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1  Trip to the Mermaid Parade (a two-wheeled seafaring homage to Georges Melies) in Costumes: Completed Projects by mcsladek on: June 23, 2014 07:54:12 AM

This past Saturday was Coney Island's Mermaid Parade, the world's largest art parade.  Making a costume and marching in it was on my friend Marisa and my NYC bucket lists, and she thought of a great theme--a tribute to Georges Melies's early silent film Trip to the Moonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JDaOOw0MEE and (homage within a homage) the Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight Tonight" music videohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOG3eus4ZSo.  We decided to decorate our bikes, and the source material inspired several fun props and Victorian touches.  Probably the best "action shot" of us both during the parade:

It was a round of firsts for me when making the costume, as well as airing out old techniques that I haven't used in years.  Starting with the skirt:

I'd deconstructed dozens of t-shirts in my Great T-Shirt De-Stash and had a bunch of white sleeves and backs that I dyed to my preferred color scheme (first time dyeing!).  I used Rit Scarlet and Dark Green liquid, and Denim Blue powder (I also added a bit of the blue powder to the other colors to make them more violet/teal...didn't work QUITE as well as I planned but I think ultimately made the colors "go together" more).  I made templates for the large and small "scales", and did the bottom "fins" in a "scrap skirthttps://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=347925.msg4054137#msg4054137" style.  I also played around with some freeform stitching in gold thread and added a few sequins (more firsts).  Closeup:

Making the hat was by far my favorite.  I used this tutorial https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=417848.0#axzz32SQshfgb for the structure, which I hot glued and covered in newsprint with Mod Podge.  I wanted to color it green and keep the print visible but I wasn't sure how to without dissolving the Podge (watercolor? marker?).  Then I remembered I had some gift wrap tissue paper with a musical score printed on it, which fit the theme much better.  I watercolored it green and Podged it to the hat, which I hot glued to a headband I'd covered with lace trim, then added a net and shells I'd painted gold (which came off a clearance windchime from Rite-aid), some peacock feathers (arranged like the ones on the woman's hat in Tonight Tonight), and fake flowers.

Progress shot:


I am seriously in love with that hat.

I adapted the top from the bodice of a Vogue V8556 pattern and sewed on gold-painted shells, starfish, and more fake flowers:

One of the signature images of both shorts is the "man in the moon," which I painted onto an umbrella (their weapon of choice to defeat the moon goblins).

We made a deliciously fat octopus out of garbage bags, stuffed with plastic bags and newsprint, held together with lots of duct tape, painted with spray paint (which doesn't play well with garbage bags--a lot of it flaked off after the first application) and tempera paint (which worked better).  He fit well on my bike rack.

I painted the S. S. Melies from Tonight Tonight on cardboard and affixed it to my front wheels with zip ties, and attached waves to my pedals--they moved back and forth when I pedaled, which was a cool effect.

Marisa made her tail out of cardboard and bungee-corded it to her rack (in Tonight Tonight, King Neptune floats by in a flat, cardboard-looking tail).

It was quite an undertaking but well worth the effort, and we got a lot of beautiful photos from the day. Thanks for looking Smiley
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2  Etched Geekery Glasses in Glass Crafts: Completed Projects by mcsladek on: February 16, 2014 10:18:42 AM

My boyfriend's sister is well-read and appreciates the finer things in life such as Star Trek, Star Wars, and Hunger Games.  For her birthday, I decided to crack open that bottle of armour etch that I've been staring at for years and make her a set of etched glasses.  Those three worlds have pretty strong signature images so it wasn't much trouble deciding what to include.  For the Star Wars glass, I put the Imperial and Rebel insignia on opposite sides, and just a single image for the other two.  

I thought about using a paint pen to block off the area that I didn't want etched, but ultimately I didn't trust it.  I printed, cut out, and modpodged the stencil instead, then after applying the etch cream it washed off just fine.  Even though it was the most complex, I felt the mockingjay came out the best.  

Process photo (stencils glued):

Better shot of the mockingjay detail:

Lots of lessons learned for my first time; for starters, while the modpodge method worked reasonably well, if I choose that route again I want to be more comprehensive about gluing.  I think some parts weren't glued down as well as they could have been, and the etch cream seeped in underneath, so the lines weren't as clean as I would have liked.  Otherwise I might try vinyl stickers.  The etched area wasn't as uniform as I would have liked either, so I wonder if the material that the glasses were made of was pure glass or maybe acrylic, or if I could have applied the etching cream thicker.  

But she liked the glasses a lot and there was lots of interest in the process at her birthday dinner, so at the end of the day I was happy to give her something special. Smiley
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3  Bottle Cap Side Table (process pics abound!) in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General by mcsladek on: March 11, 2012 10:45:58 AM

My buddy just moved into a new apartment in a giant old multi-family house.  It's crowded with a mishmash of old furniture and curios from previous owners and tenants, so each time I visit I'm on the lookout for fun reconstruction/rehabilitation projects.  In his room there was a small square end table that was simply begging--pleading--to be covered with bottlecaps and sealed with resin.  It was the first time I've worked with resin so I double checked the posts for this button tablehttps://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=244455.0 and this bottle cap tablehttps://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=234840.0 for tips and advice. 

Pre-project shot: Chipped and tired

We sanded down the flat surface--the legs didn't look too bad so we left them alone--then stained the surface so it matched the rest of the table a bit better.  We didn't think much of it would show through after the caps were arranged but we figured it didn't hurt to be thorough. 



After 1 round of stain (we ended up doing 3-4 coats):

The cap of the stain had dried into kind of a beautiful design.  It reminded me of a Keith Haring print and/or a dandelion:

My friend happened to have a comprehensive collection of bottle caps, which I was able to supplement with some of my own.  With our combined hoard, we managed to have each one on the table be unique.  We glued them all to the table with wood glue and another type of glue which I can't remember at the moment, which is too bad because it worked better and dried clearer than the wood glue. 

Post-gluing (with tube of mystery glue in the background):

We liked the look of the caps pointing in different directions, and they fit into a nice little matrix with no awkward gaps.  After the glue dried, we went to the Home Depot to pick up some resin.  The only kind they had was Parks, which worked fine and cost about $25.  The instructions were easy to follow; the only annoying part was rounding up a bunch of different containers for mixing and marking the quantities on the side for all the layers.  We also had to go back for another box because 1 wasn't enough resin to cover the tops of the caps.  I was worried that the surface would dry a bit wavy, and these guys (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSWFOXn60QU) had an interesting suggestion to lay down a sheet of mylar as the last layer is drying to flatten it.  However, as each layer dried it didn't look like it would be a problem so we skipped the mylar. 

The end result is absolutely lovely and well worth the effort!  Now whenever I visit, I can't stop looking at it...

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4  Louise from Bob's Burgers (so many pics!) in Halloween Costumes by mcsladek on: November 03, 2011 11:24:49 AM

I went as Louise Belcher from the cartoon Bob's Burgers.  Since I was a bit pressed for time, if I was going to put together a costume, I wanted one that I could also wear on a normal day if I so chose.  So now, not only do I have a lovely green dress, but I also have a sweet new bunny ear hat!  

Closeup of awesome hatness action:

Side view:

The hat, if you can believe it, is reconstructed from pieces of an old pink robe, and I made up the pattern as I went along.  The ties are actually the seams that I cut off the robe (I was in no mood to seam-rip a fluffy robe; far too time-consuming).  I thought the heart flaps over the ears were a nice little touch--and super warm!  I threaded some aluminum wire through the ears to make them stand more at attention.

Humble beginnings:

The dress is green cotton, constructed from the Butterick 4684 pattern.  I added the ruffle at the bottom just for fun.  It ended up being sooo comfy and I can't wait to wear it again. Smiley

The gal herself:

More fun:

Thanks for looking!

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5  Elven/Fairy Inspired Summer Benefit Dress in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by mcsladek on: October 02, 2011 07:24:13 AM

The organization that I work for holds several events throughout the year, so I've used each as a motivation to make a new item of clothing to wear to them.  Smiley  I made this particular dress for our Summer Benefit in July.  I bought some lavendar jersey fabric on discount at a local thrift store and thought it would be perfect--comfortable, since I had to run around and help set up, and cool, since the weather was in the upper 90's. 

Front view on dressform

I didn't use a formal pattern--just traced around the bodice of an existing dress I had with the shape I wanted--and ran with it.  I was inspired by the deliciously full sleeves in the Lord of the Rings movies and originally wanted to make both sleeves like that.  Then, as I am a fan of asymmetrical garments, I decided to make one sleeve long and glorious, and attach a long drapey fabric piece to the top seam on the sleeveless half.  It took some futzing to determine the correct angle to get the effect I wanted, but it ended up perfect.  It turned out to be the best choice in the end, because I ended up not having enough material to make both sleeves full anyway!

Back view on dressform

The skirt was 6 squares with rounded corners--I'm sure the style has a name but I was going off another skirt I had that was constructed similarly.  Measuring where they needed to be placed had to be very precise, and was definitely the most time-consuming part.  I left the hem raw but used bias binding around the neckline and sleeveless sleeve.  I still felt like it needed a little something--perhaps a few fabric roses?  I learned about 3 different techniques, made a bunch of different sizes, and sewed on several that worked the best (after much pinning and re-arranging). 

Closeup of flowers

Another action shot

All in all I am incredibly pleased with how it turned out, despite minor flubs and a lot of learning--just as comfy yet fancy as I hoped.  The pics of me wearing the dress were actually taken when I went to see Ocean's Kingdom at Lincoln Center--I got one pic of me at our Summer Benefit which was cute but didn't show the dress as well as I liked. 

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!  Comments and crit welcome--especially any insight working with jersey/knits. Wink
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6  Evelyn Evelyn Jr (Amanda Palmer/Jason Webley tribute--first doll I ever made!) in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by mcsladek on: June 19, 2010 08:39:30 AM
I'm a huge fan of Amanda Palmer, and her latest musical endeavor is a theatrical concept album about a pair of conjoined twins named Evelyn and Evelyn Neville who grew up on a chicken farm and performed their musical act in a traveling circus, only to be "discovered" by Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley (who dress up as the twins to perform in concert).  Well, they performed in NYC (where I live) last Saturday.  I was soooo excited and decided to make them a little doll to express my gratitude for the hours of entertainment which they have provided me. Smiley 

I've never made a doll before, but luckily I had just seen the Catrina Doll https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=349020.0, which had a pattern I worked from.  I used yarn for the hair instead of the felt bun (figuring out how to sew that in was a challenge within itself) and embroidered the faces.  Since I put this all together Saturday morning/afternoon, I ran out of time on a few things...I wanted to add legs and make a little guitar, and I had to rush a few details...but all in all I had fun and I hope they got a kick out of it when they opened the box. 

Here is a picture of them in action:

Not too shabby for a whim--comments/crit welcome (though I am pretty aware of its weaknesses, bleh).  Thanks for looking! Smiley
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7  Totally tubular messenger-style star bag (pictorially plump) in CHALLENGE 47 ENTRIES by mcsladek on: February 05, 2010 06:50:00 PM
Hey all!  I ride my bike everywhere, including the grocery store, so I had to figure out how to make this bag work for me.  I wanted to make a messenger-type bag so I could carry it on my back easily, and so I thought, why not make it bike-themed? 

The colorful part is fused plastic bags.  I added cut-out star shapes to make it more decorative before I ironed it all down.  It is lined with old inner tubes, which I got from local bike shops that were going to toss them out.  The front straps weave through the cogs--also generously donated by a bike shop--and attach back onto the top flap with velcro.  I mined a thrifted windbreaker for its zip-on hood, which I reattached on the front of the bag as a pocket for wallet/keys. The chest strap is a thrifted belt. 

I used a lot of glue, and hand-stitched when necessary.  Gorilla Glue was the most high-maintenance but got good results; Crazy Glue stuck the best but came in such tiny tubes; and hot glue did very little. 

My materials:

Into this:

I was worried that some grocery store official would think I was stealing if he saw me slipping food into my shoulder bag.  I gave it some handles so it looks more like the typical shopping bag when I'm still browsing.

Here is another angle with the flap open:

Inside of bag:

Holds plenty of groceries: two pounds of coffee, shortening, apples, chick peas...

Mirror shot!

All in all, I think I spent less than $10.  Thanks for looking!
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8  Mechanic's Onesie to Mermaid-like Skirt in CHALLENGE 45 ENTRIES by mcsladek on: December 05, 2009 08:41:20 PM
Hello, first-time poster, long-time lurker, lifelong procrastinator.  I came across a denim coverall-type uniform that had a decent amount of material to make a skirt.  It didn't have enough to do what I wanted with it, but nonetheless I'm pretty proud of the results:

Here is the original product:

Side view:

Back view:

From behind, on the ground:

I used the front buttons and buttonhole strip for the waistband.  It worked out so I can tighten or loosen the skirt.  I also wanted to keep all the pockets intact, hence the length it the back.  I don't have a machine, so it's all hand-sewn.  Wasn't too bad, though. Smiley  This was kind of an exercise in resourcefulness--I only used what was on the original coveralls, plus a needle and thread.

Thanks for looking!
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