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21  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Autumn, winter, it's time to warm up swap? on: April 15, 2009 05:01:03 PM
I woke up this morning, and it was 9 degrees outside. I'm bloody freezing, and haven't readied myself for the winter.

Anyone interested in a warming swap? Say... hot water bottle cozies, snuggly slippers, scarves, belly warmers, lap blankets, shawls, gloves, socks... that sort of thing?
22  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Help me make this dress more modest. on: March 19, 2009 03:37:20 AM
I've just remembered that there's less than a week before I jump on a plane and head to Indonesia to attend a wedding.

I need something formal and pretty to wear!!!

I have this dress here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=288599.msg3274095#msg3274095

But there are two problems with it. It's too immodest. And it displays my tatt, and I'd rather have it covered up for a formal event in Java.

So - how can I make it more modest? I need to close up that neckline , and I need extra length in the sleeve. I'm looking for any ideas for things that can just be added to the completed dress. I don't think it would look good if I wore a skivvy underneath, but if it comes to that, then so be it. Sad

Craftster powers ACTIVATE!
23  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Button-up short skirt. on: February 26, 2009 12:23:18 AM
I wanted a new skirt. And this is what resulted:

I love it, so very very very hard. The pattern was drafted by me - the whole thing resulted from what I did and didn't have to hand at home.

I started with the instructions for an A-line skirt from the 'Sew What Skirts' book. The amount of fabric I had dictated that it was going to be a short skirt.

My desire to hide my chubby belly dictated the waist finishing - a simple facing, because on a short skirt I didn't want a waistband sitting over my podge, nor did I want a drawstring. I even pinched out some darts in the back for a more fitted finish.

I was going great guns, until I realised that I didn't have any zips. The only fasteners I had.... were buttons.

So buttons it was. 8 of them up the side seam. I had to change a whole heap of stuff on the fly - adding an extra piece of fabric to sew the buttons onto, folding back another facing on the side seam so that the button holes would have something sturdy to be sewn on. Somehow, I managed to eke everything I needed out of the teeny bits of fabric that were left!!

And check this!

I've been trying to develop more.... couture? techniques in the clothing I make for myself. I don't like zigzagging raw edges, so I tend to use a lot of French seams in what I do. I'm starting to hand roll my hems as well, and use an invisible hemstitch to secure them. AND - my machine makes cruddy buttonholes. I'm really bad at them. And during my pondering, I realised that sewn buttonholes would not be good at the side of a skirt - they'd be stretched out of shape in no time. A bit of googling around looking at different ways of hand-sewing buttonholes, and I came upon bound button holes. They're complicated, but I love them!!

This is the best one I did - though it's not perfect.

I will NOT show the back of the buttonholes, because they are a DAMN mess, and I don't know how to hide the mess of them away yet. I'll learn eventually though.... and in the meantime, the effect (and the strength) of the bound buttonholes on the skirt far outweigh the unprofessionalness of the inside.

So - what do you think? Any advice, compliments, concrit?? Do you see my muscly derby thighs peeking out there?? Ever done a bound buttonhole, and know how to hide all the mess of the back?
24  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / Talk About The Swap Process / A very important lesson. on: February 23, 2009 10:29:11 PM
Folks, if you send something meltable in a swap package, this is why it's very important to wrap it separately from everything else:

My partner had good foresight: She wrapped this chocolate separately in paper AND in cling wrap....

It's kinda funny - it's not even hot here today, it's just that my front door (where the parcel was left) faces west.

I've eaten all the chocolate, by the way. With a spoon.
25  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Stuffie phoenix bird on: February 02, 2009 02:30:04 AM
I made this for a LJ friend... it's a phoenix, coloured like fire. Or so I hope. It was made during the hottest, longest heatwave ever recorded in Melbourne, so it seems kinda fitting.

I made it up as I went along, so it's all handsewn. Lots and lots and lots of blanket stitch!!

I thought about adding some embellishment or other decoration, but I don't think anything I could have added would have looked nice enough.

(damn bent beak in the photo!)

Sometimes I think blank features are best, especially for something that's such a powerful symbol.

Concrit? Compliments? What do you think?
26  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Thrown back in time (Life on Mars) Swap? on: February 01, 2009 09:20:36 PM
I cracked, couldn't wait till Thursday, and went and 'procured' the first ep of US Life on Mars to watch last night.

Loving it.

** PS. For the love of ALL the deities in the pantheon, do NOT mention any sort of spoiler. ANY sort **

Anyways, where was I?

Yup. Life on Mars, loving the similarities to Night Watch, loving the concept, yada yada blah.

And then - an idea!

How about a Thrown Back in Time swap? I haven't worked out exactly how it will work, but what I'm thinking at the moment is that you don't get to specify how far back in time you're sent: that will be decided either by the organiser or your partner - and therein lies the surprise and the challenge. You have no idea how far back you've been sent, but your partner will craft you things that will either help you blend in, or to help you handle your new life-in-the-past or something like that.

Hmmm..... any ideas or feedback? I want something with an element of surprise, and I wouldn't mind if it was a multi-sendout swap.

Does it sound like a fun idea? Would you be in on it? How would you improve upon it?
27  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Summer Christmas Dress - modified Shari pattern from Burdastyle on: January 22, 2009 09:03:23 PM
It's a Friday afternoon, which means I'm at work and bored. Time to post a project!

For a while I've been hankering after a 60s style dress with a petticoat. And I had a lovely white fabric with big red roses all over it, that I thought would be perfect.

Unfortunately, the finished dress did not suit the petticoat I had made for it. Next time Gadget, next time.

But what I did end up with makes me so happy that I strike stupid poses while wearing it.

Okay, yes, I KNOW it looks like I'm frowning. But I'm not. Unfortunately, that's just my usual expression.

Hopefully that range of cruddy poses is enough to show you where all the seams lie. I really only used the bodice portion of the Shari pattern - the skirt is an 8 piece skirt with inserts... and a really high waist. I like my clothes to ignore my midsection, seeing as I'm quite thick and lumpy there.

The skirt ends up being a circle skirt, but it starts flaring just above the crotch level, so I'm not carrying excess fabric around my hips. And with no waist, I like to pretend that it makes me look taller (HA!)

I chose the Shari pattern because of its deep neckline - I like to believe that a low neckline sort of makes my chest look less expansive.

However, in making it to a size that fits my bust, the back ended up being way way waaaaaay too big. I cheated and just cut away a total of 10 cm (!!!!!) from the centre back seam.

10cms! Holy shit! I'm lucky that the pattern let me accommodate that - the only relic of my "How NOT to tailor a pattern" experiment is a pleat thing that runs down the front from the shoulders. It gets kinda hidden in the gathers that come up from the red bit, but you can see the shadows it causes in the two middle photos. I suppose I could have tried actual drafting and changing - but every time I've tried such a thing previously, I've never ever succeeded - I honestly can't reconcile a front that's two sizes different to the back.  Huh  Huh

If anyone's got any suggestions, please let me know. And as always - concrit and accolades are much appreciated. Cheesy
28  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Knitty's Nob Hill shrug on: January 18, 2009 04:08:34 PM
I'm eschewing buying presents for my sister now in favour of making her things. Unique things. I'm trying to instill a love of the handmade and unique into her.

And for her birthday, I'd decided that she needed a shrug. Something to keep warm with when she's out at parties.

After sending her dozens of images all with the caption "How about this one? Do you like this one?" she finally agreed that the Nob Hill pattern from Knitty was "Alright, I guess. But I don't like how chunky it is. Make it less chunky".

Oooh boy.

I went hunting for yarn, and found Purla by Panda. Let's say that's it's most definitely NOT the size of the recommended yarn in the pattern. I knitted up a swatch on 6mm needles, and it was still more stitches per inch than the pattern. Then I thought 'Bugger it, I'm going to recalculate the whole thing.'

So here we go. This is the first garment I have ever completed. It's the first thing I've made that involves a serious recalculation of the stitches. It had a number of things I've never done before (short rows, buttonholes, picking up stitches). And it was only 10 days late for her birthday.

Here's the finished garment.

I'll add a caveat here. The photos are not as nice as I would have wished - they're taken inside, late at night, in my dimmish bedroom, and most of them were taken with my iMac's iSight camera. It's not the best for gentle flash or focus.....

This is me wearing it. It's important to note that my sister is an A or B cup - I'm an E-F cup. This shrug is being stretched out a bit here....   Undecided

This sleeve roll ended up a little wonky - I think that was the first one I did.. I'm thinking/hoping that after a bit of wearing and a few washes that the wonkiness will just kind of vanish. It's possible - the shrug is unblocked at the moment, because I honestly don't have the facilities for blocking knitted items.

Last shot. I think the tension is... okay. I only see one, maybe two spots where something went a bit kerflooey.

For a yarn that was mostly acrylic, it's actually quite soft and clingy. The finished garment is not as thick and structured as it would have been if I had followed the pattern precisely. I assume it will cling to the few curves my sister does have, and considering they way we dress in Melbourne (many layers that can easily be taken off) the fact that it compresses down into something really small can only be a benefit too.

Assuming that I will one day knit another garment of some sort, any comments or concrit for me? Was it foolhardy of me to have at it with a yarn & needle size so far from what the pattern recommended?
29  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / 3D crocheted tattoo design on: January 12, 2009 08:54:07 PM
I can't even begin to explain how I came up with this idea.... but you know those old school tattoos that have, say a scroll and a heart hung between two blue birds?

I made a removable one. In 3D. Out of crochet patterns & yarn. And strung it on a string so that it can be worn as a chest tattoo.

Here's an awful photo taken in Photobooth, showing how it will sit across the chest:

Next time I have the urge to crochet, I might see if I can recreate some other stereotypical tattoo design....

These are the patterns I used

This is the pattern for the birds:

And this is the heart:

The scroll is easy enough to freehand  Wink
30  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Creepy slightly freaky doll with wardrobe. Many photos! on: January 03, 2009 09:06:11 AM
I made this for the 12 Days of Christmas swap. I loved making it - my partner said she liked slightly creepy cute stuff, my friend had a ragdoll pattern from the 1970s and I'm starting to like making this sort of stuff.

I find 'creepy' a little hard to do - especially when what I had in my mind was a Victorian gothic / poor little matchgirl sort of aesthetic, which wasn't exactly what I wanted. Fortunately my boyf has some stupendous ideas for stuff like that, and also has the ability to place facial details and the like.

So - could you love this face?

It's embroidered on with, errr... thick cotton cooking twine. Mr J took a length of twine and then gutted my red and my brown textas and rubbed the insides along the twine to get this rather disgusting colour. It looks to me like encrusted blood and other bodily gick... perfect. He also suggested the stitched up mouth and eye. Some of the texta ink rubbed off on the fabric as the needle went in and out, and that just added to the 'sewn skin' kinda look. You can just see at the base of the neck where there are some Frankenstein-ian stitches holding her neck onto her shoulders.

Here's a full body shot

You can see she's got red (fake) hair and lots of black yarn hair at the back. She's just wearing a bit of tube from a sock I'd used for something else. I ran holes through it to make it look a bit more forlorn. And can you see what's peeking over the top of the sockslip?

It's her heart.

It had to be stitched into place.

I couldn't leave it at just that, either. I made up a luggage trunk for her, and filled it full of her belongings. Some of them were machine-sewn, but it just ended up looking far too neat (The skirt, for example) I decided to let my desire for 'perfection' go, in favour of creating stuff that was rough and worn and tattered and frayed. Some of the the things were hand-sewn (the shirt and underpants) but the rest of the edges and hems just got shoved through the zigzag stitch to prevent fraying.

Here's a group shot:

We have here, from upper left and moving clockwiseish, red lace sandals on top of her luggage chest. A black and red patched full length coat. A red/gold pinafore dress. A white shirt closed with a safety pin. A 'black pearl' necklace. White and red underpants. Black vinyl shoes. Tartan wrap skirt. Black gingham pants. Red scarf.

Closeups coz I'm a show-off
.... but I still wasn't done

No. I decided that the doll needed a doll of her own. Plus I wanted to make this amigurumi bunny anyway. But it couldn't be perfect. No well-loved soft toy is ever in perfect condition. So I had to rough it up a little

Some parts are not stuffed fully, I jabbed a hook in bits to pull out some stuffing, that's a tatty ribbon bow around its neck, its head is wobbly, one arm is hanging by a (thick and well secured) thread, and a leg has been sewn back on at some point in the past.

I feel pretty damn pleased with this. It's the, errr... second doll I've made, and the first time in a VERY long time that I've made clothing for a doll. I'm tempted to make another for myself, following my preferred aesthetics, but I've got a project to do list that's longer than I can believe, so it might be a while away.

Please let me know what you think of it - if you've faved it or wisted it, I'd love to know.

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