing a lot of seams together ~ And then pressing those seams with a tailors ham ~ before sewing a ton of straight lines for boning channels.

Sure there are a few extra steps I’m leaving out, but it’s not the scary intimidating garment most people assume it is. Any who, now that I’ve shared that super secret tip I’ll move on with the costume.

P1080621For this corset I used TV110. I really wanted there to be an extra flap of fabric over the busk that would button up along the corset. This would add two important things. First a bit of style to the corset so it didn’t look quite so much like underwear. More importantly though, it would add a slight bit of extra coverage for my friend. I could have added a modesty panel to the front, but it still would have seemed like you could see her skin between the busk. Since I know that would make her uncomfortable I wanted to do my best to alleviate it.  To add the front flap I just took the front panel pattern and, subtracting the middle seam allowance, placed it on the fold of the fabric to cut out a solid front. This is the same thing you’d do if you wanted to make the corset without the busk in front. Then I just sewed it alongside the front busk panel when I added the front side.

Perhaps the most nerve wracking part of this whole corset was adding the buttonholes. Anyone who has sewn buttonholes would likely feel my pain here. Even though most machines today make it really simple to put them in, any number of things can go wrong. The fabric could slip, or the thread could jam. And it’s not easy to recover if you have to pick out buttonhole stitches. The number of times the needle pierces the fabric pretty much leaves it shredded. It was scary to trust my machine to do it’s job without error after I’d spent hours carefully sewing the corset panels together. To make matters worse, I had to do it 12 times. Eep!

Thankfully everything turned out beautifully. I finished the corset up by adding some awesome orange and brown buttons and by binding it with a pretty satin ribbon I'd found that was in the same tone as the skirts.
I’d hoped to include more information about the jacket in this post, but I’m off to take photos of my latest costumes today so I’ll have to cut this one short. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able finish up with some jacket and accessories!

Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 5

Friday, January 13, 2012

Orange and Teal ‘Steampunk’–Part 3

Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 1
Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 2

Okay, so it was time to get busy. After my long fabric debacle the silver lining of this costume was knowing that there wouldn’t be too much in the way of custom pieces. Earlier in the week I perused TrulyVictorian.net and ordered the skirts, corset, and bustle that would be needed. ~ BTW, If you haven’t looked at their patterns before, I seriously recommend them. They’re absolutely amazing. ~ The only thing I couldn’t find was a jacket I really liked… but I’ll get into that later.

Doing things properly, I started with the foundation of the garment; the bustle. ~ At some point I will probably go on a rant about people not wearing the proper foundation garments for costumes, but for today I’ll stay on topic. ~

I’ll be honest, I really love this bustle. It was so easy to make and it even collapses down for easy travel. A few months earlier I had seen Artemisia's post about her experience with this pattern. ~ She’s the author of Diary of a Renaissance Seamstress and a wonderful read if you like Renaissance style clothing ~. She had the best idea of edging each of the petticoat frills with bias tape which I totally copied. It was really simple and added the cutest pop of color to an otherwise plain skirt. Sure no one would see it, but everyone walks a little taller when their underwear is cute right? She edged hers in black, but I decided to go with a light blue cause it seemed more airy.

P1080556The only problem I had with the bustle was of my own making. You see, I only had 5 and a quarter yards of white fabric… but the pattern called for almost 6. It was the middle of the night, and I had been so frustrated with the previous fabric woes I decided to go forth with what I had on hand. The petticoat flounces weren’t really ‘needed’ so it wasn’t as though the completed bustle is lacking. It’s just not as ‘floofy’ as it could be.

I whipped out the brown skirt pretty quickly using pattern TV201 because I wanted to be sure that it would fit over the bustle. ~ When working on a time schedule, premade patterns are your absolute best friend ~

In a fit of speed, it completely slipped my mind that I wanted to put a hidden pocket in this skirt. I suppose this eventually gave my friend an excuse to tote around a cute bag with her outfit, but costumes should have a place to stealthily hide your camera, phone, etc. while your hands stay free. /sigh. Live and learn.

Next I started working on the overskirt. Again a pattern saved my sanity as I was working into the wee hours of the morning. ~ Sometimes I feel like I should have sent Truly Victorian more money as a thank you present ~.

It was right about this point that I started to panic. Orange, teal, and brown… what in the world was I thinking?!?!?! This was going to be a disaster. Freaking out, I started obsessively pinning fabric up and staring at it to see if the colors were going to cause spontaneous eye spasms.

Luckily, my compulsion helped me stop and take stock of which way I wanted the back panels to face. I had cut and stitched them with the intention of there being a huge splash of orange down the back, but instead of being this great impact, I found myself leaning more towards the blue. It seemed to set off the pick-a-boo pleats more. After asking for a few outside opinions, I decided to stick with my gut and flip them over.

Now that I had the bottom half of the outfit done it was time to finish the top, starting with a bright orange corset!

Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 4
Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 5

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Orange and Teal ‘Steampunk’–Part 2

Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 1

Okay, so I had my design with approximate fabric yardage needed all printed out and ready to go. Now all I needed was the fabrics.

This was a bit of a struggle. I’m very wary when it comes to ordering fabrics online without getting samples first. There’s no real way to know what the fabric feels like, or if my monitors colors are tuned exactly right. It’s just not a gamble I’m usually willing to make. Since, once again, I didn’t get the bright idea to make this costume until about a month before the event, waiting for fabric samples to be mailed and confirmed before purchase really wasn’t possible. I would be limited to brick and mortar stores. Being new to Oklahoma City, I knew of only about 4 or 5 stores that sold fabric. Choices were limited. On top of this I planned on using bright orange and blue in this design… this could very easily go horribly, terribly wrong.

As luck would have it, I found a gorgeous teal colored fabric in the clearance section of the very first store I went into. It was slightly more stiff that I wanted, but it was a beautiful color with nice grain lines. I was sold. However, I couldn't find any orange fabric in the entire store! ~ Aside from cotton of course ~  Is orange taboo now or something? I could find lots of burnt reds and marigold yellows… but no real oranges. Because I couldn’t very well buy one color fabric without knowing if I could find the others in the same tone, I reluctantly had to put the teal fabric back. ~ There were almost tears I tell ya ~

Over the next few days I went to every fabric store I could find in the area with no luck. There were blues… there were teals… there were browns, but no oranges. Maybe orange is only available from Sept-Nov like pumpkin pie? I was so frustrated. Was I was going to have to change my whole color scheme just because I couldn't find the right pop color?

Finally I decided I would drive the hour north to go to a second Hancock's. There is one about a stones throw from my house, but sometimes different stores in the same chain will have different fabric selections. I crossed my fingers and headed out.

My luck was in that day. In the upholstery section I found a gorgeous crinkled orange fabric. As a bonus I was about 95% sure that it was the perfect color to go with my previous clearance find. ~ that I of course didn't think to grab a sample of ~. I decided I would take the gamble and bought the entire bolt. ~ Apparently orange is a scarcity in this town… I wasn’t taking any chances. ~

I headed back to the clearance fabric and, thank my lucky stars, it was still there. I put my orange fabric sample up next to it and they went together beautifully. Yay! After that, it was pretty easy to find a brown fabric that went nicely with the other two.


But after the fabric debacle I was almost an entire week behind on constructing her costume! I had to get cracking if I was going to finish on time.

Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 3
Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 4
Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 5

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Orange and Teal ‘Steampunk’–Part 1

I have a friend who has naturally dark curly brown hair and an elusive hourglass figure. Aside from causing me extreme envy, her appearance has always has always given me the slight impression that she would be better suited to a different era. Perhaps it’s just my love of Victorian and Steampunk style clothing, but I’d been dying to get that girl in a corset and bustle for ages. So, for her birthday last year, I decided I would make it happen.

Narrowing down a general concept for this costume was extremely hard; mostly because I have hundreds, if not thousands, of reference pictures of Victorian style photos saved on my hard drive. ~ I might be a slight bit obsessed ~. Should it be a historically accurate garment, or a full out Steampunk creation complete with gadgets galore. Ugh, it was so hard to decide.

I wavered on this quite a bit. I didn’t really want to do a historically accurate gown, because part of the reason I wanted to put her in a corset and bustle was to show off her amazing figure. On the other hand, without discussing it with her first ~ due to the birthday surprise ~ I didn’t want to go with some super gadgety outfit in case it wasn’t to her liking. Plus that would have required me to learn about engineering such gadgets in a limited time frame. I plan on learning how to do these in the future… but I didn’t want to spend a month making a costume only to have the accessories be subpar.

In the end I decided to go with a design a bit down the middle. It’s not even close to historically accurate, but it’s also not crazy out there. I decided to leave off any ‘Steampunk’ embellishments, that way she could play it up whichever way the occasion called for.
Dolls 2 copy


The one major design choice I did make was bright colors. I haaaaaate how drab most Victorian and Steampunk clothes are. And there’s no real reason for it. ~ They did use color in the Victorian Era people! ... Perhaps not these colors, but colors none the less! ~

Now that I had a design, I was off to find the fabrics…

Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 2
Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 3
Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 4
Click here for Orange and Teal 'Steampunk' - Part 5

Monday, January 9, 2012

Upcoming Projects–January

Oye vey, my list of upcoming projects has officially surpassed the one handed counting limit. It’s time I jot this all down so I can keep things prioritized.
  • Microwave Heat Pack - Done 1/8/12
  • Pooh Bear themed Pursebud backpack Done 1/18/12
  • Bathrobe - Done 1/10/12
  • White Mage Hoodie - Done 1/22/12
  • Pirate Corset
  • Pink Aurora Dress
  • B-Day present for Amy: Awaiting direction from the birthday girl.
I know it doesn’t seem like much, but with classes restarting today, and my upcoming vacation to Breckenridge at the end of the month, I’m booked!
Time to get sewing.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

You can’t microwave polyester!

One of my husbands coworkers bought one of those microwave heating packs awhile back, but she wasn’t completely happy with it; it wasn't large enough and she said it smelled bad. So he, being the wonderful man he is, pimped out my services and told her I could take care of it.

It took me longer to get around to it than I’d have liked ~ mostly because I’ve been so wrapped up in other projects and partly because it just slipped my mind ~. When he reminded me yesterday, I decided to take care of it this weekend before classes start on Monday.

I ran out to the store and grabbed some really cute pink and purple fleece and was all ready to get started with the cutting when I started wondering, ‘Can you even microwave fleece?’. A quick internet search turns up that you, in fact, CAN NOT microwave fleece. ~ Well at least not the fleece that's mass produced at Hancocks since it's all 100% polyester. ~ There were all kinds of horror stories ranging from melting to fires, but it all boils down to being a serious no-no. I’m really glad I thought to check.

So, it was back to the fabric store. It wasn’t a complete loss because I ended up with a really cute flannel filigree bird pattern ~ in 100% cotton I might add ~.

To combat the ‘bad smell’ she complained of I decided to go with flax seed with a few drops of Water Lily scent mixed in. I’m not a flower person myself, preferring citrus scents, so I hope it’s to her liking.

I spent about an hour, or so, putting it together, which wasn't so bad considering I've never made one of these before. And I think it turned out rather well. I put in three chambers to keep the flax seeds from chunking up on one side of the pack which keeps things nice and even. Hopefully she’s happy with the results.

Now to go scrub the evil water lily scent off my hands so I can stop sneezing.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Unruly Bobbin Tails

I have a problem with bobbin tails. They’re a tangled nightmare and there’s no telling how many times I’ve accidently caught the loose string of a bobbin and sent it flying halfway across a room. ~ This is generally followed by much cursing and mumbling ~

About a year back I thought I would outsmart my bobbins and get a cute little organizing caddie for them. Surely this would solve the problem.

Nope! Now I just had organized chaos. No matter what I did the tails would come loose and tangle into a jumbled heap. So yesterday I went on an internet scavenger hunt to try and come up with a solution. That's when I came across this little gem.

Tame Your Bobbin Tails with Plastic Tubing. It was such an ingenious solution I ran to the hardware store right away.

In the plumbing section you can find a roll of different sized clear plastic tubing. Even though the website said they used 7/8ths inch tubing, I had brought a few bobbins with me and deemed it to large, so I went with 5/8ths of an inch instead. It seemed to work out really well.

First things first, measure your bobbin height.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. But you want it to fit snug. My bobbins were just shy of 1/4th of an inch.

Next you’ll want to mark your tubes with a sharpie. I tried cutting a few of these without marks, but it’s not very easy to eyeball such a small increment. I’d recommend just taking the time to measure it all out. You can do a ton at once.

Now you’ll need to get some sharp scissors (But not your fabric sheers!) and cut along your indicated mark. As time went on and my hand started to get tired I found that it was a lot easier to cut out a chunk of tubing and slice it long ways first. Then I could flatten out the tube and only have to cut one ‘layer’ at a time. Plus it’ll save you the time of snipping the rings later.

If you decided not to cut the tube long ways first, you’ll  just need to snip each of the rings so that they can be easily adjusted over your bobbins.

And viola! You’re done!

You may need to trim some of the rings a bit depending on how straight you made your cuts. ~ I was doing this at 2 a.m. so I had a lot of extra trimming to do . ~

Now you can keep your bobbins wherever you like without fear that the tails will end up horribly tangled and unmanageable. After finding three bobbins with the same color thread I’ve decided I’m going to start keeping mine with the spools.


Do you have any good tips for organizing your sewing room?